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Obamacare Slated To Increase Your Premiums But Enhance Your Services

 As of November 2013, Obamacare is a mess. Unfortunately, it appears that the mess will only be getting worse as the months pass. Why? On Friday, November 8, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put into place new regulations that now make it necessary for insurers to cover mental/behavioral health concerns the same way they cover physical concerns.

The problem is that identifying a broken bone tends to be a lot easier than identifying a broken mind . . .

What Does This Mean For Me?

It’s pretty much an established fact that Obamacare is raising premiums for many Americans. Unfortunately, these new regulations will only cause health insurance premiums to go up even more. The reason is because they permit people with mental health issues (be it depression, addiction or whatnot) to take advantage of subsidies. And it just so happens that the cost of such subsidies wind up getting passed on to taxpayers like yourself.

Surely, everybody wants the mentally ill to get the health they need. However, these new regulations come with very few limits, meaning the chance for fraud is extraordinarily high. Consider for instance what would happen if food stamp requirements were lowered:

“Hunger is also a social problem, and the government provides food stamps to help.  But what would happen if the government removed limits, both in the amount of funds and duration of benefits, and allowed recipients to have all the food stamps they wanted for as long as they wanted them?  Would such a program be ripe for abuse?  That’s what the president is doing with mental health.” ~~ Forbes

So basically, unless you yourself are eligible for subsidies, your premiums are likely to go up even more. And it doesn’t help that the Obamacare website is so screwed up right now that you can’t even check if you are eligible or not!

Obamacare

Is There Any Good News At All?

The only good news is that these increased costs will for the most part come with enhanced services like the following:

    • Absolutely free preventative services like cholesterol checks, colonoscopies, mammograms, flu shots, etc.
  • The ability to keep kids under the age of 26 on your insurance policy.
  • No referrals required to see a gynecologist.
  • Free maternity care and birth control.

Like we said, though, this all comes at increased prices. For instance, research conducted by Aon Hewitt determined that the average employee will spend a tad under $5,000 on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses next year. That unfortunately amounts to a 9.5% increase from last year. These stats refer to just one corporation, but they are a microcosm of what’s occurring with companies throughout the nation.

However, if you suffer from pre-existing conditions, then you will likely actually end up paying less. This is because Obamacare goes out of its way to protect people with such conditions from being charged higher premiums. Unfortunately, though, these benefits get offset onto health taxpayers.

Will Things Get Better In Time?

The thing to keep in mind is that Obamacare was built for long-term sustainability. As an example, it implements a slew of efficiency-based regulations that streamline overly burdensome, complex and pricey procedures so that they’re more effective and cost-effective.

Obamacare also limits “how much money insurers can siphon off for premiums and overhead.” Some insurance providers like the very ethical Kanetix don’t engage in such shady behavior, but sadly many do. And it just so happens that Obamacare protects you from such practices.

The bottom line is that your premiums are likely to go up and down in a roller coaster for a few years. Right now, though, they’re most likely to just go up. How long will it take for the premiums to go down? Will they ever go down? And will you end up better off? For these questions, all we can unfortunately do right now is simply wait.

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Finding Resources On Drug Addiction

A few select men and women around us manage to abuse hard drugs without ever falling into the abyss of addiction. However, the facts speak for themselves — most people inevitably wind up trapped in addiction, a disease that causes a wide range of problems at home, at school and at work. It wrecks people’s lives, leaving them feeling isolated and helpless. The good news is that by searching for resources on drug addiction, you have already taken the first step toward recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Young and old people alike experiment with drugs for a myriad of reasons. Some try them out of mere curiosity, while others jump onboard to relieve stress or hide depression. Regardless, simple use doesn’t necessarily lead to addiction, and the truth is that some people manage to use without interrupting their normal lives.

Therein lies the test, though. Addiction isn’t so much about how often you use or what you use, but rather about the consequences of your drug use. If your habit is wreaking havoc in your life in some way, shape or form, then you suffer from drug addiction, period.

Finding Resources On Drug Addiction

There are several places you can go to get help for drug addiction.

First check out the list of resources here.

General Practitioner

The first place to start is with your general practitioner, i.e., your doctor. Your doctor can assess your problem and help you pick the best treatment option. Some doctors might also offer to treat you, depending on the level of your addiction. However, more often than not, your doctor will refer you to a local drug specialist.

Drug Specialist

If you wind up with a drug specialist, also known as a keyworker, you will be able to take advantage of a personalized drug addiction treatment plan. Your keyworker will become your liaison, and you will see him or her in regular one-on-one sessions once per week until you beat your addiction.

Addiction

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is a more comprehensive (and also expensive solution) for serious drug addicts. It involves attending multiple outpatient individual and group therapy sessions per week. It is one step away from inpatient rehab, a more intense form of treatment where you lose your autonomy. With outpatient rehab, you still manage your own life.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is the ultimate in drug addiction treatment. It involves setting up shop in a residential community for several weeks to several months. Throughout the whole endeavor, you will receive personalized (as well as group) therapy. You will also be taught how to function daily without drugs.

Warming Up To Treatment

Many people are skeptical about waltzing up to somebody (be it even a doctor) and revealing their problems. If you feel like this, it’s completely okay. You might want to start by warming up to the idea of treatment.

How? Read! There are countless free information sources on the Internet that are brimming with addiction information. They can help you better understand your condition and take the first steps toward recovery.

Do realize though that eventually, you will need to seek professional help of some kind. Beating addiction by oneself is extraordinarily difficult. You need a support structure that includes not only supportive friends and family, but supportive professionals as well.

Seeking Help Sooner Than Later

It is also important to note that you ought to seek help sooner than later. Addiction not only threatens your mental health, but it also threatens your physical health as well. Millions of people die every year from overdosing on drugs that they never thought to be harmful.

Drug addiction is no joke. It ensnares millions of people in its grip every year. The best way to beat addiction is to never get addicted in the first place. However, mistakes happen in life. Just make certain you take advantage of all the resources available to you to beat your addiction before it winds up completely ruining your whole life.

