Rage: Intermittent Explosive Disorder

With Intermittent Explosive Disorder, we are not discussing ordinary anger.  We are discussing rage.

A rage disorder, also known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED), is characterized by sudden and intense outbursts of anger or violence disproportionate to the situation. These outbursts can occur without warning and may be triggered by minor irritants. Intermittent Explosive Disorder can lead to physical altercations, property damage, and legal problems. A physical altercation occurs when two or more people mutually take part in using force or violence. It is typically diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals. There is always the risk that these fights can cause death.

During an episode of intermittent explosive disorder, a person may:

  • lash out verbally
  • become physically violent
  • destroy property

Signs of intermittent explosive disorder include:

  • often fighting without cause
  • hurting people or animals
  • engaging in physical assault
  • kicking in doors
  • punching walls
  • road rage incidents
  • temper tantrums
  • throwing or breaking objects
  • verbal tirades
  • yelling and screaming

IED is a relatively common condition, affecting about 7% of the population in the United States. It typically emerges in adolescence or early adulthood and affects both men and women equally. Sudden outbursts of rage, physical violence, property damage, and verbal abuse characterize the condition. Minor events, such as a traffic jam or a disagreement with a friend or family member, can trigger these outbursts.

The exact cause of IEDs is not fully understood. Still, it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Studies have shown that people with IEDs have abnormal activation of the brain’s amygdala, which processes emotions. People with a history of abuse or trauma are more likely to develop IEDs.

Diagnosis of IED is typically done by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. The diagnosis is based on thoroughly evaluating the person’s symptoms, medical history, and family history. 

IEDs can have serious consequences for individuals and those around them. It can lead to legal problems, relationship difficulties, and other negative outcomes. Individuals with IEDs need to seek treatment and support from mental health professionals to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.


When anger becomes difficult to control, it may be a symptom of IED, an impulse control disorder.

While researchers don’t yet know what causes this condition, it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental trauma-related factors. 

IED treatment may include the help of a trusted therapist, lifestyle adjustments, and self-care strategies.

It may take time and some hard work to rewire your brain and develop new coping skills, but healing is possible.


Mental Health Awareness

It is important to state that everyone experiences mental health problems at least once.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health and mental illness

It is important to state that everyone experiences mental health problems at least once.

Mental health refers to a person’s emotional well-being. It encompasses the ability to cope with the stresses and challenges of daily life, form and maintain healthy relationships, and function effectively in society. Mental health includes thinking, feeling, behaving positively and adaptively, and recovering from difficult or traumatic experiences. Good mental health is essential to overall health and well-being. It can be affected by various factors, including genetics, environment, and life experiences.

Mental illness, or a mental disorder or psychiatric disorder, refers to a wide range of conditions that affect a person’s thinking, mood, and behavior. Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may cause these conditions. They can significantly affect a person’s daily life, relationships, and functioning ability. Mental illnesses may include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, and many others. Treatment for mental illness may involve medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.

Several stresses are contributing to worsening mental health problems, particularly recently. Here are some of them:

  1. The pandemic has caused great stress and anxiety, particularly regarding health, financial stability, and social isolation. People have lost a sense of control due to the pandemic.
  2. Political instability, polarization, and division can cause anxiety and stress for many people. The constant barrage of news, social media, and political rhetoric can make it difficult to escape these stressors.
  3. Technology has made life more convenient. It has also made it harder for people to disconnect from work, social media, and other digital distractions. Social media contributes to anxiety and low self-esteem.
  4. Economic insecurity, including job loss and financial instability, can cause significant stress and anxiety for many people. Inflation and rising interest rates contribute to the threat of homelessness.
  5. The ongoing effects of climate change, including natural disasters and extreme weather events, can cause significant stress and anxiety for individuals and communities.
  6. Racism and discrimination can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Ongoing racial disparities and social injustices can also exacerbate these issues.
  7. Daily reports of gun violence resulting in tragic deaths of people of all ages and all ethnicities increase the fear of leaving the house.

These and other stresses can contribute to mental health problems and exacerbate existing conditions. Individuals must prioritize their mental health, seek help when needed, and engage in self-care practices promoting resilience and well-being.

Mental Health Month is observed in the United States in May to raise awareness about mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The month-long observance aims to educate the public about mental health and wellness, promote advocacy, and encourage people to seek help for mental health issues. Mental Health Month is an initiative of Mental Health America. This non-profit organization works to promote mental health and prevent mental illness. People need to seek psychotherapy if feeling symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The most common mental health disorders in the United States are:

1. Anxiety disorders

2. Major depressive disorder

3. Bipolar disorder

4. Schizophrenia

5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder

6. Post-traumatic stress disorder

7. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

8. Eating disorders

9. Personality disorders

10. Substance use disorders.

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is the feeling of apprehension or fear about an upcoming event or situation. However, anxiety becomes an anxiety disorder when it becomes excessive, persistent, and interferes with daily activities. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders, affecting millions worldwide.

Anxiety Disorders:

They are a group of mental health disorders that include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder. However, some common symptoms include excessive worry, fear, apprehension, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable, and several effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal, productive lives.

