Smoking Cessation Drug Identified For Those With SZ, Schizoaffective

Written by Magpie Media

A new study by physicians in New Jersey at the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ)–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has identified a drug that may be effective in smoking cessation treatment for patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder without causing unnecessary harm and symptoms.
Individuals with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder have a greater severity of nicotine dependence and therefore require a more potent treatment plan than the general population,” said lead investigator Jill M.

Williams, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University. “It is important, however, that treatments for smoking cessation do not cause unnecessary psychosocial concerns or negative reactions with other medications used in the treatment of schizophrenia.
The study looked at people with clinically stable schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder who werecurrently smokers and interested in quitting. They were randomly selected into either a group that received varenicline treatment or into a placebo group. The study consisted of a two-week screening period followed by a 12-week treatment period and a final 12-week follow up period.
After the treatment period, patients who received varenicline had a 19-percent higher smoking abstinence rate than in the controlled placebo group who showed a 4.7-percent abstinence rate.
After the 24-week trial period, those patients who received varenicline continued to show a decline in cigarette use, although at a smaller rate. Researchers also noted that during the trial, participants who received varenicline did not experience a significant impact to their schizophrenia symptoms, indicating this may be a safe and effective smoking cessation treatment for patients with schizophrenia.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, May 25 2012 and was funded by Pfizer Inc., which produces varenicline (brand name Chantix).

Source: Newswise

We Connect Now: Great Website for College Students With Disabilities

Gabriela McCall Delgado was a college student in 2008 when she received a grant to develop a website to serve college students with disabilities. The website was developed in an effort to connect and integrate college students with disabilities as a virtual community with a voice on important issues.

Our Mission – We Connect Now is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on college students and access to higher education and employment issues.

One of the goals of this site is to help college students with disabilities to succeed in their studies by getting the information and support they need, both through resources, linksblogs latest news, studying existing laws and regulation and through personal contacts. Through this website people can also share and read other people’s stories as a source of support and comfort. We also want people using our webpage to take action by writingblogs, hosting an event or becoming involved in politics by knowing about upcoming legislation.  Also, every month our webpage will focus on a particular disability or condition to bring our visitors more information and support related to our focus of the month. Through our jobssection, we also hope to help empower people with disabilities find employment through job posting and job searching tips, and  if people have any questions we encourage them to contact us. The goal of this site is that people leave it having gained knowledge, a support system and having taken action. We were founded in 2008 as a blueprint project for Young People For.



Myths and Facts about Anger

Myth: I shouldn’t “hold in” my anger. It’s healthy to vent and let it out.

Fact: While it’s true that suppressing and ignoring anger is unhealthy, venting is no better. Anger is not something you have to “let out” in an aggressive way in order to avoid blowing up. In fact, outbursts and tirades only fuel the fire and reinforce your anger problem.

Myth: Anger, aggression, and intimidation help me earn respect and get what I want.

Fact: True power doesn’t come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won’t respect you if you can’t control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.

Myth: I can’t help myself. Anger isn’t something you can control.

Fact: You can’t always control the situation you’re in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you express your anger. And you can express your anger without being verbally or physically abusive. Even if someone is pushing your buttons, you always have a choice about how to respond.

Myth: Anger management is about learning to suppress your anger.

Fact: Never getting angry is not a good goal. Anger is normal, and it will come out regardless of how hard you try to suppress it. Anger management is all about becoming aware of your underlying feelings and needs and developing healthier ways to manage upset. Rather than trying to suppress your anger, the goal is to express it in constructive ways.

Authors: Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Melinda Smith, M.A. Last updated: May 2012 at

Individualized Treatments Are Future of Autism Therapies

Seven questions for Laura Schreibman, PhD

The following feature was produced by the American Psychological Association.

Laura Schreibman PhDA recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 88 American children has an autism spectrum disorder, up from a previous estimate of one in 110. Scientists, teachers, parents and psychologists are anxious to learn more about these disorders and what treatments are effective in managing ASD. Laura Schreibman, PhD, has the position of distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, where she has been on the faculty since 1983. She directs the UCSD Autism Intervention Research Program, a federally funded research program focusing on the experimental analysis and treatment of autism. She is the author of three books and more than 140 research articles and book chapters. The Science and Fiction of Autism, published in 2005 by Harvard University Press, is her most recent book.

APA recently posed the following questions to Dr. Schreibman:

APA: More and more children are being diagnosed with autism-related disorders, according to the CDC’s recent report. Do we know what causes autism and why more children are receiving this diagnosis?

