Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Finland is the world’s happiest country

Written by Douglas Broom

The world is getting used to being told that Scandinavian countries are among the best places to live. The release of the 2019 World Happiness Report again confirms that impression with four Nordic countries in the top five happiest nations.
Finland, which headed the table last year, came top again, followed by Denmark, Norway (top in 2017) and Iceland. The Netherlands joined them in the top five. Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria completed the top 10.
The US only made it to number 19, down from 18 last year. The UK was placed 15th, one ahead of Ireland with Pakistan ranked 67 and India 140 out of 156 nations surveyed. Two nations riven by civil strife, South Sudan and the Central African Republic were ranked as the least happy.

It’s easy to see how civil war and insurgencies can bring misery to people, but what really makes a happy nation? The report’s authors insist it's not just about money, even though the top 10 are all affluent countries.

Money can’t buy you happiness
The survey, conducted by Gallup, uses a three-year rolling average of survey responses around six factors: GDP per capita; social support; life expectancy; freedom to make life choices; generosity; and corruption levels. Finland scores well on all factors but particularly strongly on generosity.
The authors say that helping others makes you feel better, but only if you choose to do it. Almost half of Finns donate regularly to charity and almost a third said they had given up time to volunteer for a charity in the previous month.
The Copenhagen-based Happiness Research Institute points out that Finland tops the happiness list despite not having the highest GDP of the Nordic countries. It is the country’s social safety net combined with personal freedom and a good work-life balance that gives it the edge.
The OECD’s Better Life Index suggests that Finland’s sense of wellbeing may also be down to a feeling of personal safety in a troubled world. Finns feel good about their environment, sense of community and public services and education, but they worry about jobs and housing.
As if to prove that you cannot buy happiness, the US sits at number 19, one place down from last year. Although it has the world’s highest GDP, economist Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s authors, said worsening health conditions and declines in social trust and trust in government were making Americans less happy.
Any wellbeing benefits from rising incomes in the US were being offset by growing addictions to gambling, social media use, video gaming, shopping and consuming unhealthy foods which were causing unhappiness and even depression, he said

Saturday, December 1, 2018

World AIDS Day 2018: What is PrEP? 5 common myths, misconceptions around the globe

World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December every year in order to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Since 1988, December 1 is marked as a day to remember all those who have lost their lives under the impact of this deadly disease. It is marked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the eight official global public health campaigns. Government agencies, non-governmental organisation and people around the globe observe this day as a day to spread awareness against AIDS and how to prevent oneself from getting infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

IDS is one of the most important global health issues in the history of human existence and owing to the new-age antiretroviral treatment in many parts of the world, the epidemic has reportedly decreased in the recent times. AIDS is one such disease which destroys the human immune system that begins with being infected by HIV. HIV infected persons are often at the risk of developing other common infections such as tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections. The late symptoms of this infection are referred to as AIDS, which is often also associated with severe weight loss.
Currently, there is no treatment that can fully cure an HIV infected person. However, recently, many individuals have taken to the consumption of Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP medicines to protect themselves from this deadly virus. As doctors suggest, PrEP has shown some signs in the reduction of the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk.

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a type of medication suggested by doctors to people who do not have HIV but are at a risk of getting it. These individuals can protect themselves from the risk of getting infected by consuming one pill every day. The PrEP pill consists of two medicines, tenofovir and emtricitabine, which are used in combination with other medicines to cure HIV. A person who is exposed to HIV through sexual intercourse or injection use can take these medicines to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
PrEP can also be combined with other HIV prevention tools like condoms and other methods to provide even greater protection than they already do. However, those who are under the medication of PrEP must pledge to take the pill every day and also going for a follow-up health check once in every 3 months.

Five misconceptions about HIV/AIDS around the globe:

1. HIV leads to death
With modern technology and treatment, HIV is no longer a death sentence and those affected can lead a near to normal life even after being encountered by this chronic illness. There are thousands of people in the world who are living with HIV and leading lives just like the rest. However, it is important for HIV affected individuals to be on constant treatment for them to lead a normal, long-term healthy life.
2. HIV can be transferred by kissing
This is a common concern among many individuals today. Most doctors around the globe have encountered such questions from their patients whose prime concern is whether HIV can be transferred from the affected person to the other through kissing or basic physical contact. It is highly unlikely for a person to get HIV by kissing an infected person as the virus does not spread from saliva. However, if the infected person has sore or bleeding gums, mouth ulcers kissing them would be risky but overall, HIV transmission through a kiss is rare.
3. HIV and AIDS are the same
It’s been years since doctors and scientists have gone out there and drawn a significant line between HIV and AIDS, even today people are under the impression that both are the same. It is not necessary for an HIV infected person to get AIDS and owing to the advancement in HIV treatment, most infected people will never have AIDS. An infected person who begins his treatment early can lead a normal life without AIDS even though he is an HIV patient.
4. You can tell by looking if someone has HIV
Most people believe that it is easy to differentiate between an HIV infected person and others. However, there is no definite way to tell just by merely looking at someone whether they have HIV or not. Those with HIV and on treatment will look exactly like those without it. Though some do show symptoms of HIV, it highly depends from person to person.
5. HIV is a gay disease
It is a common misconception that HIV cannot impact straight individuals and only occurs to those who are bisexual or gay. However, that is completely untrue. A straight individual can get infected by HIV if he undergoes sexual intercourse with a person who is already infected by the virus.
Culled from : financialexpress.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A to Z of the most commonly used illicit recreational drug (cannabis)

