The New Bipolar Planet Bookstore

January 15, 2014

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life An Unquiet Mind Manic: A Memoir The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide Bipolar Disorder Your Drug May Be Your Problem Touched with Fire The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide The Bipolar Workbook Page 2 Page3 Shopping Cart The New Bipolar Planet Bookstore Page3 Image Map

No More Pediatric Bipolar Disorder!

December 7, 2012

The DSM-V will be dropping the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder. It took YEARS for the shrinks to admit that some children were experiencing psychotic manias from the stimulants given to children with ADHD because they didn’t have ADHD! The seminal book on the topic is The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood’s Most Misunderstood Disorder, Third Edition

Another thing that is STILL missing is an anosognosia specifier. It is my nightmare to be trying to convince some evil bastard that I am not insane.

Anosognosia means you are unaware that you are exhibiting the symptoms of your illness. Self-awareness, i.e. the ability to be objective about yourself, isn’t a guaranteed just because you’re human, but when a mentally ill person doesn’t have it, they can get in extra trouble.

The DSM-IV has specifiers for “last episode depressive” or “with psychosis” but there isn’t one for “painfully aware that she is batshit insane.”

It’s not enough to stay calm and not talk about space aliens. The powers-that-be ASSUME you’ll be on your best behavior. Once on a psych ward even a sane person would be hard-pressed to get back out. There was an experiment a few years ago in which psych grad students feigned hearing voices to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Once in, they behaved normally and tried to be released. In all cases the students had to submit to the will of their captors and admit they were mentally ill before being allowed to leave.

“The uniform failure to recognize sanity cannot be attributed to the quality of the hospitals, for, although there were considerable variations among them, several are considered excellent. Nor can it be alleged that there was simply not enough time to observe the pseudopatients. Length of hospitalization ranged from 7 to 52 days, with an average of 19 days. The pseudopatients were not, in fact, carefully observed, but this failure speaks more to traditions within psychiatric hospitals than to lack of opportunity.”

Vagus Nerve & the Mind-Body Connection

March 25, 2010

The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve, a honking big nerve that runs from your skull, down your chest and into your abdomen. The punch-in-the-gut feeling of a jolt of adrenalin/the start of an anxiety attack is carried on the vagus nerve.

The usual paradigm for emotions is they start in the brain. Most of the body’s hormones have a dual purpose as a neurotransmitter. The vagus nerve helps coordinate the physical feeling with the emotional feeling – they are one and the same. The mind-body connection.

Most of the body’s serotonin is in the gut. A squirt of serotonin doesn’t just happen in the brain, it happens in the whole body. Ditto adrenaline. The vagus nerve conducts information in both directions. I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to blame anxiety on a brain malfunction.

An interesting treatment for anxiety is “Vagus Nerve Stimulation.” In VNS, a device is implanted that applies current to the vagus nerve is to overwhelm it. It’s kind of like a TENS unit for pain. VNS is a last resort for intractible anxiety.

One implication of this is that if you can control the physical aspects of anxiety – relax your muscles, slow down your breathing & heart rate – then the emotional component will follow. Once the emotions are managed you can work out whatever brought on the anxiety.
Candace Pert, Ph.D. discovered opium (endorphin) receptors in the brain. She wrote an enlightening book Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine.

Also check out Timothy Leary. One of his more interesting ideas is that we have receptor sites for chemicals that haven’t been invented yet. Alexander Shulgin was a chemist who formulated a lot of them, but I don’t recommend you try it. 🙂

HBO – Temple Grandin

February 19, 2010

HBO has made a movie about the life of Dr. Temple Grandin, author of "Thinking in Pictures," the autobiography of an autistic woman. Dr. Grandin is an expert in animal husbandry whose specialty is humane treatment of animals in the cattle industry. The movie is a must see. Preorder Temple Grandin from

Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O’Hara and David Strathairn, Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young woman’s perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple’s early diagnosis; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she receied from her mother (Ormond) , aunt (O’Hara) and her science teacher (Strathairn); and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitiviity and understanding of animal behavior.
HBO Movies, Temple Grandin


November 20, 2009

Self-Righteousness stems from mental illness, from boundary issues. If you don’t own it, stop trying to control it.

How to Save Money on Meds

October 22, 2009

If you usually traipse over to your local Rite Aid to get medications, you can easily save money.

Number one is to get generics where available.

Lamictal 200 mg 60 tablets $389.99
Lamotrigine 200 mg 60 tablets $323.14 :: cheaper

Number two is that your drugstore probably sells drugs online for at
least 10% lower than at your neighborhood store.

Number three is to buy larger pills and split them. If you took 100mg doses:

Lamictal 100mg 100 tabs $533.32 $5.33 per dose
Lamictal 200mg 60 tabs or
120 doses
$389.99 $3.25 per dose :: cheaper

Number four is to save by buying in bulk. Check before you order as it’s not a given.

Lamictal 200mg Tablets
60 tabs $389.99 $6.50 ea
180 tabs $1,138.09 $6.32 ea :: cheaper

Number five is to buy from overseas pharmacies, and remember they are NOT TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

Lamotrigine 200mg Tablets 240 tabs $1,156.51 $4.82 ea 280 tabs $425.60 $1.52 ea :: cheaper

Bipolar Planet on Facebook

June 18, 2009

The Bipolar Planet has made it to the 21st century. Social Networking is all the rage, and though The Bipolar Planet has provided a private email list for over ten years and a web page for 15 years as of May 2009, I’ve resisted wandering. Ok, here we go… Become a fan at the official Bipolar Planet Facebook page.