Psychologist Offers 4 Tips for Maintaining Balance in Difficult Times

It’s no wonder nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from depression. “Top risk factors include being unable to work or unemployed; having no health insurance; suffering from obesity,” notes psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, citing a Centers for Disease Control study.

“Unfortunately, those topics have dominated headlines for the past five years. What’s worse, by 2020, the World Health Organization estimates depression will be second most debilitating disease worldwide.”

The author of “Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear,” (www.aplaceofhope.com) says these negative emotions along with sustained, excessive stress can lead to depression, which now overshadows other  problems for which patients seek help at his clinic.

“Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to be addressed – simply taking a pill is not usually effective treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even when the person isn’t aware he’s experiencing those feelings.”

A holistic treatment approach, which may or may not include medication, helps people overcome a bout of the debilitating illness, and learn techniques to manage it themselves, he says.

People at risk of depression can work at maintaining their emotional equilibrium by counterbalancing negative feelings with optimism, hope, and joy. This is most effective if they do this holistically, addressing the four main categories of human need.

“By purposefully feeding the intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life positive emotions, you can achieve balance,” Jantz says.

He offers these suggestions:
• Intellectual: Be aware of what you’re feeding to your mind. Try reading a positive, uplifting book, and setting aside time in your day to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek to counter the negative input we all get with positive influences.
• Relational: Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who’s just fun to be around. Plan today to spend time with that person this week, even if it’s just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.
• Physical: Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goals are to get your body moving and to allow you to focus on something other than yourself and your surroundings. Greet your neighbors, stop at the park and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world around you.
• Spiritual Support: Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer. Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects your spirit.

If you are not depressed but feel anxious and stressed, have trouble sleeping or find your not content much of the time, Jantz says it’s time to start taking care of yourself.

“Depression is painful and as debilitating as any other disease,” he says. “Take steps to de-stress your life and to work on emotional balance before it gets worse.”

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D
Gregory L. Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, “a place for hope,” provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books, including “When Your Teenager Becomes…The Stranger in the House.” If you’re concerned you or a loved one may be depressed, visit www.aplaceofhope.com and click the “Are You?” tab for a self-evaluation.

 
 
In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, this infographic poster was created to highlight the facts about the impact HIV/AIDS has on black men who have sex with men. You can help raise awareness by sharing this infographic on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
 
 
photos (L to R) : Duane Cramer, App and Mondo Guerra

HIV Treatment with New Interactive Digital Tools

by David Cohen

In observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness DayMerck  announced on Thursday, February 7, 2013, that Duane Cramer, an acclaimed photographer and HIV advocate, will be joining the national HIV education campaign named I Design. 

Duane has partnered with Project Runway star Mondo Guerra, who served as the voice of the campaign in 2012. The new campaign  geared  to help people living with HIV to find way to work with their doctors and to approach their treatment of HIV "through their own lens" said Duane.  These interactive digital tools will help HIV people to manage their life better and make evryday an easy day to bare. You will be able to find these tools on www.ProjectIDesign.comwhere you can download a conversation checklist. This list will offer you tips on how to engage your Dr. in an open and honest conversation, by designing a digital textile illustration to your approach of managing your HIV.

There are few apps that can help you manage your health: “My Health Matters” and “My Positive Agenda” for mobile and for desktop. These easy-to-use tools help you track the symptoms of your HIV, set up reminders to take your medications on time, and keep a record of when you have taken them, which can serve to prompt you on important discussion points when you are with your doctor. 

“As a person who has lived with HIV for a long time, I’ve learned that self-expression is incredibly important, especially when it comes to working with my doctor on a treatment plan,” said Cramer. “I am thrilled to join Merck and Mondo on the I Design campaign and to be kicking off the second year of this successful initiative on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  I look forward to helping people living with HIV understand the importance of an open and ongoing dialogue with their health care provider to manage this chronic disease.”

An internationally known photographer, Duane has lived with HIV for nearly two decades.  He is also a passionate activist for HIV awareness and education, particularly for the African-American community, who are disproportionately affected by the disease.  Since being diagnosed as HIV-positive, HIV has become his artistic lens, no matter the subject.  Some of his most rewarding work, through his photography and his personal life, comes from bringing attention to African-Americans living with HIV. 

For additional tips and to follow Merck, Mondo, and Duane’s collaboration on I Design, join them on Twitter: @Merck, @LoveMondoTrasho, and @DuaneCramer.
 
