Archive for category Medical Issues

Most Californians Don’t Know What a Water District is; as the drought gets worse they soon will.

Winter months are when California gets the majority of rainfall it needs to replenish the state’s water supply. That hasn’t happened this year. Both the State Water Project Resources and Colorado River Resources are reporting record low numbers of water for this current rain season. And there’s little hope of catching up as this rain season is coming to an end. The Northern Sierra Snowpack is at 4.30 inches, only 19 percent of what it should be.

State statsIt would be hard to find a climatologist or research scientist who would claim this drought is going away any time soon. According to recent studies published by Scientist at Stanford University, this drought will be around for a while and will get worse.

It’s not just a matter of no rain. Something else is happening in California that is not causing the drought, but will certainly contribute to it, and that’s the state’s increasing population.  The State of California already has the highest population of all western states and it’s increasing at a steady rate. According to California’s State Department of Finance the state’s population will increase in fifteen years by 14 percent to an estimated 44 million people. This increase in population will mean an even higher demand on an already dwindling water supply.

garden GraphicIf you did a poll and asked Californians what a water district is most wouldn’t know. But that’s about to change real fast. These agencies will soon be featured on evening news reports and documentaries. Many Californians will soon begin contacting or even protesting water districts.

A simple definition of a water district is a municipal organization that provides water to customers in a service area. With the exception of rain, water districts supply all water used in cities, on farms, in manufacturing, and water for residential use. This is why water districts may not have much significance to Californians now but they soon will; these are the agencies that control water and as that water becomes scarcer, these agencies will become more important to Californians.

car wash graphicAs the current drought situation worsens, and that’s inevitable, Californians are sure to be faced with things like statewide mandatory water conservation. If mandatory conservation doesn’t work these water districts, the municipal organizations that have jurisdiction over all water use, will have no choice but to start rationing water. This could mean that when Californians uses their rationed amount of water; they’ll turn on a facet and see nothing. Once this happens many will be forced to purchase bottled water for personal consumption, cooking, personal hygiene, even flushing a toilet. They’ll also be paying a premium price for that bottled water.

This scenario may sound like a script from a movie but the truth is; it could start happening very soon. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is already considering water rationing by the summer unless conditions improve. A recent Op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times calls for state wide water rationing because Californians have about one year of water left.

 

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A Matter of Circumstances; giving spare change may not help the homeless

defAccording to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the federal definition homelessness is a person who sleeps in a place not meant for human habitation. This includes people who sleep on the streets, in a car, in a park, and also includes people sleeping in emergency shelters and transitional housing. In an effort to identify the severity of homelessness and determine the amount of federal funds needed to address this issue, HUD compiles statistics each year to prepare a report for Congress. The latest report determined in January 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on a given night. Most (69 percent) were staying in residential programs for homeless people, and the rest (31 percent) were found in unsheltered locations. Nearly one-quarter of all homeless people were children under the age of 18 (23 percent or 135,701). These statistics also include 49,933 homeless veterans who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Homelessness in the United States is a complex problem with a wide range of causes. These causes include mental health issues, loss of employment, fleeing from domestic abuse, addiction, returning military veterans, and victims of natural disasters. Regardless of cause, those who are homeless suffer one of two different situations: chronically homeless and temporary homelessness.
faceChronically homeless is defined by HUD as a person who has been homeless for twelve consecutive months or has had four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. The majority of these people have become chronically homeless because of a disabling condition. HUD defines a disabling condition as a diagnosable substance abuse disorder, a serious mental illness, developmental disability, or chronic physical illness or disability, including the co-occurrence of two or more of these conditions. In addition, a disabling condition limits an individual’s ability to work or perform one or more activities of daily living. Many chronically homeless individuals either don’t have the resources to bath, or because of a mental health issue, are not concerned about hygiene. Due to their appearance the chronically homeless have become the face of homelessness in the United States.
graphicTemporary homelessness is an episode of homelessness that doesn’t last more than twelve consecutive months. HUD defines an episode of homelessness as a separate, distinct, and sustained stay on the streets and/or in a homeless emergency shelter. These are people who have suffered some type of setback or tragic event like loss of employment, foreclosure, loss of a loved one, or a medical condition that has depleted all their funds and could no longer pay rent or buy food. One of the toughest challenges for this homeless population is making every attempt to not look homeless. They must make extra efforts to do laundry, practice good hygiene, and maintain a presentable appearance. This includes bathing in a restroom sink at a library or gas station to prepare for job interviews or other important appointments. If they are successful in these attempts individuals experiencing temporary homelessness to do appear to be homeless.