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive and persistent worry about everyday events and activities. People with this disorder feel tense, irritable, and have difficulty concentrating. 
  2. Sudden and unexpected panic attacks characterize the panic disorder. During a panic attack, a person may experience a racing heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and chest pain. 
  3. Intense fear of social situations characterizes social anxiety disorder. People with this disorder may avoid social situations or endure them with extreme anxiety. 
  4. Intense fear of specific objects or situations characterizes specific phobias. For example, fear of heights, spiders, or flying. 
  5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that are repetitive and difficult to control.

The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood. However, research suggests that genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors may play a role. Anxiety disorders run in families, suggesting that genetics may play a role. Brain chemistry imbalances, such as low serotonin levels, may also contribute to anxiety disorders. Environmental factors like trauma, stress, or abuse may trigger anxiety disorders.

There are several treatments available for anxiety disorders. The most common treatments include psychotherapy and medication. 

Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps people with anxiety disorders to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. Medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, can help reduce anxiety disorder symptoms.

In conclusion, anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders characterized by excessive and persistent worry, fear, and apprehension. The symptoms of anxiety disorder vary depending on the type of disorder. The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, but genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors may play a role. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek professional help. The most common treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy and medication. People with anxiety disorders can lead healthy and fulfilling lives with the right treatment.

Perinatal Mental Health

Every pregnancy is different and can bring serious emotional problems.

Writing this article brought back memories from fifty years ago when my wife gave birth to the girls, who are now wonderful married adult daughters.  Included in these memories are the difficult times we experienced. While neither my wife nor I experienced emotional problems before or after giving birth, we were in store for some unexpected events. My wife’s belly was enormous. The medical doctor assured us we had an enormous baby, probably a boy. What a surprise when she gave birth to heavy, bouncing, and happy twin girls. Neither my wife nor I experienced depression or anxiety. We experienced some worries about money and raising two babies at once. I can report that it was a great experience.

Every pregnancy and new baby brings joy and challenges. These include lots of emotional difficulties for mothers and other family members. Many women experience weepiness and mood swings, often called the baby blues, during the first weeks after delivery. It is normal and usually goes away without treatment in two to three weeks. However, some women develop more serious perinatal mood disorders, including prenatal or postpartum depression or anxiety. These can begin any time during pregnancy or the first year after delivery.

This essay will discuss the prevalence, causes, symptoms, and treatment of perinatal mental health issues.

Mood disorders are common. Women who develop perinatal or postpartum depression or anxiety do not need to feel ashamed. Treatment and support are available.

Some of the most common perinatal mental health issues include:

  1. Postpartum depression is a type of depression that can occur after childbirth, often characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
  2. Postpartum anxiety can occur after childbirth, often characterized by excessive worry and fear.
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Perinatal mental health issues are more common than many people realize. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 20% of women experience a mental health disorder during pregnancy or the first year after giving birth. These disorders can take many forms, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The causes of perinatal mental health issues are complicated. Some risk factors for these disorders include a history of mental illness, a difficult pregnancy or childbirth, financial stress, a lack of social support, and relationship problems. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum may also play a role in developing perinatal mental health issues.

The symptoms of perinatal mental health issues can vary. It depends on the type and severity of the disorder. Common symptoms of depression and anxiety include sadness or worry, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating. Women with bipolar disorder may experience extreme mood swings and periods of mania or hypomania. Post-traumatic stress disorder may manifest as flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of anxiety and distress related to a traumatic childbirth experience.

Treatment of perinatal mental health issues is crucial to ensure the well-being of both mother and child. Early intervention and treatment are essential. It prevents these disorders from becoming more severe. Early intervention can reduce their impact on the mother’s life and the child’s development. Treatment options may include psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. Sometimes, hospitalization may be necessary to ensure the mother’s and baby’s safety.

Perinatal mental health issues are common and serious. Concern for women during pregnancy and postpartum is important. These disorders can affect the mother’s well-being. They can also affect the development of her child. Women, their families, and healthcare professionals must know the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for perinatal mental health issues. With proper care and support, women can overcome these challenges and enjoy a healthy, happy pregnancy and postpartum period.


Perinatal mental health issues can also affect husbands and partners. Studies have shown that up to 10% of fathers experience depression during the perinatal period, and many more experience anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.

Fathers’ causes of perinatal mental health issues are like those of mothers. They include hormone changes, stress related to parenting responsibilities, financial strain, and relationship difficulties. Fathers may experience feelings of helplessness or anxiety related to their partner’s pregnancy or childbirth experience.

Mental health symptoms of fathers may include sadness or hopelessness, appetite and sleep patterns changes, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Fathers may also experience physical symptoms, such as headaches or digestive problems.

Emotional support from family members and friends is for fathers experiencing perinatal mental health issues. Encouraging fathers to engage in self-care activities, such as exercise or meditation, can also be helpful.

Loss and Anniversary Reactions

Have you ever had the experience of feeling mildly or severely depressed but for no reason you can identify? It happens to us all the time. For example, one day, you are aware of having a headache, feeling tired and gloomy, but you do not know why. Friends and co-workers comment you need to be more enthusiastic. They comment you seem irritable and temperamental and that you were not aware that you acted that way.

