Two types of Depression

    Many people who aren't bipolar seem to think
    that bipolar depression is the same as theirs...
      i beg to differ.


Excellent Madness quotes

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who
locked in what cage.
       Ray Bradbury

Earth is an insane asylum, to which the other planets
deport their lunatics.

The whole religious complexion of the modern world
is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
       Thomas Paine

Being born into the Royal Family is like being born
into a mental asylum. Marrying into it is not something
to be taken lightly.
       Johnny Rotten

It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an 'information highway,' but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies.
       Mike Royko

Reality is always controlled by the people who are most insane.

Insanity -- a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.
       R. D. Lang

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity!
       Edgar Allan Poe

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments
when he was merely stupid.
       Heinrich Heine

There is a pleasure sure in being mad,
which none but madmen know.
       Dryden 1681

See, the human mind is kind of like... a piñata. 
When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. 
Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing
your mind can be a peak experience. 
       Jane Wagner

Madness need not be all breakdown. 
It may also be break-through. 
       R.D. Laing

You're only given a little spark of madness. 
You mustn't lose it. 
       Robin Williams

Sanity is a cosy lie.
       Susan Sontag


ECT - Electroconvulsive history

Electroconvulsive therapy aka Electro-shock therapy aka ECT was first introduced in 1938 by Italian neuropsychiatrists Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini, and gained widespread use as a form of treatment
in the 1940s and 1950s.

ECT is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in anesthetized patients for therapeutic effect. Its mode of action is unknown.

As early as the 16th century, agents to produce seizures were used to treat psychiatric conditions. In 1785, the therapeutic use of seizure induction was documented in the London Medical Journal. Convulsive therapy was introduced in 1934 by Hungarian neuropsychiatrist Ladislas J. Meduna who induced seizures
with camphor and later metrazol (cardiazol).

Polish-Austrian-American psychiatrist Manfred Sakel treated schizophrenic patients with large doses of insulin to produce comas and sometimes convulsions. His methods were soon taken up by other psychiatrists.

Insulin shock therapy or insulin coma therapy (ICT) was a form of psychiatric treatment in which patients were repeatedly injected with large doses of insulin in order to produce daily comas over several weeks.

Introducing the new therapy

In 1937, the first international meeting on convulsive therapy
was held in Switzerland by the Swiss psychiatrist Muller. ECT soon replaced metrazol therapy all over the world because it was cheaper, less frightening and more convenient. Cerletti and Bini were nominated for a Nobel Prize, but didn't receive one.

Much of the stigma attached to ECT is based on early treatments
in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss, fractured bones and other serious side effects.

Siemens konvulsator III

In the United States, ECT treatments are generally given two
to three times weekly for three to four weeks — for a total of six to twelve treatments. The number of treatments you'll need depends on the severity of your symptoms and how rapidly they improve.

In Canada, an estimated 75,000 ECT treatments are delivered annually. For reasons no one really knows, ECT seems to be particularly effective in the elderly.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at the Mayo Clinic

or maybe magnetic seizure therapy (MST) would be better?


10 things you never knew about Lithium

If you're bipolar, lithium is a fact of life.

Chances are you're already on it, or you're on something
else that's trying to do for you what lithium does for others.
But how much do you really know about this
curious substance that you're ingesting every day?

1) Lithium is a metal, in fact, it is the lightest metal
and has just three electrons. 
Lithium’s so light that
it actually floats in water.

2) Lithium is so soft, you can cut it with a knife.

3) The soft drink 7 Up was also a patent medicine,
originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda"
and contained lithium citrate until 1950.

4) The word lithium comes from the Greek word for stone, “lithos”. A freshly cut chunk of lithium is silvery, but tarnishes in a minute
or so in air to give a grey surface.

5) Lithium is actually a form of salt that the body
produces naturally. Lithium is also made via nuclear
fusion in the interiors of stars.

6) There is a town in Missouri named Lithium.


7) Lithium is found in seawater and is more concentrated
near thermal vents, but the majority of the world’s
lithium is mined in South America. 

8) Lithium is one of the three elements
synthesized in the Big Bang. 

9) Lithium is used for batteries because it is an excellent
conductor of electricity. Light weight and very reactive,
a battery made of lithium-ion can be smaller and hold
more charge.These charge-to-weight and power-to-weight
ratios make lithium the battery material of choice.

10) Common side effects that come from taking lithium
include tremors, nausea and upset stomach, loss of
appetite, dried and thinning hair, and an itchy sensation.
The more serious side effects include hallucinations, lack
of coordination, extreme thirst or weakness, feelings
of confusion or restlessness, seizures, severely slowed
heart rate, and fainting.

Learn even more about lithium!

Low-dose lithium may extend lifespan

Lithium  - the commodity of the 21st century

An important source of high-purity lithium and a gemstone

Lithium investors will prosper in 2011


Greetings from the Asylum

Looking into the history of madness, one soon comes
across these gentle, tinted images of gi-normous,
amazing,  uber-gothic buildings.

They are asylums.
Psychiatric institutions.
Hospitals for the Insane.

