Psychosis and Symbiosis: Microbiome and Schizophrenia

Fascinating new research links the gut and brain in sickness and health.

Schizophrenia is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects about 1 percent of the world population and tends to strike in the prime of life. Preventing this disease could help tens of millions of families throughout the world, so finding the risk factors for early diagnosis and treatment are paramount. We know there are genetic risks that, at the moment, can’t be changed (and as the disorder is polygenic, we will not find a single “schizophrenia gene”). Other major risk factors, such as prenatal infection, also can’t be changed 18-35 years later when the disease shows up. We know there are risk factors that can be addressed, such as using large amounts of high-THC marijuana in adolescence. But are there other factors that predispose people to schizophrenia that we may be able to address, such as changes in the microbiome?  more

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The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs

Laura Delano recognized that she was “excellent at everything, but it didn’t mean anything,” her doctor wrote. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Her father is related to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her mother was introduced to society at a débutante ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. In eighth grade, in 1996, Laura was the class president—she ran on a platform of planting daffodils on the school’s grounds—and among the best squash players in the country. She was one of those rare proportional adolescents with a thriving social life. But she doubted whether she had a “real self underneath.”

The oldest of three sisters, Laura felt as if she were living two separate lives, one onstage and the other in the audience, reacting to an exhausting performance. She snapped at her mother, locked herself in her room, and talked about wanting to die. She had friends at school who cut themselves with razors, and she was intrigued by what seemed to be an act of defiance. She tried it, too. “The pain felt so real and raw and mine,” she said.

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Teen opens dialogue on mental illnesses

The challenges presented by the prevalence of mental illness in society are numerous and complex. Victoria St. Jean, a senior at Pilgrim High School, is trying to make a difference by opening a door to conversation about the subject – from people who personally experience varying degrees of mental illnesses or disorders themselves.

“I think this is a topic that needs to be talked about more in society, because even though it’s 2019, with a lot of people it’s a touchy subject and they really don’t seem to want to talk about it,” St. Jean said. “It’s like any other disorder. Just because you can’t always see it on the outside, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter as much.”  more

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World Bipolar Day: “Awareness needs to be raised in society about our disorder”

Marked each year on March 30, World Bipolar Day (WBD) is a world-wide awareness initiative that aims to encourage global education, open discussion, as well as improving sensitivity surrounding bipolar disorder.

As many as 1% to 2% of the British population experience bipolar through their lives and recent research suggested as many as 5% are on the bipolar spectrum.

A severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows, the majority of individuals with bipolar experience alternating episodes of mania and depression.  more

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Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness

Mental illness is incredibly common: Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illnessaccording to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). But in spite of its prevalence, there still exists a tremendous amount of stigma associated with mental health conditions. That stigma can have far-reaching consequences, from limiting our understanding of these conditions to interfering with a person’s willingness to seek treatment when they truly need it.

The good news is that, culturally, we’re making some headway on that stigma. I have written and edited health content for a little over a decade, and it’s been amazing to see how the conversation around mental health has evolved in that time. Many brave people have publicly shared stories about their experiences navigating mental health conditions. And as the wellness industry has exploded, so too has our cultural understanding that being well and taking care of yourself requires tending to your mental health, and that means seeking help if you need it.  more

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The Practice That Improved My Mental Health When Nothing Else Did

I thought that when I was accepted to the university of my dreams, it would put me on the path to freedom—that I’d land a great job and live out a successful career. But so much changed over the five years that followed, and my journey didn’t go quite as planned.

When I transitioned from my suburban all-girls high school to a large Ivy League university in the city, I felt a major change in social and academic pressure. As an engineering student, I spent long hours in rigorous classes and studying—not to mention, the dorm I lived in was crowded and always, always loud. The image-focused culture made me question my health choices, and the full-force academic pressure put me in a mode of constant anxiety and stress. During my first year, I became pretty sick, a mental kind of sick that was manifesting physically as an eating disorder. That’s when I found yoga.  more

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Avicii’s family launches mental health foundation

In the wake of his death last year, the family of superstar DJ-producer Avicii has launched a new foundation.

The Tim Bergling Foundation will raise money for a variety of causes including mental health and suicide prevention, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Tim Bergling was the Swedish superstar’s real name.

Avicii, 28, was found dead last year in Muscat, Oman. He was 28.
The Swedish star had been open about his struggles and took a break from touring in 2016.  more
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Kids From Trauma NEED Someone to Tell Them Their Normal Isn’t “Normal”

It took me a quarter of a century (literally) to realize that I experienced trauma throughout certain points in my childhood. It took me another year to realize that my behaviors were deeply rooted in how I responded to that trauma. And it took me even longer to realize that my emotions during those years were not normal.

It seems obvious, doesn’t it?

The thing was… no one told me that the things I was doing weren’t normal. And a lot of times, as a kid, if someone doesn’t outright tell you something, then you have no idea.

I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal to self-harm at twelve years old. All of the friends I’d chosen were doing it so I assumed ALL preteens were doing it. None of us hurt ourselves to fit in with each other (we actually knew each other for quite a while before admitting to one another that we were self-harming), but we were all doing it to cope with something. We were all kids with messy stories, which drew us together like magnets.  more

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KATE MIDDLETON DEVOTES HER DAY TO MENTAL HEALTH – WEEKS AFTER BROTHER’S DEPRESSION REVELATION

Kate Middleton devoted her recent day out to a cause that is personal to her. The Duchess of Cambridge spent Wednesday, February 13, at engagements geared towards mental health and wellness. The 37-year-old’s day of mental health consisted of two engagements that pushed an open dialogue, advocated and championed mental health for youth. Kate’s first stop was a visit to the Mental Health in Education conference. The royal met with various educators who spoke about the importance of mental health training in schools.

The Duchess, who wore a tweed suit by Dolce & Gabbana for the occasion, spoke about the importance of mental health awareness in children. “It is clear that positive development of our children is directly linked to those who care for them, teachers, carers and parents,” she said during her speech. She continued: “The evidence is clear the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for development and for future health and happiness than any other single moment in our lifetime.”  more

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