On March 19, Dr. Sandy Steingard will talk about what informed consent can and should look like in a real life community mental health program. Dr. Steingard has been a leader in this country and is getting increasing attention elsewhere for her courageous and research-based approach to psychiatry. She is particularly well-prepared to discuss issues related to the use of psychiatric medications. You can see notice of her webinar here along with the learning objectives she will be addressing.
We are asking for a registration fee of $75 but it covers all 6 of the webinars in this series. You can contact me if you want to discuss an organizational rate or discuss a scholarship option.
February 8, 2019 by Alita Kathryn Taylor, MA, LMFT
Love Is In the Air…
I am in love. I’m in love with this way of working. And I won’t stop. Open Dialogue Washington began in 2018 upon my graduation/commencement from Jaakko Seikkula’s dialogic approaches to couple and family therapy trainer/supervisor training, in collaboration with Dialogic Partners and the University of Jyväskylä.
In 2016, I embarked to partake in the best training course I had ever experienced as a family therapist. The embodiment I experienced working with my Open Dialogue colleagues felt like the missing key in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Something intangible, yet what I knew all along. Something ineffable, yet also a shared language. Something deeply and autonomically human, yet unrepeatable and fleeting. It led me onto a moment-by-moment path where everything I learned in my 27-year long career about systemic family therapy and emergency psychiatric protocols ebbed, and the present moment of love flowed, neither the ebbing knowledge nor the cresting wisdom having any lesser value than the other. The complete work we do in mental health care is this ocean of love.
We are in constant change when we are in crisis. Timelessness sets in. Growth is happening. We don’t exactly know what we need. That is what mental health work is, sitting with this human happening. In the in-between space something happens, and we don’t know what will. This is the paradox. We are navigating the ebb and flow of incoming knowledge we have from research and the ebb and flow in each patient and family’s difficulties (the meanings they make of them.)
(RxISK.org) – It is commonly recognized that certain medications should not be administered with some others. What is not well known is that several over the counter (OTC) medications and herbal supplements can be lethal if taken with SSRIs.
I have a patient who was taking fluoxetine and, experiencing some difficulty with sleep, decided to take one tab of melatonin. He woke up with a red and burning face, headache and blood pressure of 230/180. He was in a full serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome symptoms often begin within hours of taking a new medication that affects serotonin levels or excessively increasing the dose of one you are already taking. Symptoms may include: Confusion, agitation or restlessness, dilated pupils, headache, changes in blood pressure and/or temperature, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, tremor, loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles, shivering and goose bumps, heavy sweating.
This syndrome may develop within hours to days of increasing a serotonergic dose or adding a serotonergic agent to a drug regimen already containing a serotonergic medication. Symptoms range from mild and chronic, to others that progress quickly to death. My patient is lucky to be alive.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: An Infographic on Bipolar Drugs
This post helps make sense of the mountain of bipolar drug research. It distills into an infographic the pros and cons of five classes of bipolar drugs and gives observations on what it means for people who face choices on bipolar care.
Although this post wanders deeply into the statistical weeds, we avoid technical jargon. To maintain statistical rigor, we use technical definitions for important phrases below. 
(The infographic is kept fresh as research evolves. The latest version with footnotes is always here.)
A few key perspectives behind this infographic deserve attention:
Open Dialogue: Does the Current Research Data Support Further Investment?
Psychiatric Services, a leading US journal, has published two important papers on Open Dialogue. Freeman and colleagues did an extensive literature review and analysis of currently available research. Their paper is accompanied by a commentary by Kim Mueser, PhD, Director of the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and one of the world’s experts in his field.
Freeman and colleagues begin their paper with a detailed explanation of the criteria for inclusion into their investigation. They identified 23 studies for review. Papers selected were published in English and evaluated Open Dialogue effectiveness using either case study, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Studies were conducted in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the US.
As the authors point out, most of the available research comes from the Western Lapland group that developed Open Dialogue (OD). This poses a fundamental source of weakness in the evidence base. Their studies had small sample sizes, there was no control group, and the ratings were not blinded. In addition, there were not consistent methods for either defining or evaluating OD.
Many of us learned of Open Dialogue because of their reported excellent outcomes for individuals who experienced a first episode of psychosis. We are eager to see if these results can be replicated elsewhere. But there are other important questions.