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The Decentralization Of Healthcare In The Age of the Internet: How People Are Taking Control Of Their Health

For years, there has been a push for healthcare recipients to take charge of their care and to act more like consumers. Today, that has never been truer, and many consumers are educating themselves using the wealth of information available on the internet. They are going online to

  • Choose which doctors to see
  • Find what conditions may be causing their symptoms
  • Cope with long term conditions
  • Search for which prescription drugs do what
  • Understand what different lab tests mean

With health care prices exploding, it pays to do a little research before seeking professional help. According to surveys, visits to the pharmacy or doctor’s office are commonly supplemented with online research. In some cases, the doctor may even reference an online search. 68 percent of patients do go online to research their symptoms because they want to be able to intelligently discuss their health care situation with their doctor. This allows them to get the most out of their visit.

Prior to taking medications, 62 percent of consumers study the possible side effects by doing an internet search. Another 61 percent do this because it helps them figure out if there are any alternative treatments to what their doctor prescribed.

Readily Available Information Is Improving Patient Attitudes

59 percent of the people surveyed said that being able to do a quick internet search for health care information has really empowered them in making healthcare decisions. Many respondents to the survey mentioned a change in their basic attitudes toward healthcare. They felt like they had access to second and third opinions at their fingertips.

53 percent of the participants in the survey also mentioned going online for preventative care tips. To improve their family’s overall wellness and health, users are turning to the web for positive lifestyle adjustments.

Peer-to-Peer Healthcare

The growing e-patient movement is helping people take control of their healthcare while simultaneously keeping their costs down. There are now apps available for smartphones that allow sufferers of a particular condition to connect wherever they are to an online community. In these communities, users can share the type of treatment they are receiving, how the treatment is work, and how they are feeling.

Research shows that those who connect with other patients make fewer visits to the doctor, demand better treatment when they do go, and they tend to need fewer tests. This may be because doctors are motivated to make more money and may order unnecessary tests or try to get the patient into the office for unneeded checkups. By taking control of their health, consumers are reducing these unneeded expenses.

Healthcare Online

No One Cares about Your Health as much as You Do

Doctors and pharmacists are incredibly busy. It is easy for them to accidently skip over important information that could help them to diagnose your condition or prescribe a suitable treatment. Today’s healthcare tools allow patients to go online to find out what their doctors may have missed or to prepare for a visit knowing what they need to mention as far as symptoms go.

A lot of times, when lab tests are done, the patient simply gets a read out with long confusing names for the tests that were performed and numbers lacking any frame of reference. The doctor may call to explain the results, but this is usually incomplete and may be inaccurate. Websites like www.medsipo.com are providing ways for motivated individuals to learn more about their diagnostic tests and to also monitor their test results.

The internet age is an exciting time in health care. Patients around the world are being empowered to take responsibility for their health and treatment. The sharing of information will ensure consumers are getting the appropriate treatments and avoiding spending extra on superfluous tests and doctor visits. And, as the technologies continue to develop, the tools available are keeping pace.

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The Importance of Micronutrients: What Most People Miss

The importance of micronutrients cannot be overstated. They serve a fundamental role toward your health, development, growth and overall wellness. 

The good news is that micronutrients show up in a variety of foods items that you no doubt eat. The bad news is that you like most people probably aren’t getting enough micronutrients in your diet.

Why Are Micronutrients Important?

First up, what exactly are micronutrients? They are the opposite of macronutrients like carbohydrates, fat and protein. Whereas you need huge chunks of the aforementioned, you need teeny quantities of micronutrients like those listed below to sustain yourself:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Boron
  • Sodium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Etc.

Also known as minerals and vitamins, micronutrients are absolutely vital to the proper functioning of your body. As an example, sodium maintains proper fluid levels in your body, while magnesium ensures that your heart keeps up its normal rhythm.

Not consuming enough micronutrients can lead to ‘hidden hunger,’ a state where your body starts to disintegrate in a way that’s not obvious to the eyes. If children do not consume enough vitamin A, for instance, they grow much more susceptible to devastating conditions like malaria and measles.

Prolonged micronutrient deficiency can lead to even worse conditions like mental retardation, blindness and even death. The simple point is that micronutrients are something that you need to survive, because if you don’t get enough in your system, you will inevitably face the consequences.

Micronutrients

How Can Micronutrient Deficiency Be Avoided?

The easiest way to avoid micronutrient deficiency entails simply eating balanced meals full of the major components — meat, veggies, fruits, dairy, nuts, grains, etc. Here’s the problem though: Not all of us have the time and money to maintain the perfect diet. Plus, some of us are on special niche diets designed to tighten our waist belts.

The point is that it’s very difficult to obtain all the micronutrients needed by just eating food alone. This is why it’s fundamental that you fortify your diet with micronutrient supplements. The first thought when people hear ‘supplements’ is of course the multivitamin.  This can be both in pill form or in a liquid supplement. In fact, some studies show the a liquid supplement is more easily absorbed.

Why Liquid Supplements Over Others?

There is a much better solution available to you. Liquid supplements are the exact same thing as conventional multivitamin / micronutrient pills, except that they get delivered to your body directly in liquid form. It’s the difference between swallowing a huge pill and drinking a tablespoon or two of a juicy flavored liquid.

Truth be told, micronutrients delivered in liquid form get absorbed into your bloodstream much more quickly. Why? Regular pill-based supplements require that your body first digest the capsule or pill before it’s able to access the minerals and vitamins lying within. With these supplements, you get the micronutrients themselves without any extra fillers and binders.

Here are some additional benefits of liquid supplements:

  1. They make the consumption of supplements much easier for children.
  2. They can be mixed with drinks (orange juice, apple cider, etc.) for enhanced taste.
  3. They contain a greater concentration of fundamental micronutrients.
  4. They result in less digestive waste.

Overall, these kinds of supplements offer better absorption coupled with a better consumption experience. They are especially effective for those into fitness. Typically, fitness enthusiasts take a multivitamin pill 30 minutes before they begin their routine. Even then, it takes a minimum of an hour (if not two) for your body to get through the pill and begin absorbing the vitamins. With liquid supplements, this time is drastically reduced.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, micronutrients are really, really important for your health! Unfortunately, you likely aren’t getting enough of them in your life. The question then isn’t whether or not you need to supplement your diet, but whether you want to do so with traditional pill-form supplements or with liquid supplements. We definitely recommend the latter, but ultimately, the decision rests with you and you alone.

