Thursday, 31 October 2013

Eating Disorders Reduce Fertility in Women

A new study from Finland has found that Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder significantly reduce the chances of women having children.

The study, which was conducted by the University of Helsinki and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, found that people with anorexia were less than half as likely to become pregnant. This may be due to biological factors like a lack of ovulation because of the eating disorder or it could have another unknown cause.

Read full story here

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Alcohol industry fights against Scotland healthcare measures

The alcohol industry as a whole, from small scale to large, is resisting changes the policy of Scotland’s government aimed at minimizing alcohol related health issues. In an attempt to bring down the figures of alcohol related illnesses and deaths, and thus reduce the financial burden related to such care, Scotland’s government is attempting to change currentpolicy.

It is unsurprising that the alcohol industry is fighting this change; any industry will naturally do its best to ensure that profits are maximized and steady. While it is arguable that in the case of alcohol there is a moral obligation the industry should bow to, it is not fair to be surprised that the companies responsible for our favourite drinks are not entirely happy with changes in policy that reduce profits.

Dr Jim McCambridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is at the forefront of this issue, having discovered that the alcohol industry is being far from open and fair in regards to research. “The public interest is not served by the alcohol industry’s misinterpretation of research evidence and we must consider to what extent we should allow the health of the population to be compromised by these commercial interests.”

In a recent study, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine researchers analysed 27 different submissions made by the alcohol industry to the Scottish cunsulation board. It was found that major companies were negatively dismissing research and evidence that would negatively impact their profitability, while placing emphasis on positive findings.

While certainly controversial and hard to sell to the populace, it has long been the strong opinion of scientists and researchers that, to quote Dr McCambridge ““There is a broad consensus internationally among researchers that the most effective measures to control problems caused by alcohol are to raise the price, control availability and restrict marketing activities.”

The ongoing struggle against commercial interests and honest and effective policy in regards to alcohol is one of major consequence. This is due to the scale of which alcohol is consumed on a countrywide level; even seemingly small alterations to price or marketing requirements and restrictions can have the power to save or negatively impact thousands of lives. It is not out of hand to say that the struggle over this industry and its limitations will be bitter and shows no clear sign of outright resolution.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Alpine Bacteria discovery may lead to new drugs

A rock growing bacteria found solely in the Swiss Alps has lead to greater understanding of alcohol’s relation to brain proteins. This information could give us a better understanding of our relationship with drugs and alcohol. 

This is a significant development and may pave the way for drugs that would work by disrupting the link between the brain and alcohol.

Texas researchers have sequenced the genome of this special type of bacteria. In doing so, a particular protein sequence has been found that shares remarkably similar properties to a specific element of the human brain.

This exciting discovery is remarkable partly due to the difficulties inherent in such a specific scientific task. Adron Harris of the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction within the University of Texas elaborates: “For many of us in the alcohol field, this has been a Holy Grail, actually finding a binding site for alcohol on the brain proteins and showing it with X-ray crystallography, but it hasn't been possible because it is not possible to get a nice crystal.”

The specific moment of triumph came through collaboration from the Texas based researchers and French scientists from the Pasteur Institute. The protein found that was so similar in nature to part of our human brains was altered to make it sensitive to ethanol. This allowed comparison of the original bacteria and the newly altered version to test if alcohol would bind to the bacteria.

“This is something you never would have found with any sort of logical approach” States Harris “You never would have guessed that this obscure bacterium would have something that looks like a brain protein in it. But the institute, because of Pasteur’s fascination with bacteria, has this huge collection of obscure bacteria, and over the last few years they've been sequencing the genomes, keeping an eye out for interesting properties.”

Through further research and testing on mice, the long-term aim of this specific research is the creation and production of drugs that could help lower alcohol consumption or halt it entirely. Through greater understanding of how alcohol interacts with the brain through the rewarding, positive effects as much as the negative, as well as research projects such as these, tailor made drugs could allow enormous numbers of people struggling with alcohol addiction increased odds of recovery. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Facebook: A new tool in eating disorder analysis?

New research is showing the potential of social media websites like Facebook in regards to the prediction of health issues.

A recent study led by scientists from the Boston Children’s Hospital has given new attention to the possibility of using such a widespread social media platform in a medical and scientific sense.

The use of geo-tagged user data from Facebook seems to show that knowledge of a person’s online activity on a regional basis can help experts predict obesity, eating disorders and other health related issues on increasingly small scales. The possibilities of mapping the potential and current levels of obesity on a neighbourhood scale, for instance, is a very exciting prospect for professionals tasked with lowering such rates.

Traditionally, achieving such results has been difficult in several ways. Cost is, as we all know, a primary concern when planning and undertaking any medical research or study. The fact that Facebook is such a widespread and open platform gives researchers a unique opportunity to analyse this data for the betterment of communities and individuals. The problem of sample size is also lesser, with untold millions using Facebook in current days, often to the point where it is feasible to except an entire community to be representable through the social media platform.

