No carbohydrate addiction- what?

  • Dear Friends and Readers,
  • Ever wonder why white carbs are so addictive? The bad news is that even medical doctors disagree that there is such a thing as carbohydrate addiction. I tend to disagree, however John McDougall, MD, one of the participants in the debate on fad diets last spring in Washington, D.C., an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture who  is the head of the McDougall Program, a center for the rehabilitation of dietary diseases at St. Helena Hospital in the Napa Valley of California, and a lecturer in nutrition says “We are designed to be seekers of carbohydrates,” he says. “The tip of the tongue has one kind of calorie-seeking taste bud, and that is for carbohydrates.” But the famous Dr. Oz  disagrees and says “It has to do with chemicals that travel from the stomach to the part of the brain where you produce dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Once these areas of the brain are stimulated, you’ll keep on wanting more of the addictive substance, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or carbs.”
  • Others say that carbohydrate addiction is a compelling hunger, craving, or desire for carbohydrate-rich foods; or an escalating, recurring need or drive for starches, snack foods, junk food, or sweets. We all know the bad ones. Carbohydrate-rich foods include, but are not limited to: breads, bagels, cakes, cereal, chocolate, cookies, crackers, danish, fruit and fruit juice, ice cream, potato chips, pasta, potatoes, pretzels, rice, pie, popcorn, and sugar-sweetened beverages. (Is there nothing left?) But the list gets worse and includes  carbohydrate act-alikes (sugar substitutes, alcoholic beverages, and monosodium glutamate)  also may trigger intense or recurring carbohydrate cravings.  This of course leads to  weight gain, but the picture is even bleaker. Too many refined carbs—baked goods, French fries or processed snack foods like chips and pretzels—are simply toxic for your body. They’re often responsible for visceral or omentum fat, the dangerous fat you can carry around your middle that actually inhibits your body’s ability to make insulin, which makes you more prone to diabetes. White carbs also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
  • As I said earlier doctors disagree about whether there is such a thing as carbohydrate addiction,  there are some doctors say “there are people whose biological processes that convert food into energy fail to perform as they are supposed to. These doctors add “for reasons that are not yet clearly understood, sustained high levels of insulin in the blood result.” The elevated insulin, according to their theory, makes carbohydrate addicts crave food throughout the day. But a big question — why does this condition create carbohydrate craving? — is not answered.
  • I wish I could give you a bullet, but there is no magical bullet for why we are predisposed to love carbohydrates, but my research indicates and the following facts seem to be shared by food authorities. It takes about 28 days to turn off the physiological or psychological addiction to carbohydrates. Start small by substituting complex carbohydrates such as fruit. Doctors say don’t worry about calories just try to wean yourself off the donuts, cookies, white or brown rice, potatoes, potato chips, french fries and eat lots of protein, nuts, cheese and fats. Drink lots of water to flush the toxins. Stay away from events or activities such as pancake breakfasts  or bagel and donut day at the office. The promise is that after a month, you will lose weight and the cravings will stop. However, if you retreat to your old habits the weight will come back on and so will the cravings.  We only have this one life, this one body. The system biologically and socially is stacked against us. As the holidays near watch out for over consumption of alcohol and all the other treats and foods that come along with these celebrations. Start today and cut out one carbohydrate. Start with one that is dispensable- like potato chips- my nemesis. Seek a partner or  a friend or a group -anything that will support you in freeing yourself from carbohydrate “addiction”. And remember if its’ bad for you, its bad for your family too.
  • Signed,
The Addict Writes.

10x more potent than cocaine-Flakka

Dear Friends,
The violence and self injury and the uncontrolled physical strength with the cost of 5 dollars a capsule makes this drug scary and deadly. Flakka is the street name for alphapyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and is mainly produced in China, where other synthetic drugs are coming from, and then distributed by dealers on the ground in the US for around $3 to $5 a dose. Flakka can cause “excited delirium,” which includes hyper-stimulation, paranoia and hallucinations. It can dangerously raise body temperature and lead to kidney damage and failure. Flakka can also lead to violent aggression and self-injury, and has been linked to suicides and heart attacks.Common among users is that they often rip off their shirts, or strip completely. They believe they are being hunted down – one man was caught on video running naked through a busy street, another trying to break into a police station, a woman licked a dance floor in a club until her tongue was shreaded, and yet another woman on flakka ran outside with a knife and started stabbing trees until she was subdued-which wasn’t easy. Flakka users are temporarily endowed wit what appears to be super-human strength, making it very dangerous for police and medical professionals to manage them. This drug can be smoked or injected. It takes about 40 minutes to take affect and the high can last 2-4 hours. Flakka use appears to have begun in Broward County Florida where there have been 448  deaths from the drug. The use of this drug is spreading and
the Wall Street Journal calls it an epidemic.
Tell your kids about this drug. It’s addictive, deadly and violent.
Signed,

