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Defining Our Terms  

Red Flags are any number of warning signs in our daily lives.  Unless we are informed, mindful, and fully understand what we are witnessing or doing, we might miss and be unable to rectify issues early enough to influence outcomes.  And if not seen and acted upon quickly, these warning signs could take an individual, family or other group down a negative path with potentially long-term, even dire consequences.  The Red Flag process is about connecting the dots of cause and effect, an acumen which can quite literally change or save lives.

QUICK TIPS: 
*  Print out these "Warning Signs of a Heart Attack" and "Stroke Warning Signs" today for easy access in your home and office. 
Plus, here is the new AHA video about women's heart attack symptoms: 
http://www.youtube.comwatch?v=t7wmPWTnDbE
*  As of January 2013, two new studies assert that women who have migraines with auras are at a significantly greater risk of heart disease, especially if they also smoke, don't exercise, have high blood pressure, and don't maintain a healthy weight.

*  The CDC asserts that prescription drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have tripled since 1990.  Find out why and important action steps now.



Mental Health at Risk on a Large Scale   

As shocking as it may be for us to believe, the National Institute of Mental Health cites that approximately 57.7 million Americans—nearly 1 in 4 adults—experience a mental disorder in a given year.(1)  Add to that the U.S. Surgeon General's assertion that 10% of adolescents and children "suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives."(2) 
These numbers and their impacts compound exponentially when you consider the ripple effects on family members and others, especially if a disorder goes unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated.  And we are not only talking about quality of life, but life itself in many cases.

However, there is hope.  Each one of us can acquire a higher level of knowledge, awareness, and vigilance towards the people around us.  In so doing, we might be able to see the red flags and aid in changing the course of a downward spiral that, if left unchecked, could persist for years or even decades.  More serious disabilities and consequences can be averted if we understand what we are witnessing, and choose to help. 

EXAMPLE:  A parent’s bipolar disorder, often undiagnosed and untreated until the children are grown, impacts the family in a myriad of corrosive ways.  Here are just a few:


*  Life in a constant state of red alert
*  An ongoing condition of chaos
*  Emotional unavailability
*  Walking on eggshells
*  Boundary bullying
*  Extreme manipulation of family members and their loyalties
*  Spending frenzies that can impact the financial stability of the family (3)


NOTE: Here is a wonderful and hopeful new bipolar resource that helps people "begin to catch depression and mania at lower intensities when they still have time to get it under control." Details of the "six stages of growth from bipolar disorder to Bipolar IN Order" are available at Tom Wootton's Bipolar Advantage website.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides valuable information on several serious conditions, including:

*  Major depression
*  Schizophrenia
*  Bipolar disorder
*  Obsessive compulsive disorder
*  Panic disorder
*  Post traumatic stress disorder
*  Borderline personality disorder

Information:http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/About_Mental_Illness.htm


Find out about the statistical risks of mental illness running in familes.  They may not be as high as you fear.  And on the same site, there is some helpful information regarding how to reduce your risk

As of a September 2014 article, young men in the U.S. commit suicide at an average rate of 3X per day 5X as often as young women.

As of March 2012, there is evidence that many new Ph.D. graduates are experiencing Post Dissertation Depression.

The 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists Internet Addiction Disorder for the first time.  More than 38 houres per week/5.4 hours per day is a flag for such an addiction.  That—and much more information including Internet-impacted depression, ADHD, OCD, and brain gray matter shrinkage—is available at http://www.thedailybeast.com/Newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html
Read about the intense controversy surrounding the new psychiatric DSM.

After the Newtown school mass killing in December 2012, a mother with a mentally ill son wrote a particularly poignant and honest accounting of her experience as a parent.  It also includes important information about the U.S. mental health and prison systems.

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An Obsession with Fame is Indicative of Deeper Psychological Issues
 
  

Not surprisingly, there is a new condition entitled "Hollywood NOS," but its manifestations can impact anyone who is obsessed with fame and fortune.  Here are just a few symptoms:

*  Impulsiveness

*  Anxiety

*  Poor self-esteem

*
 
Some personality disorder traits, like "an overall fixation on their hierarchal status..., a very rich fantasy life about what other people are thinking of them, and an opportunistic analysis of relationships, where every connection is evaluated on its usefulness in getting a job."

