Cleaning the Ears

When it comes to the attention people give to their ears, it can be seen how there is a lack of proper care with 12 million Americans not getting treatment out of the 16 million who are suffering from hearing loss. Here’s a rundown on some of the most common ear problems. Because of ear wax the ear canal is safeguarded from particles. People may have glands that make more ear wax than what is hygienic and this can easily lead to a problem with hearing loss.

It is also a problem when there is swimmer’s ear. The medical name for this usually mild condition is external otitis. When a person swims in overcrowded pools or those with too much chlorination then this can develop if the ears are not dried well. Milder cases may disappear on their own, but severe cases may require antibiotics, so it’s best to see a doctor.

Much trouble is associated with a perforated eardrum. From the ear canal the eardrum works by being the membrane that transmits sound waves to the middle ear. From the ear opening, it is much close than people know and this means that inserting something in the ear, an infection, or a blow to the head can all cause probably damage to it. For smaller perforations no surgery is necessary for they can heal on their own. Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness can also be some side effects from this other than a loss of hearing.

Ear Infections are common among children. Children are particularly susceptible to infections of the middle ear known medically as otitis media. From the population of American children, 50 percent are infected before they reach two years old. Infections in the nose and throat can cause these conditions to manifest and may they be chronic or acute they can equally be caused by illnesses like the mumps, measles, and flu. When it comes to acute otitis media, there will be severe earaches and fever. It is usually treated with antibiotics. Possible with chronic otitis media is a loss of hearing

A case of Otosclerosis is when bone grows within the framework of the middle ear, this is hereditary. When the movement of sound through the stapes, a small bone in the middle ear, is affected hearing loss is a result. One option is to have surgery done. Possible nerve damage is associated with this affecting the inner ear. This stage offers little chance for recovery. Common in more women than men, this affects people between the ages of 16 and 40. From hearing loss, there is tinnitus or a ringing in the ears.

People who experience hissing, roaring, or whining sounds may be experiencing a case of tinnitus or a ringing in the ears. Some 37 million Americans are affected and more than seven million are actually incapacitated by this ailment. A method to treat the mildest cases is cleaning the ears removing the ear wax by the eardrums. From problems in the middle ear to fluid or perforations in the eardrums, more severe conditions may arise.

Other than Otosclerosis, the following namely diabetes, thyroid malfunctions, anemia, low blood pressure, allergies, infections, equilibrium, middle ear injuries, and even arthritis can bring about some of the noises. The exact location should be found for elimination to be possible. When tinnitus is in the inner ear, it is severe. Limited diagnosis associated with this hard to reach area. Tumors that press on nerves can easily cause this to happen in the same way as infections, circulatory disturbances, cochlea or hearing center problems, and allergy induced fluid accumulation in the inner ear can.

Later on in life, there is Meniere’s Disease to deal with. From drugs to diseases and even stress as well as allergies and infections can lead to an imbalance in equilibrium after the inner ear is disturbed. There is mild deafness in an ear. Such a syndrome can be associated with vertigo and a loss of balance not to mention nausea and vomiting. In order to treat this, drugs, surgery, and a proper diet is involved.

Ten Things Every Diabetic Needs to Know About Low Blood Sugar Levels!

Hypoglycemia is a state of low blood sugar levels… it’s always best to do a finger stick to find out the actual blood sugar level but signs of hypoglycemia include:

  • lack of coordination
  • wild mood swings uncharacteristic of the individual
  • memory loss
  • salivation
  • teeth-grinding and
  • convulsions

Many type 2 diabetics experience hypoglycemia from time to time because their medications increase the production of insulin whether their body needs it or not.

Although hypoglycemia is unlikely to result in death, it is still quite dangerous. The risk of accidents increases exponentially when diabetics have low blood sugars and then drive or operate equipment.

Here are ten tips to help you know you are hypoglycemic:

1. Almost every incident of hypoglycemia makes the diabetic feel hunger, but not every incidence of hunger is caused by hypoglycemia. The sensation of hunger results whenever cells are deprived of glucose. This can occur when there isn’t enough sugar in your circulation, that is as a result of hypoglycemia. It can also result when there isn’t enough insulin in your circulation to deliver the glucose to your cells, resulting in hyperglycemia.

2. Whenever your pulse is racing 1/3 faster than normal and you have not exercised in the last 2 to 3 hours, it’s safe to assume you are experiencing hypoglycemia. Most people find it easiest to take a pulse at the carotid artery on the side of the neck. Of course, you need to know your normal resting pulse to know what is a fast pulse rate for you.

3. Blurred vision, or double vision, often indicates hypoglycemia. Blurred vision with dry skin, breath that smells like nail polish remover, and dark urine, however, indicates extremely high blood sugars and dehydration.

4. In men who ordinarily experience morning erections, the absence of an erection indicates overnight hypoglycemia. Blood sugars get too low during the night, but then spike upward just before the person gets up.

5. Another common symptom of hypoglycemia is nystagmus. If you are the person taking care of a diabetic, ask him or her to look from side to side while holding their head still. If the eyes seem to “jump” from place to place, there may be hypoglycemia. If you are the diabetic, stare at the second hand of a clock or watch. If the second hand seems to “jump” from position to position, you may be experiencing hypoglycemia.

6. A high-fat meal oddly enough, can result in low blood sugar… this is because your stomach then takes longer to empty food into your intestines.

7. Excessive use of aspirin also can trigger hypoglycemia. Taking too much liver paralyzes the mechanism by which the liver releases glucose.

8. Having a cocktail or a drink before a meal can significantly lower blood sugars. Sometimes excessive drinking with a meal likewise prevents the normal release of sugars from the liver.

9. A sudden change from cold weather to warm weather often precipitates hypoglycemia.

10. Fatalities caused by hypoglycemia itself are very, very rare. This is because cells have several fail-safe mechanisms that allow them to survive low blood sugars and because permanent cell damage requires alteration, not only of blood sugar levels but also of levels of potassium, magnesium, and protein. Insulin is not an efficient method of suicide.

The remedy for low blood sugars, as you probably would have guessed, is sugar. However, most diabetics need very little sugar to get their blood sugars back to normal. As little as 15 grams, about 1/2 oz, of sugar is enough for most diabetics to get back to normal blood sugar levels. Even when a type 2 diabetic wants to eat everything in the refrigerator… and they usually do… just a small amount of sugar equivalent to half a sugar-sweetened soft drink, a small piece of fruit, or preferably a tube of glucose, is enough to prevent blood sugar problems.

Stress And Anxiety – Do You Need ‘Nerve Pills’?

“It requires a great deal of inexperience to be beyond the reach of anxiety”. (anon)

This is the age of anxiety! Seventy percent of people today are stressed out from overload – working harder for the same pay, juggling family and work, and worrying about money. As well, some people have Anxiety disorders such as panic, phobias, obsessions and compulsions – illnesses in which anxiety comes from within. To reduce stress and anxiety effectively we need to understand our symptoms and emotions, worry accurately, learn coping strategies, and find support. But there must be an easier way – what about ‘nerve pills’?

A tranquillizer can calm racing minds, slow pounding hearts, ease tight breathing, relax tight, painful muscles and help us sleep. The Benzodiazepines, such as ‘Xanax’ (alprazolam – short-acting) or ‘Rivotril’ (clonazepam – longer acting) can help in dealing with major life stresses especially if taken at night when anxiety symptoms such as insomnia interfere significantly with work or caring for a child.

But taking more than just occasional doses can cause problems. Tranquillizers have potentially dangerous side effects including reduced mental alertness, concentration and memory, as well as physical unsteadiness. Driving may become dangerous, they may precipitate a depression and react badly with alcohol. Regular use can lead to tolerance and increasing doses – people in abusive situations or who have problems with alcohol or other drugs seem to be especially at risk for this. Tranquillizers must be stopped gradually, or you risk dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including seizures. In most stressful situations, it would be better to experience and express our emotions rather than just numbing them, and apply the energy of anxiety to finding healthier ways to become equal to the stress.

Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessions and compulsions, have much more severe symptoms and anti-anxiety medications may be invaluable in allowing us to function, at least in the early stages. But in the long run it’s best to correct any underlying biochemical imbalance using antidepressant drugs such as ‘Paxil’ or ‘Zoloft’. These damp down excessive or obsessional worry without making you dopey, reduce the frequency and severity of panic attacks and treat the depression which is often part of mood disorders. Knowing you can control your anxiety improves motivation to find more long lasting success through self-management. However, a few people need to take medication indefinitely just to function adequately, and they shouldn’t feel any more guilty about it then a person with diabetes taking insulin.

Anxiety disorders can start young – many students quit high school because of a phobia about public speaking. If we started teaching about anxiety and coping skills early, perhaps we could reduce the rates of serious anxiety disorders and alcohol and drug abuse.

Tranquilizers really help in disabling anxiety, but using drugs (or alcohol) to handle the common stresses of modern life is dangerous – like painting over a rust spot on your car without removing the rust. If you do take tranquilizers, work closely with your doctor, aiming to gradually reduce the dose while learning effective coping techniques. Ask your doctor about cognitive-behavioural therapy, anxiety programs, and support groups. Yoga, relaxation, some herbal remedies and acupuncture can also be helpful. Read books and learn from others who have recovered, because with knowledge, skills, support and persistence, the battle against anxiety can be won!

The Meaning of Your Blood Sugar Numbers

Measuring your blood sugar is now a super simple test you can do at home on your own. It is the single most important test to know when you have diabetes, when you don’t (because you have reversed it, or didn’t have it in the first place), and when you are at risk. As well as what food suits you and what doesn’t. But understanding the meaning of your blood sugar numbers is really important. You see, most people get it completely upside down. Let me explain what I mean.

Blood Sugar – The Basics

So I’m sure you understand by now that diabetes is a collection of different diseases that all result in high blood sugar. There are the two main types of diabetes – conveniently called Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 occurs when you have damage to your pancreas making it unable to produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar down. Type 2 occurs when your pancreas is fine but you just eat too much carbohydrate for your body to keep the sugar down even with lots of insulin circulating around. Of course, in reality there is a lot of overlap between these two but still, the distinction is useful.

The normal levels and those diagnostic of diabetes vary somewhat depending on whom you ask and what year you ask them, but the numbers I’ll give here are a pretty standard sort of guide. Take a look at this chart:

US (mg/dl) / Metric (mmol/l)

Normal

70 / 3.9

75 / 4.2

80 / 4.4

85 / 4.7

High-Normal

90 / 5.0

95 / 5.3

Pre-Diabetes

100 / 5.6

105 / 5.8

110 / 6.1

115 / 6.4

120 / 6.7

125 / 6.9

Diabetes

130 / 7.2

135 / 7.5

140 / 7.8

Fasting Blood Glucose

If you get up in the morning and measure your blood glucose that’s called your ‘fasting blood glucose’. This is the most important measure of your blood glucose to indicate if you have diabetes or not. It’s really simple, just take the measurement and compare it to the chart above.

If a healthy person measures their fasting blood glucose they’ll get a reading of between 70 and 90 mg/dl (US measurements) or between 3.9 and 5.0 mmol/l (the standard everywhere else). That’s called ‘normal’.

At some arbitrary point, there is a threshold above which you are diagnosed as having diabetes. It’s typically either 130 or 140 mg/dl (7.2 or 7.8 mm/l). If you have a reading above this, it’s called ‘diabetes’. And then anything between ‘normal’ and ‘diabetes’ can be called ‘pre-diabetes’ – in other words, you haven’t crossed the threshold to be diagnosed as diabetic yet, but if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, it’s only a matter of time.

Really, you can see that anything higher than normal is a problem. ‘Pre-diabetes’ and ‘Diabetes’ are just labels on a continuum. People diagnosed with ‘Pre-diabetes’ are predisposed to the exact same complications as those diagnosed with ‘Diabetes’ – loss of vision, loss of limb, heart disease. The only difference is that those complications are somewhat less likely. The higher your blood sugar, the more dangerous.

It’s a bit like driving recklessly. If you drive recklessly you are more likely to have an accident. The more reckless your driving is the more likely you’ll be in an accident, but the consequences are just the same… bad!

If you take responsibility for your blood glucose and take the right steps, you will steadily see those readings come down. I have never yet seen a case of Type 2 diabetes that can’t be reversed with correct diet, the right supplements and the right exercise.

Post-Prandial Blood Glucose

After you eat (what’s called ‘post-prandial’), it’s normal that your blood glucose will go up. It’ll go up more the more carbs you eat and a bit with protein too. Eating fat has virtually no effect. The important thing is that it doesn’t go too high or stay high for too long.

Most diabetes specialists will say it shouldn’t be over 140 (7.8) two hours after you have eaten. Ideally, it’ll be fully back into the normal range of under 90 at that time. How much your blood sugar goes up and how long it stays up depends on what you eat and how bad your diabetes is. Said another way, it depends on what you eat and how strong your sugar regulation system is.

With diabetes, your sugar regulation system is exhausted so its ability to normalize your blood glucose after a meal is weak.

So there are two reasons you don’t want your post-prandial sugar readings to be too high. One is because high glucose is one of the causes of the complications of diabetes. The other is that every time you do it, it makes your sugar regulation system weaker, which of course makes your diabetes worse.

You can easily improve your post-prandial blood glucose by simply avoiding the foods that make it bad and eating the foods that don’t push your blood sugar up.

What’s the problem with measuring my blood sugar?

Now you understand that your fasting blood sugar is a great and easy measure of how you are going with reversing your diabetes. And you know your post-prandial blood sugar is a great and easy way to learn what are the right and wrong foods to fix your diabetes. Fantastic. What’s the problem?

The problem is that many people fall into the mentality that good food choices are a penalty for bad numbers. You know, when your numbers go up you have to ‘punish’ yourself by being more careful with your diet and when your numbers go down, you can ‘cheat’ to reward yourself. It’s easy to fall into the habit of feeling you deserve a treat for having good number. Don’t fall for it!

Instead, use blood sugar measurement as a positive reinforcement of success. “Eating the right way and doing some exercise really is reversing my diabetes!” You are going to keep eating healthy to get healthy and stay that way for life anyway.

There is no reading you’ll reach where you can stop living right and go back to the ways you lived that caused the diabetes. Sure, you’ll have to be quite strict for the first few weeks or months and you can relax more as your sugar-regulation systems get strong again. But you can never go back to the total neglect that caused your diabetes in the first place. It’ll just come back again. But don’t worry, changing your habits takes some work but once they are changed, you have a new set of habits only this time they are ones keeping you well!

You can be sure I enjoy my food!

There is a second problem with measuring blood sugar and that has to do with medications taken to lower it. Many people, including doctors, believe that diabetes is the consequence of high blood sugar and that all the complications of diabetes are from the high blood sugar too. This isn’t really true. In fact, the high blood sugar is a result of excess carbs in your diet and insufficient exercise -let’s call it ‘wrong living’. Wrong living doesn’t only cause high blood sugar, it has a whole slew of bad health consequences of its own. So if you lower your blood sugar using medication of any kind, and make your readings ‘good’, you can be fooled into thinking that your ‘wrong living’ is just fine. After all, you readings are now ‘normal’ aren’t they?

The truth is that the only way to get a ‘normal’ reading is to have it in the normal range without any medication. And the only way to get truly healthy is to live right. When the medication is in your system, you can’t really get a true reading at all and you are lulled into the false belief that your wrong living is OK.

Measuring Your Blood Sugar

If you are gonna conquer this disease, you need to get serious about measuring your blood sugar. You need to measure it when you rise in the morning and plot it in a chart. You need to measure it after each meal so you can see what effect each kind of food has so you can learn what is right for you, what is OK sometimes, and what is always wrong.

To do this, you need a good blood glucose meter. Accurate, compact, fast and easy. For those of you in the US, I have secured you a special deal to get you started. Click through to a special deal on a glucose meter. The deal will change from time to time but essentially you’ll get a free glucose meter for the price of a set of strips – it’s a very good deal. I’m sorry this isn’t available outside of the US. You’ll just have to go to local retailer and pay normal retail prices.

You can record your daily fasting sugar readings in the Easy Diabetes Exercise Record Sheet at the Optimal Health Works web site. There is also a US version (with US units). If you don’t have Excel and can’t read the Record Sheet, you can upload it and use it with your Microsoft Live account. It’s free if you don’t have one already.

