Sunday, 24 November 2013

Substance Abuse

Drugs and Addiction

Substance Abuse
Alcohol, Tobacco and other drugs have become very common in today’s world. Everywhere around us we see and hear accounts of drug use, abuse and overdose. Our society pays a significant cost for it. The toll of abuse can be seen in hospitals and emergency rooms as it damages physical and mental health.

Substance abuse is a pattern of harmful use of a substance which is used to alter the mood of a person. It is the use of a substance for purposes other than which they are indicated for and in quantities not prescribed for. The uses of illicit drugs are potentially addictive and can cause severe health effects and are thus dangerous and abusive. Some may argue that the use of recreational drugs is not harmful and is just use, but yet they have severe long term physical, mental and psychomotor affects that may become addictive. Illicit drugs are not the only substances that are thought to be abused but many over the counter medications such as alcohol, prescriptions, inhalants, solvents, and even coffee and tobacco can be harmful when in excess.

In a nation with a population exceeding 1 billion people, it is not alarming to note that more than 7.5 crore Indians are addicted to drugs. Recent trends indicate that it is increasing more and more among the semi urban and rural populations. The heightened abuse of substances is more among high risk groups such as commercialized sex workers, labor groups and street children. The usage of substances is higher in the north eastern states and border areas. More than 8% of women in India are addicted to substances which shows that drug abuse is not gender restrained and can prevails irrespective of any race, religion, caste, gender or socio economic status.

Tobacco is the most commonly abused substance in India. It is used for pleasure, improving performance, relief from depression, weight control, limiting hunger and increased vigilance. Nicotine is the primary addictive substance in cigarettes and causes severe health hazards such as heart diseases, cancers, ulcers etc. Withdrawal from nicotine can cause symptoms of anxiety, hunger, uneasiness, sleep disruption and depression.
Alcohol is another very common and prevalent substance across the globe. Alcohol depresses the brain and decreases a person’s inhibitions. It also decreases coordination, muscle control and slurs speech. Withdrawal from alcohol can create anxiety, tremors, irregular heartbeats and even seizures. It is the most common cause of liver damage and can defect most organs.

Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, grass, etc., is usually smoked and irritates the lungs. It creates feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and impairs memory and coordination. This is considered as a gateway drug as it increases one’s chances of progressing to more harmful and powerful drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Cocaine is also called crack or coke can be smoked, injected, snorted or swallowed and can cause increased alertness and pleasure. It also creates paranoia, irregular heartbeat, and constriction of blood vessels which may eventually lead to hear damage, stroke or even death. It damages one’s heart, brain, the lungs and the kidneys and is potentially life threatening especially with increased intensity and accelerated frequency of abuse.

Heroin, also called smack, creates pleasure, drowsiness and decreased breathing. Overdose of this drug can lead to death as injecting through use of needles is the most common method of use and this can potentially increase other health complications including HIV/AIDS, tetanus, botulism and destruction of heart valves.

Other illicit drugs existent in use are methamphetamines, steroids, club drugs like ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, LSD and PCP which are life threatening and causes eventual death. These drugs alter mood and are increasingly addictive and dangerous. Inhalant such as petrol and thinners are also commonly available and are extremely addictive and causes disruption of a healthy physical and mental well-being.

Many risk factors are involved in a person’s likelihood of abusing substances such as a family history of drug abuse, chaotic family environment and ineffective parenting.Social factors such as inappropriate behavior, poor social coping skills, poor performance etc., may facilitate drug abuse and addiction. Early recognition and social support can increase chances of treatment and facilitate a better and healthier life and a stress free and effective well-being.

Friday, 22 November 2013


Bullying among Children in Schools

Each day millions of children go to school and there a some of them who dread waking up to go. Bullying affects the lives of millions of children across the world and has become an issue of worry for everyone involved and not just the victimized child. Bullying is a phenomenon when a person is picked on repetitively by others who has an increased power, may it be in terms of social standing or more commonly physical strength. This behavior causes an imbalance of power and makes the person feel victimized.

