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.