Thursday, June 10, 2010
Disorder shows many symptoms

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Diagnoses often go through periods where they are asked about frequently. In the past, this has been true for a number of diagnoses such as Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia. While we still get questions about all of these diseases, the number of questions has decreased over time. The current disease that I am asked about all the time is bipolar disorder. I often have parents come in to ask me if the ADHD symptoms that their child is having could be bipolar disorder. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that bipolar disorder is present in about 1% of the population which makes it relatively common. For that reason, many people are familiar with it. The second reason is that it can be hereditary. Statistics show that if a parent has it, children will have a 1 in 4 chance of developing it. If both parents have it, then the children have a 1 in 2 chance. The third reason is related to the fact that it is being diagnosed more often than it was in the past. For that reason it is talked about more often. There are a lot of symptoms related to bipolar disorder also known as manic-depressive disorder. For that reason both kinds of symptoms must be present to make the diagnosis. However, that is not what I hear in the office. One of the symptoms of the manic stage is rage reactions. In these situations, the individual will overreact to circumstances with severe anger. Angry outbursts like this can be due to many things such as depression, the impulsive behavior of ADHD, adolescent reactive behavior and anxiety. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, people tend to lock onto this one symptom. If they have someone experiencing this kind of behavior, they think it must be bipolar disorder. Often, I will then ask about other symptoms of manic-depressive illness. The patient will have none of them. They will not have periods of acting depressed - cry, be overtired or lose interest in the things that excited them in the past. They will not have other symptoms of mania - stay awake for days on end without needing sleep, have grandiose ideas that they are better than everyone else or have pressured type of rapid nonstop speech. Their only symptom is the rage reactions. Making a diagnosis based on only one symptom is usually going to be incorrect. If I think that the symptom is part of a bigger picture that can represent bipolar disorder, then the individual needs to see a psychiatrist. Making a popular diagnosis is only part of the solution.

Look Good Feel Better Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The program is geared towards helping people look their best--even as they are undergoing cancer treatment. Although almost all of the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment are temporary, they can be very distressing. The next LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, June 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is FREE to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required, and space is limited. To register for the LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER program, please contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, extension 2378 or 2588.

Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is being held on Thursday, June 17th, 1:30 pm at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mears Rehabilitation, 300 Health Services Drive, Seaford, DE. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, the hospital is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this FREE support group. For additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 302-629-6611, extension 8626.

Quarterly infection report Delaware Health and Social Services' Division of Public Health issued data for hospital central line-associated blood stream infections for Delaware for the first quarter of 2010. An estimated 248,000 bloodstream infections occur in U.S. hospitals each year. A large proportion of these infections are attributed to a central line, which is a tube in the chest that returns blood to the heart. Bloodstream infections are usually serious infections typically causing a prolonged hospital stay, increased cost and risk of death. Collectively, Delaware's eight critical care hospitals reported eight infections between January and March. Only one hospital had an infection rate that was statistically higher than the national rate published by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions' National Healthcare Safety Network. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that for the first half of 2009, the number of central line-associated blood stream infections in Delaware was significantly below the number expected based on data from 17 states.

Bereavement support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. The group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate the group at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, second floor conference room. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.

Depression Support Group There is a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call 302-465-6612.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Man to Man support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers a Man to Man support group meeting on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Man to Man helps men cope with prostate cancer by receiving information and peer support. Man to Man is a forum for men and their support network to learn about diagnosis and treatment options through presentations, written materials and videos. Specialists share information such as side effects and how to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment. News and information about nutrition, general health, research and treatment, as well as messages from men living with prostate cancer and other Man to Man activities, are offered to assist in the recovery process. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Larry Skala (337-3678) or Grafton Adams (628-8311).

Cancer support group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a free general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. Call 645-9150 for information or to register.