Archive for the ‘Mind’ Category

About The Time Magazine Attachment Parenting Cover

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Time Magazine wants you to pay attention to their provocative picture. Why? What are they trying to say?

When looking at imagery, it sometimes takes a bit to get what the photographer/editor is trying to say. Here are some thoughts in no particular order.

1. Context: The image of a three year old boy sucking on his mom’s breast is being put on the cover of the Time magazine for Mother’s Day weekend.

2. Implication: Mothers are crazy.

3. Implication: Breastfeeding is crazy.

4. Implication: Attachment parenting is oedipal. (Look it up.)

5. Implication: Breastfeeding is sexual. The mother’s smug expression indicates that she’s enjoying the interaction just a little too much.

6. Time is desperate for attention and will get it. [Is getting it, obviously.] Also, I suspect the editor/writer watches Game of Thrones.

Bottom line, Time is pushing forward the idea that mothering is often, if not always, overdone. That too much emphasis is put on mothering. Attachment parenting is weird, sexual, and even abusive.

Mothering, in short, is being demonized as too powerful, crazy, and scary and that it’s abusive to children–nigh unto sex abuse.

The cover is a play on the Madonna imagery of Mary with the Christ child. It takes that image of selfless love and motherly devotion and turns it inside out into something selfish, narcissistic, and sexual.

As a mom who breastfed all her kids and beyond time when many are comfortable with — 18 months, 2 years, and 2 1/2 years consecutively — this cover is patently offensive.

Women who actually care about mothering are seen as crazy, wrongly-focused and weird. So, the solution is to conflate all moms with the admittedly extreme moms who go overboard.

But who is going to draw that line?

As Mika of Morning Joe noted, the Time article isn’t even about breast feeding — it’s about Dr. Bill Sears.

The picture is a picture of desperation. It is attention whoring but it’s at the expense of children, mothers, healthy breastfeeding, and the bond between mom and child.



The Prescription Drug Crisis: It’s A Cultural Problem

Monday, February 27th, 2012


Jason D. Fodeman, M.D. internal medicine resident, writes an interesting post about the prescription drug crisis. He says:

The tragic death of Whitney Houston has once again shined the spotlight on the abuse of prescription drugs and the doctors who prescribe them. Legislators, experts and pundits are blaming physicians for liberally prescribing narcotics, but an honest debate must also examine how government policy has helped foster this crisis.

The abuse of prescription medications is not limited to Rodeo Drive and the Upper East Side. It is a national problem. From Crenshaw to Harlem, and practically everywhere in between, it plagues the practice of good medicine in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Inevitably, doctors with the power to prescribe these medications have found themselves at the center of the storm. Are physicians avaricious enablers looking to profit off the addiction of others or are they merely pawns desperately trying to stay afloat navigating the system legislators and regulators have established?

His answer is no, that’s it’s more complicated than that. I’m afraid physicians are being let of the hook. Please go read his whole post.

Chiropractors (and I am one) work with many pre and post-surgical patients suffering with back pain, joint problems, head aches, etc. The vast majority of patients use at least one medication. Most, many more. A scary number have used meds for non-medical reasons. They are not alone.

In the last couple years, easily over 50% of the patients are on some form of anti-depressant. Nearly 100% of patients who went to their MD’s first for some ache or pain are prescribed narcotics or muscle relaxants. No, that is not an exaggeration.

There is nothing quite so appalling as seeing a patient “not there” due to some psychotropic med or who is suffering drug withdrawals from trying to get off a narcotic for a relatively innocuous discomfort.

My feeling is that the medical profession, while harried and pressured by patients, just don’t see the harm in the medication. Most view it as an objective good and a benefit in the modern medical world. And while medications, and even narcotics, are indeed amazing advances, they are dangerous because they are so powerful and effective.

Very few docs watch their post-surgical or quasi-surgical (trying to not have patient go to surgery) patients closely. Many give huge prescriptions for narcotics instead of being circumspect and forcing the patient to come back for more meds if there’s trouble or prescribing something less pain-masking but easier to wean from.