The researchers involved in this study are well aware of these benefits; Brownstein, involved in running the computational epidemiology section within CHIP (the runners of this study) clearly understands these possibilities, saying that “Online social networks like Facebook represent a new high-value, low-cost data stream for looking at health at a population level. The tight correlation between Facebook users' interests and obesity data suggest that this kind of social network analysis could help generate real-time estimates of obesity levels in an area, help target public health campaigns that would promote healthy behaviour change, and assess the success of those campaigns."

With Facebook users that ‘like’ sports or activity related pages shown to be up to 12% lower in terms of obesity rates, there is the great possibility of low cost data being available for researchers in a truly large scale.

This said, the issue of privacy and attainment of this data may prove an issue, with Internet privacy an incredibly hot topic amongst net users at present. It remains to be seen how this gold mine of data can be used fairly and openly amongst researchers to improve the quality of life of those they aim to understand better.  Brownstein concludes that this study “reveal(s) how social media data can augment public health surveillance by giving public health researchers access to population-level information that they can't otherwise get."

For more information about Eating Disorder Treatment visit The Life Works Website

Monday, 1 July 2013

Cannabis use in young adults linked to increased chance of stroke

A startling new study conducted in New Zealand has shown a possible link between the use of cannabis in young adults and the possibility of suffering from an ischemic stroke or attack. Based around a group of 18-55 year old participants, this new connection shows an alarming possibility cannabis to be linked to such a severe health issue. (For more information about Cannabis visit the Life Works Community Website)

This new research is at the forefront in this area, casting new light on the possible negative side effects associated with regular use of the drug, something many may not be considering as possible. “Cannabis has been thought by the public to be a relatively safe, although illegal substance. This study shows this might not be the case; it may lead to stroke” States professor Alan Barber.

While there is general knowledge that using cannabis can cause mental impairment in very young smokers, little is known or appreciated by the masses beyond this, with many even holding the opinion that cannabis is a completely benign substance for anyone to partake of.

This recent study appears to show that cases of ischemic strokes are connected with cannabis use several hours before the incident, with patients usually displaying  “no other vascular risk factors apart from tobacco, alcohol and other drug usage.”

While interesting, the above sentence shows a core issue with this research. Although the results of the study show a connection, there is no causation; we do not truly know for certain that cannabis is responsible for these attacks. It may be entirely likely that tobacco is the culprit, with the majority of cannabis users rolling joints with tobacco inside for ease of use or money saving purposes.

It is important that such possibilities are considered. Personal and inherited health issues may make individuals involved in these studies more prone to such attacks, combined with the possibility that tobacco is a contributing factor. While this does not dismiss the possibility of cannabis being the cause of such an increase in stroke possibility, consideration of these extra factors is key for accurate research.

Traditionally, studies concerning cannabis and its link to various health issues have been a complicated task for researchers due to the illegal nature. While analysis of the drug itself is not a common issue, it has proved difficult for researchers to conduct accurate and relevant studies on cannabis. As a result of this, studies such as these are a valuable source of new insight on cannabis. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Brain Structure Is Different In Those With Anorexia

A study conducted earlier this year has discovered physical differences in the brains of anorexics compared to those without the disorder.

The brain is always active and incredibly fast moving in its processing. Whenever a person is receiving visual stimulus, the brain reacts and becomes increasingly active in several different regions. This new study has discovered that anorexics will have different levels of activity in specific areas of the brain. The technique used in the study to discover this new information is called functional magnetic resonance imaging and has allowed for a new and interesting look at the brains of those suffering from anorexia nervosa.

The difference is in how the brain is connected. The two main regions that are responsible for processing images of the body have been found to be significantly weaker in anorexics when compared to those without the disorder. It has been found that the weaker the connection is (the stronger the difference when compared to a normal brain) the more anorexic individuals consider themselves to be overweight. Dr Boris Suchan, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ruhr-Universitat states that“These alterations in the brain could explain why women with anorexia perceive themselves as fatter, even though they are objectively underweight"

This is exciting news for those involved in research and treatment of anorexia; any solid, physical confirmation of differences in the brain is grounds for new areas and directions of research and could pave the way for new treatment for anorexia nervosa.

In the study, ten anorexic women were chosen, along with fifteen healthy women as a control group. After being tasked with choosing which visual representation of a body was most similar to their own by picking from a list of silhouettes, the women were then scanned through MRI machines. At the same time, the women were shown varying pictures of different types of bodies.

The critical element of this study is the “fusiform body area”, or FBA, and also the EBA, or “extrastriate body area”. The activity in these areas and their connections was the base of the studies findings on how different connection levels can be linked with anorexia.

As mentioned above, the link was weaker in the anorexic group. This confirmation of the level of FBA and EBA connection and its relation to anorexia is an extremely important discovery. While some studies are more speculative in nature, this research has found physical differences in the brain that can be tied to anorexia, guiding future research and prospects of treatment. 

