Scam Stories that Will Make Your Blood Boil

In a previous article, we spoke about Covid-19 scams. Now, with Covid practically over, we are going to discuss real-life examples of some common deceptions used by nefarious individuals with the sole intention of illegally extracting money from you.

Illustration of a computer hacker asking for your password
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Intro – If It Walks Like a Duck…

How many times have you heard your phone ring only to see that it is a phone number you don’t recognize, but the ID says it is coming from your location? Or you get an email or text that tells you your subscription is overdue and to “click here” to update your information? Quite often, right?

Copy of email scam
Emails from what appear to be legitimate companies can be scams. Image: SMS©

Have you noticed that this is increasing and not decreasing? One might call it an epidemic of financial proportions! Well, here are a few real-life examples of how other people were getting scammed, how they responded to the scam, and what they did afterward.

We are not expecting you to become an expert on how to handle fictitious calls or emails by reading this article, but these incidents may just help you realize what is out there and help you stay on the side of caution when contacted by fraudulent individuals.

The Guy Told Me to Withdraw $140,000
– Wait What?

Interios of a bank
Photo: Unsplash

A question that one might ask is why any thief would be so stupid as to not anticipate the variables that can go wrong in an operation like this? Be it as it may, this is a true case of an elderly person being conned into summing up over $140,000 in cold cash to give to an individual who told her that she needed to pay her taxes immediately and deliver the money to him. Believe it or not, these individuals exist and they are out there!

The Details

A 70-year-old woman entered her local bank to withdraw $140,000 in cash. As per bank policy, the teller immediately advised the manager who asked the woman why she was withdrawing so much money in cash.

The woman responded that she received a call from a company she was affiliated with and they told her that she was behind on her taxes and subsequently, she needed to pay them $140,000 immediately. They said they would send someone to her house to pick up the money.

Hooded man talking on cell phone
iStock

The woman, obviously scared went to the bank to withdraw the money, and the bank, obviously aware that this was a scam, contacted law enforcement, and a sting operation was set up.

When the perpetrator came to the house, he was arrested and is currently serving time in prison, which according to reports, is not “getting out any time soon”.

They Count on Your Vulnerability

Elderly man looking out a window concerned
iStock

Loan Desperation

Joe, a 68-year-old married man with two children lost his job due to layoffs and was looking for work, but as the months proceeded, he realized that he was falling more and more behind on his debt, specifically his credit cards which were, at times, surpassing their 30-day delinquency period.

When delinquency of a bank payment surpasses 30 days, an alert is sent to the credit bureaus and it is noted on the credit report, subsequently lowering their credit rating. This can make it harder to prove creditworthiness when buying a car or applying for a loan. The man was getting very nervous with this credit score decrease. Time was of the essence for this individual.

Additionally, knowing that his credit cards were maxed out to their limit, he was worried about not having enough funds to support his household and he knew he had to do something about this fast, so he went online and searched for debt consolidation loans. He responded to a few of the listings that showed up. One of them was a  website that looked for companies that listed a variety of companies that could possibly approve a loan, based on his credit score, which was under 620.

He applied to numerous offers but they all ended up declining him. Later that day, Joe responded to an email that was sent to him offering him a loan for $6,000. Just the amount he was looking for!

A focused and serious looking man working and thinking hard on a computer
iStock

They gave him an 800 phone number to call. He called them and they told him that they don’t use the credit bureaus for checking creditworthiness and that they use a different method. They said the first step was to deposit money into his checking account to verify it was a valid account.

Afraid and anxious that he wouldn’t be able to support his family under his current financial conditions, he hastily followed their instructions and gave them his bank account information.

The next morning he noticed that there was $3000.00 deposited into his checking account and shortly thereafter, a “financial representative” called him to verify that the money was there.

What happened next would have been obvious to many; however, Joe, being in the state of mind that he was in caused him to mentality bypass this red flag and not think there was any issue with the process. This is one of the methods that scammers pray on – emotional stress!

Joe was told that he needed to send them the money back. They requested him to go to a local store that provides wire transfers. He proceeded to go to the local Rite Aide that was down the block from him; however, it was 8:45 AM and they were not opened yet. So he went to CVS, but they also didn’t open until 9:00 AM.

The caller was persistent (another red flag) and told him to find an open store, but he told them that he would just prefer to wait until the store opened. While he was waiting in his car for the store to open, he thumbed through his email messages on his iPhone and saw a message from J.P. Morgan Chase – the bank where he has his account.

The message said that they were sorry to hear that there was money illegally withdrawn from his account and that they replenished the account with the $3000 that was “missing” until an investigation was completed.

Man with credit card in hand upset that he'd been scammed
Photo: iStock

Now Joe woke up. It hit him like a ton of bricks and he realized he had been scammed. He ignored the spammer’s phone calls and drove directly to Chase.

The manager helped him place a report to their fraud department and Chase immediately withdrew the message that they received about a $3000 loss. In the end, no harm was done. Joe was saved from losing a lot of money and there was no record held against him from Chase, but had CVS or Rite Aide been open at the time, Joe would have most likely proceeded with the wire transfer.

Behind Your Bills Scare Tatic

Alexa was laid off from her job and she started falling behind on her bills. She was not that worried about her credit cards or FICO score so much as her utility bills, and she was most concerned about her electric bill.

Being two months behind on your electric bill is sure to concern even the most optimistic of people. Then the dreaded phone calls come in. Alexa is no exception to this.

But Alexa was no fool. She never answers phone calls that don’t have a  caller ID and even when the caller ID shows up, she won’t pick up if she doesn’t recognize the name of the company calling.

In Alexa’s situation, putting these two factors together wasn’t enough to catch her off guard. Being delinquent on her utility bill was certainly enough to catch her ill-prepared for what was to come.

The utility company called and she answered. Why would she not? The ID showed up who it was so she had no reason to believe it was not a fraudulent phone call.

The woman told her that she was delinquent and that she needed to bring the account up to date or her electric bill would be suspended. Alexa had no choice but to decide to use part of her mortgage money to pay for the electric bill and she reiterated that message to the woman who transferred her to a man who called himself “Dave”.

Dave explained to her in perfect English (no accent) the procedure where they could receive the money today by using Zelle. A quick and legitimate application where the recipient can receive money in a matter of seconds and most banks offer this method of money transfer.

Scared, Alexa complied and followed his directions. She went online to her bank app and clicked Zelle as directed by Dave. He told her that she should type in the box that asked for the amount of cash to be sent with the last four digits of her utility account number and that their algorithm would read it and know how to handle it; other words, by reading the utility code, the past due amount and only the past due amount will be withdrawn from her bank account.