— From the "What Makes Sammy Run Wild" news article by Rachel Abramowitz available in its entirety here: 
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-hollywoodnos14-2010feb14,0,7569097,full.story   

In June 2014, an article appeared about the impacts of social media and celebrity culture on the development of teen narcissism.



Pre-College Students Under Far Too Much Pressure in
Our Performance Oriented Culture


"When success is defined by high grades, test scores, trophieswe know we end up with unprepared, disengaged, exhausted, and ultimately unhealthy kids."  This quotation comes from a recent documentary entitled Race to Nowhere.  As adults, it is imperative that we reflect upon how we can nurture and guide our young students to fulfill their potential, while still thriving and truly enjoying their lives.

For more information about the film, visit http://www.racetonowhere.com/ 


For information about the effects of
persistent stress on the body, click on http://www.qualityoflifenews.com/id4.html




Toxic Manipulation:  How to Spot It in Others & Yourself   

Manipulative behaviors can be immensely damaging to relationships, trust, and integrity.  Here's a resource to help you identify and eliminate manipulation in your life:

http://www.cyberrecovery.net/forums/showthread.php?t=20166

Take the "Manipulative Behavior Inventory" test on behalf of yourself or others.  Keep in mind that even something as seemingly harmless as flirting to get what you want from an acquaintance is a form of manipulation, and perhaps even a deeper insecurity requiring constant reassurance. 

In general, it is important for us to consider consciously relying on our talents and intelligence versus manipulation.  This reliance constitutes a truer and higher approach that will surely enhance all of our interactions.

NOTE: 
Another website addresses 90 toxic behaviors within families: http://www.lightshouse.org/things-toxic-parents-do.html#ixzz1zZvXYD5o


Distracted Driving a Major Threat   

Traffic safety experts provide some disturbing statistics.  Texting on a cell phone, and many other "distracting" behaviors—like talking on a cell phone (even hands-free), eating or drinking—are more hazardous than you might think.

TEXTING EXAMPLES:

*  A Southern California commuter train crashed because the operator was texting.  The result: 25 fatalities and 135 injuries.

*  A 17-year-old Illinois girl was texting friends while behind the wheel, drove off the road, and died.

Access the full article at: http://www.viamagazine.com/top_stories/articles/president_page_jan10.asp
 

(1) NAMI website as of 12-19-2009

(2) NAMI website as of 12-19-2009

(3) Excerpted from the book: "Inspirations for Thriving in Our Troubled World." 
See the Products page of this website for more information.



DID YOU KNOW?
As of January 2013, more U.S. women die of lung cancer from smoking than of breast cancer.

With the recent disturbing increase in teen suicides, you have an opportunity now to learn the warning signs:  http://mcoeweb.marin.k12.ca.us/schoollawb2/SuicidePrevention/SuicidePreventionFAQs.pdf

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Rape within the U.S. military extends to male-on-male of other servicemen at an alarmingly increasing rate: http://www.newsweek.com/2011/04/03/the-military-s-secret-shame.html

*
Tanning beds can increase the risk of melanoma by 75%:http://www.parade.com/health/2010/04/25-dont-get-that-tan.html

If your waist-to-height ratio is over 0.5, this is the best indicator for your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Take your waist measurement in inches and divide it by your height in inches to get your score.Prevention Magazine 3/2010

Binge drinking is defined as: A woman downing 4 servings(+) of alcohol in a 2-hour period and a
man downing 5 servings of alcohol in a 2-hour period.  This level of abuse, if continued, "presents an escalating health risk as the drinker ages." L.A. Times, 1/2/2010
(+) Excellent resource for how to determine a "serving" depending on what kind of alcohol you're drinking,
BAC data, effects, etc.: http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/alcohol/alcohol_&_your_body.php

“Workplace violence is often a result of a slow burn that scorches other employees before the explosion.”
 — Joni Johnston. 
Learn the warning signs:http://human-resources-management.suite101.com/ar
A
fm/workplace_violence_warning_signs


"Violence" Manifests in 6 Forms

Abuse and the damaging of trust can assume many forms.  It is more widespread than you might think, and is perpetrated by men, women, and young people toward adults.  This excerpt from a “Center for Domestic Peace” document is particularly compelling.  The list is also significant because many people might have a narrow definition of violence and say “I am not violent,” not understanding some of the more subtle and varied forms of abuse.              


