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NAMI Advocate e-newsletter, June 2006

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Dear Friend of NAMI,

In this issue of the NAMI Advocate e-newsletter we examine the effects of summer heat on those who take medications for mental illnesses. We also provide a first-person article on hypomania, an excerpt from the fifth edition of Dr. Torrey’s classic guide, Surviving Schizophrenia, and much more.

Heat and Mental Illness

The mercury’s rising across the country as we head into the dog days of summer, and with the rising temperature comes increased risk of a potentially fatal illness: heat stroke.

But, did you know that mental illness and some medications used to treat mental illnesses actually increase the risk for heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to properly cool itself. Normally, the human body will regulate temperature by sweating, but heat stroke impairs the body’s ability to do this. If heat stroke is not treated immediately, it can cause permanent disability and even death.

Disturbingly, individuals with mental illness may be particularly susceptible to heat stroke. Certain medications, including anti-psychotics and anti-cholinergics, are known to increase the risk for heat stroke because they inhibit the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

Additionally, people with mental illnesses who live in low-income housing without air conditioning are also at an increased risk for heat stroke. This combination can be dangerous; during a 1999 heat wave in Cincinnati, Ohio, almost half of the 18 heat-related deaths were individuals with a mental illness.

To help protect yourself or a loved one from the dangers of heat stroke, click here to take a look at our list of do’s and don’ts for the hot summer days ahead.

Your Opinions Wanted!

NAMI is currently conducting an opinion survey. This short, anonymous, online survey covers a range of topics. So take a few minutes and tell us what you think!

Deceptive Hypomania: Energies Bop, Inhibitions Drop, Ideas Pop Blog

NAMI recently partnered with to bring you relevant information from their Web site. The following is a blog entry by John McManamy from’s bipolar site .

No one wants to be depressed. Everyone, on the other hand, wants to be hypomanic. Think of hypomania as “mania lite,” for the time being, an elevated mood state that is better than any recreational drug high. Energies bop, inhibitions drop, ideas pop. This is the kind of personality makeover we all pray will happen to us – salesperson of the month productivity combined with life-of-party sociability. Read More...

Updated Edition of Classic Work Now Available

Surviving SchizophreniaE. Fuller Torrey, MD, has fully revised and completely updated his classic book, Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers. This indispensable guide, first published in 1983, examines the nature, causes, symptoms, and history of schizophrenia.

The fifth edition of this definitive work includes the latest research findings on schizophrenia as well as the newest treatments available. New sections added in this edition include, “The Recovery Model,” “Herbal Treatments,” and “The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry on Prescribing Patterns”. 

NAMI is pleased to provide our readers with the following excerpt from the latest edition of Dr. Torrey’s book.

NAMI Honors Exemplary Psychiatrists

Exemplary Psychiatrist AwardsNAMI honored 16 physicians with "Exemplary Psychiatrists Awards" at the international American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting held in Toronto, Canada in May.

The 2006 awards focused on psychiatrists who have made substantial contributions to state or local NAMI activities, and who demonstrated exemplary commitment and expertise in the area of disaster psychiatry, and post traumatic stress disorder. Read More...

NAMI Book Shelf

This Issue:
Sufficient Grace

Sufficient Grace

Sufficient Grace, by Darnell Arnoult, is a Southern novel that explores themes of faith, family, love, and redemption. It’s sensitive, at times humorous. It’s also about schizophrenia, inspired by the mother of the author.

The book opens with Gracie Homan drawing a life-size picture of Jesus on the walls of her house to watch over the family she is about to leave -- in response to commands from spiritual voices. She wanders and is discovered miles away -- mute and incapacitated -- by two women.

No one sees her as mentally ill. The only doctor in town who still makes house calls confirms she has no physical injury. “She may have a condition not so readily diagnosed,” he observes. Read More...

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