Many times, drug abuse and mental health issues go hand and hand…Summer was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
‘Stop the stigma,’ says Summer’s mom
by Melissa Hale-Spencer
After Summer Smith died last Jan. 9, her mother and her young son went through her box of special keepsakes. In the box was an edition of The Altamont Enterprise devoted to the aftermath of a 2000 crash on Hurst Road that killed two teens and wounded a third. The kids had been hotboxing — driving while stoned.
Summer, then a 17-year-old Guilderland High School senior, was friends with a classmate who died in the crash. Summer — a beautiful young woman with her hair pulled back in a ponytail and a ring piercing her eyebrow — is pictured in the paper holding a flier of the girl who had died: “Help keep the memory of all the kids that we have lost,” she had carefully written on a paper bordered with hand-drawn flowers.
Summer was raising money for a $19,000 bronze angel statue to stand in Altamont’s village green. “The angel represents people who have lost people,” Summer told us then. She also said, “No one would think this could happen to people our age.”
Her mother, Kristin Smith-Hoin, finds both irony and comfort in the keepsake. Summer died of a drug overdose. She was 31.
The bronze statue still stands in Altamont and Smith-Hoin planned to take Summer’s son, Richie, there to visit it. She is honest with Richie about his mother’s death.
She wants to share Summer’s story to end the stigma associated with drug addiction.
The results support the idea that there is a continuum in our ability to regulate emotions, and if you are at the extreme end of the spectrum, you are likely to have problems with functioning in society and this leads to a psychiatric diagnosis
Emotionally unstable people have different brain structure
We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
Previous studies have shown that people diagnosed with emotional instability disorders exhibit a decrease in the volume of certain brain areas. The scientists wanted to know if these areas are also associated with the variability in the ability to regulate emotions that can be seen in healthy individuals. In the current study, 87 healthy subjects were given a clinical questionnaire and asked to rate to what degree they have problems with regulating emotions in their everyday lives. The brains of the subjects were then scanned with MRI. The scientists found that an area in the lower frontal lobe, the so-called orbitofrontal cortex, exhibited smaller volumes in the healthy individuals that reported that they have problems with regulating emotions. The greater the problems, the smaller the volume detected. The same area is known to have a smaller volume in patients with borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Similar findings were also seen in other areas of the brain that are known for being important in emotional regulation.
Lifetime comorbidity of BPD and PTSD was associated with more dysfunction than either individual disorder.
The comorbidity of borderline personality disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder: revisiting the prevalence and associations in a general population sample
The comorbidity of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is frequent, yet not well understood. The influence of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in the development of this comorbidity has been a focus of prior clinical studies, but empirical evidence to generalize this focus to the broader population is lacking.
Primary aims of the present study included evaluation of: (a) the association of this comorbidity with decrements in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and (b) the importance of CSA as a predictive factor for this comorbidity in a general population sample.
An earlier age of onset of NSSI and a longer duration of NSSI during adolescence was significantly predictive of adult BPD.
The situation of former adolescent self-injurers as young adults: a follow-up study
Rebecca C. Groschwitz, Paul L. Plener, Michael Kaess, Teresa Schumacher, Ramona Stoehr and Isabel Boege
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescence has been described as comorbid condition in affective or anxiety disorders, as well as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and is a risk factor for later suicide attempts. Prevalence rates of NSSI decline steeply from adolescence to young adulthood. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the longitudinal development of adolescent psychiatric patients with NSSI into their young adulthood has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to assess current NSSI and psychological impairment of young adults, who had been in treatment for NSSI in their adolescence.
Former patients of the departments of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy in Ulm and Ravensburg, Germany (N=52), who presented with NSSI in their adolescence, were recruited (average age: 21.5 years (SD?=?2.6)). Data was assessed using questionnaires and structured clinical interviews. Two groups of participants with prevailing NSSI and ceased NSSI were compared concerning their current psychological impairment, history of NSSI, suicide attempts, and BPD diagnosis.
Around half of all participants had engaged in NSSI within the last year, and around half met diagnostic criteria for BPD. Although there was no significant association between current NSSI and BPD, an earlier age of onset of NSSI and a longer duration of NSSI during adolescence was significantly predictive of adult BPD. Two thirds of participants still met criteria of an axis 1 psychiatric disorder. Suicide attempts were reported by 53.8 % of all participants. Participants with current NSSI were more likely to meet criteria for a current axis 1 disorder, had engaged in NSSI more often in their lifetime, and reported more suicide attempts.
This can be a major problem later on, not only for them as adults, but for the whole society in general, once they start committing various criminal acts.
Children with Mental Illness are as Problematic as Adults
JULY 16, 2015
It is accustomed that psychiatric problems are dealt with once the first consequences start to show up. Thus, if an adult feels depressed or has committed an unlawful act due to his or her mental state, measures are taken.
Nevertheless, a recent study proves that mental problems should be dealt with earlier in life because children who display mild depression or unusual mental states that come and go, are more likely to have to deal with much more serious issues later in life.
The authors of the study, which was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, came to the conclusion that it was not necessary for these children to have a certain psychiatric condition in order to display the symptoms that led to the difficulties they faced later in life.
These included criminal acts, unwanted early pregnancies, professional and residential instability, educational failures or addictions.
The researchers explain that these children have very mild forms of depression when they are young and this is why they don’t get diagnosed and, consequently, don’t benefit from proper treatment.
However, the statistics are quite worrying and show an alarming number of children turn up problematic when they become adults, even if their mental issues were regarded as minor.