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Mental Illness — Treatment
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An Ounce of Prevention [electronic resource]

Visits several programs that are attempting to eliminate known risk factors that often lead to serious psychological disorders, including social isolation and inadequate parenting skills.

Psychotherapy [electronic resource]

Describes how theory, research, and practice come together in the treatment of psychological disorders. Also discusses how attitudes toward the mentally ill have been influenced by historical, cultural, and social forces. Includes commentary by Dr. Hans Strupp of Vanderbilt University and the late Dr. Rollo May.

Brainwaves [electronic resource]: Electroshock Therapy

Medical science has made enormous strides since the days of using bloodletting and restraints in the management of psychiatric disorders, and yet a definitive cure for these conditions remains elusive. Focusing on electroshock therapy, this program gives an overview of mental illness treatments, from the crude methods of the Middle Ages to 20th-century breakthroughs based on new understandings of the brain. Patients undergoing ECT are interviewed before and after, providing dramatic evidence of the apparent efficacy of the controversial procedure, and experts discuss some drawbacks of the pharmaceutical approach. Some content may be objectionable. Contains surgical scenes of a graphic nature. A BBC Production?

Prisoner of Her Past [electronic resource]: Battling Late-Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

February 15, 2001: Skokie, Illinois. An elderly woman named Sonia Reich flees her home, insisting that someone is trying to kill her. It will take a year for her son, Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Reich, to understand the cause of her delusions - not Alzheimer's, not dementia, but post-traumatic stress disorder. Howard locates and confers with the few experts in the world who can explain the obscure phenomenon of late-onset PTSD. He also travels to the Ukrainian city where Sonia was born - and barely escaped Nazi atrocities - to uncover the horrors that now haunt his mother. Finally, Howard ventures beyond Sonia's story to ask what can be done for today's traumatized young people, such as victims of Hurricane Katrina, to give them a fighting chance at avoiding Sonia's fate decades [...]

The Downside of High [electronic resource]: The Link Between Marijuana and Schizophrenia

Is today's super-potent pot damaging young minds? Modern growing techniques have dramatically increased THC levels, ramping up the impact on the developing teenage brain. Some experts say that teens who start smoking marijuana heavily before the age of sixteen are four times more likely to become schizophrenic than those who don't smoke it at all. This program explores scientific discoveries about marijuana and its possible link to mental illness, with commentary from outspoken cannabis critic Professor Robin Murray of the Psychosis Research Group. Viewers follow three young people as they battle psychosis, paranoia, and hallucinations, all triggered by smoking pot.

Who's Normal Anyway? [electronic resource]

Trichotillomania might be an unusual word, but it is a common obsession: hair pulling. By looking at several ongoing case studies, this program offers fascinating glimpses into obsessive-compulsive disorder, showing firsthand the debilitating physical and emotional effects, as well as outlining a number of treatment options. Brain scans of OCD patients illustrate differences in neural activity. Among the cases presented are Bob and Shirley, who hoard, Liz, who pulls her hair, and Stephanie, whose extreme fear of contamination is linked with her mothering duties. The program also features Dr. Randy Frost of Smith College, a leading expert on hoarding, and Professor Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah, who has altered a single gene in mice to produce trichotillomania.
2005; 2003

Seeking Perfection [electronic resource]

Gary's love of soccer might wreck his wedding plans. Rosemary embezzled four million dollars in order to shop and hoard. An attractive young woman, Jennifer sees herself as disfigured due to body dysmorphia. These and other cases are used to illustrate how obsessive-compulsive disorder can be the flip side to strong, healthy self-interests. Along with studies of actual patients, the program features experts such as Dr. John Grant of the University of Minnesota, who has found similarities in brain circuitry and chemistry among those with OCD.
2005; 2003

Asylum [electronic resource]: History of the Mental Institution in America

This award-winning program brings to light the complex and controversial history of the mental institution in the U.S. through a detailed study of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. It also debates whether deinstitutionalization has proved an overall failure, leaving more patients homeless than are mainstreamed into society, and if the time has come to reintroduce the asylum as a place of therapy and benign confinement. Rare archival footage, interviews with former patients, and insights from mental health historians David Rothman, of Columbia University, and Gerald Grob, of Rutgers University, make this a documentary not to be missed.
2006; 1989

Madness [electronic resource]: History

In the past, there was no such thing as mental illness, only madness. Its treatment was often indistinguishable from torture or murder. This program follows the long, often grim road towards understanding and treating mental illness. Through testimonials, original manuscripts, photos, and extensive footage from medical archives, leading doctors and medical historians trace the history of asylums, the development of psychoanalysis, electroconvulsive therapy, and the rise of psychopharmacology. The program also details the once widespread use of phrenology, lobotomy, and lobotomy's ancient precursor, trepanning.
2005; 2001

Fragments of Genius [electronic resource]: Understanding Savants

By any standard, Derek Paravacini is an exceptional pianist. Stephen Wiltshire can draw whole cityscapes from memory with uncanny accuracy. Both are savants with severe learning disabilities due to autism. Focusing on these two case studies, this program looks at how a disability sometimes unlocks extraordinary abilities, as well as how research on savants has led to a better understanding of brain function. Allan Snyder, professor of science and the mind at the University of Sydney, discusses several theories of savant skills, while Dr. Bruce Miller shares his work on dementia which led him to identify a region of the brain that when damaged produces savant behavior.
2006; 2000

