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Showing posts from July, 2011

Jared Loughner -- It Doesn't Have To Work This Way

The man who wants to put Jared Loughner to death is concerned for his health.

The United States attorney for Arizona, Dennis K. Burke, wrote to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that despite being under suicide watch, Loughner’s unmedicated behavior is endangering him.

It has been determined that Jared suffers from schizophrenia, and is unable to participate in his defense against the 49 charges stemming from the Arizona shootings that left six people dead and thirteen wounded.Now somebody wants to get this desperately sick young man some help.  Because if he can't stand trial, then he can't be prosecuted, convicted and executed.

Jared's attorneys think it is not in his interest, under the circumstances, to take Risperidone, a standard antipsychotic medication given to people who think that somebody is trying to kill them.  It might have been in his interest earlier on.  But the community college that noticed his bizarre behavior, including the speech salad that is the dea…

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God -- Again

A month's worth of travel + new medication = time for a rerun.

This one has something to do with my NAMI Convention reporting.  It's a book report on Souls in the Hands of a Tender God.  I met the author, Craig Rennebohm at the Convention's presentation on FaithNet.
First we pause for a word about FaithNet:
NAMI FaithNet is a network composed of members and friends of NAMI. It was established for the purposes of (1) facilitating the development within the faith community of a non-threatening, supportive environment for those with mental illness and their families, (2) pointing out the value of one’s spirituality in the recovery process from mental illness and the need for spiritual strength for those who are caretakers, (3) educating clergy and faith communities concerning mental illness and (4) encouraging advocacy of the faith community to bring about hope and help for all who are affected by mental illness.
NAMI FaithNet is not a religious  network but rather an…

Recovery In Progress -- My First NAMI Convention

Dr. Ken Duckworth's job at the Ask A Doctor about PTSD session was to make some opening remarks and then let people ask their questions.  He rattled off a list of treatments and said, The good news about PTSD is, we know what causes it -- trauma that was not able to be processed adequately.  The bad news is, the treatments just don't work so well.

Short and to the point.  Actually, I am not so negative (right this very minute, anyway) about treatment as Dr. Duckworth, because I am not looking for the magic med anymore.  I know about recovery.

Recovery is about collecting tools and pulling them out when the occasion requires.  I will illustrate.  But first the setting...

Last week I attended my first NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Convention in Chicago -- 2300+ people who have mental illnesses, family members, advocates, volunteers and caregivers, with a few scientists thrown in for good measure.  As a friend said to prepare me, A NAMI Convention has a certain kind o…

Dopamine and Dementors

Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself...soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.
-- Remus Lupin to Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Been there?
While we wait with bated breath for the final episode of the Harry Potter movie series, here is a post on the neuroscience of Harry's worst nightmare.
Dementors, you see, are dopamine depleters.  They are not to be messed with.
Neither is any other kind of dopamine depletion.  Here is one clinical case, an experiment conducted on one highly-functional, never-a-whiff-of-mental-disturbance 21-year-old who received a dop…