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December 13, 2007

New Book: Soul: The Treasury of Anne-Patrice

We want to announce a short book of poems published recently by Vantage Press, Inc. The book titled, Soul: The Treasury of Anne-Patrice, consists of poetry written by author Anne-Patrice Whaley-Tandy. Whaley-Tandy suffers from bipolar disorder and though her poetry in this book focuses on spirituality, she covers other subjects as well, including poems about her psychiatrist, psychologist and children. Here are a few excerpts:

Nancy, Psychiatrist

Though I've known her just a
I come to her with no fear because
her questions pertain to not just
how are you mentally, but where
your life is leading actually.
. . .
It's difficult because when you are
in a hospital you have new doctors
you don't know at all
so it's important you bond with your doctor as an outpatient
and she with you---
there is so much you travel
together through.

Judith, Psychologist

Once upon a time you're
with someone unlike the rest
. . .
She has fought many years through
the cascade of my tears and never
criticized my wrongs

But led me gently laughing,
to aspire
to let my moral fibrer lead and
not give in to devastation . . .

Related Stories:
Creativity and Bipolar Disorder Correlated
Curing Oneself Through Writing

Posted by szwriter at 3:26 PM | Comments (5)

Bipolar Disorder Improves With Routine Sleep Patterns?

Researchers that sleep is connected to bipolar disorder. That is, past research has shown that bipolar patients have difficulty with sleep and often suffer from sleep-related problems. Now new research is showing that routine sleep schedules can actually be beneficial to the outcomes of bipolar disorder.

A new study which appears in this month's issue of the journal, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ANCP), examined two groups of adult bipolar patients receiving different treatment therapies and found that the group of patients who participated in interpersonal and rhythm therapies--these therapies involved the patients monitoring their daily routines--had longer periods without mania and depression. Researchers have believed for some time that bipolar disorder is greatly affected by the circadian rhythm or the body's internal clock, and these new findings only further support this idea.

It seems that sufferers of bipolar disorder tend to have more sensitive circadian systems than do others, and as a result, a change in routine or sleep schedule can throw the internal clocks of bipolar sufferers off (more so than with the healthy population), and result in more frequent manic and depressive episodes for bipolar patients.

Ellen Frank, Ph.D., who conducted the new study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine had this to say about the findings:

Having already found that disruption in daily routines can make individuals with bipolar disorder vulnerable to new episodes of illness, we have now learned that working with patients to achieve and maintain regular social rhythms -- including regular sleep patterns and adequate physical activity -- will help to protect them against episodes of mania or depression, we have now learned that working with patients to achieve and maintain regular social rhythms -- including regular sleep patterns and adequate physical activity -- will help to protect them against episodes of mania or depression...

Full Article:Sleep helps in bipolar disorder treatment (United Press International)

Related Stories:
Dark Therapy: A Possible Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Role of Serotonin in Modulating Circadian Rhythm

Posted by szwriter at 1:56 PM | Comments (4)

December 11, 2007

Impaired Emotional Perception in Bipolar Patients

We recently covered a study which found that children suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to misread facial expressions and experience certain moods such as irritability and excessive happiness. Now a new study, published in last month's issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, finds that the adults suffering from bipolar disorder are also prone to impaired emotional perception.

For the study, 19 patients suffering from bipolar disorder I and in remission were compared to 22 healthy individuals (both groups were matched for age, gender, education, etc.) . The participants were all given an Affective Prosody Test (APT). Taking this test usually means that participants listen to tapes where sentences expressing certain emotions are read (for example, the emotions: happy, sad, angry, etc.), and then asked to specify the emotions they believe were expressed. For this study, the researchers found that bipolar patients had "significantly lower scores on the APT" than did the other participants. In particular, female participants with bipolar disorder showed specific impairment in perceiving "certain emotions" for example: surprise and fear.

The sample size of this study was small, thus if it is repeated, the future results may be more generalizable. Nevertheless, the issue of impaired emotional perception for bipolar patients is an important one, not just because it enables outsiders to better understand the experience of bipolar sufferers but also because it may lead to newer, more effective treatments.

Impaired Perception of Affective Prosody in Remitted Patients With Bipolar Disorder Bozikas et al. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci.2007; 19: 436-440

Posted by szwriter at 2:01 PM | Comments (7)

Book: Manic-Depressive Illness, 2nd Ed.

Goodwin, Frederick K. and Jamison, Kay Redfield. Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. March 9, 2007

The long awaited Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, Second Edition, by Frederick K. Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison is finally in stores.

