Mindfulness Training for Therapists and Nurses

Mindfulness Training for Therapists and Nurses

Mindfulness training is very “in” and although many folks out there are offering mindfulness training – few of them actually have had much training or experience themselves. YOU ARE IN LUCK. Micki Fine of Mindful Living in Houston has been practicing and training others in mindfulness for years and is considered by many to be the local guru in this discipline.


As a professional in the medical, behavioral or addiction field – being able to combine mindfulness with our clinical expertise is a great advantage in helping our clients. And we reap the benefits of this practice too.

Mindful Living’s 8-week MBSR course designed for Mental Health Pros is beginning next week on Sept. 11th from 1 – 3:30 pm in Houston, Texas. They still have a few spots left…but they are likely to fill up fast.

You can learn more and register by following this link:

Micki Fine / Living Mindfully

Mindfulness Training for Therapists and Nurses / Houston


More Mindfulness with Micki Fine:

Houston dates for Micki Fine’s MINDFULNESS groups:

January 27th, 2015 – 6-8:30 p.m. – Tuesday evening course
January 29th, 2015 – 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Thursday morning course
April 9th, 2015 – 6-8:30p.m. – Thursday evening course
July 11th, 2015 – 1–3:30pm – Saturday afternoon course
Sept. 10th, 2015 – 6-8:30pm – Tuesday evening course

This course consists of 8 weekly sessions, each lasting 2 1/2 hours. In addition to practicing mindfulness meditation, the class provides support for the participants in fostering a daily meditation practice, and discussion about how to integrate mindfulness into various aspects of every-day life. There is a day-long silent retreat in the sixth week of the class to help participants deepen their meditation practice.


When Do You See A Doctor If You Have (Or You Think You Have) Depression?

When Do You See A Doctor If You Have (Or You Think You Have) Depression?

If you have depression, or at least you think you have, you need to realize that you should not diagnose yourself. You need to have a healthcare practitioner that is skilled to give you a correct assessment and professional diagnosis of your condition.

There is absolutely no reason to feel shy or embarrassed when talking to a healthcare provider regarding any symptoms of your condition. There are many healthcare professionals that are very understanding of your problem. After all, they were trained to study and treat depression.

If you have symptoms like these, do not hesitate consulting a medical practitioner. Before getting any actual help or treatment for depression, you must need to first have a diagnosis that is correct.

You see, these symptoms are also symptomatic of other problems. For example, weight loss, fatigue and sleeping patterns may not be caused by depression, but by some medical problem. Other symptoms like losing interest in activities that you previously enjoyed or problems with attention or memory may not be related to depression at all but may be indicative of a undiagnosed medical condition.

You need to consult a doctor so that you can make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are actually a result of your depression and from there, you can start what the best treatment for you individual case. The doctor might ask you to answer questions to fully assess and help determine if you actually have depression and possibly conduct tests to determine that your symptoms are a result of some other health issue.

Depression is a medical condition that is real. Remember that having depression is not something that you want or chose to have. You probably would not think less of someone who has influenza or is suffering from heart disease. In the same manner, you must not be ashamed or feel guilty that you suffer from depression.

Depression will not go away by “toughing it out” or “being strong.” Being weak in your will does not instantly cause you to be depressed. Most cases of depression can’t simply go away just by trying to cheer up. You can’t simply make it go away by doing exercises, taking vitamins or going on a vacation. Treating your depression requires professional help – you can’t do it alone. Like any other serious illnesses, depression needs professional treatment from a healthcare practitioner. When you are suffering from depression, you need to ask for help to make the problem go away.

Your feelings might change when treatment comes along. You should be pleased to know that depression has proved to be one of the most easily treated conditions.

When you are seeking treatment for your depression, what type of healthcare professional should you see?

Although there are some issues raised on what treatment is the best for depression problems (whether it is drugs, therapy, or if it is a mixture of both), there is actually a type of healthcare professional that is highly qualified to help you recover from depression and various mood disorders that require the  use medications or drugs: a psychiatrist.

Board-Certified Counselors and Psychologists, in fairness, are also highly qualified to treat depression problems, but they are not medical professionals and as such, cannot prescribe medications. You should realize that these professionals specialize in therapy, especially talk therapy.

