Caffeine

…is a wonderful drug.  I’m so glad it’s legal.  That’s all.

Advertisements

Drugs and bipolar disorder

Just came back from Colorado – and of course did some weed tourism.  Edibles to be exact.  Those brownies were delicious.  Hopefully the county hospital here doesn’t drug test…

I think there’s a lot of people who would tell me to avoid THC, LSD, MDMA, and the whole gamut of hard drugs.  “Hard” being anything beyond alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.  The medical side of me says okay, probably a valid suggestion.  The other side of me goes – but a ton of people do drugs are just fine.  And I’m medicated so I am normal just like everyone else.

Honestly there’s not much peer-reviewed research out there, not since those recreational drugs have become illegal here.  Ketamine has gotten some hype lately for treatment of depression, but I doubt it will become a commonplace option anytime soon.  We don’t know the effects of these drugs on bipolar patients (as a population), or the interactions with common medications.  I can anecdotally say marijuana was enjoyable though.

I think it just comes down to risk vs reward.  I’m not willing to try anything while I’m unstable, but I don’t mind having a little fun when I’m euthymic.  After all, it’s not like I’m doing this every day or trying anything particularly addictive.  I just wish it were more acceptable to experiment.  There’s no way I would admit to my shrink or general practitioner that I’m trying drugs once in a blue moon.  It could potentially have repercussions on my future medical training/career.  Though to be honest, being open about having bipolar disorder has the same risks, and perhaps even greater stigma.  I’m not going to recommend people try drugs, but that’s not going to stop me from trying a few baked goodies.  🙂

 

Fall

Acer_saccharum_JPG1L

Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum leaves in autumn

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  Colorful trees, pumpkin pies, and so much more.

The only thing that gives me pause is the weather.  The cooler and shorter days always seem to be foreboding.  It’s a warning to me that my mood will probably fall, and that if I’m not careful, depression will cast its shadow again.

But no negativity today.  Just going to enjoy my mug of apple cider and curl up in a ball.

Image By Jean-Pol GRANDMONT – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4955109

 

Good luck 4th years!

My former classmates have just submitted their applications for residency.

It’s hard to imagine that will be me in a year, especially since I haven’t figured out what specialty I want to go into yet.

I haven’t hated any rotation (so far) so much that I wouldn’t go into that specialty.  But I haven’t loved any of them either.  Hopefully the electives I signed up for will help narrow it down.  At least I have a few more months to decide.

Stress

It has always been fascinating to me how mental stress causes all sorts of physical symptoms.  I think it truly highlights the mind-body connection.  Though it might be more appropriate to think of it as the mind/brain is part of the body, just like everything else.

Recently I encountered a really stressful event.  Not going into details of that event for privacy reasons, but I can say I felt all sorts of bodily sensations.  I felt dizzy.  My hands were shaking uncontrollably.  My heart was racing.  My thoughts were racing.  Basically I thought I was going to topple over before I managed to get home and lie down.

Fortunately it went away after several hours, though I still haven’t regained my normal appetite.  It really made me feel for people who live with this every day.  I can’t even imagine what that’s like.   I just hope I’m lucky enough that it doesn’t happen to me again.

23andMe

Genetic testing is a powerful diagnostic technique – and it’s getting cheaper as sequencing costs so much less than a decade ago.  But is it any good for prediction?

23andMe started back in 2006 and offered genetic testing, specifically SNP analysis* of certain parts of your genome.  All you had to do with send them some saliva, and $$$ of course.  In return, they sent you a list of diseases and genetic traits that you might be predisposed to.

Well, the FDA cracked down on them, for selling a medical product/service that wasn’t validated.  Over the past decade, 23andMe has worked hard to test its reliability for just a handful of genetic disorders and gotten them past the FDA.  They stopped giving health information and only gave customers the raw data for everything else.

I don’t particularly care to know what I’m genetically at risk for.  I can probably just tell my family history.  Besides, so many diseases are based more on environmental factors (like not exercising, eating crappy food, etc) that I question the accuracy of the results that 23andMe used to offer.  However, I do think it’s interesting that 23andMe is collaborating to conduct research studies**.

It is incredibly useful and powerful to be able to get sequencing data from a large group of people and try to find genes that are associated with disease.  I really hope this company goes more towards these types of efforts in the future!

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNP_genotyping

**http://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/23andme-kicks-off-genetic-study-for-depression-bipolar-disorder