“The lives of people with serious mental illnesses are about 25 years shorter than the rest of the population, on average, and the main causes of early death are tobacco-related diseases.
Patients in psychiatric hospitals who take part in smoking cessation programs during their stay are more likely to be smoke-free after 18 months, compared to patients who don’t participate in the programs, says a new study as reported by Reuters today.
“What’s more, researchers found that quitting smoking appeared to be safe for the patients and was tied to a decreased risk of being admitted back into the hospital.
“That’s a new finding and it needs to be replicated, but we’re excited that it didn’t cause any harm and may have supported their recovery,” said Judith Prochaska, the study’s lead author from the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California.
“Prochaska and her colleagues write in the American Journal of Public Health that it’s estimated people with mental illnesses use two to four times more tobacco than the general population. Most U.S. hospitals have been smoke-free since 1993, but at least half of hospital psychiatric units allow smoking and sell cigarettes, according to the researchers. “It used to be that people with mental illnesses had a waiver,” Dr. Steven Schroeder, the Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), told Reuters Health. Schroeder, who was not involved with the new research, said some people believed psychiatric inpatients were not ready or didn’t want to quit smoking and that giving up smoking might make their conditions worse. Continue reading “Smoking and the mentally ill”
We know this sounds far-fetched but a new study has shown that drinking a lot of coffee may reduce suicidal thinking in some, due to the mood altering effects of caffeine.
Apparently, people who drank more than four cups of coffee a day were 53 percent less likely to commit suicide than those who drank less than one cup a day, a new study found. WebMD reported today that
“Those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 45 percent lower risk of suicide, according to the analysis of data from more than 208,000 people who were followed from 1988 to 2008. During that time, there were 277 suicides, CBS Newsreported.
“The study was published in the July issue of the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
“The researchers said that caffeine in coffee can increased neurotransmitters, which can lift a person’s mood and act as a mild antidepressant, CBS News reported.
“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” study author Michel Lucas, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release.
Full story at: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20130730/coffee-suicide-risk?src=RSS_PUBLIC
The idea of treating a psychiatric illness by passing a jolt of electricity through the brain was one of the most controversial in 20th Century medicine. So why are we still using a procedure described by its critics as barbaric and ineffective?The BBC ran a story today discussion the continuing benefits of this controversial procedure:
“Sixty-four-year-old John Wattie says his breakdown in the late 1990s was triggered by the collapse of his marriage and stress at work.
“We had a nice house and a nice lifestyle, but it was all just crumbling away. My depression was starting to overwhelm me. I lost control, I became violent,” he explains. John likens the feeling to being in a hole, a hole he could not get out of despite courses of pills and talking therapies. But now, he says, all of that has changed thanks to what is one of the least understood treatments in psychiatry – electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
“Before ECT I was the walking dead. I had no interest in life, I just wanted to disappear. After ECT I felt like there was a way out of it. I felt dramatically better.” The use of electricity to treat mental illness started out as an experiment. In the 1930s psychiatrists noticed some heavily distressed patients would suddenly improve after an epileptic fit. John Wattie on why he feels he needs ECT to keep severe depression at bay
“Passing a strong electric current through the brain could trigger a similar seizure and – they hoped – a similar response. By the 1960s it was being widely used to treat a variety of conditions, notably severe depression. But as the old mental asylums closed down and aggressive physical interventions like lobotomies fell out of favour, so too did electroshock treatment, as ECT was previously known. The infamous ECT scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest cemented the idea in the public’s mind of a brutal treatment, although by the time the film was released in 1975 it was very rarely given without a general anaesthetic. Continue reading “Continuing value of ECT”
The light went on in my head during a debate over PTSD nomenclature last year.
Then-president of the American Psychiatric Association, John Oldham, was chairing a session entitled Combat-Related PTSD: Injury or Disorder? Today’s Time Magazine carries a no-nonsense article about what PTSD is, exactly.
“A stellar panel of trauma experts — retired generals, senior researchers and key framers of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — debated whether the term, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be changed to post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI).
“Supporters of the change to “injury” argued that it might help overcome the stigma that many military members and veterans associate with seeking treatment for PTSD. Service members aren’t happy to report “a disorder” but might be willing to admit an injury. Those in opposition argued that “injury” is too imprecise a term for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. As I sat through the heated session, it struck me that they were also implying that the term, disorder, is somehow “more scientific” and, therefore, “more psychiatric.” Continue reading “PTSD explained”
In a society driven by consuming, can shopping mania be an illness?
For some people, overspending might mean ordering the lobster or splurging on an extra pair of shoes at Macy’s, reports YahooFinance.
“For Julie Fast it’s different. The Portland, Oregon, author woke up one day and decided to go on a trip to China. She obtained a visa, hopped on a flight, enrolled in language school and was conversing in Mandarin within weeks. Along the way, she blew through around $10,000. Shortly after that, and partly as a result of the impromptu and costly spree, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Wild overspending often goes along with the manic highs that, when interspersed with depressing lows, characterize the disorder, which afflicts roughly 5.7 million Americans.
“When you have manias, that voice of caution is literally taken away. It is gone,” says Fast, 49, who co-wrote the book “Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder” and helped advise actress Claire Danes for her role as a federal agent afflicted with bipolar disorder on the popular TV series “Homeland.” One sufferer she knows impulsively spent $40,000 on a piece of art. Another bought an entire mini-mall – the whole building and the shops within it.”I have known people who have used up their whole 401(k)s, who have gambled it all away, who have taken their kids’ college money,” she said. At the time, “it feels so good that you don’t even worry or feel guilty.” Continue reading “The morning after bill”
A few days ago, Worlding.org presented an item about the high prevalence of smoking among people with mental health diagnoses.
Now comes word that the problem has been exacerbated in psychiatric facilities that, unlike most hospitals, routinely tolerate or even encourage smoking. All that is about to change, as the New York Times reports:
“After decades in which smoking by people with mental illness was supported and even encouraged — a legacy that experts say is causing patients to die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses — Louisiana’s move reflects a growing effort by federal, state and other health officials to reverse course. But these efforts are hardly simple given the longstanding obstacles. Continue reading “Banning smoking in psychiatric facilities”