mental health

Let’s talk about Huntington’s Disease

May is packed with mental health awareness, and we’re continuing to recognize neurological conditions through Huntington’s Disease (HD) Awareness Month. HD is a mental health condition that affects brain cells (neurons) and causes them to degenerate over time. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), HD can only be passed down from parent to child through a genetic mutation. If a child has a parent with the HD gene, he or she has a 50% chance of inheriting it – and all people who have the gene will eventually develop HD.1 The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) states that about 1 in 10,000 Americans are affected by HD, and symptoms typically begin between the ages of 30 and 50.1 2 There is no current cure for HD, but some treatments help to limit certain symptoms like involuntary muscle movement. If you’re looking to learn more about HD or get involved during HD Awareness Month, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has a great advocacy video up on YouTube (check it out below), and the organization is always looking for e-advocates to join their “Let’s Talk about HD” campaign. And you can always find support and info from others that …

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It’s time to recognize National Anxiety and Depression Week

We already posted about raising awareness for mental health, and now we’re recognizing National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (May 5-10). Since 1994, the week has been organized by Freedom from Fear, a national non-profit focused on raising awareness for depression and anxiety. If you haven’t heard much about these two conditions, here are some quick facts from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):   An estimated 40 million American adults live with anxiety.1 Only one third of these people receive treatment.1 At any time, 3% to 5% of all people are experiencing depression.2 The lifetime risk of depression is about 17%.2 Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety.2 According to the ADAA, common anxiety symptoms can range from increased worry and social tension to extreme restlessness or general fatigue, and often, these symptoms can be magnified by depression. Over 17,000 PatientsLikeMe members report being diagnosed with either generalized anxiety or major depression, including almost 7,000 who are living with both conditions. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you’re not alone – you can share your story in the forum and find support on any topic. The PatientsLikeMe mood community is always …

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Achieving wellness: An interview on mental health with Dr. Murali Doraiswamy

Murali Doraiswamy is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University where he is also a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He also serves as an advisor to government agencies and businesses. Dr Doraiswamy is the brain health advisor for Men’s Health magazine and serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Neuroscience and Behavior. What’s his take on PatientsLikeMe? What does he see as emerging mental health treatments? And what does he wish more people knew about mental illness? We recently had the chance to chat with him about all that and more. Check out what he had to say in our interview.   What interests you about studying and learning more about mental illness? To me it’s one of the most important public health challenges for the 21st century – the mind affects every aspect of our body, our physical wellbeing and our family and social relationships. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a staggering 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions, making them one of the leading causes of poor health and loss of productivity worldwide (some 175 million years lost to disability). Mental illnesses, such as …

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Add Your Voice During National Recovery Month

Are you in recovery from an addiction or mental health disorder – or do you know someone who is?  The theme for National Recovery Month 2012, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It!” There are several different ways to participate in this annual event, which promotes the societal benefits of prevention and treatment for mental and substance use disorders: You can find or sponsor a community event Add an awareness widget to your website Enter pictures in the Flickr challenge Order a customizable PSA for local TV Now in its 23rd year, National Recovery Month was founded on the belief that we should celebrate the gains made by those in recovery, just as we would with those who are managing other health conditions.  The goal is to spread the positive message you can live a healthy and rewarding life with the aid of treatment and mental health services. Are you looking to start on the road to recovery?  Reclaim your life by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP), where you can be assisted in both English and Spanish.  If you’re already in recovery, find solidarity and support by …

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PatientsLikeMe in the News: A Roundup

Check out some of the media outlets that have highlighted health social networks recently – including PatientsLikeMe and our members. Social Media a Godsend for Patients with Rare Diseases PatientsLikeMe is highlighted as a good example in this Chicago Tribune article. Medical Innovation Needs Silicon Valley Speed, Stat Fast Company cites us for providing “unprecedented levels of feedback on side effects.” How Social Networks Enable Patients to Be More Involved in Their Healthcare PatientsLikeMe is “at the heart of this shift,” according to this Guardian (UK) article. Telemedicine Tackles Mental Health Treatment Our InstantMe survey of how you’re feeling is called out in this Information Week piece. Match.coms of Clinical Trials Make It Easier to Connect Patients, Researchers We’re spotlighted as one of the “matchmaking” services that could expedite research. To see more PatientsLikeMe media coverage, visit our Press page.   To read other articles about Health 2.0 and join the discussion, follow this Twitter hashtag.

September Is Recovery Month

Every September, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) observes Recovery Month.  The goal is to promote the societal benefits of treatment for substance use and mental disorders, celebrate people in recovery, recognize treatment providers and spread the message that recovery is possible.  As the SAMHSA slogan says, “Prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover.” Recovery Month also inspires millions of people to raise awareness about addiction, share their stories of recovery and assist others who are still struggling. As one person writes, “Since I have attained recovery, I have accomplished all of my dreams – something I never would have imagined 26 years ago, when my dependence to alcohol and narcotics had created a hopeless life.” Do you have a recovery story of your own?  Add your voice to this month-long celebration.  Or if you’re still struggling – or know someone who is – you may want to consider downloading SAMHSA’s free mobile app for iPhones/iPads/iPods. It’s a Treatment Locator that helps connect people with the services they need, whether it’s for mental health services or substance abuse. Here at PatientsLikeMe, thousands of patients are sharing experiences, support and data regarding their mental health conditions and …

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Epilepsy Awareness Month: What do you know about Epilepsy?

Launched earlier this year, the PatientsLikeMe Epilepsy community now has more than 3,000 patients.  In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month, here’s a snapshot of what patients like you are sharing and learning about in this community. Did you know… You can search for patients by more than 10 seizure types, such as simple partial, myoclonic, atonic, and tonic-clonic. You can also search by 19 different epilepsy types, including temporal lobe, frontal lobe, occipital lobe, juvenile myoclonic, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and epilepsy with grand mal seizures on awakening. Others in the community have indicated a causative comorbidity for their condition, such as: Head injury (242 patients to date) Brain tumor (70 patients to date) Stroke (38 patients to date) Encephalitis (34 patients to date) 543 patient members were diagnosed recently (5 years or less) and 823 were diagnosed 20+ years ago. Nearly 500 patients have completed the first in a series of surveys that measure their mental, physical and social well-being. (See “Manage your epilepsy like a PRO”) As part of this first survey, members told us the top issues most important to them – indicating the top three as overall quality of life, seizure worry (i.e., impact of seizures) and mental …

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