Rose on a tombstone. Red rose on the grave. Love loss. Flower on a memorial stone close-up. Tragedy and sorrowful losing for losing a loved one. Memory. Gravestone with withered rose

Sometimes it takes someone who is a close friend, or it may take your spouse to remind you that today is the anniversary of your mother’s death, losing a good friend, or having been in a disaster some years ago. Suddenly, your memory is jogged, and it all falls into place. You realize that you have been mourning one or another of these tragic or traumatic events.

Every year, around December first or near the end of November, I feel “upset.” I thought I had mourned her loss and should have no difficulty remembering when she died. Still, in the business of my life, I completely forget that it is the anniversary of my mother’s death decades ago.

Now it is even worse for me. My wife died seven years ago of cancer. We were married for fifty years. Each year, as the anniversary of her death approaches, I feel depressed. However, I am aware of the reason I feel depressed. This year something different happened. Near the end of March, I became depressed. Here, I did not have a clue as to the reason. I suddenly jumped up from a deep sleep one night, and the reason for the depression flooded my mind. The day of our wedding anniversary was approaching. I was having an anniversary reaction to our wedding date.  

Anniversaries are powerful occurrences, whether we remember them. Many people, including myself, feel depressed, anxious, or physically ill but do not know why. Further exploration during the session often reveals that something terrible happened to them many years ago. The revelation is sometimes shocking because the event has been repressed. Upon recovering the memory of the anniversary, many people are shocked that they could have forgotten such an important event. Only a few people initially doubted that memory could affect today because it had occurred long ago. Still, they eventually admit to the truth of the event’s impact on their lives.

Some people suddenly fall ill, have an accident, or even feel suicidal without knowing why. In tragic circumstances, an individual may attempt suicide because of the depth of their depression. Some attempt suicide upon the anniversary of a loved one’s death many years before.

It is known that older adults who have been married to the same person for many decades suddenly pass away on the first anniversary of the death of their deceased husband or wife. It is also reported that individuals die when they reach the age at which their parents pass away. For example, there are those who, if a parent dies at age 65, will become ill and die when they achieve the same age of 65. An example of this was the death of Elvis Presley at age 41, the exact age at which his mother had died.

Such reactions as survivor guilt, in which an individual is convinced they should have died with family and friends in an accident or disaster, can provide an early death. In addition, unrealistic and unresolved guilt or grief reactions can lead to illness or death at or just before the anniversary of the death of a spouse, mother, father, or child.

Certain things can be done to avoid or minimize a repeat of a tragedy or loss. While it is normal to experience grief and depression after the death of a loved one, that reaction should gradually decrease during a six-month to one-year period after the death. If this does not happen, the grieving individual should be referred for psychotherapy and medication. 

Medication can relieve depression, but therapy is necessary to work through and resolve many thoughts and reactions to the loss.

In the same way, those who have lived through severe traumatic events should be helped with psychotherapy so that they come to an understanding of their survivor guilt and other feelings and reactions connected with PTSD.

The main point to be kept in mind is to remember that events that happened in the past continue to affect and influence our lives, even if we do not think so. It is important not to dismiss past tragedies and losses but to acknowledge them and let them into our awareness. The brain is a great computer that storehouses many memories and emotional reactions to those memories.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

There are great artists, medical doctors, physicists, mathematicians, and musicians of the past and present who are autistic.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect a person’s behavior, communication, and social interaction. “Spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity that people with ASD can experience. The causes of ASD are not yet fully understood, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

Autism is diagnosed in early childhood. An individual’s symptoms differ. Some common signs of ASD include delayed language development, difficulty with social interactions, repetitive behaviors or routines, and sensory sensitivities. Some individuals with ASD may also have intellectual disabilities. In contrast, others may have exceptional skills in music or math. In fact, many brilliant and highly accomplished adults have autism.

An important challenge for autistic children is social communication. They may have difficulty understanding social cues, such as facial expressions or tone of voice. They may need help to start or maintain conversations. That can cause social isolation because of difficulty making friends.

Another challenge is sensory sensitivities. They may be highly sensitive to certain sounds, textures, or lights, which can be overwhelming and cause anxiety. The result is that taking part in certain activities or environments takes time and effort.

There is no cure for ASD. Early intervention and therapy can help individuals with ASD develop skills and strategies to manage their symptoms. Medications may also be prescribed to manage certain symptoms, such as anxiety or hyperactivity. Behavioral therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy are common treatments for ASD.

Understanding and acceptance help individuals with ASD feel valued and included. Family, friends, and community support are also important for individuals with ASD. Many organizations and support groups are available to help families and individuals with ASD navigate the challenges of living with the disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorders are complex neurodevelopmental disorders that affect a person’s behavior, communication, and social interaction. While there is no cure for ASD, advances in research and treatment are helping individuals with ASD lead fulfilling lives. Early intervention and therapy can help individuals with ASD develop skills and strategies to manage their symptoms. In contrast, family, friends, and community support can help them feel valued and included.

It is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing care and attention, and the parents of autistic children play a vital role in their child’s development and well-being.

