Bipolarised: Rethinking Mental Illness (2014)

Introduction

Bipolarised: Rethinking Mental Illness is a 2014 documentary by director Rita Kotzia.

Challenges conventional wisdom about mental illness and drug therapy through the raw personal journey of a man diagnosed as bipolar.

Outline

This documentary is about one man’s personal journey to heal. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ross’ psychiatrist told him he would live with the disorder for the rest of his life and that he would have to take lithium to control symptoms. To Ross, taking the drug daily felt like a chemical lobotomy, leaving him in a foggy, drug-induced haze. Ross ultimately decided to resolve his symptoms outside of conventional medicine. He progressively reduced his use of the psychotropic drug lithium, at an experimental clinic in Costa Rica. What ensued was a self-exploration into alternative treatments to treat his condition and a journey delving into the root cause of his mental breakdown. The film uses Ross’ personal experiences to tell a larger story about medication. It will reveal how we are labelling more and more people with mental illnesses and how, in tandem, we are prescribing more and more toxic psychotropic drugs to treat these illnesses. It weaves together a series of interviews with activists, psychiatrists and other psychiatric survivors who have challenged the status quo as well as recounts some of the alternative therapies Ross uses to maintain his mental, emotional and physical health.

Cast

  • Ross McKenzie … Self.
  • David Goldbloom … Self / Professor of Psychiatry.
  • Peter Levine … Self / Writer.
  • Gwen Olsen … Self / Pharmaceutical rep.
  • Charles Whitfield … Self / Psychotherapist.
  • Robert Whittaker … Self / Journalist.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Rita Kotzia.
  • Producer(s):
    • Noelle Kim Chalifoux … producer.
    • Gordon Henderson … producer.
    • Rita Kotzia … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Gordon Henderson … (writer).
    • Rita Kotzia … (writer).
  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
  • Distributor(s):
  • Release Date: April 2014.
  • Running Time: 77 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-MA.
  • Country: Canada.
  • Language: English.

Combat Stress and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charities Partnership to Deliver Mental Health Support

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity has worked in partnership with Combat Stress for many years to support Royal Navy veterans with complex mental health conditions.

In 2020 the RNRMC began a three-year funding agreement with Combat Stress as part of the RNRMC’s Health and Wellbeing Support Programme. This partnership ensures that Royal Navy veterans, like Jim, will continue to receive vital support. Jim had wanted to join the Royal Navy since he was nine years old. When he was 18 that dream came true, but unfortunately his time in the services was not what he imagined.

After joining the Navy, Jim was quickly identified as a promising rugby player and spent much of his time on the rugby pitch. Playing rugby took him to several ships and shore bases over the course of 18 months, but Jim’s life was about to change forever. “In March 1992, after joining the HMS Illustrious, my life was totally changed when I was the victim of a random unprovoked attack shortly after going ashore,” he said. “My attacker, who pushed me through a plate glass window, was later charged with attempted murder. I sustained life-changing physical and mental injuries.
“Due to the nature of my injuries, I had to remain awake, un-anesthetised during surgery and I watched as the medical staff brought a priest in to administer the last rites as they didn’t think I would make it. “But I did, and once my physical injuries were stabilised, I was moved by the Royal Navy to a mental health ward where in June of 1992 I was diagnosed with PTSD. “I spent four weeks undertaking a PTSD awareness course. One element of the course was art therapy and I found painting helped me – in fact, I was encouraged to continue painting and remain busy in order to keep my PTSD at bay. I was also told not to think or talk about my trauma.

“For over 25 years I continued to paint as a way of coping and never spoke about the attack.
“After the course, I was sent back to HMS Dryad, and despite all I had been through, was encouraged to get back to rugby; however, when it came to my first match back, I was convinced I would sustain further injuries and didn’t play. “Shortly afterwards, I was offered a medical discharge which could take several months to arrange, or I could take an honorable discharge based on the exceptional circumstances which would take just 24 hours. I took the second option allowing me to leave as quickly as I could. “I left and got on with life, often travelling extensively with work in order to remain busy. I followed the instruction to keep busy, but I know now this was the wrong choice and wasn’t working.

“I used to relive seeing the priest at the end of my bed at night – just like during surgery. I also used to feel like the blood was pumping out of the scar on my head, just as it did after I’d been attacked. “It was when I was confronted by my daughter, telling me she’d come into my bedroom one night to tell me to turn the telly off that I knew I had to do something. The television wasn’t on –it was me shouting and screaming in my sleep. I knew I used to do this – I had to move into a mess of my own in the Navy because of it – but when I knew it was affecting my family, I decided to do something.”

