How best to treat mental illness?

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  LaRue on Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:57 am

I find it comforting that mental health problems are more prevalent than you think. My family has such an awful history - lots of suicides and depression. Scares me shitless that it's my future.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  eddie on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:43 pm

LaRue wrote:I find it comforting that mental health problems are more prevalent than you think. My family has such an awful history - lots of suicides and depression. Scares me shitless that it's my future.

Nature and Nurture: they're both factors.

I've mentioned before (on ATU I) that my mother suffered from a major depressive illness when I was about 11 years old, far too young to understand what on earth was happening with my mum. The situation was compounded by:

1. A less sensitive attitude to mental illness in those days.
2. My family's working-class immigrant social status.

The truth is that I only fully understood what was happening decades later when I read Alan Bennett's account of his mother's depression, which was triggered by a disastrous move from a community with which she was familiar to one in which she was a stranger who felt herself under scrutiny all the time. Precisely what triggered my mother's illness.

The effect on the children was disastrous, of course. My elder brother took the full brunt of the fall-out (simply because he was the older sibling) and some years later he committed suicide.

In the course of his mother's treatment (including ECT- which he regards as almost a miracle cure) it transpired that there had been a history of depression in the family, including a suicide by drowning.

LaRue, read Alan Bennett's 'Untold Stories', which is a very intelligent and sensitive account. It certainly brought a lot of things into focus for me.

You're quite correct when you say that the problem is much more widespread than is commonly acknowledged.

I was startled to read in Michael Palin's diaries- the Python team's apparently most stable member- that his elder sister Angela had been repeatedly hospitalised for depression and had eventually taken her own life. The terrible aspect of his account is that it's possible that his own career success had reinforced her feelings of low self-esteem. The relevant volume is 'Halfway to Hollywood (Volume 2)'.



Last edited by eddie on Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  LaRue on Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:04 am

Thanks for that, Eddie. I'll definitely check that out. I'm sorry to hear about your family troubles with mental health. As I said there has been a lot of suicide in my family. My Grandfather's I took quite badly. I said "took" but it happened just after I was born. I know it shouldn't, but it hurts that he met me for the first time and then went home and killed himself... He was an alcoholic and a manic depressive. My Uncle went the same way.

I think the wost part for me is the fear and paranoia. I'm not hugely happy at the moment and neither is my Mum, for different reasons. But the fear that she and I are going to want to kill ourselves and not be able to stop makes everything so much scarier and worse. It's like a self fufilling prophecy really.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:49 pm

Constance wrote:
blue moon wrote:...there are degrees of madness.

Some make life colourful, some kill it. They call for different responses...(i shudder to say 'treatments', being colourfully mad myself. I was prescribed lithium once, in the early days of its use. I'm not against the use of medication to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain, but I feel strongly about using medication lightly...but no doubt my view is shaped by the experience with lithium...who wants to be a 'walkie'...even to escape pain?)

I must dash now...drinking beer in the dry-season's radiant heat is making me confessional Rolling Eyes

I was prescribed lithium years back, too. Shaking hands, metallic taste in my mouth, lithium poisoning. As soon as the blood test showed it was at a therapeutic level, I'd get sick!
I really appreciate you posting this constance. I panicked after I made the post, certain that I'd be branded as unfit in some way for having been prescribed lithium, which was fairly heavy at the time and branded you as a loony.
And thank you to the brave souls for sharing their stories. My mum was frighteningly depressive and self-medicated with every drug she could get her hands on or swap with her sister. Then she'd wash everything down with sherry from a flagon (or whatever was cheap and plentiful at the time). She'd jump from depression so bad she'd stay in bed not speaking to anyone for three days, then leap out of bed and smash everything in sight.

My nanna used to say that 'in her day' every family had some strange old family member living up in the attic.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:55 pm

blue moon wrote:
Constance wrote:
blue moon wrote:...there are degrees of madness.

Some make life colourful, some kill it. They call for different responses...(i shudder to say 'treatments', being colourfully mad myself. I was prescribed lithium once, in the early days of its use. I'm not against the use of medication to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain, but I feel strongly about using medication lightly...but no doubt my view is shaped by the experience with lithium...who wants to be a 'walkie'...even to escape pain?)