For More information about Eating Disorders and all other forms of addiction, visit the Life Works Community Website. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Can tailor made substances help cannabis withdrawal?

New synthetic drugs are currently undergoing research and testing that may help cannabis users wean themselves off the substance. With street cannabis growing increasingly strong for decades, these synthetic substances may aid heavy users in restoring much needed control to their lives.

With the rate of cannabis relapse estimated at 71% within the United States, the choice to go cold turkey with cannabis is far from simple and certainly not easy. While many would be surprised at such a figure, the fact remains that many thousands of users are struggling with the problem of staying clean from cannabis. This problem is expected to increase in scale in America as the drug comes ever closer to decriminalization or full legalization.

One of the substances aimed at assisting with this problem is Nabilone. Synthetic in nature, Nabilone mimics the structure of cannabis without giving a high to the user. It appears from initial testing that Nabilone is effective in reducing common cannabis withdrawal symptoms related to sleep and appetite. It also appears that the substance can help minimize the level of stress and general impairment in individuals attempting to quit cannabis; something quite significant in the psychological battle of withdrawal.

Similarly, it has been found that a combination of THC delivered orally and lofexidine can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the same vein as Nabilone. Lofexidine is an opiate withdrawal drug that has seen use within the United Kingdom. It is not, however, approved for use within the United States as of yet.

While it may seem surprising or controversial to some, the use of synthetics in withdrawal from cannabis is a perfectly legitimate and feasible avenue, providing appropriate substances can be found that are both effective and minimal in their side effects. The fact that many view cannabis is a safer or more benign substance does not change the fact that many users struggle with abstinence. Symptoms such as sleeping issues and problems with the appetite of the individual in question are very real and can be very disruptive in day to day life, something that can spill over into other areas and be profoundly difficult to contain. If these synthetic drugs can be researched thoroughly and implemented in reducing the difficulty of withdrawal from cannabis for users, thousands will benefit and gain further confidence from conquering a difficult issue within their own lives.

For more information about substance abuse and all addiction, please visit the Life Works Community Website. 

Friday, 31 May 2013

Males and females show differences in binge eating tendencies

A Michigan State University led study has revealed differences in how male and female rats are likely to binge eat.This study is the first of its kind to discern full sex differences in the rates of binge eating likelihood amongst animals.

This is, of course, exciting in its potential to help humans. The recorded chance of binge eating in female rats was discovered to be a huge four to ten times higher when compared to their male counterparts.

The difference between sexes if profound and intruiging. Kelly Klump, main author of the study states that “Most theories of why eating disorders are so much more prevalent in females than males focus on the increased cultural and psychological pressure that girls and women face,” “But this study suggests that biological factors likely contribute as well, since female rats do not experience the psychosocial pressures that humans do, such as pressures to be thin.”

This is a critical element of the study. Tell your standard individual that women are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and it is likely to be rationalized; women at greater pressure to conform to the standards of beauty, made to feel inadequate by constant bombarding with advertisements and magazines shouting the idea of the illusive perfect body. But of course, rats have none of these issues. The difference in likelihood to suffer from an eating disorder has been discovered in animals, not humans.

The study was conducted in the manner of a feeding experiment. A total of sixty rats divided evenly between male and female were used over a period of fourteen days. Slowly, the food was replaced with frosting. This gave the results of the female rats being up to six times more likely to binge eat when compared to the male group.

The difference may be down to the structure of the brain and how it differs between sexes. The researchers of the study are continuing their testing, attempting to discern if the female rat brain is wired to have a different level of sensitivity in regards to reward stimuli like high fat or sugar dense food.

If further specific results can be found in this area, it is hoped that it will lead to greater understanding of the differences between men and women with eating disorders, helping treat sufferers more specifically and accurately.

For more information on eating disorders and addiction, please visit the Life Works Community website.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Heroin users are branching out to new drugs

Recently released research from the charity, Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), shows 75% of heroin addicts in Dublin are also dependent on other drugs.

During a study at an MQI needle exchange, researchers found that half of heroin addicts shot up at least 6 times per week and two thirds of addicts were also using drugs like methadone, benzodiazepine tranquilisers, cannabis, alcohol, steroids and cocaine.

In an interview, Tony Geoghegan, MQI chief executive said, "The report confirms people are still using heroin, but polydrug use is now the dominant trend. This means detox services in Ireland have to match the need. In Ireland there are currently no detox options for this group."

Most of the current crop of detox centres focus on people addicted to a single drug. This makes them less effective for people with multiple addictions and often leaves people with only a partial solution to their drug problem.

Potentially more worrying is the fact that 27% of the 338 study participants admitted to sharing needles or other injecting equipment in the past month. This risky behaviour contributes to both the prevalence of HIV in and hepatitis in the injection drug community.

Read more.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Virtual reality could be used to treat eating disorders

Research conducted in Spain has highlighted the possibility of virtual reality computer programs as a means to help educate individuals suffering from eating disorders.

