Friday, September 3, 2010

How To Save Your Life From The Inside Out Dr. Elisa's Top Ten List On: How to Keep your Mind Healthy...and all else will fall in place!

1. Guidance: Seeking the higher power "faith" for guidance is always good! It's the mind's way of allowing yourself to process right or wrong, good and bad. Who knows us better than we know our self? The danger in this is talking yourself out of what you know is right or rationalizing bad! Trust your "gut" feeling. Humans are the best of God's creation and he provided all we need to make the best decisions for our self!

2. Think before you speak. Your life and relationships are your business - and should be handled professionally, strategically and with maturity. Therefore if you don't want people in your business - keep it to yourself. You are your best friend!

3. Support from family friends: It's good to confide and seek support from the "right" family and friends and not all family and friends. Learn to accept advice graciously even if you have no intention of following it. At the same time don't go to friends or family for every little relationship challenge because people will tune you out and they also bring their bias to their advice/opinions because of their experiences.

4. Release Anger: While anger is a natural emotion and defense mechanism - in matters of the heart or love (even with our children) we must learn how to channel that emotion to a more positive place in our mind, body and spirit. There is casualty between anger and stress or our "fight or flight responses", which triggers a sequence of nerve cell firings and chemicals like adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol which are released into our bloodstream. These patterns of nerve cell firing and chemical releases cause our body to respond negatively and contributes to 80% of mental and physical illnesses. Don't bring illness onto yourself.

5. Acknowledgment of our pain is key to healthy decision making. Acknowledgement helps us identify the source and tackle the solution. Remember solutions may also be painful, but it's a process toward a better outcome.

6. Self Reflection reminds us of our imperfections! Yes, we are full of things people don't like about us and we don't like about our self. Self reflection helps us to live everyday toward self improvement.

7. Communication: Relationships are complicated! Communication between two people is the first step toward success and healing any relationship challenge. Don't speak to anyone until you speak to the person who is involved in the relationship! If you ask straight questions, usually you will receive straight answers.

8. Humility: It's God's gift to women! Humility is viewed by some as "weakness". Humility is a powerful demonstration of our ability to listen, to apologize, to understand another and to accept our own mistakes.

9. Learn to say no! You don't have to save the world by yourself. It's not an all or nothing proposition and life will go on. Simply do the best and be the best you can in any given day!

10: Take care of yourself. Yes, your mental & physical health should be your number one priority. Exercise and better nutrition are emerging as important treatments for stress, low self esteem and depression. If you feel bad emotionally, physically and mentally -- you can do nothing to create happiness for others. A happy you, makes for a happy two-relationship!

Dr. Elisa English is Mental Health Professional with a Ph.D in clinical Social Work for the past 10 years. Dr. Elisa, also known as the Provocative Doctor, has built a practice that targets issues confronting many of the challenges that plague our society from suicide to depression. Her aim is to help people, particularly women and young girls, expand their inner beauty, strength and confidence.

Visit Dr. Elisa's EPK at:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obesity: A matter of willpower?

People who died obese: Carol Yager peak weight 1,600 lbs died at 34, Rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley died of a heart attack at 42, two-time Academy Award winning actor Marlon Brando, Rapper Christopher Rios “Big Pun.” Others who have battled with obesity: Khaliah Ali, Kirstie Alley, Roseann Barr, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson, Randy Jackson (American Idol), Star Jones, Wynonna Judd, Ricki Lake, Courtney Love, “Monique,” Jack Osbourne, Marie Osmond, John Popper, Al Roker, Sherry Shephard, Raven Symone, Carnie Wilson, Oprah Winfrey to name a few.

President Obama said, obesity is the “most urgent” health issue facing the country. At last count, there are over 64 million adult Americans who are obese and thousands of deaths have been associated with this condition. The Center for Disease Control reported Blacks had 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared with whites. A recent study even found that 3-year-olds who were obese already had one of the symptoms of heart disease ( and the Daily FLOTUS).