 The parents of children with autism face unique challenges that require understanding, patience, and support.

The diagnosis of autism can be overwhelming for parents. They experience various emotions, including confusion, guilt, and sadness. Parents must have access to accurate information about autism and the resources available to support their child’s needs. They may also benefit from counseling or support groups to help them cope with their challenges.

A primary challenge for parents of autistic children is communication. Autistic children may have difficulty expressing their needs and emotions. The result leads to frustration and behavior problems. Parents must learn to communicate effectively with their children in ways for their child’s level of development. Communication may involve using visual aids, such as picture schedules or social stories, to help their child understand what is expected of them.

Autistic children may struggle to make friends or engage in social activities, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Parents can support their child’s social development by finding opportunities for them to interact with peers in a safe and structured environment. Such ways involve enrolling their child in social skills classes or arranging playdates with other children.

Behavior management is another important aspect of parenting an autistic child. Autistic children may exhibit challenging behaviors. Examples include tantrums or aggression, which can be difficult for parents to manage. Parents must understand the underlying causes of their child’s behavior and develop strategies to address these behaviors effectively. Using positive reinforcement or providing sensory stimulation to help their child feel more calm.

Finally, parents must advocate for their child’s needs and rights. Advocacy involves:

  • Special education services if needed.
  • Therapy.
  • Working with policymakers to improve access to services for children with autism.

They may need to work with school administrators or healthcare providers to ensure their child receives the support and accommodations needed to succeed.

Parenting requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to ongoing care and support. The challenges parent face with autistic children can be significant. Still, they can help their child thrive and reach their full potential with the right resources and support. We as a society must recognize the importance of supporting families affected by autism and work to provide the resources and services they need to succeed.

Parental support includes entering psychotherapy to cope with the stress, frustration, anxiety, and depression often generated by raising an autistic child. The most effective psychotherapy for these parents should include couples and family therapy.

All of us need Hugs, Kisses and Compassion

All of us need hugs and kisses and Compassion.

Many articles are being published expressing deep worry about the outbreak of violence in America. The following blog post discusses some elements people must have to live peacefully in their family, neighborhood, and national community.

“We need physical contact with other loving human beings from birth and throughout our lives.”

 One reader stated everyone should get a plaque that says that for the wall of their home. That’s a powerful statement. You make a valid point. Our culture seems increasingly impersonal, and there’s less and less of that sort of contact. We work from home, spend hours online, and get our groceries, meals, and fishing tackle delivered—it minimizes human contact.

Do we have Compassion?

Compassion recognizes another person’s suffering and feels a desire to ease that suffering. It involves a combination of empathy, understanding, and a willingness to take action to help others. Compassion often involves putting oneself in another’s shoes and seeing the situation from their perspective. It can be expressed through acts of kindness, support, and comfort. It can affect the well-being of individuals and communities. Compassion is an important quality to cultivate, as it helps promote positive relationships, understanding, and a sense of shared humanity.

Are we Connected?

Hugs and kisses are important because they are powerful expressions of human connection, affection, and intimacy. Here are some reasons:

  1. Physical touch releases feel-good hormones: Hugging and kissing can stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with feelings of happiness, trust, and bonding. These hormones can help reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.
  2. Strengthen relationships: Hugs and kisses can help deepen and strengthen relationships by fostering emotional intimacy and closeness. They can help people feel loved, appreciated, and valued.
  3. Non-verbal communication: Sometimes words cannot fully express our emotions, and physical touch can be a powerful non-verbal way of communicating our feelings. Hugs and kisses can communicate love, support, empathy, and care in a way that words sometimes cannot.
  4. Boost well-being: Hugs and kisses can positively affect our overall well-being. They can help improve mood, happiness, pleasure, and physical health by reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

Our Five Senses

An Excellent Prase from the American Black Community is, “do you feel me?”

The five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell can all play important roles in relationships. Sensory input:

  1. Sight: Visual attraction is often the first thing that draws people together in romantic relationships. But sight is also important for nonverbal communication, as body language and facial expressions can convey much about a person’s thoughts and emotions.
  2. Hearing: Listening to and understanding one another is critical to any healthy relationship. Hearing and processing each other’s words, tone of voice, and inflections can help partners communicate effectively and build emotional intimacy.
  3. Taste: Sharing meals can be a way for partners to connect, bond, and create shared memories. Taste can also be tied to emotional experiences and evoke strong comfort and nostalgia.
  4. Touch: Physical touch is important for partners to express affection, comfort, and intimacy. It can also have health benefits, such as reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
  5. Smell: The sense of smell can trigger memories and emotions and can create a sense of intimacy and familiarity between partners. The smell can also factor in sexual attraction, as pheromones and other scents can be sexually arousing.

Overall, the five senses can all contribute to different aspects of a relationship. Paying attention to them can help partners connect on multiple levels.

Finally, Are we Compassionate?

Please submit your comments.


Random Violence

“Thou Shalt Not Kill means thou shalt not murder: 

You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, NKJV throughout).

