Category Archives: Mental Health

Mental illness is 2nd largest reason for time off work

“Mental illness is now the second largest reason for UK workers taking time off, a report suggests.

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found an increasing amount of sickness leave is due to depression or stress.

Analysis of the records of 30,000 people found only muscle-related problems such as bad backs were cited as a greater cause of absenteeism.
Staff with depression were said to take an average 30 days off annually.

Those with stress were reported to be away for 21 days.

The CPID found public sector workers were more likely to take time off work because of mental illness and overall the problem was more prevalent among older staff.

Reduced hours

The CIPD said its findings will be “particularly worrying” for the government in light of a “huge” increase in the number of people with mental health problems claiming incapacity benefit.

“This research shows how important it is for managers and HR practitioners to be aware of the signs of mental ill health so that they can take action early and provide support before the individual’s condition deteriorates to the point they go off on long-term sick leave,” said Ben Willmott, CIPD employee relations adviser.

He called on the government to provide tax incentives to encourage more firms to offer occupational health services.

GPs need to work more closely with employers to identify opportunities for “phased return-to-work” for those affected with less demanding or reduced hours roles, Mr Willmott added.”
Source

Posted by: Eleanor

PTSD: Fitting the definition

The excellent Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments blog reported on an interesting study last week which suggested that the definition of PTSD needs to be more specific to avoid incorrect diagnosis.

“Based on clinical evidence that severely depressed patients also display many of the symptoms falling under the PTSD label, researchers believe that its definition needs to be refined in order to avoid frequently incorrect diagnoses. In a study of one hundred patients suffering from deep depression, researchers had them answer questions about whether they had experienced some of the varied symptoms of PTSD. To clarify the information given, two independent experts interviewed patients to determine which had undergone events fitting the definition of “traumatic” and whether these events might account for their present states. A majority of the study’s subjects had undergone such trauma, and most of that number also qualified for PTSD diagnoses, but the study’s most important finding was that an equal percentage of the patients without notable traumas could, under the current definition, be classified as suffering from PTSD. Such an overlap, experts say, has the potential to confuse treatments and render them ineffective.”

“Researchers say no clearly distinct biological differences between depression and PTSD have been established, though post-traumatic patients seem to respond differently to certain hormonal therapies. Differences, however subtle, exist between patients suffering from psychological disorders drawn from direct events and those who are clinically depressed, even though the two overlap in terms of observable symptoms and certain treatments may prove effective for both. This study suggests that we have yet to understand the intricacies of PTSD and that, in order to treat it more specifically in the future, we should immediately sponsor additional large-scale research projects with the ultimate goal of making these crucial distinctions at a time when an increasing percentage of our general population and especially our armed forces faces the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress every day.”

And thank you Sisyphus for my Thinking Blogger nomination!

Posted by: Eleanor

“Community treatment orders won’t help people at all”

The proposed reform of the Mental Health Bill which would mean people with mental health problems could be detained despite commiting no crime has recieved a blow as the results of a review by the Institute of Psychiatry come to light which concludes that ‘Community Treatment Orders’ do not raise compliancy with medication or lower incidences of violence.

A spokesperson from mental health charity Mind said: “They will scare vulnerable people away from seeking help when they need it”.

The Mental Health Alliance, said: “We call on the government to use the evidence its own research has provided and to listen to the professionals, patients and families who have expressed such strong concerns about CTOs.

We addressed the Mental Health Bill in this post last year and it’s very interesting to read about these latest developments.

Read the full BBC article on the Institute of Psychaitry review here.

Posted by: Eleanor

Do you think we deserve effective psychotherapy in the NHS?

I’ve been very helpfully informed about a petition (which is running until 3rd March 2007) on the Government’s website which anyone interested in effective therapy should sign. Pass this around if you agree and get as many signatures as possible

The motion is this:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The proposal by Lord Layard to increase by 10,000 the number of CBT therapists in the NHS ignores the benefits to people of other forms of therapy. Relationship based therapy, such as the Person Centred Approach, and others, have a proven record of helping to alleviate distress and to change lives.

‘We Need To Talk’ , a July 2006 report into NHS availability of mental health treatment supported by MIND, The Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, TheSainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Young Minds highlights the need for more organisation and consideration of therapies other than CBT in this area.

They recommend that “The Department of Health should investigate the current bias in research priorities and address it by supporting more research into psychological therapies.”

The more signatures this petition gets before 3rd March 2007 so it receives the Priministerial attention it deserves, the better.

Sign the petition here.

