Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

**Suicide is Preventable

Each Circle adds something you might watch out for: Increased alcohol or drug use, Reckless behavior; Anxiety or agitation; Changes in sleep' Withdrawal; Anger; Sudden mood changes; Talking about wanting to die or suicide; Putting affairs in order; Feeling Hopeless, helpless, desperate; no sense of purpose; Giving away possessions.  The number given is the national suicide line.  The line for Santa Clara County is 1-855-278-4204

**Book Review: Dynamic Health: Powerful Strategies for Healthy Living 3: Dr. Todd E. Curzie, Chiropractic

Dynamic Health, Todd E. Curzie
Dr. Curzi is a doctor of chiropractic.  He offers his ideas of chiropractic, and how it differs from traditional medicine.  Then he talks about things which lead to healthy living.  “Good nutrition if a huge part of healthy living. … Poor nutrition is a toxin we can prevent on a daily basis.”  He also talks about the need for motion.  He also talks about healing from within.  By this he means through our thought process and life styles, rather than through pills.  “About 70 percent of what we see is stress related.  “In order to stay out of doctors’ offices you need to eat healthy and you need to exercise. … You need to eat healthy, decrease stress, and have a positive mental attitude. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

**ADHD: France vs USA: Two different philosophies

Stimulant medication for the treatment of ADHD is prescribed much less often in France than in the United States.  I have seen at least three explanations for this, all of which very likely contain part of the truth.
This first article from Psychology Today" points out that in the U .S. nine percent of children take stimulant medication.  This compares  to half a percent in France.  This article contends this is due to the different definitions of the disease in the two countries.  In the U.S. it is considered the result of brain function; while in France the focus is on psycho/social dynamics.  This different concept leads to looking for underlying causes for behavioral issues, and the use of therapy to look at and resolve these issues.  The differing result is psychotherapy vs medications as the first treatment choice for this illness.  The article contends the more holistic approach of the French allows for consideration of dietary effects.  Also different approaches to child-rearing may contribute to the difference.
On the other hand, other articles contend the difference is lack of awareness or diagnosis outside of the United States, however, the rate of ADHD seems to be similar to many other countries.  Another idea is that in the U.S. we symptomize behaviors, so as to pass responsibility.
This last article indicates that governmental restrictions around the use of ADHD medication in France might cause much of the difference.  He points out that in France it takes over two years to be diagnosed with ADHD.  Also prescription of stimulant medication has to be started in a hospital setting.  With different regulations, it is evident why there would be a differnce in the prescription rate.
I think all of these ideas have some merit.  In working with children, I have seem some who were severely effected by ADHD symptoms, and to deprive them of medication would have been catastrophic.  However, it is important to look at holistic health, and use this concept as a spring board to improve the lives of these children, without neglecting those who are truly in need.  Maybe medication should not always be the first answer.

**Book Review: Dynamic Health: Chapter 2: Dr. Norman Rosenthal

Dynamic Health Dr. Norman Rosenthal
Dr. Rosenthal mentions some interesting insights as to what can help an individual have better health.
This is the second interview in the book, Dynamic health with the interviewer David E. Wright.  Dr. Rosenthal is an expert in Seasonal Affective Disorder, and pioneered the use of lamps in its treatment.  He is also a research doctor.  He also pioneered the use of St. John’s Wort for depression.  He contributes these comments with regards to personal health.  “I believe that we need to keep our intellectual mind, our emotional mind, and our body in line.  These are the three domains we need to take care of.  If we take care of all those we have the best chance, not only of leading long lives, but of leading good and healthy ones as well.”  He follows up listing some things he is going to do himself for his health.  These include Yoga which emphasizes relaxation and stretching.  He also talks of emotional peace, and the importance of keeping connected to people who are important to us.  “I think you should ‘mend you fences.’”  “I think it’s so unhealthy to carry anger and negative feelings about with you if you don’t have to.”  He finally adds “love and adventure” as keys to healthy life.  We all need to have goals, and things we are striving for.

**Book review Dynamic Health: Powerful Strategies for Healthy Living: Dr. Jack Singer

This book is a series of interviews conducted by David E. Wright with different people in the health profession; but not always traditional health.  It includes people from other areas including chiropractic and vitamins and mental health.  This is the first section by Jack Springer.  It presents evidence of the effects of our thoughts on health.
I found the content to be compelling and important to share.
Chapter one features Jack Singer as he is interviewed by David E. Wright.  Singer indicates that research shows that two out of every three patients at family practice have symptoms, but do not have a physical organic diseasing causing those symptoms.  Singer studies the effect of our thoughts and our minds on disease, including suppression of the immune system.  He blames our “internal critic” for much of what ails us.  The internal critic is that part of us that tells us something might go wrong, we can’t do it etc.  These negative thoughts impact our immune system.  The spark our internal self preservation measures, including tightening of the muscles, a shot of adrenaline, etc.  These mechanisms, are meant to be used on occasion, instead they are used hundreds of times daily, and this is breaking our bodies down.  He says children are taught this attitude form the age of six to eighteen when they are subject to 148,000 negative comments by teachers, parents, friends etc as compared to 4,000 positive “you can do it” comments.  As a result our self talk 55,000 words a day, is mostly negative.  He points out that the health of optimists is much better than those with negative attitudes.  Confronting life with the attitude that it will work out in the end, it’s a drawback but not a catastrophe etc., leads to better health.  He also points out other attitudes that effect health.  A sense of humor can be key.  Twenty seconds of hearty laughing can equal three minutes of rowing for the health of the heart.  He points out his secret to better health.  One is to assert yourself.  Another is to forgive others.  Holding on to grudges does not help.  Being spiritual is another.  Having faith is important for health.  Next, to thank a mentor can be a big lift to our health.  This could be a teacher, or someone who had a profound influence on us.  I remember a few years ago my brother Charlie, going to his old football coach, and visiting with him, and making a small book of his memories of his coach.  This kind of thing is a big lift.  Another is to practice random acts of kindness, give up you space in line for someone who is harried, take supper or treats to a neighbor, or a kind word.  You can also volunteer.  Places I have enjoyed volunteers have been Scouts, Special Olympics, Mormon Helping Hands and coaching youth sports and officiating youth sports.  He says the most important key for health is relationships with family and friends.  These people are healthier and recover from disease faster.  Even those who are single can have important relationships with siblings and others. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

**Documentary:The Bridge (Suicide) and My Thoughts
This is a documentary that was presented on HBO.  It was a bit difficult to watch. I had to do it in several parts.  If this subject is a problem for someone, it would be best they not watch.  The Bridge is a 2006 documentary film by Eric Steel that tells the stories of a handful of few individuals who committed suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004.  They had two cameras filming the bridge  during daylight hours.
This movie was introduced to me at a training I attended this week at work dealing with "Mental Health First Aid."  In the training the presented just one story, of the individual who jumped and survived.  They trainers were making the point that perhaps if someone how, there were times when, if a mental health first aid intervention had been offered, the individual may not have jumped. 
This movie is very impactful.  I don't know how many suicides were taped in the making of this film, but there were several, and many were shown.  The movie becomes more personal as they talk to survivors of suicide, and then show the suicide.  There is one case where someone is able to pull someone back over the railing.
The movie contends that more suicides have taken place here than any other place in the world. 
I was impressed with the showing, and telling of the stories of people in pain.  Some suffered from depression, or other mental illnesses.  Some were homeless, some with substance issues.  There abuse were 24 suicides in 2004 off the bridge.  There were those with relationship issues, and those with loss issues.  It helped me as a mental health worker to step back, and see people as individuals in pain, rather than just callers, or clients. 
Before leaving this some words of advice from someone who has manned the suicide and crisis line, and after-hours line for most of my professional career, 30 years now.  Do not be afraid to ask someone if they are contemplating suicide.  Don't no be afraid to ask, because the asking might save someone's life.  But also be prepared to give some assitance if the answer is "yes." You can refer to a crisis line:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-talk
Santa Clara County Suicide Line  1-855-278-4204
You can explore self-help resources: a friend, a parent, a church leader, a coach whoever.
However: always take it seriously.  Do not minimize how someone else feels.  People hurt, and need support sometimes to make it through a rough period.  Professional help is available: 911, nearest emergency room, county mental health Santa Clara County 1-800-704-0500.
If you would have trouble seeing someone jump to their death, do not watch this movie.  It shows several jumpers, and follows some as they fall.

**Mormon Movie Review: Run Dick, Run Jane

Where does running fit into fitness.  This movie is a bit dated, and comes at the beginning of the aerobic craze.  
This is a 20 minute movie produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1972, and touts the benefits of running, or at least of having a fitness program.  This movie tells me I should be a runner, or at least do more aerobics than I am now.  Even though there is a lot of research since this movie, it provides enough evidence as to the import of a more active life.  Mailmen on the street live longer than those doing clerical jobs.  In England, bus employees who go up and down the stairs of the two-decker buses live longer than the driver who just sits and drives.  There are so many examples, and I am sure current research would be more alarming.  What is interesting is they were worried about obesity then, and the worry would even be more so now that almost half of the population is obese.
This movie takes away your excuses for not running.  It shows a runner over 100 years old.  It shows a runner with no feet.  This movie is old, but still it is a reminder of taking care of yourself.  My niece is a runner, and didn't start until after high school.  You can follow her blog here:
This is the New Era article about the movie