Lithium: Help for the Afflicted

 

Lithium (brand names Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithonate, and Lithotabs) is the most widely used and studied medication for treating bipolar disorder. Lithium helps reduce the severity and frequency of mania. It may also help relieve bipolar depression. Studies show that lithium can significantly reduce suicide risk. Lithium also helps prevent future manic episodes. As a result, it ma y be prescribed for long periods of time (even between episodes) as maintenance therapy.

Lithium acts on a person’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Doctors don’t know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person’s mood. However, it helps people with bipolar disorder have more control over their emotions and reduce the extremes in behavior. It usually takes one to two weeks for lithium to begin working.

Your doctor will want to take regular blood tests during your treatment because lithium can affect kidney function. Lithium works best if the amount of the drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Your doctor will also probably suggest you drink eight to 12 glasses of water or fluid a day during treatment and use a normal amount of salt in your food. Both salt and fluid can affect the levels of lithium in your blood, so it’s important to consume a steady amount every day.

The dose of lithium varies among individuals and as phases of their illness change. Although bipolar disorder is often treated with more than one drug, some people can control their condition with lithium alone.

Lithium Side Effects About 75% of people who take lithium for bipolar disorder have some side effects, although they may be minor. They may become less troublesome after a few weeks as your body adjusts to the drug. Sometimes side effects of lithium can be relieved by tweaking the dose. However, never change your dose or drug schedule on your own. Do not change the brand of lithium without checking with your doctor or pharmacist first. If you are having any problems, talk to your doctor about your options.

Common side effects of lithium can include:

  • Hand tremor (If tremors are bothersome, an additional medication can help.)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Decreased thyroid function (which can be treated with thyroid hormone)

Notify your doctor if you experience persistent symptoms from lithium or if you develop diarrhea, vomiting, fever, unsteady walking, fainting, confusion, slurred speech, or rapid heart rate. Tell your doctor about history of cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, epilepsy, and allergies. Make sure your doctor knows about all other drugs you are taking. Avoid products that contain sodium, such as certain antacids. While taking lithium, use caution when driving or using machinery and limit alcoholic beverages.

If you miss a dose of lithium, take it as soon as you remember it — unless the next scheduled dose is within two hours (or six hours for slow-release forms). If so, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not “double up” the dose to catch up. There are a few serious risks to consider. Lithium may weaken bones in children. The drug has also been linked to birth defects and is not recommended for pregnant women, especially during the first three months. Breastfeeding isn’t recommended if you are taking lithium. Also, in a few people, long-term lithium treatment can interfere with kidney function.

A word of encouragement.  I’ve been taking 12oo mg of Lithium twice a day for over three years now, with just minor side effects.  (Mostly a bad hand tremor.)  Taking Lithium has stabilized me and protected me from my more bizarre behavior.

………………………………………………………………………………… 

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology.

http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-lithium

Tourette Syndrome: Know The Basics

“Dropping F Bombs”

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Tourette’s disorder, or Tourette syndrome

(TS) as it is frequently called, is a neurologic syndrome. The essential feature of Tourette’s are multiple tics that are sudden, rapid, recurrent, non-rhythmic, stereotypical, purposeless movements or vocalizations.

 
 What are the symptoms of Tourette syndrome?
 
  • Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics are present at some time during the illness, although not necessarily simultaneously
  • Occurrence many times a day nearly every day or intermittently throughout a span of more than one year
  • Significant impairment or marked distress in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • Onset before the age of 18.

 Symptoms can disappear for weeks or months at a time and severity waxes and wanes.

  

What are the first tics that may be characteristic of Tourette’s syndrome?

Usually, the facial tic, such as rapid blinking of the eyes or twitches of the mouth, may be the first indication a parent has that their child may have Tourette’s syndrome. Involuntary sounds, such as throat clearing and sniffing, or tics of the limbs may be an initial sign in other children.

  

Are any other symptoms associated with Tourette’s syndrome?

Approximately 50 percent of patients meet criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and this may be the more impairing problem. Approximately one-third of patients meet criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or have other forms of anxiety. Learning disabilities are common as well as developmental stuttering. Social discomfort, self-consciousness and depressed mood frequently occur, especially as children reach adolescence.

 

Yelling and irrational

What causes these symptoms?

Although the cause has not been definitely established, there is considerable evidence that Tourette’s syndrome arises from abnormal metabolism of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Other neurotransmitters may be involved.

 

Can Tourette’s syndrome be inherited?

Genetic studies indicate that Tourette’s syndrome is inherited as an autosomal dominant gene but different family members may have dissimilar symptoms. A parent has a 50 percent chance of passing the gene to one of his or her children. The range of symptomatology varies from multiple severe tics to very minor tics with varying degrees of attention deficit-disorder and OCD.