The first edition, published in 1990, has become the standard textbook on bipolar disorder and recurrent unipolar depression. Over the years many of the hypotheses set forth in the first edition have been proven out.

Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, 2nd Edition is a complete compendium of all the medical knowledge about bipolar disorder to date. Phototherapy, circadian rhythms, bipolar creativity. The effects of lithium on the suicide rate. Why we must avoid unopposed antidepressants. Manic-Depressive Illness has extensive information on the causes of bipolar disorder; bipolar genetics; treatments for bipolar disorder; bipolar medications; and of course, famous bipolars.

Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, 2nd Edition is an important addition to the library of any bipolar who is serious about achieving and maintaining remission, and returning to a productive life.

A sample chapter is available for download from the Oxford University Press.


By way of "Into the Void."

Posted by daedalus at 6:03 AM | Comments (4)

December 5, 2007

A New Study on the Effects of Pregnancy on Bipolar Disorder

A new study published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, examined three groups of pregnant women suffering from bipolar disorder. The goal of the study was to examine the course of bipolar disorder during pregnancy.

Past studies have demonstrated that mothers suffering from bipolar disorder are at an increased risk for relapse during the postpartum period, i.e., the period of time immediately following childbirth. This risk has been shown to be higher for women (suffering from bipolar disorder) who aren't on mood stabilizers while pregnant, as compared to women who are on mood stabilizers while pregnant. Unfortunately, the issue of being on medication while pregnant is a complicated one for women who suffer from bipolar disorder. On the one hand, there are known risks for the fetus associated with medication. According to the study, some of these teratogenic risks include neural tube defects associated with the mood stabilizers valproate and carbamazepine, as well as, an increased risk for cardiovascular malformations--the authors of the study provide an example of this: Ebstein's anomaly--associated with lithium. On the other hand, abrupt cessation of medication for people suffering from bipolar disorder, particularly pregnant women, can be extremely harmful to the sufferer, and in the case of pregnant women, also to the fetus.

The study focused on three groups of a total of 89 women who suffered from bipolar disorder and who were in the process of planning for pregnancy. The participants were:

seeking psychiatric consultation in a specialized perinatal psychiatry program. Pregnant women were enrolled prior to 24 weeks gestation and included if they 1) were euthymic for at least 1 month prior to conception, 2) were receiving treatment with a mood stabilizer, or 3) had discontinued pharmacotherapy at least 6 months prior to pregnancy or within the first trimester. Women were followed through pregnancy and the postpartum year, and patients decided themselves whether to continue or discontinue medication. A majority of women experienced at least one mood episode during pregnancy (70.8%). The risk of recurrence was significantly higher in women who discontinued treatment with mood stabilizers. Women who discontinued medication also spent more time ill during pregnancy compared with women who continued medication. Several history of illness and treatment factors were associated with relapse during pregnancy. One of the treatment factors associated with increased relapse rates was rapid mood stabilizer discontinuation. The only pregnancy-related predictor of relapse was if the pregnancy was unplanned.

The researchers bring up the important point with regards to these results that most psychiatrists and other mental health professionals treating female sufferers of bipolar disorder don't consider the probability of pregnancy for their patients. Thus when pregnancy does occur, both patient and mental health professional, surprised and unequipped with preparation panic, which sometimes results in abrupt discontinuation of meds for the patient. The problem with this is, as the researchers point out, and the study's results demonstrate, pregnant women suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to have unhealthy pregnancies and postpartum periods if their meds are abruptly discontinued. Another point the researchers make is that the risks for the fetus associated with most medications used to treat bipolar disorder are concentrated around the first trimester, when most women don't know that they are pregnant. So cessation of medication may not occur until the second trimester, when this increased risk is much less severe.

There is no clear-cut solution to this problem. For now, the researchers encourage that both sufferers and treatment professionals be aware that a large number of bipolar patients are women in their reproductive years, thus the probability of pregnancy is likely. The researchers also stress the importance of discussing a possible pregnancy with your mental health professional as soon as possible and coming up with a plan of dealing with both the pregnancy and the illness as a combined effort between patient and practitioner.

See This Editorial: Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy: Risks Revealed (American Journal of Psychiatry)

Related Reading:
Valproate Used During Pregnancy Linked To Lower IQ in Children
Bipolar Drug Lamictal Tied to Birth Defects
Treatment Considerations in Reproductive Health
Postpartum Depression in Bipolar Disorder

Posted by szwriter at 12:10 PM | Comments (5)