Struck By Seizures

Close-up of a human eye

What Medical Conditions Cause Seizures?

A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that affects how a person appears or acts for a short time. Seizures are complex phenomena; it is not always clear what precipitates them. Some causes include: diet, medical conditions, head injuries, drugs, medications, infections, etc.

Malnutrition responsible for seizures:

  • Thiamine deficiency in alcoholics
  • Pyridoxine deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

Medical conditions responsible for seizures:

  • Brain abscess – a collection of pus caused by an infectious source
  • Brain tumor – a mass of cells that continuously grow
  • Cerebral palsy – a movement disorder that appears in early childhood
  • Down syndrome – a genetic disorder characterized by growth delay and intellectual disability
  • Encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain caused by viruses, rabies, fungi, parasites or bacteria
  • Meningitis – an acute inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain caused by viruses or bacteria
  • SLE – an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissues
  • Multiple sclerosis – a demyelinating disease causing damage to the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord
  • Febrile seizures – fever in children that precipitates seizures
  • Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar
  • Sleep deprivation

Drugs responsible for seizures:

Drug withdrawal responsible for seizures:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anesthetics

Medications responsible for seizures:

  • Bupropion – an antidepressant
  • Clozapine – the gold-standard antipsychotic
  • Olanzapine – an atypical antipsychotic
  • Estrogens
  • Meperidine – a synthetic opioid
  • Prednisone – a steroid

Parasitic infections responsible for seizures:

  • Pork and beef tapeworms
  • Schistosoma
  • Malaria
  • Toxoplasmosis

The lists above are not inclusive of all the causes responsible for seizures. It is important to do your own research and speak with a medical professional in person to understand of any risks which you may have. If you experience even one seizure, it is very important to seek medical attention; identifying the source can help prevent future episodes as well as any injuries that can accompany seizures due to falling!

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Importance Of Sleep

Man with hand on his face suffering from lack of sleep

What Can Lack Of Sleep Do To You?

Do not underestimate the importance of sleep. We lead busy lives full of responsibilities and goals that sometimes interfere with our sleep hygiene. After a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is go to sleep, only to wake up and go to work again; where is the excitement?

After a long day of work, you want to spend time with your family, play your favorite video game, drink a beer and watch “the game” or rent a new movie. But sometimes this pattern has to be broken by a good night’s sleep. The truth is that a good sleep hygiene will help you enjoy your downtime much more.

A lack of sleep can flip your personality upside down and turn you into someone who you are not: miserable, irritable, rude, defensive and easily annoyed. Your school and work performance may decrease; your concentration becomes subpar. You may lose interest in exercising; playing a sport may become more challenging and less interesting.

Many people underestimate the importance of sleep because they feel as if they are not gaining much from it; after all, the saying goes, “sleep is the cousin of death.” But in reality, sleep is when memories become consolidated, your mind and body recuperate, your fatigue dissipates and your mood stabilizes.

Developing the following sleep hygiene is crucial to reaping the benefits of sleep:

  • Go to sleep at the same hour every night
  • Wake up at the same hour every morning
  • Leave your bed after 30 minutes if you cannot fall asleep (the bed is only for sleep and sex)
  • Do not eat or drink a couple of hours prior to sleep
  • Do not consume alcohol a couple of hours prior to sleep
  • Do not exercise a couple of hours prior to sleep
  • Do not use electronics prior to sleep
  • Do not read, watch television or use the internet prior to sleep
  • Do not rely on sleeping medications

Once you start to appreciate the benefits of sleep, you will become thankful for rediscovering a fresh and vibrant version of yourself!

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The Gift Of Medical Marijuana

Medical cannabis leaves and black bottle of cannabis oil

Helping Patients Heal Naturally

The scent confuses you. Is it a drug of abuse or a medication for healing? You hear of stoners spending years of their lives getting baked. But you also hear of multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS patients benefiting from cannabis. You remain confused.

Why should medical marijuana not be legalized worldwide? If patients swear by it, does this not trump scientific evidence? If nature is able to provide a relief, then we must allow relief to be delivered. But sometimes man interferes when it would be best to allow nature to run its course.