  

Are boys or girls more likely to have Tourette’s syndrome?

The sex of the child can influence the expression of the Tourette’s syndrome gene. Girls with the gene have a 70 percent chance of displaying symptoms, boys with the gene have a 99 percent chance of displaying symptoms. Ratios of boys with Tourette’s syndrome to girls with Tourette’s syndrome are 3:1. 

  

How is Tourette’s syndrome diagnosed?

No blood analysis, x-ray or other medical test exists to identify Tourette’s syndrome. Diagnosis is made by observing the signs or symptoms as described above. A doctor may wish to use a CAT scan, EEG, or other tests to rule out other ailments that could be confused with TS. Some medications cause tics, so it is important to inform the professional doing the assessment of any prescribed, over-the-counter, or street drugs to which the patient may have been exposed.

  

What are the benefits of seeking early treatment of Tourette syndrome symptoms?

When a child’s behavior is viewed as disruptive, frightening, or bizarre by peers, family, teachers, or friends, it provokes ridicule and rejection. Teachers and other children can feel threatened and exclude the child from activities or interpersonal relationships. A child’s socialization difficulties will increase as he reaches adolescence. Therefore, it is very important for the child’s self-esteem and emotional well-being that treatment be sought as early as possible.

  

What treatments are available for Tourette syndrome?

Not everyone is disabled by his or her symptoms, so medication may not be necessary. When symptoms interfere with functioning, medication can effectively improve attention span, decrease impulsivity, hyperactivity, tics, and obsessive-compulsive symptomatology. Relaxation techniques and behavior therapy may also be useful for tics, ADD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. 

  

How does Tourette syndrome affect the education of a child or adolescent with Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome alone does not affect the IQ of a child. Many children who have Tourette syndrome, however, also have learning disabilities or attention deficits. Frequently, therefore, special education may be needed for a child with Tourette syndrome. Teachers should be given factual information about the disorder and, if learning difficulties appear, the child should be referred to the school system for assessment of other learning problems.

  

What is the course of Tourette syndrome?

Some people with Tourette syndrome show a marked improvement in their late teens or early twenties. However, tics as well as ADD and OCD behavior, may wax and wane over the course of the life span.   

  

Reviewed by Charles T. Gordon, III, M.D., 2003

 

For more help go to: http://www.nami.org/   and  http://www.tsa-usa.org/

 

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24/7 Crisis Lines

List of Hotlines–1-800 Phone Numbers

In general, hotlines have three things in common:

1) they are available to call 24/7
2) they are 100% confidential
3) they are free

Here’s a list of hotlines that may help you in whatever situation you find yourself in:

Christian Counseling Services-General

New Life Clinics 1-800-NEW-LIFE
National Prayer Line 1-800-4-PRAYER
Bethany Lifeline Pregnancy Hotline 1-800-BETHANY
Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336
Grace Help Line 24 Hour Christian service 1-800-982-8032
The 700 Club Hotline 1-800-759-0700
Want to know Jesus? 1-800-NEED-HIM
Biblical help for youth in crisis 1-800-HIT-HOME
Rapha National Network 1-800-383-HOPE
Emerge Ministries 330-867-5603
Meier Clinics 1-888-7-CLINIC or 1-888-725-4642
Association of Christian Counselors 1-800-526-8673
Minirth Clinic 1-888-MINIRTH (646-4784)
National Christian Counselors Association 1-941-388-6868
Pine Rest 1-800-678-5500
Timberline Knolls 1-877-257-9611

Abortion
Post Abortion Counseling 1-800-228-0332
Post Abortion Project Rachel 1-800-5WE-CARE
National Abortion Federation Hotline 1-800-772-9100
National Office of Post Abortion Trauma 1-800-593-2273

Abuse

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Stop it Now! 1-888-PREVENT
United States Elder Abuse Hotline 1-866-363-4276
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
Child Abuse Hotline / Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720
Child Abuse National Hotline 1-800-25ABUSE
Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST
Exploitation of Children 1-800-843-5678
Missing Children Help Center 1-800-872-5437

Addiction

Marijuana Anonymous 1-800-766-6779
Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-252-6465
Families Anonymous 1-800-736-9805
Cocaine Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-262-2463
Drug Abuse National Helpline 1-800-662-4357
National Association for Children of Alcoholics 1-888-554-2627
Ecstasy Addiction 1-800-468-6933
Alcoholics for Christ 1-800-441-7877

Cancer

American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345
National Cancer institute 1-800-422-6237

Caregivers
Elder Care Locator 1-800-677-1116
Well Spouse Foundation 1-800-838-0879

Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain

Rest Ministries 1-888-751-REST (7378)