If you do not know if you need drugs or medications, it might prove best to start your treatment of depression under a psychiatrist’s care. If you think you might also have a good chance of eliminating depression through talk therapy, a few psychiatrists can also be good in this area, although in most cases they will likely refer you to more experienced therapists for non-prescriptive therapy.

Live Better Live Now / Houston, Sugar Land and Pearland



Stress Management: 10 Practical Steps

Stress Management: 10 Practical Steps

The World Health Organization calls stress “the health epidemic of the 21st century.” Stress resulting in illness is the causative factor underlying more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor, medical doctors suggest. What is stress? We all talk about it but what does ‘stress’ mean and how does it affect our bodies?

Dr. Hans Selye, who first noted and described the concept of stress, defines stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it.” Stress is neither good nor bad. The effect of the stress is not determined by the stress itself, rather it is determined by how we handle the stress.

Effects of Stress

1. “Emergency Response” The emergency response mechanism activates with a physiological change when people believe they are in physical or mortal danger. Pupils dilate, blood pressure increases, and the production of stress hormones increase. The body prepares within seconds to respond, which is known as the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. The adrenal glands pour out adrenaline and the production of other hormones is increased by the quickly reacting pituitary-adrenal-cortical system of the brain.

This is a healthy, adaptive response to immediate danger but if continually activated, this emergency response may cause a constantly higher-than-normal level of hormone production that can eventually cause physical wear-and-tear on the body. Health problems related to this constant high level of response include hypertension, headaches, ulcers, heart disease, and increased vulnerability to diabetes and colitis.

2. “General Adaptation Syndrome” In studies, Selye came to believe that diseases of adaptation such as hypertension could be produced by abnormal or excessive reaction to stress. The body would increase its supply of hormones in order to be ready for action to stress. Over a prolonged period of time, excessive stress leads to distress and the accompanying physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health problems.

Contributing factors to distress include a) your attitude to life and b) your mood (optimistic or pessimistic). Both help to create the atmosphere that assists your defence system in repairing small wounds, bruises, and infections. This is also the system that tries to destroy strange cells such as those of cancer, including leukaemia.

In mastering stress, you have to figure out what you are doing that contributes to your problem/challenge and change it. The four categories of change include: change your behaviour, change your thinking, change your lifestyle choices, and/or change the situations you are in. Symptoms of overstress include fatigue, aches and pains, anxiety, problems sleeping, depression, and lack of joy in your life

Practical Steps to Stress Management and Creating Balance

1. Make your life regular like ‘clock work.’ Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

2. Give yourself a break – today.

3. Say ‘No’ more often when other people want your time. This includes social engagements, the family dinner on Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Failing to set boundaries with “obligatory” social events often compounds stress.

4. Postpone making any changes in your living environment if you have been coping with undue stress. Change of any kind is stressful and limiting it until later is a good strategy if you are under a lot of pressure.

5. Reduce the number of hours you spend at work or school. If you are a work-a-holic or school-a-holic you need to reduce the energy drain on your body. TAKE SOME TIME OFF.

6. Nutritional eating habits and eating small meals helps to keep your blood sugar stabilized. Many people reach for something high in sugar content when feeling stressed which compounds the problem. Eat more vegetables. Reduce, limit or stop drinking alcohol – it really doesn’t help.

7. Rest your mind, as mind activities alleviate stress. These mind activities include reading, working on a craft, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, meditation, self-relaxation, dancing, and biofeedback.

8. Have a worry time if you must worry. When you find yourself worrying over a problem, set aside a time (I suggest to my students 7:30pm on Tuesday night) and then put off worrying until that time. Chances are you will not even remember what you were stressing yourself about.

9. Book time for yourself. In your daily or weekly schedule book time first for yourself and then the other activities you are involved in. Don’t let anything, except an emergency, usurp your commitment to yourself.

10. Have a massage, try Tai Chi, go to a seasoned counselor or coach – or another form of self-care activity.


LiveBetterLiveNow – West University, The Heights, Rice Village, Sugar Land and Bellaire.


Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Chemotherapy

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Chemotherapy Treatments

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called “anti-cancer” drugs. Your doctor will recommend an appropriate chemotherapy plan based on your medical history, type of cancer, extent of cancer, current state of health, and updated research.

Many people hear about chemotherapy from friends and family or read about it in books or brochures. What you hear and read can give you a general idea about chemotherapy treatments; however, all of the information may not apply to you and your specific situation. Before deciding to begin chemotherapy, you should ask your doctor questions that will help you understand treatment and what to expect during treatments.

Some of the important questions to ask your doctor are:

• Why do I need chemotherapy?

• What are the risks of chemotherapy?

• What are the benefits of chemotherapy?

• What do you hope the chemotherapy will do for me?

• What are the specifics of chemotherapy treatments in my case?

• Are there any other possible treatment methods for my type of cancer?

• What type of chemotherapy drugs will I be given?

• How will the chemotherapy drugs be given to me?

• How long will I be receiving chemotherapy treatments?

• How long will each treatment last?

• Who will give me the treatments?

• How will I feel during chemotherapy?

• What are the short term side effects of chemotherapy?

• Are there any long term side effects of chemotherapy?

• How soon can I expect any side effects to occur and how long will they last?

• Can you recommend a cancer counselor who specializes in helping people with cancer and their partners and family get through this experience?

• Are there medicines available to help me manage any side effects I may have?

• Can I continue to work or go to school during treatment?

• Will I see a doctor at each treatment?

• Should I bring a family member or friend along to each treatment?

• Will I need someone to drive me to and from treatments?

• How will we know if the chemotherapy treatments are working?

• After I finish chemotherapy, what kind of follow-up care will I receive?

• What activities should I do or not do to take care of myself?

• Are there any clinical trials for my type of cancer?

• What other resources offer information and support for chemotherapy patients?

When you sit down and ask the doctor these important questions regarding chemotherapy, the following tips might help you keep track of the information you learn during visits with your doctor:

• Bring a friend or family member to sit with you while you talk with your doctor. This will help you understand what your doctor says during your visit and they can help refresh your memory afterward.

• Ask your doctor for printed information that is available on your specific type of cancer and treatment.

• Take notes during your appointment. If you need more time to write ask your doctor to talk slowly.

• You may want to ask if you can use a tape recorder during your visit. Take notes from the tape after the visit is finished. That way, you can review your conversation later as many times as you wish.

Chemotherapy is difficult for anyone to undertake but if you are prepared by knowing what to expect throughout the treatment you may be able to handle it better both physically and mentally.

“Survival is Science, Living is Art” / Live Better Live Now


10 Common Symptoms Of Depression

10 Common Symptoms Of Depression

Every year approximately 10 per cent of the American population suffers from depression. Depression is a grave illness that affects day to day life and destroys families. It is a disorder that controls the mind and its functions causing loss of appetite, sleeplessness, mood swings, and a deep sense of despair.

The symptoms of depression are varied and the severity changes with time. And, according to experts depression can be an inherited disorder, or caused by life threatening illnesses, or stress. Other causes are certain diseases, medicines, drugs, alcohol, chronic exposure to high stress environments or mental illnesses. Women have been seen to experience depression more than men and this is attributed to hormonal swings, menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause, and post-menopause. But male depression in the U.S. is on the rise for a variety reasons.

Common symptoms are:

1. An unshakeable sadness, anxiety, or emptiness.

2. Overwhelming hopelessness accompanied by pessimistic feelings.

3. Extreme guilt, feelings of helplessness, and no sense of self worth.

4. Loss of energy, a slowing down of metabolism, and activity levels. Being plagued by constant fatigue.

5. A sense of helplessness along with an increasing inability to focus and indecisiveness.

6. Loss of sound sleep and development of extreme insomnia.

7. Inexplicable weight loss or weight gain. Triggered by loss of appetite or eating binges.

8. Brooding and suicidal inclinations.

9. Irritability, short temper, as well as restlessness.

10. Physical afflictions like headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain for no particular reason.

If you experience any of the above along with a marked change in behavior do consult your doctor. He will give you a thorough examination to rule out physical causes for depression as well as any underlying medical problems. Then if required he will recommend that you consult a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Here are some tips for dealing with mild to moderate depression:

