Tag Archives | Mental Illness

24-year-old Woman Suffering From Depression Granted Right to Die in Belgium

Mary Lock (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

Mary Lock (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

Well this is sure to be controversial…

Newsweek titled their article, “Healthy 24-year-old granted right to die in Belgium.” But I’m not so sure that someone who’s wanted to die so badly for so long should be considered “healthy.”

According to the article, the woman in question, Laura, has suffered from suicidal thoughts her entire life. She’s received therapy from the mental health industry, but what happens when nothing works?

Eilish O’Gara via Newsweek:

Doctors in Belgium are granting a 24-year-old woman who is suffering from depression but is otherwise healthy the right to die as she qualifies for euthanasia under the Belgian law, even though she does not have a terminal or life-threatening illness.

The 24-year-old woman, known simply as Laura, has been given the go-ahead by health professionals in Belgium to receive a lethal injection after spending both her childhood and adult life suffering from “suicidal thoughts”, she told local Belgian media.

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Psychosurgeons Using Lasers To Burn The Bad From Brains

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

It may sound uncomfortably close to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but nevertheless brain surgeons are using lasers to burn away parts of the brain that they believe lead to mental illness, reports Wired:

A brain surgeon begins an anterior cingulotomy by drilling a small hole into a patient’s skull. The surgeon then inserts a tiny blade, cutting a path through brain tissue, then inserts a probe past sensitive nerves and bundles of blood vessels until it reaches a specific cluster of neural connections, a kind of switchboard linking emotional triggers to cognitive tasks. With the probe in place, the surgeon fires up a laser, burning away tissue until the beam has hollowed out about half a teaspoon of grey matter.

This is the shape of modern psychosurgery: Ablating parts of the brain to treat mental illnesses. Which might remind you of that maligned procedure, the lobotomy.

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Creative People Are More Likely To Suffer From Mental Illness

395px-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project

Vincent van Gogh – Self-Portrait

I suspect that there’s a high percentage of creative people amongst disinfonauts, so sorry I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re 25% more likely to suffer from mental illness than other, non-creative people. The Guardian reports on a new study showing that creatives are more likely to carry genes that raise risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia:

The ancient Greeks were first to make the point. Shakespeare raised the prospect too. But Lord Byron was, perhaps, the most direct of them all: “We of the craft are all crazy,” he told the Countess of Blessington, casting a wary eye over his fellow poets.

The notion of the tortured artist is a stubborn meme. Creativity, it states, is fuelled by the demons that artists wrestle in their darkest hours. The idea is fanciful to many scientists. But a new study claims the link may be well-founded after all, and written into the twisted molecules of our DNA.

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Faking Disease for Online Fame Now a Recognized Medical Condition

Apparently unaware or dismissive of the consequences, there is an epidemic of sorts of people faking serious illness and advertising it on the internet. The Guardian reviews the case of wannabe cancer victim Belle Gibson and beyond:

How would you fake cancer? Shave your head? Pluck your eyebrows? Install a chemo port into your neck? These days you don’t need to. Belle Gibson’s story is a masterclass on faking cancer in the modern age. She fooled Apple, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Penguin. She fooled the hundreds of thousands who bought her app, read her blog and believed that her story could be their story.

Section from Elle magazine, which called Belle Gibson "the most inspiring woman of the year."

Section from Elle magazine spread, which called Belle Gibson “the most inspiring woman you’ve met this year.”

 

Diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 20, Gibson had four months to live. She blogged her journey of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, treatments she shunned after eight weeks. Instead, she cut gluten and dairy and turned to oxygen therapy, craniosacral treatments and colonic irrigation.

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Woman’s Rare Case of ‘Seasonal OCD’ Cured

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Agata Blaszczak-Boxe writes at LiveScience:

A rare case of “seasonal” obsessive-compulsive disorder in a woman highlights the complexity of this mental health condition, researchers say. The woman’s OCD symptoms appeared every year when winter began, and then ended as the seasons shifted toward summer.

After living with the condition for a decade, the woman was treated at a clinic and recovered, the case report said.