The Addict Writes

Reflections

My Dearest Readers and Friends,
I hate cold weather and despise our habit of moving our clocks forwards and backwards. I know that there are those of you reading this blog in parts of the world where it is still warm, like Nigeria or Australia. For the rest of us it’s already dismal although whoever makes up these dates, winter is allegedly weeks away, but winter is already here in beautiful Baltimore. Whatever redeeming values this city may have winter is not one of them. It took me years to accept this city’s oppressive humid summers, but that same moisture gets cold and by winter it chills to the bone.
These thoughts on coldness leads me to the topic of addiction. I’m sure that my definition of addiction offends many especially those who consider themselves clean and sober. I believe, based on my own behavior, observation of other addicts that I’ve known for years that addictive behavior does not simply disappear. I believe that addictive behavior simply transforms into other behaviors both positive and negative.
For example, I own literally several dozens of sweaters. I also own dozens of coats. If I look in closets other than my clothes closets I would find at least a half a dozen different kinds of toothpaste, shampoo, soap.  And if I’m truthful I would admit that I am addicted to various highly specialized types of food and caffeinated drinks like cofee and teas. None of the above substances are going to quickly or slowly kill me like alcohol, cocaine and speed could have.  I must always be conscious of my habits whether it be shopping, working, exercising, sleeping, eating, sexing-or whatever because I am an addict.
I am grateful that I am no longer the desperate crack fiend I once was. I am glad that I put as much effort into my recovery. For those of us who once were fiends for our particular substance know that we must remain ever vigilant against the former deadly addictions and the new, changing possible addictions which include addictions to others. (But more on that type of addiction at another writing.) As  those of us who live far north of the equator prepare for winter let us make affirmative efforts to care for ourselves. Let us check in with our hearts and minds and bodies and all that sustains the best of us, because sh_t looks and feels a lot worse when its cold and wet and freezing outside.
Signed,

The Addict Writes

Rituals

My Dear Friends,
 I value  ritual. Emotions drive behavior. An individual develops methods or rituals to meet his or her emotional needs. Rituals are usually associated with religious or other forms of ceremony.  Most definitions of ritual include stereotyped activity or repetitive behavior such as hand washing as  ritual. These definitions of ritual are missing the spiritual if not the meditative quality that I have found in   ritual. These definitions also fail to make distinction between private and public ritual and singular or group ritual. What I want to talk about today is private ritual and my experience with ritual. 
 Ritual requires a certain level of consciousness and at the same time allows for a certain level of detachment. This is because the person performing the ritual must be conscious enough to perform the ritual with a learned ease.  This ease in executing a task in a defined ordered  series of acts is emotionally grounding.  In my case it provides a form of self comfort. The very actions of ritual provide me with structure. In a way the actions are meditative within themselves. What I mean by structure is that the actions promote  emotional quiet. In this quiet it is a beautiful place to exist. In this place  I connect with my soul.  The sense of time stops when one connects with their soul, even though time elapses one is not conscious of its passing. If there is physical pain in this meditative state, the pain becomes an element of the ritual, if the pain is allowed to exist without emotions or expressions of not wanting it. The pain is understood be  stopped energy that needs to be moved and released.
 Ritual is not to be confused with Habit.  Habit is often devoid of meaning.Ritual is never devoid of meaning even if the meaning is singularly understood by the person performing the ritual. This has been and continues to be true for me. As  a child when I awoke in fear I had to find something with which I could confirm reality. When I would awaken with my chest heaving and my night clothes damp with sweat,  I would look to find the white press board dresser in the room I shared with my sister. There was nothing special about that set of drawers  where clothes prevented their closure, but I could recognize its shiny plastic gleam even in my darkened room. It confirmed that I  was no longer in the world of my subconscious nightmares. I was in my room.
Now decades later, when I jolt awake I can comfort myself. The ritual has changed. Ritual objects are not used individually but in collections called constellations. For example there is  my special  robe  carefully chosen for the season. I walk across my living room and into my kitchen.My coffee ritual begins. Italian dark roast, purified water brewed in a French coffee percolator on my stove which is made of black glass. I carefully choose a cup and pour my non- dairy plant  sourced creamer until the coffee is a particular color of caramel. If the creamer has cooled the coffee then I reheat it for 30 seconds. I take the cup back into my bedroom and my day begins. Often times I don’t even drink the coffee. I don’t perform this ritual every day, but on days when the world seems to be dark cold and brooding the ritual reminds me that I have survived days that began like this or that particular gray day. Simply put, rituals are healthy habits, processes or customs you engage in regularly, and sometimes even unconsciously, that are completely unique to who you are and how you interact with the world. Successful rituals link with naturally occurring phenomena like seasonal change or the changes from day to night. Find your ritual and you will find your flow.