 
As New Year's resolutions go into full swing, you may notice fewer patrons at restaurants and more frequent visitors to gyms and health food stores. Healthy living is no longer an inconvenient chore. High quality products are available online and can be delivered quickly straight to your front door, including vegan cleanses for jumpstarting healthier eating. 

Kaeng Raeng is one of several natural products now focused on lower prices, and thorough customer service it can be shipped and delivered to consumers in only 2 days, or you can buy it at the Whole Food stores. Kaeng Raeng provides the benefits of cleansing in the 21st century, and all you have to do is add water!  You'll receive 3 packets per day (9 or 18 total) of the detox program you choose. 

Kaeng Raeng is an all natural dietary supplement made in the US.  It is not recommended for pregnant women, women who are nursing, anyone with a history of eating disorders, or any customer under the age of 16.  None of the statements on the  Kaeng Raeng packaging has been evaluated by the FDA. Kaeng Raeng is not meant to treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease.  For more info visit www.kaengraeng.com.  Cost: $69.99
 
 
by Dr. Eudene Harry

So you overindulged during the holidays and gained a few pounds or, even more distressing, you’ve added even more weight to the weight you were trying to shed all year.

Regain the upper hand by following a simple P.L.A.N. for weight-loss success as follow:

P:  Preparation. Whether you are the CEO of your home or CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you know that the odds of success increase with preparation.  One of the biggest missteps is to depend on “will power.”  If you are stressed after a long day at work, you didn’t sleep well the night before and you missed your afternoon snack, what will you choose when you get home: the chocolate chip cookies or preparing a sensible dinner?  If, on the other hand, there are no cookies available and you have already prepared dinner, then what do you chose?  That’s the difference between will power and preparation.

Step 1: Go through the pantry and fridge and dispose of tempting leftovers.  You will not help starvation in Africa or any other country by overindulging.  Restock with your favorite fruits, vegetables and raw nuts, all of which make easy snacks.  Divide the nuts into appropriate single-serving sizes. Remember: preparation, not will power. 

Step 2:  Take one a day a week to prepare for the week ahead.  If you already know what you are going to have for breakfast, you’re less apt to skip this meal, which sets you up to overindulge the rest of the day.  If you know that you’ll be eating out this week, take  time to look at the menu items and nutrition facts for the restaurant online. You can also use the time to plan appropriate substitutions.  With this strategy you accomplish two things: making better choices and appearing spontaneous and decisive to your dining partners. 

L: Identify your limits. This is the key to success for many weight management programs.  It may be presented as daily points, calorie count or prepackaged foods, but the take-home message is the same: Know your limits.

A simple rule of thumb is to eat your vegetables first, perhaps with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil or crushed nuts to ensure absorption of all the nutrients vegetables offer, then consume your protein source (a portion the size of your palm), and finally, the carbohydrate.  Keep carbs whole grain, high fiber and limit to a half-cup.  Eating this way has several advantages. It slows down the absorption of sugar and thereby prevents insulin spikes and reactive hunger; it helps you to feel fuller more quickly; and it maximizes absorption of nutrients. 

Other things to consider are limiting sodium to less than 2,000 mg a day; limit alcohol to one to two drinks a week; and put all sauces and dressing on the side so you control the amount used – no more than 1 tablespoon. Avoid fried foods, trans fats and foods whose primary ingredient is sugar.

A: Increase activity level.  You want to increase activity not because it will help you to lose weight but because it will improve your energy, moods and muscle tone.  All are important ingredients in any weight-loss program.  The first rule of thumb is to pick an activity that you like – or one you don’t hate.  Next, shoot for consistency before quantity.  Starting out with an hour a day may feel overwhelming and exhausting, and can also cause an injury, which would derail all your good intentions.  If 10 minutes four times a week allows you to be consistent, then start there and build up.  Rome was not built in a day.

N: Finally, cut the negative talk.  Remember when your grandmother said you could attract more flies with honey? I think this is what she meant. Beating up on yourself gives you the excuse you need to continue the habits that have kept you in the same place.  We have just left a season where, hopefully, we have been reminded of the importance of being kind to others. Why not extend that kindness to yourself? Instead of constantly looking for proof of why you are going to fail, look for evidence of success:  “I exercised 10 minutes a day for four days last week and already I am feeling a bit better. Wow, imagine when I can do it for 15 minutes.”

