LifeInSight is a research foundation working to research disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, suicide, depression, and other mental health issues to develop better treatments while striving for cures. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in America will struggle with mental illness annually. Under the guidance of our scientists and with their expertise, we hope to move the needle when it comes to research about the treatment, methodology, and eventually cures for mental health issues. At LifeInSight, we’re hopeful our scientists’ commitment to groundbreaking cognitive research and brain and behavior research will provide a deeper understanding of these mental health conditions.
As a cognitive research charity, we’re focused on cognitive neuroscience, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, and other aspects of neuroscience that may lead to new treatments and preventative measures. Our experts have extensive experience in this field and apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems.
The funds raised by our non-profit organization are divide up and distributed by our Board of Directors to different cognitive and mind research initiatives. Our goal is to leave no stone unturned. With your support, we hope scientists will be able to find new and previously undiscovered methods and treatments for mental health issues.
What sets LifeInSight apart?
We’re hopeful the mental health research being carried out will open new vistas for the pharmaceutical companies and universities alike who are looking to make advancements in the treatment. This would enable them to provide new methods for treating mental illness more efficiently. Here are some of the reasons that make us stand out:
- Experts from top institutes around the country
- Collaborative research conducted between our scientists
But we can’t do it without you. Your donations will be going towards research carried out by world-class scientific leaders for research facilities nationwide. Specifically, your contributions to these researchers and medical doctors will allow them to develop advanced treatments for those afflicted with substance use disorders and other mental health illnesses.
LifeInSight’s Current Research Projects
According to previous Alzheimer’s disease research studies, it was found that dementia, which is associated with memory loss and the loss of other responsive abilities, can profoundly affect someone’s daily life. It has haven been estimated that around 60 to 80 percent of cases related to dementia are the consequences of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. It’s characterized by a proliferation of amyloid proteins, that form plaques and tau tangles on the brain. Physically, it presents itself as memory loss and difficulty remembering things. Over time, symptoms can become worse, leading to difficulty swallowing, talking, and walking.
Key Alzheimer’s Disease Aspects
- The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, and the majority of people with this condition are usually 65 and older.
- According to Alzheimer’s research, it is a progressive disease and memory loss increases over time. It starts mild in the early stages and progressing to larger lapses in memory. In its later stages, Alzheimer’s disease can cause a loss of the ability to socialize and respond to surroundings.
- Unfortunately, expected life expectancy after diagnosis averages around 4 to 8 years, although there have been instances where individuals have lived over 20 years with Alzheimer’s disease.
- As of now, there is no cure to this disease, but treatments are available for its symptoms. There is a lot of groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research being done, such as brain receptor blocking, and we’re hopeful they are nearing a cure.
- As mentioned earlier, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease as of yet, but current treatments and therapies have been shown to slow the progress of this disease and improve quality of life.
Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
- Difficulty memorizing new information
- Slowed thinking
- Mood and behavior changes
- Deepening confusion about events, place, and time
- Unfounded suspicions about friends, family, and professional caregivers
- Memory loss and behavior changes
- Difficulty in swallowing, speaking and walking
Key Alzheimer’s Disease Facts
- Approximately half of the senior citizens aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease.
- More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.
- Women are more prone to Alzheimer’s.
- Symptoms of this disease can develop as early as 30 years old.
- It is the 6th-leading cause of death in the United States.
What is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects movement. It slowly deteriorates parts of the brain that control muscle movement. It occurs when dopamine neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra (this part of the brain is involved in controlling movement) die.
Key Parkinson’s Disease Aspects
- Smooth and controlled muscle movements are created by the presence of dopamine. Parkinson’s disease reduces the levels of dopamine in muscle cells, affecting the ability to create controlled movement, and causing tremors, a telltale sign of Parkinson’s disease.
- Presently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.
- The complications can even lead to death in certain cases.
- During the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms can sometimes be minute and difficult to notice. A person’s face may show no or little expression, or they may or may not be able to swing the arms properly when they are walking.
- Parkinson’s disease treatments include medications to regulate brain dopamine concentrations. There are also drug therapies to reduce tremors and improve muscle movement.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
- Tremor or shaking in limbs, often the hands or fingers
- Loss of automatic movements
- Slowed movement
- Change in posture and balance
- Rigid muscles and restricted movement of the limbs
- Changes in speech
- Difficulty in writing
- Slurred speech
- Muscle stiffness
Key Parkinson’s Disease Statistics
- It is estimated that nearly one million people will be living with Parkinson’s disease in the US by 2020. This figure is more than people diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and multiple sclerosis combined.
- There are around 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s Disease in America every year.
- More than 10 million people across the world living with Parkinson’s Disease.
- Parkinson’s disease treatments can improve symptoms drastically, but as mentioned before, there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease
- Around 4% of people with Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed before the age of 50.
