Entries in Bipolar Disorder (10)


Genetic Link between Autism, Schizophrenia, Other Disorders Found

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism may have a genetic link, according to a new study out Wednesday.

A new study, published in the Lancet, compared the genes of 33,000 people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, along with almost 28,000 controls. The results showed that the disorders shared genetic traits.

Researchers looked for differences among single building blocks of DNA, and found that areas of the genome that identified with the five psychiatric disorders studied.

The discovery may make it possible to diagnose mental illnesses based on biology instead of relying on behavioral symptoms, which can be harder to define.

Several of the genes identified are related to calcium-channel function, which translate messages between nerve cells into biological responses and aid in emotional processing.

Alessandro Serretti, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of Bologna, who wrote commentary to accompany the study, praised its quality, but said that more research is needed to further understand the impact of the genes and to learn how to positively apply it to what they know.

While a genetic connection between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had already been discovered, this study was the first to search for, and find, relationships between a much more widespread range of afflictions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Catherine Zeta-Jones ‘Never Wanted to Be the Poster Child’ for Depression

Donna Ward/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was known as one of the hardest working and most glamorous women in show business until a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder put her in another spotlight: as the public face of the mental health disease.

Now, two years after Zeta-Jones was “outed” with the disease -- her husband, Michael Douglas, told Oprah Winfrey in 2011 -- the actress says it’s not a mantle she wants to hold.

“You know what, I’m sick of talking about it because I never wanted to be the poster child for this,” Zeta-Jones, 43, said Friday on ABC's Good Morning America.  “I never wanted this to come out publicly.”

Zeta-Jones announced to the world in April 2011, through a statement issued by her publicist, that she had sought treatment for the disease, a manic-depressive illness most known for the unusual shifts in mood and energy that those with it experience.

“It came out.  And so I dealt with it in the best way I could and that was just say, ‘Look, hey, I’m bipolar,’” she said on GMA.

Zeta-Jones made the announcement after a year in which Douglas, 68, was treated for throat cancer, was sued by his first wife over proceeds from the Wall Street movie sequel and saw his eldest son, Cameron, sent to prison on drug charges.

“I must say, Catherine’s being quite open about it because she was outed, you know,” Douglas said in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show the same month Zeta-Jones issued her statement.  “She went to go get some help and some other patient probably in there said, ‘Hey, you won’t believe who’s in here now.’  And, so, once that happens, I think she felt [it] best to kind of get out the story.”

Zeta-Jones spent five days in the mental health facility and then went on medication, according to reports at the time.

In her statement then, the Welsh star said, “if my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it’s worth it.”

Today, Zeta-Jones, out promoting her new romantic comedy Playing for Keeps, says she is ready to move forward with her personal life and acting career.

“Everyone has things going on and we deal with them the best we can,” she said on GMA.  “We can’t jump from the rooftops shouting about, ‘I have this, look at me, victim.’  No.  We all have issues in life and I’m really happy that I have great friends, great support and that’s all I can do.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Childhood Bipolar Boom: More Cases or Misdiagnoses?

Digital Vision/ValueLine(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Avram H. Mack, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., wonders if an explosion in childhood bipolar disorder reflects a true increase in the condition, or the inappropriate labeling of some youngsters that potentially could hold them back the rest of their lives.

"I often encounter kids who have been called bipolar where I suspect that bipolar is not the accurate diagnosis," said Mack, an associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depressive illness, is classically characterized by mood swings between depression and mania, and notoriously tricky to diagnose in children. That's partly because symptoms frequently overlap with those of such disorders as ADHD, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

Children tend to have more angry outbursts or tantrums than adults, and those episodes of poorly controlled behavior have led to a school of thought that irritability and tantrums are key components of bipolar disorder in children and teens. Diagnoses in children began to take off in the late 1990s.

Although there have been scant studies quantifying the increase in diagnoses, a 2007 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry led by Columbia University researchers found a 40-fold rise in office visits among youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder between 1994-95 and 2002-3. The estimated annual number of office visits for people 19 and below skyrocketed from 25 per 100,000 to 1,003 per 100,000 during the period.

Telling children and teens that they suffer from bipolar disorder – especially if that's not firmly established -- can lessen their self-esteem, expose them to side effects of powerful antipsychotic and mood-altering drugs and land them in special education classes or even a residential setting "that may do more harm than good," Mack said. Some say some of these children might be better served with a proposed diagnosis of "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder."