 

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Common Sleep Disorders in Young Children and Treatments

Sleep disorders are more common than we think, even in youth. It’s estimated that up to 30% of children develop a sleeping disorder at some point during their childhood that might pass or become a permanent disorder. That’s a pretty high figure when you consider the fact that most parents aren’t aware of what a sleep disorder is or how to manage one. Sleep apnea is one of the only disorders that people can commonly point out in conversation but there are many more that impact children, such as…

  • Night terrors – Suddenly intense nightmares (but not like ordinary nightmares) that can result in unconscious thrashing and yelling. Occurs in non-REM sleep.
  • Bed wetting – Believe it or not, wetting the bed is a type of sleep disorder.
  • Sleep apnea – Although more common in adults, children can suffer from obstructed airways during sleep too.
  • Delayed sleep-phase syndrome – If a child has troubles sleeping or can only fall asleep past late hours like 1AM, it might be a sleep disorder in which their circadian rhythm is a bit different than normal.
  • Sleep walking – It is considered a sleeping disorder if you sit up, walk around, or speak while sleeping.
  • Narcolepsy – Hallucinations and sudden incredible urges to sleep.
  • Insomnia – Inability to fall asleep.

The Impacts of a Sleep Disorder on Youth

When an adult has a sleep disorder, it can be extremely nerve-wracking and detrimental to their life. As an individual who has fully grown, you can grow irritable, develop health issues, and become quite a bit groggy in your day to day life if you’re missing out on sleep or if the sleep you do manage to get is riddled with conditions that reduce its quality. If a sleep disorder can be devastating to a developed adult, what impact could it have on a child that still has a ton of growing ahead of them?

Children are obviously going to be influenced a bit more than adults mainly because a child has to deal with various other problems like growth spurts and hormones. While there are some conditions that require oral assistance tools or could simply use the help, most sleep disorders that plague children are things that are grown out of or require some basic type of scheduling by the parents. There are a few disorders that might require medication in case the standard methods of treatment are ineffective.

For example, initial treatment for narcolepsy in children is often to ensure they have enough sleep during the night and to potentially have scheduled naps throughout their day. Sometimes, this is enough to mostly handle the issues that come with narcolepsy at first but it happens rather often that, well, it isn’t quite enough. In those instances, the child will then have to take medication along with their normal therapy in order to effectively combat the symptoms of the disorder. Like most health conditions, the earlier you manage to begin treating a problem the better the future prognosis. In the case of narcolepsy, there is no current cure.

Sleeping Disorder

Treatments for Common Sleep Disorders

You have just learned about the general treatment plan for narcolepsy. With that said, the general treatment plans for the other disorders that were listed above can differ quite a bit which illustrates why it’s important for parents to keep an eye on their children and organize appointments with a sleep specialist the second they suspect there’s a problem.

With night terrors, you need to make sure that the child is safe and secure. In other words, the priority should not be waking up the child or attempting to directly comfort them during a spell but instead focus on ensuring that they’re incapable of hurting themselves. The treatment plan for sleep walking is exactly the same in the sense that you shouldn’t wake up the child and instead make sure they cannot hurt themselves. This can be done by having their bedroom on the ground floor and making sure they can’t find a way into a dangerous situation like having access to blades.

The approach to anxiety-driven insomnia and bed wetting is different. Rather than stepping back and simply creating a safe environment for the child, you need to address the potential psychological causes of either disorder. A lot of the time, either disorder can be caused by a traumatic experience in a child’s life or therapy is usually recommended in order to get down to the gritty details and resolve the problems that have developed.

Ultimately, the tried and true method of knowing how to treat a sleep disorder, no matter how common or rare it may be, is to consult directly with a sleep specialist. People are pretty diverse creatures and the subject of sleep is one of the concepts we widely differ on, with most disorders having the additional clause that the treatment for one may vary greatly from the treatment for another.

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Sugar, Junk Food, and Cavities: How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy and Clean.

Teeth are small calcified structures planted in gums and they do require care to remain free of infections. Tooth problems are growing, as people fail to take enough measures to sustain healthy teeth.
Everyone must be aware of the fact that, there exist many problems associated with teeth, apart from the most common issue-Dental Cavities. So, in order to acknowledge the methods to keep your oral cavity disease-free, you should be acquainted with the various dental problems that you could be susceptible to.

 Common Dental Problems.

· Bad Breath. This is called Halitosis in medical terms and the unpleasant odour of the exhaled breath can be downright embarrassing. 90% of the people diagnosed with Halitosis were found to have bacteria in the gumline or at the back of the tongue, which accounts for the production of malodorous compounds and fatty acids, causing the mouth to stink.
· Periodontal Disease. Colloquially known as gum disease, is the infection of the gums in which teeth are embedded. In adults, this can lead to tooth loss, whereas, among teenagers, a milder form of the disease, called Gingivitis prevails which can cause acute pain.
· Oral Cancer. Any cancerous tissue growth in the oral cavity is oral cancer. Oral cancer had managed to kill around 124,000 people globally. DNA mutation; tobacco and alcohol intake are the main causes of the onset.
· Tooth Erosion. Dental Erosion is most commonly experienced by children in the age group of 5-7. The most common cause of this destruction is the high intake of acidic foods and drinks. The tooth structure is irreversibly damaged due to chemical dissolution by acids.
Other possible sources of corrosive acids may be the over exposure to chlorinated water.
· Tooth Sensitivity. This includes dentine hypersensitivity to any changes in the environment. The typical triggers for this condition are exposure of the teeth to hot and cold drinks and physical pressure. Exposed teeth roots allow fluids to enter the nerve endings, thereby causing sudden pangs of pain.
· Tooth Cavities. Also called dental caries, is another work of harmful bacteria. Teeth are stripped of minerals and the hard tissues of the teeth are destroyed. The action of increased bacterial fermentation of acids from food, results in the weakening and breakdown of the tooth structure, thereby causing holes to appear.

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How To Safeguard Your Child’s Teeth.