Psychiatrists “do believe that there is a tie between times of the year and the exacerbation of illness,” said Dr. Howard L. Forman, an attending psychiatrist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the woman’s case.

Patients with other mental health conditions, such as depression, may also get worse in the winter and feel better again in the summer, Forman said.

The 41-year-old woman came to an outpatient clinic during the month of October.

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Schizophrenia, Depression and Addiction All Linked to Similar Loss of Brain Matter

Jon Olav Eikenes (CC BY 2.0)

Jon Olav Eikenes (CC BY 2.0)

via PsyBlog:

Could there be an underlying biological cause for many mental illnesses?

Diagnoses as different as depression, addictions and schizophrenia are all linked to a similar pattern of gray-matter loss in the brain, a new study finds.

The results hint at an underlying biological cause for these mental illnesses.

Dr Thomas Insel, commenting on the study, said:

“The idea that these disorders share some common brain architecture and that some functions could be abnormal across so many of them is intriguing,”

The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, pooled data from 193 separate studies, which included brain imaging from 7,381 patients (Goodkind et al., 2015).

Patients were experiencing all sorts of different mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, OCD and some anxiety disorders.

Despite this, the researchers identified three structures in the brain which had shrunk across all the different diagnoses.

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Mummy Dearest: The Resurrection of Peter Wald

Frank and Julia

Frank and Julia

 

Here lies the curious tale of the resurrection that, well…wasn’t quite.

Peter Wald’s family truly believed he would rise from the dead.

They believed it because they had prayed for it, every single day, while his corpse lay rotting for six months in an upstairs bedroom of their Hamilton home.

When neighbours asked about her husband, curious about the 52-year-old man’s seeming disappearance, Kaling Wald would tell them he was “in God’s hands now.”

On Monday, Kaling, 50, pleaded guilty to failing to notify police or the coroner that her husband had died due to a sickness that was not being treated by a doctor. It’s the first known case of its kind (involving the resurrection belief) in Canada.

For more gruesome details concerning the discovery of the corpse, read on here.

What disturbs me the most about this story, however, is the way in which the authorities avoided the elephant in the room (clearly this woman is mentally ill) and also, the impact which this unhinged environment has had upon her poor kids…

As assistant crown attorney Janet Booy put it, the devout Christian woman’s faith had “tainted and warped her better judgment.”

Okay, so far so good.… Read the rest

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Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder associated with dendritic spine loss in brain

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Science Daily:

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder both appear to be associated with dendritic spine loss in the brain, suggesting the two distinct disorders may share common pathophysiological features, write author Glenn T. Konopaske, M.D., and colleagues at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

The dendritic spines play a role in a variety of brain functions. Previous studies have observed spine loss in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (DLPFCs) from individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). To determine whether spine pathology happens in individuals with a disorder distinct from SZ, the authors included patients with bipolar (BP) disorder in their study. SZ and BP differ clinically but they share many features.

The authors analyzed postmortem human brain tissue from 14 individuals with SZ, nine individuals with BP and 19 unaffected control group individuals.

Average spine density was reduced in individuals with BP (by 10.5 percent) and in individuals with SZ (by 6.5 percent) compared with control patients, although the reduction in individuals with SZ just missed significance.

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An Anatomy of Paranoia

"Sister Anna," by Carl Fredrik Hill (1887)

“Sister Anna,” by Carl Fredrik Hill (1887)

We all agree that it’s important to question conventional wisdom, and that ideas which are too bizarre for most people to accept may, nonetheless, turn out to be true. Some people, however, seem to reach a tipping point where scores of obsessive strange beliefs feed upon one another to such a degree that they impair the individual’s ability to maintain relationships or function in society. By searching mental health forums, one can find countless posts by concerned individuals who worry that they are losing a loved one to the world of conspiracy. Here is a typical example:

My husband and I have been married for over 3 years (been together 5 years).  For the last two years of our marriage, my husband has become obsessed with conspiracy theories.  Initially, I chalked it up as a new hobby/interest.  But lately (over the past year) his obsession has progressed and has me alarmed. Read the rest

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