"Bipolar disorder is real, and I have seen it among toddlers," said Mack. "The number of youth diagnosed with bipolar clearly has risen, but should "bipolar" have been diagnosed in all of those additional cases? Many psychiatrists feel the answer is 'no.'"

"I'm not denying there is bipolar disorder, and there are some whose severe temper tantrums and outbursts are deserving of care," he said. Mack said the key question is what you call those outbursts, "because what we call it influences how we treat it and the patient's expectations for the future."

Many psychiatrists aren't yet ready to embrace DMDD, although the condition, which is more likely to be limited in duration than bipolar disorder--a lifetime affliction--could reduce a patient's sense of being disabled and increase "their hope for the future."

Mack's caution reflects some of the concerns currently being aired as the American Psychiatric Association continues reviewing criteria for diagnoses to be included in the upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) due out in May 2013. That book, often referred to as the Bible of psychiatry, defines mental health disorders for diagnosis, treatment and research. Its diagnostic codes are the basis of health insurance reimbursements for treatment.

The proposed new diagnosis of "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" follows studies led by Dr. Ellen Leibenluft, at the National Institute of Mental Health in which she and colleagues have made physiologic distinctions between youngsters with strictly defined bipolar disorder and those with what they call "severe mood dysregulation" (a term that isn't yet officially part of the manual). Her work has found, for example, that few youngsters diagnosed with severe mood dysregulation subsequently are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Although some people say that giving a youngster a diagnosis of "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" might be less stigmatizing than bipolar disorder, Mack said there's no data yet to show if that might be the case.

"It is unknown what would be the medical or social effect of a new diagnosis like DMDD," he said. "It certainly needs to be vetted as to its utility in psychiatry's classification of disorders. We don't want to miss kids who have true bipolar disorder, and we don't want to ignore kids with severe mood problems… We just want to know what is the right diagnosis."

Revising the DSM is a years-long project that includes comment periods and intermediate changes in proposed diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders. APA announced earlier this month that results of field trials at 11 medical centers for two proposed diagnoses, "attenuated psychosis syndrome," which was meant to identify people at risk of psychosis, and "mixed anxiety depression disorder," which combines anxiety and depression, weren't reliable enough to put them into broader use. As a result, they will be included in a special section of the manual for conditions requiring further research before APA determines whether they should be recognized as formal disorders.

Among other conditions to be further studied are "Internet use disorder," "caffeine use disorder," and "hypersexual disorder."

The committee also recently changed some language within criteria for major depressive disorder to acknowledge that sadness, insomnia and other symptoms while grieving a significant personal loss don't in themselves constitute a mental disorder.

Field trials at pediatric medical centers demonstrated that the proposed disruptive mood dysregulation disorder diagnosis worked in clinical settings, APA said. Similarly, field trials with 322 youngsters support a controversial proposal to narrow the definition of autism spectrum disorder and excluded very few children who meet the current definition. Critics and parents, however, fear that the new definition, which eliminates Asperger's syndrome and "pervasive developmental disorder" as related conditions, would shrink the number of children eligible for medical, social and school-based services for autism spectrum disorders.

The process of revising the manual for the first time since the DSM-4 came out in 1994 "is about compromise," said Dr. Liza Gold, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist in Arlington, Va. "The question is: how do you do science by consensus?"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Researchers: Abilify May Have Limitations

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study by researchers at Harvard University finds key limitations with the original trial that led to the FDA’s approval of Abilify, a medication widely used for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Researchers say that the drug’s approval was based on a single trial that was too short to assess long-term effects, and was comprised of too few patients. They also say that other methodological flaws limit the applicability of the data to a wider population.

Despite these shortcomings, the study’s authors do not suggest that patients discontinue the treatment, as the drug may actually be helpful.

Their findings were published in PLoS Medicine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Being Bipolar: Hollywood's Hot New Trend?

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Addiction is for amateurs. The truly trendy are bipolar. That's meant to be facetious, of course. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that approximately 5.7 million Americans live with according to the National Institute of Mental Health, but one could be forgiven for thinking that the disease wandered onto spring's list of must-haves along with maxi skirts, bellbottoms and the iPad 2.

This week, the teen star Demi Lovato revealed she suffers from bipolar disorder. Last week, the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones announced she recently sought treatment for the condition. Charlie Sheen, who dubbed himself "bi-winning," not bipolar, during his March media spree -- organized a walk for bipolar awareness.

