Friday, December 30, 2011

Healing Young Brains - Take Home Points from a 2011 Medical Conference

What better way to end the year, than to look back at the awesome 3-day medical conference I recently attended, titled “Healing Young Brains.” It was hosted by the nonprofit Midway Foundation for Integrative Medicine headed by James Roach, MD. I was pleased to see doctors from all over the country, but unfortunately not many psychiatrists (there were some, though!) I was also approached by two people who had actually read my book. That was a pleasant surprise!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for the Strength to Recover

Practice with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) helped one family member cope with bipolar symptoms. Just as with my younger daughter, these symptoms were not due to psychological problems, but to be successful and move forward with her life, and to be able to do what she needed to do to get better in spite of the symptoms, she had to essentially be stronger and more mentally healthy than a person without bipolar disorder. Eventually, this family member was no longer diagnosed with any mental health problem at all! (The same as my younger daughter!)

Although DBT is best done with both individual and group therapy with a therapist who specializes in the technique, my daughter used self-directed workbooks (included at the bottom) and assistance from her individual psychotherapist. Prior to starting the DBT, she had already been using the technique of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to deal with the manifestation of anxiety.

We have a guest poster writing about DBT, Lindsey Webster. Ms. Webster has been a rehabilitation counselor for 15 years and owns the site Masters in Counseling. The site serves as a great resource for new students looking to find all the information they need about obtaining a Masters degree in Counseling. She has a Master's degree in Social Work.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking Beyond the Symptoms – An Integrative Approach

The book, It's Not Mental: finding innovative support and medical treatment for a child diagnosed with a severe mental illness takes the reader on our journey from puzzlement over our gentle younger daughter’s bizarre mood and schizophrenic symptoms, to despair, through grief and anger, and into a future better than we had hoped. Along the way, we were helped by family, doctors, nurses, therapists, and friends. Once we had her “fixed,” readers of this website know we could then address the older daughter’s “bipolar disorder” in a more integrated fashion—one which looked beyond the symptoms themselves.

One of the innovative, integrative medical doctors who helped my younger daughter heal is Dr. James Roach (Dr. Jim, as some of his patients affectionately call him). He was recently featured in our local newspaper: Midway physician takes an integrative approach to help his patients. (This link may not stay around long).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recovered - No Longer on Psychiatric Medications

In No Longer Bipolar / No longer Schizophrenic - Recovered, In Remission, or Misdiagnosed ??? we discussed  how to wrap our minds around the fact that many individuals, with alternative, complementary, functional, and/or biomedical  therapies no longer have severe, persistent, and supposedly life-long symptoms of Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety--and they are NOT on psychiatric medications.

"Recovered" is not a part of the usual paradigm of those involved in severe mental illness. Only "in recovery" is.

So what exactly IS "recovered"? And what is a real-life example of this?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Longer Bipolar / No longer Schizophrenic - Recovered, In Remission, or Misdiagnosed ???

Do people who have recovered from these “lifelong” illnesses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar disorder still have these illnesses? Are they now in “remission” while no longer being symptomatic (albeit possibly with effective non-psychiatric biomedical care appropriate to their specific cause of symptoms?) Or, did they have misdiagnoses to begin with?  (Read here for real life stories of remission/recovery from schizoaffective and bipolar -- no longer needing psychiatric medications.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brain Health: "Crazy" From Casein?? (Doped with Dairy)

Evidence (see references below) shows cow dairy really can cause symptoms of "mental illness."

We’ve talked about Brain Health and the Gluten (Dis)Connection ( here ) and the connection found between gluten and some cases of schizophrenia ( here ). At the time, I mentioned my daughters also had to come off of DAIRY. They did test positive for IgA and IgG (immune) reactivity against the cow dairy protein (bovine casein). Such reactions may be involved in severe psychiatric disorders such as bipolar.[1]
Inflammation and other immune processes are increasingly linked to psychiatric diseases. . .   Anti-casein IgG associations with bipolar I diagnoses, psychotic symptom history, and mania severity scores suggest that casein-related immune activation may relate to the psychosis and mania components of this mood disorder.
But there is another way a person can be affected by casein even without the IgA or IgG allergic-type reactions. (See bottom of post for some IgA and IgG testing companies.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Recipient in 3 Book Award Categories! – Indie Book Awards

It’s Not Mental by Jeanie Wolfson is one of three finalist winners in THREE different categories of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

These 3 categories are:
  • Best Cover Design – Non-Fiction
  • Education / Academic
  • Biography

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Hearing Things Is Not Schizophrenia

I received an E-mail (below) from a mother, Arna Mathiesen in Norway, who went that extra mile for her son who was hearing things, withdrawn, panicky, and dizzy for no apparent reason.  She sent me a link to an article about him.