Signed,

The Addict Writes

“Recognizing Angels”

My Dearest Friends,

Yesterday I posted a blog about how to recognize Angels. That blog dissappeared into the blog graveyard. Actually, I think it was seized at the law firm’s (where I work(ed)) server in New York.
I realized that the value of my experience is to guide us along our best path.
 I believe in angels. I believe that angels have helped me.  Angels come in human form.  Every encounter with another human being is intended to reveal  something about ourselves. Angels will always emmanate light. They will attract your attention often times by sitting perfectly still. Right after they capture your attention, listen closely to your next thoughts. That is the message delivered. Encounters with angels can last for 2 seconds or for as long as required.
The first time I recall encountering an angel I was fourteen years old. I was in the maternity ward at the now torn down D.C. General Hospital. I was having my second abortion within six months. Pregnant from a father who didn’t care enough to prevent me from getting pregnant. At that time, my world was was bleak. I was alone, afraid and feeling like damaged goods.
In the wee hours of the morning, I got up and began to roam the hospital. I went down a couple of floors and in a corner there she stood wearing a filmy blue night dress with a matching blue robe. She was smoking a cigarette, and I knew even then that smoking was prohibited in a hospital. She didn’t try to hide. I don’t know how long we talked. I didn’t think it was long. I told her that I thought she was beautiful. She told me that she was in the hospital to get a hysterectomy. I told her that I was sorry. She said through a puff of smoke, that she was old. She guessed why I was there. She didn’t ask questions. I saw strength and light in her eyes. “Stay in school.” she said as she opened the door leading back to the hospital. Later that day, I went to find her. I thought that she said she was on the the same floor as I was. I even went to the nurse’s station to ask about her but she was gone.
I am now almost 60 years old and I still think about her. Back then, nine months later, I would be in California, where through the help of a school guidance counselor, I petitioned the court of California and became an emancipated minor. I thought of the lady in blue back then. Somehow she knew that someday a school official would sense that something was amiss in my life.  She might have been teacher, but I now know that she was an angel.
Signed,

The Addict Writes

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

My Dear Friends,

I  want to thank you for reading  this blog. I hope that if I make the tiniest difference for the betterment of you in anyway, then I have done what I was put here on this earth to do, which is teach and touch through words.
Tonight I started thinking about the negative beliefs I hold about myself-the ones that I work so hard to overcome. I know the source of all that makes me a walking contradiction. Nevertheless, I wanted to check in with you tonight. It’s been a little over a month since my Father died.  I realized tonight that if I had not loved him as much as I had, I could have never hated him so much and  would have never been so impacted by his betrayal. Five weeks later I am unpeeling the layers under which I have physically and mentally hidden. I am proud of myself. I am meeting my goals spiritually, physically, economically, financially and artistically.  I am in love and in love with my life.
Tonight I wanted to talk to you about narcissism because it like so many other conditions and illnesses of the mind, are so misunderstood. I wanted to tell you about a family  member who was so wounded as a child that she got locked in her eight year old self. I love her with all of my heart. She has been with me every step of the way-including coming to find me when I couldn’t find myself. With all of this said this family member is a gentle narcissist.
The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood. She or he has become emotionally stuck at the time of their major trauma of separation/attachment. Their emotional age and maturity corresponds to the age they experienced their major trauma. This trauma was devastating to the point it almost killed that person emotionally. The pain never was totally gone and the “bleeding” was continuous. In order to survive, this child had to construct a protective barrier that insulates him/her from the external world of people. He generalized that all people are harmful and cannot be trusted. The protective insulation barrier he constructed is called a false persona. He created a false identity. This identity is not the true person inside. These hurt people become masters of covering and hiding, even to themselves. They have taught themselves to stuff and disconnect  from their own feelings for years. Because of this, they tend to live inside their heads, in the realm of so called reason. They are likely to live in the world of rational principles, laws, rules, which are all linear. This domain is a realm where they feel they can control. It is devoid of feelings. The realm of the heart or feelings is very intimidating and unsafe to them because it is non-linear and there is very little control of the outcomes. 
There are many things that I could write  about narcissism but I think I’ve given you too many medical blogs to date. What I want to say is that it is takes all that you have to love someone who has been seriously emotionally hurt. Their very illnesses make it difficult if not impossible for them to understand that their reaction to an event was disproportionate to the event. When you love someone who has been emotionally scarred the scars will at times manifest themselves in very ugly ways. What there is to do is to keep loving. Keep yourself safe and keep loving. Keep praying. Support the smallest action in a better direction. Never give up hope.   Keep trying you can find the sun.