Alexa followed his directions and the result was that it took out the amount that was listed as the code and not the past-due balance, so she ended up paying $347 more than she needed to pay.

When she told Dave what happened, he replied that this happens sometimes and he directed her to go back to the Zelle app. On the app, Alexa told him that she saw the Request Money button and asked him if she should enter the code in this box or request the exact amount that was withdrawn.

Dave corrected her and told her not to use the Request Money button but to use the Send Money button as she did before and the algorithm will correct itself and return her the amount she overpaid.

This is where Alexa drew the line. She realized that she had been scammed and hung up on Dave, not before telling him what she thought of him.

Alexa immediately contacted her bank and they initiated a return sequence via Zelle and Alexa was lucky. She had the band reverse the amount back into her bank account.

Zelle scams are on the rise and take many forms!

Conclusion

World Map With Currency Icons Network Over Dark Background,iStock

Spammers can approach you from anywhere in the world. Email, websites, phone calls or they could even approach you in the street. They prey on the elderly and hope their phone calls will reach vulnerable individuals, no matter what their age is.

Be wary of anything that even seems the slightest bit suspicious and never send anyone any money until you are sure they are the legitimate party!

 

 

Components of the Brain

Neurons in the Brain
Neurons in the Brain

We have previously discussed the hundreds of trillions of cells, AKA neurons that exist in our brains. Just think about that for a second (or two). Now let’s see what holds all these nerve cells together!

What is the Brain Made of?

There are so many additional details to this piece of ugly gray matter that we haven’t spoken about yet, so now let’s dive into it.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what the neurons do, but what causes these nerve cells to react? Well, our sensors (sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste) have a lot to do with this. 

When we sense something, our brain amasses the messages in a manner that has meaning to us; in other words, the nerve cells get to work in order to make us understand what just happened. If you touch something that is hot, say grab a coffee cup from freshly made coffee, that instinct of touch is translated into ‘neuron language’, where millions, perhaps billions of nerve cells get together in our brain to tell us that this item is hot. Of course, this happens instantly to us. Thousands of times faster than it took you to read this paragraph. 

The Components of the Brain

So now that we can identify how the brain translates information, what are the different parts of the brain and how do they work? 

There are three parts. The cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem.

The Cerebrum

The Cerebrum Illustrative View
The Cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is responsible for logic and problem solving (Photo: Henry Vandyke Carter / Public domain)

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. Its function is remembering, problem-solving, thinking and feeling, and movement. The cerebrum is located in the lower back area of your brain.

There are two parts of the cerebrum called the right and left hemispheres, sometimes referred to as the right or left side of the brain. Interestingly enough, each side of the cerebrum controls the other side of the body, so if you have a stroke that comes from the left side, it will be the right side (namely your arms and legs) that will be affected.

The left cerebrum controls speech, comprehension, and math. A more generic way to label the left side of the cerebrum is that it focuses on logic or problem-solving. The left hemisphere is the dominant side for about 92% of the population, which is why so many people are right-handed.

For all of you Star Trek fans, ever wonder how Mr. Spock’s brain is assembled? He is of course a Vulcun whose species focuses specifically on logic, so is his left cerebrum more abundant (and the right side less abundant) proportionally? Or maybe he doesn’t have a right hemisphere at all? After all, he didn’t seem to be that great in music. 

The right hemisphere controls creativity, art, and artistic and musical skills. Does that mean legends such as Leonardo da Vinci, Auguste Rodin, Irving Berlin, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra had larger right hemispheres or that they just used that part of the brain more often? 

Of course, when it comes to scientists, we’d like to deduce that Albert Einstein used his left hemisphere most often, but it is not as simple as that.

Neurons in the Brain
Close up of Neurons in the Brain. photo: Pixaby

In an excerpt from Discover Magazine,

Those who would explore Einstein’s brain are well aware they’re treading potentially controversial ground. Nevertheless, they believe they’re on to something. In 1985, neuroscientist Marian Diamond of the University of California, Berkeley, reported the Einstein brain had extra cells called glia. These cells support the “thinking” neurons in the left parietal lobe, an area above and behind the left ear involved in spatial relations and mathematics. She speculated that this “might reflect the enhanced use of this tissue in the expression of his unusual conceptual powers.” Seven years later, a researcher in Osaka, Japan, suggested a link between that higher glia-to-neurons ratio and Einstein’s purported dyslexia.

Cerebellum

360 View of the Cerebellum
The cerebellum is responsible for your body’s movement. (Photo: Polygon data were generated by Database Center for Life Science(DBCLS)[2]. / CC BY-SA 2.1 JP (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)

The cerebellum resides in the rear of the brain. Its functions involve coordinating voluntary movements such as motor skills, maintaining posture, equilibrium, and balance. 

If the cerebellum is not performing correctly (e.g. brain injury, poorly developed, stroke, born with a defect) can result in numerous issues; such as asynergia, which is a motor coordination illness, dysmetria, makes it difficult to use your hands (e.g. trying to pick up a cup of coffee) and Parkinson’s Disease, which is a neurodegenerative disorder and involves tremors in the hands as well as compromised functionality in other parts of the body.

Brain Stem

Appropriately named because it connects to the spinal cord and resides in front of the cerebellum. 

There are three major parts to this part of the organ:

Midbrain

The midbrain processes visual and auditory information.

Pons

This is the largest part of the brain stem. It’s located below the midbrain. It’s a group of nerves that help connect different parts of the brain. The pons also contains the start of some of the cranial nerves. These nerves are involved in facial movements and transmitting sensory information.

Situated beneath the midbrain, it is the largest part of the brain stem. It’s a gathering of nerves that interface with other parts of the brain. The pons is also part of a segment of the cranial nerves. These nerves are engaged with facial developments and sensory data.

Medulla Oblongata

Resides in the lower part of the brain. It acts as the control center for the function of the heart and lungs. It helps regulate many important functions, including breathing, sneezing, and swallowing.

This is where the heart and lungs are controlled and as such, it controls breathing and other heart/lung functions.

Conclusion:

This brief but rather definitive article gives some insight into how are brain functions and how these functions correspond to other parts of our body, so the next time you think, walk, talk or catch a baseball, consider how your brain made this happen and never take these motor skills for granted since there are some folks who are not as fortunate those with parts of the brain that do function well.

Here are some websites for neurological disorders. We hope you will consider donating! 

Brain Diseases
Autism and Neurodevelopment
Parkinson’s Disease
Lou Gehrig’s Disease

How Your Brain Works – An Elementary View

Hey!

Did I catch your attention? How long did it take? What exactly happened that allowed you to register this thought? Well, now we are going to find out.