Crisis Numbers for Teens (Under 18)
Girls and Boys town 1-800-448-3000
Hearing Impaired 1-800-448-1833
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663
Teen Hope Line 1-800-394-HOPE
Covenant House Nineline 1-800-999-9999

Crisis Numbers for Help (Any age)

United Way Crisis Helpline 1-800-233-HELP
Christian Oriented Hotline 1-877-949-HELP
Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213

Crisis Pregnancy Helpline
Crisis Pregnancy Hotline Number 1-800-67-BABY-6
Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336

Cult Information
Cult Hotline (Mercy House) 606-748-9961

Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
National Domestic Violence Hotline Spanish 1-800-942-6908
Battered Women and their Children 1-800=603-HELP
Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966
RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention 1-800-931-2237
Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438
Overcomers Outreach, Inc. 1-800-310-3001
Remuda Ranch 1-800-445-1900

Family Violence
Family Violence Prevention Center 1-800-313-1310

Gambling
Compulsive Gambling Hotline 410-332-0402

Grief/Loss
GriefShare 1-800-395-5755

Homeless/Shelters
Homeless 1-800-231-6946
American Family Housing 1-888-600-4357

Homosexual/Lesbian
Recovery: Exodus International 1-888-264-0877
Helpline: 1-800-398-GAYS
Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 1-888-843-4564
Trevor Hotline (Suicide) 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

Parents
Hotline for parents considering abducting their children 1-800-A-WAY-OUT
United States Missing Children Hotline 1-800-235-3535

Poison
Poison Control 1-800-942-5969

Runaways
Boystown National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
Covenant House Nineline 1-800-999-9999
Laurel House 1-714-832-0207
National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-621-4000
Teenline 1-888-747-TEEN
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663

Salvation
Grace Help Line 24 Hour Christian Service 1-800-982-8032
Want to know Jesus? 1-888-NEED-HIM

Self-Injury, “Cutting”
S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) 1-800-DONT-CUT

Sexual Addiction
Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY

Suicide
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571
Deaf Hotline 1-800-799-4TTY
NineLine 1-800-999-9999
Holy Spirit Teenline  1-800-722-5385
Crisis Intervention 1- 888- 596-4447
Crisis Intervention 1-800-673-2496


Mostly, these are Christian ministries that are there when life gets challenging.  Use these phone numbers wisely, and I would encourage you to pray for the counseling you.  Also, I am not able to check each number.  These numbers are to be used with some precaution as a result.

This list isn’t complete yet.  If you have a contact that isn’t here, please email me that information.  I’m Bryan Lowe at flash99603@hotmail.com.

Understanding Suicide

Getting a Grip on Suicide

"Suicide" by Manet, 1877
"Suicide" by Manet, 1877

 Can a Christian believer attempt suicide?  My own first-hand experience rings out a resounding YES!  We can be so driven by major depression that it effects our relationship with the God who loves us and pushes us into a place of complete hopelessness. Very often, it is an attack by evil upon our lives.

 Suicide is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious potential consequence of many mental disorders, particularly major depression.

Who is most likely to commit suicide? Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. People over the age of 65 have the highest rate of suicide. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to be successful.

 Suicide risk also is higher in the following groups:

•Older people who have lost a spouse through death or divorce  

•People who have attempted suicide in the past

•People with a family history of suicide

•People with a friend or co-worker who committed suicide

•People with a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

•People who are unmarried, unskilled, or unemployed

•People with long-term pain, or a disabling or terminal illness

•People who are prone to violent or impulsive behavior

•People who have recently been released from a psychiatric hospitalization (This often is a very frightening period of transition.)

•People in certain professions, such as police officers and health care providers who work with terminally ill patients

•People with substance abuse problems

What are the warning signs for suicide? Following are some of the possible warning signs that a person may be at risk for suicide:

•Excessive sadness or moodiness — Long-lasting sadness and mood swings can be symptoms of depression, a major risk factor for suicide.

 •Sudden calmness — Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made a decision to end his or her life.

  •Withdrawal — Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.

 •Changes in personality and/or appearance — A person who is considering suicide might exhibit a change in attitude or behavior, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. In addition, the person might suddenly become less concerned about his or her personal appearance.  

•Dangerous or self-harmful behavior — Potentially dangerous behavior, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of drugs and/or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.

•Recent trauma or life crisis — A major life crises might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one or pet, divorce or break-up of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.  

•Making preparations — Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide.

 •Threatening suicide — Not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. However, every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.

Can suicide be prevented? Definitely. In many cases suicide can be averted. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, recognize the warning signs for suicide, and intervene before the person can complete the process of self-destruction.

Praying for and listening to the afflicted should be something we practice.  The despair of the suicidal is intense, but it gets dangerous when that despair turns into resignation and calmness (without a resolution).