Did You Know?: Random Facts About Depression and Bipolar Disorder–REPRISE

I’m actually ready to publish a series of posts on a topic close to my heart: mediation.  So swing back tomorrow to hear the latest on the alternative to adversarial divorce.

But, like Adam Sandler, who was so excited about the mileage he got out of his “Channukah Song” that he just couldn’t quit while he was ahead (“I guess my first two songs didn’t do it for you. So here comes number three!”), I so enjoyed putting together miscellaneous facts on bipolar disorder and depression (see first post here)–and readers were so responsive–that I include a ‘random facts’ interlude–interesting things you might never have known about mood disorders.


Video gamers are more likely to be depressed than non-gamers? (See “Adults Playing Video Games: Health Risks?”)

A survey of US drug companies, between 1995 and 1999, found the use of Prozac and other SSRIs for children aged seven to 12 increased by 151 per cent–and in those aged under six by 580 per cent? (See “Prozac is 20 Years Old – Time to Learn the Facts.”)

For those with bipolar, the first episode for males is likely to be a manic episode, while the first episode for females is more likely to be a depressive one?

A number of highly talented and creative people have experienced serious depression, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, John Lennon, Mark Twain, Georgia O’Keefe, Ernest Hemingway (well, I’m sure you noticed that if you read his work), F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Plath (another one you can’t miss if you even touch her poetry)? (See Emma Carlson Berne’s book Depression.)

Although bipolar disorder seems to have been around since time immemorial, the first person to firmly put a name to the illness was a Swiss doctor, Théophile Bonet, in 1686, who linked mania and depression by coming up with the term “manico-melancolicus?”

It was only in 1980, when the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published, that the term manic depression was officially changed to bipolar disorder?


What Americans pay for medications is growing at a faster rate than anything else they pay for as patients–including, of course, doctors’ fees? (see Marcia Angell’s The Truth About Drug Companies)

Paxil is considered to be one of the most difficult SSRIs to wean off of?

ECT, widely used for difficult-to-treat depression, is one of the most commonly recommended non-standard treatments for treatment-resistant mania, as well?

Dr. John Cade, an Australian psychiatrist, was experimenting with different compounds on WW II veterans with what was then termed manic-depression when lithium began to enter the treatment picture? As early as 1949 Cade found that lithium could be helpful, but because researchers were fearful that salt substitutes like lithium could be lethal, nothing happened for several years, at which point American hospitals begin experimenting with lithium on their patients–and (take a breath, this is a long sentence) by 10 years later (these things happen slowly), research was being published about lithium’s efficacy. It was not until 1970, 21 years after Cade’s discovery, that the US Food and Drug Administration approved lithium’s use in cases of bipolar disorder.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, at any given time 5% of children or teens are suffering from depression?

Most of the mood stabilizers in common use today (lithium is excused) are actually anti-convulsants, originally utilized to treat seizures? Include among these Depakote, Lamictal, Topomax, Tegretol, Trileptal, and Gabitril. (As a side random fact these drugs are highly interactive with other meds–including aspirin!–and supplements, so be clear with your doctor what you’re taking before you start this kind of  mood stabilizer.)

Aged cheese and deli meats are verboten (along with cold meds) if you’re taking an MAOI (short for monoamine oxidase inhibitors, one of the older treatments for depression)?

The number of Americans using antidepressants doubled from 1996-2005, while the number seeing psychiatrists fell? And the majority of those using antidepressants weren’t using them for depression, but rather for pain, fatigue, problems with sleep or other issues. (See 8/4/2009 article in USATODAY)

Tegretol, a mood stabilizer, is actually a first-line treatment for tic douloureux, the stabbing face pain so severe it’s sometimes called the Suicide Disease?

Lithium, among all its other uses, can–believe it or not–kill algae?

The U.S. was found to have the hightest bipolar rate in an 11-nation study? [See cnn.com.] Interestingly, India was found to have the lowest, with 0.1%. Thoughts??

Egas Moniz, the Portuguese doctor who, due to his belief that insanity could be cured due to the cutting of the frontal lobe, innovated the labotomy, actually receieved  the Nobel Prize in 1949?

Makes mental health treatments today look a whole lot better.

For more information on some of the craziest, randomest, quirkiest–worst?–past treatments for psychiatric illnesses, check out http://www.neatorama.com/2007/06/12/10-mind-boggling-psychiatric-treatments/. Sit down before you read it.


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