They are booby hatches.
Bughouses. Funny farms.

aughing academies.

this is the old asylum on Queen Street in Toronto

In our time, thanks to Ronald Reagan and his spawn,
they are
closed. Their former tenants became the shock
troops of homelessness - pioneers of a new American
frontier that's been expanding ever since...


Dark, empty, rotting,
these buildings now are mythic,
the repositories of our deepest, darkest fears about others,
and about ourselves. Small wonder they are one of
Hollywood's favourite cliches.

Now these facilities are home to rats and pigeons
and mould, disturbed from time to time by urban explorers, pseudo-satanistas and video crews packing EMF meters,digital thermometers and digital video cameras, hoping
for a sign from the great beyond


But there are things about these images that haunt me
much more than
cold spots, orbs or fuzzy green videos...

Look again at these buildings.

They are enormous. They are beautiful.
They are profoundly optimistic.

They represented an enormous investment of money
and imagination. They were state of the art.
They were filled with staff and equipment and grew
their own food.

Yes, their methods were often crude, and as the
commitment diminished over time, they were
over-crowded and under-staffed...


But who in their right mind would even dream of
a commitment like one of these buildings today
for a bunch of mental cases?

On a more intimate level, the more of these postcards
i ran into, the more i found myself wondering...

Who sends someone a postcard

     from an asylum

"FORGIVE The Faults of others

"This is where I have been sent at last. If they turn me loose,
I will go back Mon. Am having a "mad" time."

"This is where we are going to send Ma."


A Mental Medicine Show

One of the ways that drug companies can educate
physicians about new drugs - or new uses for old drugs -
is by advertising.

These ads are part of the history of mental illness,
but those of us who (a) are mentally ill and (b) do not
make a habit of perusing medical journals
may have
missed this part of our history.

Thank goodness for places like Dr. Bonkers,
where we can look and learn!

These people seem strangely familiar...

Codeine, chloroform and cannabis with wild cherry?
Heck, i'll try a gallon!

Ritalin - finally a drug the whole family needs.

Just because because you're right doesn't
mean you're not crazy,
or don't need more drugs!

Thorazine for hiccups - i wouldn't have thought of that...

But if he was "happy", would Vince even
have been a painter?
Or would he just have painted big eyed kittens
and unicorns?
Would billionaires be buying his paintings today?

tons more fascinating ads, thoughtfully sorted, can be found at...

Dr. Bonkers presents
The Nearly Genuine and Truly Marvelous Psychoneuropharmacological Mental Medicine Show


Bipolar + bud = better skills?

it's interesting to find clinical research
that backs up one's own personal experience...

Bipolar Patients with History of Pot Use Show Better Cognitive Skills

Individuals with bipolar disorder who also have a history of marijuana use demonstrate advanced neurocogitive skills compared to bipolar patients with no history of use, according to research published online in the journal Psychiatry Research.

“Results from our analysis suggest that subjects with bipolar disorder and history of (marijuana use) demonstrate significantly better neurocognitive performance, particularly on measures of attention, processing speed, and working memory.”

learn more about it...


Sad people want happy pills

an interesting report on the uptick
in prescription medication in the UK...

Happy pill boom as GPs hand out
record 47m prescriptions...
a rise of 9% in a year

trouble in mind - dugg simpson 10/12

Record numbers of adults are relying on Prozac and other so-called happy pills, according to NHS figures.

Almost 50 million prescriptions were handed out by doctors
last year – a rise of nine per cent compared with the previous 12 months.

Experts said increasing numbers of patients are turning
to GPs for help as depression loses its stigma.

At the same time, doctors are more inclined to give people
a proper diagnosis and prescribe medication, rather than
simply sending them away.

The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, show the
health service spent £270million handing out such drugs
in 2011, a rise of more than a fifth compared with 2010.

Last year, just under 47million prescriptions were
handed out, a nine per cent increase compared with
the previous year.

read the rest of the story right here...


Mental Illnesses & Their Myths

Mental illness has been something to be ashamed of for centuries. Whether one was suffering with a mental illness or was related to someone who was, mental illness personified "different". Imperfect. Impure. Unclean. Diseased.

Cast out by god.

 Nowadays, we call it "stigma".


The combination of shame with the traditional human fear
of anything different does not usually inspire people
to learn more about something, and mental illness
is no exception

So over those same centuries, "sane" people have combined ignorance with prejudice to create stereotypes that fit
paranoid fantasies.
Nice people call them "myths".

Here's one now..


The Myth: Schizophrenic people hear voices in their heads.

We all know about schizophrenia, and we’ve all read jokes
about “the voices in my head”. But, contrary to what a lot
of people believe, not all people with schizophrenia hear
voices in their heads.

Auditory hallucinations are very common in schizophrenic
people, but they are more likely to hear voices coming from
some object outside of their body than inside their mind.

Plus, not everyone with schizophrenia experiences the same
symptoms. They may have hallucinations (actually seeing
or hearing things that don’t exist), delusions (believing
unrealistic ideas), disordered thoughts, lack of affect (no
appearance of emotions), or, in catatonic schizophrenia,
even a lack of desire to move at all.

Schizophrenia is a complicated disorder with a wide range
of possible symptoms.

9 more illnesses and their myths right here!