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.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pamphlet Notes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This is a pamphlet from National Institute of Mental Health.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when someone has to recheck and recheck things.  Not the once or twice which is normal, but over and over.  It can include ritualistic behavior as well.  Thoughts and actions associated with OCD get in the way of daily life and cause distress.
Signs and symptoms to look for:
Repeated thoughts about things, such as fear of germs, intruders etc.
Do the same rituals over and over.
Can't control unwanted thoughts.
Don't get pleasure form the rituals, but momentary relief.
Spend at leas one hour per day on the thoughts and rituals.
The cause of OCD is still not known however there is a genetic component.
OCD responds to both psychotherapy and medication.  A preferred psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy.  CBT teaches someone how to control their thoughts.  Antidepressants also are helpful when taking under a doctor's direction,
Lastly combined psychotherapy and medication are also useful.

Article Notes: A Parent's Guide to ADHD

This article points out that most children have some problem with attention from time to time.  However in cases of ADHD this problem is an ongoing issues.  However kids with ADHD can focus very well when the topic interests them, they have great energy and can be very creative.  There are three types of ADHD, Hyperactive, Inattentive and Mixed.  Although we need to avoid overgeneralization, boys more generally have hyperactive, which is noticed and diagnosed earlier.  Girls for the most part have Inattentive type, which is not noticed until later, and study habits are more important.  Mixed is when a child has characteristics of both types.  Medication treatment are two types, stimulant, which is short acting, and non stimulant which last longer.  Non medication strategies can also help.  Incorporating exercise into the child's day, keeping homework sessions short or breaking up homework, using a timer, trying to do so much homework in an allotted amount of time, staying positive, goal setting, letting kids practice working independently.
Article was written by Sarah R. Cheyette MD and published in Bay Area Parent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pamphlet Review: Depression

This is a pamphlet from the National Institute of Mental Health.  It is a pamphlet for lay people, how to determine if they have depression and whether to get help.  Signs of depression include feeling sad; feeling hopeless, anxious or guilt; loss of interest in favorite activities; feeling tired; not being able to concentrate; overeating or not wanting to eat; thoughts of suicide or attempts; aches, pains cramps, digestive issues.
Some of depression is genetically caused, but it also has an environmental component.  Sometimes genes play a role in resilience, and ability to recover from hardship.  Depression either causes, or is caused by subtle changes in the brain.
The first step for treatment of depression is to visit a doctor or mental health worker.  Depression can respond to medications, psychotherapy or both.
For those in Santa Clara County on MediCal, the number to call for assistance is 1-800-704-0900

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Training: Confidentiality and Ethical Issues in Treatment

Attending this training in February.  It was mandatory.  This training presented the requirements of confidentiality with regards to HIPAA but also 42 CFR, which sets standards for confidentiality with regards to substance abuse issues, and are much more strict generally than HIPAA.  Where our department (mental health) is now integrated with the substance abuse services, this was an important training.  We no longer call ourselves mental health, but behavioral health.  This training helps understand why people working in the substance abuse field sometimes respond the way they do, which can be very frustrating.  The statement is "I can neither confirm or deny ..."  sometime it gets in the way of screening an individual for services, but that is the way it is and there is a reason for the laws.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Thin Commandments were presented on KSFO the other morning by Dr. Mark Freed and I was impressed.  I would like to lose weight without trying.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

**Watch Your Step

Surviving Suicide

Surviving suicide when you are young is important, because there is still a whole life ahead of you.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  Interesting how she felt suicide was the only option.

Living with Depression

This is a story of depression presented on the Mormon Channel.  Depression has two components, physical and emotional.  Often times, without first treated the physical causes of depression, it is very difficult for someone to make the needed changes to tackle the other issues.  However, talk therapy is known to help with depression.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Documentary Review: Paper Tigers: Trauma

It been some time since I watched this, but I meant to write about it.  Paper Tigers is a movie about Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington.  This is the school for those who are not making it in regular school, either due to legal or behavioral or emotional issues.
The basic philosophy of the film are that children have been subjected to complex trauma.  toxic stress or trauma can threaten brain development.  This can harm health, lead to erratic behavior.  The behavior is not the kid, but a symptom of what is going on in their life.  You have to unconditionally love them, and believe that their behavior might be out of their control.
Sant Clara County has used this movie as an introduction to their efforts to take on trauma and make a difference in the lives of others.  I must admit, as I watched I was amazed at some of the worker the teachers and counsellors were doing.  How could they stay focus and not become reactive to some of the stuff the kids were dong.
The new ad campaign for VMC

Fellow Employees:

As many of us know from the direct experience of our family, friends, and loved ones, the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center plays a pivotal role in the health and wellbeing of the entire county community.  Over 8000 of our fellow county employees are delivering outstanding patient care day in and day out, in addition to leading-edge research and medical innovation, with centers of excellence in burn treatment, diabetes, trauma, rehabilitation, childrens and womens health.  Its one of the many shining examples of what makes those who live and work in Santa Clara County proud.

For the first time in its 140-year history, the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is launching an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the fact that our public healthcare system is providing the highest levels of medical care to all segments of our county community.  Our campaign messages will be promoted in commercials, radio, transit shelters, billboards, cinemas, the San Jose Airport, on VTA buses, print ads, and the Internet (you can view the TV ad here).  As youll see, the campaign features a provocative "go public" theme, which conveys our public foundation while illuminating themes familiar to many who live here in the Silicon Valley. 

In a very real sense, Go Public applies to us all in whatever capacity we serve on the County of Santa Clara team.   We will be doing more to promote all that we do as we move forward, proudly conveying, as the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has just done, the value we provide to our community.  

Jeffrey V. Smith M.D., J.D.
County Executive