It could be called Hollywood's mental illness. The disease had a hold on actors, singers, writers and artists long before it hit its latest star sufferers. Carrie Fisher, Mel Gibson, and Richard Dreyfuss are a few of the many celebrities who've talked about being bipolar.

"There is such a thing as artistic temperament, and it is related to bipolar disorder," Dr. Igor Galynker, director of New York City's Family Center for Bipolar Disorder, told ABC News. "When people are on the manic side, they can be very creative, productive, sparkling, the center of attention -- a lot of celebrities have that. But the reverse is they are difficult, irritable, they make bad decisions."

Galynker gave Hollywood credit for raising the profile of the disease.

"Bipolar disorder and specifically bipolar II disorder is becoming an almost fashionable diagnosis, and that is not a bad thing at all," he said. "You cannot treat bipolar disorder unless you diagnose it and you cannot diagnose it unless people know about it."

"I think it's a good thing," Kaj Korvela, executive director of Canada's Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders, told ABC News. But he has reservations.

"We just want to be seen in the best light, and I don't think that march was seen in the greatest light. Especially when Charlie was wearing a hat that said 'I'm Not Bipolar' and standing on a car -- it's suggesting that he's above people with very serious mental health concerns."

"It's people like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, who can really address the experience," Korvela said. "Those are the people that express integrity and elegance. We need people like that."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Demi Lovato's Shocking Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder

ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- After checking into treatment at a residential facility, teenage Disney darling Demi Lovato received a shocking diagnosis: she was bipolar.

"I had no idea that I was even bipolar until I went into treatment," the 18-year-old told ABC News.  "I was actually manic a lot of the times that I would take on workloads, and I would say, yes, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.  I was conquering the world, but then I would come crashing down, and I would be more depressed than ever."

Lovato, who recently announced she was leaving her hit tween comedy, Sonny with a Chance, to focus on her music career, sang her way to the top of the pop charts and heights of wholesome teen icon status, but her natural outward confidence in front of the camera could not protect her from the inner, lasting effects of childhood bullying.

"I've spoken openly about being bullied throughout the past few years, but one thing that I've never been able to feel comfortable talking about was the effects that it had on my life, afterwards," she said.  "I literally didn't know why they were being so mean to me.  And when I would ask them why, they would just say, 'Well, you're fat."

Her torment turned into a dangerous habit.

"I developed an eating disorder, and that's kind of what I've been dealing with ever since," she said.

Lovato began a lifelong struggle with bulimia and alternately, severely restricting her eating.

Her family helped her find professional help for her food issues.  But there was a secret battle she fought alone, something she desperately hid from everyone: At age 11, Lovato began cutting herself -- intentionally self-mutilating her wrists as a way of coping with emotions.  It was a dangerous coping mechanism that continued throughout her teen years.

Last summer, it all came to a boiling point during her concert tour with the Jonas Brothers for the Disney Channel musical, Camp Rock 2.

"I was performing concerts on an empty stomach," she said.  "I was losing my voice from purging.  I was self-medicating.  I was not taking medication for depression, and I literally was so emotionally whacked out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me."

Lovato admitted to physically striking one of her backup dancers, Alex Welch, during the South American leg of their international tour.  Lovato's family and management team then held an intervention.

She immediately quit the tour and checked in to Timberline Knolls -- a residential treatment center in Illinois for women battling addiction and eating disorders -- where she was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.

While in treatment, Lovato learned to alter her coping skills and found better ways to deal with her emotions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bipolar Disorder: Catherine Zeta-Jones Hopes to Remove Stigma

Donna Ward/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After revealing she suffers from bipolar disorder, Academy Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is hoping to help remove some of the stigma from the illness and convince others to seek the help they need.

Last week, Zeta-Jones' publicist said she recently checked into a mental health facility to treat her bipolar II disorder. She spent five days in that facility and is now on medication.

The actress released a statement saying, "This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them...if my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help...then it's worth it."

Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic depressive illness, is a mental illness that is described by mood swings between the two psychological pulls of depression and euphoria.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, stress is one trigger for the disorder.

Friends say Zeta-Jones knew she was depressed. But not until she checked herself into a mental health facility did she find out that she is bipolar.

The actress is featured in this week's People magazine and friends reportedly tell the magazine that Zeta-Jones had been struggling with bouts of depression even before her husband, actor Michael Douglas was diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer. They said she sought help because she is about to film a new movie.