What Would Real Informed Consent on Psychiatric Drugs Look Like? New Webinar Series Begins January 22
I’m excited to announce a new series of Mad in America Continuing Education webinars for 2019. They focus on what I believe is a central issue—what does a true informed consent process look like for the prescription of psychiatric drugs? This is a leverage point for changing the paradigm of care by starting with how people are informed about what psychiatric drugs do.
I believe that righting this ship is largely going to be up to non-medical mental health professionals and persons with experience in having been through a system that fails miserably to provide real informed consent. Since we are a continuing education program, our courses are designed primarily for the first group: psychologists, social workers, nurses, licensed professional counselors, and marriage/family therapists. We will continue to apply for continuing education credits (CEs) and at some point recruit more interest from physicians so it would be worthwhile to apply for the more expensive continuing medical education credits (CMEs).
October 28, 2018 by Sandra Steingard, MD | Community Mental Health Journal
Five Year Outcomes of Tapering Antipsychotic Drug Doses in a Community Mental Health Center
There is evidence that many individuals are on higher doses of antipsychotic drug than is required for optimal functioning yet there are limited guidelines on how to reduce them. This paper reports on 5 year outcomes for sixty-seven individuals who received treatment at a community mental health center and were offered the opportunity to gradually reduce their doses of antipsychotic drug in collaboration with the treating psychiatrist. Over a period of 6 months, the author invited patients who were clinically stable and able to participate in discussions of potential risks and benefits to begin gradual dose reductions. Initially, 40 expressed interest in tapering and 27 declined. The groups did not differ in age, sex, race, or diagnosis. The group who chose to taper began on significantly lower doses. Most patients succeeded at making modest dose reductions. At 5 years, there were no significant differences in the two outcomes measures, rate of hospitalization and employment status. Many patients were able to engage in these discussions which did not result in widespread discontinuation of drug. This is a naturalistic, small study of a topic that warrants further research.
When Rain Comes, Words Are Unnecessary: Our Search for a Better Way
Living in New Mexico means hoping for rain. The state is in drought, with most areas officially in either “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. The soil is full of life waiting for a chance to express itself, but the rare rain forecasts usually promise only “scattered showers nearby,” with the outcome being either clear blue skies or the sight of rain falling elsewhere. New Mexico is also one of the poorest states in the U.S., with more than one in five New Mexicans, and one in four children, living in poverty. We are second in the nation for the prevalence of youth living without connection to work, school, or family. New Mexico ranks high (#7) for people living with serious mental and emotional challenges.
Fort Collins Research Collaborative Recruiting for Second Test Group of Novel Program
The Fort Collins-based Learning and Self-development Collaborative grant project is midway through supporting its first group of young adults experiencing mood-related distress. It is also actively recruiting for the second group, scheduled to start in late August.
Nearly three-quarters of the young adults in the first group have prior mood disorder diagnoses and have tried psychiatric medications like antidepressants. However, the ineffectiveness and intolerable side effects of the drugs had left them searching for an alternative way forward when they decided to enroll in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative. These young adults are currently medication-free and their outcomes on mood distress, social connectedness, empowerment, and quality of life at six months will be compared to other young adults receiving usual care and daily psychiatric medications in the community.
An initial focus group with participants revealed a number of themes related to young adults’ past experiences with seeking help. Participants discussed feeling frustrated by one-size-fits-all solutions, such as drugs and mindfulness techniques, and invalidated by counselors who failed to connect with their experiences. Lack of information about prescribed drugs was frequently brought up by participants who also shared various stories of “chemical imbalance” and drugs “re-training the brain to relax” told to them by doctors and therapists.
Findings from pre-program focus groups are being used to help inform the content and delivery of educational material in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative.
There have been almost 900,000 views of Julia Rucklidge’s 2015 TEDx talk on nutrition and mental health, with many complimentary viewer comments.
Last week, however, the TED organization has inexplicably “flagged” the video with the following comment:
“NOTE FROM TED: We’ve flagged this talk, which was filmed at a TEDx event, because it appears to fall outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines. There is limited evidence to support the claims made by this speaker.”
Julia has attempted to educate TED staff regarding the fact that over 35 peer-reviewed publications could hardly be described as “limited evidence,” and that her interpretations do not go beyond the data. But so far they are not interested in her evidence.