Previously, we discussed the elements of the brain. Now we are going to go a bit deeper to see how this cognitive process works! Are you ready? Make sure you have your thinking caps on!

Note: Be sure to read How the Brain Affects Our Behavior as a prerequisite to this article.

The Central Nervous System

TE-Nervous system diagram
The Central Nervous System

Your brain does not act alone. It communicates with your spinal cord to coordinate your body’s actions. The manner in which it does this is complex; however, we will keep it simple.

Similar to data that is communicated through the Internet, the central nervous system does the same thing within our bodies. It is an information processing system with many ‘wheels’ that regulate how we think and move. In other words, our brain coordinates with the other parts of our body so that all these components work in conjunction with each other.

For example, you decide to get something to eat because your brain has notified you that you are hungry, but who told your brain that you are hungry? Well, most would agree, that t would be your stomach. Now that you know you are hungry, you decide to walk to a restaurant, so your brain tells your legs to start walking. You open the restaurant door and, you guessed it, your brain just spoke to your hands. This process goes on 24/7, even when you are sleeping. 

Simple Cell Creatures

There are so many cells in the human body that it is almost as mind-boggling as the universe itself, but let’s see if we can make sense of it all.

When you look at a building, you look at it as one whole unit, never thinking about seeing it brick by brick. Now, what if we were to look at living organisms that way? Starting with the simple ameba, we decide to look at it as cells or by each cell that puts it together; however, the amoeba is made up of only one cell, so we can’t do that with this fellow.

Let’s move on to more complicated creatures like tardigrades, which are tiny, almost microscopic animals that live in moist and watery areas. They are simple, but almost immortal creatures. They can live in just about any environment. Water, land, and even outer space, and are very hard to kill (not sure why anyone would want to do that though).

With that said, these creatures have up to 40,000 cells, and this is our point. From the ameba to the tardigrade, there are 40,000 more of these tiny organisms in the tardigrade and that is what makes this animal look and live the way it does. But still, 40,000 is not a lot compared to the next species we are going to discuss.

Cells in the Human Brain

100,000,000,000. That’s 100 billion cells! That is 50 times more than the stars in our Milky Way galaxy! No wonder we have intelligence, although that premise could be argued by some, considering the current political climate we are in. 

Artist illustration of the brain's neurons
Artist illustration of the brain’s neurons

Of these 100 billion cells in the brain, 86% or 86 billion are neurons, AKA nerve cells. Neurons are cells whose function is to transmit information throughout the body, specifically from/to the brain and from/to the central nervous system. They do this by electrochemical means, which is the process by which electrons move from one location to another. 

You might see where we’re going with this. When electrons move from one place to another, they are transmitting information, albeit, it is information that moves in extremely tiny amounts, but it is a transmission of information that is occurring. Neurons can transfer these tiny messages an inch or less or several feet, depending upon where the receiving neuron is located. 

What Neurons are Made of

Illustration of the parts of a neuron
Parts of a nerve cell. BruceBlaus / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Cell Body AKA Soma  

This is the essential part of the nerve cell that contains all the necessary components needed for the cell to function. It is somewhat analogous to the heart in our bodies. The soma contains the nucleus, ribosomes (which build proteins, and mitochondria, the component which makes energy). Just like the heart, if the soma fails, then the rest of the cell fails with it.

Axon

The Sona contains the nucleus of the nerve cell. BruceBlaus / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think of it as a pipe. The electrical impulse (message) moves down this pipe (or up). In scientific terms, it is the action potential that allows the messages to be projected away from the soma and travel down the axon where it is expelled through the dendrites.

There is an external material that the axons contain. Like a road that contains gravel and a road that is finally paved, some axons are covered with this material which is a thin layer of myelin sheath, while others do not have this sheath component and are called non-myelinated. 

The purpose of the myelin sheath is to allow the messages to travel faster, like a car traveling down a finally paved road in contrast to a non-myelinated axon (gravel road) where the message takes longer to reach its destination. In scientific terms, myelin helps to speed the transmission of the nerve impulses down the axon.

Myelinated neurons are those that are located in the peripheral nerves – neurons that are outside of the brain and non-myelinated neurons are the ones that are located within the brain and spinal cord. Indeed this makes sense since those neurons that are outside of the brain have a longer distance to travel than those that are millimeters away from each other inside the brain.

Dendrites AKA Nerve Endings

Like an octopus’s arms, they branch out from the end of the axon to make electrical contact with the destination neuron. 

If you are familiar with electronics, the transmission of the messages is actually the movement of electrons from one cell to another.

Conclusion

Neurons in the Brain
Neurons in the Brain

The nerve cells communicate or talk (send information) to other nerve cells via a series of electronic pulses that originate in the nucleus (sona) and proceed through the axon to the dendrites where they are picked up by another neuron. Thus, we have the processing of information that goes on continuously. 

The speeds at which the receptors of the dendrites receive and transmit information have not been scientifically proven to complete accuracy; however, scientists estimate that the unmyelinated nerve cells in this gray matter that we call the brain travel around 11 inches per second. So to keep it simple for us human mortals, we can say that the speed of a message is instantaneous, at least within our heads. 

Putting this all together, the processing of information in the brain of, say, deciding to turn on the TV can involve hundreds of thousands of nerve cells and be equated to just one thought; thus, neurons are the mechanisms that transmit our thoughts! What do you think of that?

Taking Back Power from Intrusive Thoughts in OCD

 A girl covering her face with her hand

All of us get irrational thoughts that run through our minds but are quickly forgotten, but for some, these thoughts don’t go away and continue to haunt the person. And once these unrealistic scenarios take hold, your stress levels can increase, resulting in other negative events attributed to this obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And subsequently, if not treated, you can end up in a full blown panic.

Under normal circumstances, a bad thought may be from an event, but as time goes by, the person calms down and tries to manage it in a logical manner; however, there are people who remain obsessed for a longer period of time and feel hopeless even if there may be a resolution down the road. This irrational behavior is usually associated with abnormalities in the brain that exacerbates the situation; subsequently, prolonging worry and resulting in a hyper-emotional state of concern. 

If these episodes are continuous, a doctor’s care would be required and appropriate mediation considered. Such is the case with bi-polar people where continuous negative thoughts overwhelm their rational state of mind, making them unable to think clearly.

As their OCD continues, the obsessive worry amplifies to the point where they can exhibit loud, aggressive and irrational outbursts (mania); sometimes in the form of violence. But it may not stop there. The obsession can lead to high energy moods and can result in unrelated actions not associated with their initial triggered event; such as excessive spending, inordinate continous cleaning or other forms of obsessive behavior.

