Archive for October, 2009
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by chronic, obsessive and anxiety-provoking thoughts (usually of a sexual, disturbing or aggressive nature), repetitive behaviors (such as compulsive hand-washing) or by a combination of the two. OCD is the fourth most common mental disorder, and it is estimated that one in 50 American adults suffer from it.
Many people make the mistake of confusing Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with Obsessive- Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). While the two disorders share many common characteristics, they differ from one another in many notable ways. OCPD is defined by inflexibility, a fixation on rules and orderliness (and extreme anxiety when rules are broken) and excessive perfectionism. A person with OCPD manifests the disorder by exhibiting several of the following symptoms:
- abnormal preoccupation with lists, rules, and minor details;
- excessive devotion to work, to the detriment of social and family activities;
- miserliness or a lack of generosity;
- perfectionism that interferes with task completion, as performance is never good enough;
- refusal to throw anything away (pack-rat mentality);
- rigid and inflexible attitude towards morals or ethical code;
- unwilling to let others perform tasks, fearing the loss of responsibility; and
-upset and off-balance when rules or established routines are disrupted.
The main difference between the two disorders is the fact that OCD is considered by mental health professionals to be egodynstonic, i.e. the disorder is incompatible with the person’s self-concept, thereby causing the sufferer great emotional distress. Thus, a person with OCD believes their behavior is irrational, but feels powerless to control themselves. In contrast, OCPD is ego syntonic, meaning that the sufferer perceives their behavior as compatible with their sense of self. Thus, people with OCPD think that their behavior is normal and rational (and oftentimes take pride in it). Thus, while people with OCD feel pervasive, all-consuming anxiety with respect to their condition, those with OCPD usually derive pleasure and intense satisfaction from their self-created, hyper-ordered universe.
By way of example, the popular television detective Monk suffers from OCPD and not OCD, precisely because he is neither anxious nor self-aware about his behavior. Rather, his anxiety is triggered when he cannot apply his cherished “system” to a given setting or when he ‘cannot get his way.’ No surprisingly, people with OCD tends to have more problems in their work settings because of their paralyzing anxiety, but demonstrate fewer problems in their interpersonal relationships (where their self-awareness makes them better able to compromise). On the other hand, people with OCPD tend to perform better in their careers (at least initially) than they do in their personal relationships, where their ‘black and white thinking’ frequently results in eventual estrangement from their loved ones. However, while people with OCPD are often viewed as professionally competent and are admired for their perfectionism, their self-righteous attitudes and excessive deference to authority figures can alienate their coworkers (think Dwight Schrute from “The Office”).
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Music07 Oct 2009 07:17 pm
Really, how could anyone take this seriously?
Self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne, former lead singer of the Heavy Metal Band Black Sabbath, came under intense fire from Christian activist groups for his dark music and stage antics, which they believed portrayed images of devil worship. Osbourne denied these accusations, claiming that his stage acts were “done in good fun” and performed for shock value only. In fact, Osbourne claims to be a faithful Anglican and has been quoted as saying that he prays before all of his performances.
On October 26, 1984, nineteen-year-old California teenager John McCollum fatally shot himself while listening to the Ozzy Osbourne album, Blizzard of Oz, which contained the song, “Suicide Solution” on it. McCollum’s parents subsequently sued Osbourne, alleging that the lyrics of the song had convinced their son to commit suicide, despite the fact that their son had suffered from clinical depression. The attorney for the McCollum’s even went so far as to assert that Osbourne should be charged criminally for enticing a teenager into committing suicide.
Osbourne defended himself by testifying that the song “Suicide Solution” was actually written about the horrors of alcohol abuse; he wanted to urge caution to his listeners, after he witnessed a close friend drink himself into an early grave. This explanation is borne out by the lyrics:
Wine is fine but whiskeys quicker
Suicide is slow with liquor
Take a bottle and drown your sorrows
Then it floods away tomorrows
Evil thoughts and evil doings
Cold, alone you hang in ruins
Thought that you’d escape the reaper
You cant escape the master keeper
cause you feel like you’re living a lie
Such a shame who’s to blame and you’re wondering why
Then you ask from your cask us there life after birth
What you sow can mean hell on this earth
Now you live inside a bottle
The reapers traveling at full throttle
Its catching you but you don’t see
The reaper is you and the reaper is me
Breaking laws, knocking doors
But there’s no one at home
Made your bed, rest your head
But you lie there and moan
Where to hide, suicide is the only way out
Don’t you know what its really about
Despite the heightened emotionality and media frenzy surrounding the case, the Court ultimately ruled in Osbourne’s favor, on the grounds that the McCollum’s death was not a foreseeable result of Osbourne’s song. Amazingly, Osbourne was sued AGAIN in 1991, by the parents of Michael Waller, for encouraging their son’s suicide. Luckily for Osbourne and champions of freedom of speech, the court again ruled in his favor and the case against him was dismissed.