I often hear patients say, “It’s been a month and I have only lost three or four pounds.”  This is not defeat; this is success! In 12 months that will be 36 pounds. Another thing I hear frequently is, “It has been two weeks. I feel better but I haven’t lost any weight so why bother.”  Try – “It’s only been two weeks and already I am starting to feel better. Imagine what I can accomplish in three, six, or 12 months. Remember Einstein’s rule: You can’t solve a problem from the same mind frame in which it was created.

About Eudene Harry, M.D.

Dr. Eudene Harry completed her medical degree and residency training at Thomas Jefferson University. She has been practicing medicine nearly 20 years, including 10 as an emergency physical for Level II trauma centers. She is the medical director for the integrative and holistic Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, and is founder of Oasis for Optimal Health, a private practice focused on integrative, holistic wellness and empowering and educating the patient.



 
 

When the dust settled after two horrifically intense years of managing her mother’s care, caregivers, and finances, Faye Levow was determined to create a comprehensive resource so that no one would ever again be lost in the whirlwind of dealing with unprepared, aging parents. Her upcoming book, OMG! My Parents Are Getting OLD! is the successful result of Faye's determination.

OMG! My Parents Are Getting OLD! is a resource book for families forced to deal with the mountain of information and red tape that faces them. With over 44 million family caregivers caring for aging family members in our society today, it’s a given that there is a tremendous need for such a resource. The practical yet priceless information in this book will make the transition easier and less complicated for both seniors and younger family members.

Levow emphasizes the importance of being prepared for the time when one’s faculties are no longer as sharp and one’s body requires more care and assistance. “The worst of everything that happens is because people are not prepared. They have been in denial and that hurts everyone,” she says.

Full of 20/20 hindsight for family members and parents, this book has the most comprehensive resource section (fully indexed) of any book in its category, with readable chapters containing expertise from over fifty professionals who work with seniors on a daily basis in everything from finance, probate, senior living, insurance, veterans benefits, dementia, medical care, locating caregivers, hospice, funerals, and much more. Levow shares dramatic, true stories of caregivers, theft, finances, and family gone awry from more than seventy family caregivers who have actually ‘been there and done it.’
For more information visit: www.OMGMyParentsAreGettingOld.com.

Source: press release
 
 
Decision from ACLU Lawsuit Paves Way for HIV Prisoners to Have Access to Services, Classes and Training Available to Other Prisoners

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A federal judge today ordered Alabama to stop segregating prisoners living with HIV, ruling that the practice violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled in a class-action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of all Alabama prisoners with HIV that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) discriminates against the prisoners by housing them separately from all other prisoners and categorically denies them equal access to prison rehabilitative programs.  

The court ruled the ADA prohibits blanket disability-based exclusions and mandates that prisoners with disabilities must be housed in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individuals. Exceptions may be made only on an individualized, case-by-case basis if the specific situation warrants different treatment.

Thompson said in his decision: “It is evident that, while the ADOC’s categorical segregation policy has been an unnecessary tool for preventing the transmission of HIV, it has been an effective one for humiliating and isolating prisoners living with the disease.”

“Today’s decision is historic,” said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project and lead counsel for the plaintiffs.  “It spells an end to a segregation policy that has inflicted needless misery on Alabama prisoners with HIV and their families.”

The court issued a permanent injunction ordering Alabama to abandon its discriminatory practices, including its categorical exclusion of prisoners with HIV from work-release jobs in the food industry, from assignment to faith-based honor dorms, and from a host of other rehabilitative, educational, trade skills and vocational programs. 

“Ending a policy that treated human beings like cattle to be tagged and herded is a tremendous victory for human rights,” said Olivia Turner, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, which participated in the lawsuit.

The court found that HIV-positive prisoners with serious mental health needs and substance abuse problems were wrongfully excluded even from critically important treatment programs.

The court’s decision also bans Alabama’s policy of requiring all male prisoners with HIV to always wear white armbands to alert others of their status, which Winter characterized as “a latter-day yellow star.”

The suit, Henderson et al. v. Thomas et al., was filed last year.  There are approximately 240 male and 10 female prisoners living with HIV in the Alabama prison system.

During a month-long trial that began Sept. 17 in Montgomery, the ACLU argued that Alabama’s HIV policy is not based on legitimate interests in safety and is unnecessary to prevent the transmission of HIV.