The study was based around several different scenarios created electronically. The subject of body image disturbance is a significant indicator of possible eating disorders, with individuals suffering from, for instance, bulimia or binge eating viewing their bodies as smaller or larger than reality, respectively. The idea of employing technology in the form of computer programs was first analyzed in 2003, with the recent Canada based follow-up shedding new light on the possibilities of this type of support.

In one of the scenarios created for the purpose of the study, participants were tasked with adjusting the proportions of a computerized body until they felt it matched their own physical bodies. This allowed for clear and immediate indication of an individual being out of touch with their true physical size.

 Another scenario portrayed a door, with a body shown as prepared to enter sideways. In this computerized scenario, the participant was asked to remove strips within the doorway until they felt their body could fit through the door sideways.

 The results of the study have been both interesting and promising. It was found that the addition of these virtual reality scenarios indeed aided in reduction of eating disorder symptoms. This was compared to just cognitive therapy and was found to be more effective.

Read full story here.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Does smoking cannabis mean you are lazy?

Individuals who smoke cannabis on a regular basis may find they experience lower energy levels compared to those who do not, researchers from the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction have suggested.

Acknowledging that only nine per cent of people who use marijuana become dependent on the substance, scientists did not that the drug can still cause several problems for those people who smoke it fairly often.

The study revealed that a person's likelihood of experiencing cannabis-related problems can be linked to their working memory and impulsivity.

By using subjects who were smoking marijuana around two times per week, the study - which was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence - concentrated on those people who did not experience withdrawal symptoms after refraining from inhaling the substance for 24 hours.

Read more.

Friday, 17 May 2013

online porn is ruining romance in relationships?

According to a study conducted by Cosmopolitan magazine, some couples are experiencing problems with their romance as a result of a growing desire among young men to watch adult films on the internet.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

More Teens Abusing Prescription Drugs

A national study in the USA has found that one in four teens have misused or abused prescription medications at least once in their lifetime. This is an increase of 33% in the last five years alone.

The research, which was run with data from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study or PATS shows that 13% of teens report taking Ritalin or Adderall without a prescription.

“This data makes it very clear: the problem is real, the threat immediate and the situation is not poised to get better,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at

“Parents fear drugs like cocaine or heroin and want to protect their kids. But the truth is that when misused and abused, medicines — especially stimulants and opioids — can be every bit as dangerous and harmful as illicit street drugs.”

A big part of the problem may be caused by ill-informed parents. Research indicates that almost one third of parents believe prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can help students study even if they are not prescribed and the child does not have ADHD.

Read More.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Can changing the way companies advertise alcohol save people lives?

With the average Irish drinker consuming the equivalent of a bottle of whiskey per week in Ireland, doctors are looking for ways to lower the countries consumption rates. 

In 2012 A proposal was put forward to the Department of Health Steering Group  that would phase-out alcohol sponsorships for sporting and cultural events by 2016. The group Alcohol Action Ireland sees the practice of alcohol sponsorship as a form of early indoctrination. They described Irish drinking culture as a conveyor belt that creates a steady supply of heavy drinkers that will support the alcohol industry. The alcohol advertising is a sign of this trend they say.

Professor Joe Barry of Alcohol Action Ireland said that many of the sporting bodies that benefit most from alcohol advertising flat out deny or dismiss the evidence of the harm they are incurring.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Springwatch presenter opens up about Anorexia past

A television presenter has opened up about the eating disorder she suffered with for several years while attempting to maintain some control in her life.

Michaela Strachan said the anorexia that saw her weight plummet to dangerous lows came about as a result of her "sheltered middle-class world" falling apart.

During an interview with the Daily Mail, the Springwatch and Autumnwatch presenter admitted she would fast and survive on as little food as possible in a bid to keep the excess pounds off.

The 46-year-old also revealed that she became obsessed with monitoring her weight on the scales and would make herself vomit if the needle edged even slightly above her ideal weight.

"I ate virtually nothing all day. You’d think I would have collapsed with exhaustion, but the feeling of light-headedness was addictive," Strachan explained.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Addiction Invades Afghanistan

While Afghanistan produces 90% of all the opiate derived drugs world-wide, they have never had a major addiction problem until now.

There are now more than one million drug addicts out of a total population of 35 million. This makes Afghanistan the country with the most drug addicts per capita. These addicts are not simply people living on the fringes of society either. There are doctors, engineers, and other professionals.

The cause of this rise in addiction rates is complex. Many of the countries former addicts fled to escape the violence that has been rife for the last 30 years. These addicts took shelter in Pakistan and Iran where there is a high rate of addiction and a ready supply of drugs.  Now that Afghanistan is in a period of relative peace, the addicts are returning and bringing both their drug habit and their narcotics connections with them.