What if you are on medication? How can you get a true reading? Of course you can’t. However, you can certainly get your readings into a good range while on the medication, then reduce your medication as you find you are able. You do need to be careful because if you are living right, the medication is likely to cause you to have hypos. That just means you need less medication. I highly recommend working with your health professional on this. Just remember that they may not know you can actually reverse Type 2 diabetes. You can show them how it is done!

Look out for your family

Now diabetes runs in families. Some of it is a genetic predisposition – that is, it takes less of the wrong lifestyle to cause diabetes in you than in someone without the genetic predisposition. It’s important to realize though that just about anyone can get Type 2 diabetes if they just eat enough carbs and do no exercise. It’s just that it’ll happen sooner for some than for others.

But then the most of the rest of the risk comes from lifestyle and who do you learn your lifestyle from? More from your family than from anywhere else. This is the main reason diabetes runs in families.

So one of the best things you can do is to test the fasting blood glucose of your family members. Of course, the first ones to test are those that you live with. But don’t forget the rest of your family either. It might sound like a funny thing to do – go visit your parents or your sister or brother or your son or daughter first thing in the morning, pull out your glucose meter and test everyone in their home – but this is one of the kindest acts you can do.

If you do find a high fasting reading of 100 (5.6) or more, send them to the Optimal Health Works web site and I’ll show them how to reverse it.

Take Action

How to Cure Depersonalization/Derealization

In short, depersonalization and derealization are forms of dissociation that can turn your life into a frustrating struggle. Equally frustrating sensations such as panic attacks, shortness of breath, brain fog, confusion, migraines, obsessive thoughts, depression, and similar difficulties frequently accompany depersonalization/derealization – like if the dissociation on its own wasn’t enough. The cause of all these symptoms is, however, less numerous and is known as anxiety. Many are aware of this devastating feeling that can make you act in a way your common sense oppresses, avoid situations you would like to enjoy, and you generally feel to be guided by fear instead of reason and free will. While almost everyone will get to taste anxiety at some point in their lives such as during exams, others, more unfortunate, are plagued chronically and their anxiety reaches heights which a casual, satisfied person would never encounter even in their worst nightmares. Everyone deserves comfort and rest, but with anxiety it can be unattainable even when submerged in a hot, bubbly bath with a huge TV screen entertaining you. With depersonalization, anxiety can be even worse than that. The dissociation only adds to the sensations of uncertainty, hopelessness, brain fog, and tendency to panic, all so characteristic to anxiety. Therefore, I have devised a list, which borrows from my experience, research and psychology, to help those in need to relieve anxiety for good. I have found that adhering to the following tips is effective in overcoming depersonalization, anxiety, and developing a strong resistance to them:

Think about what causes your anxiety – Although anxiety most probably arises from disorganized neural firing or malfunctions in synaptic plasticity, we all have something in our lives that aggravates our anxieties. You are depersonalized for a reason – intense anxiety. Therefore, you need to allocate the amplifiers and triggers of your anxiety in order to reduce its intensity and so reduce depersonalization’s intensity as well. You might already have an idea about the potential triggers such as work/school, dating, existential crisis, and basically anything conceivable that might be constantly on your mind. You will need to go with your gut feeling on this one – observe when your anxiety turns worse and think about the immediate past events that might have added to it. For me, the main culprits were loud, intrusive thoughts constantly narrating everything I did with a negative tone, giving me no other option but to be pessimistic. Yours might be the same or completely different hence I cannot specifically assure you of what to address. Once you know the cue(s), settle on a solution or if you consider it a nonsense creation of anxiety just think about it for a moment and acknowledge its absurdity; repeat whenever the issue reappears and it will eventually fade away. Gaining knowledge about anxiety and how it works is probably the handiest tool you can have, as it lets you solve the underlying patterns fueling the anxiety. Therefore, I encourage you to seek out some books or any form of information on this particular topic, to expand on what I present here in this confined article, so you gain a better general overview.

Meditation – find few minutes daily to simply sit down, relax, and let your consciousness drift wherever it takes you while concentrating on breathing deeply. Meditating allows your mind to relieve its tension and enhances your appreciation of the surroundings by heightening your mental acuity. Even after 10 minutes of meditation, which I try to engage in daily, I can feel a noticeable relief. I found it helpful in relieving the emotional numbness and brain fog that goes hand in hand with depersonalization. Furthermore, studies have shown that those who meditate on a regular basis experience gyrification, or thickening of the cerebral cortex – a brain region associated with self-control, awareness and intelligence. All of this makes meditation a cheap and versatile anxiety remedy.

Supplements – Includes herbal extracts, minerals, and vitamins. Supplements are useful in eradicating individual symptoms. Additionally, part of your anxiety might be attributed to a mineral or vitamin deficiency so you might as well take preventative measures by following a healthy diet or supplementing with its essential components. For me, B-complex, Fish Oil, Lecithin, and L-theanine proved to be of help in mitigating anxiety. Fortunately, there are lots and lots of such helpful supplements so don’t be hesitant to experiment.

Drink water – Drinking a lot of water and mainly substituting sweet drinks with water will help you with a bunch of bodily processes such as aiding in blood circulation. Drinking water has proven to help reduce the severity of anxiety attacks and therefore many psychologist/psychiatrist will advise you to do so. Dehydration often results in migraines and dizziness, not something that will ameliorate anxiety symptoms. Avoiding sugary drinks prevents possible complications arising from excess carbohydrate consumption such as mood swings.

These tips work for anxiety in general and equally well, due to their close relationship, for depersonalization and derealization. For those of you who are apprehensive about the scary perceptual experience – don’t be, it is not permanent if you handle the situation correctly. With depersonalization, it might feel like life has lost everything positive in it and that you will never regain your old perception and comfort, but trust me it is just a misleading feeling that will pass. I was so heavily dissociated that I lost all hope of ever feeling fine, but once I decided for doing something to correct it and started feeling increasingly better I felt more relieved than ever, even before the perceptual shift struck me. So don’t waste your time obsessing about what could have been different, because that will not lead anywhere. Go cure that depersonalization for good!

The Potential Risks of Gymnema Sylvestre Side Effects

It’s astonishing to see the rise of cases of diabetes and obesity. Way too much sugar intake is to be blamed for this. To fight these common health problems, the most practical answer is still eating properly and exercising regularly. Adhering to a diet plan, however, can be challenging for most people. You’ll often have to exert lots of self-control to motivate yourself to work out. The good news is that there’s an herb that research shows to be valuable in curbing our craving for sugar.

This purported miracle herb is named Gymnema sylvestre – a shrub found in Africa and India. The plant is used to help control diabetes and it is also effective for weight loss. Relieving coughs and malaria is another use of the plant. You can also use the plant to curb appetite and even as a laxative. The absorption of sugar in the intestines, scientific tests reveal, can be hindered by a chemical substance found in Gymnema. The body’s insulin quantities can be boosted by using Gymnema. Likewise, it also stimulates the growth of pancreas cells. Insulin is in fact made by the pancreas.

One reliable source, a site that provides natural news, verifies this. According to the website, Gymnema sylvestre has gymnemic acid. Glucose sugar and gymnemic acid are quite alike. The glucose receptors within the intestines may be locked by gymnemic acid. This brings about the prevention of sugar absorption within the intestines.

Gymnema sylvestre works much the same way in your taste buds. Understand that glucose and gymnemic acid resemble each other, just like mentioned above. The glucose receptors inside your taste buds may be clogged by gymnemic acid. Because the taste buds are clogged, you will not enjoy eating sugary foods that much. This could bring about your lowered appetite for sugar.

But like with all good things, you’ll also find specific things you have to be wary about too when using Gymnema. You should be cautious about Gymnema sylvestre side effects also. To stay safe, experts suggest pregnant women should steer clear of using Gymnema although there’s no documented side effects. If you have diabetes, be cautious when combining the use of Gymnema with other diabetes prescription drugs.

Blood sugar may be diminished by making use of Gymnema. Gymnema and insulin is a combo that puts you vulnerable to hypoglycemia. When you take Gymnema in combination with other diabetes prescription drugs, remember that it’s very important to always keep an eye on your blood sugar levels.

