January 31

Jane Pauley- from Steroids to mania to depression to Bi-Polar-to Drugs for Life

Former Today host, Jane Pauley, had repetitive bouts of hives at age 7, 14, and 21 for which she was prescribed steroids.
Steroids  triggered surges of high energy, then threw her into depression for which she was prescribed first one, then two antidepressants . 
Then bingo: she was diagnosed manic-depressive (i.e., Bipolar) !

Pauley told the Palm Beach Daily News:
While taking steroids for four months to control a come-and-go case of hives in 2001, Pauley slipped into depression. The antidepressant prescribed for the journalist, then 49, triggered bipolar disorder.

"After another four months or so on antidepressants, bringing me to a total of 10 months between the steroids and antidepressants, I was suddenly flipped into this hypomania,"

As a celebrity spokesperson, Pauley broadcasts the prescription dictum promoted  ( in unison )  by  leading  psychiat lists and the drug industry .
In a New York Times Magazine Eli Lilly Advertising Supplement, (October 30, 2005) , Pauley  embraces drug-dependency for life without an iota of skepticism or reservation:
 "Although I had only one episode, no one can tell me whether I will have another one, so I must take medication for the rest of my life." 
 She  says she takes both Lithium and an antidepressant. 
To understand how Big Pharma buys influence, The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)  is a good exempl e.
DBSA bills itself as a grass roots organization that:   "throughout 2003 over 4 million people asked DSBA for help."
 T he DBSA website has multiple "self assessment" tools to assist interested persons in self-diagnosis f or  a variety of conditions.
The site offers "testimonials" from "real people" who credit medications for their recoveries. 
While claiming to be member supported, at a minimum 90% of DBSA’a income comes from the drug industry.
The DBSA 2003 annual report shows who the major donors are:

The “Leadership Circle” consists of donors of $150,000 or more. Listed are: Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Meyers Squibb,Elan Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline,  Janssen and Pfizer. 
The “Founders Club” consists of donors of $10,000 to $149,000. These include: Cyberonics, Forest Labs, Merck, Organon, Wyeth. 
The “Advocate Council” consists of donors of $5,000 to $9,999. These include: the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMSHA).
 The “Platinum” donors of $1,000 to $4,999 include TAP Pharmaceutical
 See: http://www.dbsalliance.org/PDF/AnnReptFINAL.pdf

Allen Jones, AHRP board member who blew the whistle on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) –psychiatry’s prescribing guide for dummies– saw one report in which only $14,000 out of DBSA’s three million dollar budget came from "memberships".

DBSA’s board of directors have long-standing close ties to industry.
For example,  the DBSA 2003 Annual Report lists  Dennis S. Charney, M.D. as Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Charney, currently Chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorder Research Program and  Chief of  the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health . He was formerly Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Chair of Academic and Scientific Affairs, Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Charney has extensive ties to pharmaceutical companies:

 Member of the clinical advisory board for Avera Pharmaceuticals. (http://averapharm.com/cab.html <http://averapharm.com/cab.html> ; 

 Member of the scientific advisory board for Comprehensive Neuroscience, Inc. (http://www.icsltd.net/corporate/scientific.html    <http://www.icsltd.net/corporate/scientific.html> ;

Member of the Infoscriber Corporation’s scientific advisory board. (http://www.infoscriber.com/content/Scriber_Spring2000.pdf <http://www.infoscriber.com/content/Scriber_Spring2000.pdf> ;  

 Member of the psychiatry advisory board for Scirex, Inc. (http://www.icsltd.net/corporate/scientific.html <http://www.icsltd.net/corporate/scientific.html> ;   

 Member of the academic advisory board for the Pfizer postdoctoral fellowship grants in biological psychiatry program. (http://www.physicianscientist.com/postdoctorate_fellowships/pdfs/2003bio_psych_broch.pdf <http://www.physicianscientist.com/postdoctorate_fellowships/pdfs/2003bio_psych_broch.pdf> ; 

Member of the Mechanism of Action advisory board for Cyberonics, Inc. (Cyberonics Press Release, August 13, 2003; accessed 12/4/03; on file with CSPI) 

Consultant to AstraZeneca, Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cypress Bioscience, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Organon, Pfizer, SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline), Somerset Pharmaceuticals, and Vela Pharmaceuticals. 