I must dash now...drinking beer in the dry-season's radiant heat is making me confessional Rolling Eyes

I was prescribed lithium years back, too. Shaking hands, metallic taste in my mouth, lithium poisoning. As soon as the blood test showed it was at a therapeutic level, I'd get sick!
I really appreciate you posting this constance. I panicked after I made the post, certain that I'd be branded as unfit in some way for having been prescribed lithium, which was fairly heavy at the time and branded you as a loony.
And thank you to the brave souls for sharing their stories. My mum was frighteningly depressive and self-medicated with every drug she could get her hands on or swap with her sister. Then she'd wash everything down with sherry from a flagon (or whatever was cheap and plentiful at the time). She'd jump from depression so bad she'd stay in bed not speaking to anyone for three days, then leap out of bed and smash everything in sight.

My nanna used to say that 'in her day' every family had some strange old family member living up in the attic.

Your nanna was right.

My grandmother was hospitalized for depression for 6 months after the birth of her first child. This was back in 1920. Bellevue Hospital in NYC. Seems there were some enlightened MDs then to recognize the disease. She had another terrifying episode when my mother was a newlywed. My own mother has been hospitalized with ECT three times and tried to take her life about ten years ago. My growing up was similar to Eddie's except I was the older sibling. She is stable now, takes her meds, and I drive her to the MD once a month..

My sister and I have had episodes, but my daughters know nothing about any of this. So many pluses to adoption.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:32 pm

Constance wrote: My sister and I have had episodes, but my daughters know nothing about any of this. So many pluses to adoption.
I used to run to mood swings...I'm eternally grateful that my girls survived me and love me.
The pace of life around me affects me. I loved being at sea. Your girls are so fortunate to know your mother-love, Constance. I love you



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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  eddie on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:36 pm

LaRue wrote:I'm not hugely happy at the moment and neither is my Mum, for different reasons. But the fear that she and I are going to want to kill ourselves and not be able to stop makes everything so much scarier and worse. It's like a self fufilling prophecy really.

It's harder for women, I would tentatively suggest, simply because a male-dominated society objectifies them more: the SCRUTINY element I mention above ^.

Having said that, most feminists I've known have been a complete pain in the ass.

Oh well, I'm no more consistent than anybody else.


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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  eddie on Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:35 am

OK, I've arrived at a non-pharmacological solution: a revival of the ancient Eleusinian mysteries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries

That ought to do the trick.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Constance on Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:14 am

eddie wrote:OK, I've arrived at a non-pharmacological solution: a revival of the ancient Eleusinian mysteries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries

That ought to do the trick.
Very Happy Much healthier than a Dionysian revelry. (But actually I believe in pharmacological solutions.)

La Rue, what's wrong? Haven't you started University now? You should go to the clinic or see an MD is you're blue and really can't shake it. Same goes for your Mom. I hope you both feel better soon.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  eddie on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:12 am

As therapy, this is even better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F304GeAsbkU&feature=related
Something You're Going Through- Graham Parker & The Rumour.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:20 pm

blue moon wrote:...there are degrees of madness.

Some make life colourful, some kill it.
I'm going to hang that on the wall of my garage / mancave.

blue moon wrote:...They call for different responses...(i shudder to say 'treatments', being colorfully mad myself. I was prescribed lithium once, in the early days of its use. I'm not against the use of medication to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain, but I feel strongly about using medication lightly...but no doubt my view is shaped by the experience with lithium...who wants to be a 'walkie'...even to escape pain?)
I am bi-polar psycoeffective and have PTSD. I don't dare even think about not taking my MEDS. I have been in the nut house ten times and I'm sure if I stopped my MEDS, I'd end up right back in there. I am heavily medicated and still get homicidal and suicidal thoughts, hear voices and get bad depression / anxiety. Mood stabilizers / antidepressants doesn't work for me, I just gotta ride it out. Since I moved to the sticks my stressors aren't as bad. When I lived in Philly where it's wall to wall people, every day was a challenge. I say my prayers and am sober 15 years now...which all helps a whole lot to live with the pain of it all.