It’s still a bad idea that you consume huge amounts of sugar although you may take Gymnema. If you are struggling against diabetes or obesity, eating right and exercising regularly are still the most effective course of action. So eat right and live a good life.

Natural cures can indeed aid in losing weight but only for a little. You can’t expect to slim down just by using Gymnema although still overeating and not working out. Concerning achieving a healthy body, there really isn’t any magic bullet. There’s just a couple of things you need to remember and that’s the right diet and always remembering to exercise.

Overcoming Fear, Anxiety, and Worry – Writing the School Essay

Sometimes we create our own troubles by sheer force of habit. For instance, if you don’t consider yourself a good writer your first reaction to being required to write a school essay might involve fear, anxiety and worry. If your classes involve report or research-based writing, your primary reaction may be to put off writing until the very last minute. For the next few minutes let’s just look at how procrastination plays a part in making your fear, anxiety, and worry more painful than it needs to be. What benefits do you get from those three emotions? Why is it such an easy set of responses for you? Finally, we’ll look at how a little tweak will make it easy for you to overcome fear, anxiety and worry and ultimately turn fear anxiety and worry into your best friends – and, yes, it can actually happen!

First, there’s fear. You’re afraid to fail, afraid it (whatever “it” is) won’t be perfect and you’ll have to do it over again. Afraid someone will see it and post it to the Internet as “one of the stupidest things anyone ever did, wrote, said, etc. The fear keeps you from getting started. In fact, the fear even makes you so numb that you don’t realize that you even have the fear. If you could accept the fear, perhaps the first change you’d make would involve actually learning how to write with authority. Push through the fear and find a good book or eBook on writing fast with wild abandon. Of course, once you’ve written something down you’ll want to start work on editing.

The self-criticism that comes with editing leads us to the next troubling response: anxiety.

You will feel a twinge of anxiety if you have a report to write, no matter how many weeks exist before the deadline. The best thing to do is to face your fear. But facing the fear just brings up anxiety and worry (which we’ll deal with in a moment). This time, it’s anxiety or stress that builds up in your gut (solar plexus) and makes you forget to write down the deadline. You may be so stressed out when you think about writing that paper that you lash out at friends, family and classmates for no apparent (to them, at least) reason. Your middle name becomes “Road Rage Monster” and people stop inviting you to parties.

If this is you, it’s extremely important that you take out your date book and mark a big red circle around your deadline date. Next, create a schedule to write two sentences — or two paragraphs or two pages — a day. The time frame will, of course, depend on the amount of time time you have remaining to complete the paper. Finally, write something down immediately after you make a note in your datebook. Actually do something toward starting the assignment. Take action!

Once you start working your way through the assignment you might begin to experience a third emotion: worry. Your stress and anxiety has been relieved by actually writing out a list of things to do as you work toward meeting your writing deadline. The bad thing now is you’re suddenly worried that you won’t be able to do all the things on your “to do” list. At this point, it’s time to be honest – are the things on your “to do” list really humanly possible? Consider seriously both the amount of time you have left to write the report and the other things going on in your life. When writing a report is not your usual activity, you will have to re-arrange certain things in your life to get the writing done. Do some thoughtful schedule rearrangement and worry could miraculously turn into courage and self-confidence.

Fear, anxiety and worry can exist in your life. It’s ultimately up to you – do you decide to ignore fear, give into anxiety, and do nothing but worry? Or do you acknowledge the fear, accept the anxiety, and work your way past the it? Whichever path you decide to take, you will need to take action. Perhaps you’ve tried taking this type of action before and failed. That’s no reason to give up. Overcoming fear, anxiety, and worry begins with a decision to find ultimate success at doing the thing you need to do. Ultimately success or failure is up to you.

How to Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels With 13 Indian Herbs – A Natural Diabetes Treatment

Indian Herbs For Natural Diabetes Treatment

1. Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

Bitter melon is widely used in Indian medicine as a treatment option for diabetes. It is cultivated extensively in Asia, and parts of Africa and South America.

2. Cherukurinja (Gymnema Sylvestre)

Cherukurinja also known as Meshasringi or Gurmar is popular in India as a “sugar killer”. It is primarily used in the treatment of Type II diabetes. It is a common ingredient in herbal formulas aimed at reducing blood sugar levels. It is also known to have weight reduction properties by reducing the sweet cravings of patients. It increases the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin as well as insulin receptors in cells, thereby helping to control blood sugar levels. Gymnema extract is produced from the leaves of the plant. The leaves are dried and powdered along with coriander; the juice is then prepared and consumed orally for managing high blood sugar levels.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is more popular as a herbal remedy for burns and skin diseases, but recent studies point out the possibility of Aloe Vera’s ability to reduce blood sugar levels. A recent Japanese study isolated phytosterol compounds from Aloe Vera gel that could lower blood sugar. In addition glycosylated hemoglobin levels were also found to be controlled with the use of Aloe Vera gel.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is known to reduce fasting blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol levels – LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol are reduced with as low as 1 g of cinnamon a day. Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree of the Lauraceae family. It is used as a spice for seasoning curries and other Indian food items. It has other medicinal properties such as its ability to reduce nausea and increase appetite. It is also known to be a cure for gastro-intestinal problems such as gas and indigestion. Cinnamon is known to improve the insulin response of fat cells in the body and can increase the conversion of blood sugar to energy by as much as 200%. It also reduces the formation of free radicals thereby delaying the manifestation of diabetic complications.

5. Indian Kino (Pterocarpus Marsupium)

Indian Kino (Pterocarpus Marsupium) also known as Malabar Kino is a huge deciduous tree normally found in South India and Sri Lanka. It is also known as Pitasara or Venga. It has a proven effect of lowering the glucose absorption from the gastrointestinal tract as well as in increasing insulin levels in the body. It is also known to regenerate pancreatic cells that produce insulin, called beta cells. This regeneration is something no other drug or herbal remedy has been able to achieve. It has been used in India for a long time in the treatment of diabetes. In an experiment in rats, it was found that the epicatechin extracted from the bark of the Malabar Kino was shown to prevent beta cell damage artificially induced by alloxan.

6. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Fenugreek can be grown in your house as a herb in a pot. It is vastly found all over China and the Mediterranean areas. Fenugreek leaves as well as seeds are used as a seasoning in most Indian foods. Fenugreek seeds are fiber rich and that is what contributes to its ability to control diabetes. There is another active component in the fenugreek seeds known as trigonelline which has blood sugar lowering properties. Fenugreek is widely cultivated as a crop, and it has other medicinal properties such as ability to improve appetite and manage gastrointestinal problems and skin diseases. It is also known to improve lactation and aid faster healing of wounds and is often an integral part of traditional Indian treatment for women post delivery and as a health supplement for lactating mothers.

7. Gooseberry

Gooseberry or Amla as it is locally known in India, a good source of Vitamin C and has a lot of antioxidants. Traditionally the juice of gooseberry is mixed with bitter gourd juice as a treatment for diabetes. The ratio is typically one teaspoon of gooseberry juice for one cup of bitter gourd juice. The medicinal property of amla is supposed to improve the insulin generation capability of the pancreas. Amla can also be used in powdered form after drying and grounding it. The vitamins are preserved even in the dried form and it is considered a much better source of Vitamin C than grapefruit and lemons. It is also used for treatment of urinary infections as it is known to reduce the body heat. It also reduces body fat and is good for the eyes. Thus it can effectively delay the onset of diabetic retinopathy in patients.

8. Tenner’s Cassia

The flower and seeds of Tenner’s Cassia are found to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels. It can be mixed with honey and consumed daily.

9. Blueberry (Vaccinium Myrtillus)

Blueberry leaves have been traditionally used as a treatment for diabetes. It has an active ingredient called myrtillin that helps to reduce blood sugar levels. It also strengthens the blood vessels and reduces the adverse effects of free radicals in the body. Blueberry leaves are also used in the treatment of diabetic eye diseases. Bilberry is another plant that can lower the risks of diabetic eye diseases such as cataract and retinopathy. Other herbal remedies commonly used in the treatment of diabetes include onion, garlic, gymnema, Momordica charantia and nopal. Leaves of certain plants have been traditionally used in Indian medicine for treatment of diabetic patients. Here is a list of leaves that are commonly used.

