March 30, 2009

Feeling a need to talk about it

I think perhaps people on my FB are sick of reading "bipolar illness", or "suicide", or "mental disorder". But, and I get tears in my eyes when I write it, it is the only way to get peoples attention. Hammer home the point that we aren't going to go away. You, as in society, can't afford to sweep us mentally ill people under the rug. No, we are going to continue to be a drain in society that costs money. We aren't locked away in mental institutions, thank god.

I've been reading on the John Hopkins site and see this written

How do we know that bipolar disorder is genetic?

Studies have shown us that depression and bipolar disorder tend to run in families. First-degree relatives of bipolar patients (their parents, siblings, and children) are at a 10-fold increased risk for bipolar disorder and are also at increased risk for depression. However, because family studies cannot tease apart genetic susceptibility and environmental susceptibility, both of which may be shared within a family, twin studies have provided us with additional insight. Monozygotic (identical) twins, who share 100% of their genetic information (DNA), are more likely to both have a mood disorder than dizygotic (fraternal) twins, who share, on average, 50% of their genetic information. This difference is evidence for a genetic susceptibility for bipolar disorder. The proportion of the liability to bipolar disorder that is thought to be genetic about 75%.

At Johns Hopkins, we are actively searching for susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder. Finding the genes responsible for bipolar disorder will help us to understand what goes wrong in the brain and should yield better treatments, better diagnoses, and techniques for illness prevention.

Research on the disease has discovered this, apparently

Psychiatrists at Johns Hopkins have been looking for the genes for bipolar disorder since 1988. Highlights of our research findings to date include:

* The systematic study of the distribution and genetic salience of bipolar II disorder.
* The identification of two regions that likely harbor bipolar disorder genes on chromosomes 8 and 18.
* The finding that inheritance of bipolar disorder susceptibility may include a parent-of-origin effect (may differ depending on whether transmission comes from fathers or from mothers).
* The demonstration of familial clustering of psychotic bipolar disorder and localization of genes for this subtype of illness to two regions of chromosomes 13 and 22.
* The demonstration of familial clustering of early-onset bipolar disorder and localization of a gene for this form of illness to a region of chromosome 21.
* A role in the identification of the two strongest candidate genes for bipolar disorder, BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and DAOA (d-amino acid oxidase activator).

Yes, this is complex medical stuff that I have no clue. But I do know that I am not going to get better. It's not something I can be "cured" of.

Teen suicides, and even child suicides, I think, have to be one of the most tragic events in life. How do you get over an 11 yr. old committing suicide? My brain struggles to think how one would cope! The empathy I feel when I read of this Childhood suicides on the rise just makes me cry.

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