Current statistics published by HUD indicate some progress has been made in America’s attempt to address homeless causes and issues. Chronic homelessness among individuals declined by 3 percent (or 2,164) over the past year, and by 30 percent (or 36,197) between 2007 and 2014. Homelessness among veterans declined by 33 percent (or 24,117) between 2009 and 2014
subThere is something you can do to help the homeless in your area and it may sound strange; do not give money to homeless people who are panhandling. If you want to help you might be doing more good by volunteering or making a contribution to an organization in your city that serves homeless populations.

Not giving money to homeless individuals may seem like a lack of compassion, but addiction is a leading cause of homelessness. Giving money, even spare change, could actually be causing more harm than good. If that individual you gave money to is suffering with addiction issues chances are the money you gave could go toward the purchase of drugs or alcohol and not food. Also if you engaged in dialogue with an individual suffering from a mental health issue, there is a possibility their behavior could be unpredictable and could put you at risk.
childrenYou may think charitable acts of giving money to homeless individuals are good intentions that help reduce the problems that confront them, but this may not be the case. Assisting an organization that serves homeless populations is a much more effective and safer way you can help. People who work at social service agencies are case managers, social workers, nurses, and doctors who deal with homelessness on a daily basis. They’re aware of the causes, issues, and challenges of homeless individuals and families. They know what issues are the most acute, and know how to deal with unpredictable behavior that might be the result of a mental health issue.

When you volunteer or make a contribution to a social service agency you’re getting more bang for your buck. This will accomplish more than just giving money to homeless who solicit in public places.  Your efforts will increase the resources trained professionals need to effectively identify causes and help homeless individuals and families with food, programs, and resources.

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In Plain Sight

ht3Victims of human trafficking are not always easy to identify. It is very possible you may have seen one cleaning tables in a restaurant, on a subway, or at a stop light. This is an issue that doesn’t get as much media attention as other topics, but human trafficking involves 800,000 victims worldwide each year. This includes many victims here in the United States, most are women and children.

Trafficking generates a profit of 32 billion dollars each year and is defined by an exploitation which comes in many forms. Only 19% of all trafficking involves labor exploitation. The most common form of exploitation is sexual.

The most common form of exploitation is sexual. Some runaway children will become sex workers at early as 12 years old.

The most common form of exploitation is sexual. Some runaway children will become sex workers at early as 12 years old.

According to the U S State Department, 80% of all trafficking involves sexual exploitation. This includes forcing victims into prostitution, sexual slavery, and forcing victims to commit sex acts to create pornography. Over 70% of trafficking victims in the United States are women and half are children.

In the United States the average teen will enter the sex trade industry between the ages of 12 to 14 years old. Many of these victims are runaway girls who have fled from sexual abuse. According to UNICEF the United States is considered a top destination for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.

There are ways to identify a trafficking victim. If you encounter a child or adult that is not sure of their whereabouts, exhibits fear or anxious behavior, or has inconsistencies in their story, these are conditions consistent with a trafficking victim. This person may also have unexplained injuries. If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888

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Change your thoughts; change your life

Attitude and behaviors are two things that can determine success or failure, both are influenced by memories.    

 

According to Dr Norman Doidge, “The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.”

According to Dr Norman Doidge, “The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.”

We’re going to be hearing a lot more about rewiring your brain in the near future. Research done by neuroscientist has yielded some very interesting findings. According to a recent article in New Yorker magazine, attitude and behaviors are two things that make you successful in whatever you set out to do. It turns out attitude and behaviors are formed by your memories, both good and bad.

In a similar article on the INC.com website, your memory is not like to video playback which is most commonly presumed, but more like a video editing process. We have the ability to diminish bad memories by changing details if we remember them to be small and insignificant. For good memories we do the same thing in reverse; exaggerate good memories by focusing on the good outcomes from that incident.

Harvard University researchers conducted studies at Massachusetts General Hospital to see what effect meditation had on the brain. Results from using magnet-imaging have shown individuals who mediated for an eight-week period dramatically strengthen the brain structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. This supports the theory that you can modify your brain.

