Thursday, May 1, 2008

Recommended Reading in Mood Disorders and Psychology

Recommended Reading! This is a compilation of all of the various books I have in my personal library that I would like to share and recommend to the rest of the world. I personally believe that these are the best books out there.

  • Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder by Jim Phelps

Tried everything but still not feeling better?
If your depression keeps coming back or is even getting worse, then you may be suffering from bipolar II or “soft” bipolar disorder. Commonly misdiagnosed, these mood disorders are characterized by recurring bouts of depression along with anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleep problems, or intrusive thoughts.
Why Am I Still Depressed? shows you how to identify if you have a nonmanic form of bipolar disorder and how to work with your doctor to safely and effectively treat it.

Author James R. Phelps, M.D., gives you the latest tools and knowledge so you
Understand the Mood Spectrum, a powerful new tool for diagnosis
Know all your treatment options, including mood-stabilizing medications and
research-tested psychotherapies
Examine the potential hazards of taking antidepressant medications
Manage your condition with exercise and lifestyle changes
Help family and friends with this condition understand their
diagnosis and find treatment

  • Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger *FOR NON-BPs*

A self-help guide that helps the family members and friends of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) understand this self-destructive disorder and learn what they can do to cope with it and take care of themselves. It is designed to help them understand how the disorder affects their loved ones and recognize what they can do to get off the emotional roller coasters and take care of themselves. Paul T. Mason, M.S., C.P.C., is a program manager of Child/Adolescent Services at St. Luke's Hospital and a psychotherapist in private practice at Psychiatric Services in Racine, Wisconsin. His research on borderline personality disorder ("BPD") has appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, and he teaches seminars for mental health professionals on the effects of BPD on partners and family members.
Randi Kreger is a professional writer and an executive in public relations and marketing. She has collected more than 1,000 stories detailing the devastating experiences of people in close relationship with persons suffering from BPD ("BP's"). Kreger moderates two e-mail discussion groups for friends and family of BP's on her comprehensive Web site about BPD.
Mason and Kreger's carefully written, highly readable book provides a brilliant analysis of a disorder that wreaks enormous havoc. In addition to clarifying what BPD is, they provide crucial survival techniques for those who wish to stay in relationship with the BP's they love.

  • Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness by Pete Earley

Suffering delusions from bipolar disorder, Mike Earley broke into a stranger's home to take a bubble bath and significantly damaged the premises. That Mike's act was viewed as a crime rather than a psychotic episode spurred his father, veteran journalist Pete Earley (Family of Spies), to investigate the "criminalization of the mentally ill." Earley gains access to the Miami-Dade County jail where guards admit that they routinely beat prisoners. He learns that Deidra Sanbourne, whose 1988 deinstitutionalization was a landmark civil rights case, died after being neglected in a boarding house. A public defender describes how he—not always happily—helps mentally ill clients avoid hospitalization. Throughout this grim work, Earley uneasily straddles the line between father and journalist. He compromises his objectivity when for most of his son's ordeal—Mike gets probation—he refuses to entertain the possibility that the terrified woman whose home Mike trashed also is a victim. And when, torn between opposing obligations, he decides not to reveal to a source's mother that her daughter has gone off her medications, he endangers the daughter's life and betrays her mother. Although this is mostly a sprawling retread of more significant work by psychologist Fuller Torrey and others, parents of the mentally ill should find solace and food for thought in its pages.

My review: Crazy starts out like a personal memoir of one parent’s struggle to gain control over the illness that has taken over his son and landed him in a lot of trouble. As one critic put it, it was a book that Earley did not expect to write. However, armed with the investigatory skills and journalism background, once his son Mike is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and charged for a misdemeanor he committed while completely delusional, Earley sets out to discover why both the medical and the judicial systems have failed his family. Then he finds out that his family has it really good; by comparison there are thousands of people that are crammed into our jails each year, jails that are posing as the new asylums, now that mental institutions have been deemed inhumane. Wait until you see the conditions in these jails- conditions are so despicable that, controversially, Earley campaigns for mental hospitals to be reinstated!
By interviewing several patients with different disorders and mental illnesses, Earley campaigns for these people in a way that screams to be heard. Unfortunately, those who have in the past tried to give the mentally ill “rights” have condemned them to a life of what Earley calls the “revolving door”- into jail, down to the hospital to be made “competent” to stand trial. By the time their trial is finally scheduled, they have deteriorated mentally and must be send back to the hospital, and back in and out they go. Families cannot get their loved ones the help they need due to these misguided laws. There is no treatment ever involved.