What starts as a regular morning can quickly devolve into harrowing dawn where a person begins ruminating over things that may not even be real. If you are a formally diagnosed OC person, then you must already know how the thought pattern works in OCD. But if you aren’t diagnosed yet, then you might not even realize that what you have is not normal and needs to be dealt with as early as possible.

In obsessive thinking, a person could be sitting idle or watching something, and out of nowhere, a negative thought such as ‘what if I killed my mom?’ would rear its head and take over the person’s mind. They would not be able to break free from the negative thought cycle and would start believing that they are capable of hurting their mom. From outside the OCD realm, a healthy minded person would think that intrusive thoughts are not real; they are only a creation of the mind, so why can’t a person just stop thinking about them?

Well, that’s precisely the pervasive nature of intrusive/obsessive thinking. The mind of a person with OCD fails to pick up on the invalidity of negative thought and ends up replaying it again and again. However, sometimes a person might be able to realize that an idea is entirely out of the realm of possibility, but they are still harassed by it. It happens because the prefix of ‘what if’ is too powerful for people who get intrusive thoughts, and as a result, they fail to dismiss even the most far-fetched ideas.  

Even though the hold of intrusive thoughts over a person’s life seems unrelenting, by following a few strategies, a person can develop the ability to counsel themselves when there is an onslaught of intrusive thoughts.

Here are a few strategies that an OC person can employ to take back control from obsessive thinking.

Record and Identify a Pattern

On the surface, an obsessive thought seems to show up without a trigger, but typically there is an underlying anxiety or fear that fuels it. That is, you may not realize that you have a deep-rooted fear or concern regarding an aspect of your life that can trigger your thoughts. Let’s consider an example to understand the pattern of obsessive thoughts better.

You are sitting one day, and it seems like a regular day, but then you are hit with a terrible thought that you may hurt your best friend. Now there is no apparent reason for you to think this way, but once the idea appears, that’s all you can think about. Instead of thinking about the intrusive thought, try to dig a little deeper and figure out what rational or irrational fear do you have that could possibly be fueling this thought. Many times when a person fears hurting their loved ones, it’s because they are afraid of losing them. You might find this concept hard to believe, but if you break down the thought pattern related to the idea of hurting a loved one, you’ll find the correlation between the thought and the fear of losing someone close to you.

The fear of losing a friend or family member can manifest as a negative thought, such as ‘what if I hurt my friend?’ When you are afraid of losing some you love, the worst-case scenario would be that you actually lose them. In OCD, a patient’s mind can trick them into thinking about their fears indirectly while making the thought even more dreadful than the actual concern.

Accept your Thoughts

The idea of accepting intrusive thoughts may seem counterintuitive, but it can help a person relax to a considerable extent. As Deepak Chopra says, ‘Thoughts are just fleeting mental images, they have no real consequences until you make them important.’

Since thoughts are just virtual segments of once imagination, accepting them can make them less intense. That is, your acceptance or repudiation isn’t going to make your thoughts any more or less real. They are not going to become a reality, so if you accept them instead of getting worked up about them, you can relax the mind.

When you tell your mind that you believe it, it will stop torturing you with horrifying images and ideas. TO better understand this concept think about how you tease a friend but then stop doing so when they stop getting riled up. You only tease a friend till they give you a reaction, the moment they stop reacting you stop provoking them. Similarly, when the thoughts in your brain fail to elicit a response from you, they will lose their power.

Explore Meditation

Intrusive thoughts alone are unsettling, but combined with negative emotions that they generate, they become even more distressing. While you try to take control over your thought process by recording and accepting your thoughts, start meditating to manage the emotions which come with obsessive thoughts. Meditating is excellent at calming down the mind and keeping negative emotions at bay. With that said, you cannot expect miracles to happen with just one round of meditation. Make sure you make meditation a part of your daily life if you want to see results.

Every day make time for yourself, sit alone, and focus on your breathing while relaxing music plays in the background. You might require some time to get into the groove of meditation, but slowly you’ll get the hang of it. Just make sure that you remain consistent and practice meditation regularly.

The Takeaway

Obsessive thoughts can be debilitating. Professional guidance can be helpful, but a sufferer has to do most of the heavy lifting themselves, so they should start challenging their ideas on their own right away. The sooner a person starts tackling their thoughts, the faster they’ll be able to break the cycle of negative thoughts.

Simple Ways to Tackle Stress and Depression – Part II

Did You Reach Your 10,000 Steps Today?

Graphicstock 052419 Woman on Treadmill Ah, the beauty of exercise! What can one say but only good things about this natural, physical full-body enhancement?

Workouts can stimulate just about every part of your body. But the organs that will love you most are your heart and your belly, however, don’t neglect what they can do for your brain and this is where we will focus our discussion today.

For stress reduction, you want to avoid the loss of neurons in the hippocampus. This is the area where learning, memory, and emotion reside.

Having anxiety can inhibit the natural progressive state of the assembly of your neurons, as well as the effective speed of connections between hippocampal cells.

Studies have shown that exercising, specifically aerobic workouts for a minimum of 20 minutes can promote healthy information processing and memory functions within the brain; thereby countering the diminishing loss of neurons when a person is under stress.

One person told us of her continuous anxiety, (due to personal issues she did not want to elaborate on). She would be stressed all day and had to take pills to sleep, but if there was one daily factor that gave her relief (at least for a while), it was exercise.

Feeling good after exercise is healthy and a valuable factor in stress reduction. In this article, we will not go into detail about all the benefits of exercise, but you can read more about it here. In short, it is a great natural way to keep your mind and body in shape. But remember, No pain, no gain. So put your all into it and watch your health steadily improve.

Can Learning Help Reduce Stress?

Let’s go back to the hippocampus. When two dendrites (the receiving end of neurons) get close together, electrical messages are transmitted from one neuron to the other. This is done through the contact points between the dendrites, called the synapse.  When you learn something new, you are growing topic-specific dendrites to connect neurons to particular synapses or said in another way, you are growing more neurons that communicate with each other so that the new information is intact.

The Anatomy of a Neuron
The Anatomy of a Neuron
As you continue to learn new things, you are growing new neurons. This can help counter the negative effects in the brain when under anxiety (as mentioned in the exercise section above), but another positive factor is the ‘feel-good feeling you get after knowing you have learned something new, so, from a cognitive standpoint, the more learning you can achieve, the healthier your mind will be.

Get a Massage!

Massages have been known to promote relaxation and help alleviate anxiety. But they are not cheap. If you cannot find one that fits your budget, try getting a partner who can do it for you.  For many people, this can work wonders, even for those who are not in stressful situations. Here is a video on how you can do it right.