The term “thoughts are things” may have more credence that just an old adage. Negative and positive thoughts and memories directly affect how we perceive our world and how we react to situations but they are not equal. Unfortunately the negative is three times stronger that the positive. This is called the negative bias. As a result of a survival instinct left over from our hunter gatherer days, we are wired to focus more on the negative. But in our modern-day world, the negative can hold us back and limit us from achieving real success and potential.

 

The brain produces electrical signals, which, together with chemical reactions, let the parts of the body communicate. Nerves send these signals throughout the body.

The brain produces electrical signals, which, together with chemical reactions, let the parts of the body communicate. Nerves send these signals throughout the body.

Selective memory and just recalling good memories is not going to help remedy the situation, it is important to get to the source and modify the bad memories so they will have less of an impact. When you recall these bad memories, imagine them smaller and change the details of the incident so that memory no longer gives you bad feelings. If you learned or gained something from a bad experience focus on what you took away and not how bad the incident was. When we recall good memories relive them attentively by paying attention to every detail. Go to that place in your mind during that incident by recalling the great feelings you felt during that time. Nothing worth having is easy to come by. This is going to involve some effort to change your thinking so don’t get discouraged and keep trying.

Can you climb a mountain? What was your first thought after reading this question? Was it a list of reasons why you can’t climb a mountain? If so, you really need to change your thinking about yourself and your abilities. Now if I repeated that same question instead of thinking why you can’t, try thinking about how you can. And also try removing these two words from your vocabulary; “should have”.

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Super foods are not just a cliche.

 

Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.

Evidence has shown that Kale helps to clean and detoxify your body. Kale also helps to reduce the risk of five different types of cancers.

If the term “you are what you eat” is true, a new and improved you is definitely possible.

The term “Super Foods” needs some clarification. It sounds like some type of natural elixir that can bring you vitality and good health. Actually that’s no exaggeration, according to the website WebMD that’s exactly what super foods do. For an item to be considered a super food it must be natural and unprocessed, nutritionally dense with plenty of vitamins and minerals, and also can help to reduce the risk of illness with no side effects.

Some of the qualities that put super foods in a category of their own: they are whole foods in their natural form that have ability to help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of both heart disease and cancer, stop inflammation, and put you in a better mood. These super foods can also help fight diabetes and hypertension. WebMD also states that super foods are actually life altering. Keep in mind we’re talking about food items and not prescription medication.

 

There is new evidence that suggest Blueberries may help the nervous system and brain health. Blueberries may also help to improve memory.

There is new evidence that suggest Blueberries may help the nervous system and brain health. Blueberries may also help to improve memory.

These items are relatively inexpressive compared to processed foods, especially when you consider the nutritional content. You are not going to find naturally occurring antioxidants, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory agents in soda pop, candy, or potato chips. Here are some examples of the most popular super foods: Blueberries, Beans, Broccoli, Oatmeal, Kale, Salmon, Yogurt, Walnuts and Pistachios, Tomatoes, Spinach, Turkey, Green Tea, Oranges, Garlic, and Pumpkin.

Let’s be honest, there are motives here; the goal of this article is to get you to stop eating junk food start eating healthy. This is easier said than done, but is possible. You may want to make small changes over a period of time. Modifying behaviors gradually can help to change your perception of what is normal and over a period of time eating healthy will be effortless. It’s a matter of making choices; start out by making one or two choices to get healthy and build on that. For some individuals this may be easier and more effective than a “cold turkey” method of change.

 

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Its a matter of change; 3 things we do that affect our health

Chioce Article Fig 1Three lifestyle activities we do everyday affect our health and the money we Americans must spend in health care dollars. If we were to change these behaviors, we could live longer healthier lives. Changing these activities would also have other far-reaching benefits; it would save money in health care dollars, which also help to reduce the national debt. We Americans spend more money for healthcare than any other country in the world.

It’s up to each individual to change these behaviors. By making these changes, Americans would begin a process that will improve and enhance the quality of their lives, and significantly improve the financial health of America. These three activities are part of a simple equation.

Smoking + Exercise + Nutrition = 50 percent of all deaths = 90 percent of the healthcare cost in the United States

The top three causes of death in the United States are Heart Disease, Cancer, and Lung Disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Each of these activities plays a major role in causing each of these diseases. Since these behaviors are a factor in the cause of diseases that kill us; changing these behaviors would yield results that could save both lives and money.

Smoking

English: A chest X-ray demonstrating severe CO...

Little explanation is needed for smoking and it plays a major role in all three of the top causes of death in the United States, it’s pretty obvious. According to the National Institutes of Health, Cigarette smoking causes about 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States each year. It’s the main preventable cause of death and illness in the United States. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes, mouth, reproductive organs, bones, bladder, and digestive organs.

Nutrition

Good nutrition is paramount for good health and well-being. Nutrition is also directly related to all three leading causes of death. According to the website healthypeople.gov, nutrition directly affects the development of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. A healthful diet will keep people healthier and also help to manage health conditions so they do not worsen over time.

Exercise

Exercise can boost the immune system, which may help the body to respond to viruses, bacteria, and the onset of disease. Exercise helps to reduce High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Obesity and Diabetes, which are all factors in the development of illness that result in the leading causes of deaths. According to the National Institute of Health People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.

Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.

Causes of Death

According to 2011 statistics from the centers for Disease Control, Heart Disease was the leading cause of death that claimed 597,689 lives. Cancer came in second with 547,743 deaths. Chronic lower respiratory disease was third with 131,080 deaths. These three leading causes of death in the United States all have one thing in common; they can all be prevented by changing the three lifestyle activities mentioned earlier: Smoking, Exercise, and Nutrition.

How much money do we spend for health care?

Healthcare has a hefty price tag and that cost is rising significantly. The cost of healthcare in the United States neared $2.6 trillion in 2010, over ten times the $256 billion spent in 1980. According to a recent PBS article we spend $8,233 per person for healthcare in the United States each year. That’s almost three times more than other developed nations in the world like Britain, France, and Sweden. On a more global scale, it means U.S. health care costs now eat up 17.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Making Modifications

Choice Fg 3It sounds simple but these activities are behaviors that can be difficult to change. Making changes can be difficult but not impossible. There is not one simple solution that can help every person change behaviors, but there is help.

We know about the dangers of smoking, and the benefits of quitting. But quitting smoking is no easy task because it is both a physical addiction and a pattern of behavior.  The Centers for Disease Control is a great place to start if you are thinking about kicking the smoking habit. Their website http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/ offers tips and information.

The American Cancer Society’s web site http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/quitting-smoking-help-for-cravings-and-tough-situations also gives information on how to deal with cravings for a cigarette during difficult situations.

Nutrition is more than a matter of choice. If eating right was just as easy as making a choice there would be no obesity. Truth is eating healthy foods becomes complicated when the demands of a busy schedule and cravings for sugar begin to play a role in making these choices. Sometimes making small changes can lead to healthy habits. The website http://www.nutrition.gov/whats-food offers good information to make informed choices about what you eat. Getting accurate information can help you to make better choices.

Some people seem to think you must wear athletic clothing or join a gym to get more exercise.  Well, than may help some people and that’s good, but there are simple things you can do in the course of your day-to-day life that can help you achieve your exercise goal. These things could include taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Park your car further from your destination so you can walk further. The Mayo Clinic website has some good information on the benefits of exercise. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676. There you will find out how exercise can also help to improve your mood and decrease depression.

 

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Depression; common among americans but when is it time to seek treatment?

depression“Nothing is ever going to get better. Why try to make a change, it won’t make a difference no matter how hard I try. Nothing is ever going to better not now not ever,” These feelings of hopelessness and despair are common symptoms of some forms of depression. One in four Americans suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Good news is; depression is an illness with a very high cure rate. The bad news is, according to the National Institute of Mental Health; few people who suffer from depression seek treatment.

Day to day life doesn’t always go as planned. Occasionally we have circumstances, events, or pitfalls that cause depression. Being depressed as a result of negative circumstances that occur in our lives is a natural human reaction. Under normal circumstances, people can recover from these events in a relatively short period of time. But there are other types of depression that are not a normal human response. When you feel depressed and that depression interferes with your activities of daily living, causes pain for you and those people in your life, it is possible that the depression is clinical and treatable. Depression is a common but serious illness, with a very high cure rate. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health there are several forms of depression that are categorized by type and severity;

  • Major depressive disorder, or major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes.
  • Dysthymic disorder, or dysthymia, is characterized by long-term (2 years or longer) symptoms that may not be severe enough to disable a person but can prevent normal functioning or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.
  • Minor depression is characterized by having symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression. Without treatment, people with minor depression are at high risk for developing major depressive disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).

Some other forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. However, as the National Institute of Mental Health states, not everyone agrees on how to characterize and define these forms of depression. They include: Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis. Postpartum depression, which some women experience after giving birth and is much more serious than the “baby blues”. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.

There not a “cookie-cutter” pattern of symptoms for depression. Not everyone who suffers from depression may have the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. According to the National Institute of Mental health, some of the common symptoms of depression can include.

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

Do you suffer from some form of depression?

According to the Mayo Clinic it is hard to determine what is normal and what is not. “Understanding what’s considered normal mental health can be tricky. Seeing how feelings, thoughts and behaviors determine mental health and how to recognize if you or a loved one needs help can be difficult.” There are many online tests for depression. But it is important to know that these are not a tool for a diagnosis. If you try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol you may feel better for a short time, but you’re not getting to the root of the problem. This could actually make matters worse, maybe even like throwing gasoline on a fire.

The first step to determine if you suffer from some form of depression is to identify that something is not right. And do not be ashamed to take that first step. It doesn’t mean that you have a problem that makes you not as good as others. Depression is a very common condition in our society. It takes courage to identify it. Often times even identifying or recognizing those hopeless feelings of despair can bring some relief. The second and most important step is talk to a health care professional about the feelings that you are experiencing. It is very important that you be very honest to that health care professional. In your description of feelings do not minimize of leave things out. That health care clinician is not there to judge you as a person. Not being totally honest and forthcoming with your healthcare professional could compromise the quality of health care you receive.

Medications used to treat Depression

There are many effective treatments that can help people effective manage depression. Depending on the severity, depression treatments can include medications, counseling, or both. According to the Mayo Clinic, A number of antidepressant medications are available to treat depression. There are several different types of antidepressants. Antidepressants are generally categorized by how they affect the naturally occurring chemicals in your brain to change your mood.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Many doctors start depression treatment by prescribing an SSRI. These medications are safer and generally cause fewer bothersome side effects than do other types of antidepressants. SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro). The most common side effects include decreased sexual desire and delayed orgasm. Other side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. They can include digestive problems, restlessness, headache, and insomnia.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These medications include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). Side effects are similar to those caused by SSRIs. These medications can cause increased sweating, dry mouth, fast heart rate and constipation.
  • Nor epinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs).Bupropion (Wellbutrin) falls into this category. It’s one of the few antidepressants that doesn’t cause sexual side effects. At high doses, bupropion may increase your risk of having seizures.
  • Atypical antidepressants. These medications are called atypical because they don’t fit neatly into another antidepressant category. They include trazodone (Oleptro) and mirtazapine (Remeron). Both of these antidepressants are sedating and are usually taken in the evening. In some cases, one of these medications is added to other antidepressants to help with sleep. The newest medication in this class of drugs is vilazodone (Viibryd). Vilazodone has a low risk of sexual side effects. The most common side effects associated with vilazodone are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and insomnia.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These antidepressants have been used for years and are generally as effective as newer medications. But because they tend to have more numerous and more-severe side effects, a tricyclic antidepressant generally isn’t prescribed unless you’ve tried an SSRI first without an improvement in your depression. Side effects can include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, urinary retention, fast heartbeat and confusion. Tricyclic antidepressants are also known to cause weight gain.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs — such as tranylcypromine (Parnate) and phenelzine (Nardil) — are usually prescribed as a last resort, when other medications haven’t worked. That’s because MAOIs can have serious harmful side effects. They require a strict diet because of dangerous (or even deadly) interactions with foods, such as certain cheeses, pickles and wines, and some medications including decongestants. Selegiline (Emsam) is a newer MAOI that you stick on your skin as a patch rather than swallowing. It may cause fewer side effects than other MAOIs. These medications can’t be combined with SSRIs.
  • Other medication strategies. Your doctor may suggest other medications to treat your depression. These may include stimulants, mood-stabilizing medications, anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotic medications. In some cases, your doctor may recommend combining two or more antidepressants or other medications for better effect. This strategy is known as augmentation.

Finding the right medication can be a trial and error process. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so finding the perfect antidepressant medication or medications may take some time. You may not notice any change right away; some of these medications need some time to take full effect. It may also take time for your body to adjust to any side effects there may be. It is very important that you talk to your doctor about any side effects you may be experiencing and do not stop taking the medication, some medications can cause a withdrawal if you stop taking them abruptly.

If you suffer from Depression, you’re not alone.

The National Institute of Mental Health has some interesting statistics that bring it all into perspective. If you are now, or ever have suffered from depression in your lifetime, you’re not alone. They break down the statistic of depression by prevalence. These statistics may indicate a really important point. Not everyone who is depressed either recognizes it or gets treated. 16.5% of Americans have a lifetime prevalence of depression, and out of those people only 51% receive treatment. Out of all the people who receive treatment, only 19.5% receive adequate treatment for their depression.

How does this translate to you?

These Statistics offer some very valuable insights that could speak volumes about those who recognize they suffer from depression and do something about it. Not everyone in American suffers from depression, but if you do its nothing to be ashamed of. If you suffer from depression, have the ability to recognize it, the courage to admit it, and the self-respect to do something about it, according to statistics you’re doing better that most Americans who suffer from depression.

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Nature’s devastating force is a real threat; will you be prepared?

English: Map of regions of the Federal Emergen...

English: Map of regions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s often been said, “It’s not a question of if, but a question of when.” Never before has this adage been more appropriate when referring to a natural disaster.  No matter where you live in the United States, it is likely you will endure the fury of nature. Different regions of our country must contend with the threat of potential catastrophes that are very real possibilities but rarely considered. The wrath of nature may come in the form of a hurricane in the Southeast, a tornado or flood in the Midwest, or an earthquake in the Southwest. Whatever the threat may be; knowledge, preparation, and a plan of action are paramount in terms of your survival.

 

The first thing you can do in preparation for when nature unleashes a violent fury is to learn specific details about whatever peril you could possibly face. Each emergency is unique and knowing what you should do will chart the course of action you can take. It is recommended that you must have an emergency action plan that you and other members of your family can implement after the event occurs. Then prepare by gathering food, water, a first aid kit, medications, and other things you and your family will need to survive for at least 72 hours. This is very important because it may take three days before emergency rescue personnel can get to you.

 

There are some simple guidelines that can help to gather the necessary emergency supplies you will need for you and your family. According to the web site ready.gov, they recommend one gallon of water per person each day for drinking and sanitation. This may vary depending on the climate where you live, warmer climates may require you have more than one gallon per person. Also, children, nursing mothers and people with chronic illnesses may require more water.

 

If the electricity is out it is important that you reduce the number of times you open you refrigerator door. The general rule is the food in your fridge will be the first to spoil, so it should be eaten first. Things in your freezer will have a longer period of time because their frozen. However unless you have additional ice you can pack food in, you should probably eat the food in your fridge first, then the food that was in the freezer.

 

The  non-perishable foods that you should include in your emergency preparedness kit should be easy to eat foods that do not require cooking. Ideal food choices should include salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty like salted nuts and potato chips. Snack bars that are high in protein, and fruits you must peel and good choices.

 

Supplies that include tools will be very helpful in the event of a disaster. You may want to include screw drivers, a hammer, handsaw that doesn’t require electricity, a flashlight with batteries, and a transistor radio. It air quality is compromised due to dust; you may want to include plastic sheets and duct tape. With no water you will not be able to flush your toilet. It is recommended you have moist towelettes and kitchen sized plastic bags with twist ties for personal sanitation.

 

FEMA seal before 2003

Keep in mind during a natural disaster, communication will be compromised not just because of electrical outages. Phone lines will become overloaded with those calling out of the area and those calling into the area to check on loved ones. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends people text loved ones to let them know you’re ok instead of trying to call. With land lines down cell phones will be overwhelmed with the volume of calls. Texts require less space than phone calls do. This will also free phone lines for law enforcement.

 

No matter where you live in the United States, odds are, at some point, you and your family could be in an emergency situation due to the forces of nature.  Understanding, preparation, and a plan for the worse possible scenario during a natural disaster could be lifesaving measures you can take now.

 

 

 

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Employers fear “Grey Hair” even though we’re living longer and more active lives.

Employment Exhibition

Employment Exhibitions like this may be the best bet for the “over 50” job seeker. They give a face-to-face opportunity to show prospective employers even though you’re older, you’re productive and in good health..

You may have heard the term recently, “50 is the new 40.” Although this may be a humorous antidote to comfort those who are getting older, there is a great deal of validity to that statement. The fact is; thanks to the efforts of medical science, we have extended the span of human life. However its apparent most corporations and employers that are hiring are reluctant to accept this fact. You want proof; ask anyone over 50 who is looking for a job.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published the latest statistics in regards to how long we live. Their findings yielded some really good news “The life expectancy of Americans is higher than ever, at almost 78.” This presents a new challenge for the medical community; that is to improve the quality of extended lives. According to a recent report in the September 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, it looks like Medical science is meeting that challenge. “The clinical ramifications are far-reaching,” this JAMA report claimed. “As this rapidly growing sector of the population assumes a prominent position in preventive and public health measures, our findings clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start.”

There are several more statistics that prove we’re living longer, healthier, and more active lives. Yet, it’s a well known fact that most employers are very reluctant to hire a qualified individual with years of experience for fear that they do not have that many “good years” left to be productive in the workforce.

According to the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the definition of Age Discrimination is very clear cut and simply stated. “Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his or her age.’ In accordance with the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), federal laws clearly state “it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.”

It is very easy for corporations and employees to ignore the ADEA and federal laws that prohibit age discrimination. There is proof they often do. Age discrimination cases have shown a steady increase of almost 40 per cent and continue to increase. According to statistics from the EEOC website; Age discrimination charges have increased from 15,785 in 1997 to 23,465 in 2011.

A significant percentage of the population in the United States has reached, and is over the age of 50, especially when you include “Baby Boomers”. These people, whether they’re unemployed or wish to change careers, have tremendous difficulty finding employment despite years of experience. Currently, this is a problem for job seekers over 50, but this will soon present a bigger problem for all Americans.

The average age of retirement is 64.6 for men, and 62.3 for women. Chances are that’s about to change, with little choice in the matter. Many individuals who are members of the “Baby Boomer” generation are now reaching the age to become eligible for Social Security benefits. This is going to place even more of a burden on an already struggling Social Security system. In the years to come, we may have no choice but to extend the retirement age for two reasons; Americans are living longer, healthier, and more productive lives, combined with the fact that many can’t afford to retire.

Given the present mind-set of most employers and corporations, it will be even harder for those over 50 who are seeking employment, and those at retirement age who wish to keep working. Many older Americans, still active and in good health, have years of experience and dependability to offer companies. Yet this resource is literally ignored because employers accepted the accomplishments of medical science and still harbor a fear of “Grey Hair”.

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What if Benjamin Franklin were alive today; how would his twelve virtues apply to a modern-day setting?

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next time you go into a tall building you may want to thank Benjamin Franklin. Had he not flown a kite during that storm we wouldn’t have tall buildings. Franklin’s experiment and his discovery that electricity is actually a current, lead to his invention of the lightning rod. Prior to that, many people died in buildings that caught fire after being struck by lightning. This just one example of how we, in our modern age of technology, still benefit from the brilliance of Benjamin Franklin. Many of Franklin’s inventions could have made him a lot of money. Yet he chose not to patent his inventions; his motives were to benefit a greater good.

Many historians and biographers have written extensively about Franklin and his many accomplishments, but there was one historical piece of information that is not widely known or as popular. Franklin attributed much of his success to guidelines for living life that he wrote. Franklin called this his twelve virtues. These twelve virtues were comprehensive rules he prescribed for leading a successful and content life. Keep in mind Franklin wrote these twelve virtues in a time when there was no television, internet, cell phones, or satellite communication. The following is a review of those twelve virtues, and a simple interpretation of how they may apply today.

Temperance

Temperance calls for a person to avoid overindulgence in food or drink. By conquering your primal urges for food and drink, you’ll have the confidence to start making improvements in other areas of your life. The term “ Super-size” sure does ring a bell here. If you look at current statistics you’ve heard it said; we are an obese nation. Too much of anything is not good.

Silence

A person must learn when and when not to open their mouth. It’s ok to say nothing if what you’re going to say is inappropriate or makes no sense.  Not only is it better to be silent that look like a fool, but this applies to friendship as well. Often times being silent can be constructive because it gives the other person a chance to talk and increases your listening skills. Shut up and listen; most often people don’t want advice, they want to be heard. The best thing you can do is just listen to them vent or talk about their problem. Most of the time when people talk like this they’ll work it out on their own without your wonderful words of wisdom. Just be silent and listen.

Order

If a person wishes to thrive in this world they must develop order. But the laws of physics tell us that the universe and everything in it tends towards chaos and disorganization. A person must fight against these natural laws and the path of least resistance. Yet taking on complex organization will only cause more imbalances in your life. Instead make small changes by rectifying each slip in to disorganization the moment it happens. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if you could change everything, but the reality is; you can’t. But you can change, organize, or make sense of one thing at a time.

Resolution

Resolution is the firm determination to accomplish what you set out to do. For example, look at how Alexander the Great conquered the island of Tyre. An easy way to do this is have a main goal, then set smaller daily goals that will lead up to the main or long-range goal. At the end of each day reflect “What have I done today”. This sounds easy but is not. If you have to answer that question with “nothing”, the next day it will be in the back of your mind and you will accomplish something. Even if it’s something small, it will be an accomplishment.

Frugality

Credit cards and charge accounts are a double edge sword. They allow a person to purchase something they need now and pay later, but they also have many consequences. One good thing about the recent recession; it has forced our society to back off on spending habits just as our grandparents learned do to from living through the great depression.  This is why frugality has made a comeback. To put it simply; Spend less money than you earn.

Industry

Hard work is paramount to success. But has being industrious become no longer trendy with today’s “get rich quick” or “easy payout” temptations? The truth is the rich didn’t get that way with minimum effort. Well, not legally. Ask any millionaire and they’ll tell you it took goal setting, planning, and determination. Recent studies suggest winning the state lottery is not always a good thing. A majority of Lotto winners go bankrupt within five years of winning. Perhaps the term “easy money” is an oxymoron.

Sincerity

This electronic age with the quick exchange of information and anonymity has had a profound our society at large. I’m sure you’ve noticed on blogs and social network websites a prevalence of gossip, lying, and sarcasm. With this in mind, let me a couple of questions; what influence has this had on our society at large? Has this become a social norm or status quo that has infiltrated our real life as well? We are the ones that define the rules of our society. It seems there are more “gray areas” in terms of social acceptance than there were before. Is this a good thing?

Justice

In addition to standing up for those who are disadvantaged, there is another facet to justice; when you feel strongly about a topic or involved in an argument, try to consider the other point of view. Theses no doubt there are an abundance of apathy and ignorance in our society, but we can work to change that one person at a time. Let’s start with ourselves. Find out how you can develop the virtue of justice in your life as well as areas that you can implement the virtue.

Moderation

The easiest way to define moderation is use it as the opposite of greed. We all want more in our lives. More material items like the newest car, the latest electronic gadgets, computers, clothes, jewelry and other trappings do not define the person we are. Living a good life and having what you want is one thing, but are you crossing a line when it causes you stress to get it? Sometimes “Keeping up with the Jones” is not a good thing.

Cleanliness

This virtue tells other people a lot about you, and it also tells you a lot about yourself. Not only does this have a profound effect on a person’s self image, but it also includes a discipline that helps to increase attention and order. Cleanliness includes more than just appearance; it also includes your surroundings as well. In a clean environment, you’ll function much better in it.

Tranquility

The ability to control anger is just one aspect of tranquility. Making sure your living space is tranquil is also important. Another way to achieve tranquility is to “weed out” or do not give power to those toxic people in your day-to-day lives. You know the ones I’m referring to; the acquaintances in your life who are stressful and invoke that in others by being argumentative or constantly focusing on the negative. They’re draining energy from you, get rid of them, you don’t need them. Focusing on tranquility has more benefits; it can give you a sense of well-being and improve your health. You can look inward for tranquility as well; do you ever keep thinking things like “what if this happens, or what if they do this”? That’s called Mental Masturbation and is not at all constructive.

Chastity

Today, in a society where we’re constantly bombarded by sex in movies, TV, commercials, and almost everywhere else we look. This virtue seems to be outdated. Perhaps this is why one hundred years ago, people married for life. Currently, fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. If I may ask; have we cheapened the act of sex by turning it into a conquest instead of an exchange of love and emotions on several different levels? Recently there was a trendy question; “What is your number?” The higher your number gets could that possibly make it harder for you to love just one person and experience a true and fulfilling love?

    It’s amazing to thing a man sat and wrote these guidelines over two hundred years ago and they’re just as relevant as they were then. Maybe this is a testament to Benjamin Franklin’s keen insight into human nature. That’s pretty impressive for a man who had never taken a psychology class. There’s no doubt we needed Franklin to live in the time he did; we needed that progress to take place at that time. But just think of how he could influence and shape mankind if he were alive today. Something old with something new; maybe we could better handle our marvels of technology if we combine them with ideologies of the past.

 

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