Bullying can take on various forms such as threats, verbal harassment, causing embarrassment and shame or physical assault. This form of violence may be directed towards people from certain grounds such as gender, caste, religion, race, ability or sexuality. Bullying is most commonly seen in schools, families, workplaces and neighborhoods. Bullying consists majorly of three forms such as verbal, physical and emotional.

Sometimes, bullies attack their victims, also called targets, physically and can be anything from shoving or pushing, punching or hitting to sexual assault. Some others may use psychological forms of assault such as verbal insults like swearing, making fun of or abusing, or gossiping, taunting or teasing the target. Verbal bullying may involve sending cruel messages or texts or posting about the target through cyber bullying.
Bullying may leave unseen scars on the target’s life. It may put the person in a state of being constantly scared. Most children may show physical and medical symptoms such as stomach pains and diarrhea or irritable bowel syndromes caused due to the stress of being bullied. Most research has shown that children who have been bullied are at a higher risk for mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and most importantly depression. The victim may become aggressive in some cases and others may lack developed social skills, have negative thoughts, feel rejected by peers and family, face issues with solving social problems. There is also evidence that bullying can increase the risk of suicide.

What can be done to solve bullying? The tell-an-adult approach always the best method to help children and teenagers deal with bullying who can put an end to it. It is thus important for the target or the bullied victim to report it if it presents an impending threat or danger. Most children and teenagers have been seen to die due to threats or attacks so it is vital to not keep it unreported and silenced which may give the bully more leverage and freedom. 

What else can be done by the victim? It is not cowardly to ignore the bully and walk away. Indeed, it is first important thing to stop bullying from happening. The victim may get angry when such an event occurs and it is vital to control ad hold on to it because the bully should not sense fear and resentment so that they do not gain control over the victim’s emotions. Sometimes the bully can be thrown off guard by using humor instead of anger. The victim should never use physical force to respond to it and confidence must be practiced to deal with such situations.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Childhood Abuse

Types of Child Abuse: Physical, Sexual, Emotional Abuse and Neglect 

Childhood Abuse
Child abuse in India is a phenomenon, often hidden and unreported, especially when it occurs within the family. With regard to abuse, most of the focus has always been on child labor, child marriage and prostitution, but lately a lot of emphasis is being placed on child abuse as a grave issue of concern in our society. This lack of attention has been mostly due to the role of children in the Indian family structure, where they are trained to be obedient and dependent on elders and not to speak out against others. But, with progress, development and increased awareness about child abuse the scenario is changing.
Violence against children can be physical, neglect, emotional and sexual. This affects the normal development of child which thus impairs their mental, physical and social functioning. Any of these forms of abuse are potentially harmful to the child.

Physical abuse is when a child is harmed due to interaction with another person and causes pain and trauma to the child, when the abuse is caused by a person who is in a position of responsibility, trust or power. This may involvebeating, slapping, hitting, throwing, pinching, choking, biting, burning, drowning, suffocating and other forms of severe physical punishment.

Child sexual abuse involves forcing the child to take part in sexual activities and engaging the child in erotic activities which he/she is unaware of and cannot understand and cannot give informed consent to. This can include penetration, intercourse, incest, oral sex or rape. It may also include fondling, touching, kissing, violating body privacy, exposing the child to adult sexuality and commercial exploitation.

Emotional abuse is any behavior or attitude that interferes with mental health and development. This type of abuse may be a verbal insult, mental abuse or psychological maltreatment. It is the persistent ill treatment of children to cause severe effects on the child’s emotional development. This may include conveying to the child that he/she is worthless, inadequate or unloved, imposing inappropriate expectations, exploiting the child or causing child to feel frightened or in danger.

Neglect and negligence treatment is the oversight of development needs of the child, may it be physical neglect, emotional neglect or educational neglect, by a caregiver whose intention of harming the child. It is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and failure to protect them from physical or emotional danger, failure to meet needs of supervision, medical needs, educational needs, and lack of providing opportunities along with lack of love, care and support.

The report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Child Abuse in 2007 reported that more than 53% of the children faced child sexual abuse in one form or the other and more boys were subjected to sexual abuse. It also revealed that more than 50% of the abusers were someone known to the child and was in a position of trust. Most children did not report this abuse to anyone. Every two children out of three were victims of some form of abuse in India. The capital of our county reported more than 83% abuse rate. 

Child abuse is preventable through means of awareness, early detection and treatment. The foremost concern of caretakers is to educate the child about recognizing inappropriate behaviors, may it be sexual or physical and help them to reveal such occurrences to elders who they trust. Psychological help must be sought to deal with the effects of abuse.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Domestic Violence

Violence in the Family

Domestic Violence
Have you ever heard reports of brides being tortured to death due to dowry? Elder people killed due to property disputes? Young children succumbing to injuries after beaten by the father? If you answered yes, which surely you have, these are all reports of Domestic Violence. These reports can be found every single day in news reports across the country. Apart from what we read, more than 90% of these cases go unreported. Violence in bursting in our society and is present everywhere behind the doors of our homes. Domestic violence occurs across all socio economic statuses, social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups.

Domestic Violence is the violence directed towards someone a person is in a relationship with, a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparents or any other family member. Anyone can be a victim or a victimizer. Domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of our society.

Domestic violence is most common against women in our society due to the orthodox mindset of the society that women are physically and emotionally weaker than men. According to UN report, more than two thirds of the married women in India are victims of domestic violence and more than 70% of women are victims of rape, beating and forced intercourse. It has been reported that more than 55%women are victims of domestic violence in India.

Domestic violence is increasingly seen among men too which may sound surprising. The supremacy of men in our society makes it hard to believe that they are not vulnerable to violence. Although the prevalence of assault against men is lesser in India as compared to western countries, it still exists in the form of pushing; shoving, slapping, grabbing and hitting intended to harm them.

Domestic Violence against children is second in terms of cases reported after violence against women. Children are targets of violence due to disobeying parental advice, poor academic performance, debating, arguing and shouting, abusing, swearing, etc. Domestic violence against girls is also more common, mostly due to being born in the home as a girl child through forms of cursing and assaulting.

Domestic violence against the elderly is mostly subjected to by their children and other family members. This is mostly unreported in India due to the dependency of the elderly on their children and the fear of being abandoned and look being looked after. Majorly this occurs due to the fact that children may be hesitant to bear the expenses of the elderly, emotional victimization of the old and intention to get rid of them. One of the common causes is torture for reasons of property disputes.

There are various consequences of domestic violence and this depends of the victim’s age, gender, intensity of violence and the severity of torment. Victims may live under constant fear, humiliation and threat. Psychological trauma and emotional disturbance occurs among victims and causes disruption in normal functioning. The victim may become silent, reserved and fearful to express feelings. Depression and anxiety may create long term consequences.

Domestic violence may have a larger and deeper impact in real life and it is important to spread awareness against domestic violence and see the association of factors provoking it and control it in order to prevent it from occurring.

TV Providers

TV  Providers
Technology has been making great headway in the present world with each passing phase of life providing us with more sophisticated options that are available, making our way of living more easy and comfortable. The digital took off when analogue broadcasting channels discontinued with temporary digital frequencies which later turned out to become permanent. Those interested in enjoying entertainment on TV had to be connected to a digital TV provider and keep pace with updates with all their favorite programs. Digital tv providers have been providing the means to enjoy entertainment on TV. To avail this facility, the user needs to understand if the television is compatible with a digital service which will enable them to access a satellite or a cable provider. Some channels like Channel 4, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV1 can be accessed readily. However to view other channels regularly, namely Sky Atlantic, ESPN, one needs to subscribe with the provider to avail the facility of the same which could either be a monthly subscription or a yearly contract or more.

While entering into any contract, the user needs to beware of the contract details which he can afford and which will give him good value for the money spend. Many of the independent providers offer a wide range of different features and one has the option to choose according to one’s choice of television. There are others who provide the best deal for the type of service chosen and in some cases also include broadband as well as phone services or better still, one can also get more channels with a lower charge for each month. The user also needs to consider the reputation of the service provider in question, with regards to experience, reliability, products and features, add-ons or any additional costs. While there are some providers who charge a nominal set up fee, there are others who permit a plug and play installation. With the digital services, the broadcasting system has progressed into the 21st century and the switch to digital services has led to an increase in mobile TV services, improved coverage in rural areas, more channels, wireless services and improved quality like High Definition images.

Broadband Service Providers

All details pertaining to any product or any information can be availed through online portals which could prove to be of immense help to the user. With internet playing a very important role in the present world, it tends to be a bit difficult in indentifying the most reputed providers available across the internet world. Broadband providers are available in great numbers in the web world, but to decide on the right one needs to be considered after a lot of facts gathered about the said providers. A good many reputed providers are available who render excellent services by way of guides and the much needed information to the users. Moreover they also offer broadband comparison making it easy to access and understandable for the users with all kinds of handy tips and expectation from different speeds, usage guides, broadband download limits and much more. Besides this, they also have some tools which can be used like postcode checker and broadband availability checker which can enable the user to check if a particular type of broadband is available in their area.

Speed checker is also made available wherein the user gets the opportunity to check the current operating speed. It is an easy to use and a good place to get started and check how fast the internet connection is, with regards to Mbps. The useful tools for online use, provided by them are designed to help their users in making a well informed decision in choosing or switching a particular broadband service of their choice. With all these information readily available at one’s fingertips, the user is at an advantage to confidently browse through the information and make appropriate decisions after gathering the information provided at these portals. To add further to the user’s confidence, the reviews posted by other fellow clients, on the different broadband packages also provides useful information which helps the user to understand and obtain product knowledge from another fellow customer’s point of view. In case of any help in choosing the best broadband deal or if the user intends to switch the provider, they could get in touch with their service experts via phone and obtain the necessary help from them.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Movies And Mental Health

Portrayal of Mental Illness in World Cinema

Movies And Mental Health
Cinema has always been one of the key structures in understanding the Indian culture and to reflect the political and economic factors prevalent in our society since a long time through history. The portrayal of mental illness used in films connects entertainment to reality and in a country where film stars are idolized;the awareness on mental disorders is appreciated and responsibly provided to the society.

It is true that for a very long time, the Indian Hindi film industry has portrayed mental illness as an amusing part of entertainment for comical purposes but this view is changing with great strides being made with regard to thoughtful and serious portrayals of characters. There is a slightly successive trend in putting an end to mental health discrimination and public perception of a positive attitude towards mental health is being put into practice.

Many movies use this formula to churn out movies each month, but one out of the many would truly be appreciated as a product of a sensitive director. Movies such as ‘Tere Naam’ (2003) and ‘Kyon Ki’ (2005) portrayed mental illness occurring due to a traumatic event but yet it did not project the illness in the right perspective and was exaggerated for purposes of entertainment. The lead actor playing a schizophrenic yet ill-treated in a mental asylum by being chained is not an exact projection of reality.

For some time now, Aparna Sen, a director of Hindi and Bengali cinema has given visibility to the disabled in her films. Her films have dwelled on schizophrenia, physical disability and relationships, dementia, paraplegia and trauma. Apart from this, some other movies portrayed mental illness for the role of the protagonist. Movies like ‘Koshish’ (1972) portrayed the relationship and the struggles of a deaf and a mute couple; ‘Kunwara Baap’ (1974) portrayed the seriousness of the issue of polio vaccination; ‘Sparsh’ (1980) portrayed the concernon visual impairment and ‘Black’ (2005) showed life without light whereas ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (2003) shed slight light on dyslexia. Some movies touched upon sensitiveness by appealing to the audience by portrayal of movies such as ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) which touched upon SLD (specific learning disorders) and dyslexia.

The passive acceptance of irrational ideas doesn’t affect society but when it comes to sensitive issues such as mental illness the reality is way different. Films related to mental illness are successful yet the distortions of reality contribute to the stigma associated with mental health.

The power of entertainment media and films cannot be overestimated and it is a medium which should be used to take advantage of the fact that the stigma of mental illness can be dismissed easily. Yet it is important to make sure that scientific messages are conveyed and not distorted for entertainment purposes. Issues presented should be sensitive and well informed as giving out flawed information will only aggravate the long standing problem of the stigma of mental health. Movies can indeed be a medium of awareness of mental health across all layers of society.