Medical Assistance

Now we are getting into the heavy stuff, but also the most successful when it comes to helping people get relief from stress. Seeking the advice of a medical professional is commonplace for people with anxiety and depression and there is a correlation between the two, but we’ll focus on anxiety for now.

Therapy – A Positive First Step

One of the most common ailments that would cause someone to go to therapy is stress and the related problems that are associated with it. A counselor can help you manage your anxiety better than you are probably doing yourself. Having someone to talk to in privacy may be one of the most rewarding options for you, but for others, more assistance may be required, however, this would be a good start.

Medication

Pills on a tableAlways seek the advice of a medical professional before taking ANY medication.

Now we come to a path that many, many people pursue, and for good reason!

Prescription drugs can be a significant benefactor in managing your anxiety, as well as the subsequent negative effects it has on your body, but caution is highly recommended!

If you find yourself in constant anxiety, don’t go through it alone.

NOTE: A doctor or certified practitioner is the only one who can prescribe the appropriate medication for you!

There are so many drugs on the market and more are being tested. Some medical scientists are even studying the use of psychedelic drugs to help manage depression, but a physician needs to determine what would be best for you. You may be surprised how much better you could feel with the proper medication and respective dosage.

Case in point: A 45-year-old man lost his father to heart failure. For eleven months, the man blamed himself with the notion that he could have done things better while his father was in ailing condition, not realizing that guilt is a common issue for someone to feel when they lose a loved one; however, most of the time, it is completely unwarranted. “Why didn’t I do it this way” or “I could have done this differently” are common thoughts a guilty person may encounter. For many people who suffer guilt after a loss, the fact is that nothing would have been any different, and as they say “It is all in your head”. But in the mind of the person suffering from it, it was die-hard real.

The ongoing guilt and grief were causing this man to have episodes of depression and when not in depression, he would suffer from serious anxiety attacks. It wasn’t until he sought medical help that a prescription plan was provided to him and after a few weeks, his guilt began to dissipate to the point that one morning when he woke up and he felt entirely free of this feeling.

This happened because he was initially lacking the chemical serotonin in his brain, which caused him to think irrationally and once the proper medication was provided to him, his serotonin level increased to the point that his anxiety and depression were gone.

Referring to a popular metaphor, we can say that the man went from feeling that the glass was half-empty to the glass being half-full. In reality, this meant that he went from thinking negatively about how he could have done things better when aiding his father to think about all the great things he did for his dad.

If you plan to see your family doctor, you can visit him/her first who might be able to recommend some limited amounts of prescription drugs that could help you cope with a bad situation, but for the long term, it would best to seek the help of a therapist and/or a psychiatrist.

Therapists are great ‘listeners’ and can help you cope with your situation. Psychiatrists are medical professionals whose specialty is your mental health as opposed to your physical health. They will be able to diagnose your condition and prescribe the appropriate medications that could help you. Many people choose to see both a therapist and a psychiatrist. Helpguide.org is a great website for obtaining a lot of information on how to get the best therapy for your condition.

To go any deeper would be beyond the scope of this article, but we hope that these suggestions will help improve your state of mind toward the right direction to follow and live a more enjoyable and happier lifestyle.

Happy people jumping

How the Brain Affects Our Behavior – A Brief Overview

Illustration of the human brain

You may have heard in science class or in a casual conversation that we use only use 10% of our brain. People are often quoted saying “Imagine what you could achieve if you used the full capacity of your brain.” However, this is a myth that is even incorrectly attributed to scientists such as Albert Einstein.

Facts and Figures

While the exact percentage we use is not certified, the brain is a powerful and intricate organ which allows its host to perceive and control his/her functions. Its potency can be gleaned from the fact that certain individuals are blessed with an eidetic memory. This is known as the ability to vividly recount images and settings exactly as they were, almost with surgical precision.

Another interesting fact is that it is the largest brain in all vertebrates relative to its body size. This fantastic organ houses 86 billion neurons or nerve cells and are actually immune to pain, despite man’s ability to develop a headache.

Functions of the brain

No one will doubt that the brain is a marvel of evolution, so let’s delve into the discipline of biological psychology to better understand its principal functions. Biopsychology is the branch of psychology that studies the brain in relation to its central functions and how its neurotransmitters and other biological factors influence human behavior.

Brain Motor and Sensory Perception

The human brain is an integral component of the central nervous system, which also includes the spinal cord. It consists of nerve tissues that govern the activity of our bodies. The outer region of the brain is called the cerebral cortex. This informs the cognitive, sensations and emotions of a person, which is yet another reason why the brain is such a vital organ.

A fully functional brain consists of four main lobes, which are listed below:

      • Frontal lobe
        This portion enables humans to exhibit motor skills, express language, and perform cognition.
      • Occipital lobe
        The occipital lobe is responsible for translating visual mediums into discernible information.
      • Parietal lobe
        This is the part that involves the sensibilities of a person. The sense of pressure, touch, and pain are processed in this component of the human brain.
      • Temporal lobe
        The fourth and final sector of the brain is the temporal lobe, which interprets the sounds and languages we hear. It also handles the memory of the person.

Neurons

Neurons are highly specialized cells that are the fundamental building blocks of life. They receive and distribute information from one part of the body to another through neural pathways that are built as new information is acquired.

Neurotransmitters

The way information travels through the neural pathways is known as neurotransmission. Chemical messengers are involved in the transmission of signals from one cell to another. This is how we interpret data and as we concentrate on more information, the neurotransmitters build more pathways so that we can successfully process the new information.

Science suggests that there are more than a hundred cells that perform this act of transmission. We can highlight some of the pertinent neurotransmitters, their effects, and potential disorders they are linked with it.

      • Acetylcholine
        This is connected to memory, muscle movement, and the ability to learn. A shortage of acetylcholine may result in Alzheimer’s disease.
      • Dopamine
        Dopamine is intrinsically linked to the thought process and feelings of a person. A lack of dopamine has been known to cause Parkinson’s disease and Schizophrenia. In case of scarcity, doctors recommend drugs to induce greater activity in the brain.
      • Endorphins
        A commonly heard term is endorphins, which revolves around emotions and the sensation of agony a person feels. When an individual experiences apprehension, their body releases endorphins in response.

Link to the Endocrine system

Suffice it to say, the anatomy of the human body is vast and complex. Any given part of the body functions in tandem with several other parts to inform the behavior of a person. The central nervous system is strongly linked to the endocrine system. The endocrine system includes the hormones and glands which transmit these into the circulatory system.

A network of neurons enables the movement of signals from the brain to various parts of the human body. The nervous system is comprised of almost a trillion of these neurons. They represent an intricate and regulated network.

