Tag Archives: Substance dependence

High on Calories

Obese people are not able to regulate high-calorie food intake because of changes in their brain.
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If your overweight children binge eat, blame it on their flawed brain circuitry. Scientists have now found that despite the desire to cut their food intake, obese individuals will not be able resist junk food, which is very high in calories. That’s because their persistent eating behaviour has precipitated changes in the brain similar to that found in heavy smokers and drug addicts. The study appeared yesterday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

After spending years studying brain changes associated with drug abuse and smoking, Paul Kenny — a neurobiologist at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, the US — recently turned his attention to obesity. He and his graduate student, Pal Johnson, wanted to understand the strong yet not-so-easy-to-fathom link between obesity and depleted levels of dopamine or D2, a brain chemical associated with feelings of pleasure.

Scientists in the past had observed that obese individuals have reduced levels of dopamine, but weren’t sure if it was triggered by obesity. It was also known that food intake was associated with dopamine release and the degree of pleasure from eating correlates with the amount of chemical released. Evidence has shown that in comparison to lean people, obese individuals have fewer dopamine receptors in the brain. And people with fewer dopamine receptors need to take in more of a rewarding substance — such as food or drugs — to get an effect that others get with a lesser amount. But the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

“What we have achieved is proven in our experiments with laboratory rats that obesity can elicit these brain changes,” Kenny told KnowHow over the telephone.

For this, the Florida scientists embarked upon a series of meticulously planned experiments. In the first, they offered rats — which were grouped into three categories — different menus. While the first group had access solely to less-appetising but healthier chow, the other two were offered a choice of high-calorie food such as bacon, sausage, cake and chocolate in addition to chow, but for varying durations. Some rats had access to the rich fare for just one hour, while the other group could gorge on it most part of the day. The animals were fed this way for 40 days. All of them were wired to record even the slightest change in their D2 levels.

The rats in the first set — which were fed only chow — maintained their weight, while those belonging to the second set — which had restricted access to rich food — exhibited insignificant increase in their body weight. On the contrary, the third group — which had unlimited access to calorie-rich food — gained weight rapidly. These animals were found to be gobbling up twice as much as the other two groups. As the days wore on, their dopamine levels plummeted, requiring them to consume higher quantities of high-fat food to get the feeling of satiation. This is quite like the case of a smoker who has to puff away more cigarettes to get the same high that he or she earlier got with one. Or a drug addict who has to continuously increase the dose for getting a kick.

A second set of experiments with the rats showed that this blunting of the reward sensitivity does not return for a good two weeks even after the high-calorie food was withdrawn.

A true addict, whether rat or human, will compulsively consume the addictive substance even when it is clearly detrimental to health. In the third experiment the scientists tested this hypothesis. To do this, the team trained the rats to expect painful foot shocks upon seeing a light signal. Although the normal rats stopped eating even the most delicious junk food when the light came on, the obese ones used to a high-calorie diet simply ignored the cue and kept feeding.

Anoop Misra, head of internal medicine at Fortis Hospitals in New Delhi, says this explains why obese people find it difficult to modulate their junk food eating habits.

“The US scientists’ experiment has substantiated many assumptions associated with obesity and dopamine levels in the brain fairly well,” says Nihal Thomas, an endocrinologist at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. “The exercise and methodology followed are exquisite.” The findings may help develop drugs that may target dopamine receptors to treat obesity, he observes.

Source : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Pain and Painkillers

Michael Jackson lived and died under the arc lights. Speculation attributes his sudden death to addiction to painkillers, disastrously fuelled by the purchasing power of his millions. He could buy schedule H drugs — which are available on prescription only — and pay for their expert administration.

Pain is universal and accounts for half the medical consultations worldwide. Since everyone wants instant relief, painkillers — also called analgesics — are the most commonly prescribed and purchased medications. They belong to several chemical groups and act by dulling unbearable pain. They do not, however, cure the disease that is the root of the problem.

This means that if the actual disease is not tackled, the pain is likely to reappear when the medication wears off. This leaves patients dissatisfied and they tend to shop around for doctors.

Pain is handled by several specialists such as neurologists, surgeons, rheumatologists, general physicians, anesthetists and dentists. A patient can have several prescriptions with unidentifiable “trade names” instead of chemical names.

In an attempt to obtain relief, he or she may take several medications together. Others may dispense with the medical profession altogether and purchase analgesics over the counter (OTC) from the friendly neighbourhood pharmacy.

In such a scenario, the quantity of drug consumed and dosage intervals are no longer scientific or within safe limits. About 25 per cent of patients overdoses and 56 per cent experiences side effects — by either taking more than the recommended dose, or taking it at intervals so short that the medication is not adequately metabolised in the body.

Gradually, the body may become so used to the painkillers that habituation sets in. The medications no longer provide relief. Higher and more frequent doses are needed until, eventually, toxic levels are reached.

Today, there are millions of people from all socio-economic strata, around the world, who have unknowingly become addicted to painkillers. They are unaware of the potentially dangerous and lethal side effects of these “harmless” medications.

Pain is defined medically as “an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” It is a natural protective defence, which prevents bodily harm. Unfortunately, pain is not a tangible or measurable entity. It is as severe as the sufferer says it is.

Although pain is subjective, the degree of pain and tolerance to it are influenced greatly by social, cultural and religious factors. Egyptian queens delivered in “birthing” chairs in full view of the entire court, without any analgesic or anaesthetic, and not one of them changed their expression. It certainly was not because they were impervious to pain!

Most of the time, pain has a sudden, acute onset at a specific location in the body and is dull, burning, throbbing or stabbing. The cause — which may be an infection or injury — can usually be identified. The pain generally disappears quickly either with no treatment at all, or with simple measures such as hot or cold compresses and analgesics.