10. Leaves of Mango for controlling diabetes

Mango is known as the king of fruits in India. It is consumed in large quantities all over India during the summer months as a tasty fruit. The leaves of the mango tree are used as a treatment for diabetes. The tender leaves are soaked overnight and the next day morning, it is squeezed and filtered out. The water containing the essence of the mango leaves is consumed every morning for reducing blood sugar levels. Mango leaves can also be dried and powdered and consumed in powder form. The recommended dosage is one teaspoon of this powder twice daily.

11. Neem Leaves (Azadirachta indica)

Neem leaves are also well known in India for its anti-diabetic properties. Again, the leaves can be consumed in dried powder form or in the form of juice. The recommended dosage for diabetic patients is typically five ml in the morning. Neem leaves are bitter in taste and diabetic patients may find it difficult to follow this regime. It is usually sweetened with honey, which is not harmful for a diabetic patient despite its sweetness. Diabetic patients should follow this treatment for a prolonged period of time before any noticeable results are obtained.

12. Curry Leaves (Murraya Koenigi)

Curry leaves are typically used as a seasoning in Indian cooking because of its unique flavor. It can be ground with coconut and used as a dip or it can be added to yoghurt as a seasoning. It is also known to aid weight loss, thus obese patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes are often advised to include this in their daily diets.

13. Sweet Potato Leaves

Sweet potato leaves are also extremely beneficial in treating diabetes. However the fruit contains a lot of starch and therefore should be consumed only in very small portion sizes by diabetic patients. Sweet potato leaves can be added along with tea leaves while preparing tea. If used in powdered form then about six teaspoons of powder can be boiled in one cup of water and consumed daily.

Rhinoplasty – the Emotional Effects of a Nose Job

If you are considering undergoing plastic surgery to improve the appearance of your nose, it is likely that you have spent a great deal time researching the procedure. This probably includes locating a good surgeon, finding out how surgery is performed and preparing yourself for the potential risks and physical after effects of surgery. But you also need to look into the emotional impact rhinoplasty surgery has on its patients’ lives.

For the majority of rhinoplasty patients, the outcome is favourable and they are extremely happy with their new nose. One flawed feature in an otherwise attractive face can be a source of much self consciousness and a lack of confidence. Therefore, a good nose job can be enormously beneficial to the patient’s self esteem, and they will profit both psychologically and socially. It is for this reason that an increasing number of rhinoplasty patients are teens and young adults, who are often most effected by poor self image and confidence issues.

Unfortunately, rhinoplasty is not a positive experience for everyone. If you are considering a nose job you should also prepare yourself for the negative emotions you may also feel post-surgery.

Although only a minority experience true depression after undergoing rhinoplasty, most patients go through a period of feeling very down. The first reason for this is that while a nose job is not unbearably painful for most people, it does cause a lot of discomfort. You can feel very congested – as if you have a heavy cold – and it is common to temporarily lose your sense of smell, (and consequently a lot of your ability to taste), which can be unsettling. Sometimes patients have minor side effects from the medications, for instance constipation, which can cause further discomfort and does little to improve the mood.

Secondly, for a short time at least, you are physically restricted which can make many patients quite miserable. To avoid injuring the delicate post-operative nose while it is still healing you will need to avoid strenuous activity, which can be quite distressing to a person who is naturally active. There are also restrictions on how you can sleep – the head must be elevated, which necessitates sleeping in an almost upright position – which can cause patients to become quite uncomfortable, leading to a poor nights sleep and the resulting tiredness and irritability.

Finally, people are often initially very disappointed with the results of their surgery. After paying out an awful lot of money for the ‘perfect’ nose, when the cast is taken off patients often find their nose doesn’t look particularly different, albeit very bruised and swollen. It is common for rhinoplasty patients to go through a short period of depression and maybe even question their decision to have a nose job. Luckily, for most patients this depression will lift as healing occurs and the final results of the surgery become evident. A majority of patients will be very happy with their new nose.

For an unfortunate minority, real depression can result from the decision to have a nose job. In some instances this is because they are very unhappy with the resulting nose. Between 10 and 15 percent of patients will go on to have revision rhinoplasty, whereby the nose undergoes further refinement. It is estimated, however, that as much as 30 percent of patients are unhappy with the final result but not everyone will seek further surgery. For a minority of patients who experience depression after rhinoplasty surgery, it is due to underlying mental health conditions such as body dysmorphia.

If having looked into the rhinoplasty procedure you have decided to commit to undergoing a nose job, it is important to remind yourself the positive reasons why people put themselves through the stress of surgery. However, you also need to be remember that for some people it can be a negative experience, and ask yourself how you would deal with it should you be one of the unlucky minority to fall into this category.

Cure Anxiety With Natural Herbs

Anxiety is a complex disorder which has been described as a feeling of uneasiness in varying degrees. It is a condition with many facets and can be mild to extreme in intensity. Some medical conditions induce anxiety by their own nature whereas just living life can be anxiety producing for some people. In fact, anxiety can be a forerunner to depressive illnesses and should be treated as soon as practicable. In the early stages, the normal drugs prescribed by doctors may be avoided by trying some herbal alternatives.

Natural Remedies For Anxiety

More and more people are considering natural approaches than ever before. The side effects of some drugs used in medical treatments are one of the major causes of this trend. Recent experience has shown that anxiety responds well to natural alternatives especially when coupled with other life changes.

One of the major causes of anxiety is stress. Stress from the workplace is a common complaint in modern society, where heavy workloads place workers under unprecedented stress. A natural follow on is marital stress where work related issues infringe on home life with unpleasant results. Multifaceted stress is the result. Fortunately there are many herbs that provide a good base for the treatment of anxiety. Balm (Melissa Officinalis) and common lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) are two herbs that have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety. Any good naturopath will be able to assist you with both the supply and recommended dosages of these herbs.

Finding Herbs to Treat Anxiety

Homeopathic Centers and specialty stores are a good source of these herbal products. Additionally many on-line resources are available for your consideration. My approach has always been to get correct dosages and strengths first and to do this you should consult a specialist. After that you will be more confident in obtaining the correct supplies on the net or at discount suppliers. Remember that herbs do not work as quickly as western medicines and you will need to be patient. This may be a struggle for someone experiencing anxiety, but the wait will be worth it and the cost should bee less than drugs. The side effects of the two herbs mentioned here are almost non existent, so you will experience no problems there.

Other Natural Ways to Combat Anxiety

There are many other alternatives to think about when treating anxiety. Yoga is a great therapy and is a time proven “treatment”, but realistically, a way of life. Massage is another method to consider. My opinion is however, that massage should only be used as part of another method such as Yoga or herbal remedies. Anxiety must be treated at its core, and relaxation therapies hold the key if practiced as part of a holistic treatment. You should also consult a nutritionist as part of this approach to ensure every facet is covered.

As mentioned above, you will need to be patient for total changes to come into effect. As a precaution therefore, you should always get the permission of your doctor or at least advise her/him of your thinking so that your medication if any, can be adjusted as necessary.

5 Tips to Control Blood Sugar Without Medicine

To control blood sugar means to establish control of your life- something that many diabetics have only done by regularly taking their medicine. But did you know that there are means and ways that you would be able to control your spiraling blood sugar without relying solely on your diabetes medication, such as your insulin. Let’s face it- for many decades now, research on diabetes has shown that there are certain incidences of diabetes that are harder and harder to regulate with the usual spectrum of treatments.

Because of this there is a need to lower blood sugar naturally- and there are plenty of methods that you can try to make this happen for you. Your diabetes sugar level is wholly dependent on the condition of your body (how healthy you are) and your diet (what you have been eating all these years). Often the diabetic that has not been informed completely would not be able to gauge the general status of his health, and he or she would not know how to alter his current diet. The following may be done to obtain normal blood glucose levels.

1. Exercise more- it is now more necessary to increase your physical activity, because if you don’t even your muscle tissues will begin to take damage if you don’t control your blood sugar. If you haven’t been exercising for most of your life then this would be a good time to begin.

2. Eat less saturated fats- it is true that you need a nutritive diet to get along- but the nutritive aspect fails if you are consuming way too many calories of saturated fat. The effort fails because you might suffer from complications of diabetes mellitus- the deadly ones always affect the heart.