Signed,

The Addict Writes

The Other 11% of the Time.

Dear Friends,

Five years ago I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To me it was just another label that had been given to me by therapists and psychiatrists who couldn’t understand why  a young woman like myself had such ‘low self-esteem’ they would say. As I got older and more sucessful and still sad and feeling a failure they called it bi-polar disorder.  For years I had to take blood tests to determine if I was taking too much of a dangerous anti-seizure medication which I took for my “bi-polar disorder”.  So five years ago, it was just another label.  Also, PTSD was not impacting my life or so I thought. I now know that  post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life, your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is  triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include combat exposure,childhood neglect and physical abuse,sexual assault,physical attack, and being threatened with a weapon. Other traumatic events  that can lead to PTSD, are fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threatening events.

Having PTSD also may increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, issues with drugs or alcohol use,eating disorders,suicidal thoughts and actions.  I have experienced some form of all of these manisfestations of PTSD at varying degrees at different times of my life. Before I researched how this mental condition manifests I thought you had to have the symptoms  at the level of a returning war veteran. Since my PSTD did not occur this way, I figured I’d just ignore it. After all, I was so high functioning and creative and successful 89% of the time. 
The other11% percent of the time I felt that I was a failure; that I was unlovable and that nobody loved me. Other symptoms of PTSD include negative feelings about yourself or other people; inability to experience positive emotions; feeling emotionally numb; lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed; hopelessness about the future; memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event; difficulty maintaining close relationships and bizarre swings in my emotional reactions.  An example of symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior, always being on guard for danger,overwhelming guilt or shame, self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping and being easily startled or frightened. I experience or have experienced all of the above symptoms at various times of my life. I can say that after a few therapy sessions (3)  designed specifically for people with PTSD my out look at life is brighter. Please don’t wait  five years to seek therapy specifically designed to treat PTSD. There is so much violence in today’s world that PTSD is probably on the rise. Living a life where you don’t emotionally connect with yourself or others is a life of “grey.” Seek treatment. You will be happier and your life will become as if someone started coloring your once grey life.

