June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
With all of the check-ups, pills, exercise and dieting that we do in the name of protecting our health, it might seem confusing that something as easy and enjoyable as hanging out with friends and family is also good for us. But researchers believe that for teens, adults and senior citizens, regular social interaction is crucial for preserving mental health. Here's why:

1. Reduces stress: It sounds simple, but getting face time with friends and family reduces stress, which is good for your mental and emotional well-being. Whether you're ranting about work, getting perspective on a personal problem you have, or just tuning out all of the things that make you stressed or worried on a regular basis, time spent with friends and peers helps relieve tension and boosts your mood.

2. It helps you feel connected: If you're out at parties, restaurants, clubs and other social events, you're more likely to feel connected and like you're contributing to the greater community. This sense of self is important when evaluating risk factors for depression and even adopting a healthier lifestyle overall.

3. It strengthens your immune system: People who have a strong base of meaningful relationships are generally more happy, and that means a more sufficient immune system. Sad and lonely people, conversely, generally show signs of a weaker immune system.

4. Longer life: Those who have both a broad social circle and frequently spend time with lots of different kinds of people as well as a close confidant or spouse are likely to live longer than those who have no one to care for them or even interest them.

5. Socializing regulates your vitals: Studies have shown that seniors who socialize regularly have lower cholesterol and more stable blood pressure.

This evidence should help you feel better about managing stress and taking time to enjoy life, especially as you age. Isolation doesn't just equal boredom: it can also mean lower self esteem, which translates into higher stress, loneliness, depression, poor physical health and cognitive decline. Make a point to join clubs, attend church or spiritual events, exercise with a group, or just meet a friend for coffee a couple of times a week. You'll thank yourself for it.

This post was contributed by Meredith Walker, who writes about the masters of healthcare degrees. She welcomes your feedback at MeredithWalker1983 at gmail.com

© www.mentalhealthblog.com

June 2, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Former MP John Reynolds believes that Canada should start medicating addicts with prescription heroin; in the same manner it would any other health condition that is controlled with medication. Clearly, convincing Canadians of this presumption will not be an easy feat as addiction is hardly comparable to conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

“Mr. Reynolds, a member of the InnerChange Foundation in Vancouver, applauded the research arm of Health Canada for financing the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME), which will offer heroin and a legal substitute, Hydromorphone.”

And…“In a secondary phase, some of the 200 addicts who will be recruited to the program will be offered heroin in a pill form - another way of reducing the stigma and health risks associated with injecting drugs.”

"We really hope with SALOME that, if we can show (Hydromorphone) is as effective, there will be so many fewer obstacles to treatment - because it is not called heroin."

Surely society can perceive the benefits for the addict and the community as a whole; however the pill is not the answer. The addict no longer has to commit crimes and suffer various traumas associated with obtaining drugs. The addict can be slowly weaned off drugs in a more controlled manner with the assistance of health professionals in order to ease themselves into proper treatment. The addict would have much needed support during the path to recovery.

No one can deny these benefits; however is the main objective here not to make drug use safer and reduce crime? Many people, including addicts, will view this method as replacing one drug with another, therefore maintaining psychological dependence. In addition, side effects and withdrawal symptoms are not all that unlike those of heroin, morphine or other opiods. Although studies have shown that Hydromorphone can be more successful than methadone, the latter has also not proven to be the much needed solution for many addicts.

I must say that I’m not sold on the idea that addiction is merely a physical condition needing medication, Mr. Reynolds. Recovery requires treatment of both physical and psychological aspects, especially when addiction is so often combined with other mental health conditions.

Prescribe heroin to addicts, former Tory MP says

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