- Men are more likely to have this disease than women
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder where a person has an alternate interpretation of reality. The disease is commonly characterized by delusions or hallucinations and people with this disease often struggle with cognitive thinking and controlling emotions.
Certain aspects of an individual’s environment can also contribute to the disease. They include:
- Exposure to viruses
- Problems during birth
- Psychosocial factors
Chemical reactions in the brain can also be one of the reasons for this illness and can contribute to the deterioration of a person’s mental health.
- Thought disorder
- Poor expression of emotions
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
- Cognitive difficulties
- Unawareness of illness
- Distortions in thought processes
Key Schizophrenia Statistics
- More than 21 million people worldwide have this mental illness.
- People with the disease are 2-3 times more likely to die early. This is the result of several physical diseases, such as infections, cardiovascular or metabolic disease, which they might develop over time.
- It can drastically affect the educational and occupational performance of a person.
- Pharmaceutical and psychological therapies have been proven to help symptoms.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and social difficulties. Dementia causes loss of memory, thinking, changes in behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities. It can also have a large physical, psychological, and social impact on people dealing with it. Dementia can also have a big impact on their family and caregivers as well. As it progresses, it deteriorates the cognitive functioning of the body. People start losing their memories, learning capacity, and judgment.
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease:
People often confuse Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Here are some notable differences between the two:
- Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and social difficulties.
- As described above, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease and memory loss increases over time and is the most common cause of dementia
- Several other diseases cause dementia, such as Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia (although these are less common than Alzheimer’s disease)
- Memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
- Reduced concentration
- Increasing confusion
- Apathy and withdrawal or depression
- Personality or behavior changes
- Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
Key Dementia Statistics
- Around 50 million people have Dementia worldwide.
- There are nearly 10 million new Dementia cases every year.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of Dementia. Making up 50 -70% of all cases of dementia.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxiety throughout life. On the first day of school, a big project at work or an important event can contribute to feelings of tension, physical change or worry. But having consistent bouts (every day or many days) with anxiety over six months is considered Anxiety Disorder. Knowing the root cause of the anxiety can help in identifying the problem and hopefully lead to the right solution for the condition.
- Restlessness, nervousness, or being tense
- Feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- Rapid heart rate and breathing
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Lethargy and weakness
- Difficulty focusing or thinking
- Digestive or gastrointestinal problems
- Obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Key Anxiety Statistics
- Anxiety disorders affect 18.1% of the U.S. population every year.
- Anxiety disorders can be treated. But only 36.9% of the people suffering from it receive treatment.
- Anxiety can be caused by genetics, changes in brain chemistry, relationship issues, and traumatic life events.
What is Addiction?
According to addiction research, addiction is a substance use disorder that can have effects on a person’s psychology, physique, and social life ultimately degrading their quality of life. In an addiction research study, it was found thatseveral symptoms of addiction can overlap, often producing additional symptoms. This can even lead to depression and anxiety. It is best to seek the help of a substance abuse counselor. Specifically, a degreed substance abuse counselor, who has studied and trained to handle cases of substance abuse.
- An inability to leave something to which they are addicted. For example, methamphetamine addiction, cell phone addiction, or marijuana addiction.
- Obsession or taking risks
- Dropping hobbies and activities
- Secrecy and solitude
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that is often triggered by an event that leaves a deep impact on a person’s mind. It can be the death of a close one, an accident, losing a job or money, etc. People with this syndrome get flashbacks, anxiety, and nightmares and can have uncontrollable thoughts related to the traumatic event.
People who go through such an event might find it difficult to adjust to the normal routine initially, but with time they can readjust. There are treatments available to deal with PTSD, and it is advised to seek professional help so that the reason can be identified, and a treatment plan set in motion.
- Negative thoughts about yourself and others
- Hopelessness about the future
- Memory problems, forgetting the instances of a traumatic event
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Trying to avoid talking or thinking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding activities, places, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
What is Bipolar Disorder?
People with this disorder have continuous cycles of depression and mood elevation, which are further categorized as manic depression. People dealing with Bipolar Disorder can experience continuous episodes of mania or hypomania, which at times is not visible. Depression can also occur during this period and cover the other aspects of the illness. The person can even be addicted to something which can be hard to leave.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
- Abnormal and jumpy behavior
- A sudden increase in activity, energy or agitation
- Unusual talkativeness
- An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
Key Bipolar Disorder Stats
- Bipolar Disorder affects 5.7 million American adults.
- Bipolar Disorder can start in early childhood, or even late 40s or 50s. However, the median age of diagnosis is 25 years.
- This illness is common among both men and women and can be found in people of all ages, ethnic groups, and social classes.
- Bipolar Disorder can be genetic.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder wherein there are persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in the activities. Reasons for depression can range from loss of a job to someone close to you. It can be an ongoing problem, and the episodes of such feelings can last for over two weeks in a row or even longer in some cases.
