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Fish Oil is Good for the Brain

There is new hope for those who develop a mental illness. A new study is helping people who are displaying early signs of psychosis. According to CNN, the research found that for a year after it was completed, 12 weeks of dietary supplementation with Omega-3 fish oil reduced progression to full-blown psychosis in a large group of adolescents and young adults. Those who participated in the study were young adults who were not yet considered fully mentally ill. However, they were already experiencing early symptoms and losing touch with reality.

Those taking fish oil supplements showed great improvement with fewer signs of disorganized or delusional thinking, more motivation, and better overall functioning. The fish oil continued to help people function better, have fewer symptoms, and were less likely to suffer a psychotic episode than those who did not get the fish oil. Roughly 5% of those on fish oil went on to develop full-blown psychosis during the study period, versus 28% of those who got psychotherapy alone.

Health professionals are encouraged by the study that could help about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 Americans who are living with a serious mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in four adults-approximately 57.7 million Americans-experience a mental health disorder in a given year. This new finding could make it more affordable to get health care for a mental illness.

President Obama recently passed legislation to reach out to those with mental problems. Many Americans will get broader health coverage for mental illness under rules issued by the Obama administration. Medical insurance offered by employers with more than 50 workers will be required to treat mental health benefits the same way they handle coverage for physical ailments. That means no separate annual deductibles for mental health treatment. And co-payments for visiting a psychiatrist or social worker can’t be more than the charge for going to the family doctor or a medical specialist.

The law also prohibits health insurance plans from setting limits on number of visits or hospital days for mental health problems that are different from any such limitations on treatment for medical problems. Sperling said the rules issued Friday clarify that other kinds of treatment limits in health plans, such as case reviews and lists of preferred drugs, may not be used to discriminate against people with mental illness.

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