The whole thing seems so strange: isn’t TED supposed to be all about innovation? But clearly, some lobbyist has convinced them that a non-pharmaceutical treatment should not be respected.
I am asking you to help make this video go viral. That seems to be the only response we can make to such an inappropriate move on TED’s part.
Share it with others, through Facebook or email or Twitter
Ask your friends and colleagues to do the same
Let’s see if we can quadruple the views to 5 million or so.
Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, PhD is the fund advisor of the Nutrition & Mental Health Research Fund and a member of the new International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). For many years, she studied developmental disorders in children, especially ADHD and reading disabilities (dyslexia). Dr. Kaplan was part of a team from University of Calgary and University of British Columbia which helped in the search for genes that predispose children to dyslexia. Also, with her students, she investigated the characteristics of adults with ADHD. Such work led her to further investigations of the role of nutrition. Another interest has been the mood symptoms that accompany ADHD and learning difficulties, and the role of micronutrient treatment of mood, aggression and explosive rage. This progression of topics has resulted in a research program focused on the role of nutrition in brain development and in brain function, especially the use of broad spectrum micronutrient treatment for mental disorders.
Kaplan, B. J., Simpson, J. S. A., Ferre, R. C., Gorman, C. P., McMullen, D. M., & Crawford, S. G. (2001). Effective mood stabilization with a chelated mineral supplement: An open-label trial in bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(12), 936-944.
Popper, C. W. (2001). Do vitamins or minerals (apart from lithium) have mood-stabilising effects? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(12), 933-935.
Kaplan, B. J., Crawford, S. G., Gardner, B., & Farrelly, G. (2002). Treatment of mood lability and explosive rage with minerals and vitamins: two case studies in children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 12(3), 205-219.
Kaplan, B. J., Fisher, J. E., Crawford, S. G., Field, C. J., & Kolb, B. (2004). Improved mood and behavior during treatment with a mineral-vitamin supplement: an open-label case series of children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 14(1), 115-122.
Simmons, M. (2003). Nutritional approach to bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64(3), 338.
Frazier, E.A., Fristad, M., Arnold, L.E. (2009). Multinutrient Supplement as Treatment: Literature Review and Case Report of a 12-year-old Boy with Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.19:453-460.
Rucklidge, J. J., & Harrison, R. (2010). Successful treatment of Bipolar Disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: A case study. CNS Spectrums, 15(5):289-295.
Rucklidge, J. J., Gately, D., & Kaplan, B. J. (2010). Database Analysis of Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder Consuming a Micronutrient Formula. BMC Psychiatry, 10, 17.http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/10/74
Frazier, E.A., Fristad, M.A. & Arnold, L.E. (2012). Feasibility of a nutritional supplement as treatment for pediatric bipolar spectrum disorders. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 18:678-85.
Frazier EA, Gracious B, Arnold LE, Failla M, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Habash D, et al. Nutritional and safety outcomes from an open-label micronutrient intervention for pediatric bipolar spectrum disorders. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol2013; 23(8): 558-67.
Retallick-Brown, H., Rucklidge, J. J., & Blampied, N. (2016). Study protocol for a randomised double blind, treatment control trial comparing the efficacy of a micronutrient formula to a single vitamin supplement in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. Medicines, 3, 32. http://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/3/4/32
Kimball, S., Mirhosseini, N., & Rucklidge, J. J. (2018). Database Analysis of Depression and Anxiety in a Community Sample—Response to a Micronutrient Intervention. Nutrients, 10(2):152. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/2/152
Rucklidge, J. J. (2009). Successful treatment of OCD with a micronutrient formula following partial response to CBT: A case study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23: 836–840.