Jim went to his GP initially and explained that he had been diagnosed with PTSD. However, he didn’t receive the support that he needed. Then in 2017 he reached out to Combat Stress. Finally, Jim started his journey towards recovery. “It wasn’t easy. I was embarrassed to call the helpline. I thought I’d been dealing with my problems but really, I’d just been told to keep busy and push everything to the back of my mind. I felt like a failure.

By working with the specialist team at Combat Stress Jim began to learn management techniques and coping strategies for his mental health issues such as hyperarousal and flashbacks. “I learnt about grounding, mindfulness and did much more art therapy. I received CBT & EMDR treatment which has significantly helped with the reliving. I no longer see the priest. Thanks to CBT/EMDR and the art therapists, I understand why I have these memories and have begun to process them. “I also found the education sessions invaluable – learning about how memories work and how the brain processes them really helped me. The peer support has also played important part of my recovery too, supporting me as I returned back to a Royal Navy shore base and the place of trauma. “Combat Stress also encouraged me to reengage with the veteran community. I hadn’t engaged in anything military since leaving the Navy.

“In 2019 I was selected to attend the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Since leaving Combat Stress, I had further medical support and discovered through a brain scan that I sustained brain injuries as a result of my attack. This injury was contributing to the sensation of blood pumping, but with medication, this is manageable. “What I learnt at Combat Stress has made a massive difference to me. I know now I needed to process my memories, not just bury them or push them away. I owe my life to the team who were on duty at the Royal Naval Hospital Stonehouse – thank you! Also, a huge thanks to Combat Stress for improving my health and knowledge, enabling me to look forward to a better future.”

If you would like to find out more about Combat Stress or how to access their support, please visit their website, or call their 24 hour helpline on 0800 138 1619.

Reference

Navy News. (2021) Jim’s Journey Out of the Darkness. Navy News. July 2021, pp.33.

Book: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good

Book Title:

Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good.

Author(s): James Davies

Year: 2014.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Icon Books.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Controversial and powerful – a shocking indictment of the pseudo-science at the heart of modern psychiatry.

Developing a Longitudinal Trajectory-Based Approach to Investigating Relapse Trend Differences in Mental Health Patients

Research Paper Title

Differences in Temporal Relapse Characteristics Between Affective and Non-affective Psychotic Disorders: Longitudinal Analysis.

Background

Multiple relapses over time are common in both affective and non-affective psychotic disorders. Characterizing the temporal nature of these relapses may be crucial to understanding the underlying neurobiology of relapse.

Methods

Anonymised records of patients with affective and non-affective psychotic disorders were collected from SA Mental Health Data Universe and retrospectively analysed. To characterise the temporal characteristic of their relapses, a relapse trend score was computed using a symbolic series-based approach. A higher score suggests that relapse follows a trend and a lower score suggests relapses are random. Regression models were built to investigate if this score was significantly different between affective and non-affective psychotic disorders.

Results

Logistic regression models showed a significant group difference in relapse trend score between the patient groups. For example, in patients who were hospitalized six or more times, relapse score in affective disorders were 2.6 times higher than non-affective psychotic disorders [OR 2.6, 95% CI (1.8-3.7), p < 0.001].

Discussion

The results imply that the odds of a patient with affective disorder exhibiting a predictable trend in time to relapse were much higher than a patient with recurrent non-affective psychotic disorder. In other words, within recurrent non-affective psychosis group, time to relapse is random.

Conclusions

This study is an initial attempt to develop a longitudinal trajectory-based approach to investigate relapse trend differences in mental health patients. Further investigations using this approach may reflect differences in underlying biological processes between illnesses.

Reference

Immanuel, S.A., Schrader, G. & Bidargaddi, N. (2021) Differences in Temporal Relapse Characteristics Between Affective and Non-affective Psychotic Disorders: Longitudinal Analysis. Frontiers in Psychiatry. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.558056. eCollection 2021.

Book: Insane Medicine: How the Mental Health Industry Creates Damaging Treatment Traps and How you can Escape Them

Book Title:

Insane Medicine: How the Mental Health Industry Creates Damaging Treatment Traps and How you can Escape Them.

Author(s): Sami Timimi.

Year: 2021.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Independently Published.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This book digs through the rotten undergrowth which fertilises the mental health industry. The level of failure and deceit is hard to believe. The diagnoses we use are more akin to astrological than medical constructs. We have no medical tests and despite apparent innovations in drugs and therapy, five decades of research has shown no improvement in outcomes from treatment and instead an increase in the numbers categorised as severely mentally ill. Worse, we have convinced the population that they are experiencing pandemics of mental disorders, leading us to fear our ordinary emotions and to scythe away at our natural resilience. There can be no doubt that the mental health industry has caused more harm than good. In this hard hitting book, Dr Timimi, a child psychiatrist with over 30-years-experience as a practicing clinician and researcher, reveals the shocking truth about the unintended harms this industry has caused, both to those in distress and our culture more broadly. He explains how our institutional ideology traps people into becoming long-term patients and proposes a simple theory that explains why more people become long term patients than get better as well as sharing tips on how those caught in this trap can find safe ways back to health and contentment. A revolution in mental health care is inevitable. The current systems have failed and are un-reformable. They will be overthrown. This book will tell you why.

