US Suicide Rates Are At A 30-Year High

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

Consider that currently in the US:
– 1 in 4 Americans are living with Mental Illness.
– 22 Million Americans have a substance use disorder.
– Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years.  Read more ›

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September Is National Recovery Month

Substance use disorders continue to be misunderstood and outside of few circles, are rarely spoken about. However, in a given year, substance use disorders will impact 22 MILLION people in the United States.   Read more ›

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How to Avoid Email Regret

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
– Nelson Mandela
Have you ever received some news via email, voicemail, word of mouth, etc, that has made you so angry that not only did you have physiological responses (increased heart rate, knot in your stomach, rise in body temperature, etc.), but you obsessed on this perceived or actual way in which you were wronged that you could think of nothing else but reacting as soon as possible?
If so, what did you do?  Did you take out your phone and bang away ferociously on your iPhone’s screen (good thing it’s made of Gorilla Glass) typing faster on your phone than you ever had before?  Maybe you only took some notes capturing the bullet points.  Maybe you waited till you were at your computer (assuming you weren’t at the time and “unleashed hell” like in “Gladiator” but in the form of email.

Perhaps you showed some “restraint” and decided to deal with it later and were actually able to re-engage in your life for the remainder of the day.  For many, this “restraint” lasts until that night, when laying in bed, you can think of nothing else.  So, you become more and more angry / upset / resentful until you “can’t take it” and write that Manifesto to the individual or institution that has “wronged you.”   Read more ›

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More on the Suicide Epidemic

Suicide continues to be a significant problem in the United States, and remains the 10th leading cause of death. In 2011, 39,518 people took their own lives.

The numbers are more alarming when broken down by age and gender. Consider that almost 5,000 Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 die by suicide each year, making it the second leading cause of death in this age group.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years as well as persons ages 25-34. It’s the fourth leading cause of death among persons ages 35-54, and the eighth leading cause of death among those 55-64.

Those suicides committed by the 15 – 24 year olds account for 20% of all suicides.

Read more ›

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The Heredity of Suicidal Behavior

Suicide is a leading cause of adolescent death in the United States. Screening of any adolescent for emotioal wellbeing therefore must include an examination into their parent(s) own suicidality.

A new study indicates that parents who have attempted suicide, have children who are five times more at risk for making a suicide attempt.

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33 Identified Definitive Autism Genes 33 (up from 9 previously ID’d)

Study completed by Mt. Sinai researchers and the Autism Sequencing Consortium examined several types of rare, genetic differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected children, and unrelated individuals – by far the largest number to date – to dramatically expand the list of genes identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Small differences in as many as a thousand genes contribute to risk for autism.
Brain machinery for communication, transcription, regulation implicated
– Genes underlying the neural machinery for shaping communication between brain cells, gene expression, and its regulation    by environment emerged as conferring the most risk.
– Rare glitches in 107 genes confer relatively higher risk.
– Among 2270 trios of patients and their parents, 13.8% carried such mutations.
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September is National Recovery Month, Not National Opioid Month As the Numbers Suggest

Every day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription opioid narcotics such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and methadone.

Prescription Opioiod Abuse Alive and Well Along With A National Herioin Crisis:
The rise in heroin use is leading to more drug overdose deaths. In February of this year, SAMHSA issued an alert about a marked upswing in deaths linked to the use of heroin contaminated with the opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is reported to be about 100 times more potent than morphine, the active ingredient of heroin.

Read more ›

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Frequent Marijuana Use Bad for Teens’ Brains

Multiple Sources – August 10, 2014

At the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention, psychologists discussed the health implications of legalizing marijuana which in part included the effect of marijuana on teens. Generally, psychologists agreed that smoking marijuana just once weekly can have significant negative effects on the brains of teens and young adults. Such effects include, cognitive decline, poor attention and memory, and decreased IQ (APA, 2014).

