Unhinged - Page 7 of 10 - Talking Mental

Doug’s Follow-up information on his own Genetics & Digital Imgaging

by Doug 0 Comments

I promised during the last couple of UH podcasts that I would clarify what I’ve been learning in regards to the latest gene testing and digital imaging that I’ve been involved with, specifically based on my individual disease…

The following excerpt is from one of the latest studies from the National Psychiatry Association. This will help explain the ‘S’ (or ‘Short’ Allele), my predisposition to it as well as how it affects specific parts of the/my brain. We will continue to follow-up and elaborate on the subject matter during upcoming shows:

Serotonin Transporter Gene

The serotonin transporter gene may affect neural circuits connecting the amygdala and the cingulate and cause depression.

People with anxiety disorders or depression complain not so much about the emotion itself as its unceasing nature, says Daniel Weinberger of the National Institute of Mental Health. Now he and his colleagues may have found why their experience is continuous, according to work published in the June issue of Nature Neuroscience. Scientists know that the serotonin transporter gene, which encodes a key protein for neurotransmission in the brain, comes in a long form and a short form. People who have the short form are susceptible to developing depression or anxiety, though the gene does not actually cause it.

To find out how the short form affects emotional health, Weinberger’s team looked at 94 healthy individuals, some who have each form. Using brain imaging techniques, they found that two regions involved in emotional responses, the amygdala and the cingulate, were smaller in people with the short gene. Also, the neural circuits connecting the amygdala and the cingulate were weaker in people with the short form than in those with the long one. That is important, says Weinberger, because the amygdala controls a person’s response to fearful situations, evaluating whether they should react or not, and then the cingulate vets the amygdala’s response. If a fear signal put out by the amygdala is not justified, the cingulate turns it off.

But in people with the short form of the gene, the cingulate is not able to perform this editing function as effectively, so it is as if the amygdala is going off all the time. “If you can’t shut off fear, it is much worse than just feeling it for the first time,” Weinberger says. The new evidence suggests that this phenomenon happens in people with the short gene, which would explain why they are more prone to depression and anxiety.

genetic testing 2000px-Chromosome_17.svg

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Unhinged Episode #017: Relapse Part 1

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #017: Relapse Part 1

NOTE: This podcast was recorded on July 10th and talks about Doug beginning to relapse right after recording our previous episode about his remission. After this episode, Doug has unfortunately continued this downward trend, and on next week’s show, you will hear an emotionally raw phone call between Doug and Ed. Stay tuned.

In this episode, we discuss the unfortunate beginnings of a relapse after two-and-a-half months of remission. For no apparent reason, Doug’s mood has suddenly dropped and he is struggling to make sense of it all, especially in light of the news that he was born with a genetic abnormality in his brain.

We also talk about some advancements with ketamine and its dissociative effects.

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Unhinged Episode #016: Mission Remission

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #016: Mission Remission

NOTE: This podcast was recorded on July 3rd and deals with Doug’s recent 2-month remission. However, as of July 4th, Doug’s mood has taken a downward turn, so the declaration of a full remission was a bit premature. We will have more information about this on next week’s show, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, please enjoy episode #16.

This week’s episode deals with Doug’s recent two-month remission. Technically, a two-month period with no major depressive symptoms is considered a full remission. This is where he is right now, but how long will it last?

We also learn about the true origins of Doug’s mental illness. There is now scientific proof that his genetics have a great deal to do with his treatment-resistant depression. The good news is that a DNA profile, combined with advanced brain imaging techniques, helps doctors more accurately try different therapies and medications that are better targeted at an individual. This should help usher out the era of stab-in-the-dark medicine, and begin a new era of targeted, customized, and more effective treatments.

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Important News

by Ed 0 Comments

Hello Unhinged fans and listeners. This is Ed, co-founder and co-host of the podcast. As you may have noticed, we haven’t posted much in the last few days. There’s a reason for that, and it’s unfortunately not great news.

As many of you have seen, Doug recently posted about his two-month remission and how he’s been cautiously optimistic about recovery. As a matter of fact, our next show, episode #16, which is scheduled to be released on July 12th, is all about his remission and some interesting new facts he learned about the origins of his mental illness. The show has already been recorded, and it’s a mostly positive discussion.

However, for the past several days, Doug has taken a turn for the worse and is again experiencing debilitating symptoms. He is very angry, depressed, and frustrated to say the least. He has no energy to move and even skipped out on going to a baseball game that someone gave him tickets to, which he was excited about just last week. I’ve been trying to motivate him to change his routine to no avail. We’ve talked, but all that comes out of his mouth is negativity and anger, which makes it very difficult to have a productive conversation.

Underneath it all, he knows and understands that it is the disease talking, and I get that too. But I won’t lie and say it’s easy to take. It’s not. I miss the real Doug, the one who had me in tears laughing when we recorded some of our silly bits in episode #13. I miss the Doug that I can talk to for hours about music and comedy. And I miss the Doug that is positive and thinking about how well he is doing fighting to get his life back. The Doug I’ve been talking to the last few days is a false one, taken over by an evil beast of a disease. The hardest parts are those fleeting moments where his true self bleeds through, if only for a sentence or two. Like he’s fighting to get a message out to me that says “don’t listen to him, that’s not me!”

I hear you, brother. And I’m still here for you, waiting.

In the meantime, I am trying to get an update recorded and added to our next show to explain to our listeners that the remission has decided to take a little break for now. Not sure what we’ll do for the show after that, but we’ll take it one day at a time.

Thank you all again for your continued support.

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Unhinged Episode #015: Brothers in Arms

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #015: Brothers in Arms

In this episode, we welcome special guest Jamie Rickel, Doug’s older brother and de-facto family liaison. Jamie has come to understand Doug’s plight and that his disease is not something he can control.

The discussion gives us a look at Doug’s early childhood from Jamie’s point of view. Jamie also talks about when he noticed Doug having mental health issues, his drug use, the family intervention, and how their parents handled everything.

Join us in this emotional episode as we discover more about their family dynamic.

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Stephen Fry on Depression

by Ed 0 Comments

If you know someone who is depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation. Depression just is, like the weather.
Stephen-Fry-depression-07-01-2016

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