Signed,

The Addict Writes

An Apology to our fellow Italian Americans

Dear Friends,

I’d like to wish all of you a happy Columbus Day, but this federal holiday is fraught with controversy. Firstly, only 50% of the country (I don’t know how this number is derived) has the day off as a legal holiday. Secondly, in some parts of the country the holiday recognizes the 145 million people who lived in the areas of the world that Columbus is credited to have “discovered.” For example the city of Seattle calls the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Why the controversy? Why as a country would we celebrate a man who got lost; enslaved many and decimated millions through disease and murder?
We know that long before Columbus, various indigenous peoples had settled and explored different areas of the Americas. In addition, Norse explorers visited portions of North America. Leif Ericson is believed to have been the first European to visit the area and set up a settlement in the northern portion of Canada’s Newfoundland some 500 years before the arrival of Columbus.
According to Joe Genetin-Pilawa, history professor at George Mason University,  Columbus enslaved many of the natives he encountered. Hundreds of thousands more died of diseases introduced by the European visitors. “Within 10 years of the initial  landing in 1492, so by 1502, we estimated that the Taino, the native people who lived in the Bahamas, the population dropped from approximately a million to 500.”  Those are shocking numbers and difficult to imagine what happened to almost a million people.
Perhaps we can look to our more recent past to understand why in 1937 Columbus Day became a federal holiday. The dark skinned Italians from Sicily were the last wave of Europeans to immigrate to the United States. These dark skinned Italians had to perform the most menial of work that white people ( meaning work other than that designated to black people)could perform. In the American south these dark Italians suffered some of the same atrocious racism as had been perpetuated against African-Americans. There were lynchings of Italians particularly in cities like New Orleans (and why New Orleans is singled out is unclear.)
Then in the 1920’s the United States instituted immigration policies to restrict the immigration of Italians to the United States (they discriminated against all people of  any Asian descent.) During this time of immigration “reform”  there occurred a sensational murder trial of two Italian men -the Sacco-Vanzetti trials. Many believed despite contradictory evidence and a  confession from another man who claimed he was responsible for the murders, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. Many say part of the refusal for a retrial for these two men were  because they were Italian. So between the Sacco-Vanzetti trial which began in 1921, the Immigration Act of 1924 and the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927, we as a country appeared to be discriminating against those of Italian descent. I have no proof that these occurrences were the basis of creating the Columbus Day Holiday to honor Italian Americans and not Columbus, but then again  it made sense to call it “Columbus” Day.  He was well known and had  “discovered” our country, and it was probably a lot more politically “correct” than calling the holiday “Italian Day.”
Nevertheless,  as I write about Columbus Day, it brings to mind the only other American holiday named after a person. That is of course the Martin Luther King Holiday. By no means do I intend to compare the merits of the Martin Luther King Holiday to Columbus Day, but in my gut I believe that both holidays were created as an apology to the races wherein the United States created laws  intended to intentionally discrimination against a race of people. If my theory has any merit we will someday as a country have Asian Day, Mexican American Day, Muslim Day and any host of other holidays as an apology for how as a Nation we have treated some of our fellow Americans. 
The history of our country is riddled with slavery, racial genocide, racism, gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, religious intolerance as well as a host of others that I have not listed. 
But as I write this blog, I too have a dream. I dream that someday there will come a time when all Americans regardless of race or origin will simply call ourselves Americans and let go of all those prefixes that separate us as a  people and as a country. I hope that I live to see that day because I love this country and wouldn’t really want to live anywhere else, so God Bless America.

Signed,

The Addict Writes

Sexual Experience Wanted Young Girls Need Not Apply

Dear Friends,

Almost one-third of women between ages 40 and 69 are dating younger men (defined as 10 or more years younger). According to a recent AARP poll, one-sixth of women in their 50s, in fact, prefer men in their 40s.
The other day when writing about the slang terms used in our culture today I was at a loss to find the slang term for men who like older women. There are two. The first is the word “poacher” which I don’t particularly like. The urban dictionary defines a poacher as: a younger male who is deliberately on the hunt for a cougar. The term can also be used as an insult for a young man who seeks out a relationship with an older woman (cougar) to fill a motherly void.

While this definition is denigrates  the reason why a younger man might seek an older woman, there is evidence that shows there is more than psychological imbalance that has younger men seeking older women. According to psychologist, Sam Owen, the reason for this interest in older women from younger guys probably has a lot to do with how society is changing. Owen says “[It’s] likely indicative of the change in gender roles in modern society towards more equality between the sexes,”  “Young men nowadays probably also recognize that older women are adept at diligently juggling so many responsibilities (career, children, housekeeping, fitness, finances, socializing), which makes them intriguing and attractive and a more secure option.”
However, contrary to what these younger lads may be craving, the study showed that women prefer to be the younger of the two in the relationship, with women 50 and over hoping to ideally find someone six years older than themselves. Younger women, too, prefer men older by up to 10 years, and while women will go younger, it’s by no more than three years, because honestly, dudes aren’t so great with the whole maturity thing.  However all kidding aside in a study conducted by The “Today” show they found the bottom  line was   “The men to whom we talked spoke about the advantages of being in relationships with older women in terms of the serenity and comfort, the growth opportunity and the honesty they were afforded. But more than any other advantage, they talked about the positive sexual relationships they experienced. They all commented that sex with older women was better.”
It’s not what you think — the stamina or “re-boot” ability of the younger male. The women like the flexibility and sense of adventure of their more spontaneous, younger companions, Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a licensed family therapist in practice in Long Beach, Calif., and author of “The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again”, tells WebMD.” For their part, the men like the sophistication and life success of their older mates, she explains. The much touted idea that women peak sexually in their 30s and men in their teens does not enter into it — most of these couples are beyond both those age periods.”