Take matters in hand and try and erase negativity from your mind. Cut out from you life terms like exhaustion, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Change your life by setting yourself a few goals. Try and relax, meditate, and enjoy music. Start new activities that absorb your time as well as interests. Go out and meet people and participate in group activities. Avoid the company of negative people – this is huge, but isolation is not the answer. You have to add positive, communal experiences. Make up your mind to enjoy a movie, ballgame, family outing, picnic, or trek. Be positive, self confident, and have faith in yourself. Faith is itself can be a great healer. Decide to change your world for the better.

However do follow the doctor’s advice. Treatment can include: anti-depressant medicines, psychotherapy, as well as lifestyle changes.

For severe depression:

If your depression escalates, seek help from your family physician or health care provider. If you are suicidal, call the emergency response, suicide hotline or go to your nearest emergency room. Do call a local health department, a community mental health center, or hospital or clinic. Someone will extend a helping hand and talk you through the crisis.


Live Better Live Now


Understanding The 7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Understanding The 7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease

A person’s mental and physical abilities deteriorate as he progresses through various stages of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the way the disease manifests can vary quite widely from one person to another.

Knowing about Alzheimer’s stages can help the caregivers plan for and cope with the disease better. The following is based on Dr. Reisberg’s study which divides the disease into seven stages.


Stage 1:

This is when no symptom of the disease is manifest and full mental and physical functions are retained.


Stage 2:

At this stage, there is some loss of memory and the person may forget names of friends and family at times. The person is full aware that his mental functions are declining. This is often mistaken to be the result of normal ageing processes rather than as the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease.


Stage 3:

This is still an early stage of the disease, but the symptoms are more noticeable now. The sufferer may go into denial. There is an inability to concentrate on tasks and performance at work may deteriorate.

The person becomes more anxious. They get lost quite easily in unfamiliar territory. Misplacing objects is quite common at this stage. Their ability to remember recently acquired information deteriorates.


Stage 4:

At this stage, the person can’t perform complex tasks on his own. Examples include filing tax returns or handling finances in general. As a way out, they may want to avoid such situations altogether.

The ability to concentrate deteriorates further and so does memory. They may not be able to remember some events in their lives. Mood swings are common.


Stage 5:

Now the patients will need assistance in ordinary tasks like picking appropriate clothes to wear. They may be unable to remember parts of their lives, although they will still remember basic information about themselves, their family and some friends.

Their sense of time begins to deteriorate as well.


Stage 6:

This is a moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Forgetfulness accelerates and they may not even remember the name of their spouse. Large chunks of their lives are forgotten.

They definitely need help to cope with routine activities like bathing, dressing, etc. Incontinence may set in at this stage. Their sleep patterns may be disturbed.

Their personality will likely undergo a complete change. They may become violent or exhibit obsessive behaviour.


Stage 7:

This is severe Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to speak is limited to less than a dozen words. They may lose the ability to walk, sit up or even hold their head up. This is a stage where the brain is apparently incapable of directing the body.

These stages of Alzheimer’s disease may occur differently in various individuals. What is described above is a composite picture that can help to understand how a person’s faculties diminish with the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.


One More Point:

This disease is hard enough as it stands, and perhaps harder still on the primary caregivers and loved ones. Counseling and support groups, in addition to your invested physician, are excellent resources for everyone involved.

Be open, be informed, be prepared – be it all, together.


Live Better Live Now – Houston


Pediatric Bipolar Versus Asperger’s Disorder

Pediatric Bipolar Versus Asperger’s Disorder

Pediatric bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a mental illness that presents itself in patients as mood swings or mood cycling. Pediatric bipolar type one patients tend to experience episodes of mania alternating with periodic episodes of depression. Pediatric bipolar type two patients tend to experience episodes of depression interspersed with periodic episodes of mild mania. Depression symptoms include anger, extreme sadness, sleeping too much, and feelings of worthlessness. Manic symptoms include bursts of rage, extreme happiness, increased energy, hyperactivity, distractibility, sleeping too little, and obsessive behaviors.