Cannabis has become the most commonly used illicit recreational drug in the world today. This psychoactive substance, is called  "cannabis" in Latin, Hemp is the English name for the cannabis plant.
There are over 500 compounds that are found in the psychoactive drug of which tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive substance.

Common names:

Cannabis has over 1200 names or slang terms. Therefore, it is pertinent for you to know the common ones:
Pot, cannabis, marijuana, two long. 420, Airplane, fish (eja), amnesia, aunt Mary, baby, blaze, blunt, Christmas tree, blunt, bud, Ganja, flower, Hashish, Grass, Weed, Herb, happy cigarette, kush, loco weed, salad, pakalolo, skunk, stash, thirteen, salad, gas, good stuff, joint, AK47, calm, tranquil, and so on

Route of administration

Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, as an extract or within food.

Adverse/side effect

Cannabis has both physical and mental or psychological effects which can either be short term or longterm effect effect.

Short effects include:

Increase appetite, short memory loss, feeling of paranoia, dry mouth, disturbed perception, impaired motor skill, red eye and so on.

Longterm effects:

Addiction, mental issues (studies has shown relationship between cannabis and psychosis though cause and effect relationship is debated...

Marijuana use can become problematic over time and lead to dependence and addiction, at this stage the individual may want to stop.
Withdrawal symptoms occur when an individual suddenly stop using the substance after persistent and prolonged use.
The withdrawal symptoms include:
Excessive sweating, chill, decrease appetite, flu-like symptoms

Legal status

Some countries has legalised the medical use of cannabis.
Canada has legalized its medical use, recreational use will be legalized soon (likely 17th October, 2018).
United State: Each has different different laws and policies. However, the use of cannabis is legal for recreational use in 9 States.
Countries like North Korea, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Belgium, and Italy, flexible law on the use of cannabis which differs from country to country but as long as you are reasonable discreet about things (meaning just don’t, like, yell about it while waving a little plastic baggy around in public) you are good to go.

Highest producers (by country)

Afghanistan, Canada, India. China, Lebanon, Morocco, Colombia, Pakistan india, Paraguay , Spain.  Jamaica, United States, Thailand, and Turkey,

The countries with the highest use among adults as of 2018 are Zambia, the United States, Canada, and Nigeria (source:"UNODC Statistics Online" .
data.unodc.org . Retrieved 9 September 2018.).

If you are addicted in taking any substance or you need help to overcome stress, anxiety or mental issue. Feel free to contact us:
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Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day... Full details on suicide


Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.  It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.  This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social and cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss. People who take their own lives represent a heterogeneous group, with unique, complex and multifaceted causal influences preceding their final act. Such heterogeneity presents challenges for suicide prevention experts.  These challenges can be overcome by adopting a multilevel and cohesive approach to suicide prevention.

Preventing suicide is often possible and you are a key player in its prevention!  You can make a difference –  as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour. There are many things that you can do daily, and also on World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), to prevent suicidal behaviour. You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.

It takes work to prevent suicide. The positive benefits of this work are infinite and sustainable and can have a massive impact.  The work can affect not only those in distress but also their loved ones, those working in the area and also society as a whole. We must endeavour to develop evidence based suicide prevention activities that reach those who are struggling in every part of the world.

Joining together is critical to preventing suicide. Preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.

Suicide prevention requires integrative strategies that encompass work at the individual, systems and community level. Research suggests that suicide prevention efforts will be much more effective if they span multiple levels and incorporate multiple interventions. This requires the involvement of interventions that occur in communities and involve social and policy reforms, as well as interventions that are delivered directly to individuals. To reach the common goal in preventing suicidal behaviour we as the public, we as organisations, we as legislators and we as members of society must work collaboratively, in a coordinated fashion, using a multidisciplinary approach.

Everyone can make a contribution in preventing suicide. Suicidal behaviour is universal, knows no boundaries so it affects everyone. The millions of people affected each year by suicidal behaviour have exclusive insight and unique voices. Their experiences are  invaluable for informing suicide prevention measures and influencing the provision of supports for suicidal people and those around them. The involvement of people with lived experience of suicide in research, evaluation and intervention should be central to the work of every organisation addressing suicidal behaviour.