“Strive not to be a success, but to be of value.” Albert Einstein

“Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.” Desmond Tutu

“Attachment refers to a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space. For example, some of the greatest sources of joy involve falling in love, starting a family, reuniting with distant loved ones, and sharing experiences with close others.”

  1. Three were arrested for 1st-degree murder in Colorado rock-throwing incidents that killed a 20-year-old driver.
  2. ABCNews.com · by ABC News
  3. Authorities said three suspects were arrested for allegedly throwing large landscaping rocks toward at least seven cars on Colorado roads last week. The last of the seven incidents claimed the life of 20-year-old driver Alexa Bartell.
  4. The suspects, all 18-year-old high school seniors, were taken into custody at their parents’ homes in Arvada overnight. They are all facing charges of first-degree murder, with extreme indifference, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday morning. Additional charges are expected, authorities said.


Mass murders, individual murders, assaults, random acts of violence, racial hatred, etc. 

Extreme indifference, also known as depraved indifference, is a legal term used in violent crimes to describe a state of mind in which a person displays a reckless and wanton disregard for human life.

These were boulder size rocks that were thrown, heavy, and must have been difficult to lift, much less throw. It is important to state that more cars and drivers were targeted during this tragedy. Still, it was a miracle that there were no more fatalities.

In violent crimes, extreme indifference typically refers to a situation where a person engages in dangerous or potentially deadly behavior without regard for the safety of others, even though they are aware of the risk that their actions pose.

The latest reports are that the perpetrators had no remorse.

What causes extreme indifference to the life of other people?

Attachment Issues:

There is no single cause of teenage violence, as various factors can influence it. Some contributors to teenage violence may include:

  1. Family environment: A chaotic or violent family environment, including abuse, neglect, or exposure to domestic violence, can increase the likelihood of violent behavior in teens.
  2. Peer pressure: Adolescents may feel pressure from their peers to engage in violent behavior or be influenced by the actions of their friends.
  3. Mental health issues: Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or conduct disorder, may increase the risk of violent behavior in teens.
  4. Substance abuse: The use of drugs or alcohol can impair judgment and increase aggression, leading to violent behavior.
  5. Exposure to violence in media: Repeated exposure to violent images in video games, movies, or social media can desensitize teens to violence and make it seem like an acceptable way to solve problems.

Gabor Mate, a world-famous medical Canadian physician and author of several extremely important books, whose recent book Hold On to Your Kids, focuses on the theme that peers, during childhood and into adolescence, now exert more influence than parents. Dr. Mate asserts parents must regain control and not permit social, economic, political, and social media pressures to control the behavior and attitudes of their children and teenagers.

In the tragedy described in the ABC News article, the three young men were friends. They were High School Seniors, although they attended different schools.

Most teenagers do not engage in violent behavior. But violence is never acceptable. If you or someone you know struggles with violent behavior, seeking help from a mental health professional or other trusted authority figure is important.

Attachment bonds are extremely important, as they provide a sense of security, comfort, and support essential for healthy human development. Attachment bonds are typically formed between infants and their caregivers. Still, they can also be formed between adults in close relationships.

Research has shown that secure attachment bonds in infancy are associated with a range of positive outcomes later in life, including better emotional regulation, higher self-esteem, and better interpersonal relationships. Insecure attachment bonds can lead to negative outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and difficulty forming close relationships.

Attachment is also important for mental health and well-being throughout the lifespan. For example, adults with secure attachment bonds have better mental health outcomes, including lower levels of anxiety and depression.

These bonds are crucial for healthy human development and essential to forming healthy relationships throughout life.

Tragedies like these are not the fault of parents. It is a mistake to blame everything on parents. Rather, violence is a complicated issue that involves the entire society of the United States.

Attachment means that from birth and throughout our lives, we need physical contact with other loving human beings. Babies, children, teenagers, and adults need hugs and kisses. The old saying about “a pat on the back” says it all. Yes, all of us need a pat on the back. We need many pats on the backs, along with hugs. There is an old saying that you cannot give a hug without getting a hug.

How do we protect our children and teenagers as a nation, communities, and families?

Your comments are encouraged.



Americans are Polarized

Americans are Polarized
Not new information, but stressful and depressing

From the PEW research center:
“Americans have rarely been as polarized as they are today.
The studies we’ve conducted at the Pew Research Center over the past few years illustrate the increasingly stark disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement, and many other issues. The 2020 presidential election further highlighted these deep-seated divides. Supporters of Biden and Donald Trump believe the differences between them are about more than just politics and policies. A month before the election, roughly 8 in 10 registered voters in both camps said their differences with the other side were about core American values. Roughly 9 in 10—again in both camps—worried that a victory by the other would lead to “lasting harm” to the United States.”

During my childhood, the focus was on American unity.
Politics and religion have always been a source of disagreement among Americans. However, those disagreements never caused the divisions we are experiencing.

I was a child in an elementary school. After Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected, my classmates got into a heated debate over the election just before our teacher entered the classroom. I will always remember how she addressed the class about the election results issue. She taught us the importance of uniting behind the new president after an election.
I also remember the public service announcements on television about brotherhood. These announcements showed a photo of a black and white child standing beside one another. The message was obvious. We are all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.

