Archives for October, 2011
Richard's out today, C.R. writes: In a loving, functional family, a child is treasured. In truth, parents love and are proud of their child not only for the unique person he is, but also the unique person his parents help him become. Functional families all have remarkably similar core philosophies—the parents are fully committed to lovingly invest themselves in the child. This investment requires love (it's essential), but it also requires time and a variety of resources. There are four main needs children have (of course, there may be others), a kind of parental investment portfolio where the parent gives his non-material and material resources:
C.R. just asked me a good question: What's the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath? She'd read online descriptions of sociopaths and psychopaths and pointed out that they sounded like the description of someone with narcissistic personality disorder. Shallow emotions. Lying and manipulation. Lack of feelings for others. And so on.
Is the new, purportedly enormous-in-scope, Danish study that "shows" that cell phones don't cause tumors, flawed? At first glance, it's actually hard to tell. But strident opposition is coming from numerous experts. For example, Electromagnetic Health is a group of scientists and medical doctors (some from Ivy League schools), who believe (and cite some compelling evidence) that electromagnetic radiation is damaging our health. They conclude that earlier studies about cell phones are correct—they do cause damage to our brains (especially the growth of tumors). On their news page they say (emphasis, mine):
[See parts one, two and three of one mom's fight to help her autistic son. Therapy Soup's interview with Kathleen of Pickl-it continues...] An Expert Agrees Seated in front of the desk of of a world-renowned pediatric neurologist and brain-development Dr. Martha Herbert, researcher who specialized in autism research, my husband and I waited while she scribbled a quick note, straightened and shifted papers to the side of her desk, and then centered her gently-folded hands on the desk’s gleaming wood. Leaning forward, her eyes locked onto mine. “Tell me,” she invited, in a welcoming voice.
See parts one and two of Kathleen's amazing story as she sought answers to her son Matthew's varying diagnoses (including autism and schizophrenia). Therapy Soup's interview with Kathleen of Pickl-it continues... Please describe the changes that you made in Matthew's diet. I got back to the business of putting my pantry in order, culling out the few convenience foods that remained. Most were “browns foods” - cereal, crackers, store-bought bread, and wheat pasta - all of them labeled “Organic!” and “Healthy!” but nonetheless loaded with too much naturally-occurring sugars and starches that were difficult for all of us to digest. Bad gut-microbes love to snack on sugar and starch. Every piece of research I uncovered showed promise that traditional lacto-fermented foods (brined, cured, cultured, pickled) were a necessary part of daily-nutrition, offering naturally-occurring probiotics for gut-healing, as well as creating low-carb, low-GI, nutrient-dense, living-foods unachieved by modern food-processing techniques. I invested a lot of time (and money) in creating home-fermented foods because I found they were more nutritionally beneficial than buying probiotic pills. Sourdough (fermented) bread-making was another time-consuming but important step. I also uncovered valuable research showing that Resistant Starch (RS) created during the sourdough fermentation process, was more valuable to overall gut and digestive health, than “fiber.”
[Read part one of Sick Child, Sick Food, the story of a mother's struggle with her autistic? schizophrenic? undiagnosable son, here. Therapy Soup's interview with Kathleen of Pickl-it continues...] Falling Behind Our list of needs kept growing. So many conditions, and so few doctors who had a name for any condition he faced. Every success brought new challenges which we could not anticipate. Why didn’t our son feel or react to the correct temperature of food, weather or water, perceiving cold as hot, and hot as cold? Playing outside in the New Hampshire winter is life-threatening for a child who sneaks away, removing every article of clothing because he’s “too hot” in 20-degree temperatures! Likewise, 95-degree days are risky for a child who insists on wearing turtlenecks and down-filled jackets.
Can dietary changes really improve some symptoms of autism, childhood onset schizophrenia and related problems? We first “met” Kathleen over the Internet because of C.R.’s interest in healthy eating. C.R. began to explore the Pickl-it web site in order to write about natural fermentation for her natural foods blog. What she found was an extraordinary story about a boy variously diagnosed with autism, schizophrenia, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (in other words, an atypical autism spectrum disorder) and his heroic mother's search for answers. Kathleen’s story is extremely compelling and important reading. So we’re going to allow Kathleen to tell it (she’s a natural writer), over the course of a few interview posts. Part 1: Heartbreak and Hope
C.R. writes: This little gem-of-a-book, Adventure In Everything, (Hay House, 2011) was slipped into my hands last week by a friend. I was surprised to find that it packs quite a bit of powerful advice. The author, Matthew Walker, received his master's degree in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University in Seattle, and has worked as an outdoor educator and mountain guide for the past two decades. He's taken a behavioral approach, combined it with adventure, and come up with a unique way to invest your life with a bit more oomph. Walker respects that each individual has both the need for a feeling of aliveness/vitality and the need to live up to personal responsibilities. This two-track awareness is kind of like mountain climbing itself. You've got to go for those hard-to-reach, exciting summits but live up to responsibilities to your climbing partners and respect the environment. For a book on how to seek adventurous heights it is quite down to earth. Central to the author's theme are 5 elements of adventure that Walker identified and which form the chapters of his book. These include: High Endeavor, Uncertain Outcome, Total Commitment, Tolerance for Adversity, and Great Companionship.
As reported in the New York Times, world-class surfer Anthony Ruffo has once again been busted for methamphetamine possession and dealing. The surfer, who is 48, used to "partner" in his drug-dealing with a Santa Cruz, California street gang called the Norteños. They gave him the drugs to sell, and he sold them and in return received both money and protection. He was busted in 2005 and got probation and court-mandated treatment. Then, he was busted again in the summer of 2010. This last time, something clicked. He began a variety of treatments, including some alternative treatments and began to see his life in a new way. The constant partying and celebrity lost some of its appeal. Now, he's been sober for 11 months and working with other addicts. Ruffo says he wants to avoid an impending 5 year prison sentence and continue his probation and peer-counseling.
While this study about young adults and addiction has some value, it doesn't tell addiction professionals anything they didn't know about addiction treatment. We already know that young adults, even highly motivated young adults, benefit from the behavioral training they receive in residential treatment programs. We also know that continuing some level of sober social support after inpatient or outpatient treatment, is essential. The main issue that holds people back from recovering and sustaining their recovery isn't self-confidence. (In some ways, and I know I'm going to get a lot of flak for saying this, self-confidence can be in a block to recovery in cases). The main issue is self-knowledge. And young adults are particularly vulnerable to lacking this ingredient. Once you really know yourself and come to care about yourself at a deep, personal level, you tend to want to make healthier choices that benefit mind, body, and soul.