Elle is among the 1.
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Her story is more dramatic than most. But it also illustrates the continuing challenges faced by mental-health patients. One in five Michigan adults suffer from psychiatric disorders in a given year, from depression or anxiety to cases of schizophrenia. But there are some hopeful trends in the world of mental health. The stigma is beginning to ebb. The Affordable Care Act has increased coverage for mental health. More people are coming forward to seek help. There can be months-long waits for new patients to see a psychiatrist.
Families struggle as psych beds disappear from hospitals Six times in the past year, 8-year-old Isaiah Robinson has been taken to an emergency department in the midst of a psychiatric crisis. Read more. Elle knows the system all too well, and for a long time she seemed to be among those falling through the cracks. Through her childhood and teen years, Elle battled severe bipolar disorder. Her mental instability was such that one doctor predicted to her mother she would be dead by suicide by age Others discussed putting her in a group home, where she could live out her life heavily medicated to control her demons.
The girl with a psyche so fragile it would shatter at the slightest mishap has evolved into a fiercely intelligent woman with a warm manner and an even temperament. But successful treatment of her mental illness is only the first step in getting her life back. Elle has never lived on her own. But there are considerable obstacles, external and internal.
Mental illness and nature vs. Mental illness has long been shrouded in shame and negative judgments, yet psychiatric disorders are pervasive — more common than asthma or diabetes. The most common psychiatric disorders are anxiety and depression. Elle is among the 4. The causes of mental illness have long been a source of controversy, and has contributed to the stigma.
A century ago, with the advent of modern psychiatry, it was assumed psychiatric disorders resulted from nurture versus nature. Experts theorized insanity could be traced to dysfunctional families, and specifically mothers who were too cold, too smothering or too narcissistic. When parents and patients insisted their families were normal, their denial was considered evidence of the family dysfunction. In the s, advances in medication and brain imagining swung the pendulum in favor of biology. Today, experts say mental illness — like many chronic diseases -- results from a complicated mix of biology, environment and lifestyle.
Elle is an example of all those factors. It appears she had a genetic susceptibility to mental illness, based on family history. She also had an environmental trigger: As a very young child, she was sexually abused for years by a relative. When she was 7, the relative went to prison for molesting another child but Elle kept her secret for another decade. Behavior plays a role, too, as Elle has come to realize. Mental illness can be exacerbated by substance abuse and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Conversely, many people with a mental illness can learn behavioral strategies to manage their symptoms. A memory from preschool: Elle asks an adult to open her package of string cheese. Instead, the woman opens a yogurt. Elle flips out. A memory from kindergarten: Elle drops a pencil in class. In the office, a secretary accidentally drops the phone, which hits the floor with a bang. Elle becomes hysterical. She grew up in Waterford as the middle of three daughters in a close-knit, middle-class family. Jack Sovereign was a production supervisor at General Motors; Karol, a stay-at-home housewife.
Her father describes Elle as a very bright and creative child.
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He recalls his late wife taking their daughter to doctors at age 4 or 5. The concerns increased when Elle was 9 and she tried to hang herself. Hard to diagnosis, hard to treat. Mental illness can be hard to diagnose and hard to treat, especially with children.
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After she revealed the abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder was added to list, as well as borderline personality disorder. Elle said her parents were driving to specialists near and far, in search of effective treatment. And with children and adolescents, another factor at work: The child may respond well to a medication, only to go through a growth spurt and the drug stops working, and the process starts over again. Elle struggled with major weight gain and crushing fatigue, the side effects of many psychiatric drugs.
Her father said the issues with medication were hugely frustrating. Before Elle got better, she got worse. During middle school, she developed an eating disorder. She had chronic insomnia, and was cutting the inside of her arms. It came to a head her freshman year of Waterford Kettering High School. Common symptoms or indications of adolescent depression, that also mirror symptoms of adults, include:. When DePalo sought treatment, her doctor suggested a standard treatment regimen for MDD, which included medication and psychotherapy. When medication and therapy failed, a psychiatrist recommended she consider deep TMS as an alternative treatment route.
The first few sessions, I basically watched all of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on my phone. Within just a couple weeks, both DePalo and her mother saw a huge difference in her mood. As we know, depression is a serious mental illness.
follow link For most people, standard treatment of depression includes taking medication and going to psychotherapy sessions. It may be the case that these standard treatments do not help at all or the symptoms improve only to keep coming back. This can be quite discouraging to individuals, which may cause more psychological damage and distress. So, the cycle of treatment-resistant depression is quite a toxic one.
Here are a few factors that may cause a patient to develop treatment-resistant depression. The therapy is non-invasive and uses a magnet to target and stimulate certain areas of the brain.
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This means that TMS is a drug-free procedure. During sessions, TMS patients sit or recline while an electromagnetic coil is held against the head. The doctor will place the coil against the forehead, near the area of the brain which regulates mood. Then, magnetic pulses pass from the coil to the brain, which sparks an electric current in nerve cells.
TMS is commonly employed as a treatment for severe, treatment-resistant forms of depression. This is perfect for anyone who feels as though their depression is not being well-treated for any of the reasons in the preceding section on treatment-resistant depression, such as prolonged and intense depressive episodes or comorbidity of illnesses or medical conditions. Antidepressants and psychotherapy may be used in conjunction with TMS, and it is often the case that a combination of treatments is most effective.