Archive for November, 2009
The term psychosis is derived from the Greek word “psyche” and “-osis” for abnormal condition. It refers to a loss of contact with reality, which usually involve delusions, hallucinations and severely disordered thinking, or a combination thereof. The following symptoms are associated with psychosis:
Abnormal displays of emotion;
Depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts;
Disorganized thought and speech;
Extreme excitement (mania);
False beliefs (delusions);
Loss of touch with reality;
Mistaken perceptions (illusions);
Seeing, hearing, feeling, or perceiving things that are not there (hallucinations);
and unfounded fear/suspicion.
The DSM-IV-TR classifies psychosis into three categories- traditional psychotic illnesses, psychosis due to General Medical conditions and Substance induced psychosis- and the treatments vary accordingly. There are many possible causes of psychosis, including:
Alcohol and certain drugs;
Psychotic depression; and
Many psychotic patients are treated with antipsychotic drugs, which can lessen the incidences of hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. Individual and group mental health therapy can also help the recovery process.
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Novelist and activist Alice Walker is widely considered to be one of the most prominent African-American women in the United States. She was the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1983, for her bestselling novel The Color Purple. In addition to her commitment to exploring issues of racism in America, Walker is well known for her radical feminism, even going as far as to assert that motherhood is a form of perpetual servitude.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Walker’s daughter Rebecca does not share her mother’s views towards motherhood. In 2000, she published a memoir, Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self, which depicts her mother as a cold, uncaring and resentful parent who saw her as an albatross and treated her accordingly. Of her mother, Rebecca stated:
“My mother’s feminist principles colored every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.”
Because of the unflattering statements made in this memoir, Rebecca and her mother have been estranged since its publication. In a further act of rebellion, Rebecca also wrote a book extolling the unparalleled joys of motherhood, titled Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence (2007). From an outside perspective, it appears as though Walker’s daughter has self-consciously modeled herself in opposition to everything she associates with her mother. Yet curiously, she has clearly inherited her mother’s compulsion for self-expression and desire for validation…
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This vodka would be delightful with a slice of pizza...
Historian Taylor Branch’s newly published book, “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President,” is based on some 70 taped interviews of Bill Clinton, taken between 1993 and 2001. One of the must amusing incidents revealed in this book concerns deceased former President Boris Yeltsin, who was infamous for his ‘passion’ for vodka. According to Clinton, during a 1995 visit to the White House, a drunken and hungry Yeltsin was discovered by Secret Service agents attempting to flag down a taxi on Pennsylvania Avenue. Clad only in his underwear, Yeltsin explained that he just wanted a pizza.
Unbelievably, the irrepressible Yeltsin again evaded security forces the next night, when he climbed down the back stairs of the Blair House basement (his temporary living quarters). Taking the drunken Russian president for an intruder, a security guard detained Yeltsin until Russian and U.S. agents arrived on the scene and escorted him back to his room.
Yeltsin’s drunken determination to eat pizza, at any cost and by any means necessary, is proof positive that a slice is in fact the internationally endorsed drunk-food du jour. Yeltsin did not risk life, limb, and international embarrassment for a late night snack of lo mein, falafel or borsht. No, Yeltsin wanted some pizza, pants be damned.
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The Buddhist conception of Karma (from Sanskrit: action, work) is the impetus behind Samsara, or the cycle of suffering and rebirth for each being. Both good and bad actions produce “seeds” in the mind of the individual that will either come to fruition in this life or in a subsequent rebirth. In Theravada Buddhism there can be no divine salvation or forgiveness for one’s Karma, since it is a purely impersonal process that is a part of the make up of the universe. Thus, one must absorb suffering in order to ultimately transcend earthly agonies.
Famous poet Ted Hughes’ poem, Karma, is a melancholy meditation on the suffering and carnage wrought by “civilized” man. It is influenced by the Buddhist belief in the retracing of time and the inexorable karmic bondage to suffering. In the poem, the narrator feels profound sadness as he contemplates the suffering around him, and realizes that there exists no earthly rationale that renders human misery comprehensible. However, by embracing the fact that there is no solution or explanation for suffering, he is able to absorb it fully and transcend the bondage of blame.
When the world-quaking tears were dropped
At Dresden at Buchenwald
Earth spewed up the bones of the Irish.
Queen Victoria Refused the blame
For the Emperors of Chou herding their rubbish
Into battle roped together.
The seven lamented millions of Zion
Rose musically through the frozen mouths
Of Russia’s snowed-under millions.