Bipolar Disorder [electronic resource]: Shifting Mood Swings

Different from the routine ups and downs of life, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe-even to the point of being life-threatening. In this insightful program, patients speak from their own experience about the complexities of diagnosis and the very real danger of suicide, while family members and close friends address the strain of the condition's cyclic behavior. In addition, Robert Hirschfeld, of The University of Texas Medical Branch; Karen Wagner, director of UTMB's Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and Joseph Calabrese, director of the Mood Disorders Research Program at University Hospitals of Cleveland, present treatment options and medications for controlling bipolar disorder.
2005; 2002

Multicultural Perspectives on Adults With Developmental Disabilities [electronic resource]

Community-based caregiving is a vital mode of support for older adults with developmental disabilities. This insightful and uplifting program examines how, within Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American cultural contexts, the needs of high-functioning members of this population are being met through the empowering assistance of their families and through healthcare- and employment-related programs that promote self-determination. The importance of service providers who share their clients' respective cultures and, where necessary, speak Asian languages or Spanish is underscored.
2006; 2002

Winning the Mind Game [electronic resource]: Triumphing Over Mental Illness

Filmed in the U.K., this program sympathetically presents the stories of four young adults-two men, two women-who triumphed over bipolar disorder, chronic anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and an eating disorder. Looking back on their lengthy ordeals, each person explains to viewers what it was like to slide into mental illness and how, with the help of others, they reestablished control of their lives.
2007; 2003

Troubled Minds [electronic resource]: Lithium Revolution

In the 1940s, an Australian doctor discovered an astonishing treatment for what was then known as manic depression. At a time when electric shock, lobotomy, and Freudian psychotherapy were the only approaches to treating the disorder, lithium changed the way the medical establishment thought about mental illness and neuroscience and initiated the era of psychopharmacology. This program tells the story of the lithium revolution, from John Cade's research and historical breakthrough to its acceptance-despite decades of resistance by pharmaceutical companies and a ban due to deaths from the drug's toxic effects-as the standard treatment for what is now called bipolar disorder.
2006; 2004

Depression [electronic resource]: Backpack Full of Bricks

Approximately 19 million American adults are grappling with depression. In this ABC News program, Ted Koppel talks with guests who have experienced the disease as well as family members who have lived through their loved ones' agonies. The program also pays tribute to the late actor Spalding Gray, who had the courage to go public with his condition, and features clips from his performances in which depression was the focus.
2006; 2004

My Name Is Walter James Cross [electronic resource]: Reality of Schizophrenia

Walter James Cross tried to kill himself and failed, so he decided to tell his story instead. Finding an abandoned theater, he stands on the stage alone and recounts his descent into mental illness, into schizophrenia. Created by a psychiatrist who has worked for many years with schizophrenic patients, this compelling dramatic monologue presents an accurate depiction of a devastating, costly, much maligned, and misunderstood illness. This program has been screened at film festivals and professional conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, and was well received by doctors and nurses as well as patients and their families.
2006; 2001

Mental Health [electronic resource]: The Individual and Society

For those who have never faced deep-rooted emotional or psychological problems, it can be difficult to see why maintaining mental health requires more than the capabilities of any one individual. While personal accountability remains an important step toward wellness, the complex demands of society do contribute to mental illness and create obstacles to healing. This program examines mental health at the personal level and in a social context. It discusses key processes for recovering and maintaining mental well-being; helpful information concerning depression and drug and alcohol abuse; and the importance of diet, exercise, meditation, social interaction, and community resources and structures.
2010; 2009

Case Studies in Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [electronic resource]

Bridget, 15, cannot go near her own parents because she fears they are somehow "contaminated." Rocco, 9, dissolves into tears whenever he tries to leave for school-consumed by anxiety over what could happen once he steps outside. Michelle, 13, spends hours in the shower. These children, along with about one million others, have OCD. This edition of Primetime tracks the treatment of Bridget, Rocco, and Michelle as they attempt to reclaim their lives and overcome the stigma associated with the disorder. Can they subdue a condition that consumes their every waking moment and utterly disrupts their families?
2010; 2009

Touch Wood [electronic resource]: Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD is built on magical beliefs that don't make much sense in the real world, says Cosmo-and he should know, because he has had the disorder since he was a child. In this program, Cosmo reaches out to others with OCD to more deeply understand the nature of his own condition: Nellie, who fears becoming someone else and uses repeating rituals to keep those fears at bay; Margaret, a hoarder and a hand-washer; and Mark, who must check every single thing in his house when he leaves and returns. In addition, two psychologists and a researcher shed light on diagnosis of OCD subtypes and OCD management through exposure-and-response therapy and cognitive therapy. A gentle inquiry into a thoroughly disrupting condition, Touch Wood is by turns unsettling and inspiring.
2010; 2006

Should I Live, Should I Die? [electronic resource]: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Originally thought to be situated at the "borderline" of psychosis, borderline personality disorder is a condition affecting emotion regulation. This program opens a window of understanding into the excruciating reality of life with BPD by examining the experiences of Rachael and Maria. "My plan was to be dead by 30," says Rachael. Hers is a rocky road that has included sexual abuse, self-harm, attempted suicide, and a period of institutionalization-but dialectical behavior therapy, a supportive mother, and a loving boyfriend have enabled her to stabilize and look forward to a happier future. Maria too struggled with BPD even as she fought to raise awareness of the illness, but at 53 she succumbed to anguish and despair and immolated herself. Two women, two outcomes, and one question [...]
2010; 2004