Dr. Schreibman: We know that autism is a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder. But while research is focusing very heavily on the genetic basis for autism, we have not yet identified either the specific genetic sites or the mechanisms of effect. However, I expect we will see major progress in this area very soon, with some tantalizing findings already coming in at a rapid rate. As to why more children are receiving the diagnosis — there are several possibilities. First, we have broadened the diagnostic label to include a “spectrum” of disorders. Second, we have better diagnostic instruments. Third, we have increased awareness by professionals (such as pediatricians), parents and the general public. Fourth, we are able to identify children at a younger age. Fifth, it is the case that in many places, one receives more and better services for a child with an autism diagnosis than might be available for other special needs. This leads to some pressure for the diagnosis. Sixth, there might be some environmental toxins in our more recent world that somehow interact with a genetically susceptible infant — although nothing yet has been proven.

APA: A recent study published in Pediatrics shows that children born to obese women are more likely to be diagnosed with autism or related developmental delays than the children of slimmer mothers. What is your reaction to this study and do you think we’ll ever be able to find out what exactly causes autism spectrum disorders?

Dr. Schreibman: Any time I read a study like this I am intrigued. However, I have seen so many of these types of studies that I have a hard time getting hopeful that it will be a breakthrough. Also, since maternity obesity has long been known to have serious consequences to the fetus, I am not surprised that autism might be one of those consequences. I do not mean to suggest this study is not important since any connection with autism is important. I just believe that we are still a long way off from being able to identify a true 100 percent association between any factor and ASD. Do I think we will ever get there? I like to think so. But I and others believe that ASD is not a single disorder and thus it is unlikely there is a single cause. We are looking at many specific disorders and these likely have different causes, different courses and different prognoses. Our challenge, and it is a monumental one, is to finally understand this exceedingly complex disorder we call ASD and the many biological and environmental factors that may be responsible. However, I am optimistic that we will indeed one day have answers.

APA: Recent research has been moving toward individualized treatments for autistic children. Why is it so difficult to find a “one-size-fits-all” treatment for these disorders?

Dr. Schreibman: Over the many years that effective interventions have existed for autism, researchers and clinicians have noted that treatment outcome is highly variable for this population. Even with our very best treatments, some children fail to respond, even minimally. However, variability in treatment response should not be surprising in that the nature of the autism spectrum is such that there is a high degree of variability in the population. There are factors other than the treatment that determine outcome. These include child characteristics (again, highly variable across children), interaction of specific treatment and skills being taught, parent and family variables and cultural variables. Considering all these factors, it would be highly surprising if any single form of treatment would be effective for all children. Much treatment research is now heading toward understanding the variables that affect treatment response and “predictors” of treatment outcome, and toward using this information to help tailor treatments for individual children. This should lead to an overall higher positive treatment response across all children with autism.

For many years, and still today, many researchers have focused on comparing one treatment to another treatment, or a treatment versus “usual care” in the community. In my own opinion, the idea of trying to figure out which specific treatment is “best” is a dead issue. We need to stop trying to figure out a one-size-fits-all treatment and focus on a technology that allows us to be open minded about what effective and evidence-based treatments are available and how to best fit the combination of these treatments to the specific features and needs of the individual child.

APA: What are the most effective treatments for autism spectrum disorders?

Dr. Schreibman: Unfortunately, we have no cure for autism. Only behavioral treatment has been empirically proven to effect positive change in these children. For example, we can identify principles by which environmental events affect behavior. The identification of these principles allowed for the development of highly structured treatments that were the first to be proven scientifically as effective. I refer here primarily to the work of Dr. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA. This form of treatment involves presenting the child with several learning “trials” in a precise and repetitive manner such that instructions are consistent and correct responses are rewarded with food, praise or access to a preferred activity. These trials are repeated until the child demonstrates mastery of the specific skill being taught. Continued research by behavior analysts identified important limitations to these treatments for some youngsters and this led to the development of more naturalistic, less structured treatments. Such naturalistic interventions involve procedures that are more play-based and child-directed. The idea is to make the therapy more fun and enjoyable so the child is more likely to want to participate in the treatment. In addition, these naturalistic therapies involve interactions that are more like natural adult-child interactions and take place in everyday settings. These improvements allow for the child to more easily learn to use their new skills in their normal environment. In addition, these naturalistic forms of treatment are easily used by the parents during their regular interactions with their child and thus increase the likelihood they will apply these effective treatments with their child.

The earlier identification of children at-risk for an ASD has resulted in the ability to provide early intensive treatment and allows for substantial improvements in many of these very young children. However, the ability to treat such young children has required that we adapt and broaden our existing behavioral interventions for these toddlers. Thus, we now see strategies that follow more of a developmental model, with intervention directed at those behaviors infants and toddlers are more likely to show. These include engaging socially with adults, playing, imitating adults, using nonverbal gestures to communicate and the like. These skills are the building blocks that are so important in the development of more advanced skills, such as language.

APA: At what age are most children diagnosed with autism? How does an earlier diagnosis aid in treating the disorder?

Dr. Schreibman: While researchers are increasingly able to reliably diagnosis these children at younger ages (as early as about 15 to 18 months, or even earlier), most researchers and clinicians are reluctant to give these very young children a formal autism diagnosis before the age of 2 years.  These children are typically called “at risk” or given a “provisional” autism diagnosis. Worrisome early features include failing to respond to their name, failure to use eye-gaze to direct attention of others, lack of interest in toys, failure to imitate, lack of interest in other people and the like. However, despite our ability to reliably diagnosis ASD at earlier ages, the average age at which children in the U.S. are diagnosed is still 4 years.

The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the opportunity for intervention. Research has strongly supported the advantage of early intervention in the overall outcome for children with autism. While currently in most places in the country educational supports are available starting at age 36 months, it is now apparent that intensive treatment at earlier ages can be extremely important.

APA: What are some of the most common misconceptions about autistic children?

Dr. Schreibman: I believe the idea that somehow vaccines are responsible or contribute to autism is something that just won’t die. Despite the lack of any sound empirical evidence for a connection, it just seems to hang on.

I also believe that many people conceptualize autism as a disorder wherein the child sits in a corner rocking or banging his head. I think recognition and appreciation of the much more common lesser forms of the disorder is still lacking. Of course, on the other side is the misconception that all individuals with autism are savants — sort of the “Rain Man” phenomenon.

Not really a misconception but I think one of the biggest challenges we, as researchers and clinicians, face is the promotion of blatantly bogus or even dangerous “treatments” for autism. Possibly the best example of what I could consider a dangerous treatment is facilitated communication, wherein children with autism are “facilitated” by an adult who supports their hand or arm as the child activates a keypad or other letter display. Via this method, children have supposedly written prose, told their parents they love them, written poetry, etc. These messages led many to believe they were really produced by the child when in fact a number of scientific studies have shown the messages were instead produced by the adult facilitator. Parents were again crushed to find out their children were not producing prose and poetry. But worse were the allegations of abuse produced by these so-called communications and these led to children being placed outside the home, parents arrested, and so on. Parents are understandably desperate to do what is best for their child but often are not able to distinguish what is scientifically supported and what is not.

APA: How can parents help children with autism spectrum disorders thrive?

Dr. Schreibman: The best thing parents can do is to become informed. I have worked with families for many years and have always been impressed with their motivation to help their children. But a good part of helping is to understand the nature of their child’s challenges and being an informed consumer of services. Ask questions, expect answers, understand the treatment and look for objective evidence of effectiveness, be an advocate for your child, work with your child and coordinate your efforts with treatment providers. And be sure the treatments being applied to your child have scientific support. Unfortunately, there is a lot of snake oil out there.

Dr. Laura Schreibman can be contacted by email or at (858) 534-6279.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 137,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Is Stress Getting to You?

Like their clients, psychologists struggle with work/life conflict. How can they help their clients and themselves?

“There are ways psychologists are particularly vulnerable to stress, part of which has to do with the nature of our work with people who have difficulties and maybe getting too engrossed in that,” says Daniel I. Galper, PhD, director of research and special projects in APA’s Practice Directorate. “And in this economic environment, there’s a tendency to maybe see more patients and work harder trying to make up income and keep the practice going.”

Those tendencies can strain psychologists’ abilities to meet their family obligations, the survey found. Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported that an overly challenging work/life balance was interfering with their optimal functioning as professional psychologists — a worry that topped even dealing with insurance companies and managed care.

On the flip side, 96 percent of respondents reported that maintaining balance between their personal and professional lives was their most effective strategy for coping with that stress.

By Rebecca A. Clay at the American Psychological Association


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“Free Call. Free Support. Free Medicine.”


First Call: A smoke-free life begins here. First, we talk about your history with quitting. What worked? What didn’t? Next, we put together a quit plan based on your experiences. Finally, we discuss medications that might work for you like nicotine replacement therapy. Now we can plan your Quit Date.

Second Call: Your second call will focus on giving you extra support. Your Quit Coach™ will see how your quit has gone so far and discuss any obstacles. They’ll listen to your concerns and give you the encouragement to keep you going.

Third Call: In the third call, your Quit Coach™ will show they are still behind you 100%. If things are going well, they’ll cheer for you. If things aren’t going so great, they’ll offer advice to help get you back on track.

Fourth Call: In the fourth call, your Quit Coach will discuss if you’ve had any past problems quitting so you can prepare for any future challenges. And if you should ever feel any doubts or cravings, a friendly, supportive voice is just a free phone call away.


Ben B. Bostdorf And His Book About Living With Schizophrenia “Minority of Mind”

PDF Flyer for Book: MINORITY OF MIND by Ben B. Bostdorf

I’m a writer and graduate of Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts who is under treatment at Mclean hospital in Massachusetts. My first hospitalization at Mclean occurred the day after my graduation, when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. That was ten years ago and I have struggled with my mental illness ever since, but made much progress under the care of numerous doctors.

I took a course in life that is difficult to talk about. I have been faced with a reality that I have a lifelong illness and this has affected my feelings of purpose and self worth. It has also devastated my family. In the course of the last year I wrote a book detailing my struggle with schizophrenia in early adulthood, and the hope of being part of society and contributing to it.

I wrote  “Minority of Mind” for families and to challenge how society defines mental illness.

It is my hope that I can get my story to those who could be helped by it. In saying this, I do not necessarily think of mentally ill people. I think relatives of people with mental illness would especially benefit from learning the thought process and emotions behind some of the symptoms heard day to day.

Here is a sample audio interview and attachment about the book:

Thank you,

Ben B Bostdorf


Are All Doctors, Psychiatrists and Scientists Lying All the Time?

by Natasha Tracy’s “Bipolar Burble”

One of the problems with the antipsychiatry movement is they assert all of psychiatry, all doctors, all science is lying, pretty much all of the time. Any biological evidence for mental illness must be wrong, because if it isn’t, then psychiatry might make sense. Any evidence antidepressants help a brain must be wrong, because otherwise antipsychiatry views might come into question.

But seriously, does any rational, thinking person really believe all of science, all over the world, is lying?

Antipsychiatry Viewpoints

For the purposes of this article* I’ll define antipsychiatry as the viewpoint that mental illness isn’t biological (mental illness doesn’t exist) and psychiatrists do more to poison their patients than to help them. I’ll define antipsychiatry as those who think treatment shouldn’t include psychiatric (psychotropic) medication (psych meds). (Some antipsychiatry people are against psychology as well.)

Antipsychiatry folks have made their views quite clear to me through sentiments left in comments like:

And I could go on. Those espousing antipsychiatry viewpoints tend to be very loud.


People Want Big Answers to Little Problems

Psychiatry, has issues. Medicine, has issues. Health care, has issues. I would never suggest otherwise.

But the doctrine of “psychiatrists are evil,” “psychiatrists only want to make money,” “psychiatrists don’t care about patients,” “psychiatrists don’t help anyone,” is just ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine the forces of greed and malevolence sustaining a person through 12 years of school. Is it possible? Probably. Is it likely? I think not. (If you want to fuck people and make money, there are easier ways. Some requiring no training at all.)

Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

by Natasha Tracy at “Bipolar Burble”

There is a lot of help available for people with a mental illness. There are hotlines, mental health resource locators, therapists, doctors and many others. And yet, many people with a mental illness continue to live every day with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses without getting help.

And what’s worse is that we know that by not getting help, or by delaying help, the course of the overall illness and outcome is worse.

So why don’t people get help for mental illness?

People are Scared of Mental Illness

The number one reason people don’t get help for mental illness is because they are scared. People are scared of their illness and they’re certainly scared of help for that mental illness. Honestly, it’s a complicated piece of psychology, but in a nutshell – if you don’t admit to the mental illness, then it isn’t really there. It’s the head in the sand approach. It happens with all illnesses. No one wants to be sick so they deny it and just hope it’ll go away.

Of course, mental illness doesn’t tend to just “go away” on its own.

I understand fear of mental illness. Between the media stereotypes and common misconceptions about mental illness, it’s no wonder that no one wants to admit to it. And the misunderstandings of the general public and the nasty things people say about mental illness don’t help either.

And it’s awfully scary to face the dark side of yourself where the mental illness lives. It is nearly impossible to admit to suicidal or self-harm feelings because you want to judge them and you feel terrible about them and you’re worried about how other people will judge you because of them.

The trouble is – if you don’t admit there is a problem, you will never find a solution.