- Sudden change in mood
- Loss of interest
- Behavioral changes
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
- Lack of focus or concentration
- Slowness in activity
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
Key Depression Stats
- Around 264 million people of all age groups across the world suffer from depression.
- Depression is one of the leading disability issues in people.
- Women are more likely to be affected by depression than men.
Having suicidal thoughts is not classified as a mental illness, but can be the result of compounding mental issues, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or even PSTD. Engaging in proper counseling, actively talking, and pursuing appropriate psychopharmacological options can make a big difference for someone contemplating suicide.
Depression and alcohol use is the leading cause of suicide in high-income countries, but financial issues, broken relationships or chronic pain and illness also contribute. It is very important to discover the root cause of suicidal thoughts and seek treatment. With pressures of cyberbullying, insecurities, academic pressures, suicidal thoughts are on the rise amongst teenagers.
- Excessive sadness or moodiness
- Sleeping problems
- Sudden calmness
- Withdrawal from social life
- Changes in personality and/or appearance
- Dangerous or self-harmful behavior
- Recent trauma or life crisis
- Threatening suicide
- Making preparations for suicidal activity
- Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year. This is the third major cause of death among teenagers between 15-19 years of age.
- 79% of suicides are committed by people belonging to lower or middle-income countries.
Advice to the General Population
In a recent report published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, it was found that 80 percent of the population will have experienced a mental health issue at some point in their life. Life can be complicated, and there can be instances where the people might have felt traumatized due to an event. It is necessary to seek counsel and get help. More so, people in their old age need care and support of the younger family members if they have a mental illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few of the things that should be kept in mind if you are dealing with someone who has a mental illness:
- Talking about mental health
There has long been a negative stigma around mental health issues, and it is often not talked about. However, it is necessary to shed light on these issues, otherwise, things can deteriorate over time. If you recognize the problem in you, it is best to seek help. This is especially advised to the teenagers who go through changes in mental behavior as they mature and start facing issues in school or relationships. Seek the help of a counselor.
- Let them share whatever they want
Let them feel free to talk and avoid putting them under pressure. Talking takes a lot of courage and trust, and you should be ready to listen. It should be a non-judgmental space.
- Do not try to diagnose or make guesses about their feelings
You are not a clinical expert, do not start making assumptions about their state of mind and the type of illness that they might be having. It is best to listen to their problem and encourage them to seek professional help.
It is important that you know your limits as a friend/family member and ensures that you leave the rest of the treatment part in the hands of a professional instead of suggesting medications on your own.
- Be patient and ask open-ended questions
You will need to be extremely patient with people who have mental illnesses. Never be hasty and let them speak whatever issue that they have.
What Not to Do
- Do not tell them they are crazy
You should be wary of dismissing their issues when you are speaking to someone with mental illness.
- Never take therapy lightly
If your friend or loved one is suffering from such an issue, make sure that they receive proper therapy and guidance. Take the patient for a mental health assessment and figure out mental health service facilities nearby.
- Be mindful of objects that can become weapons
If someone you know is contemplating suicide, be mindful of objects they may use to act on those thoughts. Encourage them to seek professional help.
- Do not be irritated or hasty with them
Listen to them carefully. There is a negative mental health stigma that often leads to concerns being brushed aside. Take their issues seriously, because it probably took a lot of strength for them to confide in you.
Tips for Seeking the Right Therapist
Here are some tips to help find a therapist that fits your needs.
Look out for a licensed professional and check whether or not they have a history of treating patients with similar issues.
- Call them for consultation
When you have the licensed professional you’re considering, call them for a consultation. Use this consultation to familiarize yourself with the process.
It might be awkward at first but focus on getting the help you need. You can keep in touch with them if you face any issues after the session.
If you see there is some improvement after the first session, you can continue with them. Otherwise, you might consider a different therapist. However, make sure that you take the medications regularly and are keeping up with the activities that the therapist has asked you to do to ensure that you’re doing all that you can.
The duration of the therapy can vary according to the person, and you must take the treatment seriously to ensure that there is some improvement in your mental condition. For school or college students, it is advised that they meet the college counselor regularly if they are feeling anxiety or mental stress due to their relationships with the people around them or academic challenges.
It is better to seek help than to suffer. It is important to take care of yourself and share issues troubling you to your close friends rather than keeping or hiding them. You are not alone, mental health issues are very common, and now thousands of people are coming forward with their stories. You must prevent yourself from suffering and ensure that you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
The Future of Mental Health Research
While there has been a lot of progress in mental health treatment, there is still room for improvement. Several mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease have no cure. Other treatment methods can be improved, side effects reduced, and efficiency increased. At LifeInSight, we are committed to making strides in mental health research. Through collaborative research, our scientists across the country are dedicated to discovering a brighter future for mental health.