On May 15, 1980, I graduated from The University of Connecticut School of Law. I had no worries, except my studies, as my parents paid virtually all my bills until I was 25 years
old. In college at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, I had a work study job, and for one year of law school, I worked at the West Hartford Public Library. The second year of law
school I did title searches for a real estate attorney. After graduating from law school, I spent that summer studying for the Connecticut Bar exam.

Back on April 14TH of 1980, I was involved in a head on car crash, which happened while I was in an alcohol induced blackout. I tell you this now because it might have contributed
to my suspicious thinking, which eventually led to fullblown paranoia. I quit that job in February of 1981 without having another job. Eventually I went to live with my parents who suggested that I see a psychiatrist. I met with the doctor for no more than one half hour, and he prescribed 10 milligrams of Stelazine. This was a shock to my body and in February of 1984, I signed myself into the John Dempsey hospital in Farmington, Connecticut. For the first week there I was not well. The doctor recommended Thorazine. This med worked well enough to have me discharged from the hospital to a transitional living facility in Hartford, Connecticut.

For the next 8-9 years. I repeated what would become a pattern. I would do well on a new med, then decompensate and have to be hospitalized. Throughout this time I was also drinking beer, off and on. I had a total of 19 admissions, with stays lasting 2 months to 2 years. In 1992, while at the Norwich State Hospital, a doctor suggested that I try a new med called Clozaril. With an adjustment to take it all at bedtime, that turn out to be my last hospitalization until a 4day stay for anxiety in 2013.

During that same hospital stay at Norwich State, I stopped drinking beer. I continue to be a recovering alcoholic with 23 years of sobriety. In March of 1995 I secured a full time position with the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network (WCMHN) in Torrington, Connecticut. I continued to work there until my disability retirement in December of 2014.

I was introduced to Schizophrenics Anonymous by Jim Cronin. I refer to Jim as my SA mentor as he helped me to start the Torrington area SA meeting in 2004. Today it is a closed meeting. It is a class within the Recovery & Wellness program at WCMHN. I have been involved as the paid staff person from 2004 until December 2014, when I retired. Along with Jim Cronin, I was one of the first moderators of the SA group calls. In 2014 I was elected to the SARDAA Board of Directors. SA has been a very important part of my life and recovery.

(this post is an excerpt from the October 2015 SARDAA Newsletter)

Comprehensive Versus Usual Community Care for First-Episode Psychosis: 2-Year Outcomes From the NIMH RAISE Early Treatment Program

The American Journal of Psychiatry has published an study on Comprehensive versus Usual Community Care for First-Episode Psychosis.

The primary aim of this study was to compare the impact of NAVIGATE, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, team-based treatment approach for first-episode psychosis designed for implementation in the U.S. health care system, with community care on quality of life.

To read the bulletin and learn more about the study, click to visit the Psychiatry Online website.

Congressman asks New Mexico lawmakers to support mental health reform

Federal policies to oversee and treat mental illness in America are “neglectful and abusive,” particularly toward minorities, a Republican congressman told a state legislative committee Monday.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, a practicing psychologist, spoke for two hours in front of the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee, laying out a series of problems and pitfalls in the country’s mental health programs.

Murphy told the committee members he was looking for their support for his bill, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. He said it would overhaul the system.

To read the complete article, click to visit the Santafe New Mexican website.

ABC Re-Airs Offensive Episode with Misrepresentation of Neurological Illness

ABC’s plans to re-air last year’s Modern Family Halloween episode, entitled AwesomeLand. This is a despicable, disgusting, offensive misrepresentation of neurological illnesses and treatment. The discrimination and harm that this brings to our community via the media is beyond appalling. Here is a trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fD2pSLSyKc – ABC refuses to cease airing this show and incites my anger and frustration. They also are in violation of their own standards: Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility.

There are more than 9 million Americans living with serious psychiatric neurological disorders and millions more are affected – parents, siblings, colleagues, neighbors, the entire community. We as a community MUST provide respect, compassion and TREATMENT as we do with other illnesses NOW! Stop engaging in discriminatory, harmful spread of denigrations based on falsehoods.

Linda Stalters, Exec. Dir. Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America

Lucy: A portrait of Schizophrenia

In a post in the New York Times Psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas writes about his conversations with Lucy, a person living with Schizophrenia. As Bollas describes it, Lucy’s mind is an highly active mind filled with reworked memories and hallucinations. In the piece he paints a picture of what a conversation with a person living with Schizophrenia is like, describing it as feeling like a conversation with a person who seems to be existing on the edge of human perception:

Lucy was a schizophrenic. Most people I know who have talked with schizophrenics have noticed that it feels like a conversation not with someone whose ailment is derived from the fog of symptomatic preoccupation, or the dulling repetition of character patterns, but with a person who seems to be existing on the edge of human perception. Take LSD and you see things you would ordinarily never perceive. Become schizophrenic and you see these things without the aid of drugs.

To read the full article, visit the New York Times site.

Study shows positive outcomes of early intervention for first episode psychosis

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the results of a study designed to measure the impact of early intervention for youth and young adults experiencing first episode psychosis. The research initiative overseen by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has studied first episode psychosis in 36 geographically diverse community clinics across 22 states. The study found that “Compared to patients who received usual care, participants in a Coordinated Specialty Care program (CSC) experienced significantly greater improvements in total symptoms, social functioning, work or school involvement, and overall quality of life.” The study states that, if left untreated, psychosis can lead to a host of negative physical and psychological outcomes and goes on to say that early intervention “can enable individuals experiencing first episode psychosis to live in community settings and participate fully in family and community life.” The CMS has released an accompanying guide to assist states in providing support for intervention services for first episode psychosis. To read the bulletin and learn more about study, click to visit the Medicaid.gov website.

New link found between brain immune response and Schizophrenia symptom severity

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows a link between the brain’s response to inflammation and Schizophrenia symptom severity. The study, conducted by researchers at the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Sciences Centre, based at Imperial College London, in collaboration with colleagues at King’s College London, measured levels of microglial cells in the brain. Microglial cells are the immune cells of the brain and their presence indicates inflammation of the brain. The study showed higher levels of these cells in the brains of people with Schizophrenia and people at high risk of developing Schizophrenia. The levels of the cells also correlated with Schizophrenia symptom severity, specifically psychotic-like symptoms.  The findings of the study suggest that Schizophrenia may be caused by inflammation of the brain; the next step, says study author Oliver Howes, M.D., Ph.D., is to test whether anti-inflammatory drugs can treat or prevent the disorder altogether.

To read more about the study, visit the American Psychiatric Association website.

Free Webinar on Schizophrenia – November 10, 2015

Next month the Brain Behavior and Research Foundation will host a free webinar on Schizophrenia. The “Meet the Scientist” session will be moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and will feature Dr. Carol Tamminga, Psychiatrist and co-founder of the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research. The session will be held on Tuesday, November 10, from 2-3pm Easter Time, and will feature a Q&A. To learn more about the session or to register, visit the Brain Behavior & Research Foundation website.

SARDAA Health Storylines™ – Help for People With Schizophrenia & Related Disorders

SARDAA Health Storylines Now Available
SARDAA Health Storylines™ – Help for people with schizophrenia and related disorders

Now it is easy to record details and specifics about symptoms, medication, moods, and more. Choose what you want to track, and see all the information you need to help you or your loved one who is living with schizophrenia and related disorders.

With SARDAA Health Storylines, all you have to do is tap an icon, swipe a screen, fill in the blanks. And fill in the rest of the story for yourself or for your loved one.

You can use the following Health Tools to better manage and monitor schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder:

  • RECORD important questions you have for your clinician
  • TRACK symptoms, moods, and daily routines
  • GET REMINDED to take medications on time
  • REMEMBER clinical appointments
  • JOURNAL about you or your loved one’s condition and other aspects of daily living
  • LEARN more about you or your loved one by keeping a record of patterns and behaviors
  • KNOW when to call a clinician by noticing important signs and symptoms
  • IMPORT data from other health and fitness apps that you use
  • CONNECT with your circle of support through the app

SARDAA Health Storylines is developed in partnership with the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America, and is powered by the Health Storylines™ platform from Self Care Catalysts Inc.

This app is not meant to replace a clinician or give medical feedback of any kind. It is a tool to help document self-care activities for better care coordination and communication. No one will see your results unless you share it with them.

Any data collected from SARDAA Health Storylines is de-identified (removing any personal information) and aggregated to eliminate any personal identification so that it can be made available to partners and other third parties to better understand the patient experience in order to improve treatment options and health outcomes.

How to Access SARDAA Health Storylines

The mobile app is FREE for all users on iOS and Android devices. There is also a web version available, accessible through the browser of any desktop computer or mobile device.

Download the iPhone or iPad App

  • To install this FREE APP, go to the Apple App Store on your iPhone or iPad, and search for “SARDAA Health Storylines.”
  • Click on the GET button, then click INSTALL.
  • Once installed, click on the SARDAA Health Storylines app.
  • Click on “Sign up.” You will need to enter in the registration information and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use to begin using the SARDAA Health Storylines app.

Download the Android™ App

  • To install this FREE APP, go to the Google Play™ app store on your Android device, and search for “SARDAA Health Storylines.”
  • Click the INSTALL button.
  • You will see the APP permissions screen, click ACCEPT.
  • Once installed, click on the SARDAA Health Storylines app.
  • Click on “Sign up.” You will need to enter in the registration information and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use to begin using the SARDAA Health Storylines app.

Available on the web

To use the web version through the browser of your desktop computer, go to https://sardaa.healthstorylines.com

FDA Approves ARISTADA™ for Treatment of Schizophrenia

FDA Approves ARISTADA™ for Treatment of Schizophrenia

— First Long-Acting Atypical Antipsychotic With Both Once-Monthly and Six-Week Dosing Options —

 Product Features Include Range of Dose Strengths and Multiple Dosing Intervals Designed to Address Individual Patient Needs —

— Company to Host Conference Call at 7:30 a.m. EDT Tomorrow 

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 5, 2015– Alkermes plc (NASDAQ: ALKS) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ARISTADA™ (aripiprazole lauroxil) extended-release injectable suspension for the treatment of schizophrenia. ARISTADA is the first atypical antipsychotic with once-monthly and six-week dosing options for delivering and maintaining therapeutic levels of medication in the body through an injection. Alkermes is preparing to launch ARISTADA immediately.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151005006733/en/

“ARISTADA is a new treatment option designed to offer flexibility to meet the real-world needs of patients suffering from schizophrenia and the healthcare professionals providing their care,” said Elliot Ehrich, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Alkermes. “Building on nearly two decades of experience developing innovative medicines for chronic and serious CNS diseases, we are dedicated to helping to improve the lives of patients as well as meeting the needs within the treatment ecosystem of caregivers, physicians, payers and society. We look forward to making ARISTADA available to patients and healthcare providers as quickly as possible.”

ARISTADA’s features, including a range of dose strengths and dosing interval options, are designed to address the individual needs of patients and challenges in the treatment of schizophrenia. As a long-acting injectable medicine, ARISTADA provides patients, clinicians and families the certainty that patients receive medication for this serious brain disorder. Long-acting injectable antipsychotics provide patients with blood concentrations of active drug that remain within a therapeutic range for an extended period of time1 and help healthcare providers to track patient adherence.2

“Schizophrenia is a serious and debilitating disease where, despite the existence of many medicines, there remains significant unmet medical need and suffering. New treatment options are needed to help patients and their families better manage this illness,” said David Henderson, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Long-acting therapies are rapidly evolving to the forefront of the treatment of schizophrenia as clinicians increasingly recognize the potential benefits of less frequent dosing and consider their use earlier in disease progression.”

The FDA approval of ARISTADA was based on a proven safety and efficacy profile, including data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study in 623 patients with schizophrenia. Data from that trial showed that multiple dose strengths of ARISTADA met the primary endpoint with statistically significant and clinically meaningful reductions in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total scores at Week 12, met the key secondary endpoint and demonstrated significant improvements in schizophrenia symptoms versus placebo. The most common adverse events in the study were insomnia, akathisia and headache. The results of the phase 3 study were published in June 2015 by The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Conference Call

Alkermes will host a conference call on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, at 7:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 p.m. BST). The conference call may be accessed by dialing +1 888 424 8151 for U.S. callers and +1 847 585 4422 for international callers. The conference call ID number is 6037988. The conference call will also be webcast on the Investors section of Alkermes’ website at www.alkermes.com. In addition, a replay of the conference call will be available from 9:30 a.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. BST) on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, through5:00 p.m. EDT (10:00 p.m. BST) on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, and may be accessed by visiting Alkermes’ website or by dialing +1 888 843 7419 for U.S. callers and +1 630 652 3042 for international callers. The replay access code is 6037988.


Excerpt from a Press Release on the Alkermes Investor Website