3. Eat organic- the less junk food and processed foods you consume, the less likely you would be raising your blood sugar levels. Because of this basic fact, start enjoying organic food more- start cooking at home with your own recipes and watch your blood sugar go down.

4. No to soft drinks- soft drinks are one of the leading causes of diabetes since its inception, and it still is today. If you have been addicted to the stuff from birth, then now would be a good time to wean yourself off the harmful substance because soft drinks are packed with sugar with every gulp.

5. Yes to natural fruit juices- if you still want your small doses of sugar and yet you have decided not to drink soft drinks, why not try natural fruit juices instead? Try the King himself- the coconut. Coconut juice is sweet, easily chilled and quite refreshing. Try different recipes for cocktails and watch a room go wild with coconut juice. Or you can simply sip it cold while reading your favorite book or listening to your favorite composers. This is also safe for insulin dependent diabetics.

These are only some of the ways that you may be able to control blood sugar.

A Bipolar Disorder Lesson From a Bipolar Patient’s Point-Of-View

When acquiring knowledge it is best to define terms either before or as they are being used. Let us begin by defining:

Bipolar (Affective) Disorder (manic-depression): a “mental disorder” exhibiting oscillating periods of elation and “clinical depression.” It is essentially a psychiatric diagnosis of elevated and depressive cognition, moods, behaviors and energy levels. The clinical term for the elated moods is “mania”. A gentler form is “hypomania.” Afterwards, bipolar individuals usually manifest either depressive symptoms or a “mixed state” in which features of both highs and lows are simultaneously present. These up-and-down events quickly slide through “average” mood zones enjoyed by the general population. For some folks,”rapid-cycling” between up-and-down mood levels occurs. Fierce manic episodes can exhibit delusions, psychosis and hallucinations. The bipolar mood range, in increasing levels of manic severity, are termed cyclothymia, hypomania (bipolar-II) and mania (bipolar-I). Descending levels of clinical depression are cyclothymia, depression (bipolar-II) and clinical depression (bipolar-I). Clinical depression alone is termed “unipolar.” [abridged-paraphrased Wikipedia “Bipolar Disorder” entry]

The bipolar continuum (spectrum) is best illustrated verbally as follows:

MANIA (BIPOLAR-I)

HYPOMANIA (BIPOLAR-II)

CYCLOTHYMIA (HIGH)

AVERAGE MOOD HIGH

AVERAGE MOOD

AVERAGE MOOD LOW

CYCLOTHYMIA (LOW)

DYSTHYMIA (BIPOLAR II)

CLINICAL DEPRESSION (BIPOLAR I)

Patient moods are continuously variable as they ascend and descend this bi-directional spectrum, prompting Johns Hopkins leading Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison and Bipolar I patient, to call bipolar disorder “this quicksilver illness.”

“Average Mood” is just another day at the office and at home with no cause for either sadness or celebration.

“Average Mood High” might be a time when you marry, birth a baby, earn a raise or win the lottery.

“Average Mood Low” could range from the loss of a favorite pet to the passing of a family member.

“Cyclothymia High” might be a time of extra energy and focus and general exuberance without drug use.

“Cyclothymia Low” can be a habit of extra sleepfulness or sleeplessness and a gloomy outlook.

“Hypomania” is a period of excess energy, high productivity, many achievements and goal-orientation.

“Dysthymia” is sluggishness, loss of normal interests, negativity and general malaise.

“Mania” is a time of grandiosity, rapid and pressured speech and frightening, erratic behaviors.

“Clinical or Major Bipolar Depression” is a total loss of interests and hope, often featuring suicidality

Here are a few American statistics:

  • Women suffer major depression twice as much as men
  • 90% of all suicides result from clinical depression
  • Men and women suffer manic-depression equally
  • 1 of 3 bipolar individuals will either attempt or complete the act of suicide

You have likely seen more than enough lists of manic and depressive visible behaviors, but it is important to adhere to those listed in the “Psychiatrist’s Bible,” DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The DSM-5 will be published in May 2013. It is from these basic definitions that we can build a discussion and understand what is to follow. Here are the essential “Diagnostic Criteria for Manic Episode:”

  • Abnormally, persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity [w/uninhibited, skewed volition]
  • Decreased need for sleep, e.g., feeling rested after only 3 hours of sleep
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility, i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work, at school or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences, e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments
  • Mood disturbance sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in occupational functioning or in usual social activities or relationships with others, or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others
  • [Giving away money or cherished or valuable possessions]

I have included this last, bracketed symptom, as that has been my own personal experience during my bipolar I episodes and also that of many of my co-patients and manic-depressive friends. Although this frightening list is not intended for use by “armchair psychiatrists,” it is useful for spotting and obtaining professional help for a mood-challenged friend or family member. Mania reminds me of the metamorphosis that produces the “Incredible Hulk.” My bipolar-I episodes always involve an obsession-either “seeking true love” or “starting my own high-tech energy company.” Oh, the wonders of manic grandiosity!

Well, DSM-IV has been kind enough to help us understand what bipolar mania is. Here it does likewise for clinical depression in the form of “Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Episode”:

  • Depressed mood (can be irritable mood in children and adolescents) most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated either by subjective account or observation by others
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated either by subjective account or observations by others of apathy most of the time
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain when not dieting (e.g., more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day (in children, consider failure to make expected weight gains)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia almost every day
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
  • [Vegetative, catatonic; retarded or loss of motor skills; unable to commit the act of suicide]

Once again, this last, bracketed listing is based on my personal experience and that of many of my co-patients and manic-depressive friends. When taken together, all of these up-and-down states are can be peppered with psychosis, hallucinations and delusions, making a psychiatrist’s diagnosis that much more difficult to make. Bipolar diagnoses are primarily made by psychiatrists (64%), psychologists (18%), and general practitioners (13%). In suspected cases of mental issues it only makes sense to cut to the chase and make an appointment with a psychiatrist. This specially trained professional is best able to treat a mood disorder patient. There are also “mixed episodes” during which an individual will suffer both manic and depressive characteristics simultaneously-pure hell. Once correctly diagnosed, the patient and doctor will need three years, on average, to sculpt a useful combination of psychotropic (psychiatric) drugs to achieve acceptable patient mood stability, the goal of which is to reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of episodes. These potent drugs have wicked side-effects and must be a carefully selected combination chosen from the five major classes of psych medicines:

  • Mood Stabilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anxiolytics
  • Anticonvulsants

When the bipolar patient is manic, he or she is feeling good and is unlikely to visit a doctor unless coerced by another individual. That is why psychiatrists often diagnose manic-depressive patients with unipolar (depressive) disorder because the only time he gets to see the patient is when he or she is feeling bad. It is fascinating that nearly 70% of bipolar-disorder sufferers are misdiagnosed an average of 3.5 times before that correct diagnosis is dialed-in. The manic individual is on a “high” and feels wonderful-there is “no need” for a doctor.

Because bipolar or depressive disorders involve relative amounts of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) in the brain’s limbic system (that portion of the brain responsible for emotion, behavior, motivation and long-term memory), a paucity of them results in depression and a surplus of them results in mania. Neurotransmitters are what transmit electrical signals between nerve endings, and, in this case, those of the neurons found in the brain. Unfortunately, there are no physical tests, no “dipsticks,” blood tests, imaging, invasive or non-invasive medical techniques for determining the relative levels of these biochemicals. Bipolar disorder is every bit a physical disease as are diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Here are the ways psychiatrists must achieve their diagnoses for their mood patients:

  • Questioning the patient
  • Questioning family, significant others
  • Establishing a patient history
  • Behavioral observation
  • Reading body language
  • Evaluating speech characteristics
  • Combining the results of these presentations with knowledge and experience

Although bipolar disease can strike anyone at anytime, it usually can be traced to either a genetic component or a crippling physical, mental, or emotional stressor like child abuse or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that produces tremendous amounts of anxiety and stress. On the genetic side, children having a sibling or parent with manic-depression have up to six times the likelihood of inheriting the disorder. Other predispositions and correlations for having bipolar disorder are having a Germanic heritage, a high IQ, or being an artist or scientist. Musicians, composers, poets, painters, philosophers, photographers, comedians, TV personalities, sculptors, etc., have an elevated risk of being bipolar when compared with the general population. My casual study of 277 famous persons revealed 84% were in those fields and suffer(ed) mood disorders. I can identify at least five triggers that launch bipolar episodes:

  1. Stressors (including major life events); physical, mental and emotional
  2. Substance abuse
  3. Sleep deprivation and severe circadian rhythm disruption
  4. Seasonal change
  5. Medicinal side-effects

When it comes to religion, much of Christendom judges those having mental disorders as being sinful, shameful, lacking faith, weak, self-centered, selfish, storytellers, guilty or demon-possessed. Or “That is just an excuse, you are trying to get attention.” These judgments result in private upbraiding, public ridicule, shunning or excommunication. The affected person’s beliefs fail when his mind fails. Other significant world religions either quarantine or eradicate mentally persons (defectives) by using any means possible, including homicide. It is interesting to note the statistical incidence of people’s mood disorders is unaffected by any particular religious belief or affiliation.