Once you’re familiar with all the risks that your child’s teeth can be vulnerable to, you should also be educated with the adoptable measures that will help supress dental diseases.

1. Brush Twice A Day. Encourage your child to brush his/her teeth twice a day, preferably in the morning and before going to bed. Fluoride-containing toothpastes are highly beneficial, as, apart from preventing dental caries, they also enhance the formation of dental enamel.
2. Tongue-Cleaning. Use a tongue cleaner to gently scrub the tongue (Even the back of it). This removes bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. Bad breath can be avoided by doing this.
3. Flossing. Although dental flossing is an effective cleaning method, using thin filaments to remove food that’s stuck between teeth might not be a very advisable thing to do for young children. Interdental brushes can be used as an alternative tool to clean between teeth and also between the wire of dental braces and teeth.
4. Change Toothbrushes. Worn out toothbrushes show decreased cleaning efficiency, therefore it is recommended to change toothbrushes after 6-16 weeks.
5. Proper Brushing. Brushing too hard leads to excess abrasion and strips the enamel of essential substances. Toothbrushes with bristles that are too hard, remove plaque more efficiently than those with soft bristles, but are stressful to teeth and gums. Using medium to soft bristles for a longer cleaning time is more beneficial to oral health.
6. Diet Control. Foods and drinks that are too high on sugar content or too acidic should be avoided. Junk food increases susceptibility to teeth problems. Children should be provided with a perfectly balanced diet that shields them not only from dental caries, but also from other health problems. The FDI World Dental Federation has promoted foods like raw vegetables, plain yogurt and cheese as dentally beneficial and this has been echoed by the American Dental Association.

7. Visit A Dentist. Regular visits to a dentist help keep teeth clean. Also, any kind of disease can be detected and treated in the early stages, before it gets worse.

This oral healthcare content was provided by Art De Dante Cosmetic Dentist Melbourne, a very well known Melbourne dentist.  We thank them for this excellent contribution.

As people get well-informed with the causes of most common oral problems that children, as well as the rest of the population is vulnerable to, it becomes easier to find and practice hygienic habits to curb all dental issues. Maintaining good oral hygiene helps in the regeneration and healing of oral tissues, so it is extremely recommended that you start off right away before ending up in permanent dental damage.

References: http://dentistry.about.com/od/toothmouthconditions/tp/10-Common-Dental-Problems.htm
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-decay-prevention
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002061.htm

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The Many Career Paths of a Nurse

Demand for nurses is on the rise, and those who’ve always been interested in this field can get excited about the many career paths available to them. 

While some simply dream of wearing scrubs alongside a doctor, helping said doctor in any way possible, others have a particular specialty in mind. Read on to discover just a few of the exciting career paths open to nurses.

Home Health

You may think of nurses working only in hospital or private practice settings, but home health nurses travel to the homes of patients. You may assist people recovering from surgery who need some help, you may assist with hospice patients who have a limited amount of time left, or you may work with patients afflicted with chronic and/or degenerative conditions who will need help from a nurse for the rest of their lives. Home health nurses often wear similar uniforms to other nurses such as cheap scrub tops and scrub bottoms, comfortable shoes and may require solid colors or restrictions on dress based on company policy.

Nurse Midwife

Midwives are becoming more popular in recent years, and so the demand for nursing midwives is on the rise as well. In this position you’d work with primarily low-risk pregnancies. Your job doesn’t just involve helping to deliver the baby – you’ll also work with mothers-to-be before and after the childbirth experience. The standard uniform of a nurse midwife may include scrubs, doctors jackets or regular clothing as you may have your own private practice.

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Nurse Anesthetist

This position requires interviewing, evaluating and assessing patients before surgery. These nurses also work closely with the anesthetist to prepare and administer the anesthesia to ensure the patient experiences a pain-free operation. Other duties include monitoring the patient’s vital signs during surgical procedures and continual monitoring after the surgery.

Critical Care Nurse

Essentially, a nurse in this role provides care for critically ill patients. They can help families deal with the crisis, can monitor the patient’s environment, evaluate needs for resources, and recommend referrals. Those who excel in this position are nurses who are able to quickly assess and recognize small changes in a patient’s condition. There are also several sub-specialties within this specialty, including adult, pediatric, and neonate.

Flight Nurse

When a patient has critical needs that can’t be properly handled at the hospital or location they’re at, then they may need to be flown to the closest trauma center who can meet those needs. A flight nurse rides along with the patient in the plane or helicopter, and gives continuous patient care. Once the patient has landed, the nurse may then be responsible for briefing medical providers on the patient’s status and what drugs have administered. Uniforms for flight nurses may be similar to others with scrubs being the primary uniform. Other options may be specific to their requirements for proper flight gear.

Forensic Nurses

Not all nursing positions require workers to wear scrubs and stand alongside other medical professionals. A forensic nurse may work closely with law enforcement and investigators, and may be in charge of interviewing victims and witnesses, and providing counseling services for victims and family members.

Health Care Educator

There are many roles that can fall under the umbrella of health care education. It may mean an experienced nurse who trains other nurses, or it may mean a nurse who handles out-patient health care education. They may go to schools or under-served areas to ensure students and residents know about the health care options available to them. They may work directly with families to help them navigate the available resources, and they may present brochures or videos that inform the public about disease prevention, self-care, healthy living, disease management, and health promotion.

As you can see, there are a multitude of jobs available to trained and experienced nurses. You’re probably already ready for the new career all you need is the education! Which path will take you toward your perfect career in the health field?

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Are The Benefits Of Organic Food Worth The Increased Cost?

“Organic Food” is the result of production methods that strictly forbid or limit modern synthetic inputs. The growth of this kind of food in a chemical-free environment has made a large scale of people believe that it outweighs conventional food in terms of health. Also, people concerned with the humane treatment of animals and environment safeguarding buoy up the sales of organic food.

Why Is Organic Food Costlier Than Conventional Food?

Conventional farmers are supported by Subsidies. The use of genetically engineered seeds and other chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, etc. is encouraged in the cultivation of conventional food. So, these farmers receive benefits with heaps of marketing support and crop insurance, owing to which the gross price of the produce is kept within affordable limits.
Whereas, Organic farmers solely put in natural commodities for the cultivation of their crops, thus creating an elevation in the price of organic products.
Organic products typically cost 10-40% more than their conventional counterparts, thereby failing to attract low-income families..