“When he was still in a room, he would be staring and not answering.” He was having panic attacks. The doctors initially could not find anything wrong with him and repeatedly suggested that his issues were mental.

Hmmm…. Sound familiar?  A lot like (see It's Not Mental) what happened to my younger daughter?

Let’s see, hearing things that no one else hears…Staring out into nothingness. Disengaged from life around him...Claiming symptoms the doctors couldn't believe in because they saw no medical cause.  Schizophrenia perhaps? Severe Depression with psychosis? Bipolar Disorder? Schizoaffective?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Allergies, Asthma, and “Mental” Illness

When most people hear the word “allergies” they think of sneezing, drippy noses, red eyes, and maybe some wheezing and congestion. Some people may think of hives or maybe even an anaphylactic reaction to food or insect bite allergies. Some may also visualize allergic people feeling fatigued, and having slowed, fuzzy thinking. They feel sick and lethargic, and indeed may even get more frequent infections.

But most people do not connect “seasonal allergies” and even “asthma” to more severe brain symptoms such as Major Depressive Disorder, and children’s “raging” and prolonged tantrums. Yet that connection exists. Remember the scene in my book about Keri’s summer of allergies segueing into the deep dark depths of depression? After decades of observant parents noticing that connection, mainstream media is finally reporting on the research validating those observations.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gut, Brain, Bacteria, and Behavior

Can the way we use antibiotics — without focusing on keeping up the normal biota in our gut that antibiotics wipe out — be contributing to the rise in both “mental” illnesses as well as inflammatory and metabolic disorders such as allergies and diabetes?

Scientists are saying “YES.”

They are re-confirming what many doctors and researchers in the field of Integrative medicine have been saying for years — that gut health is intimately connected with the function of our brain.[1]

The gut-brain connection is being implicated in brain disorders ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia (as it was in my own children).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Better – Part 1 - Overview (Bipolar and Off Her Meds Part 2)

Over a year ago, I wrote of an unexpected event in our lives, “Bipolar and Off Her Meds (and doing well),” about my older daughter. I promised to eventually provide more information. Fortunately, my children are far from unique in their experience of recovery from the  epidemic of mental illness.

It is, perhaps, ironic, that my older daughter’s former psychiatrist wanted information from her—research he could hand out to patients—on how she got better. The research is not new. It has been available for over thirty years.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We Have Sick Children

The latest statistics in the U.S.A. show that one in FOUR children are now on long-term prescription medications for chronic illnesses.

This does not include acute care medicines such as antibiotics for a sinus infection. It doesn’t even include over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as allergy medications, cough medicines,  and analgesics. It means medications such as for asthma, diabetes, autoimmune disease, high cholesterol, and “mental” illnesses.

This is great news for the pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Childhood-onset Schizoaffective - A Medical Doctor's Perspective of the Case

We are fortunate to have the following perspective about my daughter's case (and the book) from her General Practitioner, Dr. David Marwil, M.D.

Please note that Dr. Marwil is a traditional  doctor (not specializing in "alternative medicine" nor "complementary" or "naturopathic," etc.) He is a regular GP who goes the extra mile for his patients.

Jeanie Wolfson and her daughter Keri walked into my office several years ago, frustrated and discouraged. For many years, Keri had been experiencing profound fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, body pains, and hallucinations.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brain Health: Thyroid Hormones

There is good reason the book, It's not mental, talks so much about thyroid hormones, dedicating an appendix to that topic. Not only were those hormone levels intertwined with both my daughters’ cases of ultradian cycling “bipolar” and “schizoaffective” (schizophrenia with a mood disorder), but the topic has been in psychiatric textbooks, and involved in the research on these brain symptoms, for going on half a century.