Experts testified that the risk of transmitting HIV is virtually nonexistent for patients properly treated with modern HIV medications. And in surprise testimony, ADOC's associate commissioner in charge of security admitted on cross-examination that he no longer believes the HIV-segregation policy is justified.

“Alabama’s policies regarding prisoners living with HIV are relics from an era of hysteria,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU AIDS Project. “We look forward to seeing the Department of Corrections fully implement Judge Thompson’s decision and end its discriminatory practices.”

For more information visit: www.aclu.org/hiv-aids-prisoners-rights/henderson-et-al-v-thomas-et-al

 
 
Source: Fenway Press Release

According to the United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year (26 percent) and most of these youth living with HIV (60 percent) are unaware they are infected. The most-affected young people are young gay and bisexual men and African Americans.

This information was released in a Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on November 27.  The analysis looks at the latest data on HIV infections, testing, and risk behaviors among young people and was published in advance of  World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012.


What are the most important results the study shows?


Many people get infected with HIV as a teen or young adultNew HIV infections in youth in 2010
  • About 1 in 4 (26%) of all new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24 years. About 4 in 5 of these infections occur in males.
  • Nearly 60% of new infections occur in African Americans youth, about 20% in Latinos, and about 20% in whites.
  • Over half (54%) of new infections among young gay and bisexual males are in African Americans.
  • About 87% of young males got HIV from male to male sex, 6% from heterosexual sex, 2% from injection drug use and about 5% from a combination of male-to-male sex and injection drug use.
  • About 86% of young females got HIV through heterosexual sex and 13% from injection drug use.
  • More new infections occurred among young African American males than in any other group of youth by race/ethnicity and sex.
Most youth are not getting tested for HIV
  • About 60% of youth with HIV do not know they are infected and so don’t receive treatment, putting them at risk for sickness and early death. These youth can also unknowingly pass HIV to others.
  • Young men are far more likely than young women to have HIV and are also less likely to get tested.
  • African American youth are more likely to get tested for HIV than youth of other races or ethnicities.
  • Youth who report being at risk for HIV are the ones to get tested, but still many youth at risk have never been tested.

To read more go to www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/HIVAmongYouth/index.html

Fenway Health has several programs working to address HIV infection in young people and our staff is available for expert commentary:

  • Fenway’s Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center specializes in caring for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.  Ralph Vetter, MD, Medical Director of the Borum, and other staff are available for interview.
  • The Fenway Institute is a part of the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) whose mission is to conduct HIV/AIDS intervention research, both independently and in collaboration with existing research networks. Kenneth Mayer, MD, Fenway’s Medical Research Director and Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute, and other ATN study staff are available for interview.  Three of Fenway’s ATN projects are of particular interest:
    • Project PrEPare: An open label demonstration project and Phase II safety study of pre-exposure prophylaxis use among 18 – 24 year-old men who have sex with men in the United States. All participants will receive daily Truvada with a behavioral intervention called Many Men Many Voices.  This study is expected to start enrolling in December, 2012. 
    • SMILE Linkage-to-Care Program: HIV-related Linkage to Care and Engagement in Care. The goal of SMILE is to ensure that all HIV-positive youth, ages 12 – 24, are linked to HIV medical care.
    • Connect to Protect (C2P): Building a Community-Based Infrastructure for HIV Prevention.  The national mission of C2P is to reduce HIV/AIDS rates among adolescents and young adults through collaborative efforts of communities and health researchers. The mission of C2P Boston is to identify, develop, and catalyze prevention strategies that will reduce HIV infection rates among young men who have sex with men and transgender-identified young people. Our goal is to ultimately reduce HIV incidence and prevalence among youth and young adults in Boston, ages 12 – 24, through community mobilization and structural change.

For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

 
 
‘Care is Available in Every State,’ says Former Physician Dixie Swanson

With all the talk about health-care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, it seems few people know coverage is available in every state as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, says Dr. Dixie Swanson, a former television health reporter and physician, and a lupus patient.

“People can apply for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, which will not deny you coverage because you have asthma, diabetes or some other condition, and will not charge you more simply because of it,” says Swanson, the author of “The Accidental President Trilogy. In Washington D.C. and 23 states – including Florida, Massachusetts and Texas – it’s run by the federal government. Twenty-seven states run their own PCIP program.”

Policies vary from state to state and premiums may vary, but coverage can cost less than $200 a month. But a shockingly low number of people know about the coverage, Swanson says. As of July 31, there were 82,000 people enrolled. Maine had only 42 enrollees; California had the most, 11,118.