A patient has to be very medication-wary themselves and press the doctor for alternatives.


Pain medication of the narcotic variety are psychologically as well as physically addictive. They remove the feeling of pain everywhere — body and mind. People don’t realize what pain they’re living with until it’s not there. Dangerous.

The solution to the problem of over-prescribing: doctors need to get into the mentality of least interventionist policy necessary. They also need to better monitor patients on psychotherapeutic and pain meds.

Most importantly, patients need to educate themselves. There’s this notion that narcotics or psychotropic meds are no big deal. Many friends and patients are shocked when I tell them something like this:

Caffeine –> Speed –> Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine (ADD medication) –> Crystal meth

Those are stimulants, just as an example. There’s a reason why kids are smashing Adderall and snorting it. It’s a rush and it is more powerful than regular old speed.

Here are the order for narcotics:

Codeine (e.g. Tylenol #3) –> Hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin) –> Oxycodone (e.g. Percocet, Oxycontin)

Percocet and Oxycontin, well all of these drugs, but especially these last ones are highly sought after as street drugs for a reason. I watched a post-surgical friend go through withdrawals, have trouble sleeping, get the shakes, etc. As his friend, I knew that he wasn’t feeling pain from the surgery anymore. He had a great surgeon, who was paying attention, but was still a wee bit lax. So his wife and he talked and he agreed that he was wanting the medication because it felt good but that he wasn’t feeling pain so much. He was scared by this and so were we and so, his wife helped wean him. It was a tough week. And this was a guy who had needed the medication very badly. He recovered fine, but he had to gut it up for a few days.

Here are the order for muscle relaxants which are also addictive (did you know that? most don’t). Good site about meds generally:

Carisoprodol (Soma). This drug’s dosage is 350mg every eight hours as needed for muscle spasm. Soma is typically prescribed on a short-term basis and may be habit-forming, especially if used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs that have a sedative effect.
Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). This medication can be used on a longer-term basis and actually has a chemical structure related to some antidepressant medications, although it is not an antidepressant. Usually it is prescribed as 10mg every six hours as needed to relieve low back pain associated with muscle spasm, or it can also be prescribed as 10mg at night as needed to help with difficulty sleeping. Flexeril can impair mental and physical function, and may lead to urinary retention in males with large prostates.
Diazepam (Valium). Valium is usually limited to one to two weeks of use, and the typical dosage is 5-10mg every six hours as needed to relieve low back pain associated with muscle spasm. Because of its habit-forming potential, and because it changes sleep cycles and makes it very difficult to sleep after stopping the drug, Valium should not be used long term. Patients should also note that Valium is a depressant and can worsen depression associated with chronic pain.

Mind you, most patients with back pain alone are on multiple medications. After two meds, no doctor can predict the interaction.

Both patients and physicians are far too casual about their medication use. I haven’t even included anti-inflammatories or anti-depressants or anti-psychotics (over used now for depression and/or ADD off-label), or NSAIDs.

Did you know that the NUMBER TWO cause of death in the United States is prescribed medication poisoning?

“Deaths and hospitalizations associated with prescription drug misuse have reached epidemic proportions,” said the study’s lead author, Jeffrey H. Coben, MD, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine. “It is essential that health care providers, pharmacists, insurance providers, state and federal agencies, and the general public all work together to address this crisis. Prescription medications are just as powerful and dangerous as other notorious street drugs, and we need to ensure people are aware of these dangers and that treatment services are available for those with substance abuse problems.”

While Dr. Foderman is right to bring attention to this very important issue, I think he lets doctors and patients both off the hook.

Americans are far too pain-avoident these days. Unwilling to suffer even a tiny amount, patients are asking for and getting, or just being given, very powerful medications that have far worse consequences than the discomfort would itself.

This is a cultural problem as much as it is a medical one. Escaping from pain creates more pain.

Bonus: All the celebrities who have died from prescription med overdose. Add Whitney Houston who had Xanax, Valium, and alcohol in her system.



Well-Being: What’s Wrong With Florida?