One feature of the public schools during the 1950s was the bible reading to the assembly every Monday morning. The readings alternated between the Old and New Testament Bibles from one week to the next.
American unity has vanished and been replaced by divisiveness. An example is being labeled a liberal and leftist when I disagreed with a former friend. This person is no longer a friend. In reality, my political beliefs are moderate and in the center.

One way to define that divisiveness is by using the term tribalism.
Tribalism is a term that describes the behavior and attitudes associated with strong loyalty to one’s social group. It is based on common ancestry, culture, language, or religion. Tribalism can be seen in various ways. Outsiders’ social, economic, or political exclusion is an example of tribalism.

Identity politics emphasizes the differences between groups, often leading to exclusivity and hostility towards those outside the group. Hostility towards other groups and a preference for one’s group over others is another example of tribalism. It can affect social cohesion, depending on how it is expressed and managed.

Pro-gun advocates are not an example of tribalism in and of themselves. There may be instances where some pro-gun advocates exhibit tribalistic tendencies, and it is not a defining characteristic of the movement.
What causes people of goodwill to disagree on politics and religion?
Values and worldviews are often linked to a person’s political and religious beliefs. These beliefs reflect an individual’s identity. Politics and religion are personal and charged subjects that people often feel passionate about.

Challenging someone’s beliefs can lead to defensiveness and a feeling of being threatened, which can, in turn, create conflict and separation.
The focus must be on important matters of justice and fairness. Looking for shared values, even by individuals who differ in religious and political beliefs, might connect us. People can center on what they can agree upon without betraying ideals. Only then can the gulf be bridged between beliefs about orthodox religious teachings and those grounded in the scientific study of human nature.

We must come together even when we disagree.


Eating Disorders, Self-Cutting and Unexpressed Emotions

Eating Disorders, Self-Cutting, and Unexpressed Emotions: A Deadly Relationship

There is a common denominator to the problem of eating disorders. This common denominator is that those with eating disorders have difficulty expressing the management of their feelings. How emotions are handled depends on the eating disorder the patient suffers from. Anorectics starve themselves to prove how good they are. Bulimics, denying emotions, purging after having binged. Those with binge eating disorders stifle their emotions by stuffing themselves with carbohydrates. Whether it’s the purging of bulimia or the frantic eating of binge disorders, people are drugging themselves into passivity and sleep.

The theme of each eating disorder is the attempt to cope with emotions that feel chaotic, frightening, overwhelming, and dangerous. When people show that the eating-disordered individual is trying to exercise control, they are correct. However, control is misunderstood. 

The anorectic, bulimic, and binge eaters are attempting to gain a sense of control over their internal worlds of chaotic and frightening emotions. The problem is that the strategy to control emotions is dangerous to the individual’s health and life. Anorexia, if left uncontrolled, leads to death because of malnutrition. Constant purging in bulimia is harmful to teeth, esophagus, and stomach, and binge eating leads to obesity and untimely death because of strokes, heart conditions, or complications caused by diabetes.

What is not clear is why the people who develop these disorders experience difficulty coping with emotions. It is important to note that not everyone with emotional difficulties develops an eating disorder. 

Although there are many theories about the causes of eating disorders and research continues, very little is known about why particular individuals develop these problems as opposed to a variety of other disorders. Also, there is a tendency to believe that the symptoms of these illnesses point to the causes. Theories range from the emphasis in Western Culture on thinness, with advertising campaigns portraying the ideal man and woman as thin, to depression, the need for perfection, family dynamics, and genetic predispositions. 

These theories contain elements of truth. For example, suppose the need to be perfect is a symptom of anorexia. In that case, the cause may be demanding parents who are never satisfied with the child and demand more than the child can deliver in school, sports, and physical appearance. The problem for many people is the inability to prevent children from developing an eating disorder. In addition, parents end up feeling guilty if their children develop eating disorders. 

With so much emphasis on dysfunctional families, it is natural for thoughtful and caring parents to assume they must have done something wrong to cause the problem.

For some individuals, eating disorders begin quite by accident. For others, there is a conscious effort to lose weight or relieve tension. While the reaction to having purged is usually disgust and a feeling of shame, there is also a sense of relief from having purged. An example, several male and female patients suffering from bulimia nervosa report they discovered the importance of purging either by accident after recovering from too much alcohol consumption, by being ill with the flu, by experimenting with purging, or by learning about it from a friend and experimenting with the same behavior. 

That sense of relief is sought after among those who purge. The relief is based on two major factors: 

  1.  After purging, there is a false belief that the intake of calories has been avoided, and 
  2.  Because of the intense shame experienced by the bulimic, the purging is done in privacy. It is kept secret from friends and family. After purging, the brain seems to increase the number of endorphins secreted, resulting in a euphoric and calm feeling, much like that experienced by drug abusers.


Individuals who become anorectic begin by attempting to lose some weight. Immediate success in weight loss produces a feeling of exhilaration and power that spurs the individual to increase efforts to reduce and restrict food intake and lose weight. 