Book: A Practical Guide to Mental Health Problems in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Book Title:

A Practical Guide to Mental Health Problems in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: It’s Not Just Their Autism!.

Author(s): Alvina Ali, Michelle O’Reilly, and Khalid Karim.

Year: 2013.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Exploring the relationship between ASD and mental health difficulties, this book offers practical guidance to help parents and professionals recognise and handle co-morbid conditions, and dispels the myth that they are just a part of autism. The authors cover a wide range of common mental health problems experienced by children with ASD, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, psychosis, stress, tics and depression, and illustrate these issues with case studies. They also provide vital advice in an accessible format and suggest strategies to ease the difficulties which arise from these co-morbid conditions. This book is essential reading for professionals working with children on the autism spectrum and is an accessible and practical resource for parents and carers.

Book: A Guide to Mental Health Issues in Girls and Young Women on the Autism Spectrum

Book Title:

A Guide to Mental Health Issues in Girls and Young Women on the Autism Spectrum: Diagnosis, Intervention and Family Support.

Author(s): Judy Eaton.

Year: 2017.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This book addresses the specific mental health needs of girls and young women with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Looking at the ways autism presents differently in girls than in boys, and the mental health conditions that occur most frequently in girls with ASD, this is the essential guide for clinicians and educators on tailoring interventions and support to meet girls’ needs.

Describing the current assessment process for autism diagnosis, the book explains why girls are under- or mis-diagnosed, leading to later mental health issues. It outlines the types of intervention that are particularly helpful for working with girls to reduce anxiety, improve social interaction skills, and manage self-harm. The book also covers how to manage eating disorders and feeding difficulties, focusing on working with girls with sensory processing difficulties. There is advice on how to deal with the emotional impact on parents, carers and families, and the challenges they face when negotiating appropriate psychological and educational support.

Book: Positive Male Mind: Overcoming Mental Health Problems

Book Title:

Positive Male Mind: Overcoming Mental Health Problems (Positive Wellbeing Series).

Author(s): Shaun Davis and Andrew Kinder.

Year: 2018.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: LID Publishing.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Mental health problems affect both men and women, in fact, every one in four of us. However, it has been widely accepted for some time that men are much less likely to seek help from a doctor or mental health specialist, as they traditionally expect themselves to be competitive and successful, tough and self-reliant and can find it difficult to admit that they are feeling fragile and vulnerable. This book aims to build on the current progressive movement by supporting men and those that care about them – be that a partner, friend, family member or colleague – by providing insight, advice, and tips on what can be done at a very practical level to make men’s mental health much more positive.

Book: Positive Mental Health: Overcoming Mental Health Problems

Book Title:

Positive Mental Health: Overcoming Mental Health Problems (Positive Wellbeing Series).

Author(s): Shaun Davis and Andrew Kinder.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: LID Publishing.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Whether you work with 10 people, 10,000 people or just yourself, paying attention to mental health in the workplace has never been more important. We all face mental health challenges, regardless of our gender, age or sexual orientation, and too often we can be guilty for taking our mental health for granted. This book aims to build on the current progressive movement around mental health awareness and is in line with current thinking on mental health in the workplace. In this book, the authors provide employees with a resource to develop greater mental health in the workplace and provide employers with a resource to develop greater wellbeing amongst their employees therefore increasing quality, performance, productivity and overall business effectiveness.

Book: A Clinician’s Guide to Mental Health Conditions in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Assessment and Interventions

Book Title:

A Clinician’s Guide to Mental Health Conditions in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Assessment and Interventions.

Author(s): Eddie Chaplin, Debbie Spain, and Jane McCarthy.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This comprehensive and much-needed guide addresses the issues faced by clinicians in assessing and treating the range of mental health conditions, which can affect adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Its particular focus on adults fills a notable gap in the ASD professional literature, with an extensive array of contributors from across the psychology and healthcare professions.

Covering a wide variety of common co-occurring mental health conditions including mood disorders, anxiety, psychosis, OCD, personality disorders, and eating disorders, this guide also explores broader issues to do with promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. Authoritative and detailed, this is an essential resource for all clinicians and professionals looking to understand and tailor their approach to mental health in autistic adults, and the need for specific methods and strategies to enhance assessment and treatment.