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It is safe to say the most people did a double take when they saw Mikhail Gorbachev’s modeling debut in Louis Vuitton’s splashy ad campaign in Fall 2007. The print ad shows the highly respected ex-General Secretary of the Soviet Union sitting alone in the back of a limousine as he passes the last vestiges of the Berlin wall, with an open Louis Vuitton bag beside him. Mysteriously, the open bag exposes the upside-down cover of a Russian publication with the headline, “The Murder of Litvinenko: They Wanted to Give Up the Suspect for $7,000.”
The curious headline refers to Russian political dissident and writer Alexander V. Litvinenko, the, who had died the previous November after being poisoned by polonium-210. The day of his poisoning, he had attended an uneventful meeting with a group of prominent Russians in the Millennium Hotel in London. His poisoning and subsequent death prompted international media coverage and considerable controversy, both in Russia and abroad. Adding to the furor, a posthumous statement, dictated by Litvinenko himself, was released the day after his death. His statement alleged that Russian ex-President (and current Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin had planned his murder.
Litvinenko had been a passionate critic of Putin’s government since 1998, after he publicly accused his superiors of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. He was twice arrested and acquitted on charges stemming from the accusation. While Russian authorities were attempting to mount a third case against him, Litvinenko fled the country and was granted political asylum in England, where he remained an outspoken critic of Putin’s regime. Tellingly, two weeks before the poisoning, Litvinenko had accused Putin of having orchestrated the assassination of beloved Russian journalist and political dissident Anna Politkovskaya.
Litvinenko’s death put a major strain on the diplomatic relationship between England and Russia, after British authorities requested the extradition of Andrei K. Lugovoi, the Russian millionaire security entrepreneur accused of the poisoning. Lugovoi had attended the meeting where Litvinenko was poisoned, and investigators have linked him to international nuclear traces stretching from luxury hotels and offices in London to Hamburg, Germany and ending on the airplane he flew back to Moscow. Unsurprisingly, Russia has refused Britain’s extradition request.
So the question remains, was the Russian headline in the Gorbachev ad placed there deliberately? Was it some sort of message? True to form, representative for both Louis Vuitton and Gorbachev claimed that the placement of the headline was a mere “coincidence.” However, Gorbachev’s representative closed his statement on the subject with the following mysterious aside:
“As a separate matter, Gorbachev’s position on the Litvinenko affair is that it should be thoroughly investigated as a criminal case.”
Things that make you go Hmmmmmm….
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On September 30, 2009, the Kerala High court in India ordered local police and the Union Home Ministry to conduct a probe of the “forced conversion” campaign known as ‘Love Jihad’ or ‘Romeo Jihad.’ It is alleged that young men have been recruited by radical Islamic organizations to attract college girls with declarations of love and promises of marriage in an effort to coerce them into converting to Islam.
The ruling came on the heels of a Kerala court rejection of the bail applications of two Muslim men accused of ‘luring’ two MBA students into marriage for the sole purpose of converting them Islam. The young women testified that they had been ‘tricked’ into converting to Islam by their suitors, who had first endeared themselves with promises of marriage. The young women subsequently accompanied their suitors on a ‘romantic date,’ only to be held hostage by the young men and forced to watch extremist Islamic propaganda videos. The suspects were members of Campus Front, the student chapter of the powerful confederation of Muslim organizations known as Popular Front of India (PFI).
Investigators are now trying to determine how many girls have been “trapped in the racket” and where the funding for the movement is coming from. Investigators began to suspect that something was afoot over the summer, when the police reported that they had registered almost four thousand young women, over the course of six months, who had been exposed to the ‘Romeo Jihad’ network and subsequently converted to Islam.
However, the investigation into the alleged ‘Love Jihad’ movement is not entirely one-sided; Kerala Police are also attempting to trace the origins of mysterious posters that have sprouted up at women’s college campuses that warn students to be wary of becoming victims of ‘Love Jihad.’ These posters bear the name Rama Sene, a right-wing Hindu nationalist group that gained international attention earlier this year after members of their organization attacked a group of young women in a pub as part of their “moral policing” act.
In sum, investigators are now faced with the unenviable task of separating fact from fiction in a region long polarized by religious strife.
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Balanitis (Greek for ‘acorn’) is the inflammation of the glans penis. The inflammation may have many different causes, including environmental irritants, physical trauma or infection. Balanitis is relatively common: it affects 11% of adult men seen in urology clinics and 3% of children. The condition is most commonly seen in uncircumcised men with poor personal hygiene, as a failure to wash under the foreskin is one of the most common causes of balanitis. Balanitis is also linked diabetes, chemical irritants, edematous conditions (such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis), drug allergies and morbid obesity. The buildup of smegma and discharge under the foreskin can lead to a lack of aeration and irritation, resulting in inflammation and redness.