Pediatric bipolar disorder is caused by a combination of neurological, biological, emotional, and environmental factors. Not all factors are present in every case, although most cases include biological and environmental factors. Little is known about the exact causes of pediatric bipolar disorder. However, advances are being made in this area.

Asperger’s disorder can be described as a mild form of autism. Actually, asperger’s disorder is a type of pervasive development disorder that can cause developmental issues, especially in the areas of communication and social development. Symptoms of asperger’s disorder include problems with social skills, odd or repetitive behavior or habits, communication difficulties, and obsession with a limited range of interests.

The causes of asperger’s disorder are not yet known. Studies show that asperger’s disorder tends to run in families, meaning that it is hereditary. This fact shows that the underlying cause of asperger’s disorder must be biological, meaning that it is either genetic or neurologically related.

Pediatric bipolar disorder can be misdiagnosed as asperger’s disorder because pediatric bipolar disorder can present itself via symptoms such as obsessive compulsive behavior, odd habits, and bouts of rage. Patients of pediatric bipolar disorder and asperger’s disorder both have symptoms that lead to lacking social development skills, educational issues, behavioral issues, and anger issues.

Pediatric bipolar can also be present in conjunction with asperger’s disorder. Typically, this is the case. It is unknown, however, if the pediatric bipolar disorder is a result of the asperger’s disorder, or if the same neurological issues that cause asperger’s disorder are related to the chemical imbalances in the brain thought to be the cause of pediatric bipolar disorder. Answers to these questions will likely come to light as research in neurological, technological and psychiatric areas continue to progress.

Medication treatments for pediatric bipolar and asperger’s disorders are quite similar. There are no medications for asperger’s disorder; however, medications exist to treat the symptoms of asperger’s disorder. Since the symptoms of asperger’s disorder, such as depression, obsessions/compulsions and anxiety, are the same symptoms often experienced with pediatric bipolar disorder, the medications used in both instances are the same.

Counseling treatments are also commonly used for both pediatric bipolar and asperger’s disorders, used in conjunction with medication or alone. Most asperger’s patients do not need medication. Counseling is required, however, to help the patient cope with their disability. Counseling treatments for pediatric bipolar disorder are considered necessary, with or without medication. These treatments can help the patient learn to recognize and correct irrational emotions or behavior.

If you notice your child exhibiting any of the behaviors mentioned in this article, you should contact your pediatrician, doctor, therapist, or other health care professional to obtain a proper diagnosis and start a viable treatment plan.

Live Better Live Now / Ben Carrettin

What Causes Social Anxiety ?

What Causes Social Anxiety?

Social Anxiety Disorder is a fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. People who have social anxiety often fear that they are being watched, judged, and evaluated by other people. It is often mistaken for shyness or low self-esteem. There are many different causes of social anxiety, however, the cause of social anxiety in some people simply cannot be explained.

A common cause of social anxiety is a traumatic social experience. If a person is ‘picked on’ or made fun of during childhood, they are likely to develop social anxiety. Social Anxiety can even develop during adulthood, as a result of a traumatic social experience. Some researchers believe that adult onset social anxiety, due to a traumatic social experience, is the easiest social anxiety to treat, because the person simply needs to regain their self-confidence. This isn’t necessarily so for everyone.

Another common cause of social anxiety is a learned response. If a child has parents who have social anxiety, there is a good chance that the child will learn to fear social situations as well. As children, we learn everything from the people who are around us the very most. Alternately, some people who have vivacious, outgoing parents develop social anxiety as a result. They have underlying fears that make them feel that they could never live up to the standard that their parents have set – so, instead of being outgoing, they withdraw, and develop social anxiety as a result.

Furthermore, social anxiety can develop due to misleading or inaccurate information. For instance, if a girl is a tomboy as a child, and she is often discouraged from playing sports and climbing trees – while being encouraged to play with dolls, she could develop social anxiety. She would succumb to social pressure from friends and family members to ‘do what girls do, not what boys do.’ This could become a big problem as she grows up. Dating could become a problem, because she will not feel that she is not feminine, or ‘lady like’ enough for any boy to be interested in her – she likes sports after all. The thought process is totally inaccurate, but it is what she learned as a child. She would be confronted with the issue over and over as time goes by, and eventually, she would develop social anxiety – never feeling like she fits in, and always feeling like she is being judged.