Depression is the number three reason for doctor visits in America today and the class of psychiatric drugs prescribed is second only to analgesics (painkillers). It has historically taken an average of four doctors and ten years to correctly diagnose a case of bipolar disorder. Even today only 49% of those with manic-depression receive treatment. Most of the remainder, unaware of their disease, will unwittingly self-medicate with “feel-good” drugs, food, alcohol and wanton (hyper) sex. Denial can be a mental patient’s best friend. Bipolar disorder is very much like a “mood roller-coaster,” with rapid ascents into mania, yet slower descents into suicidal depression stemming from a loss of confidence, identity and neurotransmitter imbalances. Our thoughts race at disturbing speeds while manic. When depressed we feel envious of anyone who is not in our place. We must train others to understand us and help us no matter how impossible that seems. And we must live “in the moment” every day. Our only real duty is to avoid mood swings that steal our reason and cause the loss of hope that constitutes our desire for death.

Fortunately, these numbers are gradually trending better due to higher levels of awareness and today’s many campaigns against stigma and discrimination targeting the mentally ill. Stigma of the disorder is fueled by the popular media characterization of bipolar individuals as being crazed homicidal maniacs having murderous/suicidal intent. Stigma means “disapproval and disgrace.” It alienates its victims, creates undeserved prejudice against them, and produces a societal shame that delivers a powerful blow to those already suffering a horrific mental disease. Stigma is every bit as inappropriate for the mental patient as it would be for the heart or cancer patient!The sufferer considers herself a public “killjoy,” and hides it as best she can. She and others like her often cannot summon the self-esteem and confidence to share their emotional battles. Every societal aberrance appears to have its own equal and opposite form using the word “phobia.” Should those guilty of fear of the mentally ill be branded “psycho-phobes?” It has been my experience that, like “mean” drunks and “happy” drunks, there are both “mean” and “happy” individuals who suffer episodes of bipolar disorder. The “mean” and violent ones are only those who abuse drugs and alcohol. After all, violent persons aren’t born, they’re made.

Bipolar individuals, on average, will suffer 8 to 10 episodes over their lifetimes. It is living hell on earth without a cure. It can only be managed. The impact on society includes these facts:

  • Manic-depression is nearly the 2nd-highest reason for federal disability awards
  • Unemployment for mood disorder sufferers is 50% higher than the U.S. average
  • Bipolar patient lifespans are 9.2 years shorter than the nominal U.S. age of 78 years

Because drug therapy often requires 2-3 weeks to begin exhibiting a therapeutic effect, hospitalization may be indicated for the patient’s safety during a mood disorder episode. Sadly, “new and improved” healthy patient outlooks, beliefs and budding improved behavioral habits, when compared with previous behaviors, can actually spook family and friends and cause a separation of ways. Co-dependencies vanish. Outpatient counseling is often required to either prevent this ordeal or deal with its aftermath. A new setting may be a big boon to the psychiatric patient. Whether manic or depressed, the individual’s feelings must be moderated-restored to a stable range. Julie A. Fast has described a “centered” bipolar’s life as being possible, wonderful, having fun and enjoying one’s talents. I have also found these aspects of stability to be true and have reached my treasured state of serenity..

For me, clinical depression, a crafty adversary, produces the worst suffering. Its simplest definition is “anger turned inward.” A depressed patient must find a non-injurious, non-damaging way to vent those demons of anger to slam the brakes on a dangerously deepening depression.

Imagine awaking after being buried 6 feet under, the utter hopelessness of your shouts going unheard, unable to roll over in your coffin, claustrophobic. Clinical depression’s hopelessness is worse! Suicide easily becomes a viable, attractive option. In the words of Marybeth Smith, “… I just want to end the pain.” The wild mood swings of bipolar disorder in a sufferer have nothing to do with volition, choices or will. With depression, one may unknowingly begin to sink into the abyss of hopelessness.

“You can always think your way into a depression but cannot always think your way out [of one].” – Dr. Lewis Britton

At that point the only option is either drug therapy or ECT. Because psychiatric treatment usually involves only 15-minute “meds checks,” a patient must request a referral for a psychologist who can provide the “talk therapy” needed for the patient to work out thinking, behaviors, lifestyle and myriad other issues. Patients must be ascertain whether or not their psychiatrists and psychologists will communicate with one another to create a holistic continuum of care. The patient must learn habits of living including eating, exercise and sleeping habits. Mood disorder behaviors are non-volitional and re-learning healthy physical, mental and emotional habits is a must for preventing further mental mayhem. Friends and family can neither sympathize nor empathize, never having “been there.”

Serenity is my ultimate mental health goal. I have nearly achieved it by eliminating nearly most stressors in my life and it feels great. No problem distracts or bothers me anymore, most likely due to having already survived the worst that can happen to me at both extremes of bipolar mania and depression. In addition to Psychiatric and Psychological help are voluntary support groups, both physical and online. Internet forums and communities, if their members stay on-track, can be quite helpful for depressed and manic-depressive folks as episodes, doctors, medications and the like are hashed over and common ground is established for self-revelation, sharing and caring.

I am often asked whether there is 1) a greater number of mentally ill persons today, 2) if the bar is being lowered by the Psychiatric community to drum up more patients, or 3) whether there have always been so many of us in the past who were misunderstood, misdiagnosed or ignored. I am inclined to say that it is an amalgam of all three at the risk of sounding simplistic or “politically correct.” I say this because I believe all three propositions can easily be tied to the increasingly rapid advance of technology’s increasing impact on mankind over the decades. But I’m certainly open for any suggestions to the contrary.

In conclusion, “manic-depression” remains a “hot-button” topic today among health professionals, the media, patients and a confused public. Well-meaning websites and blogs litter the internet with both accurate and erroneous content and advice, and these venues must be fact-checked and negotiated with care. Although not up to academic standards, a Wikipedia search of “bipolar disorder” is probably the most handy and accurate source for the average inquisitor. Having read it myself, this mental patient recommends it for all concerned.

Highly Sensitive People and "Being Psychic" – HSP Not ESP-Reading Non-Verbal Signals

High sensitivity is essentially a naturally occurring tendency for the brain to process incoming stimuli in more detail. It occurs in 15-20% of the population of all higher animals including human beings. This extra processing takes more time and means that an HSP will sometimes be more occupied and even over-stimulated when trying to assimilate the meaning of high speed, complex and shifting social or environmental information. At the same time, processing in greater detail permits the capture of subtleties and nuances that others might pass over or experience only minimally.

Several of the questions in Elaine Aron’s HSP Self-test aim specifically to assess the quality of inter-personal sensitivity in the test taker.

  • “When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lighting or the seating)”
  • “Other people’s moods affect me.”

HSP’s generally score high on these items. This is significant because other human beings, their actions, and expressions of emotion are processed with the same depth of detail and attention to nuance that characterizes all HSP processing

Emotion researchers inform us that up to 90% of all emotional communication is done non-verbally.

Human beings communicate their feelings, not just with words, but through tone of voice, volume, speed of speech, turn-taking, pattern of eye contact, facial expression, body posture, hand gestures, changes in color (such as blushing or paling), and more subtly still by physiological changes in breathing or heart rate which may be perceptible to a highly attuned observer (Schore, 2005).