The nervous system interacts with the endocrine structure in the human body in different ways. The brain consists of a portion called the hypothalamus. It is significant because it connects both the nervous and endocrine systems respectively. It is a small collection of nuclei that essentially control behavior.

They can be found in the front of the brain, towards its base, and coordinate basic requirements of the body, such as hunger, thirst, sleep, and sex. Additionally, it also manages the emotional and stress-related responses in humans, thus underlining how crucial it is to the body. These are essentially the two main functions of the hypothalamus.

Facts and Figures

Whether concise or extensive, we have discussed many attributes of the brain and what functions they perform. Our deliberation has included the cerebral cortex, four lobes, and the hypothalamus as well. We can now focus on the remaining aspects of the human brain.

Cerebellum

First up is the cerebellum. Called the little brain informally, it receives signals from the ears, nerves, and auditory and visual systems. It makes up nearly a tenth of the entire size of the brain and also monitors a person’s motor movements such as posture and balance.

Limbic system

The limbic system is next. It includes regions like the amygdala, hippocampus, septal area, and parts of the limbic cortex. Together, they connect with the aforementioned constituents such as the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus.

Basal ganglia

Finally, the basal ganglia are a combination of nuclei that envelop the thalamus. These are also involved in the movements a person makes.

In conclusion, we can gather that the brain is an unbelievably intricate organ. However, its significance cannot be overstated. We only need to look at the number of parts of the brain that influences our movement or our feelings to know that this complex organ is actually a well-oiled machine.

What to Do About Cyberbullying

Individual set aside because of bullying
More needs to be done against bullying, especially within the high-speed Internet environment

As soon as someone is perceived as ‘different’, there lies an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of that person. Maybe it makes them feel superior. Maybe it gives them a natural ‘high’ by showing off to their peers or maybe these instigators just have evil intentions. Whatever the reason, this phenomenon has been around for countless centuries, only to be brought into the mainstream via the Internet and social networking – and maybe that is a good thing.

But how can cyberbullying be controlled and how can preventing it be enforced?


Cyber Aware: Stop Cyberbullying – Infographic from Sano Works on Vimeo.

Sending disturbing emails and texts are part of the problem and are hard to monitor or control; however, preventative procedures can help towards diminishing the amount of bullying that perpetuates the Internet.

Free speech should not be controlled within the social media environment; however, that doesn’t mean to say that it should not be monitored and proper action taken against those individuals whose posts are interrupted as threatening, intimidating or abusive.

Facebook and the other social media should take some responsibility towards keeping a ‘clean’ environment among their members. They all provide policies against bullying and other forms of abuse, but they can’t enforce these policies alone and they depend on others to report these cases of abuse to them. Quite frankly, this procedure has all but failed, as we continue to hear about people (mostly young people) who take their lives due to some malicious posts that were written against them.

That being the case, more has to be done. Starting with the schools, they must take cyberbullying seriously and provide preventative measures to decrease and/or terminate this abuse during school hours AND after school hours as well (when most of the cyberbullying takes place), if it is determined that the abusers are enrolled in the school.

Sometimes, cyberbullying can arise outside of school jurisdiction, as the aggressors might not even be a student; therefore, there needs to be community action as well.

Girl covering her fact
The mental anguish of victims of bullying can be substantial

Overall, some suggestions for controlling cyberbullying are listed below:

 

  • The abusers should be reported to the social media establishment with a request to remove their account(s), but not before copies or screenshots are taken of the abusive posts (for later use if necessary).
  • Schools should provide special classes each semester, using ‘scared straight’ tactics about the dangers of bullying others. Including in this class would be a description of the consequences that could result, depending upon the seriousness of the abuse (suspension, arrest and even the possibility of being sued by the victim’s parents). Case histories would be presented.
  • Establish a support group in the school that would consist of teachers and students where victims of bullying can go to for help.
  • Establish a community support group that would consist of counselors, therapists, law enforcement officers and school officials (preferably those that are part of the school support group) to discuss the victim’s concerns and the possibility of action taken against the aggressors.
  • Parents should be vigilant to cyberbullying and taught what to look out for among their children, whether that be that their child is the abuser or victim. They should also be advised about the local laws that could potentially hold them responsible if it is determined that their son/daughter is cyberbullying another teenager.

As far as maintaining anonymity on the Internet is concerned, most social media networks do not allow a user to remain anonymous. Using anonymous email and in cases where it is allowed and cases where websites are anonymously created, that would be difficult to stop; however, a cyberbully can’t run and hide in the cloud forever. Considering today’s software technology and machine language algorithms, it would only be a matter of time before the abuser is discovered and brought to justice.

Dealing with Outsiders in Autism

Autism Sign
Pixabay

Everyone has the right to explore the world, visit public places, use public transportation, and be an active community member. But while some disabilities are apparent to people, autism does not necessarily show up on the surface.

Strangers assume that for autistic people dealing with this world is no different than that for a typical child. Except that it mostly isn’t and when they are held to the same standards as a normal person, it leads to stressful situations for the autistic child.

If you speak with the parents of an autistic child, they’ll surely tell you at least one incident of a passer-by who told them to handle their misbehaving youngster or gave them a strange look. Most people assume that the child is naughty and don’t think that disability could be the reason behind their unnatural behavior.

What Problems Are Mostly Faced?

Therapist drawing with child with autism.
iStock

Public places present many challenges for children with this disability. Autism creates extra difficulties which makes coping extremely hard as they do not understand appropriate social behavior and what’s normal for them looks strange to others. People don’t appreciate the difference.

Sensory sensitiveness often promotes behaviors that are shocking to outsiders. Children with autism lick or sniff their parents out of love and innocence and the parents are aware of it, but if a stranger is liked or sniffed in the same manner, they are likely to be startled and react in an unfriendly manner.

Eating issues often create trouble in public gatherings. There are several taboos related to food and for children with autism, it can be difficult to observe them all. For instance, taking food from someone else’s plate is considered bad manners but a child with autism would not be able to understand that.

Often people with ASD are not able to manage their voices. It is common for autistic people to speak too loud, and sound hostile or angry even when it is not the case. This makes people think that a person is being aggressive or rude deliberately when he or she is only trying to communicate in the best way possible.

We deal with family and friends differently than how we interact with strangers. But for children with ASD, it is hard to understand this difference. Some children with autism will hug strangers to demonstrate their friendliness, but the strangers are not pleased when such things happen as they find it offensive.

Children with ASD often suffer from high anxiety. In a busy or new place, they may quickly lose control and exhibit behaviors that people consider challenging. For parents, managing such behaviors in public can be very difficult.