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I get the West Virginian misery and the Rust Belt depression, but Florida? Are old people just cranky? Is it the swamps? Unemployment? Housing crisis? Sucky schools?

Maybe I answered my own question.

Gallup has the rest of the data on the states. The mid-west and west (all but Nevada–shocka!) are pretty happy.

I wonder if there’s any correlation with legalized prostitution and misery. Hey, just wondering!

Seems to me, that work and home stress is the key to lack of well-being, more than anything.



Sex Ed For Kids And Teens

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Just had the conversation again… No, not The [Birds-n-Bees] Conversation with the kids. I had the conversation about how to have the conversation with the kids. This time it was the girlfriends, but I’ve had the conversation with my sister, patients and other folks.

So, to be of public service, and because I have a blog and why not?, I’m sharing the books that I find helpful in this case.

Best book for girls:

I suggest buying this book when your daughter hits ten or eleven. It is really a great primer for every general growing up question, mind and body.

Best Book for Boys:

There didn’t used to be an equivalent book for boys. I’m happy to share this new offering, though. It’s really useful and easy to read.

Now, to the sex ed stuff. I believe that it’s important to include the spiritual in the sexual, because they’re one. Still, books that are preachy can make an awkward talk annoying. So, what to do?

Well, I have a couple books I like.

Where Did I Come From?
This book is out of print, unfortunately. It’s such a fun, good humored, and hippie-ish, take on the topic.

Here are my favorite books, by far. This series is broken down by a child’s age and development level.

Here’s the first, for children ages 3 – 5. For those who are aghast at starting sex ed at ages 3, consider that with all the creeps in the world, you’ll want your child to have the language and understanding to talk to you about his or her body. No one wants to be a reactive parent.

Now for children ages 5-8:

For kids ages 8-11:

Finally, the heavy duty facts:

Here’s my experience with the whole thing: If you talk about it when the children are younger, they’ll have less embarrassment, if any at all.

The problem is that most people wait too long–they wait until their kids are already fully changing. Maybe their daughter started her period. Maybe their son’s voice has dropped and all the other engines are starting to run.

That’s too late.

From ages about 8 through 11, children are very open to you and not defensive about their bodies or their questions.

Because children, especially girls, are maturing at such early ages, waiting to have “The Talk” can put a child in a frightening situation.

Being straight-forward and matter-of-fact and also, keeping it simple, helps here.

Asking a kid, “What do you want to know?” is a good place to start. And then, answer the question–simply.

For those used to my political posts, don’t worry. There will be more of those. I just decided to share this post because it’s come up so much recently.

Best of luck, parents! Parenting ain’t for the faint of heart that is for sure.



What if we cured Asperger’s?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I was reading Pejman’s post (other interesting links) and found this from the UK Mail:

A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics.

Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 – higher than Albert Einstein – and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role.

***

Jake was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism, from an early age.

His parents were worried when he didn’t talk until the age of two, suspecting he was educationally abnormal.

It was only as he began to grow up that they realised just how special his gift was.

He would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows.

By the age of three he was solving 5,000-piece puzzles and he even studied a state road map, reciting every highway and license plate prefix from memory.

What if Autism and Asperger’s gets cured? Worse, what if the genetic make-up was discovered and “fixed”. Worse, what if they’re diagnosed and destroyed via abortion? What if we have no more socially awkward geniuses around to solve problems?

Not all kids on the Autism spectrum are savants, of course. Many, in fact, require services. But these gems have to more than tip the cosmic balance the other way. And anyway, our definition of contribution to society can be so mangled and utilitarian as anyone blessed with a “special” child knows.

We need the extremes to define the norm for one thing. And we need the unconventional to create novel insights to seemingly insurmountable challenges. Further, we need different perspectives.

In a world dominated with the base and banal, I hope that a child such as this will never be “cured”. Humanity would be worse off for it.