Patients with balanitis usually present with the following complaints:
• Penile discharge;
• Inability to retract foreskin;
• Difficulty urinating or controlling urine stream (in very severe cases);
• Inability to insert a Foley catheter;
• Tenderness of the glans penis;
• Itching; and
• Recurrent UTIs in male children.
Physical examination findings may include the following:
• Erythema and edema of glans penis or foreskin;
• Inability to visualize glans penis or urethral meatus;
• Ulceration and/or plaques;
• Meatal stenosis;
• Bladder distension;
• Ballooning of the foreskin when voiding; and
• Lymph node involvement.
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Iron deficiency anemia, also known as sideropenic anemia, is a condition that occurs when a person’s consumption or absorption of iron is inadequate. This deficiency prevents the production of hemoglobin (red blood cells which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, releasing it for cell use). As a result, iron deficiency reduces oxygen delivery to cells, resulting in fatigue, weakness, pallor and a compromised immune system. It is estimated that some 20% of American women of childbearing age suffer from iron deficiency, as compared to only 2% of adult men. This discrepancy is largely attributed to the iron loss women experience during their monthly menstruation.
Iron deficiency anemia symptoms may include:
• Extreme fatigue;
• Pale skin;
• Shortness of breath;
• Dizziness or lightheadedness;
• Cold hands and feet;
• Inflammation or soreness of your tongue;
• Increased likelihood of infections;
• Brittle nails;
• Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia);
• Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or pure starch;
• Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia; and
• Restless legs syndrome — an uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs.
People suffering from anemia are advised to incorporate more iron rich foods into their diet, such as red meat, fish and poultry, and take daily iron supplements.
As a prophylactic measure to prevent iron deficiency, iron supplements are generally recommended for pregnant women, preterm and low-birth weight infants, teenage girls and vegetarians. Oral contraception, which lessens menstrual blood loss, is also often prescribed to women in an effort to reduce monthly iron depletion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women consume an average of 27 milligrams of iron a day, significantly more that the 18 mg a day that is recommended for non-pregnant women. As such, it is recommended that pregnant women take a daily supplement that contains at least 30 mg. of iron. However, daily prenatal vitamins already contain iron, so pregnant women are urged to check their supplement labels to ensure they don’t accidentally consume too much iron.
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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) as a “Cluster B” personality disorder. “Cluster B” personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior (antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personalities are also classified as Cluster B disorders). Individuals with HPD demonstrate an enduring pattern of attention-seeking and excessively dramatic behaviors. The disorder usually begins during adolescence and is expressed across a broad range of interpersonal relationships. The personality of people with HPD can be generally described as highly emotional, charming, energetic, manipulative, inappropriately seductive, impulsive, erratic and demanding.
A person must display five or more of the following eight behaviors/factors in order to meet the DSM diagnostic criteria of the disorder:
• Center of attention: Patients with HPD experience discomfort when they are not the center of attention;
• Sexually seductive: Patients with HPD displays inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behaviors towards others;
• Shifting emotions: The expression of emotions of patients with HPD tends to be shallow and to shift rapidly;
• Physical appearance: Individuals with HPD consistently employ physical appearance to gain attention for themselves;
• Speech style: The speech style of patients with HPD lacks detail. Individuals with HPD tend to generalize, and when these individuals speak, they aim to please and impress;
• Dramatic behaviors: Patients with HPD display self-dramatization and exaggerate their emotions;
• Suggestibility: Other individuals or circumstances can easily influence patients with HPD; and
• Overestimation of intimacy: Patients with HPD overestimate the level of intimacy in a relationship.
A Mnemonic that is often taught to mental health professionals to help them remember the diagnostic criteria for the disorder is PRAISE ME.
P- provocative and seductive behavior
R- relationships, considered more intimate than they are
A- attention, must be the center of
I- Influenced easily
S- speech (style)-wants to impress, lacks detail
E-emotional lability, shallowness
M- make-up, physical appearance used to draw attention to self
E- exaggerated emotions- theatrical
HPD is diagnosed more frequently in women, and is unique amongst personality disorders in that it is expressly linked to physical appearance; researchers have found that the disorder is significantly more common in people that are considered by others to be above average in attractiveness.
People with HPD have stormy interpersonal relationships (characterized by cycles of idealization, neediness, disappointment and abandonment), which have a deleterious affect on their social life and careers. The cause of HPD is unknown, and medication is thought to be unhelpful in curbing unwanted behaviors. As such, people diagnosed with the disorder are generally treated with psychotherapy aimed at helping them discover the motivations behind their behavior so they can learn how to interact with others in a more positive way.
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