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Health
05/13/2010
IconMice kept on a diet that is healthy (but absolutely no fun at all) in which their caloric intake was restricted to only 70% of what's considered "normal" lived 30 to 40% longer than the usual lifespan.' The only downside of this restriction was that the mice were less fertile than their non-restricted counterparts.'Most people can't restrict calories for long, so, according to the New York Times , scientists are trying to find a drug that tricks the body into thinking it's eating fewer calories.' The problem is that all of these restricted calorie experiments are done on captive mice, who are selected for quick breeding and who are fed on rich diets.' A low-calorie diet could be much closer to the diet that mice are adapted to in the wild, extending their life simply because it is much healthier for them.' Mice don't live that long, anyway.' Humans have a longer life span, and that extended duration of time on the planet leaves us more vulnerable to cancers.So, after 20 years of experimenting with caloric restriction on monkeys in captivity, studies found the monkeys were healthier (i.e., they had fewer incidents of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease), but their life span was not significantly longer.' Eating more prudently than we generally do, therefore, was good for quality of life, but not for quantity of life.And that's the point of my taking on this issue in the first place.' People call my radio program knowing they're probably going to die of some particular terminal disease they have.' They call me, because they're spending each day suffering emotionally over the realization that they will soon be dead.' My response to one woman in this situation was to wake up each morning and yell out loud: "Damn - I'm not dead!' Today, I'm gonna LIVE OUT LOUD!!!" The point of our being upset about death is the realization that we've lost all we value in life.' So, take each day that you're not dead to live life to the fullest.' Enjoy that day you're not dead.' Don't waste one precious moment of it.Come to think of it, that's good advice for everyone, since at different times, and at different rates, we're all terminal.' Don't waste one minute of life. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
IconAntidepressant drug use in the United States doubled between 1998 and 2005, according to a report in The Archives of General Psychiatry.' But I'm telling you that there is no way in the world that the incidence of profound depression doubled in that same period.' No way.About 13 million people (or 6% of the population) were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996.' By 2006, that number rose to more than 27 million people.' Again, there's no way that the incidence of profound depression increased that much.'Try this number on for size:' more than 164 million prescriptions were written in 2008, totaling almost $10 BILLION in US sales.' Unlike the incidence of profound depression, I believe that the incidence of making money off prescriptions for depression did indeed double between 1996 and 2005.As a licensed psychotherapist, I can tell you with great candor that the psychological and pharmaceutical communities have a huge investment in income - plain and simple.' It's been amazing to me (and I have commented on this publicly for thirty years) how there are trends in diagnoses and grandiose treatments.' For a while, everyone was agoraphobic; then every adult claimed to have some level of ADD; then there was a trend toward multiple personality disorder.' Now, being bi-polar is the illness of choice, or so it seems.I'm going to state the obvious: yes , there are people clinically depressed to such a severe level that medicine might be the difference between life and suicide.' I have recommended interim treatment for people who seem to be suffering profoundly.However, this "doubling" issue is occurring for a number of reasons:' 1) trends in the psych industry; 2) money-making efforts by pharmaceutical companies (notice all the TV commercials); 3) the growing weakness of the American public to deal with frustrations and setbacks; 4) the social acceptance of copping to a mental illness to explain various personality/behavioral issues; 5) insurance companies not paying for psychotherapy (requiring high out-of-pocket expenses for treatment).' The bottom line?' Numerous studies show that therapy is as effective (if not more effective) than drug use alone.I've become more and more concerned about people trying to "cure" what is normal.' I've said this on my program many times:' being sad and deflated over job or love losses is normal ; having childhood disruptions in one's life is normal ; hanging on to them as an identity, attempt at attention, and as a cop-out for responsibilities is not accepting (and not enduring) what is normal .'A sixteen year old male called my radio program the other day.' He was sad that "the love of his life" dumped him, and he didn't see any future for himself.' I told him that what he was calling the "love of his life" at 16 was not what he would choose as the love of his life at 26.' I also told him that this adolescent "drama" was normal , and that he would go through it a number of times, before he truly recognized who would ultimately be the "love of his life."' His attitude lightened up as he began to understand what normal meant.' I told him to distract himself with sports (releasing powerful endorphins) and friends, without harping on his situation, and it would pass...until the next time.' That is just simply what life is like.We have people who can't take a joke, can't tolerate a difference of opinion (after George W. Bush was re-elected, a psychologist in my area published an article talking about the massive depression in his patients who were Democrats - I was stunned and horrified that people would seek therapy for an election disappointment), who call everything "harassment," who go through difficulties and say that the rest of their lives are "ruined" because of that event, who say they can't function anymore in life because somebody pushed them too close to their actual potential, and so on.'Frankly, I worry that Americans are getting spiritually and psychologically weaker - voluntarily - because victimhood is attractive, and because there is a group for every type of victim that will help them to prolong the suffering. More >>