Parents of a child with ASD realize that even when they do their best, people who do not understand autism will judge them and blame them for their child’s condition. What’s good parenting for children with autism is very different than what is considered good parenting for a normal child: they have different so needs are met differently, too.

Should You Explain?

There have been some serious debates about whether or not you should tell people about your child’s autism disorder and explain that it is the reason for their actions. If you tell them, it would neutralize the wrong assumption about you being bad at parenting. If your child is experiencing a meltdown, people will back off to let you handle it instead of giving you unwanted advice.

On the other hand, you may think that the condition of your child is nobody else’s business and you should not have to provide everyone a medical record. You may not even be in any mood to get involved with others as you’re already worried about your child’s condition.

It all comes down to what you decide. You may think differently on certain occasions and whatever decision you make, just remember the wellbeing of your child should always be your focus, so go ahead with what best supports your child.

Any Resources that Can Help?

Special cards are printed by the “National Autistic Society” which can be used in case of emergencies to make people aware of your child’s condition.

Unfortunately, for you to manage your feelings there isn’t much official helping material available. It can be challenging to manage a child with ASD, but you should never give up as your child needs your love and support to survive in this harsh world.

 

The Importance of Mental Health and Counseling

An Excerpt from a Patient Who Suffers from Mental Illness

DepressionWhy write a blog about mental illness.  Is it an illness?  Is it a disease of the mind?  Is it an abnormality?  Am I normal?  Why put myself out there when it will only invite unwanted criticism and name calling. Being known as someone who has depression and anxiety carries a tremendous personal burden, a steep price of added suffering and torment – one extra hill to climb out of.  So again you ask, why am I doing this?  Because mental illness is just that.  It is an illness.  Most people need to understand that. And the more people who are aware are able to help.  We need a community to band together and stop the shame of depression.  Stop the teen suicides.  If my story can help in anyway shed light on this illness then I am willing to battle the scars of criticism.

Prejudice, stigmas, and bigotry take the path of least resistance – they are free of the chains of clear thought, consideration of the differences of others and plain fact. They are free to spread and indiscriminately injure and wound. They are escaped prisoners that need rounding up. They are the bullies that need to be grabbed by the ear and told. Whether they listen or understand or change their nasty ways remains a mystery to me. I mean, if you’re stuck in a revolving door of fear and ignorance long enough eventually you have to jump out, shake off the dizziness and reorient yourself — perhaps desperate optimism or naive hopefulness on my part. I’m sensitive yet thick when I need to be.

Being brave, open and vulnerable.  I am able to with a quiet courage to leave my house every day and endure the mean-spirited off-handed comments from bored and ignorant. So many, including myself live in fear that our dark secret will somehow get out. That someday someone will catch us taking our medication. That the jabs and ribbing will one day become more than we can stand. Courage, bravery and raw endurance occurs daily in utter silence. You are not alone!

Overview

Illustration of the human brainWe are all aware of the dangers to society when a person whose mental health issues goes undetected, sometimes resulting in tragic and disastrous results. Although there are thousands of people and organizations working to determine what causes people to react this way, there was no indication of this behavior, it is an ongoing and tedious process. And so far, no substantial or specific reason has been confirmed.

Although violence rests in the category of extreme mental illness, most people whose mental health has been affected in one way or another usually suffer from stress, depression and/or addiction to drugs.

In this article, we will not dwell on the specific illnesses that exist, nor will focus on the politics related to mental health issues; indeed, this subject alone fills entire websites. Instead, we will concentrate on the underlying factors regarding mental illnesses and simply bring them to light here.

Stressful Environments and Mental Health Disorder

Young Woman in DepressionOne conclusion regarding mental health issues is that there is a direct connection to today’s contemporary world and the stresses that are associated with it. Just about every one of us has been subjected to some type of stress during our lifetime, but it is how we deal with it and how we proceed that determines what will happen next.

For many, these anxiety-prone situations can lead to frustration, anger, depression and/or melancholia. When we face such situations, it can cause a deterioration in our daily performance and functioning, as well as the possibility of developing more serious mental health issues.

What is Mental Health?

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), good physical health starts with good mental health. It is the most basic element for our holistic well being.

Good mental health provides us with the ability to cope effectively with the stressors of our lives. When we are healthy, we are able to use our full potential, perform productively and contribute effectively to our community.

Statistics reveal that over 450 million people worldwide are negatively affected in their cognitive well-being at one time or another and one in six adults and one in ten children suffer from serious mental health issues.

Causes of Poor Mental Health

There is a wide range of factors that can cause mental health deterioration: genetic factors, prolonged stress, physical illness and traumatic events. Political and social environments also play a role in influencing our mental health.

Social Environment

Suicide is not uncommon among American teenagers, especially girls. Many families have to cope with teens that resort to overdosing on prescription or even over the counter drugs. But what caused them to overdose in the first place? According to a multitude of case histories, young girls can resort to attempting to ‘kill themselves’ because they broke up or simply had an argument with their boyfriend. Whether it is just to achieve attention, get back at the boyfriend or something else, most of these young teens survive. As they mature, this precarious mental state subsidies and they go on to live normal lives like it never happened.

In one case history, a 15-year-old girl grabbed Tylenol and overdosed on them. She wasn’t able to feel her hands or feet and the boyfriend immediately called her parents. The girl was immediately taken to the hospital. Doctors determined that she will need to sleep it off, but if she happened to take just a little more, she could have had more serious complications, including a damaged liver.

Fortunately, she came out of it alright, but a prerequisite from being released from the hospital was to see the hospital psychiatrist. There, she was ‘set straight’ regarding how close she was to ruining her internal organs, as well as being admitted to a psychiatric ward. The girl is fine now is in college. So in this particular case, a sudden scare into reality was all that was needed.

Other teens are not that lucky. Some are subjected to a more serious mental stain and perceive their issues as ‘not worth living’. Bullying, simply because they are different in some way, can become a motivation towards suicide and unfortunately, in these cases, some do not make it through.  

Depression and anxiety are the most common health disorders that one might face if he/she are not able to cope with an anxiety that may be affecting their eternal well being.

One of the major reasons that mental health has become a concern is lack of awareness, inability to have effective coping mechanisms and the stigma attached in some societies to get help and go to a professional mental health counselor. Not looking for the assistance that you may need out of fear of being isolated, bullied or not being able to get jobs.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, there are two major categories of mental disorders: neurosis and psychosis. Few indicators of poor mental health are feeling lethargic, withdrawing from society; drop in your productivity and performance, feeling like crying all the time and weight gain or loss.

Benefits of Maintaining Mental Health

Living with mental health disorders affects your relationship, studies, parenting skills and work. It is important in order for your own well being and others that you take the support of mental health counselors.