For you Englanders (that don't get it)...thats a Republican shirt I'm wearing !


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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:56 am

Today, I made a trip that was well over 100 miles to the VAMC (Veterans Administration Medical Center) to reup on my MEDS. It was a little stressful but not half as bad as when I use to have Lab Rat drive me there. I had a lady doctor from India take care of me and she was nice enough. The head Head Doctor is also from India...he is really a cool guy. The first time I met him, I asked him if he knew Rahul Patel. He looked at me with puzzlement for a second, than smiled and said...'yes, yes, I know him.' (thats like asking a American if he knows John Smith)

Anyhow people from India are few and far in between around here in Appalachia. In Philly where I come from, there are alot of them (and other groups of people from arround the world) ...in fact there are areas that can be called a Indian Community. I know in London thats no big deal but it was in Philly...since they are the smallest of immigrant groups in the area.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  pinhedz on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:59 am

Some Patels have donut shops, and some have motels.

And some actually have both donut shops and motels.

And some of their kids are physicists.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:20 pm

Speaking of donuts...sometimes when I'm really jamed up a sugar fix really helps me relax.

Sometimes a Milk Way and a cold glass of milk is akin to smoking a joint.

The good part about that is...it is legal and much cheaper. The bad part...I need to loose some weight.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:51 pm

Sometime last week, I was cooking a pot of potatoes and Lab Rat (my squeeze) came out and started talking to me.

I started hearing voices that told me to throw the boiling water on her.

Try living with this something like that...thank God I got MEDS, prayer and Bobby Dylan to help me get thur all that.

(Love and Theft plays in the background)

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  pinhedz on Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:38 am

I haven't experienced such things myself, but I've read accounts of the voices, and I always wondered--how hard is it to say "no" to the voices? Can't one just say the voices got a bad idea?

John Nash said he had to "reject the delusional hypotheses." I don't remember if he said whether or not he could "reject the delusional hypotheses" without his meds.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:05 am

It's always kind of differant...sometimes it is more intense than other times ! Usually, I tell the voices shut the fuck up...I'm not in the mood and they go away. I have been full blown mental now for about 25 years...I have learned to live with it. I worked hard at getting to the point where I have a handle on things ! (alot of psychotherapy and talking to professional people)

Seroquel is the main drug of my cocktail...it is classified as an atypical antipsychotic medication and is used to treat patients that suffer from delusions, hallucinations, unorganized thought and hostility.

'I'm beginning to hear voices and there's no one arround.' Bob Dylan

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  pinhedz on Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:13 am

John Nash's experiences with drug therapy occurred during what may have been a more barbaric time. The WEB says this about that:

Dr. Nash's Illness and Treatment Experience
In her book A Beautiful Mind, Sylvia Nasar reports that Dr. Nash first showed the overt signs of schizophrenia in 1959 when he began to see encrypted messages in newspaper stories. He was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and after a poorly presented lecture in March, he was involuntarily committed to the McLean Hospital, a private hospital for wealthy patients affiliated with the Harvard Medical School in Boston. He received injections of chlorpromazine but the principal treatments offered were psychotherapy, group therapy, and counseling. After a stay of 50 days, he was released. In May, his wife gave birth to a son. He was not able to return to work, and for the next two years, in the grip of a persistent psychosis, he roamed Europe. Recognizing his brilliance as a scientist, friends arranged a teaching appointment at Princeton University in April 1960. His illness became worse, and in January 1961 he was admitted to Trenton State Hospital, a publicly funded psychiatric hospital.

He underwent 6 weeks of insulin coma treatment. When he was released from the hospital, he was much improved. His thoughts were under control and he was able to once again work on a scientific paper. From July of 1961 to August 1962, he worked at Princeton.

His illness recurred and sadly, further treatment was refused. He spent the next decades as a shadowy figure on the Princeton University campus.