But evolving gender roles in modern society have led to more equality between the sexes. Sam Owen who is ElitesSingles Partner psychologist, “The dating website analyzed the upper and lower age search limits for more than 450,000 of its members to reveal the age of a man and a woman’s perfect partner. The survey found men aged 20 to 29 prefer older women to younger ones, and women preferred a younger man as they age, according to YourTango. This contradicts the stereotype that all men are focused on finding a youthful partner, as these singles indicate a preference for a partner three to six years older than themselves.
Jennifer Bidwell, a dating and relationships coach in Washington, D.C. says “Sadly, skanky going-out behavior seems to be the norm amongst many young single women these days,” Bidwell explains. “It may be alluring on a purely ‘I’d like to sleep with her’ level, but no man I’ve ever met wants to enter into a serious relationship with a woman who struts into the bar with her boobs falling out of her dress, gets sloppily drunk, or seductively dances on tables at a club.” It’s OK to have a regrettable ladies’ night out when you’re with your girlfriends, but if you’re looking for a real relationship, keep your nightlife behavior strictly above-board, Bidwell advises: “When you’re out and looking to attract a man, make like an older woman and sip on a classic cocktail — like a dirty martini or a Manhattan — and dress to look pretty, not be provocative.” 
“Experience used to disqualify women from being respectable sexual partners; but now, that same experience has value — and it’s part of what many men are looking for,” says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, author ofPrime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years
Oh the other term for men who prefer older women is the term “salmon” meaning men who swim up stream. So, it’s not just “poachers” the evidence is in older women rock.
Signed,

The Addict Writes

Children Keep Your Parents Safe

Dear Friends,

In 1962 Joan Crawford and Betty Davis co-stared in the movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” The movie is about two  elderly child stars who live together. Crawford is in a wheel chair and she tries to get back at Davis for causing a car accident that leaves Crawford in a wheel chair.  In one scene between the sisters one serves the other’s pet bird  for dinner. The brilliant acting of two of Hollywood’s greatest icons causes the audience to forget that what they are seeing on the screen is elder abuse.

Old age is a difficult time for many people, a time of failing health, reduced income, the loss of a meaningful role, or the death of loved ones. These problems can create great unhappiness for older people and can damage relationships with spouses and children. In extreme cases, this damage can lead to abuse.When we  do hear about elder abuse we hear about it in the context of institutions rather than families. However elder abuse in the home happens far too frequently. Experts say one source  of elder abuse is poor quality long term relationships, a carer’s inability to provide the level of care required, a pattern of family violence exists or has existed in the past, a carer has mental or physical health problems, or the social isolation of a family member.

Abuse within a family situation can be the most challenging to address and requires a mixture of tact, sensitivity, understanding and actions. It is often difficult for an older person to believe, or to admit, that they are being abused by a member of their own family. Elder abuse happens because of the abuser’s power and control over an older person. In some cases, it may also be linked to an abuser’s drug or alcohol problem,history of anti-social behaviour, or mental health problems. Abuse is more likely to happen when the family is going through a period of high stress, including the stress of looking after the older person.In some cases, the elder abuse may be part of a cycle of violence in the family. The person who abuses an elderly parent might have been abused by that parent. The elder abuse could be a form of “getting even” with the parent for past wrongs. This abuse may remain undetected because the abuser may not allow people to visit or talk to the older person. In addition, the older person may be isolated from the community, social services, and even from other family members.

The list of signs that one should look for if you suspect elder abuse is shocking and is inclusive of the most severe forms of elder abuse.  The signs  of elder abuse is not exclusive and perhaps may never be as obvious as the these that I will share. For physical signs of elder abuse look for bruises or grip marks around the arms or neck or rope marks or welts on the wrists and/or ankles. Also repeated unexplained injuries is another possible physical sign of elder abuse.Unfortunately there are those who sexually prey on the elderly. Obvious signs of elder sexual abuse maybe unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding or torn or bloody underwear or bruised breasts or buttocks. Another not so obvious indication of elder sexual abuse are unexplained venereal diseases or vaginal infections. And often times the abuse is not physical, instead it can be financial. In this case look to see if elder’s life circumstances match his or her known  financial assets. Look for all of large withdrawals from bank accounts, accounts that have been switched; unusual ATM activity and signatures on checks don’t match the older person’s signature. In many cases elder abuse does not occur as overt physical, sexual or mental abuse but in terms of neglect. Look   for a lack of basic hygiene, adequate food and water, or clean and appropriate clothing. Look for weight loss or general unexplained physical deterioration. Finally elder abuse may occur in the form of failure to supervise. An instance of this kind of neglect is when a person with dementia is left unsupervised.

The elderly are fragile often times across the board of life. Let  us as a culture begin to care for our elderly. They have cared for us.

Signed,

The Addict Writes