Tag Archives: Disorders

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide – Crisis on Campus

Crisis_300x300

I  had the privilege of spending time at my alma mater addressing issues on behalf of students and mental health services. Among many other things discussed, I was shocked by the extent to which college suicides have become present on college campuses. I wonder when things changed. Isn’t college supposed to be the “best four years of your life?” It really doesn’t take much though to appreciate how this becomes the case.

PreventingSuicide2ndPageTop

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24. There are approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide occurring in this age group each year. A recent study from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland went in-depth in surveying and analyzing why students may have thoughts on suicide. Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings:

  • 12% of those studied admitted that they had thought of committing suicide.
  • Of this group of 12%, approximately 25% of them said they had those thoughts repeatedly.
  • Depression and lack of social support appeared to be major factors contributing to thoughts of suicide.

depression_suicide_stats
If you actually think about it, college brings together a lot of risks for suicide.

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood represents the period of highest risk of developing a major psychiatric disorder.
  • The academic environment can be a stress-producing inferno for some, who may find themselves overwhelmed and feeling lost and as if they have nowhere to turn.
  • For many, the college experience represents the first time many are away from home and/or completely detached from the family and friends they’ve had their entire lives. Unless and until a sufficient new social network is established, levels of isolation can be overwhelming.
  • Even among those with social networks, the academic failure and any social rejection that may occur could be perceived by students as having life-long consequences, so much so that hopelessness and thoughts of suicide could set into a young adult’s mind.

Suicide-Rates-Among-College-Students

Practically, how might you consider the risk in any one individual? The presence of any of these risk factors should prompt implementation of a support system to counter feelings of suicide.

  • It shouldn’t be difficult to appreciate how the lack of social support is one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts. Someone who expresses or has feelings of being unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends should be considered at risk – even in the absence of any other risk factors.
  • A history of clinically diagnosed depression or other psychiatric diagnoses
  • The exposure to domestic violence (either witnessing or having been abused) in childhood
  • Having a mother with a history of clinical depression

There are many Straight, No Chaser posts that address suicide prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Feel free to use the search box on the right for additional information.If you are a college student or a family member of a college student, you would do well to review your college’s support system and learn about services and support available for those in need of mental/behavioral health services. College should represent the beginning of one’s adult life, not the place where it ends.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018· Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips on Safe Toys and Gifts

safe toys kids

At Straight, No Chaser, we review the literature and give you the goods. While you’re out and about shopping for toys, print out this list to help you select safe toys, then post it in your home to be reminded of how to keep your kids safe. People tend to think such things aren’t necessary until after something horrible has happened. Be smarter than that; after all, it’s Safe Toys and Gifts Month (of course it is – when else could it possibly be?).
Let’s review shopping tips, adopted from recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Safe Kids Campaign and the National Safety Council. We’ll keep this short and sweet.

safe toys choking

  • Falls and choking cause most toy-related deaths and injuries in children. Choking alone causes one-third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons.
  • Children younger than age 3 are at the greatest risk of choking because they tend to put objects – especially toys – in their mouths.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account for almost half of all toy-related injuries and almost all deaths.

safe toys blocks

  • Remember…the best way to keep your child safe while playing with toys is to BE THERE!
  • Consider the child’s age, interests and skill level. Actually pay attention to what you’re buying. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels. They’re not just pulled out of thin air!
  • Use a small parts tester to determine whether toys may present a choking hazard to children under age 3. Small parts testers can be purchased at toy or baby specialty stores. Here’s a simpler way to decide: use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (e.g., darts).
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. These may pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Avoid cap guns that use caps that can be ignited by the slightest friction and can cause serious burns.

safe toys header

The selection of gifts and toys you bring into your home should be taken seriously. Let’s keep the holiday season happy!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide and Suicide Risks in College Students

Crisis_300x300

I just had the privilege of spending time at my alma mater addressing issues on behalf of students and mental health services. Among many other things discussed, I was shocked by the extent to which college suicides have become present on college campuses. I wonder when things changed. Isn’t college supposed to be the “best four years of your life?” It really doesn’t take much though to appreciate how this becomes the case.

PreventingSuicide2ndPageTop

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24. There are approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide occurring in this age group each year. A recent study from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland went in-depth in surveying and analyzing why students may have thoughts on suicide. Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings:

  • 12% of those studied admitted that they had thought of committing suicide.
  • Of this group of 12%, approximately 25% of them said they had those thoughts repeatedly.
  • Depression and lack of social support appeared to be major factors contributing to thoughts of suicide.

depression_suicide_stats
If you actually think about it, college brings together a lot of risks for suicide.

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood represents the period of highest risk of developing a major psychiatric disorder.
  • The academic environment can be a stress-producing inferno for some, who may find themselves overwhelmed and feeling lost and as if they have nowhere to turn.
  • For many, the college experience represents the first time many are away from home and/or completely detached from the family and friends they’ve had their entire lives. Unless and until a sufficient new social network is established, levels of isolation can be overwhelming.
  • Even among those with social networks, the academic failure and any social rejection that may occur could be perceived by students as having life-long consequences, so much so that hopelessness and thoughts of suicide could set into a young adult’s mind.

Suicide-Rates-Among-College-Students

Practically, how might you consider the risk in any one individual? The presence of any of these risk factors should prompt implementation of a support system to counter feelings of suicide.

  • It shouldn’t be difficult to appreciate how the lack of social support is one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts. Someone who expresses or has feelings of being unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends should be considered at risk – even in the absence of any other risk factors.
  • A history of clinically diagnosed depression or other psychiatric diagnoses
  • The exposure to domestic violence (either witnessing or having been abused) in childhood
  • Having a mother with a history of clinical depression

There are many Straight, No Chaser posts that address suicide prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Feel free to use the search box on the right for additional information.If you are a college student or a family member of a college student, you would do well to review your college’s support system and learn about services and support available for those in need of mental/behavioral health services. College should represent the beginning of one’s adult life, not the place where it ends.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips on Safe Toys and Gifts

safe toys kids

At Straight, No Chaser, we review the literature and give you the goods. While you’re out and about shopping for toys, print out this list to help you select safe toys, then post it in your home to be reminded of how to keep your kids safe. People tend to think such things aren’t necessary until after something horrible has happened. Be smarter than that; after all, it’s Safe Toys and Gifts Month (of course it is – when else could it possibly be?).
Let’s review shopping tips, adopted from recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Safe Kids Campaign and the National Safety Council. We’ll keep this short and sweet.

safe toys choking

  • Falls and choking cause most toy-related deaths and injuries in children. Choking alone causes one-third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons.
  • Children younger than age 3 are at the greatest risk of choking because they tend to put objects – especially toys – in their mouths.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account for almost half of all toy-related injuries and almost all deaths.

safe toys blocks

  • Remember…the best way to keep your child safe while playing with toys is to BE THERE!
  • Consider the child’s age, interests and skill level. Actually pay attention to what you’re buying. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels. They’re not just pulled out of thin air!
  • Use a small parts tester to determine whether toys may present a choking hazard to children under age 3. Small parts testers can be purchased at toy or baby specialty stores. Here’s a simpler way to decide: use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (e.g., darts).
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. These may pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Avoid cap guns that use caps that can be ignited by the slightest friction and can cause serious burns.

safe toys header

The selection of gifts and toys you bring into your home should be taken seriously. Let’s keep the holiday season happy!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide Data 2016 – Understand the Threat

suicidemap
There are amazing, shocking and saddening facts about suicide.  It is equally amazing that we aren’t discussing this as an epidemic. After a period of nearly consistent decline in suicide rates in the United States from 1986 through 1999, suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014.
Consider the following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Vital Statistics System.

  • There were an average of 105 suicides a day in the U.S. (over 38,000 for 2010).
  • An estimated 8.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those aged 15-24, the second among those aged 25-34, the fourth among those aged 35-54, and the eighth among persons aged 55-64.
  • From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006.
  • Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both males and females and for all ages 10–74.
  • The percent increase in suicide rates for females was greatest for those aged 10–14, and for males, those aged 45–64.

For those committing suicide:

  • 33.3% tested positive for alcohol.
  • 23% tested positive for antidepressants.
  • 20.8% tested positive for opiates (such as heroin and prescription pain killers).
  • There is one suicide for every 25 attempts.

Females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts, but suicide among males is four times higher than among females (in other words, females think about it and try more often, but males complete the act more often.).
Among Native Americans aged 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death, fully 2.5 times higher than the national average.

stop_suicide

There are some topics that aren’t amenable to Blogs.  Depression and suicide are among them.  They can’t be done justice.  What I can try to do is break components of the conversation into bite size pieces and give you information to work with.  I’ll do this in three parts.  Above, I’ve shown you the magnitude of suicide.  In the next post, I will help you understand what clinical depression looks like, then finally, I’ll review some Quick Tips to help you prevent falling into the deepest levels of depression and to help you know when immediate attention is required.  Just remember: this isn’t the type of depression that involves having a bad day.  I’m talking about when your downward mood interferes with your activities of daily living.  I’m describing depression that introduces suicide and homicide as an option.  If you don’t read these for yourself, read them for knowledge.  Someone you know may be affected.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide and Suicide Risks in College Students

Crisis_300x300

I just had the privilege of spending time at my alma mater addressing issues on behalf of students and mental health services. Among many other things discussed, I was shocked by the extent to which college suicides have become present on college campuses. I wonder when things changed. Isn’t college supposed to be the “best four years of your life?” It really doesn’t take much though to appreciate how this becomes the case.

PreventingSuicide2ndPageTop

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24. There are approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide occurring in this age group each year. A recent study from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland went in-depth in surveying and analyzing why students may have thoughts on suicide. Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings:

  • 12% of those studied admitted that they had thought of committing suicide.
  • Of this group of 12%, approximately 25% of them said they had those thoughts repeatedly.
  • Depression and lack of social support appeared to be major factors contributing to thoughts of suicide.

depression_suicide_stats
If you actually think about it, college brings together a lot of risks for suicide.

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood represents the period of highest risk of developing a major psychiatric disorder.
  • The academic environment can be a stress-producing inferno for some, who may find themselves overwhelmed and feeling lost and as if they have nowhere to turn.
  • For many, the college experience represents the first time many are away from home and/or completely detached from the family and friends they’ve had their entire lives. Unless and until a sufficient new social network is established, levels of isolation can be overwhelming.
  • Even among those with social networks, the academic failure and any social rejection that may occur could be perceived by students as having life-long consequences, so much so that hopelessness and thoughts of suicide could set into a young adult’s mind.

Suicide-Rates-Among-College-Students

Practically, how might you consider the risk in any one individual? The presence of any of these risk factors should prompt implementation of a support system to counter feelings of suicide.

  • It shouldn’t be difficult to appreciate how the lack of social support is one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts. Someone who expresses or has feelings of being unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends should be considered at risk – even in the absence of any other risk factors.
  • A history of clinically diagnosed depression or other psychiatric diagnoses
  • The exposure to domestic violence (either witnessing or having been abused) in childhood
  • Having a mother with a history of clinical depression

There are many Straight, No Chaser posts that address suicide prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Feel free to use the search box on the right for additional information.If you are a college student or a family member of a college student, you would do well to review your college’s support system and learn about services and support available for those in need of mental/behavioral health services. College should represent the beginning of one’s adult life, not the place where it ends.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Text Neck and Other Smart Phone/Computer Related Difficulties

text neck pain

It shouldn’t be too much of a chore to be mindful of your future as you unwrap your new technologic gadget this holiday season. You really should think more about your quality of life during your golden years. Arthritis (aka degenerative joint disease) is inevitable if you live longer enough, but that doesn’t mean you need to accelerate the process. Live your life with longevity in mind. There is no reason you can’t maintain a high level of function for years to come. In general the way you’re built represents a position of comfort. Your body best accommodates movements that maintains these positions. With that in mind, this Straight, No Chaser will discuss some simple ergonomic considerations to keep you just a bit safer over the long-term.
Computer use

text neck posture

This is simple. Take ten minutes to set up your workstation so it isn’t damaging your spine.

  • Place your computer monitor so it is directly in front of you as you type.
  • Place your monitor at eye level to prevent having to hunch over.
  • Place your keyboard at elbow level; this aligns your arms and shoulder.
  • Placing padding in front of your keyboard aligns your wrist and helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Find an adjustable chair as a means of providing low back support.
  • Find a footrest to further stabilize your lower back.

An additional consideration for computer use is remembering to take breaks. Your eyes are able to accommodate computer use, but the constant glare causes eyestrain and dryness, which can be irritating and reduce productivity.

  • Take a break after 45 minutes of computer use. During your break, make a point of staring at something far off in the distance to relax your eye muscles.
  • If your eyes get easily irritated, consider using clear tears to keep them lubricated.
  • If you’re a heavy computer user and wear glasses, you can compound your problem if you aren’t getting frequent checks to make sure your prescription is accurate.

Smartphone/Cell phone use
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about “text neck,” which basically points to the dangers of leaning your neck forward over a prolonged period of time. The way your head, neck and shoulders are constructed means you create less stress and strain when your head is centered and your eyes are pointed forward. Consider the following:

text neck pounds

  • When your spine is in a neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds.
  • When you lean your head just 15 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 27 pounds.
  • When you lean your head 45 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 49 pounds.
  • When you lean your head 60 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 60 pounds.

This level of stress on your neck for hours at a time every day plant the seeds for chronic neck pain, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling in your hands and even misalignment and/or herniated discs.
It’s not just your neck that’s at risk. Have you ever wondered why you have two thumbs and eight fingers? Your thumbs are stabilizers, and really aren’t built for the type of massive work that your smart phones impose on them. Over time such use can cause tendonitis.
The good news is smartphones are accommodating these considerations, but you need to be smart and take advantage of them.

text neck ergonomics

  • Use earphones and avoid holding the phone up by lodging it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Use the option that allows you to send texts by speaking instead of typing.
  • Try to text using your fingers instead of your thumbs.
  • Use the predictive text functions, which suggest words for you as you type on your phone.
  • Don’t forget that you could just pick up the phone, and make a call…

So here is a pretty simple consideration for you that works whether you’re on the computer or using a smart phone. Whenever you can, increase the space between your chin and your chest. This action alone optimizes the position of your neck and shoulders, and it avoids any pinching of the nerves in your neck. Additionally, if you find yourself uncomfortable, take a break and stretch. Get a message. Don’t forget to stay hydrated because your bones bathe in fluid.
Remember, technology is meant to work for you, not against you. Use these tips, and enjoy the advantages your technology is offering. Type you later.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide Data – Understand the Threat

suicidemap
There are amazing, shocking and saddening facts about suicide.  It is equally amazing that we aren’t discussing this as an epidemic.  Consider the following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
There were an average of 105 suicides a day in the U.S. (over 38,000 for 2010).
An estimated 8.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those aged 15-24, the second among those aged 25-34, the fourth among those aged 35-54, and the eighth among persons aged 55-64.
For those committing suicide:

  • 33.3% tested positive for alcohol.
  • 23% tested positive for antidepressants.
  • 20.8% tested positive for opiates (such as heroin and prescription pain killers).
  • There is one suicide for every 25 attempts.

Females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts, but suicide among males is four times higher than among females (in other words, females think about it and try more often, but males complete the act more often.).
Among Native Americans aged 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death, fully 2.5 times higher than the national average.

stop_suicide

There are some topics that aren’t amenable to Blogs.  Depression and suicide are among them.  They can’t be done justice.  What I can try to do is break components of the conversation into bite size pieces and give you information to work with.  I’ll do this in three parts.  Above, I’ve shown you the magnitude of suicide.  In the next post, I will help you understand what clinical depression looks like, then finally, I’ll review some Quick Tips to help you prevent falling into the deepest levels of depression and to help you know when immediate attention is required.  Just remember: this isn’t the type of depression that involves having a bad day.  I’m talking about when your downward mood interferes with your activities of daily living.  I’m describing depression that introduces suicide and homicide as an option.  If you don’t read these for yourself, read them for knowledge.  Someone you know may be affected.
I welcome any questions, comments or thoughts.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide and Suicide Risks in College Students

Crisis_300x300

I just had the privilege of spending time at my alma mater addressing issues on behalf of students and mental health services. Among many other things discussed, I was shocked by the extent to which college suicides have become present on college campuses. I wonder when things changed. Isn’t college supposed to be the “best four years of your life?” It really doesn’t take much though to appreciate how this becomes the case.

PreventingSuicide2ndPageTop

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24. There are approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide occurring in this age group each year. A recent study from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland went in-depth in surveying and analyzing why students may have thoughts on suicide. Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings:

  • 12% of those studied admitted that they had thought of committing suicide.
  • Of this group of 12%, approximately 25% of them said they had those thoughts repeatedly.
  • Depression and lack of social support appeared to be major factors contributing to thoughts of suicide.

depression_suicide_stats
If you actually think about it, college brings together a lot of risks for suicide.

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood represents the period of highest risk of developing a major psychiatric disorder.
  • The academic environment can be a stress-producing inferno for some, who may find themselves overwhelmed and feeling lost and as if they have nowhere to turn.
  • For many, the college experience represents the first time many are away from home and/or completely detached from the family and friends they’ve had their entire lives. Unless and until a sufficient new social network is established, levels of isolation can be overwhelming.
  • Even among those with social networks, the academic failure and any social rejection that may occur could be perceived by students as having life-long consequences, so much so that hopelessness and thoughts of suicide could set into a young adult’s mind.

Suicide-Rates-Among-College-Students

Practically, how might you consider the risk in any one individual? The presence of any of these risk factors should prompt implementation of a support system to counter feelings of suicide.

  • It shouldn’t be difficult to appreciate how the lack of social support is one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts. Someone who expresses or has feelings of being unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends should be considered at risk – even in the absence of any other risk factors.
  • A history of clinically diagnosed depression or other psychiatric diagnoses
  • The exposure to domestic violence (either witnessing or having been abused) in childhood
  • Having a mother with a history of clinical depression

There are many Straight, No Chaser posts that address suicide prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Feel free to use the search box on the right for additional information.If you are a college student or a family member of a college student, you would do well to review your college’s support system and learn about services and support available for those in need of mental/behavioral health services. College should represent the beginning of one’s adult life, not the place where it ends.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Text Neck and Other Smart Phone/Computer Related Difficulties

text neck pain

It shouldn’t be too much of a chore to be mindful of your future as you unwrap your new technologic gadget this holiday season. You really should think more about your quality of life during your golden years. Arthritis (aka degenerative joint disease) is inevitable if you live longer enough, but that doesn’t mean you need to accelerate the process. Live your life with longevity in mind. There is no reason you can’t maintain a high level of function for years to come. In general the way you’re built represents a position of comfort. Your body best accommodates movements that maintains these positions. With that in mind, this Straight, No Chaser will discuss some simple ergonomic considerations to keep you just a bit safer over the long-term.
Computer use

text neck posture

This is simple. Take ten minutes to set up your workstation so it isn’t damaging your spine.

  • Place your computer monitor so it is directly in front of you as you type.
  • Place your monitor at eye level to prevent having to hunch over.
  • Place your keyboard at elbow level; this aligns your arms and shoulder.
  • Placing padding in front of your keyboard aligns your wrist and helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Find an adjustable chair as a means of providing low back support.
  • Find a footrest to further stabilize your lower back.

An additional consideration for computer use is remembering to take breaks. Your eyes are able to accommodate computer use, but the constant glare causes eyestrain and dryness, which can be irritating and reduce productivity.

  • Take a break after 45 minutes of computer use. During your break, make a point of staring at something far off in the distance to relax your eye muscles.
  • If your eyes get easily irritated, consider using clear tears to keep them lubricated.
  • If you’re a heavy computer user and wear glasses, you can compound your problem if you aren’t getting frequent checks to make sure your prescription is accurate.

Smartphone/Cell phone use
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about “text neck,” which basically points to the dangers of leaning your neck forward over a prolonged period of time. The way your head, neck and shoulders are constructed means you create less stress and strain when your head is centered and your eyes are pointed forward. Consider the following:

text neck pounds

  • When your spine is in a neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds.
  • When you lean your head just 15 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 27 pounds.
  • When you lean your head 45 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 49 pounds.
  • When you lean your head 60 degrees forward, the neck feels the strain of 60 pounds.

This level of stress on your neck for hours at a time every day plant the seeds for chronic neck pain, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling in your hands and even misalignment and/or herniated discs.
It’s not just your neck that’s at risk. Have you ever wondered why you have two thumbs and eight fingers? Your thumbs are stabilizers, and really aren’t built for the type of massive work that your smart phones impose on them. Over time such use can cause tendonitis.
The good news is smartphones are accommodating these considerations, but you need to be smart and take advantage of them.

text neck ergonomics

  • Use earphones and avoid holding the phone up by lodging it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Use the option that allows you to send texts by speaking instead of typing.
  • Try to text using your fingers instead of your thumbs.
  • Use the predictive text functions, which suggest words for you as you type on your phone.
  • Don’t forget that you could just pick up the phone, and make a call…

So here is a pretty simple consideration for you that works whether you’re on the computer or using a smart phone. Whenever you can, increase the space between your chin and your chest. This action alone optimizes the position of your neck and shoulders, and it avoids any pinching of the nerves in your neck. Additionally, if you find yourself uncomfortable, take a break and stretch. Get a message. Don’t forget to stay hydrated because your bones bathe in fluid.
Remember, technology is meant to work for you, not against you. Use these tips, and enjoy the advantages your technology is offering. Type you later.
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Straight, No Chaser: Tips on Safe Toys and Gifts

safe toys kids

At Straight, No Chaser, we review the literature and give you the goods. While you’re out and about shopping for toys, print out this list to help you select safe toys, then post it in your home to be reminded of how to keep your kids safe. People tend to think such things aren’t necessary until after something horrible has happened. Be smarter than that; after all, it’s Safe Toys and Gifts Month (of course it is – when else could it possibly be?).
Let’s review shopping tips, adopted from recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Safe Kids Campaign and the National Safety Council. We’ll keep this short and sweet.

safe toys choking

  • Falls and choking cause most toy-related deaths and injuries in children. Choking alone causes one-third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons.
  • Children younger than age 3 are at the greatest risk of choking because they tend to put objects – especially toys – in their mouths.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account for almost half of all toy-related injuries and almost all deaths.

safe toys blocks

  • Remember…the best way to keep your child safe while playing with toys is to BE THERE!
  • Consider the child’s age, interests and skill level. Actually pay attention to what you’re buying. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels. They’re not just pulled out of thin air!
  • Use a small parts tester to determine whether toys may present a choking hazard to children under age 3. Small parts testers can be purchased at toy or baby specialty stores. Here’s a simpler way to decide: use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (e.g., darts).
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. These may pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Avoid cap guns that use caps that can be ignited by the slightest friction and can cause serious burns.

safe toys header

The selection of gifts and toys you bring into your home should be taken seriously. Let’s keep the holiday season happy!
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Straight, No Chaser: The Holiday Heart Syndrome

HHS heart ornament

There’s something about the holiday season and flickering. We’re all aware that Christmas lights are meant to do so, but did you know that your heart is more inclined to flicker and flutter this time of year (sorry, but I’m not talking about mistletoe)? In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed a mental consideration concerning the holiday season: the increased rate and risks of depression, known as The Holiday Blues. Unfortunately, health issues associated with the holidays don’t stop there. There are defined physical risks associated with the holidays as well. The disturbing aspect of today’s topic is you’re not immune to this even if you’re otherwise healthy.

HHS party

Holiday heart syndrome is a real condition and has been described as such since the 1970s. It’s the result of eating and drinking alcohol too much (with or without excessive caffeine intake and a lack of sleep), which is exactly what we’re inclined to do this time of year. The combination of these indulgences places an undue level of strain on the heart, which causes the heart to develop an abnormal rhythm, most commonly atrial fibrillation. Interestingly, certain foods, alcohol and caffeine all have direct effects on the heart, and indirectly they can also affect the heart through increase of certain hormones (such as epinephrine) that stimulate the heart.
Curiously, holiday heart syndrome is notable for its occurrence in those without existent heart disease but can be especially concerning in uncovering existing disease or exacerbating disease in those having it. For example, someone with underlying cardiovascular disease featuring microclots can have such clots dislodge during an episode of atrial fibrillation, causing a stroke.
Fortunately, by far the common course of holiday heart syndrome is benign. The abnormal heart rates will slowly resolve as the levels and effects of alcohol and/or other substances decline. That said, the risk is such that you don’t just want to sleep off an occurrence.
The symptoms you’d have are pretty obvious, given that you’d have been eating and drinking to excess. You’d also note that your heart was racing and perhaps pounding, as if it was attempting to jump out of your chest. Heart rates in the 120s are pretty typical for holiday heart syndrome (a normal heart rate is between 70-100 beats per minute). This tidbit is important to know; if your heart rate is higher than this, something more serious could be occurring. Under either circumstance, you need to be evaluated and treated in the emergency room setting with hydration and observation of the heart rhythm and rate.

HHS gift heart

The lessons here are pretty straightforward:

  • Holiday heart syndrome suggests that indulgences that occur during the holidays can cause symptoms. By no means does it suggest that these symptoms are restricted to the holidays. Overindulgence in food and drink can cause abnormal heart rhythms at any time, including weekends, spring break, birthday or other celebrations, as well as holidays.
  • You’d be particularly interested in knowing that the combination of vodka and the energy drink Red Bull have been shown to make these symptoms more likely to occur.

Following alcohol-related abnormal heart rhythms, it is advisable for patients to avoid significant exertion because the excessive stimulation that raises epinephrine levels can precipitate recurrent and possibly more serious episodes. Most patients without underlying heart disease should be able to gradually resume full physical activity over the next few days. Once everything is back to normal, most patients do not require further therapy if they refrain from alcohol use. Patients with underlying heart disease, heart disease that’s discovered during evaluation, or those with severe symptoms on presentation (e.g., blackouts or simultaneous low blood pressure) may be candidates to receive certain heart medications.

HHS santa

At the end of the day, Holiday Heart Syndrome is yet another example of the virtue of enjoying life in moderation. Failure to do so can turn the holidays into the most dangerous time of the year. Cheers!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

 Holiday_Depression-300x199

I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY

Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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