Recreational marijuana is another story. We are talking about the medical benefits which can provide relief of symptoms to millions of patients worldwide. Drug addicts will never cease to exist; their reward centers lust for a high. But patients’ reward centers are not focused on intoxication; survival is their goal.

Let’s shove the stigma to the side and come together to deliver goodness where it is most needed. Whether you are a physician, lawyer, politician or farmer does not matter; common sense should prevail. And common sense is to provide a medicine, which in many cases is superior to conventional synthetics.

Psychological addiction is a concern; to deny this fact is to keep your foolish glasses on. But addiction is more of a concern with recreational marijuana; so is mental health. But medical marijuana is for the patients. The patients are suffering from physical disorders; getting high is not on their agenda.

On a positive note, it is happening. Medical marijuana is being delivered to the people worldwide. But many parts of the world still have no access. Is the process too slow? Perhaps. But the important thing is that the medicine has finally gone mainstream and the stigma is finally burning out.

Progress is being made. Nature is stepping in and helping us heal in times of need!

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Demons Versus Science

Brunette woman suffering from sleep paralysis

Sleep Paralysis Symptoms

The feeling of being paralyzed while attempting to fall asleep or wake up is known as sleep paralysis. Folklore has it that sleep paralysis is an attack by demonic spirits who sit on your chest in the middle of the night and terrorize you. But science has it that sleep paralysis is a sign that your mind and body are not moving smoothly through the different stages of sleep.

People who experience sleep paralysis are conscious but feel like they cannot move or speak for up to a few minutes; some also describe a sense of choking or pressure. The symptoms occur when a person passes between the stages of sleep and wakefulness.

There are two variants of sleep paralysis: hypnogogic and hypnopompic. Hypnogogic sleep paralysis occurs when you are attempting to fall asleep and hypnopompic sleep paralysis occurs as you are waking up. In the process of falling asleep, your body relaxes and your mind drifts off into sleep. With sleep paralysis, instead of your mind drifting off into sleep, you remain aware of the process of falling asleep and find yourself unable to move or speak.

The sleep cycle alternates between NREM and REM sleep. 75% of sleep occurs in the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stage, followed by a period of REM sleep. During the REM stage is when your eyes move quickly, your muscles remain relaxed or “turned off” and dreams occur. During hypnopompic sleep paralysis, you become aware of your surroundings before the REM cycle has ended, resulting in the inability to move or speak.

Sleep paralysis is more common than you think, with 4 out of 10 people suffering from it. It usually is first noticed during adolescence but can occur at any age. It is not clear what causes sleep paralysis, but it is believed that lack of sleep, stress, bipolar disorder, ADHD medications and substance abuse are some of the factors that may be linked to sleep paralysis.

There are no treatments that specifically target sleep paralysis. Improving your sleep habits, treating any comorbid mental illness that may contribute to poor sleep or treating an undiagnosed sleep disorder are some ways of helping relieve sleep paralysis.

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The Consistent Drive To Eat Healthy

Pleasant eating environment in a white kitchen

Is Eating One Meal A Day Healthy?

Eating healthy is a lifestyle. You must want it, seek it and live it. So many people attempt to eat healthy and sadly begin to give up after a week or two; other things in their life distract them and steer them off course. If you are not willing to change your eating habit 100%, then you will most likely fail in achieving a long-term healthy diet.

You must first find a reason to motivate yourself to adopt a healthy diet. Are you interested in losing weight or are you health-conscious and just want to eat healthy? Whatever the reason, it is very important to keep your drive alive no matter what obstacles you may be facing in life.

Obstacles, problems and concerns are part of life; they can only be dealt with but not always avoided. However, this does not mean that you must sacrifice eating healthy because of outside distractions. Your health always comes first! The moment that your mentality switches and you start putting your health second, you will lose your drive to eat healthy very quickly.