Doctors say Zeta-Jones' candor will be helpful to other adults suffering silently with bipolar.

"I think Catherine Zeta-Jones has broken a huge taboo by actually talking about bipolar. This is a serious illness that affects a good two-to-three percent of the population -- to actually talk about it not only bravely but with some candor is a heroic thing to do," said Dr. Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist. "That kind of heroism inspires people to talk about their own issues and maybe seek treatment that they never would have done unless Catherine Zeta-Jones of stature, her celebrity would have talked about this."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bipolar Awareness Walk, Organized by Charlie Sheen?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Charlie Sheen has a new cause (no, it's not getting his Two and a Half Men job back, though he's waging that war too) -- bipolar awareness.

On Friday, Sheen, who's currently on his My Violent Torpedo of Truth tour, posted a series of tweets about a bipolar awareness walk he's organizing in Toronto later in the evening. The actor wants fans to meet him at his hotel and walk with him to Toronto's Massey Hall, where he performed Thursday and is set to perform Friday.

Sheen tweeted: "Stop the Stigma!! Bipolar Awareness Walk!! Please join me at 6pm at the Ritz tonight! Raise Money! Raise Awareness! #BIPOLAR #BIWINNING." In separate tweets, he said he's taking donations for the Canadian group OBAD, the Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders, and he's "matching all donations $ for $"

What got Sheen interested in bipolar disorder, a condition he claims he doesn't have despite multiple medical experts saying that he exhibits the behavior of someone prone to manic highs and depressive lows?

"Apparently someone at [a] show brought to his attention," a person close to Sheen said. The source added that Sheen's walk doesn't have "anything to do" with the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who revealed this week that she recently sought treatment for bipolar disorder.

Sheen's publicist told ABC News that "Charlie decided to do this on his own" in an "effort to create awareness of bipolar disorder."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Charlie Sheen: What's Next, Who Can Help?

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor Charlie Sheen took to his online program Tuesday night, Sheen's Korner, to fire back at his recent firing from Two and a Half Men and blast his former bosses. Sheen has dismissed widespread suspicion that addiction or mental illness might be fueling his antics, claiming earlier to be on the drug "called Charlie Sheen" and not bi-polar but "bi-winning."

But his increasingly erratic behavior, which cost him his job Monday on the hit CBS comedy, has many health professionals concerned about his well-being even as skeptics say it's all for show.

"When addicts are high on drugs, or a manic person is high due to the biochemical changes in his brain, they reject help because they truly believe that they are 'winners' who know better than everyone else what is best for them," said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

But the job loss and the removal of his 2-year-old twins, Max and Bob, from his home last week might signal the end of Sheen's "winning" streak.

Eric Braun, a friend of Sheen's, told GQ magazine "there are just three options" left for the fired actor: "rehab, jail, or death."

Mental health experts agree. "Frankly, we really don't know what leads one person to a specific end," said Dr. Eric Caine, chair of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "No doubt, this man is a mess and his 'destiny' may not be a happy one." While Sheen's conduct in media interviews and in his online show, Sheen's Korner, has shocked viewers, psychiatrists say they've seen it all before. "There is nothing so unusual about what we are seeing -- for those of us in the mental health field -- just that we are seeing it so publicly," Caine said.

Sheen's long track record of offenses -- from drugs and violence to rumors of trouble on set -- might have hinted at mental health problems in the past. Yet he has consistently avoided major repercussions that could have "tempered his grandiosity," according to Alesandra Rain, co-founder of Point of Return, a nonprofit organization in Westlake Village, Calif., that helps people escape pill addiction.

"Now the consequences are beginning to hit him, but he is still working from the perspective that he is untouchable," Rain said. "His media blitz is being misinterpreted as public support and he is not in the frame of mind to realize the damage he is doing."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Survey: Americans Have Highest Risk of Developing Bipolar Disorder

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- People in the United States have the highest risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to a new survey of 11 countries released Monday.

The World Health Organization surveyed more than 61,000 people from countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and found that the U.S. took the top spot with an estimated 4.4 percent of its population at risk for developing the disorder in their lifetime.  New Zealand followed in second place with 3.9 percent of its population at risk.

The lowest rates were seen in developing countries such as India, with a prevalence of 0.1 percent.   But this lower rate may reflect the stigma associated with mental disorders rather than actual lower rates of such disorders.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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