Rucklidge, J. J., Johnstone, J., Harrison, R., & Boggis, A. (2011). Micronutrients reduce stress and anxiety following a 7.1 earthquake in adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Psychiatry Research, 189, 281-287. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2011.06.016
Rucklidge, J. J., Andridge, R., Gorman, B., Blampied, N., Gordon, H. & Boggis, A. (2012). Shaken but unstirred? Effects of micronutrients on stress and trauma after an earthquake: RCT evidence comparing formulas and doses. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 27(5), 440-454. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22782571
Rucklidge, J. J., Blampied, N., Gorman, B., Gordon, H., & Sole, E. (2014). Psychological functioning one year after a brief intervention using micronutrients to treat stress and anxiety related to the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes: A naturalistic follow-up. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 29(3), 230-243. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24554519
Sole, E. J., Rucklidge, J. J., & Blampied, N. M. (2017). Anxiety and Stress in Children Following an Earthquake: Clinically Beneficial Effects of Treatment with Micronutrients. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s10826-016-0607-2 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10826-016-0607-2
Kaplan, B. J., Rucklidge, J. J., Romijn, A. R., & Dolph, M. (2015). A randomized trial of nutrient supplements to minimize psychological stress after a natural disaster. Psychiatry Research, 228, 373-379. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26154816
Mehl-Madrona, L., Leung, B., Kennedy, C., Paul, S. & Kaplan, B. J. (2010). A naturalistic case-control study of micronutrients versus standard medication management in autism. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 20(2):95-103. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20415604
Rucklidge, J. J., & Harrison, R. (2010). Successful treatment of Bipolar Disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: A case study. CNS Spectrums, 15(5):289-295.
Rucklidge, J. J., Taylor, M. R., Whitehead, K. A. (2011). Effect of micronutrients on behaviour and mood in adults with ADHD: Evidence from an 8-week open label trial with natural extension. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15(1), 79-91.
Rucklidge, J. J., Johnstone, J., Harrison, R. (2011). Effect of micronutrients on neurocognitive functioning in adults with ADHD and Severe Mood Dysregulation: A pilot study. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17(12), 1-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22112202
Rucklidge, J. J., & Blampied, N. M. (2011). Post earthquake functioning in adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Positive effects of micronutrients on resilience. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 40(4), 51-57.
Rucklidge, J. J. (2013). Could yeast infections impair recovery from mental illness? A case study using micronutrients and olive leaf extract for the treatment of ADHD and depression. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 27(3), 14-18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23784606
Rucklidge, J. J., Johnstone, J., Gorman, B., & Boggis, A., & Frampton, C. (2014). Moderators of treatment response in adults with ADHD to micronutrients: demographics and biomarkers. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry,50, 163–171. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24374068
Gordon, H. A., Rucklidge, J. J., Blampied, N. M., & Johnstone, J. M. (2015). Clinically Significant Symptom Reduction in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Treated with Micronutrients: An Open-Label Reversal Design Study. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 25(10), 783-798. doi: 10.1089/cap.2015.0105 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26682999
Rucklidge, J. J., Eggleston, M., Johnstone, J. M., Darling, K., & Frampton, C. M. (2017). Vitamin-mineral treatment improves aggression and emotional regulation in children with ADHD: A fully-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpp.12817/full
Kaplan, B. J., Isaranuwatchai, W., & Hoch, J. S. (2017). Hospitalization cost of conventional psychiatric care compared to broad-spectrum micronutrient treatment: literature review and case study of adult psychosis. Int J Ment Health Syst, 11, 14. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13033-017-0122-x
Harrison, R., Rucklidge, J. J., & Blampied, N. (2013). Use of micronutrients attenuates cannabis and nicotine abuse as evidenced from a reversal design: A case study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(2), 1-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23909004
Popper, C. W. (2014). Single-Micronutrient and Broad-Spectrum Micronutrient Approaches for Treating Mood Disorders in Youth and Adults. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23(3), 591-672. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2014.04.001
Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D. Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. P., Jacka, F. N. (2015). Nutritional Medicine as Mainstream in Psychiatry: A Consensus Position Statement from The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). Lancet Psychiatry, 2, 271-274. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)00051-0/abstract
Sarris. J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Parletta, N., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, C., Jacka, F. N. (2015). The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) Consensus Position Statement: Nutritional Medicine in Modern Psychiatry (letter to editor). World Psychiatry, 14(3), 370-371. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wps.20223/abstract
A study investigating the safety and toxicity of this product shows that, as studied to date, it has not produced any serious adverse effects:
Simpson, J. S. A., Crawford, S. G., Goldstein, E. T., Field, C., Burgess, E., & Kaplan, B. J. (2011). Systematic review of safety and tolerability of a complex micronutrient formula used in mental health. BMC Psychiatry, 11(62). http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/11/62