Tags: ChildrenHealthMental HealthParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconLast Monday, I stayed up late to watch " Dance Your Ass Off ," a new reality series on Oxygen.' I've said many times (and I stand by it), I loathe even the concept of what has been called "reality TV."' I find it generally exploitive, humiliating, demeaning, mean, stupid and guilty of lowering the American consciousness to sub-basement levels.' People are embarrassed, made fun of, attacked, and dismissed with a cavalier attitude of so-called judges or peered out.' These shows make it to air, because they're cheap to produce and because there seems to be no end to the appetite of some of the American public to lick their lips when others are behaving badly or grossly, or when people are being "thrown to the lions."When I heard there was a new TV show in which overweight people would compete in dancing, I thought this would be seriously sickening.' What a scenario for making fun of people!' " Dance Your Ass Off " has some of the elements of the typically disgusting reality format:' judges who have "not too judicious" comments, and someone who gets thrown out after some weeks.' But there is much more to this show in particular (in spite of the spicy title).'The scores are not only for their dancing (they're trained and choreographed by a professional dancer), but for how much weight they lose .' They all have access to a nutritionist who guides them in cooking and food choices and portion sizes.' So at the end of the Olympics-like scoring from 1 to 10 for the quality of their dancing that week, the percentage of weight lost that week is added to their individual score.' Therefore, a person could have been graded poorly for their dance program, but if they lost 5% of their body weight, they potentially could win the whole night!I like that this is just not a typical exploitation of people small or too big.' It's a real challenge for these people to get fit, lose weight, practice dancing, and perform.' The most significant part of the entire program that I appreciated was that there was no competition between these folks.' They all support each other in losing weight and doing their best.' There are no mean manipulations in order to throw somebody off the island or forced fights just for entertainment's sake.' These people work hard, and become quite committed to being fit.It's funny.' I thought this would be an utterly disgusting display, and it turns out it's one which is quite benevolent and fun to watch.' Seeing these folks working very hard in spite of their extra weight and lack of fitness is admirable and not something to giggle about.' Most of the time, the contestants behave quite respectfully when the judges are not that complimentary (and I think the judges are often out of order making demands of non-dancers who are overweight).' Nonetheless, overall, this show is quite supportive of the right behaviors. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesity
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05/13/2010
IconI got this email from a self-described former "bad" wife, and I'll let it speak for itself: Dear Dr. Laura: Some people are recovering alcoholics.' I am a recovering bad wife.' I don't know much about the 12 step programs, but from the little TV I watch, I recall that the first step is to recognize that you have a problem, so here I go: My name is S., and I am a bad wife.' My addiction is not alcohol.' My addiction is the "blame-it-all-on-the-husband" or "take-it-all-out-on-the-husband addiction. I know you've described all of my symptoms much better than I can and much more eloquently in "The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands," and that you've also given me the solutions to become a better wife, but I think my first step needs to be acknowledging my problem. I acknowledge that I have too much on my plate, and that I cannot do it all well, and that my husband's needs and desires have been at the bottom of my priority list for a long time.' People will tell you I am a really nice person, always ready to help, and yet the one person I should be caring about the most (my husband), does not get the respect, the love, and the care that he deserves. As of today, I am no longer a bad wife.' I am a recovering bad wife, and I vow to be the girlfriend and wife my husband deserves. Thank you, Dr. Laura, for hammering good sense into my head. S. More >>

Tags: dietEat Less-Move MoreHealthMarriageSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconMy recent comments about obesity as both a health issue and an overall economic issue generated quite a number of responses.' Some people wrote, detailing medical histories that made it impossible for them to get down to a normal weight.' While there are always exceptions, I wanted to share with you a seemingly "impossible" situation faced by a woman who weighed over 400 pounds.' She knew that losing weight was going to be very difficult, but she made the changes in her life that kept her on the path to good health, and she's a real inspiration to us all (I've not included her name, for reasons of privacy): Dear Dr. Laura: I am an obese person.' Two years ago, my sister asked me to have surgery.' I did not want to have it, because I was afraid of the risk.' I did not know how heavy I was, because my doctor's scale limit is 400 pounds.' I promised my sister I would change my behavior, but not go on a diet. I went to the doctor and got some information and a health exam.' Then I began to make plans on changing my behavior.' [In the past], I was not eating breakfast or lunch.' I was so hungry when I got home, I would eat easy fast food instead of taking the time to prepare food.' I would also binge late at night.' The doctor suggested I no longer skip meals. First change: I eat breakfast and lunch. Second change: Drink before eating.' I drink water, and, for flavor, sometimes Crystal Light.' I learned that when the body needs something, it is not specific.' It just says "I need," and "stomach feels empty." Third change: Choose better foods.' If heart tells brain "I need nutrients," and stomach tells brain "I am full of garbage," the brain sends the message "empty stomach." Fourth change: Thinking of food in a different way.' It's neither my entertainment nor my entitlement.' Better food will get me up the stairs at work.' At 200+ pounds overweight, life becomes stationary.' Nutrition can replace that. Fifth change: Reduce the amount of food.' The doctor suggested that I keep a log of my food and drink.' I wrote down everything for two weeks.' I was eating more than I thought.' Over time, I reduced my starch in half and then in half again.' Today...I do not plan food or write it down.' For me, I would be thinking of food too much.' I eat set breakfast and lunch meals.' Dinner is now something that can be made in 30 minutes. Sixth change: Move more.' Your nagging worked.' The doctor suggested low impact exercise over a long period of time.' No jack rabbit starts and stops.' I can't sustain walking out of water, so I walk 1 hour in water and backstroke 1 hour, six times a week.' I get stares.' I stare back.' I am not ashamed.' I have changed. There is no diet for me to break from.' The only thing left is to feel the frustration.' It renews my dedication to my life change.' The first two years, I lost 70 pounds.' It's the first time in 15 years I have not gained weight.' I have been exercising for a month. Thank you, Dr. Laura, for all your nagging.' I wish I would have started earlier.' The last two years made it possible.' It gave me a foundation of nutrition that sustains me while I move.' I now move more and eat less.' I can hardly wait until next year. Thanks again for the kick in the butt. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconI always look for patterns in callers' questions, because I'm interested in what that pattern means in terms of what folks have come to believe...and why.' A persistent thought seems to be that impulse is irresistible.' That means, if you feel like a burger or a cigarette or a roll in the hay with someone you know you shouldn't be with, then you have some kind of addiction, which means a disease, which means out of your control .That's a darn good rationalization...but it ain't true.' The only irresistible impulse is one which hasn't been resisted , and that is most definitely (but not simply) a choice .I say "not simply," because resisting impulses is difficult and sometimes painful.' Generally, such inappropriate behaviors have the purpose of 1) immediate gratification of feelings, and 2) hiding you from other emotionally distressing thoughts and feelings.' That means that, if you resist the impulse to drink, eat, or have a sexual fling in the office stationery closet, you will be left with the anxiety or sadness that resides within.It is clear, therefore, that the emphasis should be on dealing with the not-so-well submerged anxieties and sadness.' For example, a man called recently to say that he is mean to his wife, criticizing anything he sees around the house.' I immediately suggested that he saw the cluttered kitchen counter as a sign his wife didn't love him.' Now, you'd think that was a ridiculous leap, but it was "spot on."' He (after some nagging from me) offered that his mother had not been, well, "motherly" and loving.' To this day, he has his wife do things to prove/make up for the lack of affection and attention he missed as a child.' Did he know he was doing this and why?' Yes for the "doing;" no for the "why."I suggested he go home with a flower in hand and tell his wife that he needed her to hold him.' I told him that's what "his woman" was for.' You can always hire a maid, but you can't hire someone to really love and care about you.' He was treating his wife like his mom, when he really needed her to be a wife with loving kindness.You get love by being open to it, and by being loving in return.' You do not get love by eating that cake, smoking that joint, drinking that beer or overpowering those who care about you.'Resist those impulses.' Yes, it's painful and difficult, both physically and emotionally, but the ultimate reward is the very thing you've been trying to get (just all in the wrong way), and that thing is LOVE. More >>

Tags: AddictionEat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal ResponsibilitySmokingSocial Issues
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Tags: HealthQuote of the WeekRegarding Dr. Laura
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Tags: AttitudeCommitmentDatingDisappointmentEducationFamily/Relationships - TeensFriendshipsHealthHopeMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyPurposeSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconBeware "The Calorie Police!"' At least, that's how some look at the newly proposed Federal legislation which would require chain restaurants with 20 or more establishments to post the calories of everything they serve, right on the menu.' The National Restaurant Association, which originally fought calorie posting, now says it supports it.Dr. Lynn Silver, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control at New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says "We hope this law will have a significant impact on both the frequency of obesity and diabetes in our city [which already has the law, by the way].' We estimate that in our city there will be 150,000 fewer people obese because of this." Well, I don't know if that's true, since every time I go out to eat, I see relatively fit people eating fish and vegetables and fat people eating lasagna with extra cheese.I've only encountered the calorie menu one time so far, and it was in New York.' There were dishes I thought were healthy, but I was totally wrong about them.' I definitely ordered my meals completely based on calorie content, leaving out foods I knew were yummy but which were calorie-laden.' Nonetheless, I was shocked to see how many relatively innocent-looking dishes had enough calories for the entire day and the next morning too.I know people who have worked in a number of restaurants, and they tell me that to make food "delicious," extra sugar, fat and salt are added by the bucketful.' Butter, butter, and more butter; sugar to make the food sweeter, and salt to give more flavor.' This is especially true when the meat, poultry or fish is not of the highest quality or if it's a bit old.I've gotten to the point that no matter what I order (even fish), I ask for whatever sauce they are serving to be put on the side.' I never have salad with dressing - again, I order any dressing on the side.' If I use any sauce or dressing at all, it's a micro drizzle for a little taste.'Do I think this will diminish obesity?' No.' I do think, however, that it will help people with self discipline as well as the motivation to be healthy to make the right choices and not be undermined right under their noses.' I think that, generally, folks with limited motivation and self-discipline will ignore or rationalize the calorie facts and add unwanted pressure to our health system, where the health-conscious have to financially support the health- un conscious behavior of others.'I do believe that the calorie count posting laws might serve to have restaurants cut fewer corners when it comes to the quality of their cooking and their menu planning.' And that I am looking forward to! More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesity
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