Your emotional well being improves your quality of life and gives you peace of mind and the ability to live life to the fullest while coping with stressful factors effectively.

Well balanced mental health will help you to cope with stress and be able to maintain healthy relationships, make sound life decisions, use your potential to the maximum level and maintain both your mental and physical health.

Those of you who maintain your mental health and take the support of counselors have to spend less money on their health. Poor mental health causes many physical ailments that increase your frequency of visiting doctors and taking medication. Similarly, when you have poor mental health you will take more medications and therapy sessions. Both will increase the cost of medical bills but after you receive proper mental health counseling or therapy you will be more mentally fit and will not have the need to visit the doctor or take medication. This reduces the cost of your medical bills.

Good mental health prevents poor physical healing and dangerous habits such as smoking or unhealthy eating behavior.

Many research studies have provided evidence that for those of you who took proper mental health care and support of a counselor the number of medical visits decreased.  

Good mental health increases your energy level and provides you with effective coping mechanisms for a stressful environment. It helps you deal with a difficult situation and improves your performance and efficiency at work by utilizing your potential to the maximum level.     

About Mental Health Counseling

Depressed TeenagerA mental health counselor helps you deal with your emotions, provide tools to cope with your stress in a healthy way and deal with mental health disorders or trauma that you may have faced. Mental health counselors work in various avenues such as school, office, and hospitals.

These counselors use various approaches for providing mental health support. Such as cognitive analytical therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, crisis treatment, group or life-changing counseling and substance abuse counseling.

Importance of Counseling

Mental health counselors help you deal with your emotions, daily life stressors, and experiences. It helps you set goals, design an action plan for those goals and gain further insight.  

According to the American Counseling Association counseling empowers you to achieve mental well being, education, career goals and mental health.

They are highly trained professionals that help you live a more happy and productive life. The school counselor helps you deal with your academic and other school-related concerns and daily life stressors related to your school and studies.

The career counselor’s help you improve your productivity and deal with work-related stressors or career-related identity crises. They help you find the best career path for you and deal with other employment-related concerns.

Mental health counselors play the most significant role by treating those of you who may be suffering from mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A Mental health counselor helps you become productive and efficient and by helping you gain a healthy mental well being they help you become an effective member of your society.

Avoiding treatment through mental health professionals can cause considerable negative social and economic impact on you and your society.

Mental hygiene and counseling

We may take care of our physical health but ignore the importance of staying mentally fit. Dealing with daily life stressors and unexpected extraordinary difficult situations can take a toll on you. By going to a counselor you can vent out your feeling and emotions, gain better insight and be able to cope with your difficult experiences in an effective and healthy manner. Thus, keeping your mind and body healthy and becoming an effective member of your society.

 

Learning About Bulimia Nervosa and How to Help Someone Suffering From It


Disorder Notice
Photo by kentoh – yayimages.com

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that forces people towards binge eating by trapping them in a world where food is the only source of happiness. The word Bulimia Nervosa was coined in 1979 by British psychiatrist Gerald Russell. Being originally a Greek word, it translates to ‘ravenous hunger’.

Bulimia generally has two stages, one being where the person consumes large amounts of food and the second is called purging. Purging causes the person to instantly induce vomiting. However, vomiting is not the only form of purging. It also encompasses self-induced excretion through laxatives.

Bulimia generally begins with a binge eating disorder which later turns into a life-threatening disease. A person could consume thousands of calories in one day and then stimulate vomiting to lose the extra weight.

Self-induced vomiting is a way for bulimic patients to flush out food from their body as a measure to stop weight gain. Similar to anorexia, it is a mental condition of self-doubt where the person critically judges his/her physical appearance to an extreme. Even a pound of weight gain frenzies them.  The main difference between anorexia and bulimia is that anorexia conveys a sense of self-starvation involving weight loss of 15 percent or more of a person’s body weight, whereas bulimia nervosa patients are usually at their normal weight or above.

What Causes Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Health DiagramBulimia is a severe psychological disorder that leads in resorting to food as an alternative to avoiding problems.

Bulimia is a common condition in both men and women, especially in teens in which the disorder leads to severe emotional and mental distortions. At times, a person having bulimia symptoms traps themselves in a world of shame and silence, where all their thoughts circle around food.

People with bulimia put unnecessary emphasis on their body type and weight for self-assessment. This leads to a person having a low self-esteem and sense of self-worth as they define their existence solely by their looks.

Bulimia Nervosa can also be generated from a history of abuse and trauma. Such people are constantly suffering from severe depression and are prone to developing eating disorders as a way of forgetting their experiences.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Since people with bulimia don’t always realize the disorder as a problem by themselves, it is important to keep a lookout for the most common symptoms found in bulimic patients.  Bulimia symptoms can be categorized into physical and behavioral categories.

Physical Symptoms

People suffering from bulimia display several worrying physical traits that must be immediately looked into. Such as:

  • The most common physical change is sudden weight gain. If a person seems to appear bloated, it could be a sign of weight gain from excessive eating.
  • Look for any cut marks on their hands as vomiting is usually induced by scraping fingers against the teeth.
  • Excessive vomiting causes blood vessels inside the mouth to burst. This leaves small red marks on the face.
  • Bulimia patients also suffer from severe dehydration which also results in dizziness and fainting.
  • The excessive excretion of food can make people appear highly fatigued and tired. It also disrupts their sleeping patterns.

Behavioral Symptoms

People going through a binge and purge disorder not only exhibit several of the above physical symptoms but there are also a few behavioral changes that should be observed in a potential bulimic person.

  • People with bulimia often eat secretly; therefore, a bizarre number of food wrappers and waste should be taken notice of.
  • Spending an unreasonable time in the washroom can also be a sign of binge eating and bulimia.
  • Longer breaks between eating and fasting
  • Displaying an erratic behavior. Such people generally go through several mood swings, with anxiety being a sign of having not eaten for a long time.
  • Lack of control over eating during a binging episode
  • People with bulimia are also seen exercising a lot if not self-inducing vomit. They exercise in order to subsidize the extra pounds gained.
    • Excessive concern about one’s body weight and figure even during routine conversations.

People suffering from bulimia get entangled in severe health problems such as heart and kidney issues, bone thinning and infertility.  At its most advanced stage, Bulimia Nervosa can lead to cardiac arrest and even death. Therefore, looking for signs of bulimia in those around you is necessary for providing them with the proper aid before the addiction becomes worse.

Eating disorder patients may want to consider in enrolling in a rehabilitation center where they are given appropriate treatment promoting a healthier lifestyle and stronger self esteem.