Researchers now also believe that social anxiety can be inherited genetically. Research has shown that identical twins, who share identical genes, experience similar social anxiety symptoms, while fraternal twins, who do not share identical genes, do not experience similar social anxiety symptoms. Research in this area is still ongoing.

The causes of social anxiety vary from person to person. Often, the cause can be found through therapy. Therapists agree that once the underlying cause of social anxiety is found, most people are able to begin dealing with their social anxiety in effective, successful ways.


Live Better Live Now / Houston / What Causes Social Anxiety ?



Current Research on Marijuana

Current Research on Marijuana

There is a lot of controversy on marijuana. On one hand, it is a widely used drug that reportedly has medical benefits for some individuals. On the other hand, research shows negative effects that arise from the use of this drug. The controversy concerning this drug is remarkable, as some defend it to the end and others attack it with the same passion. What most people do not realize is that the extremes on both sides have both fact and fiction in their banter. This muddies the Internet with little more than agenda-driven “facts” making it hard for most of us to make a clear and educated choice on where we stand on the matter. Let’s take a look at some facts about marijuana and see what research has to say about it.

Marijuana is made from dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds of a plant known as Cannabis sativa that has a mind-altering substance known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the U.S., this is the most commonly used drug, despite its previous status as an illicit drug. Marijuana is consumed by smoking it, eating it, creating vapor and through other means.

Marijuana has an effect on both the brain and the body. When it’s consumed, it creates a higher than usual activity in certain areas of the brain that have receptors to chemicals similar to THC. When it’s consumed the effects are an alteration of the senses and of the perception of time, changes in the mood and movement, impaired thinking, movements, judgment and memory.

The most research-confirmed long-term effects of marijuana have a lot to do with the age at which the person started using the drug. If a teenager uses marijuana, it’s very likely that their brain development will be affected. This results in reductions in thinking, memory and learning. The effect might be permanent and studies show that it can result in a permanent loss of as many as 8 I.Q. points. The short-term use of marijuana might cause hallucinations, paranoia and severely worsen the symptoms of a person with schizophrenia. Some authors have suggested a link between marijuana use and the onset of psychotic symptoms. Marijuana use has also been linked by some studies to anxiety, depresion and suicidal ideas, especially among teenagers.

There is also the possibility for developing cannabis psychosis, which affects men four times more than it affects women. Cannabis has been shown to increase the risk for the development of a psychosis, especially in men, although the exact link that exists between the two factors is still unclear.

Marijuana can result in breathing problems similar to those that occur from smoking tobacco, such as coughing and a higher risk of lung infections. There is not a direct and clear link between marijuana and lung cancer although research is underway in this area and initial research suggests we will find a strong correlation. Marijuana also has an effect on the heart, as the heart rate raises significantly from smoking or consuming, increasing the risk of a heart attack, especially in older adults and those with cardiac and other health problems.

An important argument in favor of marijuana is that it is not addictive. However, research suggests that 1 in 11 marijuana users actually do become addicted to it. So what we once thought we knew, is no longer true concerning THC and addiction. This number increases significantly if the person begins using it as a teenager and if the person uses the substance daily. So while marijuana does not have the addiction rates of other drugs, it can still be addictive.

An important consideration in relation to marijuana is whether or not it can be used for medicinal purposes. The answer to that question would seem to be yes, however, there is still a lot to study about the potential side effects and the risks and benefits of medical marijuana use.

Marijuana itself and marijuana-based drugs are being used in different countries for specific problems. Some studies have reported marijuana to have positive effects on chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy and a few others. Marijuana could be used to reduce the symptoms, reduce discomfort, inflammation and pain. However, there are still very few substantiated studies that have been focused specifically on people, have observed the long-term effects and have found the risk-benefit associations related to marijuana use. Even so – there is enough evidence to suggest that marijuana and marijuana-based treatments could be used for medical purposes and not just for recreational use.