There are some people who believe that eating one meal a day is healthy. This is a very bad idea. To begin with, breakfast is the most important meal of the day: your body has not been eating for the last 8-10 hours and needs fuel to kickstart your day. Secondly, lunch is very important to keep your energy going in the afternoon; relying on energy obtained from breakfast is not a wise alternative.

And lastly, dinner is the last meal that connects two consecutive days; it refuels you before you say goodbye to today and say hello to tomorrow. Therefore, no meal should be subtracted from your day. Part of being healthy is being consistent with how often you eat. Adopting a healthy eating routine requires drive, consistency and passion!

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Medical Implications Of Antipsychotic Treatment

Shallow focus photography of prescription bottle with antipsychotic capsules

The Side Effects Of Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics can be divided into two groups: first-generation and second-generation. The first-generation antipsychotics were the first to be used in psychiatry, followed by the second-generation antipsychotics. Both classes have distinct medical side effects that are important to mention. Patients and their families always need to be properly educated on the the side effects of medications; medical problems can unexpectedly arise and cause confusion and discomfort if not previously warned about.

The first-generation antipsychotics:

  • Haloperidol
  • Loxapine
  • Thioridazine
  • Thiothixene
  • Molindone
  • Fluphenazine
  • Mesoridazine
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Perphenazine
  • Chlorpromazine (the first antipsychotic used)

The unique medical side effects from first-generation antipsychotics are called “extrapyramidal symptoms.” These include:

  • Dystonia (continuous spasms and muscle contractions)
  • Akathisia (motor restlessness)
  • Parkinsonism (rigidity)
  • Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
  • Tremor
  • Tardive dyskinesia (irregular jerky movements of the mouth and extremities)

As you can see, these motor symptoms can be very disturbing to patients and their families. The benefits and risks must always be weighed when starting or continuing a first-generation antipsychotic. Laryngeal dystonia, for instance, can lead to acute respiratory failure and death if not detected early enough!

The second-generation antipsychotics:

  • Aripiprazole
  • Ziprasidone
  • Risperidone
  • Quetiapine
  • Olanazpine
  • Clozapine (the gold-standard, used as a last resort for treatment-resistant schizophrenia)

The unique medical side effects from second-generation antipsychotics include:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Weight gain
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Tonic-clonic seizures (with clozapine)
  • Agranulocytosis (with clozapine)
  • Myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy (with clozapine)

As you can see, a healthy psychiatric patient has the potential of becoming a lifelong diabetic after starting a second-generation antipsychotic. These are very serious side effects that must always be monitored for when a patient is started on a second-generation antipsychotic.

Overall, the side effects listed above do not present in all patients, but they must always be monitored for! Education, teamwork, coordination between different specialities and therapeutic physician-patient relationships are required for careful monitoring of potential side effects as well as successful treatments!

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National Ice Cream Day

Three people holding ice cream cones on national ice cream day

The Health Benefits Of Ice Cream

Surprisingly, ice cream is not just a dessert that makes you feel guilty after consuming too much! You can now enjoy your ice cream in peace by remembering some of the health benefits of this tasty treat!

The health benefits of eating ice cream:

  • Contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and B12
  • Contains potassium which helps lower blood pressure
  • Great source of energy (contains carbohydrates, fats and proteins)
  • Contains calcium and phosphorus which promote strong bones (calcium may also help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer)
  • Contains l-tryptophan which is the precursor to serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for mood elevation)
  • May lower the risk of ovulation-related infertility
  • May increase arousal and boost your libido
  • Makes you happier by activating a pleasure center in the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex

So what are you waiting for? Scoop up some chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream and put a smile on your face!

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Happy Healthy Food

Stacks of blueberries

The Benefits Of Blueberries

Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients! An entire cup contains only 80-85 calories! They are also rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K; nutrients are important for the proper maintenance of cellular organelles and organs and reducing the risk of developing physical disorders.

Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants among fruits! They are rich in anthocyanins which protect your body from free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for damaging cells and contribute to cancer and aging. Blueberries also directly increase antioxidant levels in your body!

Blueberries reduce DNA damage! DNA damage occurs in every cell throughout its lifetime and is responsible for aging. It also plays an important role in the development of cancer. Blueberries neutralize the free radicals which are responsible for DNA damage.