Krista Lisdahl, Ph.D., director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said, “It needs to be emphasized that regular cannabis use, which we consider once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and neuro-cognitive damage, especially in youth.”
Read more ›

Teen Use of Synthetic Human Growth Hormone Doubles from 2012 to 2013

Between 2012 and 2013, the use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) without a prescription more than doubled among teens, grades 9 -12 seeking to improve their athletic performance and/or appearance.  Although the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids who published their results state that these figures highlight teens’ growing interest in performance enhancing substances, the group’s statements about the effects of HGH as a PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) are highly debatable. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids indicate that synthetic HGH stimulates growth and cell production, helping regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth. They further state that HGH can be used to improve athletic performance and appearance by building muscle, “like anabolic steroids.”

A group of researchers from Stanford would disagree with these statements as their study found that, the hormone shots, used by athletes seeking to boost performance, increased lean muscle mass mostly by making the body retain fluids. The Stanford study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that the added bulk not only failed to make individuals stronger, but actually appear to cause athletes to tire and get hurt more easily.

Penn State’s Professor of Health and Human Development, Charles Yesalis raises what might be the benefit of HGH as a PED. Yesalis reported that it has found to be rare that an athlete is taking HGH on it’s own, and that these athletes are taking HGH in conjunction with anabolic steroids. Several other scientists speculate that HGH enhances the strength building family of anabolic steroids.

Many of the side effects of anabolic steroids have been widely publicized, but the side effects from HGH appear to be significantly less publicized which may in turn, provide a sense of its use as posing little risk. However, HGH has been found to have such side effects as Injection-site reactions and to a lesser degree, individuals who use HGH can experience joint swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an increased risk of diabetes. These individuals in some cases, can produce an immune response against Growth Hormone. The most severe of the potential side effects, but with the weakest scientific evidence is HGH’s risk factor for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

It would appear that the bigger news from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is their other findings included in their report which include:
– One in five teenagers said they had at least one friend who used steroids.
– The same percentage also said they thought it was easy to get steroids either online or from others who are thought to have obtained the steroids from the internet.
– The percentage of teens who considered use of synthetic HGH without a valid prescription a “great” or “moderate” risk, decreased by 5% from just one year prior (2012).

Growth Hormones in Our Milk:
In the United States, the FDA allows the agricultural industry to legally give a bovine Growth Hormone to dairy cows to increase milk production, although the FDA has made it illegal to give such hormones to cows raised for beef.

So I guess it’s ok for our society to ingest growth hormone via milk, but hey don’t worry, you and your family don’t have to worry about ingesting these hormones from eating beef.

This would appear to fit into the norm of the FDA’s long history of inconsistent guidelines, which are often found to either not be adhered to. That’s ok, because we all have seen the reports (that are known about publicly) about the other contaminants that wind up in our food. That’s a whole other conversation, which I can’t get into right now as I still have half a gallon of milk to finish before batting practice.

Freedman RJ, Malkovska V, LeRoith D, Collins MT (October 2005). “Hodgkin lymphoma in temporal association with growth hormone replacement”. Journal of Endocrinology, 52(5). pp. 571–575. doi:10.1507/endocrj.52.571.

Liu H, Bravata DM, Olkin I, Friedlander A, Liu V, Roberts B, Bendavid E, Saynina O, Salpeter SR, Garber AM, Hoffman AR (May 2008). “Systematic review: the effects of growth hormone on athletic performance”. Annals of Internal Medicine, 148(10). pp. 747–758. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-10-200805200-00215.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids & deKadt Marketing and Research, Inc. (2014). The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study Teens & Parents 2013: The 25th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS). Retrieved from:

Swerdlow AJ, Higgins CD, Adlard P, Preece MA (2002). “Risk of cancer in patients treated with human pituitary growth hormone in the UK, 1959-85: a cohort study”. Lancet 360 (9329): 273–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09519-3.

How To Apologize and Own It

Don’t let the clinical terminology deter you (ok, “Fartbag” is not actually a clinical term), this is a great synopsis and life lesson. Apologizing Like An Adult

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