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Too many deaths in custody are preventable but staff lack mental health expertise, says human rights body

Hundreds of deaths were avoidable and were caused by repeated “basic errors” by staff ignorant of mental-health risks

Too many deaths in custody are preventable but staff lack mental health expertise, says human rights body

CHARLIE COOPER

Monday 23 February 2015

Hundreds of deaths in psychiatric units, prisons and police cells between 2010 and 2013 were avoidable and were caused by repeated “basic errors” by staff ignorant of mental-health risks, human rights advocates have said.

Numerous suicides in detention came after failures to monitor patients or to remove hanging risks, according to a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Its seven-month inquiry into deaths in UK hospital and prison settings concluded that, despite repeated warnings, “serious mistakes have gone on for far too long”. “The same errors are being made time and time again, leading to deaths and near misses,” the report said.

Between 2010 and 2013, 367 adults with mental health conditions died of “non-natural causes” in detention in psychiatric wards and police cells. Another 295, many of whom had mental health problems, died in prisons. While not all the deaths were avoidable, the commission said that simple interventions could have prevented the majority of them.

In many cases, failures were down to not listening to or involving individuals and their families. Information which might have prevented deaths, such as warnings about painful anniversaries of bereavement that might trigger self-harm, was often not made known to all staff or acted upon, the inquiry found. Prisons were criticised for not monitoring the number of people with mental-health conditions behind bars, with prison officers urged to ensure inmates were not punished for behaviours “viewed as disruptive but in fact… symptomatic of illness”.

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Cold Inside and Out

Mood lability and interpersonal sensitivity traits appear to be related by a cyclothymic temperamental diathesis which, in turn, appears to underlie the complex pattern of anxiety, mood and impulsive disorders which atypical depressive, bipolar II and borderline patients display clinically.

The role of cyclothymia in atypical depression: toward a data-based reconceptualization of the borderline–bipolar II connection

Giulio Perugia, Cristina Tonib, Maria Chiara Traviersoa, Hagop S. Akiskalc

Abstract
Objective: Recent data, including our own, indicate significant overlap between atypical depression and bipolar II. Furthermore, the affective fluctuations of patients with these disorders are difficult to separate, on clinical grounds, from cyclothymic temperamental and borderline personality disorders. The present analyses are part of an ongoing Pisa–San Diego investigation to examine whether interpersonal sensitivity, mood reactivity and cyclothymic mood swings constitute a common diathesis underlying the atypical depression–bipolar II–borderline personality constructs.
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How to Identify Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorders

Identifying which disorder an individual has is an important step in determining the correct treatment

How to Identify Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorders
By Denise DeWitt

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are two different conditions that are often confused with each other because both include some similar symptoms.

Identifying which disorder an individual has is an important step in determining the correct treatment

Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals with borderline personality disorder, or BPD, experience a pattern of swings but they also have difficulty in other areas of life including relationships, self-image and behavior.

They are often at risk of having other mental health problems, and it is more likely that they may have had some type of trauma during childhood than someone with bipolar disorder.

People with BPD have very strong emotions and have difficulty controlling their thoughts and feelings. They are often impulsive and reckless and may try to hurt themselves.

They tend to have intense, unstable relationships and often experience mood swings triggered by stress in their relationships. People with borderline personality disorder often struggle with feelings of abandonment.

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Is Your Diagnosed Depression Really Borderline Personality Disorder?

As a rule of thumb, always start by validating the other person’s feelings – you don’t have to agree with the behavior to do that, you can just empathize with the feelings, because there are no right or wrong feelings. Then, when they feel that you’re on their side, you can point out your version of the truth.

Is Your Diagnosed Depression Really Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that didn’t come into clear focus until the last thirty five years or so, and was initially called “borderline” because psychiatrists thought that people who suffered from it were in between neurosis and psychosis. It was considered exceedingly difficult to treat and carried a grim prognosis.

Although it was listed in the DSM in 1980, more and more has been learned about the personality disorder that may affect up to two percent of the population, mostly women. And it’s also frequently underdiagnosed, or improperly diagnosed as clinical depression. In fact, it often occurs along with other psychiatric disorders — namely depression, bipolar disorder, or other personality disorders. The problem is, correct diagnosis is important because treatment may vary significantly from that of simple depression.

What are the symptoms of borderline personality disorder?
Continue reading Is Your Diagnosed Depression Really Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder: ‘I couldn’t deal with the rollercoaster in my head’

I was adamant about ending my life. I couldn’t deal with the rollercoaster in my head; I always felt like I never truly belonged, like my friends and relatives would have been better off without me.

Borderline Personality Disorder: ‘I couldn’t deal with the rollercoaster in my head’
The majority of those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder are women but still so few people understand what it is. Sarah Graham reports

Mental health has never been so high on the agenda. Both Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have made it a key part of their election campaigns, and we’re getting used to famous figures like Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax speaking openly about depression, anxiety and bipolar.

But there’s one condition, which mainly affects women, that you rarely hear a whisper of: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I’d never even heard of it until last year, when one of my best friends took an overdose and ended up on a mental health ward.

Lottie was 24 when she was diagnosed with BPD; talking about it a year on, she tells me: “At the time, I was adamant about ending my life. I couldn’t deal with the rollercoaster in my head; I always felt like I never truly belonged, like my friends and relatives would have been better off without me.” It’s not an easy thing to hear, as a friend, but I know it must be an even harder feeling to live with.
Continue reading Borderline Personality Disorder: ‘I couldn’t deal with the rollercoaster in my head’

How Impulsiveness Can Boost Your Creativity

A lack of inhibition can free a mind to consider new and unusual ideas.

How Impulsiveness Can Boost Your Creativity

THE KEY MAY LIE IN A BELIEF THAT SLIGHTLY NEGATIVE TRAITS HAVE SILVER LININGS.

Everyone who’s ever prepared for a job interview knows how to turn a personal weakness into a character strength. The flipside of being a little stubborn might be extra persistence. A bit of impatience, properly directed, fuels a sense of urgency. Shyness can be a drawback, but modesty is a virtue. And let’s be honest: what some people would call a pessimistic mindset could easily be seen as a practical one.

New research suggests these optimistic perspectives might serve a greater purpose than just winning over employers or comforting our self-esteem. A group of psychologists recently found that people who believed impulsiveness had a potential benefit in creativity actually scored higher on creative tasks. The work, led by Alexandra Wesnousky of New York University, suggests more broadly that faith in the positive side of a negative trait—a “silver lining theory”—might help it shine through.

“A silver lining theory is a lay theory in which an individual believes that a negative attribute is related to a positive attribute,” the researchers write in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. “The present research shows that this form of lay theory is prevalent, and leads to increased effort-based performance in the domain of the positive attribute.”

In a preliminary test, Wesnousky and collaborators found that more than 90% of people are inclined to see some sort of positive attribute associated with a typically negative trait. Subsequent experiments focused on the idea that there might be a silver lining to being impulsive—in the form of being more creative. As other research has shown, a lack of inhibition can free a mind to consider new and unusual ideas.

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