Blueberries are very good for your heart! They reduce levels of oxidized LDL which is the bad cholesterol responsible for contributing to heart disease.

Numerous studies have demonstrated a decrease in blood pressure in individuals consuming blueberries!

Blueberries can help maintain brain function! They benefit aging neurons by leading to improvements in neuronal signaling. The antioxidants are also responsible for delaying mental decline.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that blueberries improve insulin sensitivity, resulting in a lower risk of developing type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome!

Blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections! They contain substances that prevent bacteria like E. Coli from binding to the wall of your bladder.

So what are you waiting for? It is time to indulge in your new favorite healthy snack: blueberries!

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Women’s World Cup Final

Women playing soccer during daytime

The Beauty Of Teamwork

The women’s United States soccer team won the 2019 FIFA World Cup by beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final match. Seeing an American team dominate in the sport of soccer when traditionally the sport has been dominated for generations by other countries, is a great feeling and nice moment to observe!

Getting involved in a team sport has many advantages:

  • Making friends
  • Establishing strong relationships
  • Provides a support network
  • Learning to work together with others
  • Learning from others
  • More pressure is lifted off of you
  • Sharing victories together feels good
  • Boosts productivity
  • Improves morale
  • Teaches conflict resolution skills
  • Advances your career

Soccer is a great sport to get involved in, whether you decide playing it at age 40 or would like your daughter or son to try it out. It has many health benefits including:

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and stay active; your health and well-being depend on it!

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The Nasty Nature Of Alcohol

Drunk young man passed out from alcohol in back car seat

Alcohol Effects On The Body

Alcohol has an amazing way to break the ice, make you feel relaxed and disinhibited and alter your reality in the present moment. But what a lot of people do not take into consideration is all the harmful effects of alcohol on your mind and body!

Alcohol effects on the mind:

  • Slurred speech (one of the first symptoms of excessive alcohol consumption)
  • Blackouts (it effects your memory formation, resulting in no recollection of the previous night’s events)
  • Hallucinations (withdrawal may cause visual and tactile hallucinations)
  • Dependence (due to a psychological and physical addiction which are both related)
  • Shrinking brain (the frontal lobes that are responsible for planning and executive functioning start to shrink)
  • Depression, psychosis, anxiety/panic attacks, slowed thinking, memory loss and the increased risk of experimenting with other drugs

Alcohol effects on the body:

  • Cancer (chronic users can develop mouth, throat, esophageal, breast, pancreatic, liver and colon cancer)
  • Heart damage (causes dilated cardiomyopathy which results in your heart pumping blood inefficiently)
  • Lung infections (affects the immune system resulting in the increased risk of developing tuberculosis and pneumonia)
  • Liver damage (the progression from fatty liver β†’ hepatitis β†’ cirrhosis β†’ hepatocellular carcinoma or death)
  • Anemia (deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin resulting in pallor and fatigue)
  • Chronic pancreatitis (which can progress to diabetes and pancreatic cancer)
  • Stomach distress (bloating and painful ulcers)
  • Diarrhea (damages your intestines)
  • Infertility (with chronic use)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Birth defects (also known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – which is the most preventable intellectual disability in newborns)
  • Thinning bones (increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, resulting in brittle and fragile bones)
  • Malnutrition (prevents your body from properly absorbing vitamins and nutrients, resulting in conditions such as macrocytic anemia and Wernicke Encephalopathy)
  • Poor coordination (affects the cerebellum of the brain which is responsible for coordination)
  • Muscle cramping
  • Tingling (including numbness and pain in the hands and feet secondary to damage to the central nervous system)
  • Alcohol poisoning

As you can see, the list is exhaustive and is not worth drinking heavily. Sadly, alcohol is very addicting and many people are never able to stop. If you or anyone is suffering from an alcohol problem, please seek immediate medical treatment!

The DSM Ready Community is always available to talk about problems, issues and concerns regarding an addiction! Feel free to be open and honest so we can be of help to each other.

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