Find this product at Amazon here:

  • Bipolar II: Enhance Your Highs, Boost Your Creativity, and Escape the Cycles of Recurrent Depression--The Essential Guide to Recognize and Treat the Mood Swings of This Increasingly Common Disorder by Ronald R. Fieve

The psychiatrist whose pioneering bestseller Moodswing introduced lithium as the treatment for bipolarity now focuses on the milder form of the disease, and the result is another landmark work—one that can help millions with Bipolar II to live better lives. Thirty years ago, Dr. Ronald Fieve pioneered the use of lithium for what was then known as "manic depression." His book Moodswing was a runaway hit, published in seven countries. Since then, Dr. Fieve has focused on patients with mild bipolarity—what is now known as Bipolar II. He has discovered that Bipolar II patients are—almost across the board—driven, successful, high-achieving individuals who, with the right treatment, can actually turn their illness into an asset.In this first book to concentrate exclusively on milder bipolarity, Dr. Fieve explains how newer drugs with fewer side effects are revolutionizing the treatment of Bipolar II. Some people with mild bipolarity may not require drugs at all—just a specific lifestyle program, which Dr. Fieve spells out in this book. In the past, many patients with the illness have resisted treatment because they did not want to give up the euphoria of the "highs." But left untreated, the condition’s lows can be devastating—sometimes resulting in suicide. Here, Dr. Fieve reveals his remarkably successful treatment program (with results supported by thousands of patient histories) that allows patients to keep the highs while minimizing the lows. And he explains how his program can help turn the illness into a positive and patients into what he calls "bipolar beneficials."
  • I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real

When Terrence Real was studying to be a therapist, he accepted the notion that women suffered depression at rates several times that of men. Now he believes that conventional wisdom is wrong, that there has been a great cultural cover-up of depression in men. Real is convinced of the existence of a mental illness that is passed from fathers to sons in the form of rage, workaholism, distanced relationships from loved ones, and self-destructive behaviors ranging from stupid choices at work and in love to drug and alcohol abuse. Men reading I Don't Want to Talk About It will probably recognize themselves in every chapter, while women will recognize their partners--and, of course, both sexes will see their fathers in a new light.

Male depression is the focus of this clear, compelling book by a Massachusetts family psychotherapist who specializes in working with dysfunctional men. Because our culture socializes boys to mask feelings of vulnerability, he says, they bury deep within themselves damaging childhood trauma and its ensuing depressive effects when they become men. This strongly reasoned study starts out with an illustration of the "toxic legacy" that is passed, often for generations, from father to son, with each chapter adding another piece to the complex face. The lucid exposition of ideas is made more vivid through dramatizing. Real uses "composite" cases, so no actual person is depicted except the author himself. One of the most arresting aspects of the book is the autobiographical thread that he weaves throughout. Real's central concern is what he calls covert depression, a pain-filled, inchoate state that may or may not eventually erupt into overt depression. The book is wise beyond its stated scope: in setting up a model for the nature, etiology and treatment of male depression, Real ends up offering-with some gender variants-an almost universal paradigm.

  • Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness by Daniel G. Amen

In this age of do-it-yourself health care (heck, if the doctor only sees you for 10 minutes each visit, what other options are there?), Change Your Brain, Change Your Life fits in perfectly. Filled with "brain prescriptions" (among them cognitive exercises and nutritional advice) that are geared toward readers who've experienced anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, excessive anger or worry, and obsessive behavior, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life milks the mind-body connection for all it's worth.
Written by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who has also authored a book on attention deficit disorder, Change Your Brain contains dozens of brain scans of patients with various neurological problems, from caffeine, nicotine, and heroin addiction to manic-depression to epilepsy. These scans, often showing large gaps in neurological activity or areas of extreme overactivity, are "downright frightening to look at, and Dr. Amen should know better than to resort to such scare tactics". But he should also be commended for advocating natural remedies, including deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, self-hypnosis, and biofeedback for treating disorders that are so frequently dealt with by prescription only.

