Archive for mental health

Thoughts on Mental Illness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 21, 2013 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

mnemonic here:

For the most part mental illness is not an on-off situation, where you are either mentally ill or mentally healthy. Mental illness and mental health co-exist along a spectrum (actually multiple spectrums) where we can visualize each individual person on earth as a point in a n-dimensional (multidimensional)  “universe” and each person’s unique “point” would be determined by their unique position along the axis of each spectrum, in n-space.

Yes I am saying that human mental health can be easily quantized.

For instance, consider a behavioral axis concerning fear. This axis would identify the individuals propensity for feeling fear or not feeling fear. On one end of the axis would be people who are constantly fearful, while the other end would be people who never fear anything. In between will be most of us, but still on the spectrum somewhere.

Or consider an axis based upon sociability, where one end of the axis is people who can’t stand to be around anyone ever and the other end is people who simply have to have others around them at all times. In between again will be most of us.

Or consider the axis of moodiness. One end of the axis will be those people whose moods never change while the other end will be those who experience wild mood swings. Again in between will be most of us.

So so far we have three axii, fear, sociability and moodiness. So if I happen to be very fearful, not very social and very moody I might not fare so well in modern society. All of these are within normal human experience. An individual might score very high or low in one of these scales and still manage to maintain. On the other hand an extreme score in any of them might also be disabling, rendering the individual incapable of competing successfully in the modern world.

How many scales are there? I don’t know. I think scales for fear, sociability, moodiness, trust, optimism / pessimism,
curiosity, dominance / submissiveness, propensity for boredom, generosity, calmness/nervousness, several types of intelligence, aggressive/passive , creative or rote, and libido.  That’s over a dozen scales for starters.  There are no doubt others.  Sure some may overlap.  I will leave it to the bean counters to figure out the right scales.  It can be done.  A person’s mental state may be quantitatively analyzed, with probabilities assigned.  On a happy note, using this approach it may turn out that lots of people can be “fixed” using simple and non-intrusive therapies.  These will have to be new therapies of course as none of the current ones are working, especially drugs and what is laughingly called cognitive behavioral therapy.

If it helps you can think of each individuals position (point) on each axis as a mapping to a gene, where we understand that gene expression itself is complex, sometimes involves multiple genes, and expression may be triggered by adaptive or environmental pressures.  We can either think of it as a real gene or as a virtual “gene” in a virtual human behavior matrix.  No matter.

The beauty is that the more scales that are used, the higher the confidence of a good fit. Statistical methods can be employed to determine which scales are most relevant and what weight is optimal to assign to each.  Simple statistical tests can be developed to assess and assign a score for each scale.

So you can visualize the “mental health” of the population as a sphere in n-space, with people within the “sphere” being “healthy” and those outside the sphere in n-space being “mentally ill” ie unable to compete successfully in modern society.

The purpose of this line of thinking is to illustrate that mental illness is not simply an on / off condition but it is the result of an individual’s location on multiple spectra of human behavior and or thought. An individual may be outside the sphere but be entirely “normal ” along many of the spectra.

We must remember that the people outside the “sphere” are our brothers and sisters, just as human as ourselves, and perhaps for reasons unknown to us are just as valuable to the human gene pool as a whole as the rest of us. For instance if it can be determined that a person is very pessimistic about life, perhaps that condition could simply addressed with a small bit of unconditional love.

have a peaceful day,

Five Million Adult Californians Want Help With a Mental Issue

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by highboldtage

Almost 5 million California adults say they could use help with a mental or emotional problem, according to a survey released Wednesday by researchers at UCLA. About 1 million of them meet the criteria for “serious psychological distress.”,0,2495137.story?track=rss

1 In 7 Female Vets Sexually Traumatized

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by highboldtage

1 In 7 Female Vets Sexually Traumatized

Substantial Proportion of Female Veterans Report Military Sexual Trauma; Military Sexual Trauma Is Associated with Higher Rates of Mental Health Problems
Newswise – According to preliminary research results from the Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 15 percent of recently returned female veterans utilizing the VA health care system report experiencing sexual trauma during military service.

The cross-sectional study, presented at the American Public Health Association’s 136th Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, examined health care screening data of over 100,000 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) who utilized medical care at any Veterans Health Administration facility during a six-year period.

Sexual trauma afflicts 15 percent of U.S. veterans: study
Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:53am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

Urban Poverty Causes PTSD

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by highboldtage

 Urban Poverty Causes PTSD

PTSD Increases Hospitalization Rates in Urban Poor
By John Gever, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: March 28, 2008
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Earn CME/CE credit
for reading medical news
BOSTON, March 28 — Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among poor, urban residents and those who suffer it have more and longer hospital stays, researchers here said.

Of 592 patients at an urban primary care clinic, 22% were found to have PTSD, and they were more than twice as likely to have been hospitalized in the previous year as clinic patients without the disorder, reported Jane Liebschutz, M.D., M.P.H., of Boston University, and colleagues in the April issue of Medical Care.

Dr. Liebschutz said in an interview that the findings are important because PTSD is “under-recognized and under-treated” in patients whose condition does not stem from military combat or sexual assault.

She said most earlier research on the ripple effects of PTSD have focused on those populations, not on people whose post-traumatic stress has other sources.

Better recognition of PTSD in urban populations and its negative consequences could improve their long-term health, since effective treatment for PTSD is available, the researchers said.


Half the participants had annual incomes under $20,000, with PTSD significantly more common in those with low incomes. Some 59% of participants were black, 19% were white, and 8% were Hispanic.

Most of the trauma that participants reported was related to non-sexual crime and accidents.



“Only 11% had PTSD recorded in their medical records, so there clearly is under-recognition, but 50% of people with PTSD had depression in their records, even when they didn’t have depression,” she said.
The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. No potential conflicts of interest were reported.

Source reference:
Kartha A, et al “The impact of trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder on healthcare utilization among primary care patients” Medical Care 2008; 46: 388-93.


Foreclosures take toll on mental health

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by highboldtage

Foreclosures take toll on mental health

by Stephanie Armour / USA Today | Monday, May 19, 2008 |

On a brisk day last fall in Prineville, Ore., Raymond and Deanna Donaca faced the unthinkable: They were losing their home to foreclosure and had days to move out. For more than two decades, the couple had lived in their three-level house, where the elms outside blazed with yellow shades of fall and their four golden retrievers slept in the yard. The town had always been home, with a lazy river and rolling hills dotted by gnarled juniper trees.Yet just before lunch on Oct. 23, the Donacas closed all their home’s doors except the one to the garage and left their 1981 Cadillac Eldorado running. Toxic fumes filled the home. When sheriff’s deputies arrived about 1 p.m., they found the body of Raymond, 71, on the second floor along with three dead dogs. The body of Deanna, 69, was in an upstairs bedroom, close to another dead retriever.
“It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options,” the Crook County Sheriff’s Office said in a report.

Their suicides were a tragic extreme, but the Donacas’ case symbolizes how the housing crisis is wrenching the emotional lives of legions of homeowners. The escalating pace of foreclosures and rising fears among some homeowners about keeping up with their mortgages are creating a range of emotional problems, mental-health specialists say. The problems include anxiety disorders, depression, addictive behaviors such as alcoholism and gambling and, in a few cases, suicide.

February 2nd

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2008 by highboldtage

Yesterday, February 2nd was the anniversary of a sad event in Eureka and Humboldt County.  A year ago one of our brothers arrived outside of the gates of Sempervirens (our local mental health crisis care facility) and shot himself in the head. 

 Last year 34 of our brothers and sisters took their own lives in Humboldt County.  What is wrong?