Thursday, May 3, 2012

Off The PNA Press

I was happy to see the Pituitary Network Association newsletter in my email today. In this short piece, it makes the point I have been trying to make: pituitary tumors change a person's personality. 

Off The PNA Press: Psychological Manifestations of Pituitary Disease

Editor’s note: This is an introduction to a lecture given by Dr. Michael Weitzner. It makes many of the points that the PNA strives to promote.

The objectives of this lecture are to provide an overview of the psychological and neuropsychiatric problems faced by patients with pituitary disease, the impact on family, and the options for treatment.

Cushing, himself, believed that there was a need to differentiate the psychological effects that resulted from the pituitary tumor from those that resulted from the stress of illness. It is now recognized that the hypothalamic-pituitary axis is not only an integral element in the expression of behavior, but also an essential part of the limbic system which controls our emotions.

Many patients with pituitary tumors develop an apathy syndrome which is the result of this interplay between the limbic system and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. An important task is the differentiation of this apathy syndrome from other psychiatric disturbances which are also seen in patients with pituitary disease. It is well recognized that depression and anxiety are present in many patients with hyperprolactinemia and Cushing’s disease. Personality change and anxiety are commonly seen in patients with acromegaly and hypopituitarism. There are several options for treatment, both pharmacological and psychological. One element that is unfortunately ignored in this illness is the effect on the family. Effective treatment of the patient with pituitary disease included treatment of the family.

Michael A. Weitzner, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Day 3: Around the Cushie World in 30 Days~10 Things I Can't Live Without

For today's featured post, I share with you Robin's post entitled 10 Things I Can't Live Without.  

I find this post particularly important for Cushies, not in the nice-to-know way but the you-can-die-without-it way.  The pituitary gland and adrenal glands' choreographed dance to make cortisol is life-sustaining.  Enter a tumor and friends to tinker with that, it the dance turns ugly real quick.

You see, when people in the general populace talk about things they can't live without, they aren't talking real life and death. They are talking, I'd throw a bitch fit without it, it would make me cranky, I'd be bummed out if... 

Big difference.

We love Robin. She is a science teacher who helps all of us so much.  You can read her blogs at Survive the Journey and 365 with Cushing's.