Hunger and food become major fixations in a way typical of obsessive thinking. It is a myth that the anorectic does not feel hungry. It is the ability to master and control hunger pangs that fills the anorectic with joy and with the thought that they are accomplishing something that friends and other peers cannot accomplish. The joy of weight loss and mastering hunger becomes so powerful that the individual looks in the mirror, see themselves as fat, and goes at weight loss with renewed determination.


A binge eater is an individual who experiences a sense of tension relief that results from consuming large amounts of carbohydrates incredibly fast. The taste and quality of food mean little or nothing. The primary goal, either consciously or unconsciously, is to achieve a tranquil state of being, similar to that achieved with Valium. Here, food intake serves as a kind of drug abuse. 

Following a binge and sense of calm, usually after a nap, the individual experiences a storm of self-hate and self-contempt for consuming so much food. Besides this self-loathing, there is the genuine worry about gaining weight. The binge eater is often afflicted with weight gain that can result in obesity.

Whatever eating disorder the individual is struggling with, powerful emotions lurk underneath. These emotions include depression, hopelessness, emptiness, self-hatred, and anxiety about entering adulthood.

What characterizes these illnesses is the lack of learned skills on which the individual can rely to cope with stress in school, work, and social situations. If left untreated, the downward spiral of hopelessness and depression can cause a kind of suicide resulting from the real physical problems created by the eating disorder.

Cutting and Self-Mutilation

It is not unusual for some people suffering from eating disorders to engage in direct bodily self-harm to reduce emotional pain and suffering. Self-harm can occur as cutting and self-mutilation with a razor, knife, or sharp instrument. Individuals with bulimia or binge eating may engage in alcohol and drug abuse. People are less likely to suffer from anorexia because they are extremely restricted with their diet and what they allow into their bodies. Ironically, the restrictive anorectic may escape the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. However, the anorectic is not immune to the dangers of self-harm.

Males and Eating Disorders

Anorexia and bulimia are most commonly associated with females. The illness asserts itself during early adolescence. However, it is not unusual for women to experience the first symptoms of starvation or purging during their twenties. 

Increasingly today, more young men are experiencing the symptoms of eating disorders. Some people experience a combination of anorexia and bulimia. These people severely restrict their diets but purge after eating any fattening meal. Parents can no longer feel secure in the belief that, if they have sons, they are immune from the distress of eating disorders. Similar issues are at work for males with eating disorders as with females. 

Managing the inner world of emotions, including sexual tension, anger, fear, depression, and hopelessness, motivates young men to binge, purge, or starve to bury uncomfortable feelings.



Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

The Covid pandemic has caused a steep rise in mental health issues. For example, there is a rise in PTSD, depression, and anxiety. There is also a rise in the prevalence of eating disorders. Since the pandemic ended, there has continued to be an increase in anorexia nervosa among females. It is important to note that the statistics reveal an increase in all mental health issues for males and females of all ages, including eating disorders.

Tragically, the epidemic of shootings in the United States has added to the trauma everyone is experiencing.

As early as age ten and twelve, girls become aware of their weight and begin dieting and exercising. If they develop anorexia, it can last until age 35 and sometimes becomes a lifetime problem. NEDA, the National Eating Disorder Association, estimates that one in every 100 girls develops anorexia.

As the reader can see in the illustration, regardless of how skinny the anorectic becomes, when she looks in the mirror, she sees herself as obese.

In Middle School, many girls will not eat their lunches. The reason is that they feel embarrassed about eating in front of boys. In addition, they are reluctant to eat in front of other girls for fear of appearing greedy. Losing weight becomes a competitive issue for many females who judge themselves by how much thinner they are compared to other girls in school.

Anorexia is a disorder characterized by a female weighing less than 15% of normal body weight for age and height. These females do not think of themselves as thin. No matter how much weight they have lost, they think of themselves as fat. As a result, they severely restrict their food intake and obsessively exercise to lose weight.

These young women are extremely intelligent and achieve excellent grades in school. They are perfectionists, demanding and expecting the best possible performance from themselves in all areas, such as academics, athletics, and social interaction.

Along with the symptoms of anorexia, most of these young people experience extreme anxiety, depression and self-loathing, distorted body images, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Symptoms of Anorexia:

Anorexia is a dangerous disorder resulting in the deaths of almost 6% of victims of this illness each decade. Even as these tragic women are dying of starvation, they insist on believing they are fat.


1. Severe restriction of food intake.

2. Complete denial of the fact that they are skinny.

3. A deadly fear of gaining weight.

4. Loss of menstrual cycle.

5. Loss of secondary female characteristics, so that hips become narrow, breasts shrink, and hair loss occurs.

6. Nails become brittle.

7. Osteoporosis or thinning of bones occurs, increasing the danger of fractures.

8. Compulsive exercising of all types.

9. Blood pressure drops to dangerous levels with the danger of fainting.

10. Body temperature drops so that these people often feel cold.

During meals, these young women may fill their plates with food but push them around and take in very few calories. They will then complain of feeling full, particularly if anyone at the dinner table points out the plate remains full of uneaten food.

These girls also wear long oversized clothing that hides their actual appearance. If asked why they wear “baggy” clothes, they will say they want to hide their fat. Of course, they are hiding their skinniness but seem unaware of this.