Another factor driving the high rate of addiction is the 40% unemployment rate in Afghanistan. In an interview with the BBC, one addict said that if he had a job, he would never be buying drugs.
Besides the high rate of unemployment and the returning addicts, A major reason for the skyrocketing rate of addiction in Afghanistan is refinement. Historically, the poppies that are used to make heroin were grown in Afghanistan and then the raw plants were transported to other countries to be refined. Now many more Afghans are simply refining the drug themselves which has made a cheap and abundant supply readily available. That means people who may never have seen drugs like heroin have easy access and no education as to the drugs consequences.

"Traditionally, what we tend to argue is that the demand causes the supply," says Jean-Luc Lemahieu, regional representative of the UN drugs agency UNODC, in a BBC interview. “What we have forgotten, though, is that… the sheer appearance of that product on the market causes a local demand."

This is made worse by the fact that opiates like heroin have been used as a traditional medicine in Afghanistan for centuries. People see it as a cure all and it is often taken as a cure all for everything from headaches, coughs and pain. This means there are many families where both parents and children are addicted and in need of help.

Currently women and children make up around 40% of the countries addicts and there are few if any treatment options available. The entire country has 95 addiction treatment centres with enough beds to hold 2,305 people. These are run on a budget of $2.2million per year. That means there is about $2 to spend on each addict per year.

Many of these treatment centres only offer a detox which consists of going cold turkey for 72 hours. This will leave many addicts without the proper treatment or help they need to reclaim their lives and start meaningful recovery.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What can we learn from youth binge drinking?

It is a simple fact that many of us begin drinking at different ages. While a taboo
subject, it is now increasingly common that children just before or just entering their
teenage years are drinking heavily. While an unpleasant subject it is one that cannot
be ignored. That said, some individuals start drinking much later in their teenage
years, around or on the legal limit. Others do not touch alcohol until they are in their
twenties. This can depend on a huge variety of different reasons, such as location,
upbringing and family nature.

New information has come to light that shows how those that choose to drink alcohol
from a much earlier age may be affecting their adult lives in ways we just did not
consider before. This is a new trend of thought that is backed up by recent research,
and the results of it are as intriguing as they are alarming. Risky behaviours, for
instance sexual activity or the choice to experiment with drugs are seen to be a
possible end result of the choice to drink alcohol at a younger age.

This is opposed to the more understood topic of adult alcohol consumption. Until
much recently, it was generally considered as a stable and more consistent subject
across most age rangers, but these new studies are showing this up as not true at all.
While adults are more socially accepted as drinkers, it is the simple fact of the matter
that children younger and younger are starting to drink, and drink heavily. This new
aspect of our culture must be addressed and understood in more detail if we are to
ensure the health of our future generations.

The key to this issue and solving it to as extensively a degree as is possible is
removing the taboo. It is vital that we become more willing to openly discuss the
matter of the very young experimenting with drugs and alcohol, instead of viewing
it as a blanket failing. With increased access to information and a globalized society,
it is not suprising that children are becoming much more aware of the possible
enjoyments available to them at a younger age. This is a new problem that has come
with technology and has its own challenges and issues that come with it.

These new studies are encouraging in that they show the clear possibility of distinct
differences in adults that have begun drinking at an early age, compared to those who
have not. Armed with the awareness of this difference we can justify more research
into the problem of youth drinking, and as a result of this research serve our future
generations in a more complete and compassionate manner. It goes without saying
that burying our heads in the sand regarding the unpleasant subject of youth substance
abuse will do worse than nothing; it will allow time to pass that could have been used
learning, and that learning could save and alter the paths of many lives.

For more information, please visit the Life Works Community website.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Are the parents to blame for their children's addictive personalities?

Addictive personality types are a set of traits that many people have which make
them vulnerable to addiction. Studies indicate to some degree that these types of
people use their addictive vices as a way to overcome different types of stresses in
their lives.It is a typical theme that these people that abuse various substances have
negative self image or look down upon themselves and their lives.

Drugs are not the only thing these people usually tend towards. It is the case that
there are many people that will end up harming others or themselves through their
addictions. Common outlets for these personality types tend towards being things
like alcohol, video gaming or pornography, along with drugs. These behaviors
appear to be addictive due to the psychology of the individual that creates this
response. There are however many different outlets for the personality type of
addictive. It is often the case that the person in question will swap between different
addictions at distinct times.

There is however much debate over how these personality types emerge. Quite a
few people believe that it is based on psychological influences, although some others
believe it to be biological. Studies do exist that appear to show that adults who have
parents that are already addicted to something are up to 70% more likely to form an
addiction of their very own. Some think that these psychological influences cause
addictive behaviour due to the simple fact that we now have personality traits
responsible. Researchers have studied these kinds of factors, discovering that
existing addictions tend to be in people that are impulsive, stressed and sometimes
lacking in ambition.