 (American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 41st Annual Meeting General Program; conference disclosure notes, December 2002, San Juan, Puerto Rico, http://www.acnp.org/pdffiles/Program_Book.pdf <http://www.acnp.org/pdffiles/Program_Book.pdf> ; pg. 186; accessed 12/4/03)

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
veracare@ahrp.org <mailto:veracare@ahrp.org>

Pauley to share mental illness story
By DAVID ROGERS <mailto:drogers@pbdailynews.com> , Daily News Staff Writer 
Monday, January 30, 2006

Former longtime Today show host Jane Pauley is cheerful and downright charming during a recent conversation from her home in New York.
And that’s as it should be.  

Since 2001, the former Dateline co-anchor has taken lithium to control bipolar disorder. The condition, also known as manic-depressive disorder, can cause intense mood swings and is marked by episodes of unusually high energy and severe depression.

Pauley detailed the discovery of her illness and her road to recovery in her book, Skywriting: A Life out of the Blue in 2004, and last year on The Jane Pauley Show, which aired from late 2004 to late 2005.

The broadcast journalist will relate her story in a lecture, "Talking About Talking About Mental Illness," at a by-invitation event for supporters of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Wednesday at the Flagler Museum.

While taking steroids for four months to control a come-and-go case of hives in 2001, Pauley slipped into depression. The antidepressant prescribed for the journalist, then 49, triggered bipolar disorder.

"After another four months or so on antidepressants, bringing me to a total of 10 months between the steroids and antidepressants, I was suddenly flipped into this hypomania," Pauley said. Her doctors had no way of knowing she was genetically predisposed to the mental illness, she said.

The mild form of mania gave an uncomfortable intensity to Pauley’s thought process.

"There was a brief surge of creativity and energy, stamina, which in combination was pretty fabulous, but that lasted about three weeks. And after that it was just this intensity, irritability that wasn’t in any way pleasant. So I probably tend more to the depressive side of the equation," she said.

Pauley was diagnosed with the condition the same day she started a sabbatical from her duties at NBC. Her doctor admitted her in late May 2001 to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Her doctor advised her to tell her bosses at NBC that she was admitted for a thyroid condition. Pauley refused.

"I thought of myself as someone with my feet on the ground, my head screwed on straight. So, to be told I had a mental illness was certainly a shock, but to imply it was so shocking, that I shouldn’t tell — I should make up a cover story — made it a lot worse, a whole lot worse," Pauley said. "The secret seemed worse than the diagnosis. For a lot of people, they still have to go through that."

After less than three weeks, Pauley left the hospital. The lithium Pauley has been prescribed since her diagnosis stabilizes her mood.

"I find myself on most days, probably a little more aware of mood than you do, but not a lot. Am I having a good hair day or bad hair day might be more prominent," she laughs. "[But it] might not."

She went back to work on Sept. 10, 2001. She considers the Emmy she won for a story on the terrorist attacks a validation of her ability to function.

And though The Jane Pauley Show had a short run, the journalist considers that experience another victory.

"It was the hardest thing I ever did. If there was any doubt that I could work that hard and under that much stress and remain stable — well, I did."

Though she can laugh now at being "famously bipolar," Pauley said she never considered keeping her illness a secret.

"It’s only when we talk to each other that we find it is possible to live a life with mental illness, that there are people who are doing it. But unless we talk to each other about it, there’s no way we can share those ‘best practices.’ "

Almost every day someone pulls her aside to ask her about bipolar disorder. It’s more difficult to find a family that has not been affected by mental illness than to find one that is, she said.

For more information on Pauley’s talk, call 653-5980.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

Sign up and be the first to find out the latest news and articles about what's going on in the medical field.

You may also like

November 21, 2023

Vera Sharav is joining Christine Anderson as special guest for the Make It Your Business event in

Read More
Vera Sharav Joins Christine Anderson for Make It Your Business – Dec 4, 2023 in New Jersey

November 21, 2023

Vera Sharav is premiering the movie Never Again is Now Global in New York City, December 1.

Read More
Never Again is Now Global – Premiere Screening – Dec 1, 2023 in New York City