 We all have a role to play and together we can collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.Do not take your life because your life is much more important to everyone around you.

Written by:  Komolafe RN



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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dealing with addiction by Michelle J. New, PhD

Defining an addiction is tricky, and knowing how to handle one is even harder.
What Are Substance Abuse and Addiction?

The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal substance in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine.
You can abuse a drug (or alcohol ) without having an addiction. For example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn't mean that she has an addiction, but it does mean that she's abusing a drug — and that could lead to an addiction.
People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medications, cigarettes, even glue!
And some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.
Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who's addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
Physical Addiction
Being physically addicted means a person's body actually becomes dependent on a particular substance (even smoking is physically addictive). It also means building
tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than ever before to get the same effects.
Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes may experience withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.

Psychological Addiction
Psychological addiction happens when the cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by the desire to have a drug. They may lie or steal to get it.
A person crosses the line between abuse and addiction when he or she is no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high, but has come to depend on it. His or her whole life centers around the need for the drug. An addicted person — whether it's a physical or psychological addiction or both — no longer feels like there is a choice in taking a substance.

Signs of Addiction
The most obvious sign of an addiction is the need to have a particular drug or substance. However, many other signs can suggest a possible addiction, such as changes in mood or weight loss or gain. (These also are signs of other conditions too, though, such as
depression or eating disorders.)
Signs that you or someone you know may have a drug or alcohol addiction include:
Psychological signals:
use of drugs or alcohol as a way to forget problems or to relax
withdrawal or keeping secrets from family and friends
loss of interest in activities that used to be important
problems with schoolwork, such as slipping grades or absences
changes in friendships, such as hanging out only with friends who use drugs
spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs
stealing or selling belongings to be able to afford drugs
failed attempts to stop taking drugs or drinking
anxiety, anger, or depression
mood swings
Physical signals:
changes in sleeping habits
feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop
needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
changes in eating habits, including weight loss or gain

Getting Help
If you think that you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, recognizing the problem is the first step in getting help.
Many people think they can kick the problem on their own, but that rarely works. Find someone you trust to talk to. It may help to talk to a friend or someone your own age at first, but a supportive and understanding adult is your best option for getting help. If you can't talk to your parents, you might want to approach a school counselor, relative, doctor, favorite teacher, or religious leader.
Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not easy. Quitting drugs or drinking is probably going to be one of the hardest things you or your friend have ever done. It's not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program to do so.
Tips for Recovery
Once you start a treatment program, try these tips to make the road to recovery less bumpy:
Tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs. Your true friends will respect your decision. This might mean that you need to find a new group of friends who will be 100% supportive. Unless everyone decides to kick their drug habit at once, you probably won't be able to hang out with the friends you did drugs with.
Ask your friends or family to be available when you need them. You might need to call someone in the middle of the night just to talk. If you're going through a tough time, don't try to handle things on your own — accept the help your family and friends offer.
Accept invitations only to events that you know won't involve drugs or alcohol. Going to the movies is probably safe, but you may want to skip a Friday night party until you're feeling more secure. Plan activities that don't involve drugs. Go to the movies, try bowling, or take an art class with a friend.
Have a plan about what you'll do if you find yourself in a place with drugs or alcohol. The temptation will be there sometimes, but if you know how you're going to handle it, you'll be OK. Establish a plan with your parents, siblings, or other supportive friends and adults so that if you call home using a code, they'll know that your call is a signal you need a ride out of there.
Remind yourself that having an addiction doesn't make a person bad or weak. If you fall back into old patterns (backslide) a bit, talk to an adult as soon as possible. There's nothing to be ashamed about, but it's important to get help soon so that all of the hard work you put into your recovery is not lost.
If you're worried about a friend who has an addiction, you can use these tips to help him or her. For example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a friend backsliding, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help.
If your friend is going back to drugs or drinking and won't accept your help, don't be afraid to talk to a nonthreatening, understanding adult, like your parent or school counselor. It may seem like you're ratting your friend out, but it's the best support you can offer.
Above all, offer a friend who's battling an addiction lots of encouragement and praise. It may seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.
Staying Clean
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction doesn't end with a 6-week treatment program. It's a lifelong process. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay clean. There are support groups specifically for teens and younger people. You'll meet people who have gone through the same experiences you have, and you'll be able to participate in real-life discussions about drugs that you won't hear in your school's health class.
Many people find that helping others is also the best way to help themselves. Your understanding of how difficult the recovery process can be will help you to support others — both teens and adults — who are battling an addiction.
If you do have a relapse, recognizing the problem as soon as possible is critical. Get help right away so that you don't undo all the hard work you put into your initial recovery. And, if you do have a relapse, don't ever be afraid to ask for help!



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