“Getting and keeping health insurance is Job One for many patients with chronic illness. This is a real step forward," Swanson says.

Here are some important things to know about PCIP:
  • You are eligible for PCIP coverage ONLY if you have been without insurance coverage for the past six months. If you have coverage – even if it does not cover your condition – you are not eligible, and if you’re in a state high-risk pool, you’re not eligible.
  • Rules vary depending on who administers the plan. In states with the federally administered program, you must submit one of the following with your application: 1) An insurance company’s letter denying you coverage from within the past 12 months, 2) An offer of insurance with a rider disallowing your condition, provided you didn’t accept a policy, 3) If you’re under 19 or you live in Vermont or Massachusetts, a letter from a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner stating your condition, and 4) If you’re under 19 or you live in Vermont or Massachusetts, an offer of insurance that you didn’t accept because the premium was too high (provided it’s at least double the cost of a standard option PCIP premium),
  • In states with the federally administered program, if you’re application is accepted, you’ll receive a letter within two to three weeks. If you submitted your application and all documentation before the 15th of the month, your coverage can start by the 1st of the following month (i.e. by Oct. 15, coverage starts Nov. 1). If you apply after the 15th, it will start by the first of the month after that (i.e. Dec. 1).
  • PCIP is designed to be temporary. The Affordable Health Care Act calls for private insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions beginning in 2014, at which time PCIP will not be necessary. (If Obama does not win re-election, it’s possible PCIP will be disbanded under Mitt Romney.
  • To find out more, visit the plan’s official website visit www.pcip.gov.

About Dixie Swanson
Dixie Swanson was a pediatrician for 10 years and the Family Health Reporter for NBC’s Houston affiliate. She also spent time working for a Washington lobbyist with access to the White House.  Dixie is the author of “The Accidental President Trilogy – a Political Fable for Our Time.”  Visit www.dixieswanson.com.

Source: Press Release National Print Campaign News and Experts.
 
 
When a leading tire company partners with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® to find a cure, the results are meaningful. That’s why the Omni United team designed the Ring of Hope as a signature limited edition tire to complement the already robust Radar Tire line.

As a result of this commitment, Omni United designed a special tire with a pink ring in it. The Ring of Hope tire is a key aspect of the campaign. This limited edition tire features a pink sidewall to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness and prevention. The Ring of Hope tire will be available for purchase starting October 1st thru October 31st, 2012. Omni United enrolled over 1,200 tire retailers in pursuit of reaching their goal of $1,000,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®

Omni United will donate $1.00 per four Radar Tires sold, with a committed minimum annual donation of $250,000 to help support the BCRF mission of achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime.

Additionally, Omni United is launching a zip code based search feature on its website, which allows consumers to identify the participating retailers in their local area. “Omni United is delighted to support BCRF in the fight against breast cancer. This is only possible thanks to the on-going support and dedication from our retailer and distribution partners who make our tires available to the public. We are honored to be business partners with companies of this caliber, and we are grateful for their contributions to the Mobilizing Hope campaign,” said G.S Sareen, CEO and President of Omni United.

The BCRF Omni United partnership promotes key goals of both organizations. “It was always the vision of Evelyn Lauder, BCRF founder, to extend the message of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® both internationally and into traditionally male oriented industries. Our partnership with Omni United accomplishes both of these goals. We are very grateful to be aligned with Omni United,” said Myra J. Biblowit, BCRF President. “The funds raised through the 2011 Mobilizing Hope campaign are deeply appreciated and will fully fund one BCRF research grant this October. Omni United’s continued involvement is a testament to their commitment and values.”

"The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is truly grateful to Omni United for this very generous donation," said Myra J. Biblowit, BCRF President. "The funds raised in 2011 by the amazing Radar Mobilizing Hope program will fully fund one BCRF research project, bringing us all closer to living in a world without breast cancer. This is an amazing partnership and we are thrilled that Omni United will continue to support BCRF.”

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, as an independent not-for- profit organization committed to funding scientific research to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime.

In October 2012, BCRF will award $40 million to 197 scientists across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and China. With 91 cents of every dollar spent by BCRF directed towards breast cancer research and awareness programs, BCRF remains one of the most fiscally responsible charities in the country.

For more information about BCRF visit www.bcrfcure.org, and for a list of participating retailers visit www.radartires.com.