Blast From The Past: 10 Ways To Keep Your Relationship Smokin’ Hot

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Relationships are difficult. I’m here to help. Here’s some words of wisdom to keep your relationship from turning dull and boring:

1. Keep the mystery alive–Too many people reveal too much too often. Why share where you’re going or what you’re doing or who you’re with. A little doubt keeps things spicy.

2. Call rarely–It’s so annoying to have your work interrupted by mindless blather about nothing. One of the biggest myths is that your significant other actually cares what you’re thinking about when you’re chomping your food on your lunch hour. Newsflash! No one cares.

3. Retreat from conflict–People often deal with conflict by trying to resolve it and talk it out. This can be a big mistake. Most likely, the things you fight about today are the things you’re going to fight about forever. Don’t resolve it. Accept it. Stay away for as long as possible. The other person will eventually get tired of being angry.

4. Don’t expect your spouse to meet your sexual needs–You should know that the best sex of your life happened before you got married or moved in together. You didn’t get married for sex. You got married for companionship, bill-sharing and maybe having a kid or two. Having sexual expectations is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Let it go.

5. Spend time cultivating interests that don’t include your spouse–One of the biggest problems in marriages is that people think they should do stuff together. Why? If you like golf, and your wife hates it, well, she’ll just have to get over it and understand that golf makes you happy. If she likes shopping, she needs to do it when it’s convenient for her. Her man will understand. Togetherness is overrated.

6. Don’t change–Be you. Until you’re your true, unchecked self, you can’t really be free. Trying to get rid of annoying habits or irritating traits is just energy wasted. A true partner will love you no matter what.

7. Don’t apologize–True love means never having to say you’re sorry. Why should anyone expect an apology? You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got and if the person doesn’t understand it, they have the limited world-view, not you. Saying you’re sorry is for sissies. Men are emasculated enough. Women cow-tow to men too often. Stop apologizing!

8. Don’t give tokens of affection–Materialism in all its guises is just manipulation. Don’t do it. A person who needs concrete proof of love is superficial and not worth your time anyway. True love doesn’t need to be spoken or given or shared. Rings are just that–symbolic. Who needs symbols? The real thing is just understood.

9. Ignore special dates–Again, this is just a manifestation of artificial constraints imposed by society. Every day is special! Why focus on birthdays or anniversaries? They are days like any other and it’s ridiculous that people have expectations of gifts or kindness on those days.

10. Stop saying “I love you”–The words become vain and meaningless after a while. True love doesn’t need constant reinforcement. True love just “knows”. If your partner needs to hear the words, well, that’s just too demanding. Who needs demanding in an intimate relationship? Forget it and move on.

Some of these pieces of advice might seem unconventional, but really, relationships are cracking under the pressure of inane expectations. People want too much, expect too much and just generally put too much faith in other human beings. There is no perfect partner out there. You can’t be the perfect partner. Why try? Just be yourself and the person right for you will find you and love you just the way you are. That’s true love and the world needs more of it.

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Podcast: Redemption and Derision

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The story of enslavement to freedom is inherent in the Judeo-Christian culture. During this week where emancipation–being freed from slave owners and ultimately our own limitations–is a central focus, it was fitting, then, for Iris Blue to join me. She spent months in “the hole” in a Harris County (Houston) jail. She suffered addiction to heroin. She fought wardens. And she did it all to herself, willfully, angrily and stubbornly. Her story is inspiring and I hope you’ll listen to it. We talk about child-rearing, the church, and who is Jesus?

In the second half, another, less successful religion is discussed: Global Warming. Charlie Martin, now the science editor at Pajamas Media discusses the latest happenings and the bitter clinging to a discarded belief.

Listen here

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Pentagon Shooter John Patrick Bedell 9/11 Truther–UPDATED: And A Democrat

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The press in the U.S. is already trotting out that Bedell was a Right-Wing extremist. Meanwhile, the BBC reports this:

Police said they had found no immediate connection to terrorism, but internet postings suggested Bedell had harboured ill-feelings towards the government.

A user by the name of “JPatrickBedell” wrote that he was “determined to see that justice is served” in the death of Marine Col James Sabow, who was found dead at his California home in 1991.