Clinical neuroscientist and psychiatrist Amen uses nuclear brain imaging to diagnose and treat behavioral problems. He explains how the brain works, what happens when things go wrong, and how to optimize brain function. Five sections of the brain are discussed, and case studies clearly illustrate possible problems.

This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women's lives down to the cellular level, "a user's guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women," offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights. Though referenced like a work of research, Brizedine's writing style is fully accessible. Brizendine provides a fascinating look at the life cycle of the female brain from birth ("baby girls will connect emotionally in ways that baby boys don't") to birthing ("Motherhood changes you because it literally alters a woman's brain-structurally, functionally, and in many ways, irreversibly") to menopause (when "the female brain is nowhere near ready to retire") and beyond. At the same time, Brizedine is not above reviewing the basics: "We may think we're a lot more sophisticated than Fred or Wilma Flintstone, but our basic mental outlook and equipment are the same." While this book will be of interest to anyone who wonders why men and women are so different, it will be particularly useful for women and parents of girls.

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks **MAINLY RECOMMENDED FOR PHSYSIO GEEKS** :-)

Neurologist Sacks, author of Awakenings and A Leg To Stand On , presents a series of clinical tales drawn from fascinating and unusual cases encountered during his years of medical practice. Dividing his text into four parts"losses" of neurological function; "excesses"; "transports" involving reminiscence, altered perception, and imagination; and "the simple," or the world of the retardedSacks introduces the reader to real people who suffer from a variety of neurological syndromes which include symptoms such as amnesia, uncontrolled movements, and musical hallucinations. Sacks recounts their stories in a riveting, compassionate, and thoughtful manner. Written on a somewhat scholarly level, the book is highly recommended for larger collections.
A neurologist who claims to be equally interested in disease and people, Sacks explores neurological disorders with a novelist's skill and an appreciation of his patients as human beings. These cases, some of which have appeared in literary or medical publications, illustrate the tragedy of losing neurological facultiesmemory, powers of visualization, word-recognitionor the also-devastating fate of those suffering an excess of neurological functions causing such hyper states as chorea, tics, Tourette's syndrome and Parkinsonism. Still other patients experience organically based hallucinations, transports, visions, etc., usually deemed to be psychic in nature. The science of neurology, Sacks charges, stresses the abstract and computerized at the expense of judgment and emotional depthsin his view, the most important human qualities. Therapy for brain-damaged patients (by medication, accommodation, music or art) should, he asserts, be designed to help restore the essentially personal quality of the individual.

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***As I read more, this list will be sure to expand. I will post my recommendations often! Psychoeducation is one of the things that helps me the most, not to mention I find this all extremely interesting being a Psych Major and all :-)

****All reviews are content and property of unless otherwise noted by the words "My review".

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Sleep and Sleep Hygiene

So I had to get up for my last 9:30 am class today. This makes me think 2 things:
  1. I had to be up by the ungodly hour of 8:20-ish to properly get ready and then commute to campus, and
  2. Since when is 8:20 2x a week too early? In high school, I had to be up by 6:30 am EVERYDAY!
That got me thinking about sleep, and how important it is. I think that people with certain mental health issues need sleep more than others, that our medicines make us ridiculously tired, and also that you can tell a lot about a person from their sleep patterns. Constantly awake and productive? Must have anxiety. Need to sleep 12 hours a day? Depressed. And so on.

I'm just so damn tired all the time, even though I get, on average, 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are caused by drowsy drivers each year. (That is about 1.5% of all crashes.) These crashes result in more than 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries and result in an estimated $12.5 billion in diminished productivity and property loss (Knipling and Wang, 1996).
  • Before Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb, people slept an average of 10 hours a night; today Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours per night on weekends (2002 Sleep in America poll).
  • Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are estimated to cost Americans over $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage (National Sleep Foundation).

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mental Health

I'm thinking of turning this blog into a mental health blog. It might be therapeutic to write my ideas but this time with a purpose... plus it mught help somebody else and that would be cool too...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

check check

testing testing 1 2 3!!