Environmental factors may also have a part in these situations, causing triggers of
addictive responses in people prone towards it. As an individual gets significantly
more stressed and overwhelmed in where they are, if an addictive personality type is
found it is likely they will respond with an addictive move. There are studies that
seem to prove that those that have had poor upbringings are more likely to grow
addictive personality types as a way to cope.Various signs and symptoms exists for
people such as this.Impulsive actions are widespread. These people, when put in a
harmful situation, are much more likely to not look at the effects of their choices and
act impulsively.Antisocial nature can also be common in these forms of people.
Insecurity and the sense of being disliked is common, making them distance from
their friends and society. Other frequent signs are depression, with many feeling as if
they are the only ones on the planet that suffer from their issues, and that help is not
possible. Whether or not personalities prone to addiction are generated by the
environment, traits or the genetics of the individual, signs of this always exist and
favorable outlets are possible for those suffering.

For more information about addiction and addictive personalities visit the Life Works Community site.

Does liking strange food combinations indicate an eating disorder?

The nature of eating disorders is usually extremely secretive, as many sufferers keep their conditions behind closed doors for as long as possible. In many cases, individuals are too ashamed to come clean to their loved ones about their struggle with food, as they are embarrassed their illness will not be taken seriously. Very often, they spend a lot of time hiding their bodies under baggy clothes in a bid to keep their condition - during which they starve themselves or binge eat - to themselves. Please click to read more.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Monday, 29 April 2013

The problem on Alcoholism

The problem of alcoholism can begin in mild ways. As it is so socially accepted, no warning lights go off when a person goes on a “bender”. Quite the opposite, as in many cases they are jokingly slapped on the back and congratulated for a night outrageously well done. In fairness, in the majority such excess is handled well and does not develop into more unhealthy dependency. That said however, it does mask the moments in time where an alcoholic is in the making. In many cases the signs can be even subtler as the abuse of alcohol sets in, with the individual slowly sacrificing obligations of family, work and friends to maintain his dependency.
A study within the United States of America has recently shed light on this difficulty of detection. In the study, 1,700 adults completed questionnaires at the end of an office visit with a doctor. Questions based around lifestyle and social activities were featured. In the results, it was shown that when a doctor used a hunch or simply their best guess, they missed three out of four patients that had a drinking problem. That said, when they were more sure of signs, they were usually correct. (click here to view more about the study)
This shows strongly that a more uniform and specific screening test for drinking issues would massively help detection and treatment of alcoholics or those that abuse alcohol to an unhealthy extent in general. Dr Daniel Vinson, from Missouri School of Medicine stated that he “hope(s) that by papers like this, it’s going to be a nudge to physician to say … ‘Maybe I should start screening.’ It’s not that hard to do,”
The benefits of this kind of system would be far reaching. Instead of a more murky approach to discovering alcoholics in medical interviews, it would be easy for professionals to be trained in the screening system, making it accessible to a wider range of people. With greater detection comes more early warning in finding and helping those afflicted, allowing less lives to be ruined and money to be saved in future medical costs associated with treatment for alcoholism.
The impact on a countrywide level would also be impressive. Knowledge that there is a screening test anyone can be applied to would quite possibly increase the likelihood of voluntary admittance or encouragement to do so through peers and family ties. With more people diagnosed earlier, money and lives can be saved directly.
For more information about alcoholism and treatment options, please visit the LifeWorks Community Website

Friday, 26 April 2013

Awareness and understanding of prescription abuse

The problem of prescription drug abuse is one of quite enormous scale. There are over six million cases per year of abuse of prescription drugs, although it is not always covered well in media. This problem affects a wide variety of people from many
different backgrounds, but is most commonly highlighted in the case of celebrities that have issues with legal prescriptions.

The culture is important in understanding this. Illegal drugs are always a talking point
and a hotly contested area prone to serious and passionate discussion. The topic of
illegal drugs reaches far into fiscal policy, the prison system, and our relationships
with other countries and their own problems with the global drug network. Legal
drugs used in medical prescriptions are a different story. Many of the drugs prescribed
to patients are incredibly potent and unfortunately addictive. This leads to problems of
addiction just as legitimate and intimate as the more well known illegal drugs such as
crack cocaine, heroin and so on. The nature of purchase and the culture attached may
be different, but the threat to our society of addiction to prescribed medication is just
as real and incredibly far-reaching.

A large problem with prescription drug addiction is that of public awareness. As we
have established in the previous paragraph, our society is acutely aware of illegal
drugs and more conversation is occurring on this subject, as can be seen in recent
efforts to legalize marijuana in the USA. Public awareness of addiction to legal
prescriptions is unfortunately a different story.

Drugs that are commonly abused are usually in the area of pain killers, tranquilizers
and sedatives. These drugs are usually used to treat ailments like anxiety and sleep
disorders (even schools). Opioids are used for many pain killers and prone to extreme cases of
addiction. Many argue the benefit of prescribing such powerfully addictive drugs,
with the argument that it creates one problem after it temporarily solves another. This
complicated issue has ramifications far into our finances.

Much more needs to be done to bring into the public eye the subject of the powerful
drugs that are prescribed to patients for various issues and ailments. Generating more
conversation on the subject can help bring awareness, and through that clarity and
closer attention, to what drugs are prescribed and what is best for different situations.
It is the simple act of conversation on a countrywide level that brings about change.
This can be witnessed, as mentioned, with recent discussion on marijuana in America.
Awareness is the key to making sure that enough public pressure is applied to the
topic of prescription drugs. The reason for this being beneficial is that it will help
ensure caution when prescribing powerful drugs, which will help avoid unneeded
addictions and negative experiences for those in need of prescription help.

Please visit our site Lifeworks Community, based in Surrey, for more information.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Mentoring to help Teens avoid drugs, alcohol and negative behaviour

All of us can look back on our teenage years and understand the turbulence and difficulty involved in going through adolescence and puberty. A period often fraught with physical problems, as well as the sense of finding yourself amidst pressure to perform and conform. It is no surprise teens are often stereotyped as angsty and
conflicted; the pressures of performance in a modern society are only growing by the year. Modern teenagers now have to fit in socially, deal with physical changes in their body and how to understand them, as well as perform academically. Problems can of course arise through struggles in dealing with these pressures.

Two organizations, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and also
the BBBSC (Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada), have recently released the results of
an enormous mentoring study. Covering a five year window and involving nearly
a thousand children and teenagers, this incredible study shed light on the massive
benefits a “mentor” can have for a teenager as they develop and grow in age. One
incredible straight statistic that has arisen from the study is that girls are a staggering
four times less likely to bully, fight or express anger or lying tendencies when they
had an assigned mentor, or “big sister” in the studies terms.

The benefits extend beyond this, however. Girls were shown to be two and a half
times more likely to show confidence in their ability and successes within school.
Boys with a mentor also showed to be two times less likely to become involved in
patterns of bullying, cheating or expression of anger in social settings. Dr Dewit
is quoted as saying "We showed that the positive findings held regardless of the
children's age, personal history, family circumstances or cultural identity. Over time, Big
Brothers Big Sisters agencies will be able to counsel mentors on how best to engage
with their 'Little' and will make it easier to identify the children most likely to benefit from
having a mentor."

This possibility of assigning children and young teens individual mentors is an incredibly
interesting topic. With such benefits in sight, it is clear that the mentor acts as a beacon
and focus point in a time of upheaval and transformation for the teenager. With the ability
to instill positive and compassionate morals at a time where many young people feel lost,
a mentor could make an enormous difference within the space of a generation if applied
on a countrywide level.

The presence of a mentor can also undoubtedly be a massively powerful influence
against drugs and alcohol. With a personal bond in the mentor dynamic, it would
be very easy to help steer a teen away from destructive substances and habits, or at
least increase the possibility of picking up on the signs of such behaviour and seeking
further help. This possibility of an early warning can help those who are already
taking the path of drugs and addiction.

For more information on drug abuse please visit the Life Works Community Website.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Eating Disorders and Awareness

Symptoms of Bulimia

The phenomenon of the catwalk and professional model is well understood within western culture. Often deified as the cutting edge of class, it is often considered synonymous with wealth and social success. The model industry has been plagued over recent years with negativity due to the affiliation with the idea that smaller and thinner is better. This is, however, appearing to change, with more outcry and demand for models of a larger and more “realistic” size. Due to increased exposure on the subject, the modelling industry could be seeing a period of upheaval. There are countless stories of models starving themselves down to smaller sizes in the elusive pursuit of perfection. This is almost a romanticized subject within the west, leading to an enormous problem for impressionable and young people. Tying in their social success with how small they are has lead to countless unfortunate cases of body dysmorphia and issues with health and self-image. This issue is global, and undoubtedly has lead to an enormous amount of suffering and tribulation. The pressure to change the image of fashion to something more realistic and healthy is a welcome change that many are encouraging openly.

Researchers within Durham University performed a study (see study here) on over one hundred women, have provided interesting results. Women who tended towards preferring thin bodies showed much less interest in much smaller sized women after seeing plus size models in catalogues. On the other hand, showing slimmer models increased the desire for thin builds. This fascinating result showed just how much we draw our opinions from media in cases like these. This fascinating result was commented on by Dr Lynda Boothroyd, of the Durham University Psychology department: “This really gives us some food for thought about the power of exposure to super-slim bodies. There is evidence that being constantly surrounded through the media by celebrities and models who are very thin contributes to girls and women having an unhealthy attitude to their bodies. “

The benefits of this study and its confirmations are quite far reaching indeed. Bringing awareness of the public move towards more healthy sizes is certainly a positive. This study, however, helps bring awareness to just how impressionable people are. While some may find themselves challenged or made uneasy by this study, it is important to be aware of how much influence we draw from our media. We are far from unimpressionable, and we certainly subconsciously draw our opinions and habits from what we watch and read. Studies like this bringing attention to that fact can help arm people with the knowledge to choose their media content and in so bring themselves towards a healthier mindset. As this taboo is more openly challenged and understood from different angles, it is pleasant to expect that the issue of anorexia will gain more attention in the public eye. Bringing understanding and the clear offer of help to troubled teenagers or afflicted people of any age is an exemplary cause and is sure to benefit countless people across the UK and the world.

If you are concerned about this topic and feel you may need more information or help, please visit the Life Works Community Website. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Connection Between Binge Eating and Drug Abuse

It is a fair and clear statement that the problem of drug abuse and addiction is a complicated issue. Addiction can come with a lot of baggage emotionally. It is also something that can be influenced by many different factors. There is no doubt that the teenage years are a critical period in determining many areas of personality and circumstance that may lead to addictive behaviour or full blown addiction to a substance or substances. Often characterized by exploration and experimentation, a teenager is in a very vulnerable stage of their lives when it comes to coming under the influence and pull of addictive substances.

One way in which teens can be more vulnerable to drug addiction is through the
different issue of binge eating. Binge eating is defined as the time when an individual
will consume food far beyond what is needed or expected at that particular time. This
is characterized by a loss of control over eating patterns and can be a very destructive
behaviour. The researchers within the Children’s Hospital of Boston have now shown
a connection between binge eating and drug use.

The study involved over sixteen thousand participants, both male and female. Over a
period of nine years surveys were distributed on a yearly basis. The results were very
interesting, showing that binge eating was more prevalent in girls as opposed to boys.
An explanation by the researchers was that "In summary, we found that binge eating,
but not overeating, predicted the onset of overweight/obesity and worsening depressive
symptoms. We further observed that any overeating, with or without LOC [loss of control], predicted the onset of marijuana and other drug use."

It is also very important that the subject of earlier ages in addiction be given attention.
While unpleasant, teenagers do in some cases find themselves addicted to serious
substances, requiring expert help. Adolescence is of course a turbulent time in a person’s
life. The fact that there is even more of a taboo or sense of failure attached to teenage
issues with drugs and alcohol does little to help treatment and open discussion on the
subject and how to solve it. Far better for teenagers to understand that help and support
is a phone call away should it be needed, as opposed to suffering in silence.

The value of this knowledge is very clear. As the issue of drug addiction is so
complicated and diverse, knowledge from different areas and stages of life is vital. It
is necessary to the process of understanding every addicted individual that research
is carried out in different areas of life. Studies like this completed in separate fields for
different reasons can highlight important features of our psychology that can lead to
serious gains in the understanding of addiction. The more staff of clinics are armed with
diverse knowledge, the more comprehensive their treatment can be. This can help make
sure that ultimately, addicts are treated and stay treated instead of relapsing.

LifeWorks Community in Surrey is dedicated to recovery. For more information please visit their site.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse

While not appreciated by many, the problem of drug abuse extends far beyond that which is illegal. There are millions of recorded cases per year of prescription drug abuse within America and Europe alone. Sadly, this is not always covered well in popular media. A wide variety of people from many different backgrounds struggle with this issue; nevertheless, celebrities are the most common target, with unearthed dependencies and habits gaining the most attention and controversy. 

The culture is important in understanding this issue properly. Illegal drugs are always a talking point and a hotly contested area prone to serious and passionate discussion. The topic of illegal drugs reaches far into fiscal policy, the prison system and our relationships with other countries and their own problems within the global drug network. Legal drugs used in medical prescriptions are a different story. Many of the drugs prescribed to patients are incredibly potent and, unfortunately, addictive. This leads to problems of addiction just as legitimate and intimate as the more well known illegal drugs such as crack cocaine, heroin and so on. The nature of purchase and the culture attached may be different, but the threat to our society in the form of addiction to prescribed medication is just as real and incredibly far-reaching.

A large problem with prescription drug addiction is that of public awareness. As we have established in the previous paragraph, our society is acutely aware of illegal drugs and more conversation is occurring on this subject, as can be seen in recent efforts to legalize marijuana in America. Public awareness of addiction to legal prescriptions is sadly a different story.

Drugs that are commonly abused are often in the area of pain killers, tranquilizers and sedatives. These drugs are in the main used to treat ailments like anxiety and sleep disorders. Opioids are used for many pain killers and can lead to extreme cases of addiction. Many contest the benefit of prescribing such powerfully addictive drugs, with the argument that it creates one problem after it temporarily solves another. This complicated issue has ramifications that extend fully into government level finance and budgets.

Much more needs to be done to bring into the public eye the subject of the powerful drugs that are prescribed to patients for various issues and ailments. Generating more conversation on the subject can help bring awareness, and through that clarity and closer attention to what drugs are prescribed and what is best for different situations. It is the simple act of conversation on a countrywide level that brings about change. This can be witnessed as mentioned previously with the recent discussion on marijuana in America, and its place within the legal and medical laws therein. Awareness is the key to making sure that enough public pressure is applied to the topic of prescription drugs. The reason for this being beneficial is that it will help ensure caution when prescribing powerful drugs, which will help avoid unneeded addictions and negative experiences for those in need of prescription help.

Life Works Community is dedicated to sharing top quality information and advice on addiction and mental disorders. Please follow us as we update and share health news regularly.