The Associated Press news agency said that death was ruled a suicide, but the case has long been the source of theories of a cover-up.

The posting referred to conspiracy theories concerning the 9/11 terrorist attacks, saying the Sabow case was “a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions”.

Don’t buy the right-wing b.s. This guy was a nutter, no question, but he was a nutter of Truther persuasion. It’s the Democrats that embrace that conspiracy theory…them and the Ron Paul folks.

UPDATED:

Michelle Malkin does more digging and guess what? The shooter is a Democrat. Big surprise…..to no one but the press who is constantly having to adjust their expectations.

Update:

www.Electorates.us has 180 million registered voter records available online (thanks to Anne Horrigan). John Patrick Bedell’s voter registration records in Hollister, CA are available for any journalist before he/she goes off and labels him a “right-wing extremist.”
Guess which party he registered under in 2005 and was actively registered under as of 2008?
DEMOCRAT.

EMID 15324137
STATESOURCE California
DATAACQUIRED 20080121
PrefixTitle MR
LASTNAME,FIRSTNAME,MIDDLENAME Bedell,John,Patrick
SOURCEIDVOTER 30048
DATEOFBIRTH 5/20/1973
PLACEOFBIRTH CA
REGDATE 20051006
GENDER M
PART Democrat
ACTIVECODE ACTIVE
STATUS
ResAddr1,ResAddr2,ResCity,ResState,ResZip 110 Georges Dr Hollister,CA
STATEHOUSE 28
STATESENATE 12
USCONGRESS 17
LASTDATEVOTED 20051108
Stop playing games, MSM.

Now, Michelle also says this:

As Patterico reports, he hated Bush and littered the Internet with 9/11 Truther rants.

But just as I passed on playing the blame game with the global warmicides earlier this week, I’m not playing MSNBC/NYTimes-style “gotcha” with this one, either.

Well, Michelle is nicer than me. And so is Zombie, who says this:

So far, however, I’ve noticed a deafening quietude on the left-leaning blogs about this guy’s affiliations and belief systems. Those brave enough to troll leftist comments sections have noted mumblings therein that the guy was probably a secret “teabagger,” despite all evidence to the contrary.

Compare this to the response in the leftosphere when Joseph Stack flew his plane into an Austin IRS building a couple weeks earlier. Despite leaving a suicide note that approvingly cited Karl Marx and that condemned capitalism as nothing but “greed,” he was pilloried by every left-leaning site as a right-wing hitman who epitomized the inherent violence of the Tea Party movement — because he had anti-government feelings.

Now, just for a moment, let’s set aside the false guilt-by-association game everyone’s always playing. We all know that John Patrick Bedell and Joseph Stack are basically insane, plain and simple — as are any number of similar whackjobs who periodically go loco and erupt into violence. Violent psychopaths often incorporate some seemingly random overarching theme into their mindset, and on occasion that theme involves politics. Whenever someone like Bedell or Stack goes ballistic, every pundit jumps into the fray and tries to spin the outburst as “exemplifying” the political viewpoint of those with whom the pundit disagrees.

But that only rises to the level of a valid argument when a distinct pattern emerges. If, say, 5,000 suicide bombers in a row are invariably Islamic fundamentalists — well, OK, we’ve got a problem with the belief system, not just with the individuals. Yet I don’t see a pattern in these “going postal” violent outbursts which seem to happen perhaps three or four times per year, every year, no matter who’s in power or who’s president: it seems that the “philosophy” (if you can even call it that) of each of the attackers is unique, idiosyncratic and just plain illogical. Even so, if he starts shooting or killing when a Republican is president, he is deemed a left-wing psycho (see: Charles Manson); if he starts shooting or killing when a Democrat is president, he is deemed a right-wing psycho (see: Joseph Stack). But the truth is, paranoid people simply feel threatened by the external power structure in general, so they lash out at any symbol of authority, regardless of its political affiliation.

