Anorexia is a very common neuropsychological disorder that has a very high incidence in the young population. Anorexia is not just an eating disorder, it also involves many addictive behaviors and the development of various phobias related to food and being fat. Anorexics develop inaccurate perceptions of their physical appearance and they often see themselves as fat, regardless of how much they actually weigh. Anorexia is a very complex disorder caused by multiple interrelated factors. Although in the past anorexia was thought to be a purely physiological disorder, recent studies have revealed that it occurs on the premises of neuropsychological dysfunctions. Certain environmental factors also play a major role in the development of anorexia and the disorder seems to occur due to poor adaptation to the requirements and the ideals imposed by the society. In many cases, anorexia is developed by teenagers who come from very restrictive, demanding families. Children raised in a cold, insecure, non-functional familial environment are very exposed to developing anorexia. Young people who originate from dysfunctional families often suffer from depression, emotional insecurity and low self-esteem, features that can facilitate the development of anorexia or other types of eating disorders.Despite its pronounced environmental valences, anorexia is not entirely a psychologically-induced disorder. Medical scientists also suspect certain genetic factors to contribute in the occurrence of anorexia. Various studies have revealed that most patients have a family history of the disorder, suggesting a pronounced hereditary character of anorexia. Scientists believe that the genetic predispositions to this type of disorder can be easily transmitted from one generation to another. Hence, people who have blood relatives with anorexia are also at risk of developing the disorder. Although anorexia can occur in both sexes, the disorder has the highest incidence in the female gender. Anorexia is very common in adolescents, but it can also affect very young children or adults. Despite the fact that the disorder can occur in virtually any ethnical group and culture, anorexia is a common problem in Western society. The high prevalence of anorexia among people who belong to well-developed socioeconomic groups confirms the pronounced influence of environmental factors in the development of the disorder. The excessively promoted topical ideals of beauty and the pressure exercised by modern society upon the young have a great contribution in the occurrence of the disorder in teenagers. The categories of people exposed to the highest risk of developing anorexia are: teenagers, athletes, people with carriers that require maintaining a slim body (models, actors, dancers), people with a family history of the disorder, people who come from dysfunctional families and people with emotional problems (low-self esteem). Overweight children and teenagers are also very exposed to developing anorexia. People who suffer from anorexia may in time also develop bulimia, a similar type of eating disorder. People who suffer from anorexia need a lot of help and support in order to overcome their condition. Although people with eating disorders need to show a lot of ambition and cooperation in the process, anorexia can be effectively overcome with the means of psychiatric therapy.
Confronting the possibility of a potentially devastating human bird flu pandemic, the United Nations system from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the UN health and agricultural agencies today laid out a blueprint for immediate preventive and mitigating action. We may not know about the future course of H5N1, we do know this: once human-to-human transmission has been established, we would have only a matter of weeks to lock down the spread before it spins out of control. That is why the international community must take action now." Mr. Annan told the Time Global Health Summit, a three-day event in New York held to discuss key health issues.In light of these concerns, and likely rationing of available flu vaccines, it is advisable that people also look at other areas which complement good health. In the United States, the average American diet is high in sodium, fat, sugar, and preservatives and low in nutrition. These are typically not the ingredients associated with the support of a healthy immune system. It is the beneficial components of food which feed the cells of the body and support the normal function which allows each cell the potential to restore, protect and defend itself from the effects of injury and disease. A poorly nourished body is less able to carry out these activities as the basic building blocks for cell function are in limited supply.People should therefore seek to improve their dietary intake of beneficial sources of nutrition and limit their intake of the more commonly eaten foods which are known to be more harmful to the body than their unprocessed counterparts. Will the support of a healthy immune system ensure a perfect defense against invading flu virus particles? Certainly not. However, a healthy immune system may mean the difference between someone who contracts the flu and recovers quickly and someone who suffers greatly.The most important factor in the improvement of any persons diet is to improve the quality and variety of food eaten. While dietary supplements may provide some excellent health benefits they are intended to supplement, not substitute, the benefits of a good diet.
Copyright 2006 Eva MoffatI keep falling asleep, even first thing in the morning after eight hours sleep the night before.Being a perpetual student, Im always trying to learn something, but the minute I pick up a book to start reading / studying, I go to sleep.Also I enjoy going to meetings / seminars / workshops, like the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland I sleep right through them. Sometimes this can be quite hilarious, especially if Im at a meeting. I dont know how it happens, but I will wake up long enough to come out with a relevant suggestion, then I go back to sleep.But I can assure you that whatever is wrong with me its not contagious. You cant catch it off me, even if I breathe on you.I know now I have Narcolepsy. Yet I had it for twenty-years before I knew what I had.Narcolepsy is not an illness. Its not a disease, I wont die from it, unless I fall asleep while crossing the road; no its a condition that I have to live with for the rest of my life.How long have I had it? About 45 years. It was just after my younger daughter Susanne was born, about 1962, that I found myself having to have an afternoon nap along with my two daughters. But with having a two year old and a newborn baby, plus a husband and house to look after, it wasnt surprising that I was tired.So life went on. I used to read to the girls at bedtime. Problem was that I would fall asleep midsentence. Michelle my eldest daughter would wake me up shouting, What happened next mum?When the children were in double figures I started work again. But because of my falling asleep on the job, I kept having to look for new jobs. My CVs had to have a few porkies in them.Then in 1971 I was accepted as a Student Nurse. I got through two years of my three-year course, sleeping through the lectures, then having to read my textbooks in order to keep up with what I should have learned in class, even passing my exams.But eventually I had to leave my nurse training as my constant sleeping meant there was a possibility of me harming a patient; without meaning to of course.What Was Wrong With Me, Other People Didnt Keep Falling Asleep?Even though I worked in a hospital for just over two years, nobody picked up on what was wrong with me.Me And Further EducationAs I had left school at fifteen I had no educational qualifications. So being a sponge for knowledge, at aged thirty-one I went back to school. I would see my daughters off to school each morning, then Id go to school Mums School.I studied for a year and came out with six GCE OLevels. I say studied and I meant double studied. I once again slept through all the lectures, so I had to study my textbooks by night.It Was Twenty Years Later That I Found Out What Ailed MeIn 1981 I read a letter in our local newspaper. Dorothy Hand wanted to start a support group for Narcoleptics. She described the symptoms. Now at long last I knew why I was always falling asleep, I wasnt alone with the problem of always nodding off, and what I had, had a name. Narcolepsy.I went to the first meeting. There were thirty of us. We sat in a large circle. Each of us in turn stood up and told the rest of the group what our problem was One man was a long distance lorry driver, he had to pull into a layby every half hour in order to have a little doze. Another man didnt dare to laugh or hed fall to the ground in helpless heap. He also had Cataplexy.Most of the people there had already been diagnosed as having Narcolepsy. I went away from that meeting knowing at long last there was definitely a reason why I kept falling asleep. I was encouraged by the group to go and see my doctor as soon as possible.I had been to my doctor some years earlier, but he said I was probably bored, so that was why I kept falling asleep. I have never been bored in my life.So a couple of days later, I went to see my doctor. Just by a stroke of luck, my doctor was on holiday, so I saw a locum. This time I didnt tell him my symptoms and hope hed work out what was wrong with me, but I asked him, What do you know about Narcolepsy?Sit down, he said. Tell me all about it.So two weeks later, I was at the hospital seeing a Neurologist. After various tests, he confirmed that I did have Narcolepsy. This surprised my husband, who had accompanied me to the hospital, because he truly believed that I was just tired, as I was on the go sixteen hours a day. I think ten of those hours were spent in a semi waking condition or maybe a better description would have been like a zombie.When the Neurologist confirmed that I did have Narcolepsy, he also told me I had it mildly. So he gave me some medication that turned out to be Amphetamines. I remember taking one tablet and soon after, I started feeling sick, so I flushed the rest down the toilet. I have never taken any medication for it since then.Over the past twenty-five years I have seen people with much more severe symptoms of Narcolepsy than I have. Medication does mean they dont sleep as much as they would without the medication, but as time passes, the dosage has to be increased regularly.Thankfully, frustrating as it is to be sleeping my life away, I am no better or worse than I was when I started with Narcolepsy forty-five years ago.But I consider myself lucky.Apart From Falling Asleep Frequently, What Else Happens?Others that have Narcolepsy, besides having the sleeping bouts, called EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness throughout the day, also have Cataplexy. This is brought on by an emotion, could be laughing, crying, joy or sorrow. Their muscles give way, and they will fall to the floor in a helpless heap. Unfortunately, while in this helpless state on the floor, they are fully aware of what is going on, but for the few minutes it lasts for, they are unable to move or speak.There are more minor things that I do suffer from. One is called Restless Legs, although I do realise that Restless Legs are not just for Narcoleptics.And the way I can fall asleep any time of the day, you would think Id have no trouble falling asleep when I do officially get into bed. But that is not the case. Sometimes it can take me up to an hour to drop off to sleep. Then I sleep about two hours and wake up again. This sleep pattern can go on right through the night.Some Other Problems That Can Go Along With Narcolepsy Learning Difficulties and Memory Impairment Short Attention Span Eye Fatigue Binge Eating Alcohol Sensitivity Lack of Sexual Interest Depression Automatic BehaviourIs It A Common Problem?Narcolepsy is a condition that can strike anybody at anytime. Although some people have Narcolepsy as children, other people, myself included first start with the symptoms in their early twenties. There are said to be about 10 000 cases in the United Kingdom, but there are Narcoleptics all over the world. Male or female, rich or poor. From a street cleaner to a Prime Minister. Colour, race or creed, Narcolepsy does not discriminate. Not a proven fact, but it is believed that Winston Churchill had Narcolepsy.Can Narcolepsy Be Cured?No Narcolepsy cant be cured. Once a Narcoleptic always a Narcoleptic. Medication can help the Narcoleptic to live a better quality of life, but I couldnt say a normal life. Some days are better than others.It becomes difficult to plan things, because as a Narcoleptic, I never know what Im going to be like from one day to the next.So with Narcolepsy being a way of life. I just have to get on with living as best I can.
The fashion world was recently saddened by the tragic demise of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, only a few months after the death of Uruguayan model, Luisel Ramos. According to news reports, the 21-year-old model died of kidney malfunction and generalized infection that was caused by anorexia nervosa. In one television show where Ana Carolina's mother was interviewed, Mrs. Macan (Macan being the real surname of Ana Carolina) reported that her daughter was pressured to refuse eating because some of her fellow models in Asia commented that she was still too fat. Thus, Ana Carolina was forced to undergo a deadly diet of only apples and tomatoes for several weeks. She was obsessed to lose weight because of her fear of not being hired for modeling engagements if she was not thin enough. After her death, the fashion industry implemented precautionary measures in response to the incident. Fashion show organizers in Madrid, London, and Milan refused to hire ultra-thin models and also required a specific body mass index among those that will be featured in the runway. According to these organizers, they want to exemplify an image of health and beauty among the viewers of the show who are mostly women, especially the young ones.In contrast to this, an article in crosswalk.com mentioned that there has been a recent proliferation of pro-anorexia websites in the Internet which can easily be accessed by users. In these sites, anorexic lifestyles and an anorexic way of losing weight are promoted as well as convincing women that being thin, even to extremes, is what is beautiful. Together with frequent images of thin celebrities and models shown on television and magazines, websites like those mentioned earlier are factors highly influential in an increased rate of eating disorders among teenage and adult women. This is because the media can affect the outlook of most people to a great extent. Unsuspecting women who easily believe what they see fail to realize the dangers they involve themselves in when refusing or avoiding to eat. They are the ones more than willing to undergo the detrimental consequences of anorexia, all in the name of beauty.Anorexia is a disorder where a person feels obsessed to be thin and is terrified of gaining weight. People with this condition always view themselves as fat and often refuse to eat. Because of not eating, nutrients in their body are reduced or diminished. The lack of nutrients that are needed by the body, therefore, makes a person prone to diseases and infections. The skin begins to look unhealthy and one will easily feel tired or fatigue even with minimal movement. Psychologically, people with anorexia may proceed to having anxiety disorders and depression. Their depressive states can make them prone to substance abuse as well. A lot of people with anorexia are said to have become alcoholics and drug-dependents, especially when compounded with conditions such as depression. At present, a lot of famous celebrities and those in the fashion industry have made an effort in promoting to people, especially women, an increased awareness about anorexia. One of those well-known fashion icons is Tyra Banks. Tyra, because of her recent weight-gain, had received numerous negative remarks from her critics. In one of her shows, she discussed the issue of anorexia among models and its effects to ordinary viewers and the female population, in general. It was in the same show that the former supermodel encouraged women to feel confident about themselves no matter what body-size they have. Furthermore, Tyra recently launched her So what? campaign to promote self-confidence among women despite their being fat. People like Tyra, movements like So what? campaign, and incidents of deaths due to anorexia should constantly serve as reminders for women before they decide to take the deadly road towards beauty.
We are all creative beings. Men's creative minds made them reach the peak of the highest mountain in the world, plant a flag on the moon, fly into outer space. Our creativity brought about inventions that have changed human history and culture such as the computer, the Internet, cell phone, TV, x-ray machines, and a long list of other innovations. These are all the end result of man's creativity. Suffice it to say, creativity produces works of art, which in turn, plays a large role in our everyday lives. We can see them in almost every corner, every space or walls around us. Art has been used as a visual means of communication and expression dating back to prehistoric times. Art speaks of originality, individuality, a creative process, graphic materials, colors, textures, spontaneity, risk, alternatives, and imagination. But art is not only for the creative minds or the famous painters. It is also a healthy way to express the way we feel and deal with our emotions. Art has been of central importance to the healing practices of many cultures over much of human history. As time went on, art has been developed as a tool for psychological diagnosis and treatment called Art Therapy. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a method that utilizes art media, images, and the creative art process to help a patient to address concerns and conflicts. Art Therapy is based on the knowledge of human development and psychological theories which are implemented in the full spectrum of models of assessment and treatment including educational, psycho-dynamic, cognitive, trans-personal, and other therapeutic means of reconciling emotional conflicts. It is also used as a tool for fostering self-awareness, developing social skills, managing behavior, solving problems, reducing anxiety, aiding in reality orientation, and in increasing self-esteem.The beginnings of modern art therapy can be traced to the early 1900s when psychiatrists first wondered if there was a relationship between artworks and the illnesses of patients. At the same time, art educators began to observe how the free and spontaneous artworks of children were a form of personal storytelling which conveyed emotionally and symbolically meaningful messages. These two areas of interest that eventually resulted in the emergence of the distinct discipline of art therapy in the 1930s. During the second half of the twentieth century, art therapists became increasingly organized, setting up graduate programs, professional associations, and journals.A variety of artistic methods are used in Art Therapy. These methods or professional areas include: music therapy, dance therapy, psychodrama, and movie therapy. Other methods include speech therapy, recreational therapy, photo-therapy, and poetry therapy. Art therapy has actually developed into a human care service which expands the psychotherapeutic process to encompass the clients visual and verbal expressions, and intellectual insights or reflections. Art therapy clients are able to deal with the same kinds of issues they would deal with in conventional talk therapies. They are not required to have any special artistic skills or abilities in order to benefit from art therapy. However, the clients engage in the therapy by creating with art materials in collaboration with the art therapist. The art therapist serves as a witness, guide, and facilitator --- helping the artist-client to express their unique creativity and then "translate" their creative language into meaningful avenues of exploration and personal insights.Drawing, painting, and sculpting help many people reconcile their inner conflicts, release deeply repressed emotions, and foster self-awareness, as well as personal growth. Some mental health providers use art therapy as a diagnostic tool and as a way to help treat disorders such as anxiety, abuse-related trauma, and schizophrenia. Art therapy sessions are also given to prison inmates and HIV patients. Although there is relatively little scientific evidence to prove that that it helps people with cancer, many health professionals think it may encourage the cancer patients to express their emotions, which could help them improve their relationship with others. It can also take their minds and feelings away from pain and discomfort.Art is found to be of great help most especially to a depressed individual. Through art, they can discover their anger and express it in a healthy way. In one study, art therapy was used with suicidal teenagers, and results showed that it had positive effects as part of an overall treatment plan. Teenagers with depression are often slowed down in their journey towards independence and to having a secure self-identity. Therefore, it is very helpful to provide a safe outlet for the distress that has triggered the depression. With the creative process of art therapy, negative factors that cause depression such as guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness are gradually addressed.When used along with other interventions for the treatment of depression, art therapy can be an effective and creative way to aid an individuals journey toward self-knowledge and emotional health. The idea is not to focus on producing a masterpiece. The important thing to remember is to concentrate on the act of creation itself. The images that are produced can help lead the individual to a new and different understanding of how they think and feel, and this knowledge may be the tool that helps them unlock their inner happiness.Emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety, and stress overload are the result of losing touch with ones own thoughts and feelings. One way to get back in touch with these thoughts and feelings is through the use of art. Art therapy provides a sense of accomplishment, enjoyment, and personal expression for those interested in simple relaxation and self-discovery.