A recent study has shown that marijuana might be the recreational drug with the least risk attached, being even safer than the more widely accepted and used alcohol and tobacco in relation to possible overdoses and amount used in general.

In general, even the latest research may still not enough for many to take a single side in the pro or con marijuana debate. On one hand, there is evidence of negative effects on physical and mental health. There is evidence that marijuana is addictive for many individuals who use it, especially if they use it daily or start using it young. In terms of addiction and the brain, marijuana triggers the reward pathway like many other a usable substances which poses significant risk to those with a greater familial/genetic risk for addictions. There is also evidence that it can affect brain development of teenaged users or negatively affect the development of a child if the mother uses marijuana while being pregnant or breastfeeging. And there is also evidence that marijuana might be linked to psychosis, heart disease and lung infections.

On the other side, there is some evidence suggesting medical benefits of marijuana – although there’s still a great deal of information lacking. Marijuana has had reported positive effects on different diseases, so the medical use of this drug might be supported. It also shows that marijuana might be safer to use than alcohol and tobacco, two widely accepted drugs. There is also evidence that marijuana does not seem to have significant effects on the cognitive abilities of users who started out as adults. In general, still more evidence is needed to achieve a more comprehensive understanding on the pros and cons of marijuana use.

One thing is certain, regardless of where you stand in the controversy; marijuana, like alcohol, has a significant impact on health, education, development, commerce, traffic safety, politics and much much more. It’s not an easy dilemma and like all choices in life, for good or for bad, there are always consequences.



http://www.webmd.com/news/breaking-news/marijuana-on-main-street/medical-marijuana-research-web?page=4 (cites several research articles on marijuana)




Depression And The Signs Of Suicide

Depression And The Signs Of Suicide

When you’re trying to lead a normal life and yet depression invades your every waking moment, the struggle of trying to pull off that charade can be more difficult than one could ever imagine.

Depression and the signs of suicide are unfortunately all too often items that go hand-in-hand.

People who do not either live with someone suffering from depression or battle depression themselves absolutely have no idea how dark the hole of depression is.

A truly difficult and dark depressive episode can certainly lead the sufferer to contemplating suicide. It gives people a sense of control, particularly when the person battling depression feels as if they have no control over their life anyway. Suicide looks like an easy way out.

It can look like it will put an end to the feelings of desperation, the feelings of total worthlessness, the overwhelming sadness that invades every pore of your being and the utter hopelessness that fills each waking moment.

Depression and signs of suicide are absolutely health concerns that should be taken very seriously.

If a friend or loved one that you know is suffering from depression and if you are concerned about the symptoms of suicide there are the few things that you can watch for. Remember to be helpful and supportive by listening and reassuring them of their self worth.

But while you are being supportive it is also absolutely imperative that you get your friend or loved one to their healthcare provider immediately.

Oftentimes treatments for depression at this level can involve an increase in therapeutic counseling, an adjustment in medication or even the addition of a new medication, or if the depression and signs of suicide are severe enough, hospitalization may be necessary.

If your friend or loved one begins to talk about suicide and then starts to give away favorite possessions, this is a serious sign of suicide and it must be dealt with immediately.

It indicates that the sufferer has seriously contemplated harming themselves. If they pull away from you and others who love, if they begin to miss work or school, if they no longer care about things that they have always cared about then these are negative signs related to depression and suicide. If you notice that your friend or loved one begins to alter their normal behavior associated with a depressive episode then you should also take action.

Sufferers to are seriously considering taking their own lives tend to pull away because they are attempting to make it less difficult on those they care about.

Depression and signs of suicide may also include excessive outburst of anger, guilt, changes in eating habits, sexual promiscuity, and alterations in sleep habits.

Never ignore depression and signs of suicide. You will never forgive yourself if you ignored the signs and your friend or loved one ends up successfully committing suicide.

Do not respond to with inappropriate humor, indifference, or attempts to just cheer the person up. The only correct response is to get professional help.

Live Better Live Now / Texas Recovery Support

HEADS UP HOUSTON ! Look what’s coming –

Suicide Prevention Symposium: Coming Together to Care 2015
Texas Suicide Prevention Council and Mental Health America of Texas.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Houston, TX