The Six Types of Violence: PEEVSS  (www.CenterForDomesticPeace.org). 

* Physical violence can be described as violence to someone (hitting, restraining, spitting, shaking, etc.) or violence done around someone (like throwing or breaking objects, etc. with the implied message of "You're next!").

* Emotional violence is deliberately withholding yourself, your services, or the 4 A's (Acceptance, Appreciation, Attention, & Affection).

* Economic abuse is controlling someone's financial resources.  It includes such behaviors as trying to keep someone from getting or keeping a job, making them ask for money, giving them allowance, taking their money.

* Verbal violence can be described as violence that is threatening, thingifying (name calling) or trivializing which constitute the "3-Ts".

* Sexual violence is sexual behavior that crosses someone's boundary without his/her permission.  In addition to the more obvious manifestations like rape or kissing and fondling without permission, this also includes subtler sexual violence of an emotional nature such as withholding sex from your partner in order to control or coerce him/her. It also includes flirting with someone else in the presence of your partner.

* Spiritual abuse is when someone behaves in such a way that your spirit, will or morale is drained and even demeaned. Mocking your spiritual beliefs and customs or denying practice of these. Using improper interpretation of spiritual doctrines to control you or family members."

[Note: Here are some warning signs of non-physical sexual abuse on the part of a father towards his daughter.]

QOLViolence.jpg

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that “women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.”  Based on the latest research, the Center for Domestic Peace organization asserts that domestic violence springs from a superiority belief system.  The ramifications of this represent a pivotal social issue. Center for Domestic Peace’s work in the community centers around teaching a system for creating equality, which is absolutely necessary in order to engender healthy interpersonal relating.

As we further explore domestic violence, it is also critical to acknowledge that women can be the abusers of their male partners, and in alarmingly increasing numbers.




Tyrannical World Leaders & Their Own Histories of Child Abuse

Alice Miller, a renowned Swiss psychotherapist and author, has put forth powerful theories in her essay entitled The Political Consequences of Child Abuse.  Here are a few compelling examples of the manifestation of empathy-killing childhood abuse: 

*  Hitler, whose regime was responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews plus another 5-8 million non-Jews(4), had been beaten mercilessly as a child every day by his father.

*  Mao, who sent 30 million people to their deaths, had been regularly whipped by his father.

*  Stalin, who perpetrated suffering and death upon millions, had been whipped by his drunken father almost daily.

Alice Miller's full essay is here.

These three individuals are worst-case archetypes.  However, any of the 6 forms of violence cited in our earlier section above distort and corrode the human spirit.  They can—if persistent, merciless, and disempowering—severely damage the abused young person, as well as countless others caught in the ensuing ripple effect.

NOTE
2009 Austrian film with a related theme, The White Ribbon—Abused and suppressed children are subjected to ritual punishment in a German village just prior to World War I.  Their treatment sows the seeds for future Naziism.

(4) Data as cited on the Wikipedia page for Adolph Hitler, Holocaust section.



A High Percentage of People Who Abuse Animals
Escalate Their Violence to Include Humans

Psychology and criminology research details case after case of individuals who perpetrate child abuse, rape, school shootings, or serial killings had also previously indulged in animal cruelty, torture or murder (often all 3).  The statistics are shocking and horrifying, especially when we take into account that authorities failed to examine the perpetrators' childhood or early violence only because it was directed at animals rather than people.

Read the full factsheet here, plus learn about preventive strategies for your community.


NOTE: Text for the "Violence Manifests in 6 Forms" section of this right column above is excerpted from the book: "Inspirations for Thriving in Our Troubled World."  See the Products page of this website for more information.

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