| New Information
The facts and opinions provided in this Web site are for informational purposes only. They
do not constitute medical or psychological treatment. If
you have a concern about psychiatric symptoms, there is
no substitute for receiving an individualized personal examination
by a licensed health professional. Dr. Hicks cannot respond
to clinical questions on an individual basis. See
for links to professional organizations which can help you
find a health care provider in your area.
paperback edition of "50 Signs of Mental Illness"
is now available in bookstores. The book continues to reach
an expanding audience of readers through positive reviews
on the internet and in publications like Health Magazine.
I especially appreciate the recognition of the National
Alliance on Mental Illness which reviewed the book and selected
it as one of the best books of 2005. The New York City chapter
also recognized "50 Signs of Mental Illness" for
its "substantial contribution to the public's awareness
and better understanding of mental disorders."
is spring, and "50 Signs of Mental Illness" has
just begun to arrive in bookstores. Several people have
asked me how I came to write a book about mental illness
and what I hope to accomplish by it.
decided to write the book several years ago when I realized
how little people know about psychiatric illness. Nearly
everyone has experienced depression, anxiety, stress, trouble
sleeping and other symptoms of mental illness. But almost
everyone thinks of these as personal failings or existential
problems rather than as health issues with potential treatments.
We are afraid that if we have a mental illness, we might
be "crazy" and have to see a "shrink."
But effective treatments exist, and you can feel much better
after a simple trip to a doctor or counselor. We should
be able to recognize the signs of mental stress in our lives
in the same way that we monitor our blood pressure and cholesterol.
are other books about mental illness available, but most
of them are organized around disorders. You have to know
whether you have depression, panic attacks, schizophrenia,
or bipolar disorder in order to know what to read. "50
Signs" focuses instead on the signs and symptoms that
you experience. The symptoms of mental illness overlap,
and most people have more than one mental health concern.
I wanted to write a book that would help readers understand
the full range of their concerns and guide them to the most
other goal in writing "50 Signs" was to emphasize
the perspective of the patient. Even the mildest mental
concerns can be frightening, and I wanted to explain that
these experiences are common and understandable. You should
be able to talk about them with your doctors and loved ones
without feeling embarassed or afraid.
to "50 Signs of Mental Illness"
Several new antipsychotic medications have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia: paliperidone (Invega), iloperidone (Fanapt), and arsenapine (Saphis). Paliperidone is also available in a long-acting injectible formulation (Invega-Sustenna). See the chapter Psychosis for more information about the treatment of schizophrenia and related conditions.
(Lunestera) and ramelteon (Rozerem) are new medications
for the treatment of insomnia. Like zolpidem(Ambien) and
zaleplon (Sonata), they do not appear to be addicting. Ramelteon
is the first sleep medication to mimic the effects of the
hormone melatonin, and it is not considered a controlled
substance. Zolpidem is also available in a longer acting form (Ambien CR). See
the chapter Sleep Problems for more information about
coping with insomnia.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) of the federal government has created a national
toll-free suicide prevention line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This hotline has been added to the Resources section of
this Web site, and you may wish to pencil it in on p. 359
of the book for future reference. See the chapter Suicidal
Thoughts for more informations about how to prevent
FDA has approved two new medication for addiction. Varenicline
(Chantix) appears to help smokers to stop smoking by easing
withdrawal and blocking the effects of nicotine. Naltrexone
is now available in a once-monthly injection (Vivitrol)
to reduce cravings for alcohol. See the chapter Cravings
for other methods of treating addiction.
Methylphenidate for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder is now available in a skin patch (Daytrana) that
children can wear for nine hours during the day rather than
taking pills by mouth. See the chapter Hyperactivity
for other information about the treatment of ADHD.
An old antidepressant medication, selegiline, is now available
in a skin patch (Emsam). Since the medication is absorbed
through the skin, it does not appear to block the effects
of enzymes in the gut as other MAOI antidepressants do.
The other MAOI medications are effective but rarely prescribed
because they can cause dangerous elevations in blood pressure
when certain foods are consumed during treatment. The selegiline
skin patch offers a safer alternative. See the end of the
chapter Depression for more information about the
MAOI and other antidepressants.
A medication for dementia, galantamine, is now being marketed
under a new brand name, Razadyne, due to confusion of the
old brand name, Reminyl, with a similarly sounding medication
for diabetes. See the chapter Memory Loss for treatments
The advocacy organization known for years as the National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has changed its name
to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in order to
avoid appearing to define anyone by their illness. See Recommended
Resources Mental Health Advocacy
and Support for a link to NAMI's