They perch, as harps,
Over the slaves whose singing blood still flows
Through the Atlantic and up the Mississippi
And up the jugular
Skywriting across the cortex
That the heart, a gulping mask, demands, demands
For its bloody possessor.
And a hundred and fifty million years of hunger
Killing gratefully as breathing
Mouldered the heart and the mouth
That cry for milk
From the breast
Of the mother
Of the God
Of the world
Made of Blood.
They have gone into dumber service. They have gone down
To labour with God on the beaches. They fatten
Under the haddock’s thumb. They rejoice
Through the warped mouth of the flounder.
They have melted like my childhood under earth’s motherly curve
And are nowhere they are not here I know nothing
Cries the poulterer’s hare hanging
Upside down above the pavement
Staring into a bloody bag Not here
Cry the eyes from the depths
Of the mirrors seamless sand.
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In a nutshell, infertility refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Doctors generally diagnose fertility in the following scenarios:
1) A couple has not been able to conceive after a year of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34;
2) A couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is over the age of 35 (declining egg quality of females over the age of 35 account for the age-based discrepancy as when to seek medical intervention);
3) A woman who are able to get pregnant but consistently cannot take the pregnancy to term may also be deemed infertile.
Infertility can occur if there is an underlying problem preventing any of these four steps from occurring:
1) A woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulate);
2) The egg must pass through the fallopian tube towards the uterus (womb);
3) A man sperm must fertilize the egg on the way; and
4) The fertilized egg must successfully implant to the side of the uterus.
Worldwide, it is estimated that one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, independent of the extent of the country’s development or resources. Both sexes become less fertile as they get older, but a woman’s advancing age poses a greater hindrance to fertility. However, despite the commonly held belief that infertility is a “woman’s problem,” statistics tell a different story; roughly one-third of fertility problems are caused by the woman’s problems, one-third by the man’s and the other cases are caused by a combination of problems from both parties or unknown origins.
Depending on the origins of the problem and overall health and age of the partners, doctors may elect to treat infertility with medication, surgery, artificial insemination or assisted reproductive technology.
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A panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes repeated and unexpected debilitating attacks of fear, which may last anywhere from a few minutes to hours. In order for someone to be diagnosed with a panic disorder, they must exhibit four of the following symptoms within ten minutes after the onset of an attack, and each attack must be followed by at least one month of persistent fear of experiencing another attack:
Chest pain or discomfort;
Dizziness or faintness;
Fear of dying;
Fear of losing control;
Feeling of choking;
Feelings of detachment;
Feelings of unreality;
Nausea or upset stomach;
Numbness or tingling;
Palpitations or pounding heart;
Sensation of shortness of breath;
Sweating, chills, or hot flashes; and
Trembling or shaking.
The exact cause of panic disorders is unknown; however, genetics are thought to play a role and the condition is twice as prevalent in women than it is in men. Symptoms most commonly develop before the age of 25, but sufferers are often not diagnosed until they are older. Left untreated, panic disorders can have serious disruptive effects on the interpersonal relationships of the sufferer, as well as hinder their performance in settings such as work or school.
Once diagnosed, panic disorders are usually treated with a combination of anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy with a mental health practitioner. While panic disorders are usually persistent and difficult to eradicate all together, many sufferers are able to learn how to manage their condition and avoid triggering stimuli.
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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark 1954 United States Supreme Court decision that declared that race-based segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, helped pave the way for the civil rights movement. The unanimous ruling stated that, “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court’s decision was strongly influenced by the “doll test studies” performed by the African-American educational psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark, a husband and wife and team that conducted studies on the psychological effects of segregation on black children during the 1940s.
In conducting the “doll test,” the Clarks relied on four plastic, diaper-clad dolls, identical except for skin color. They showed the dolls to black children between the ages of three and seven, and asked them several questions to get a sense of their racial perception and preference. The majority of the children described the white doll positively and expressed a preference for playing with it over the darker skinned dolls. They also provided the children with crayons and outline drawings of a boy and girl, and asked them to color the figures the same color as themselves. The children consistently relied on the white or yellow crayon, despite the fact that their skin tones were significantly darker. Based on this research, the Clark’s concluded that segregation resulted in black children feeling inferior to their white peers.
In 1950, Kenneth Clark wrote a paper summarizing his findings for the White House Mid-Century Conference on Children and Youth, which caught the attention of Robert Carter of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. On Carter’s recommendation, Clark was retained to provide expert social science commentary in the Brown case, as well as the Briggs, Davis and Delaware cases. The Supreme Court heavily cited Clark’s research in their decision. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Kenneth Clark on his list of 100 Greatest African-Americans.
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