Problems set in when the pain becomes chronic, and occurs day after day, evolving into a disease entity which seems impossible to bear or cure. Around 20 to 30 per cent of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain. The commonest causes of chronic pain are low backache, arthritis, migraine and nerve pains.

If you are suffering from chronic pain,

*Ask your doctor for a diagnosis

*Make sure you are not receiving habit-forming or dangerous medications

*Check if your social or family problems are aggravating the symptoms

*Do not take more than the amount prescribed or change the frequency

Liniments and ointments may provide relief. They need to be combined with icepacks and moist heat.

Vibration can be applied by rubbing with the hand or with a machine operated by a physiotherapist. It stimulates nerve endings and the chemicals released interfere with those causing pain and block them

Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain nerves. It is believed to release beneficial chemicals which block those causing pain.

Acupuncture may cause the release of the body’s own natural opiate painkillers into the various areas of the nervous system.

 

Graded exercises and physiotherapy help by gradually strengthening the muscles overlying painful joints.

Nutritional supplements like curcumin (found in turmeric), glucosamine, chondroitin (found in cartilage) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) can be added to the medication. They may help even though there is no clear-cut scientific evidence that they are beneficial.

When nothing seems to work, intravenous medication and anaesthesia can be used. This should be reserved for severe pain as occurs in cancer or after surgery. This can be dangerous and should not be administered on request.

The response to pain is a conditioned reflex. Tolerance increases with physical fitness. Exercise causes the release of chemicals from the large muscles of the body which help to withstand pain. EXERCISE REGULARLY  FOR A HEALTHY AND PAIN-FREE LONG LIFE .

Always keep in mind  MOST OF THE TIMES, CHEMICAL PAINKEELERS  AS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET  DO  MORE HARM TO OUR BODY SYSTEM  THAN  DOING ANY GOOD.SO, TRY TO AVOID THEM UNLESS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO  USE THEM.

Source:
The Telegraph  ( Kolkata, India)

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Control your depression

 

Depression is one of the most under-diagnosed and misunderstood illnesses……

Sign of Depression
Constant sadness,Lack of motivation,Irretability,Trouble of concentration,Feeling isolation,Loss of interest in favorite activities,Hopelessness,Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason,Fatigue, Low energy,Sleeping trouble, and significant wet loss….CLICK & SEE

There might be thousand reasons for mental Depression but you will have to find out some ways to get rid of it.You will have to alter your wayof thinking.You must look at the people arround you and observe what has happned or is happening in your life ,the same might have happened or is happening in their lives too.But all are not reacting the same way like you.Some are crying and getting more and more depressed and few are taking it as a life’s experience and again fighting it out as a challange.

It is a fact, that everyone wil not be challinging type, but one can always alters one’s way of thinking which is verymuch possible for most of the person.

If you start thinking with reasons, you will understand that it is only your Personality which gives all the mental pain and if you can take strong decision that you are not going to entangle yourself again to this type of situation.… I believe,… HALF WORK IS DONE.

There are reasons for depression but all reasons are not controlable, we can only alter our thinking. When we cannot control certain thing ,our mood gets off,our mind deeps into negativity. If that very moment we start doing something which is within our control and successfully overcome it , we get back into positivity and get relief from Depression.

According to me MEDITATION is the best way to get rid of all kinds of frastration and mental depression and quickest and easiest way to get back to normal happy life.
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Now,what is meditation?
There are many types of meditation, but all involve focussing one’s attention on something, such as a word, a phrase, an image, an idea or the act of breathing. Some people think that meditation is a way to awareness of your thoughts and how they affect your life. Some people see meditation as a way to “quiet the chatter” of their own minds. Some people think that meditating is a form of prayer – another way of communing with God.

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Meditation would typically be practised sitting in a quiet environment for around 20 minutes a day. For some people, meditation is a spiritual or religious activity and they use meaningful thoughts as the focus of their meditation. However, meditation can also be used as a relaxation method without any spiritual or religious goal .
Meditation has been used as a relaxation method to relieve stress and anxiety. Because anxiety and depression often occur together, meditation may help with depression as well.

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How do you meditate?
Popular books on how to meditate are available in many bookshops. Various organisations (generally with spiritual goals) also offer training in meditation. Here is a simple technique of meditation that is similar to those taught in these books and courses:
1.Sit in a quiet room in a comfortable position with eyes closed.
2.Choose a word which is relaxing or meaningful for you (for example, ‘Love’ or ‘Calm’ or “ Jesus” or OM or whatever as per your wish) and repeat it silently over and over in your mind. Do not force yourself to concentrate on the word. Alternatively, concentrate on your breathing or look at the flame of a candle.
3.If your mind wanders, turn your attention gently back to the word, or to your breathing, or to the candle.
4.Do this for about 20 minutes each day

In few ocations meditation can make depression worse
Although meditation can be very helpful in relieving depression or in preventing depression from arising, the act of focussing inwards can actually heighten feelings of despair. I would suggest not trying to meditate when you are extremely depressed, and especially not at times that you are having any thoughts of self-harm.

As one experienced meditator said, “Meditation while clinically depressed can result in intensification of feelings of despondency, hopelessness, and negativity generally. The metta practice (where the meditation is focussed on the development of loving kindness towards yourself, and others) is theoretically a good thing, but in practice it can be a nightmare if all you feel is self-hatred!”

Thus, if meditation seems to be making things worse, then you would be advised to stop immediately.

However extremely depressed students have benefited from meditation when they have had constant guidance and feedback from an experienced teacher to make sure that they are using meditative techniques in a helpful way.
Although such opportunities are unfortunately very rare, a very experienced meditation teacher who is on hand to give you step by step guidance can probably help you even when you are experiencing severe depression.

 Click & see : How to Tackle  depression otherwise