Why was Dr. Nash treated with ICT?
In 1961, the options available for patients with schizophrenia were antipsychotic drugs, ECT, insulin coma, and lobotomy. The optimal treatment was believed to be chlorpromazine, although many psychiatrists still looked to ECT for its benefits. When chlorpromazine failed, ECT was the realistic option. While most psychiatric hospitals had abandoned ICT, it had persisted at Trenton State Hospital, and it was a logical offering when these other treatments were refused. (Lobotomy was no longer a realistic option, having been replaced by antipsychotic drugs.)

If Dr. Nash was offered ECT he may have refused in the belief that it would permanently impair his memory. Medications were offered and either he refused them or he did not respond well. I can easily understand that he might have been turned off by the treatment's restrictions on motor movements, slurred speech, dry mouth, slowing of thoughts, and difficulties in reading. I can easily imagine a man of Dr. Nash's energy and racing mind finding the slowing of his thoughts intolerable.

From the decision to recommend ICT, I infer that Dr. Nash was neither manic nor depressed, refused medications, and was offered ICT because it was the best that was available for his illness. Referral for ICT was a positive development -- he had persistent advocates among the faculty of Princeton for the treatment, as only a few patients could be accommodated.

None of the treatments for schizophrenia, then or today, offer a "cure," in the sense that antibiotics cure an infection or surgery removes a diseased organ; the treatments for psychosis, then and now, are more like insulin for diabetes, a useful management method that is successful so long as the patient continues to take the prescribed medicines. When continued treatments with antipsychotic drugs, ICT, or ECT were refused, Dr. Nash reverted to his psychotic condition.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:58 am

When Lab Rat (my squeeze) and I watched A Beautiful Mind it was pretty intense for me. In fact anything along those lines is hard for me to watch. When I see scenes from movies, like when someone is wigging out and they are being taken away, I have to get up and walk around a little til it passes.

I have been out there but never as far as Dr Nash. When I went out from my J O B at the Post Office I was hearing voices that told me to go on a rampage there. They told me it would be a beautiful and natural thing for me to do. As mental as I was (homeless for 9 months taking a shower once a week) I still knew it would be wrong. The voices laughed at me for this and told me I was a punk.

BTW: anyone who says someone is getting off a crime by being admitted to a nut house does not know what their talking about. I have been in jail and I have been in the nut house and the nut house is alot worse. One time they striped me of my clothes and tied me to a yoke in sorta a upright postion. They stuck a ‬catheter in my penis and left me like that in the dark. Since they shot me up with knock out drops there's no telling how long I was there, but it was for awhile.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  Old Mack on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:09 pm

I had a major panic attack the other night and the bad thing about it was I was sleeping and it woke me up. The ones that wake me up are the worse...for one thing, I think they are brought on by a nightname. I have a nightmare now and than but have bad dreams at least once a week. Anyhow...when I get panic attacks when I'm awake, I feel them comming on and can usually talk myself down a little and ride it out.

I have had two panic attacks where I had to go to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the ER in December because I had all the syptoms of having a heart attack but I knew I wasn't really having one. I told the Doctor that I knew I wasn't having a heart attack BUT if I didn't come to the hospital, I'd be sitting around the house all night really mental. He gave me some 5mg Valiums that took the edge off of things.

I wish I could get some MEDS that would help with this stuff. But they don't want to give me anything to strong because I am a recovering drug addict and I might eat the whole bottle.

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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

Post  tatiana on Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:42 pm

Old Mack wrote:I had a major panic attack the other night and the bad thing about it was I was sleeping and it woke me up. The ones that wake me up are the worse...for one thing, I think they are brought on by a nightname. I have a nightmare now and than but have bad dreams at least once a week. Anyhow...when I get panic attacks when I'm awake, I feel them comming on and can usually talk myself down a little and ride it out.

I have had two panic attacks where I had to go to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the ER in December because I had all the syptoms of having a heart attack but I knew I wasn't really having one. I told the Doctor that I knew I wasn't having a heart attack BUT if I didn't come to the hospital, I'd be sitting around the house all night really mental. He gave me some 5mg Valiums that took the edge off of things.

I wish I could get some MEDS that would help with this stuff. But they don't want to give me anything to strong because I am a recovering drug addict and I might eat the whole bottle.


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Re: How best to treat mental illness?

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