So, instead of playing the blame game so unapologetically employed by the Left when they feel they can spin things to their political advantage, I’m not going to say that Bedell’s actions at the Pentagon epitomize the leftist worldview. Rather, he was just crazy, as clearly indicated by his belief in the craziest of modern crazy conspiracy theories, 9/11 Truthism.

Are most Truthers leftists? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that all left-leaning Americans are thereby just as crazy as the most extreme among them; it simply indicates that when a leftist goes crazy in the post-9/11 era, he often gloms onto Truthism as his paranoia of choice.

Put it this way: Leftism fails as a coherent philosophy on its own terms. We shouldn’t try to wring significance from the delusional outburst of someone who just happened to be leftist. There are plenty of ways to logically disembowel Marxism and its numerous noxious contemporary offspring without having to resort to an unnecessary round of political “gotcha!”

Now, of course, this is true. One psychopath doesn’t represent the whole–unless the psycho has right-leaning beliefs (see Charles Johnson’s obsession with a few nutters).

The bigger issue is the conflation by the press. And so, I say, embrace John Patrick Bedell left-wing psycho extremists (that’s redundant, I think). He is yours. The leftist ideology spawns murderous, psychotic behavior. Evil. Evil. Evil.

See? That sounds rational and accurate right? Well, it does, if it’s describing a conservative or Teapartier. Guess what? I’ll stop the silliness when you all do. You first.



Web Surfers Have More Depression

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Hmmmmm……

A “dark side” to the internet suggests a strong link between time spent surfing the web and depression, say psychologists.
British scientists found that the longer people spent online, the less likely they were to be happy.

A small group of the worst affected individuals were both depressed and addicted.

But it was not clear whether using the internet causes mental health problems, or whether people with mental health problems are drawn to the internet.

More work is needed to answer this “chicken and egg” question, say the researchers.

Well, if a person tends to be a solitary person, he might enjoy hanging on the internet. But then, he does self-reinforcing things, like look at porn, and gets stuck behind his desk even more. Then, he is kinda addicted..he exercises less, gets less natural sunlight, interacts with real people less and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Or, the person starts depressed and the internet doesn’t force human interaction or exertion.

I don’t think there is one cause here, but it does seem to be a risk for introverted people.



Abnormal Psychology Exists: You Are A Woman If You Give Birth. Period.

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Woman who wants to be an ugly man will be giving birth. This time in Britain:

Congratulations, it’s a boy – who will give birth next month.

Two proud papas are expecting a baby boy in February, London’s Daily Mail reports, in what will be the world’s second known case of birth by a “pregnant man.”

“We know some people will criticize us, but we are blissfully happy and not ashamed,” Scott Moore told the newspaper.

Moore and his husband, Thomas, were both born female and have undergone surgery to change their sex. The transgender California couple is legally married, as Moore still has his female birth certificate.

Baby “Miles” has two brothers waiting for him, 10-year-old Logan and 12-year-old Greg, Thomas’ children from a previous relationship with a woman who has since passed away.

Moore, born Jessica, told the paper he first realized he wanted to be a man when he was 11.

“When I told my family, they thought I was crazy, but they gradually realized I was serious and allowed me to start taking male hormones when I was 16 years old,” he said.

His parents eventually paid for him to have his 36DDD breasts removed, the paper reports, but he could not afford the high cost of full sex reassignment surgery.

Moore still has female reproductive organs, and got pregnant using the sperm of a friend in June 2009, the Daily Mail reports.

You know, there is such thing as abnormal psychology. This is NOT NORMAL. It is one thing to move to Funky Town. It’s another thing to start a family there and bring children into this disordered environment.

Pretending that this is not so is akin to the government pretending that a dude with the name Mohammed who acts weird, says he wants to blow things up and then does it, isn’t a terrorist.

Society cannot function if we don’t have some agreement on what is acceptable social norms. Freaks do not tend to build society, they tend to be around the edges eating away at its success.

Now, I’m libertarian enough not to want to get in this lady’s business, but I also don’t equate tolerance with approval. I don’t approve. No one should. It’s not good for her body (it’s self-mutilation on a massive scale). It’s not good for her children. It’s not good for society.