Organic Food

How Organic Food Differs From Conventional Food.

As there is a large variation in the cultivation methods of organic and conventional food, there also exist differences in the quality and quantity of the two.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established specific requirements that need to be verified by a licensed third party certifying agent before ANY PRODUCT CAN BE LABELLED “ORGANIC”.

The aspects in which organic foods differ from conventional foods are:

· Nutritional value. A 2008 survey of the scientific literature, had concluded, based on their analysis that the nutritional content, although minute in some cases, is higher in organic products than in conventional. Phosphorous and total phenols, along with omega 3 fatty acids and vaccenic acid content in organic raw milk and chicken had outrun that of its conventional analogue. Also, organic food had emerged the winner when the ascorbic acid, protein and micronutrient concentration of the two were compared.

· Anti-nutrient. USDA has noted that organic food had contained significantly lesser amount of heavy metals like cadmium than conventionally grown food. Also, the nitrogen content in plants, mainly tubers and leafy veggies was comparatively higher in conventional food.

· Pesticide residues. The 2012 meta-analysis had stated that organic food contained 80% lesser detectable pesticide residues than conventional produce. Though washing might be an effective practice to get rid of pesticide residue, it doesn’t always work in all cases, leaving people susceptible to pesticide intake.

· Anti-biotics and Growth hormones. Conventionally grown food usually are exposed antibiotics and artificial growth hormones like rBGH; whereas organic farmers only use techniques like rotational grazing, mulch, etc. to catalyze growth.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Organic Food?

Organic Foods

Organic food not only encourages friendly animal treatment and isn’t harsh on the environment, but also has amplified ups in the field of human healthcare. This is how organic food helps in boosting up your health.
· Higher Antioxidants. Antioxidants are important components that are found in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables. They are known to impart multiple health benefits, including the prevention of cancer. A 2012 study of the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” had reported that compared to conventional food, organic food had shown higher concentrations of antioxidants including Vitamin C.
· Pesticide Reduction. A lot of developmental problems like autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are precipitated by the use of pesticides in conventional food containing a highly potent chemical ingredient called “ORGANOPHOSPHOROUS.

“HIGHLY POTENT” in two ways-
-Causing health problems.
-Killing pests.

So, although these sophisticated manufactured products satisfy the purpose of pest-erasure, they also trigger health issues.
Whereas, organic food is only treated with natural pesticides that are free of these toxins. This, again, is a plus point for choosing organic to conventional.

· Heart Health. Grazing time is directly proportionate to the amount of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) that can be found in animal products. As the organic versions enjoy the provision of increased grazing time, they also possess more amount of CLA when compared to conventional products. Now, CLA is one beneficial component that you will find in the milk and meat of organic animals. It is heart-healthy fatty acid and can boost cardio-vascular protection.

· Antibiotic Resistance. Non-Organic food sources inject livestock with antibiotics, the residues of which remain in the products we use. They just don’t go through our entire system without affecting the natural body balance. The antibiotics found in conventional food have been found to cause changes in the immune systems of sapiens, thus causing diminishing defence mechanisms. On the other hand, organic food growers do not adopt such methods, thereby saving man from this kind of disruption.

As it is clearly evident that in terms of good health, organic products out beat conventional products, it would be a terrific idea for the world to switch to organic brands and online stores, such as Purtrition, which  is a collection of reasonably-priced, high-quality Organic Products.

Why Are Organic Products Worth The Increased Price?

Are organic products worth the increased rates?

Taking all the health benefits of organic food into consideration, the answer to that would be an undoubted yes; although the fact still exists that organic products should be made more affordable owing to their low-health risks and other health advantages.

So despite the fact that conventional foods succeed in attracting customers, people should also be made aware that they might just be required to spend double the amount on meeting hospital charges to battle it out with the side-effects. So why create that entire circle of vanity, instead of just fixing the problem at the root?

So, weighing all facts, I’d say that yes, organic products are worth the increased price as they lead to increased health and a lower environmental footprint.  

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Nurses Volunteer for Disaster Relief in Philippines

On November 10th, disaster struck the Philippines in the form of Typhoon Haiyan. Also called Typhoon Yolanda, the catastrophic tropical storm impacted a significant portion of Southeast Asia, with storm-related fatalities reported from Vietnam to Taiwan. 

In what has proven to be the deadliest typhoon in the Philippine history, the region’s most severe damage was experienced in the country’s Leyte and Samar islands. Thousands people have been reported killed by the storm, tens of thousands missing or injured, and millions more displaced.

Tragedy in Tacloban

In the area surrounding the Leyte Province’s capital, Tacloban City, the need for aid is critical. Tacloban was almost entirely decimated by Haiyan’s tsunami waves and dangerously high winds, leaving its population of over 200,000 desperately trying to find ways to survive.

In response, National Nurses United called for registered nurses to volunteer to pack their nursing scrubs and deploy to the Philippines. In support of their Registered Nurse Response Network, the organization reports that over 3,000 nurses have signed up to provide medical relief for Typhoon victims, with 500 of those volunteers applying within the first 24 hours.

For those in affected areas such as Tacloban that are without even the most basic needs, this help cannot come soon enough. Currently, the number of people requiring relief services dramatically exceeds the rates at which aid is being giving.

The Need for Nurses

The number of volunteer applications from nurses is encouraging as they can make an immediate difference in improving the quality of live amid the devastation. Finding clean drinking water is an essential challenge facing survivors. The current shortage creates a high risk of disease outbreaks and infected injuries. Having nurses available to monitor illnesses, treat wounds, and administer vaccinations will be vital, particularly in the coming month.

Another issue stemming from the lack of suitable drinking water is diarrhea-related diseases. Easily treatable, this illness caused by both contaminated water and dehydration can have acute consequences if left unchecked. Nurses can help treat those already suffering from cases of diarrhea, as well as dispense water-purifying tablets that stem further complications.

With the people of the Philippines needing all the strength they can muster for the rebuilding effort in the coming months, these services are indispensable. Even for those survivors lucky enough to avoid physical ailments, a nurse’s friendly face can offer a much needed morale boost as they attempt to cope with the tragedy.

typhoon haiyan

Registered Heroes

Already clad in nursing scrubs while boarding planes, many volunteer nurses look to get to work as soon as they arrive. National Nurses United has received volunteers from every state, with some of the quickest responders being American nurses with familial ties to the Philippines. Those looking to return to their country of origin are anxious to contact friends and family still there, as well as give back to their people at time when they most need support. Those who are also able to speak Tagalog will provide an immeasurable service in facilitating the distribution of aid. It is important these nurses have access to quality yet cheap scrubs for their endeavors abroad.

The effort necessary from nurses will be substantial, as the dangers facing public health are abundant amongst the wreckage. The Registered Nurse Response Network is now performing the unenviable task of attempting to assess the needs in different areas as they go. The majority of volunteers are still awaiting assignment as officials already in the Philippines attempt to determine where their service will be most beneficial.

Those nurses still awaiting notice on when they will leave deserve immense recognition by their peers as well as everyone else. By simply offering their time and effort, they prove the title of registered nurse is one of the noblest of professional designations. The Philippine situation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan is dire, yet with 3,000 heroes already pledging to leave at a moment’s notice to aid in medical support, perhaps hope may soon begin to peek through the rubble.

 

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Childhood Onset of Schizophrenia: A Mental Healthcare Challenge

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder. This brain disorder is chronic and disabling and is often quite severe. Although schizophrenia frequently begins during adulthood, it can be found in children as well. Symptoms are generally the same regardless of age.

Diagnosis of Childhood Schizophrenia

There are a few common steps towards diagnosing schizophrenia. Initially, if a doctor suspects that the child might be suffering from schizophrenia, he or she will generally start by performing various psychological tests, evaluations, and/or exams. Such exams and tests can help to make an accurate diagnosis and rule out additional problems that may be causing similar symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms that are associated with this illness include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speech
  • Inability to complete tasks

Hallucinations frequently involve hearing negative or threatening voices. A delusional child may believe that he or she is being watched, plotted against or harassed. Another symptom, disorganized speech, is an inability to stay on topic and having trouble maintaining a conversation. Disorganized behavior, which may include bizarre behaviors or actions and trouble planning events or completing them, may also be present.

Schizophrenia

Many times, there will be a physical exam, laboratory tests, and a psychological evaluation. During the physical exam the doctor will check vital signs, listen to the child’s lungs and heart, and check the child’s blood pressure and temperature. There are a number of laboratory tests that may be done, such as a complete blood count (CBC), a screening for drugs or alcohol and thyroid function. The physician will likely perform a mental health evaluation and discuss any symptoms and when they were first noticed. The physician may also request school records for review and ask the child to complete psychological questionnaires.

The diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia is generally prolonged. One main reason is because some of the symptoms that are associated with schizophrenia are present in other mental disorders as well, especially depression, bipolar disorder and even substance abuse. Some developmental disorders, such as Asperger’s disorder, also need to be ruled out, as they share symptoms consistent with schizophrenia, including disorganized behavior, social difficulties and language impairments.

One helpful resource for families who need more information is mentalhealth.gov.

Prevention of Childhood Schizophrenia

There are no ways to prevent childhood schizophrenia to date. However, certain signs and symptoms of the disease can show up as early as infancy. In these cases, early identification and treatment may help to better control symptoms and keep serious complications from arising. Getting treatment as soon as possible is essential for the best long-term outlook.

One benefit of early treatment in children is that it can help to keep potentially frightening psychotic episodes to a minimum. Not only should treatment be started as soon as possible, but it needs to be continued throughout the child’s life. Some of the signs and symptoms of the illness include early delays in motor development and language delays and issues at school. Such signs and symptoms generally warrant further evaluation.

Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia

Treatment for this illness encompasses educational, biological and social interventions. Many times, a skilled psychiatrist will oversee the treatment. However, a treatment team is generally assembled since schizophrenia affects so many aspects of a child’s life. The treatment team will work together to ensure that all areas of the child’s life are appropriately covered and monitored. Team members tend to consist of a pediatrician, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, case worker, pharmacist, social worker, psychiatric nurse, social worker and family members.

The primary form of treatment for children is antipsychotic medication. Many of the medications are used to treat children and adults alike. Parents should be aware of the potential risks and serious side effects that are associated with these medications. Other forms of treatment include individual and family psychotherapy and training in social skills and academic skills. In some instances, hospitalization may be required.

Families who need additional schizophrenia resources can look to websites such as Schiz Life, which emphasizes living a full life with the illness. Another resource is the National Institute of Mental Health, a website with detailed information about the illness.

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How to Prevent and Treat Children’s Fungal Infections

Lately, we’ve been focused on practical content to help parents out.  We will still continue posting health policy related information, but we also want to cover practical issues to help our everyday parents.

Today we’re covering fungal infections.

A fungal infection occurs in children for many different reasons.  It can be something as simple as yeast building up in the body after taking an antibiotic.  Fungus is natural and the type of germ that lives on everyone.  It’s easy to treat because it rarely spreads below the skin but there are ways to prevent fungal infections from spreading.

Fungal Nail Infection

A typical nasty fungal nail infection.

Types of Fungal Infections

Knowing what types of signs and symptoms to look for in your child can help you treat fungal infections effectively.  Fungi, which signifies the presence of more than one fungus, can be found on different parts of the body including the hair, skin, nails, groin, and feet.

Let’s take a look at the different types of fungal infections that kids get:

  • Tinea.  A tough one to detect, tinea often starts out the size of a pea.  It’s red in appearance and as it grows, it becomes a circle or ring.  This type of fungal infection can be found in the hair, on the skin or nails.  Scalp ringworm is found on the head where body ringworm affects the skin in other areas of the body.
  • Athlete’s Foot.  A very common fungal infection, athlete’s foot occurs on the feet.  It typically appears between the toes but can also be found on the toenails as well as the bottom or sides of the feet.  A fungal nail infection can worsen if feet are not kept dry.  Moisture helps bacteria grow.
  • Candida.  Similar to a fungus, candida is yeast.  It’s the most common type of skin infection infants and toddlers that wear diapers get.  It can also occur in the mouths of babies.  It’s white in appearance.  Candida affects the skin around the nails as well as other soft, moist areas around body openings.  Older girls can get a yeast infection in and around the vagina.  It can be very uncomfortable to deal with and treat.
  • Jock Itch.  A fungal infection that is often joked about, jock itch isn’t funny.  It occurs in males and females and affects the groin and upper thighs.  It can be very uncomfortable and cause lots of itching to occur hence its name.  Sweat can aggravate symptoms.

There are a number of different things that can cause fungal infections to occur.  They are not necessarily caused by poor hygiene despite what some people may think.  A child may have a fungal infection because of other reasons.  Antibiotics often increase the amount of yeast that is in the body.  They alone can cause a yeast infection.

Causes of Different Fungal Infections

Fungal infections vary in severity from child to child.  Some of the most telltale signs of athlete’s foot include peeling, cracking or scaling of the feet, redness, blisters or softening of the skin, and itching, burning or both.  Some of the symptoms of jock itch include itching, chafing or burning in the groin or thigh area, a red, raised rash, flaking, peeling or cracking skin, and redness in the groin or thigh.

Yeast infections can occur in different areas of the body.    Some signs of a skin fold yeast infection includes rash, oozing patches, pimply bumps, itching, and burning.  Yeast infections in the nail beds include pain, pus, white or yellow nails that separate from the nail bed, and swelling.

Thrush signs include white patches inside the cheeks and on the tongue as well as pain.  A young woman will have a vaginal yeast infection if there is a white or yellow discharge present, redness in the external area of the vagina, burning or itching.  Fungal infections like these require immediate attention as they can worsen quickly.

Treatments for Fungal Infections

There are a number of different creams and lotions that are sold over-the-counter that treat fungal infections.  Stronger prescription treatments may be recommended after a visit to a doctor or physician.  Bathing regularly and changing clothing can help ease symptoms and prevent fungal infections from spreading.

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Hair Health: How Parents Can Take Care of Their Children’s Hair

Hair Care is Often Overlooked by Parents

Hair care is often an overlooked area of grooming.  As long as a child’s hair is clean and combed or brushed, there’s no cause for alarm.  That’s not necessarily the case.  Have you ever been through the rigorous and emotionally exhausting task of removing head lice from your child’s hair?  If you have, you know that hair care is every bit as important as skin and dental care.

Tips for Making Hair Care Easier

With so many products available to make hair care easier, good hygiene and grooming practices are easier than ever.  Here are some ways you can take better care of your children’s hair:

  • The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests skipping the hairbrush and opting for a wide-toothed comb instead.  This is especially the case after the child has bathed or showered.  It’s easier to get snarls out while they’re small rather than to let the hair get matted any worse.  Don’t use a brush on wet hair because it can cause breakage.
  • eHow recommends making children part of the routine by allowing them to choose their own mild strength shampoo.  Small kids won’t be as resistant if they know they get to use a product that they picked out.  There are a lot of different fun fragrances to choose from.  Make sure that the shampoo that is selected is tear-free.
  • Include Biotin supplements, a water-soluble B vitamin, in their diet.  Biotin helps produce fatty acids in the body which is necessary for cell growth.  It also controls the metabolism of fats and amino acids.  A Biotin supplement helps with hair growth.
  • Yahoo Voices contributor Sincerity Anna notes that checking a child’s scalp often can alert to bigger problems like moles, dandruff, ringworms, lice, and fleas.  A look at your kid’s head can prevent serious issues from occurring.  If you can catch them quick enough, you can treat them before they worsen.
  • Prevent breakage by using snag-free hair elastics in your daughter’s hair.  If you decide to braid or fix your child’s hair into ponytails, make sure to protect her strands by using ponytail holders that won’t rip out her hair.  These items are readily available in stores these days and typically read snag-free on the package.
  • If your child has a build-up of hair products on their hair and scalp, gently remove them by making a baking soda rinse.  The inexpensive kitchen products can be diluted by water to form a paste and applied to the hair and scalp.  Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.  Make sure that the water runs clear or the baking soda will remain.
Head Lice

Protect Your Children From Head Lice

As you can see from the tips listed above, there are a number of different ways you can care for your children’s hair.  By developing a hair care routine much like the skincare and dental routines you already have implemented in your home for your children, you eliminate many of the problems that dirty hair causes.  There will be less instances of dandruff and head lice as well which means less stress for you and your kids.

Good hair habits can last into adulthood.  If you teach your children from an early age on to take good care of their locks, they’ll be better equipped to deal with things like scalp infections, dandruff, and even head lice when they have children of their own.  Not everyone is blessed with a head full of healthy hair as they age, however.  Taking the precautionary steps listed above can make child’s play of hair care every day of the week.

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Children’s Therapy: Pros and Cons

Therapy can be very beneficial for children dealing with physical challenges and emotional issues.  This is certainly the case for kids who have been forced to deal with situations that cause distress like abuse, bullying or the death of a loved one. 

There are a number of different types of therapy that can help children.  There is animal-assisted therapy, art therapy, and music therapy.  There is also one-on-one therapy and group therapy.  Your child will be assessed and their needs will be met with the type of therapy that they respond best to.

When it comes to enlisting the help of a therapist, there are some things that you, as the parent, should consider.  Like any type of mental health service, children’s therapy comes with its own list of pros and cons.  Let’s take a look at each thoroughly.

Therapy

Pros of Therapy

Like many adults, some children benefit from therapy.  This is certainly the case for developmentally or behaviorally challenged children who respond to the extra care.  That’s why art and music therapy programs are part of special education curriculums around the country.

The pros of children’s therapy include:

  • Many children are better equipped to deal with life.  Because they are exposed to therapy at an early age, they know that choices exist to help them with their struggles.  They don’t have to go the long road alone.  They can reach out to someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in the field of mental health services and get the help that they need to thrive no matter what age they are.
  • Communication skills improve.  Children get used to speaking to adults.  They become better communicators because a therapist will prompt them to talk about their feelings and challenges.
  • A healthy outlet for expression is provided.  Art, music, and animal-assisted therapy encourage children to see a different side of themselves.  It gives them something to look forward to and something they can pursue outside of therapy.
  • Tough issues are talked about and dealt with.  Many adults have problems speaking about their own feelings.  That’s why they have trouble adjusting to new situations and dealing with difficult subjects.  Rather than cope the same way that their parents do, children learn how to communicate their feelings.  They know how to deal with stress in a positive way.

Cons of Therapy

With anything, there are risks involved.  The disadvantages of therapy are certainly less apparent than the advantages.  Most parents can see a real difference in their children after attending a few sessions with a psychiatrist or therapist.

The cons of children’s therapy include:

  • Cost.  Therapy can be very expensive for some people especially parents with children with developmental delays or no insurance.  Some therapists offer payment plans and other options to assist low-income families and their children.
  • Time consuming.  Driving a child back and forth to therapy can take its toll on some parents who have extremely full schedules to contend with.  It may be hard to find free time outside of work to take the child to a therapy session.
  • Some children do not respond well to therapy.  Some children do well with therapy.  Others do not.  If your child is extremely introverted or suffers from some form of social phobia or anxiety, they may not be the best candidate for therapy.  Placing them in a room with a stranger can make their symptoms heighten which is not good for you or the child.

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of children’s therapy as demonstrated in this article.  Each individual boy or girl will need to be evaluated to determine what type of therapy will work best for them and their unique circumstances.  It’s up to you as the child’s parent to weigh out the pros and cons in order to give your child the best mental health care options available to them.  The author personally has had a family member treated at  Baton Rouge Counseling, which lead to improved mental healthcare(therapy was aimed at helping the child’s low self esteem and lack of positive relationships with peers).

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The Importance of Proper Eye Care in Children

Vision is one of the most important senses. Imagine what your world would be like if you had impaired vision as an adult. Now, imagine what your world would be like if you had impaired vision as a child. Adults are able to care for themselves, which means the treatment of a vision problem is something that can easily be attended to. However, children rely on adults for their care. To a child who does not know any better, blurred or otherwise impaired vision may seem normal and thus, the child may never know to ask for help, or may not even know how to ask for help.

Why Eye Care for Children?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has concluded that all children, even those who do not have noticeable problems with their vision, should receive a vision screening prior to turning three- and five-years-old. This suggestion for vision screening is the same for children who reside in Australia, and all over the world. With proper examinations and screening, vision problems in children can be detected and properly treated. This means, of course, that children who do suffer from eye issues will have a better sense of vision.

Without proper eye examinations, problems with vision in children can go unnoticed. If left untreated, these vision problems can progress and can even get to such a dramatic point that the damage is too great to repair.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis in a patient

Types of Eye Problems in Children

There are a range of eye problems that children can experience. Two of the most common are far- and near sightedness. These eye conditions can make it difficult for a child to see either close up or at a distance and can greatly impair their ability to properly see. However, there are several other problems that children can experience with their eyes, including:

  • Lazy eye
  • Ptosis, or drooping eyelid
  • Growths in the eye
  • Optic nerve damage
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Blepharitis, a type of irritation in the eyes

There are also several other conditions that can affect children’s eyes. While you may notice some of these issues by simply looking at a child (crossed eyes, for example), many of them you would have no idea existed, unless you took your child for a proper vision screening.

Treatment of Eye Problems in Children

Once an issue with a child’s vision or eyes is identified, treatment can begin. The type of treatment a child will receive depends on the type of condition he or she has. For example, corrective lenses may need to be used by children who are diagnosed with blurred vision. Children who have red eye or other types of eye irritations may need to use specialized eye drops, including medical eye drops to treat the condition. Still others may require more extreme treatment, such as surgery, to correct the condition of their eyes.   You can get such eye drops from brands such as Murine Eye Drops which specialize in eye care solutions for various types of eye ailments.

If you have a child, part of your responsibility as a caregiver is to provide proper health care, which includes eye care. Providing your child with appropriate eye care will ensure that he or she has the best vision possible.

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Lifeworks Community Foundation: Helping Children From Addicted Families

Did you know that there are 1,000,000 children who live in a family where at least one of their parents or caregivers is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol? That is as much as 10% of our youth population. The Lifeworks Children’s Foundation is a registered charity whose purpose is to help the children who are growing up around addiction.

How the Programme Helps Children

The children’s recovery programme is designed to be:

  • educational
  • recreational
  • therapeutic

It is designed to target children between the ages of seven and 12 years old where they are the most impressionable and vulnerable. By reaching out to children in this age group, the foundation hopes to reach them before they reach a stage where they too, become an addict.

The programme is available across the country and will be available to anyone who needs it regardless of financial situation. It is designed to show children that addiction is not their fault, to show them that there is a way to break the cycle.

The UK programme is modeled after the success of a similar programme running in the United States. So as not to interfere with school work or other social interactions, the programme lasts two and a half days, and can be done over the weekend or during a holiday break from school.

Lifeworks

What the Programme Does

By getting children together who face similar situations at home, they learn that they are not alone. They can share experiences and coping skills while also learning other mechanisms to help them deal with the stress is at home. They will learn to recognize drugs and alcohol as the root of the main problems they experience at home. Through the programme and everything they learn they will also become less angry with their parents and caregivers who are battling addiction. This is a necessary step for adult recovery and for the child’s healthy progression into adulthood.

All parents and caregivers with a child who attends the programme will be given support and information to help them support their child through the programme.  This helps to ensure the programme’s messages are delivered and supported long after the child has completed it.

Though the programme is only in the development phase where 40 to 60 children will have access to it, the programme will continue to expand as it has support from Life Works, Kid’s Company, and the Betty Ford Center.

LifeWorks is a leading provider of addiction and alcohol treatment along with treatment for depression, eating disorders, and other behavioral disorders affecting adults. Kid’s Company is a well recognized and respected charity focused on working with vulnerable children in London. The Betty Ford Centre is a world-renowned addiction treatment center that has one of the longest running and most successful children’s programmes in the world. With the help of these organizations the Lifeworks Children’s Foundation will be able to help thousands of children who struggle with an addict in the home.