Ability to read and respond to these indicators is already developed when we are pre-verbal infants. Attention to speech eventually takes priority in our interpersonal exchanges and the underlying ability to read non-verbal signals becomes largely unconscious and automatic even though it continues to underpin and enlarge our understanding of what our conversational partner intends.

These non-verbal signals constitute a sort of emotional language that we emit and interpret in parallel to our speech and we respond emotionally with feelings of wariness and anxiety, or comfort and security, depending on what is being signaled.

Highly sensitive individuals are also highly sensitive to this play of emotional signal and response, but like the rest of us, they may be unaware of the degree to which they are reading and responding to their partner’s non-verbal communications.

Many HSP’s wonder if they are “psychic”?

They know that they get “feelings” about places, things and especially people. Human nature being what it is, pleasant feelings of acceptance, warmth or interest are not worrisome, but HSP’s, with their attention to detail unconsciously notice mixed signals, or signals which could suggest anger, disapproval or rejection. Anxiety produces physical sensations in the body such as increased heart rate, constricted breathing and the release of chemicals that prepare us for fight or flight. HSP’s are more subtle readers of their own bodily responses as well and these unpleasant sensations may not pass unnoticed. They may however be misinterpreted as “negative vibes” and presumed to be emanating from their conversational partner rather than originating in themselves.

This misreading becomes problematic if HSP’s act on their feelings by withdrawing, avoiding or by responding with irritation, anger or hurt which may not appear justified by the surface exchange between the two.

It is useful therefore, for HSP’s who do get “feelings” about people to take a moment to question their assumptions.

People typically try to modulate the feelings that they show on the surface so that they are in keeping with the demands of the situation. But this means that people often feel more than they show. HSP’s with their extra awareness of nuance in communication often pick up on this depth or mixture of contradictory feelings in others but they make the mistake of presuming that it is directed at them often in a negative way which is actually unwarranted.

    An imaginary example might be a situation where a friend is required to say something mildly critical to an HSP acquaintance. The friend approaches the exchange with mild anxiety and perhaps even some resentment towards a third party who has insisted that this be done… so that mixed emotional signaling underpins the exchange. The highly observant HSP may misread this as hidden aggression or anger and respond more strongly than the situation appears to demand on the surface.

    This is because the HSP, in the moment of perceiving the unpleasantness, feels rising in themselves their own history of being criticized, rejected and hurt in the past and they respond as if there is imminent danger of re-occurrence. Their strong reaction is in turn confusing and upsetting to their partner… and the situation intensifies problematically for both parties as the HSP hooks their partner’s ordinary tension up to their own personal fears and negative expectations.

Reality check

How can this be prevented?

In a word, “Ask!”

HSP sensitivity and attunement to others is a gift but it should not always be permitted to remain at the level of “feelings”. An HSP faced with mixed or confused emotional signals from their partner may have to address the experience consciously and rationally. Often the use of a simple, open question will permit clarification and defuse the tension.

Examples:

  • “I get the feeling that there is something about this that bothers you?”
  • “I wonder if there is more you would like to say about this…”
  • “I feel as if you are feeling a bit upset about this …(without specifying a possible cause)”
  • “You seem to be of two minds about this.”

HSP’s are uniquely situated.

Human beings live in a social world in which we are constantly attempting to communicate or ideas and feelings not only through words but also through gestures and glances. HSP’s are sensitive readers of these signals and with a little conscious awareness they are uniquely situated to translate this nuanced understanding into better, deeper, relationships with those around them.

References:

A.N. Schore (2005). A Neuropsychoanalytic Point of View, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 15(6), p.829-854.

E. Aron, Highly Sensitive person Self-Test, Copyright, 1996. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

Isorhamnetin – A Natural Way To Prevent Cancer and Diabetes

Isorhamnetin is a flavonol and phytonutrient (a group of chemical compounds that are found in plant based foods but not considered essential to human health) that has been linked with cancer and diabetes prevention. In this article I will be discussing isorhamnetin in greater detail and providing you with a summary of its main functions, the best food sources, the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) and the potentially adverse effects of consuming too much or too little.

1) DISCOVERY:

Isorhamnetin was discovered by the Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi in 1938 as part of the flavonoid family. Gyorgyi initially believed that he had discovered a new vitamin and so named the flavonoids vitamin P. However, it was later discovered that unlike vitamins, the flavonoids are not essential to human health.

2) FUNCTION:

Like many of the flavonols, isorhamnetin is a powerful antioxidant which protects your body’s cells from damaging free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen related reactions). It can also prevent multiple types of cancer (including esophageal cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer) and reduce the complications associated with diabetes (which include diabetic cataracts and high blood glucose levels). In addition to this, isorhamnetin can help keep your heart healthy by preventing arteriosclerosis (hardening and loss of elasticity within the arteries), preventing high blood pressure and protecting the heart’s cells against oxidative damage.

3) RDA:

Isorhamnetin is not believed to be essential in humans so no RDA has been established for this flavonol.

4) FOOD SOURCES:

Isorhamnetin can be found in numerous plant based foods. Some of the best sources include almonds (7.05 milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g)), chives (6.75mg per 100g), dill weed (43.5g per 100g), fennel leaves (9.3mg per 100g), red onion (4.25mg per 100g) and turnip greens (between 5mg and 10mg per 100g).

5) OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:

At the time of writing no overdose symptoms have been linked with isorhamnetin consumption.

6) DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:

At the time of writing no deficiency symptoms have been linked with isorhamnetin consumption.

7) SUMMARY:

Whilst there is still a lot more research to be done on isorhamnetin, the early signs are very promising. Not only can it help you fight a number of nasty health conditions (including cancer and diabetes) but it also keeps your heart healthy. Furthermore, isorhamnetin rich foods contain high levels of other health boosting nutrients which means eating these foods allows you to unlock many more health benefits. So make sure you eat almonds, add chives to your dishes and cook with red onions to enjoy all the health benefits listed in this article and more.

Mental Anguish Is Psychological Suffering

Anguish, is the psychological suffering that is caused by any one of a number of events, which may naturally occur during a person’s life span. These occurrences, can also be brought about by one, or a number of other party’s regular activities, or intentional actions.

The word anguish, when spoken, conjures up thoughts of a distasteful, emotional situation that any one of us might have endured in the past. This situation may have been caused by the loss of a loved one, a business failure, an illness or accident. Any of these occurrences can be considered as a part of everyday life and people should condition themselves to cope with these situations. Mental anguish can also be brought about by poverty, the ravishes of war, imprisonment or loss of self esteem, which are not generally considered to be everyday events, however there are millions of people throughout the world who are suffering from the effects of these calamities.

Individuals suffering from mental anguish are extremely prone to the disabling effects of anxiety, depression and stress, which can also lead to a lifelong dependency on illicit drugs, alcohol or prescription medications.

Anxiety and depression are the two most prevalent mental health disorders identified in America. People of all ages, and those from all walks of life can suffer from depression, which if not successfully treated, can lead to a permanent disability, or in extreme cases, even suicide.

According to the World Health Organization, 121 million people throughout the world suffer from depression, and of those, 75 percent either don’t realize that they are suffering from a mental disorder, or suitable treatment is beyond their means and not available to them. The latter of these can avail themselves of alternative therapies once they become aware of their problem.

Symptoms of depression can be quite obscure, particularly when the condition is brought about by a lengthy term of mental anguish. Poor eating habits and irregular sleep patterns are usually warning signs that anxiety or depression is disturbing a person’s physical and mental performance. By eating regularly, adopting a diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals, performing daily exercise routines, then one’s physical condition will improve and naturally restore sound sleeping habits. This procedure will certainly assist the body to alleviate anxiety or depression and ease the burden of mental anguish.

Use of stimulants such as, alcohol, tea or coffee should be avoided and added supplements of vitamin B complex are beneficial in calming the body’s nervous system. The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture is very highly regarded as a proven alternative therapy for anxiety, depression and stress. People that have access to a competent acupuncturist are well advised to avail themselves of this form of treatment, as well as take any herbal medicines that the practitioner may recommend.

Mental anguish is an unavoidable adversity that is part and parcel of day to day life. When an individual is confronted with the condition he must be mindful of the fact that dwelling on the event may lead to a permanent mental disorder, and as such, would require proper medical attention.