The Why of Anorexia:

Anorexia Nervosa has existed as long as civilization. There are historical reports of this disorder among the Ancient Egyptians and Romans through the Middle Ages and up until the present time. The question is, what causes this disorder?

Many theories have been advanced, and research continues on the causes and cures for this eating disorder. Here are a few of the theories on the causes of anorexia:

1. One explanation for anorexia is that limiting caloric intake becomes the one way many girls believe they can control their lives. Raised to be nurturing and believing they have no power, these young people discover that the one area in which they can exert full control is by controlling their food intake and weight. 

It is important to understand that these girls always feel extremely hungry and think about food. For them, the achievement is to resist hunger pangs and obsessive thoughts about food by exercising and refusing to eat what they consider “unhealthy food.”

2. In addition, this becomes the one certain way that these perfectionist girls can reach the goals they set for themselves. The problem is that there is no limit to the weight goal, which is why too many die of malnutrition.

3. Another explanation is related to the value of sexual beauty. Today, in an age where the media and fashion industry puts such a high value on women being skinny, these young people emulate the females they see on television, in the movies, and in teenage magazines. Also, they take seriously the constant messages (meant for obese people) that it is healthier to be thin than heavy. Attempting to achieve physical beauty as defined by society and to be as healthy as possible, these young women diet and exercise and become obsessed.

4. There is increasing evidence of a genetic basis for anorexia. If some forms of anorexia are inherited, a cure could be available. Obsessional thinking, combined with one type of eating disorder in the family, seems to set the stage for anorexia.

5. Dysfunctional family life is also a likely cause of anorexia. Fathers who criticize their daughters for being overweight add to the danger that they will become anorectic. In addition, authoritarian homes where parents are very strict and where there is a lot of arguing and hostility increase the likelihood of girls developing this disorder.

Families have boundaries, and members have role definitions. However, some observe that in many of the family systems from which anorectic girls come, boundaries between generations and between individuals are often violated. Therefore, girls who become anorectic suffer from developing a genuine sense of autonomy and independence because of intrusions by their parents. Without a strong sense of separateness, exerting control over food intake by not eating becomes the only way many females can develop any sense of power and control.


Treatment of anorexia is extremely difficult, partly because of the strong denial by the patient. It is hard to convince someone they need treatment when the patient cannot see they have a problem. For this reason, the younger the patient when the therapeutic intervention occurs, the better the result.

Medication is administered to reduce the serious depression that accompanies anorexia. In treating anorexia, the question that must be asked and carefully weighed is whether hospitalization is necessary. Usually, if weight loss is to such a degree that health and survival are in danger, then hospitalization is required. The particular type of hospitalization is specifically for eating disorders where, on an inpatient level, the issues of food intake and weight loss are discussed in psychotherapy and groups.

Outpatient treatment is called for if the young woman can be maintained at home. With anorexia, a team of treatment specialists is needed to help the young person with this illness. The team comprises the following:

A. Psychiatrists for antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.

B. Psychotherapist for individual and group sessions. The therapist can come from psychology, social work, or psychiatry as they are trained in eating disorders. Family sessions with the patient are an important and integral part of the treatment.

C. Nutritionist who is trained in the treatment of anorexia and bulimia. The nutritionist monitors daily food intake by requiring the patient to complete a comprehensive log of everything eaten daily besides moods and feelings concerning the food intake. Also, education is provided about food categories, calories, value, and instructions about what and how much to eat at each meal.

D. Medical Doctor to do weekly weigh-ins and health checks.

E. It is important for the patient to understand that failure to maintain at least a minimum weight can cause hospitalization.

There is constant consultation among all treatment team members so that everyone is fully aware of the patient’s status and what changes in strategy are called for. These regular consultations also help prevent the patient from causing friction among team members by playing one off against the other.

One of the interesting but disturbing things about the family of anorectic girls is how unaware they are of how little the patient is eating and how much weight is lost. Someone outside the family often must make the parents aware of what is happening. Whether there is a genetic factor in this eating disorder, much of it is tied to family dynamics, so family therapy is a necessary adjunct to inpatient and outpatient treatment.

For many parents faced with a child who is showing symptoms of anorexia, the temptation is to scold, punish, and argue. These are the worst possible strategies because they will be met with either direct or passive resistance. Once denial by the parents is broken through, they realize they have an anorectic child. 

Punishment and force do not work because they result in more resistance and a greater resolve to lose weight. These very intelligent young women can directly argue with anyone under the table, using reason and their illogical form to defeat anyone attempting to convince them they are thin or do not eat. The result is that parents end up feeling even more frustrated and helpless.

What Can Parents Do Once They Are Aware?

Rather than using confrontation and conflict to force eating, parents need to go with their daughter to the family physician, have her weighed and take referrals from the MD to the nearest eating disorder facility. The best policy is avoiding arguments and allowing professionals to deal with the issue.

Engaging in all-out warfare fails. However, this does not mean parents should say nothing and pretend all is well. One psychologist recommends to his parents that anorectic kids use “hit and run” tactics. Brief reference be made either to not eating or to look too thin and then retreat and say nothing more. These short sorties are the best policy.



%d bloggers like this: