Bipolar Disorder Genetics Research Study- Come one come all

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Person with masks

Bipolar.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Here is another Bipolar research study that I thought was worth passing along.

This was announced last month but I just came across the post.  While it may not help anyone with their current symptoms these kinds of studies help us understand more about

This was announced last month but I just came across the post.  While it may not help anyone with their current symptoms these kinds of studies help us understand more about Bipolar disorder and other conditions that just look like bipolar but aren’t. Here is the full press announcement from the March 1, 2012, update from the NIMH partner’s email. Let me know what you think of these blog entries on Bipolar research programs. Are they helpful? Have you heard about this before? Feel free to leave a comment on the counselorssoapbox.com blog.

“Nationwide Recruitment: Bipolar Disorder Adult Research Study

Bipolar Disorder Genetics: A Collaborative Study

Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder may be eligible to participate in a research study at the NIH Clinical Center. The purpose of this study is to identify genes that may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder (manic depression), and related conditions. Bipolar disorder is a common and potentially life-threatening mood disorder. The tendency to develop bipolar disorder can be inherited, but this is poorly understood and probably involves multiple genes. This study will use genetic markers to map and identify genes that contribute to bipolar disorder.

Families and individuals who have the disorder are asked to contribute personal information and a blood sample to an anonymous national database. This information will aid scientists around the world who are working together to develop better treatments for this serious mood disorder.

To find out more information, please call 1-866-644-4363 or email kazubad@mail.nih.gov.

National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services

For more information on research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD click here http://patientinfo.nimh.nih.gov.”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

How many mental illnesses are there?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Confused brain

Mental illness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many mental illnesses do you know about?

Most people are familiar with a few mental illnesses. We have an official book called the DSM-4-TR which lists all the ones that are currently recognized, but professionals all know that sometime very soon there will be a new list and then this will all change (UPDATE now the DSM-5). Sometimes, as with manic-depressive disorder, we change the way people think about an illness by changing the name. The new name for this is Bipolar Disorder and that lets us start drawing small distinctions between people who get the same diagnosis but their symptoms are so very different. Then there are a lot of things we might call “problems of daily living.” These problems send more people to counseling than most of the well known mental illnesses.

Now in addition to this, there are a lot of things in the back of the DSM (pick an edition here) that are only recognized in a particular culture. There is also a long list of diagnoses suggested for further research, which means some professionals think it should be a disorder and other professionals don’t.

So currently the DSM lists about 400 give or take mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders. Even professionals forget to use all these codes a lot of the time.

When I teach classes in substance abuse counseling, I try to give prospective substance abuse counselors an overview of all these disorders. We don’t expect them to learn to diagnose disorders, just to recognize when a problem might be a mental illness and need a referral to a mental health professional. Here is that very oversimplified way of understanding mental illnesses. We will reduce that list of 400 to about 6. For the rest of the list read the book or better yet go to a professional.

1. Problems of daily living.

These are the most common. That does not mean they are the least important. This includes adjustment disorders and relationship problems. Job loss, breakups, and divorces, and parenting issues are common but they can be fatal. Ever hear of a person going through a divorce who kills themselves or others? These adjustments to life’s changes can throw people for a loop and result in severe disability. They result in the majority of referrals to therapists in private practice. Despite the fact that these problems can cause death, violence, and lots of suffering, not all insurance covers this kind of counseling. Publicly funded programs for adults often require that you actually try to kill yourself before they will treat you. Kids get a break most of the time. We need to make therapy and counseling more available but you knew I would say that. Didn’t you?

2. Anxiety disorders.

Does it surprise you that anxiety is in second place? It would be the first place in those disorders most programs are set up to treat. Lots of anxiety out there. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is on the rise. Lots of shades of anxiety from phobias like fear of snakes to panic attacks.

3. Mood disorders.

This includes depression, bipolar disorder, and a whole bunch of other labels we use less often. I have written several blog posts on these disorders and how we fail to catch them early. If you feel that you or someone around you have emotions that they can’t control, seek professional help.

4. Substance use disorders.

This includes addiction or substance abuse and dependence as we are now calling it. Some of you will argue that this is not a mental illness. Taking drugs or drinking is a choice right? Well not exactly. Think of substance abuse in the same way we might look at type two diabetes. This has been characterized as a “disease of excess calories.” So if you exercise more and eat less you may not get it. But the truth is that whatever the reason you got it, voluntary or not, once you have it, you have it.

Substance use disorder is like that. It is characterized by an increase in tolerance to a drug, a physical or psychological withdrawal, and a loss of control over the amount the client uses once they start using. Once they get it they need treatment or help to stop.

P.S. on this – in the DSM-5 there is more emphasis on the cravings that go with chemical and behavioral disorders.

5. Psychoses.

Most people would immediately think of a “paranoid schizophrenic” as an example of this. That would be wrong. Most people would also have started the list with this one. People think psychosis is a lot more common than it is. For the record, there are lots of psychoses other than Schizophrenia. Not all paranoids have schizophrenia by the way, and not all people with schizophrenia are paranoid.

Psychosis is a distortion of reality, sometimes referred to as a loss of touch with reality. That sounds more like a politician than a mentally ill person to me.

6. Problems of kids and growing up.

Things like developmental delays and mental retardation show up most often before a child goes to school. Learning disabilities and ADHD get diagnosed in the early grades and behavioral problems get diagnosed in middle school most often. This is not because these problems develop then but because as the child ages our expectations of them change and we notice different problems. Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Delay NOS also get diagnosed most often when the child is young. Of course, most any of these conditions could show up in adulthood if they had not been spotted before. A group of issues we call attachment disorders could show up here but many adult clients are just now dealing with issues that began when they were very young. Things like abusive or neglectful parents. They have just managed to hide and put off dealing with these problems until a life stressor brings then out.

P.S. on that one also. In the DSM-5 we see a recognition that while something like ADHD may be first recognized in childhood it can continue your whole life. Just cause you never got this diagnosed in childhood should not keep it from getting recognized and treated later in life.

So there you have them – 6 broad categories of mental illnesses. I am sure I have left some other things out but these are the biggies that bring lots of suffering and drive people to therapy or meds. If any of these issues are affecting you or someone you care about, consider therapy, counseling, or possible meds.  There is help out there and most of the time suffering in silence does not make the pain go away.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Bipolar – misdiagnosed or missing diagnosis?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Person with masks

Bipolar.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder.

Why is it so hard for people with Bipolar Disorder to get diagnosed and treated? For mental and emotional problems, the sooner the diagnosis, the sooner the treatment begins, the less the suffering. The more entrenched the illness the longer and more difficult the recovery. We continue to have difficulty with Bipolar Disorder. Why?

Almost 70% of people with a Bipolar Diagnosis had another diagnosis first. On average they get four other diagnoses before the Bipolar one. Usually, somewhere along the line, they are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, given an anti-depressant. At this point, on an antidepressant, 40% of clients with Bipolar experience an episode of mania or hypomania. Antidepressants given to people with Bipolar disorder also increase the likelihood they will become rapid cyclers.

Our understanding of this condition has changed over the years. To be honest the mental health profession’s understanding of most illnesses has changed a lot over the years. We used to call Bipolar Disorder by another name – Manic Depressive disorder. Clients continue to come into facilities and tell us that they have Manic Depressive Disorder and Bipolar, not understanding that both are the same thing, just a new name.

Currently, there are two principle camps in this debate – those who think too many people are being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and those who think that professionals are missing a lot of Bipolar Disorder. The controversy goes back to the first efforts at classifying anything, the lumpers, and the splitters. Some people would like a different name for every possible type of dog; other people are content to consider them all dogs, the same with mental illnesses. So what difference does it make? It could make a lot of difference.

Ira Glick, up at Stanford wrote an article a while back called Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder: New Syndromes and New Treatments. This is not a really new article but it is important as we think about how the diagnosis is likely to change in the next few years when the DSM-5 comes out. Glick suggests that the true rate of Bipolar may be as much more than what is being diagnosed. We used to expect Bipolar Disorder to run 1% to 2 % of the population; recently it has been diagnosed closer to 7%.

We are starting to think of this condition as a spectrum disorder. So there is a range of symptoms and the ones with less noticeable symptoms are not getting diagnosed.

Does it matter if some mild cases are getting missed and not treated? Yes, it matters and the clients with the less prominent symptoms are not necessarily milder cases. Currently, we separate cases into Bipolar I and Bipolar II.  People who have Bipolar II don’t have pronounced episodes of mania. They do have other significant differences.

People with Bipolar II have way more unemployment. They get divorced more often; have more thoughts of suicide and more suicide attempts. This one disorder, according to Glick, accounts for more suicide attempts than any other mental illness, excluding personality disorders. This is a big problem since Bipolar II looks like Major Depression until the mania or hypomania kicks in.

Many people who eventually get the Bipolar Diagnosis are first seen by their primary care physician. Primary care doctors treat more than half of all the depression and anxiety. There are a lot of medical problems that are especially problematic for people with Bipolar Disorder. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have migraines, diabetes, or obesity.

Medications for people with Bipolar are especially problematic. People with Bipolar II get antidepressants till they have a manic episode then they may get all sorts of meds. People with Bipolar I have the more pronounced psychosis and may get all kinds of heavy-duty antipsychotics. Sometimes people with depression have distorted thinking and we see psychosis. Sometimes the psychosis in Bipolar II looks a lot like Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, and a lot of other things.

We are also not sure how much of all this is a result of genetics and how much is learning. Some authors have talked about how personality traits, those supposed unchanging characteristic ways of behaving may be related to Bipolar Disorder.

In fact, there is some question as to which mental health issues are district illnesses and which are symptoms. A cough is easy to notice but what causes the cough can vary a lot from person to person.

Despite all the issues with diagnosis, Bipolar disorder in all its forms causes a significant amount of suffering. It is also a difficult disorder to manage for the client and for the professional. If there is a chance you or someone you know has this disorder get a professional evaluation. If you have Bipolar disorder become a knowledgeable client, and don’t give up hope, the treatment options continue to improve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel