Cannabis, Culture, Neuroscience

Teenage girl suffered strokes, brain damage after smoking synthetic marijuana

Real marijuana has never killed anyone.

Spice is a synthetic cannaboid that is legal in some U.S. states. It is commonly used as a replacement drug for marijuana.

A teenage girl from Texas suffered from multiple strokes after smoking synthetic marijuana – leaving her brain damaged, blind and paralyzed, the Independent reported. Continue reading

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Neuroscience

Molly on the Hyperthymic Temperament

The Hyperthymic Temperament

Posted on 18 December, 2011, Read more at Molly.com…

The Thymus Gland is located by the breastbone in the nook between our throat and shoulders. A small gland, at risk as our sensitive neck and spine adjust to the ever-shifting weight of our skulls.

The Thymus, throughout history, has been a bit mysterious. It is believed to be a part of human/primate immunity and behavioral posturing.

Imagine male Gorillas pounding their chests. It’s thought that gorillas don’t only posture, but stimulate a specific biological response – to excite or to calm – by pounding upon their prominent Thymus glands.

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Angela Glass SxSW 2009 (Photo Credit @JayZombie)
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymia != Bipolar

It was the use and consequential paradoxical effects of Clonazepam—suffering from drug induced episodes of hypomania—which lead to the discovery that I am what they call “a hyperthymic temperament”.

While it is true that patients who experience hypomania as a side effect of Clonazepam may prove to have a form of bipolar disorder that has previously gone unrecognized, drug-induced hypomania is not invariably indicative of bipolar affective disorders.

It’s frustrating because suddenly I’m facing the woes I wrote about in college regarding labeling mental illness, and the impact of the use of labels, such as “creative” or “over-achiever”.

Label it or Leave it?

Happy Hyperthymia and Hyper Hypomania

Hyper Hypomania vs. Happy Hyperthymia

Some people would include in the Bipolar Disorder category a consistently elevated mood called hyperthymia. Being constantly upbeat and always enthusiastic is not unheard of, but it is not the norm in the general population. It is more common to experience a fairly steady, neither-too-high-nor-too-low mood characterized by some contentment, some discontentment, some happiness, and some sadness — usually associated with external events such as receiving good news, problems with personal relationships, etc.

Does a long-lasting, exuberant mood that causes no problem need to be placed on the spectrum of mood disorders? In a clinical sense, no. If it poses no threat to anyone’s health, it is not a concern for psychiatrists. Cataloging and understanding a mental state like this, however, may help us better understand the full spectrum of emotional states related to mood disorders and provide clues about what can go wrong when moods become extreme.

Happy Hyperthymia

Some people always seem to be upbeat and energetic, trying new things and initiating new projects. This trait, which is sometimes called hyperthymia, is not unlike being on a “permanent high.” Some people argue that hyperthymia is a type of mood disorder that results in high activity and inflated sense of self-esteem — something like living with constant hypomania but with the crucial difference that it is not as clearly episodic. Instead, it seems to last and is without any associated depression.

While observations of many people indicate some of them have this mood trait, hyperthymic disorder is not recognized as a mood disorder by either of the two mainstream authorities, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization. It appears in neither of their diagnostic manuals, the DSM IV and the ICD-10.

On the surface, people with hyperthymia seem optimistic and full of energy. They radiate self-confidence and self-reliance; they seem to believe they can do whatever needs to be done. They thrive on new experiences that promise variety, intrigue, and novelty. Usually, they have a great many personal interests, as well as plans for the future. They also can be articulate and witty.

It might be most accurate to think of hyperthymia as a temperament or personality trait rather than as a marker of a mental disorder. Of course, if this trait causes problems, then it becomes a legitimate subject for psychological or psychiatric care.

In fact, criticism of mainstream psychiatry is often directed at its alleged predisposition to label people with problems that don’t exist. The inclusion of homosexuality in earlier editions of the DSM IV — an error since corrected — is a frequently cited example. The reality is if someone is not unhappy, suffering, or a threat to themselves or others, psychiatrists have no reason to intervene. They are busy enough treating people with serious mental problems. It is only when complaints or serious problems appear that the labels of the DSM IV are applied as part of the process for providing effective treatment. A hyperthymic personality can be satisfying, productive, and creative. But if for some individuals it is a manifestation of a part of a spectrum of mood disorders, it could be problematic. For example, some people later diagnosed with bipolar disorder first seek help with depression after they have experienced a set-back in their lives. A close look back over their lives may reveal that they have been hyperthymic. Rather than having easily recognizable mood swings, these people may have been experiencing years of constant emotional elevation and enthusiasm along with a long history of uncompleted endeavors.

Also, the lack of a healthy response to the full range of life experience might cause problems for some people who always seem to have elevated spirits. A full, healthy life for most people includes periods of elation and introspection, action and reflection. If only one pole of our emotional lives is present, we may miss the benefits of the counterbalancing half of our responses to events. Consequently, we may lack understanding and empathy in the way we interact with people and respond to events in our lives.

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Ancestry, Neuroscience

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

“I know, you’re bi-polar.”

“Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.”

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.

In the course of the last year, the woman lost her husband to cancer and then her job. But she did not come to my office as a patient; she sought advice about her teenage son who was having trouble dealing with his father’s death.

Despite crushing loss and stress, she was not at all depressed – sad, yes, but still upbeat. I found myself stunned by her resilience. What accounted for her ability to weather such sorrow with buoyant optimism? So I asked her directly.

“All my life,” she recalled recently, “I’ve been happy for no good reason. It’s just my nature, I guess.”

But it was more than that. She was a happy extrovert, full of energy and enthusiasm who was indefatigably sociable. And she could get by with five or six hours of sleep each night.

Like this woman, a journalist I know realized when she was a teenager that she was different from others. “It’s actually kind of embarrassing to be so cheerful and happy all the time,” she said. “When I was in high school I read the Robert Browning poem `My Last Duchess.’ In it, the narrator said he killed his wife, the duchess, because, `she had a heart – how shall I say, too soon made glad?’ And I thought, uh-oh, that’s me.”

These two women were lucky to be born with a joyous temperament, which in its most extreme forms is called hyperthymia. Cheerful despite life’s misfortunes, energetic and productive, they are often the envy of all who know them because they don’t even have to work at it.

In a sense, they are the psychiatric mirror image of people who suffer from a chronic, often lifelong, mild depression called dysthymia, which affects about 3 percent of American adults. Always down, dysthymics experience little pleasure and battle through life with a dreary pessimism. Despite whatever fortune comes their way, they remain glum.

But hyperthymia certainly doesn’t look like an illness; there appears to be no disadvantage to being a euphoric extrovert, except, perhaps, for inspiring an occasional homicidal impulse from jealous friends or peers. But little is actually known about people with hyperthymia for the simple reason that they don’t see psychiatrists complaining that they are happy.

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Neuroscience

My Momma: Arlene Jean Schaadt Baxley

I was talking with my momma this morning about orthomolecular medicine, and all the work she’s done to help people achieve better health over the years. Most often when I’m thinking about my momma in this regard, I think of how it is that she’s responsible for bringing life to families struggling to have children. What more beautiful work can there be as a humanitarian than to care for the quality of human life, and it’s propagation through it’s generations of families? Continue reading

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Neuroscience, Psychology

A First Rate Madness

Everyone Needs Therapy

Sometimes in this business you are called upon to treat a madman, or a madwoman, someone seemingly psychotic, talking way over your head, out there, but still oriented times three (person, place, time).   You sense genius. You feel that this person is smarter than you are, or at least as smart.

You recognize, right away, undeniable talent and intellect. He is a song-writer, a one-hit wonder. She is an artist. He is a poet; she directs a television show. He is a computer programmer; she is a doctor. And you’re humble. You go home and think, why in the world see me?

But you know why.  The patient needs your particular genius, because his madness is getting in the way. Others are complaining, complaining so loudly, you can hear them and they’re not in the room, not even in the building.  You suspect mental illness.

And it usually is.  Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, is of the opinion that it isn’t always so bad.  Indeed, some creative people have a hyperthymic temperament.  They rarely need therapy, not unless no one else will listen to them.  It is not a disorder.

— therapydoc is at gmaildotcom
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My Mad Man '62 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
Ancestry, Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Religion

American Blue Blood Heart Lies Bleeding

about.me/angela is @ang @baxley,
better known as @spunkygidget,
and the @divinebeeloved of @baxleyglass.

angela married darryl, @pdglass the @glasmuppet.

My grandmother is Laura Catherine Hilton, and with the Hilton name comes a little bit of American Royalty.

the mockingjay already whooping it up — she's got you with one keyword: hilton. and therein lies your problem. hello de coy said le roi brown. :)

So it turns out that my hyperthymic personality is a family trait passed through the Kennedy’s bloodline, and yes, I do mean John-John and Jackie O. They’d be cousin’s of mine. Yes, I’m steeped in ironic political blood as it were, the irony being that I was raised politically neutral as the child of two hippies turned Jehovah’s Witnesses.

here's another sideliner for the l33t: @ang is here making reference to Eisenhower, who like her, did not follow the family and stay inside the Watchtower as President. Angela intends to be president of the Watchtower, The United States of the United Americas, as well as Her Helios Majestic Righteous Highness and Judas Priestess of the Ekklesia (thereby by passing her roles taking over the EU and handling things in LON).

Meanwhile, cousin and First Lady Rosalynn Smith Carter was named “The Steel Magnolia” by the White House press corp for her Southern sweetness and tenacity, and cousin “Lemonade” Lucy Ware Webb Hayes convinced her husband, President Rutherford B. Hayes, to fight in the Union army and to oppose slavery. He later became an influential part of the abolitionist cause. Martha Jefferson was never officially named first lady, but Helen Herron Taft was known for her White House silver anniversary party. Yes, we do love to party! There was also First Lady Hoover, and Mary Scott Harrison McKee who served as first lady for her father after her momma passed away.

Family Tree

I’m also related to a few good Presidents: William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), 9th President of the United States of America, is famous for having the longest inauguration speech (maybe that’s where I got my bad habit of leaving long voicemails?) and shortest term of any president. He was the first president to die in office; he died of pneumonia only 30 days into his term. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the 17th President of the United States of America, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson assumed the Presidency. Johnson was the first president to be impeached, but was acquitted of the charges. Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), 23rd President of the United States of America and Grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was the 23 President of the United States. During his term 6 states joined the United States and the Sherman Antitrust Act, an act which prohibited monopolies, was passed.

Then there are a slew of outlaws… John Wesley Hardin was an outlaw and gunfighter in Texas. He was reported to be the meanest man alive, once killing a man just for snoring. Most of his gunplay was a result of his short temper. Bob Dylan wrote an entire album about him. Sam Bass robbed the Union pacific gold train and took $60,000, the largest robbery of the Union Pacific to date. John Peters “Johnny” Ringo became a legend of the Old West because of his alleged involvement in the gunfight at the OK Corral and his association with the Clanton Gang. Finally, American bank robber and alleged murderer, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd robbed so many banks in the 1930s that there was a $56,000 reward on his head.

On the geek side, Linus Pauling was an American chemist, famous for his work in applying quantum mechanics to chemistry and his campaign against above-ground nuclear testing. For his work in both of these fields he was awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes. John Browning was a firearms designer who developed a variety of weapons, cartridges, and gun mechanics. Not many people took Frank Whittle seriously when he introduced his plans to create a jet engine. As an officer in the Royal Air Force, he helped to change the face of military tactics. English inventor and engineer George Stephenson invented the steam operated locomotive. He is also called “The Father of Railways”, and the railway gauge called “The Stephenson Gauge” is named for him. William Osler has been called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine—the Father of Modern Medicine.

Personally, I’m more fond of the artists and designers in my family. Cary Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute (on the 50 Greatest American Screen Legends list Cary is #2, Lillian is #17). Lillian Diana de Guiche, or Lillian Gish, is known as the “first lady of the silent screen” and starred in many silent films including The Birth of a Nation and The Scarlet Letter. Her career spanned over 75 years and countless television and film appearances. George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Co. and invented roll film. His invention was also a precursor for motion picture film. Edward Hopper was an American painter best remembered for his eerily realistic depictions of solitude in contemporary American life. A true clown like my grandfather, General Tom Thumb (born Charles Stratton) was taught to sing, dance, and act by circus pioneer P.T. Barnum. His small frame and many talents made him famous around the world. And last but not least in my book, I’m still struggling to find my own with good ol’ William Cuthbert Faulkner and his long, winding sentences in the Sound and the Fury, and As I Lay Dying.

Me? I just fancy myself a cognitive scientist in the style of Leonardo DaVinci, and find my peace at the seaside, like most of my infamous relatives. I happen to be a corporation in Delaware, a proud homage to my great great (really really great) grandfather George Read, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Delaware, and was highly involved in the politics of the early United States. He served as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, was a Continental Congressman, and later was Delaware’s representative in the U.S. Senate.

The last year of my life has been an interesting one. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, spurred on by a deep hatred for the American culture from business to politics and mass media. I was raised, as it were, in corporate America—the banker’s daughter in the shadow of Hugh McColl, and the geek’s niece (warning! hilarious video with Napoleon Dynamite) on Uncle Bill’s campus. I made a stop over in Texas working for Travelocity, and finished up my corporate stint reporting up to the C-level’s at Yahoo! (Hi, Sturino!) I’ve made men a lot of money, though I haven’t got much in the bank for myself.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do going forward. All this education, albiet slightly left of norm, and experience…

One of my many lover’s recently told me that a quote by Bobby Kennedy (paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw) will always remind him of me.

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’

Thank you, Johnny, I’m honored.

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Neuroscience, Psychology

Obama too Sane to be Kennedy

Sky Dancers: Obama too Sane to be Kennedy

“Many people who experience traumas [like terrorism or war] don’t develop PTSD or other illnesses. So the question is, what keeps those people from getting sick? What creates resilience?

The psychological research suggests that personality is a major factor.

Resilience seems to be associated with mild manic symptoms, but you can’t develop resilience unless you’ve already experienced trauma.

Many of these leaders faced adversity in their childhood and adulthood, and that seemed to make them better able to handle crises. It’s like a vaccine.

You get exposed to a little bit of a bacteria then you can handle major infections and I think trauma and resilience and hyperthymic personality seem to follow a similar path.”

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Neuroscience, Psychology

Being Sane in Insane Places

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”—J. Krishnamurti

In July 2011, I spent a total of nine days in the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital. Being sane in an insane place is much harder than you might think, but then again maybe you don’t think I’m sane.*

I know how the caged bird sings, she sings with resonation found only on the super slick floors that only an insane asylum can afford where she sings “Crazy“.

“How do we know precisely what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the ability to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. What is—or is not—“normal” may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings.”

The Rosenhan Experiment

The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan in 1973. It was published in the journal Science under the title “On Being Sane in Insane Places.” Rosenhan DL (January 1973). The study is considered an important and influential criticism of psychiatric diagnosis. Lauren Slater later revisits the experiment and publishes her findings in Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century (2004).

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Neuroscience, Technology

If we ask the right questions, maybe we can come up with the right answers.

Hagop Akiskal MD of UCSD, favors the term, “hyperthymic,” a temperament opposite to “depressive.” Dr Akiskal views temperament as coexisting on the same spectrum with illness, ranging from advantageous to pathological.

The DSM views hypomania as an “episode” that is part of bipolar disorder, but, unlike depression, it is not considered an illness in its own right. People may act a bit strange when hypomanic, but they tend to be able to hold onto their jobs and personal relationships. Indeed, when hypomanic our productivity and creativity and sociability tend to make us the envy of the rest of the world.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

my family: persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

Hyperthymic Personality Disorder – General Practice Notebook

Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorders are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement.

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link, Neuroscience

Hyperthymic Personality

Link: Hyperthymic Personality

Now, the better question would be, what if there is no depression? Can people just have mild mania? And the answer to that is at one level it appears that God or nature or Darwin or whoever evolved our brains or created our brains did it in such a way that it doesn’t seem that episodic, mild mania can happen by itself. It has not really been described that people can have intermittent hypomania and nothing else, no depression. It can happen, but it’s probably rare. Just having manic episodes without depressive episodes is reported in maybe 5 to 10 percent of bipolar patients, and we don’t really know if just having hypomanic episodes can happen.

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Health

Clonazepam

Benzodiazepines such as Clonazepam have a fast onset of action and high effectiveness rate and low toxicity in overdose but have drawbacks due to adverse reactions including paradoxical effects, drowsiness, and cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairments can persist for at least 6 months after withdrawal of clonazepam; it is unclear whether full recovery of memory functions occurs.

Clonazepam is primarily prescribed for epilepsy, but is also prescribed for panic and anxiety, which are indication of abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

How it Works

In general, Clonazepam produces mild sedation by depressing activity in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). In particular, clonazepam appears to enhance the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical that inhibits the firing of neurons and dampens the transmission of nerve signals, thus decreasing nervous excitation.

[blockquote align=”right”]Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) is designed to improve neurocognitive abilities such as attention, working memory, cognitive flexibility and planning, and executive functioning which leads to improved social functioning. (See Clonazepam long term side effects on cognition.)[/blockquote]

Side Effects

Serious

Difficulty concentrating, outbursts of anger, other behavior problems, depression, hallucinations, low blood pressure (causing faintness or confusion), memory impairment, muscle weakness, skin rash or itching, sore throat, fever and chills, sores or ulcers in throat or mouth, unusual bruising or bleeding, extreme fatigue, yellowish tinge to eyes or skin.

Common

Drowsiness, loss of coordination, unsteady gait, dizziness, lightheadedness, slurred speech.

Less Common

Change in sexual desire or ability, constipation, false sense of well-being, nausea and vomiting, urinary problems, unusual fatigue.

Possible Interactions

Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals

Hawthorn may react antagonistically to clonazepam. Valerian and Kava Kava may interact additively (drowsiness): may exacerbate central nervous system depression (avoid this combination). Kola nut, Siberian ginseng, mate, and ma huang may blunt the benefits of this medicine. While St. John’s Wort is indicated for anxiety, it is also thought to increase (induce) cytochrome P450 enzymes and will tend to blunt clonazepam effectiveness.

Alcohol

Alcohol may increase the depressant effects of this medicament on the brain. It is advisable to avoid alcohol completely throughout the day and night-if it is necessary to drive or to engage in any hazardous activity.

Marijuana

Increased sedation and significant impairment of intellectual and physical performance.

Discontinuation

Do not stop clonazepam suddenly if it was controlling any type of seizure, or if it was taken for more than 4 weeks. Dosing should be slowly decreased (tapered) to prevent a withdrawal syndrome.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Health

Clonazepam

We were launching Microsoft Expression, and it was my job to bring together a group of people to be known as Microsoft User Experience Evangelists. I also worked with my friends to connect influencers with the right people inside Microsoft to get all kinds of good gooey goodness flowing in the community. I was so proud to work with Dave Shea, Molly Holzschlag, Eric Meyer, Tantek Çelik, Andy Clarke, Jeremy Keith, and Lynda Weinman (whom I’d met previously, and adored)—and then there’s Joe Clark—people who I had “grown up with” on the Internet: they were my idols, soon they were my friends… And then there were the legendary technology & design focused agencies AvenueA/RazorFish, Adaptive Path, Blue Flavor, IDEO, FrogDesign, Zaaz, Y&R (the rest of my Mad Men era I’d already taken care with Creative Services at the Bank)… I’m sure I’m forgetting people (and companies), it was a whirlwind and my memory has never been all that great,—wow—just talking about that year exhausts me.

San Francisco January 18, 2007

January 18, 2007

San Francisco. Snowing trying to catch a cab outside the Dogpatch Studios. Destination: The Clift Hotel to meet @t and @meyerweb.

I was kind of tired of not being tired, I was a little tired of not sleeping. I just wanted to chill out, I’d felt like I’d been running on adrenaline non-stop for the good portion of a year. I watched Tantek nod off, sitting next to me, while Eric and I caught up. Yes, I was working full time learning a new job as a product manager (I wanted to apply design to a different role, I’d been doing design for 10 years and just finished the user experience strategy for another entire Microsoft product lifecycle… time for a change!) going to school carrying more than a full course load  by cutting out of work early. Maybe doing it all wasn’t all I wanted to do right now. Little did I know I’d soon be the one falling asleep, only for me it was at the Playboy party as SxSW tucked away in a corner of the VIP room, a true disco nap, if I’ve ever had one!

January 25, 2007

Chicago. I don’t really remember anything about being here besides dinner. But I don’t remember eating, not even sure I was there. I just remember that steak house I wanted to go to. I think I showed up after everyone was done. Oh! and there was some fantastic pizza. Who ever’s is the most legendary deep dish Chicago style pizza—we ordered from there. I remember that was yummy!

From 2006 to 2007, there was Mix ’06, Microsoft Expression Sessions, designertopia, ReMix, Web Directions North, SxSW, along with the various ones I can’t quite remember, like dropping in on BarCamp—was it? with Tantek—and meeting Chris Messina, and Jina Bolton for the time—the conversations we all had.

These were the women who really got it done—Miwa and Tiffany, the dyna-duo behind Microsoft Expression.

Miwa & Tiffany, the dyna-duo behind Microsoft Expression

January 30th Corrina & Angela NYC

January 30th

New York. Corrina came to meet me in New York City, or maybe she was there for the Vista / Office launch? I can’t recall. I remember being up all night, coming back to grab my bag and catching a cab straight to the airport in the dark, leaving both her—and my running shoes!—behind in the dark. The hotel was lovely and mailed my shoes home for me, where they would be waiting for me on return. Truth be told, I wasn’t using them anyway.

February 1st

073

London. I was there for my European conference for the Microsoft Expression Launch : designertopia.

Angela & Pete at Web Directions North

February 8th

Vancouver, Canada. Web Directions North.

I remember I was only “home” for a few hours in Seattle for right around the middle of the Super Bowl, but even that was actually spent over at Flores’ Super Bowl party…

DSC_1929

So I gave up my hippy-natural-Momma ideals, and went in to see my doctor (who I came to adore) and she prescribed me Clonazepam for my jet lag/insomnia, and said that it would also calm me down. She warned me that they were highly addictive and were more for “symptom” use, but if it worked then we’d see what she could do long term. I also told her about the blue light therapy device, as all the travel had caught up with me—Zürich, London, Reading, Vancouver, Whistler, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York… did I forget any?—and the light seemed to work; it’d put me back on schedule, no matter what time zone I was in.

275

…to be continued.

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Health

Hypomanic Episode

296.40 Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Hypomanic

When an individual experiences a discrete episode of persistent and pervasive emotional hypomania, this term may be applied.
  1. A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the usual non depressed mood.
  2. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:
    1. inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
    2. decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
    3. more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
    4. flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
    5. distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
    6. increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
    7. excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)
  3. The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person when not symptomatic.
  4. The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.
  5. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.
  6. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

Note: Hypomanic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapyshould not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.

Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association

 

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Health

Stress and the Balanced Body

Stress causes so many negative reactions in our body chemically, which in turn brings forth symptoms such as poor sleep or insomnia, mood swings and depression, and anxiety. Worse yet, most of us are so used to running ourselves ragged and altering our chemistry with stimulants such as caffeine (as I write this I’m sipping on my morning cappuccino) that we fail to notice we’re burnt out until it’s almost too late.

Case in point, I didn’t pay attention to what stress was doing to my body until the bags under my eyes showed up and decided to stay. It was vanity that made me stop and pay attention and wonder, what’s going on?

Let’s get real: this isn’t about being less stressed. Stress isn’t going to go away. This is about figuring out how to better support your body so it can cope.

First, let’s look at what this stress thing is all about. Your adrenal glands respond to stress – they’re responsible for what we call the “fight or flight” mechanism of our body. The adrenal glands ready our body in case we need to run from a predator, our in this case deal with everyday high tech stress. Our healthy adrenal glands respond by releasing adrenaline, which makes us more alert and focused, and cortisol, which converts protein to energy and releases our stored sugar, glycogen, so our bodies have the fuel needed to respond quickly. (Excess cortisol leads to belly fat, by the way. But more about that another time!)

However, this process was meant to be a means by which we would handle an immediate threat. We were not meant to sustain the adrenal reaction to stress over a duration of time, or as consistently as we do in our modern technological always on lives.

Adaptogens are natural products proposed to increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.

… Now, many of my friends don’t believe in supplementing their body’s needs by taking natural products such as vitamins and minerals. You know, we’re supposed to get our nutrition from our food. While I agree in theory, I have to say there are several counters to that traditional belief. First, what do you eat every day? Are you eating a healthy, nutritious and well balanced diet? What about the food you’re eating, is it fresh, raw , and nutrient rich? Do you remember that Total cereal commercial where they showed how many bowls of that “other cereal” you’d have to eat to match the “total nutrition” in just one bowl of Total? Yeah… better start eating and make a permanent reservation for the Rainbow Grocery produce aisle!…

So, back to adaptogens. If you’re interested in getting your body back under control, this is your first place to start. I take 2 capsules of New Chapter’s Stress Advantage immediately when I get up in the morning. It’s important to take it right away because your stress level and your bodies “alert level” has a baseline that is set when you first get up. It’s kind of like the National Security Alert Advisory being set each morning. Take two and cut your feeling of stress and anxiety off right away. This particular formula strengthens the cardiovascular, adrenal and immune system response to stress by means of the world’s most powerful adaptogens from Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and Russian traditional medical systems. Better yet, New Chapter makes their formulas are from whole-food complex vitamins and minerals certified as being made with organic ingredients. This means a better quality, more effective product for faster and more noticeable results. I noticed a significant effect in how I felt just a few days after taking it (2 in the AM, 1 in afternoon).

Meanwhile, when you’re under stress, you burn through your bodies resources like crazy, namely your vitamins and minerals. You should be taking a daily vitamin, and I suggest using only those made by the highest quality. I lean to Nature’s Sunshine for pretty much all my nutritional supplements, and you now know I’m also a fan of New Chapter. Check out New Chapter’s Every Woman or Every Man daily supplement. Their daily formulas deliver nutritive and energizing probiotic vitamins and minerals as well as stress-balancing and free-radical scavenging herbs cultured for maximum effectiveness. (Probiotics are the good bacteria that you’re hearing about in all the yogurt commercials lately.)

Lastly, there are the basics. Drink plenty of water so that your body can flush toxins and stay hydrated. Try to get consistent good sleep each night for approximately 8 hours. I’m not going to debate “how much you need” here. Just try to sleep more and in the same consistent time frame. Lay off the caffeine, and if you can’t manage that, at least layoff in the afternoon so you don’t affect your sleep. Eat well—fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and whatnot. Stay away from things in packages and boxes that are laden with preservatives and have been enriched, bleached, and modified, especially with fake sugars.

If you try out this program, please let me know how it works for you!

A Word of Caution: Remember, these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products, and my advice, are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any dietary or herbal supplement, you should advise your health care practitioner of the use of this product. If you are nursing, pregnant, or considering pregnancy, you should consult your health care practitioner prior to using this product.

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Kick that cold. Prevent the flu. Do what I do!

My friend Tara is getting married on Friday. True to her hectic schedule and high stress (read: frequent flyer exposed to many different germies) she’s come down with a cold.

I wish I would have shared my tried and true secret with her before, and saved her from the cold in the first place. Instead, let’s hope we’ve got her better in a hurry!

What I do: A couple of days before I travel, I start taking Wellness Formula. It’s a great combo I’ve found that has all the cold kicking, immunity boosting herbs, vitamins and minerals in it.

I actually carry a small bottle in my backpack (which I always have with me!) so I can take them if there’s any hint of feeling something. I keep a bottle at work, and another at home, and take them when I think about it in general (an ounce of prevention is betta…!).

Some of the ingredients which are key in fighting colds and boosting your immunity so you don’t get them in the first place are:

Astragalus: Immuno-stimulatory, Stamina/Chi.
This herb increases the body’s production of interferon, which protects cells from viral and bacterial lung infections. Astragalus also enhances the body’s production of immunoglobulin and stimulates macrophages. It can help activate T cells and natural killer cells. Several studies also show that astragalus proffers heart-protecting effects, including protection against oxidative damage.

Echinacea: Antibiotic, Lymph, Blood Purifier/Builder, Immune.
This herb enhances immunity and stops the cold and flu viruses from reproducing once they gain access to a cell. German research has shown that echinacea stimulates immune-system cells called macrophages (cells that consume disease-causing microbes).

Elderberry: Flu, Infection, Cough, Cold Sores, and Skin Conditions.
In one study, researchers gave elderberry syrup to some members of an Israeli kibbutz during a flu epidemic. Those who took the syrup recovered faster than those who did not.

Garlic: Colds, Yeast And Bacterial Infections, Normalizes Blood Pressure.
Numerous scientific studies support herbalists’ claims that garlic is a “natural antibiotic.” Researchers have found it to be particularly good for fighting strep infections.

Schisandra: Coughs, Night Sweats, Insomnia, Thirst, Physical Exhaustion, Stress.
In a Russian study, children in the town of Chirchik who were given this herb were more resistant to a flu epidemic that swept through their town.

Siberian Ginseng: Energy, Stress, Endurance, Depression, Senility, Nerves.
When researchers surveyed residents of the cold regions of north-eastern China, they found that those who took this herb regularly got far fewer colds and reported fewer cases of bronchitis.

Also see my personal reference page of the historical uses of Herbs, Vitamins & Minerals, and Flower Essences.

The information on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, or cure. Please consult your healthcare practitioner with any questions. The statements regarding our products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this Web site or in emails is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Informational material and representations have been provided by the manufacturers of the listed products.

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Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My skin has been breaking out lately. I’ve also been traveling internationally and my digestive system has suffered (yeah, you know what I mean). I just don’t feel like myself. Catching colds, though I never used to get sick. And just not quite 100%. Low energy. You know the feeling.

So I’ve decided I’m going to a full body internal cleanse. I’m going with Blessed Herbs’ kit because they make it so easy. Everything is packaged up for you, and the program is well thought out cleansing each of the body systems progressively.

Interested? Check out the Blessed Herbs Internal Cleansing Kit here.

I’m going to start out with fresh made juices and raw fruits and vegetables and go from there.
I’ll keep you informed as to my progress. First, a week of waiting for the cleanse to show up!

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The Best Method to Lose Weight

Fen-Phen, Slim Fast, DexaTrim, TrimSpa, South Beach, Atkins, The Zone, Weight Watchers, Low Fat, High Protein, Cardio, Weight Training, Pilates, and the list continues. Seems like everyone you talk to wants to lose at least 5 pounds, and little wonder why when there are an estimated 65% of Americans who are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading

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The DSMIV: Labeling Mental Illness

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIV) is not used to categorize or label people, but rather conditions or disorders that people have. If I said my friend Barbara is breast cancer, you would laugh at me, right? No, silly, you would say, Barbara has breast cancer. Well the same is for another friend. She isn’t a manic-depressive, she has manic depression. While it maybe true that labels may burden a patient with the stigma surrounding it, finally having something concrete to learn about, to understand, to fight against and to conquer can be such a relief. Labels provide patients with a means of communicating about what is going on with their body or psyche with others. It helps them identify and to find support. Continue reading

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