OCD

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012: Dismantling the Stigma

Did you know that one in four adults – or approximately 57.7 million Americans – experiences a mental health problem in any given year?  Or that one in 17 lives with a serious, chronic mental illness? Since 1990, National Mental Illness Awareness Week has been recognized by the U.S. Congress as a time for mental health advocates and patients to join together for various awareness-raising activities. Sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the goal of this week is to transform the way we think about mental illness, which is defined by NAMI as “a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.” Like any other medical condition affecting a particular organ, mental illness is not caused by personal weakness or character defects, and it can affect individuals of any age, race, religion or income.  As an example, some famous people who are known to have lived with mental illness include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Tennessee Williams and Mike Wallace (who was eulogized by one of our members last June).  Below is a new PSA ad for National Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012 that focuses on some of these legendary icons, …

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Mental Health Awareness: What do you know about Mood Conditions?

In honor of this month’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, here’s a snapshot of what’s happening in our PatientsLikeMe Mood community. Launched in 2008, the community now has more than 18,000 patients. Below are some interesting facts about the community, so please read and share on! DID YOU ALSO KNOW… You can search for patients under 15+ diagnosis categories, including depression, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, addiction to tobacco, addiction to alcohol, eating disorder and more. In a PatientsLikeMe research study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, we revealed: 26% of responding mood community members agreed or strongly agreed that using the site had reduced thoughts about self harm 23% agreed they had decided to start therapy or counseling after interacting with others on the site 22% agreed they needed less inpatient care as a result of using PatientsLikeMe.  (See our “Patient Voice” report, video and member interview on inpatient therapy). Members’ experiences on the treatment Amitriptyline was used in an award-winning paper presented at Medicine 2.0 last year. How are our members treating their condition? Patients are using more than 1700 treatments, including prescription drugs, supplements, over-the-counter medications, life-style modifications, therapies, and more. The …

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A Year in Review: PatientsLikeMe in 2009

As 2009 comes to an end, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, partners and general fans for another great year.   Here’s a recap of some of the exciting happenings at PatientsLikeMe these past 12 months.  Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Community Milestones This year, the 15+ disease communities at PatientsLikeMe became an online home to more than 50,000 members.   The fibromyalgia community was expanded this past fall to include patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and we announced a new community scheduled to launch early next year for people with epilepsy.  In addition to celebrating our communities’ awareness days and months within the site and right here on the blog (including Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, MS and PD Awareness Months, National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day), many of our members also participated on PatientsLikeMe teams in walk/run efforts to raise awareness and money in the name of their disease.  Congrats to the 40+ teams walking at events to support non-profit organizations like ALS Association, National MS Society, NAMI, Parkinson’s Alliance, APDA, and the MS Society of Canada. The real-time sharing and learning happening on PatientsLikeMe was also highlighted in the report series …

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The Patient Voice – Loud and Clear

We are excited to present the first member video for the PatientsLikeMe Mood community and what better way to kick it off than with one that represents the voice of the patient. In June, we launched The Patient Voice with the inaugural report on inpatient therapy, a topic often discussed by our Mood community members.  At the time of the report, 63% of patients on our site reported an efficacy of “moderate” or “major” for inpatient therapy. Many patients have already benefited from the information in the report, so we decided to create a video that highlights our patient members’ tips and experiences. Check it out on our YouTube or Facebook page, but if you visit the latter don’t forget to become our fan! If you want to know more about patients’ experiences with inpatient therapy, you can download the full report here. It includes even more tips and personal stories, interesting facts about the PatientsLikeMe community and a worksheet that will help you make the most out of your hospital stay. Of course, none of this would have been possible if patients like you were not willing to share. We are always eager to hear what you have to …

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The Patient Voice: Interview with Mountabora (Mood Conditions Community)

Yesterday, we announced a new report called The Patient Voice for Inpatient Therapy, which highlights patients’ top tips for having a positive inpatient therapy experience.  Maureen Oakes, community manager for PatientsLikeMe Mood Conditions Community (for people with depression and other mood conditions), recently interviewed 3-star member, Mountabora, about her experiences with hospitalization.   Here’s what she had to say: (Maureen) You note in your member profile that you have been hospitalized a few times. What were those experiences like? (Mountabora) Being in a psychiatric hospital is kind of like being at summer camp. You’re away from home, living in close quarters with strange people, and participating in structured group activities which may or may not have a purpose. There are a lot of rules, and you lose privileges if you don’t follow them. You have to get up way too early in the morning and eat three meals a day at the cafeteria. There’s a lot of emphasis on learning coping skills, typically through classes and worksheets. There’s also a lot of emphasis on medication; most patients are on at least two or three psychoactive drugs. You go to therapy and you see a psychiatrist, but much more often than you …

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Introducing “The Patient Voice” – First up? Inpatient Therapy

Today’s patient has a loud and strong voice.  At PatientsLikeMe, we hear you.  You’re saying, “I know this disease, I know how it acts in the real-world, and it’s time to share that with others.” With thousands of patients sharing data and experiences every day on our site, we’ve decided to launch a report that takes what you, the patient, knows and shares it with you, the patient community at-large.  For obvious reasons, we’re calling it The Patient Voice. The Patient Voice is a collection of wisdom, sentiments and experiences shared by patients like you regarding important issues you face today.  The reports include PatientsLikeMe member tips, suggested checklists and questions to ask yourself, and real-world patient experiences, as well as some fun facts from about the PatientsLikeMe community. The first report is from our Mood Conditions Community, representing patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD and PTSD, on the topic of inpatient therapy (or hospitalization).   It’s a topic that comes up quite a bit in our forum, and patients are openly sharing their positive (and negative) experiences with one another.  We’re now sharing some of the positive experiences with you.  Take a look at the free report and let us …

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Annoyed or Impressed By Your Therapist? PatientsLikeMe Mood Members Chime In

In a recent blog post by New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope, PsychCentral highlights “The 12 Most Annoying Habits of Therapists.”  Launched a year ago this week, our very own Mood community has more than 1,300 patients using “Individual Therapy” as a treatment for their condition.  We asked them to tell us some of the habits they find most annoying and elaborate on the ones outlined by Parker-Pope.  Here’s what they had to say about some of those respect issues: I had a [therapist] fall asleep during the session!  I walked out (without paying of course). My biggest peeve is with therapists who refuse to work in conjunction with my psychiatrist and his diagnosis. I hate it when therapists talk down to me. I’m crazy, not stupid! [Therapists:]  Don’t look at patients as if they’re wacky or as if they’ve just said something wacky.  We are always reading faces and reactions, the last person we need to be judged by is our therapist.  Be mindful of how “tuned in” we are to your body language. I love my current therapist, but…he once took a call in the middle of a session, obviously from a friend or family member (nothing critical), it …

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Happy 1st Anniversary Mood Community!

A year ago today, PatientsLikeMe launched our combined Mood community for patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, obesessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  It was first announced to the world in Thomas Goetz’s article, Practicing Patients, featured in New York Times Magazine. Since then, more than 8,700 patients have joined the community, sharing detailed information about their symptoms, treatments and overall progress to learn more about themselves and others. Besides specific drug therapies (like Clonazepam or Lamotrigine), did you know many patients cite Listening to Music and Journal Writing as top treatments as well?  Check out what they have to say. Do you have problems concentrating?  That’s the number one symptom reported by our members.  Other top symptoms include muscle tension, headaches, back pain and stomach pain. In the coming weeks, we will continue to share some interesting tidbits about the community, including some powerful personal stories straight from our members.  Stay tuned!

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