New Schizophrenia Study Will Investigate Possible Contributors to Rapid Aging
- Friday, 12 June 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Research to Help Understand and Treat Rapid Aging Effects of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that affects approximately one percent of the adult U.S. population. The illness deeply affects the individual’s personality. Common symptoms include experiencing delusions and difficulty discerning between real and imagined events. This disconnect with reality typically leads to social isolation.
The illness is also often accompanied by hurried physical aging, including the serious physical health problems usually encountered later in life. The physiological companions to schizophrenia are the main reason why the lifespan of a person with the illness is often cut short by as much as 25 years. A National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study will look deeper into this association.
Previous research has shown that the body of a person with schizophrenia actually ages faster than normal. In the past, healthcare professionals attributed the rapid aging to limited availability of treatment. However, despite significant improvements in treatment access and therapies, physiological ill-effects can remain. The planned study will therefore look deeper for new answers to improve treatment. The study is scheduled to last five years and will closely examine 250 plus middle-aged patients with schizophrenia.
Once each year for five years, study participants will undergo medical and psychiatric scrutiny. Investigators plan to track things like oxidative stress, telomere length, insulin dysregulation, cell aging and how taking one or more medications over a period of years may impact the aging process. By looking at the biological mechanisms of aging as well as the impact of current drug therapies, researchers aim to find out what leads to the speeding up of aging. Then new treatments could be devised to slow down the process more.
If someone in your life is affected by schizophrenia, directly or indirectly, you need to learn all you can about this mental health condition. People living with the illness and those caring for them need a place to go where someone understands the challenges they are facing. At Family Guidance Center we can be that place. Call us or stop by today.
Women More Apt Than Men to Develop a Mood Disorder
- Tuesday, 09 June 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Researchers Believe Female Hormones Could Trigger a Mood Disorder for Women
When studying illness researchers are interested not only in how the disease behaves and progresses, but also in what may cause or contribute to the development of the illness in the first place. Risk factors are those things which seem to make a person more likely to contract or develop specific health issues. Risk factors can be behavioral (e.g. smoking may lead to lung cancer), they can be hereditary (certain illnesses run in families) and they can be environmental (loud work environments may cause hearing loss). For some conditions, even your gender may pose a risk factor. Women, for example, are two times more apt than men to experience a mood disorder.
Hormones Could be Attributed
One reason that women may be more susceptible to developing a mood disorder could stem from their hormone system. Investigators believe that hormones are linked to mood disorders because it is only during a woman’s reproductive years that there is a measurable difference in the prevalence of mood disorder between men and women. Before and after that season of life mood disorders seem to affect similar numbers of males and females.
In fact, hormones and mood disorder could be symbiotic. Women face a higher risk of mood disorder around hormonal events such as menstruation, childbirth and menopause. At the same time, the presence of a mood disorder can impact hormonal events such as early menopause. This means that if you are a woman still in childbearing years, it’s important that you not ignore any signs of a mood disorder.
Mood disorders can become chronic and persistent — but they are manageable with help from experienced mental health professionals. Please contact us at Family Guidance Center. We understand and we can help.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Physical Health
- Friday, 05 June 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
How Treating Depression Aids Both Mental Health and Physical Health
When a person is living with depression, it can impact their everyday quality of life. It can also impact their physical health. The connection between mental health and physical health is strong. And just as chronic illness may lead to depression, depression can deepen the symptoms of physical illness. If you treat depression effectively it can actually help to alleviate some physical discomforts associated with chronic medical conditions.
The mental health and physical health link works in both directions. If you have untreated depression, you are more susceptible to some physical conditions such as heart disease, irritable bowel, stroke, back pain or certain kinds of cancer. On the flip side, patients living with these kinds of chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to developing depression. Thus, whichever came first, the association between mental health and physical health persists.
By treating your depression you can significantly impact your physical health and your quality of life. Treatment for depression may include use of antidepressant medication, but not necessarily. Sometimes, lifestyle changes such as adding moderate exercise into your daily schedule and paying attention to your sleep routine (sleep hygiene) can be enough to turn things around. A short-term course of cognitive behavioral therapy which helps you learn to take charge of thought patterns is another way to help clear the fog of depression.
What matters most is that you realize the importance of addressing depression. It could trigger other health matters or make existing health matters worse. Either way, taking steps to address your depression is a smart move. At Family Guidance Center we can help you find the treatment which will be most effective in dealing with your depression. Call us today and take the first step toward a better quality of life.