Posted by: Eleanor

The Dreamcatcher – New Scientist interview with Joe Griffin

Here is an oldish interview with Joe Griffin answering questions on REM sleep, depression, psychosis, trauma, conflict and cult behaviour, published in New Scientist in April 2003:

JOE GRIFFINWe live in mad times. The WHO predicts depression will soon rank second in the global disease burden, suicide rates are rising, and the trauma caused by war, conflict or domestic abuse is everywhere. The toll is horrific: mental illness costs Britain alone £32 billion a year. And people looking for therapy face a confusing tower of psychobabble, with 400-plus often warring schools of thought. Enter JOE GRIFFIN, who says there is a way to lift depression in a day, and told BARBARA KISER he can prove it.

How can you deal with serious depression in just a day?

The important thing is to know how depression is manufactured in the brain. Once you understand that, you can correct the maladaptive cycle incredibly fast. For 40 years it’s been known that depressed people have excessive REM sleep. They dream far more than healthy people. What we realised – and proved – is that the negative introspection, or ruminations, that depressed people engage in actually causes the excessive dreaming. So depression is being generated on a 24-hour cycle and we can make a difference within 24 hours to how a person feels.

Continue reading

The fatal consequences of not treating PTSD

The almost unbearable tragedy reported today of the former soldier David Bradley, who had not been detraumatised from the experience of serving in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Northern Ireland (discharged in 1995), and who killed four members of his family with a pistol before giving himself up to police – reminds me of a short but poignant case study published in the Human Givens Journal in 2003 about a Falklands War veteran who had lived with severe PTSD for over 20 years until being detraumatised in one session using the rewind technique. He describes his experience:

Ken is a 49 year old Falklands veteran who, between March and June 1982, experienced three terrifying events. A missile hit HMS Antelope, but did not immediately explode. Twenty four hours later, it exploded. Ken had to pull bodies out of the water as he was helping to get his colleagues off the ship.

Ken rated his wellbeing, as a result of these events, as 5 out of a possible 50. He described his life before rewind: “I don’t go to parties because of the noise. I know the balloons will bang. I pre-empt by ducking under a table. I start to sweat; it’s sheer terror for me — it takes me back to the war. I vomit — people think I’m drunk or on drugs. I feel I am back on board; I’m swaying.

“I have lain on the bathroom floor for hours because I feel so physically sick. For days I am on edge, sometimes unable to walk. I avoid sleep because of the nightmares and, after several days, I get hallucinations, I sit in the flat in total darkness for days, curtains drawn. I imagine the bus going by is a jet. The smell of fuel oil, ‘burnt pork’ makes me feel sick. I’m sweating profusely but I am cold and shaking, in a state of mental confusion.

“I was like a zombie, a robot. I saw my GP in 1983, after leaving the navy. I saw a psychiatrist for a year. It did not help; it was a waste of time. I have no recollection of what they said, apart from being told I was a manic-depressive. Medication did not stop the nightmares. I have been prescribed Valium, Mogadon, antidepressants and I’ve been given antipsychotic drugs, and they did not help.”

Seven to 10 days after rewind, he said, “The memories don’t seem to bother me anymore. I’m not fearful. I’m unsure — it’s like bereavement. I’ve had 20 years of a wasted life. It’s like coming in to the light. I felt jolly, joking and then — but what am I going to ‘do with it’? I feel all over the place. I feel like I’m born again at 50.”

Three to six months later, he commented, “I feel my face has changed. The light has come on from within; it’s a spiritual light. I am more relaxed, more at peace. I think I am content. I have laughed more in the last weeks than the last 20 years. I sleep much better; I eat well; I can relax. I feel much more in control. This has been life changing for me — no more flashbacks or nightmares; it was like a prison sentence. My partner has noticed the difference in me. She likes what she sees.”source

The surviving family of David Bradley released a statement saying “My sister and I try to cope with this by trying to believe it was not David who did this unspeakable crime but some other entity that slowly took him away from reality and into some other dark world.”

PTSD indeed strips away reality, leaving suffered ‘trapped’ in a world of heightened emotional arousal, so Bradley was in ‘some other dark world’, and the charges against him were rightly dropped under grounds of diminished responsibility due to’ mental illness’.

It breaks my heart to read about the terrible consequences that can arise from people not being effectively detraumatised after horrific experiences (not just soldiers) – so if you know anyone suffering from PTSD or panic attacks please read this article published in the Human Givens Journal (2005) which decribes how the rewind technique, eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR), and emotional freedom therapy EFT or ‘tapping’) share a common mechanism that explains their often miraculous effects on traumatised people, and also explains why the rewind technique in particular is taught to and used by human givens therapists to great effect.

Posted by: Eleanor

Seroxat Secrets

I’ve been reading Seroxat Secrets, a blog about the pharmaceutical industry (specifically GlaxoSmithKline) and how research surrounding the anti-depressant is often misrepresented.

Worth a look if this interests you.

Posted by: Eleanor