The common morbidities associated with obesity include: (a) coronary heart disease, (b) hypertension and stroke, (c) type 2 diabetes, (d) high cholesterol levels, (e) high blood pressure, (f) abnormal glucose tolerance, and (g) certain types of cancer. The other health related consequences for obesity include: (a) asthma, (b) sleep apnea, and (c) social discrimination, (d) low self-esteem, (e) poor grades, and (f) social functioning for children. Data from National Health and Nutrition Exam Surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%.

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in conjunction with Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” strategy, to launch a nationwide campaign tackling childhood obesity. The President states, “We think that this has enormous promise in improving the health of our children, in giving support to parents to make the kinds of healthy choices that oftentimes are very difficult in this kind of environment.” The memorandum creates a 90-day plan creating a task-force to provide “optimal coordination” between private sector companies, not-for-profits, agencies within the government and other organizations to address the problem of childhood obesity (

Obesity is associated with many factors. Below are a few reasons obesity has become a matter of social concern:

• Overweight and obesity result from an energy imbalance. This involves eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.
• Body weight is the result of genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status.
• Behavior and environment play a large role causing people to be overweight and obese. These are the greatest areas for prevention and treatment actions

Until recently, the medical profession has failed obese people. Many doctors still believe obesity is simply a matter of will power. As long ago as the 1970s, studies showed that doctors felt fat people deserved everything they got. Others showed perceptions of fat people as being weak and less intelligent than thin people. Many studies have confirmed that fat people fare less well in interviews than equally qualified thin people; that they are promoted less frequently; and, are less likely to be made leaders, according to Felding

The American Psychiatric Association has never regarded overeating or excess weight as a psychiatric disorder, and most obese people do not qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis. In fact many studies find no clear relationship between mental health and weight. Nevertheless there are Psychological disorders which obesity may trigger, which include: depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and low self-esteem. There are several research studies that suggest obese patients report unexpectedly high rates of depressive and anxiety disorders, and that clinician should be careful to screen for these conditions, even if they are not suggested by the initial complaint.

Obese people have been found to have higher rates of depression. For example, David A. Kats, MD and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison assessed quality of life in 2,931 patients with chronic health conditions including obesity. They found that clinical depression was highest in very obese participants (Body Mass Index (BMI) over 35). Depression that is elevated to indicating psychiatric morbidity was more often seen in the obese, and that obese individuals, even those who are seen for treatment of a condition unrelated to their weight, are at increased risk of suffering from eating disorder. This research suggests it is crucial to assess among other presenting problems patient’s attitudes toward his or her weight, shape and identity. Clinicians should determine if the patient’s obesity is a source of low self confidence, and does the patient avoid particular day to day activities.

Treatments for obesity include self-help groups like Overeaters Anonymous and commercial programs like Weight Watchers. A common approach is behavioral therapy often in groups directed by a dietitian or clinician. The focus for therapy are self-monitoring and stimulus control. Self-monitoring means carefully recording weight, physical activity, type of food, and the amount of food eaten. Stimulus control means avoiding occasions of temptation. Exercise is also important, not only to expend energy, but to set the weight balance point at a lower level. Cognitive therapy may help dieters repel self-defeating thoughts and reject unrealistic goals (they will not likely achieve an “ideal” body weight). Psychotherapy or pharmacology can relieve depression and anxiety and help obese people live as full a life as possible no matter what their weight.

Healthy Eating Tips:

1. Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
2. Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
3. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
4. Serve reasonably-sized portions.
5. Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
6. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
7. Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.

Other Resources:

Kirstie Alley's Diet Plan
U.S.D.A. Certified Organic Weight Loss Product - Organic Liaison.

Child Obesity Exercises
Burn Up To 60% of your child's fat Only at Shaun T's Fit kids®

Kids Lose Weight in NYC
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suicide: Has it become the prescription for depression?

Recently countless famous people have committed suicide: Michael Osmond, Joshua Andrew, Koenig,Lee, Alexander McQueen, James Victor "Vic" Chesnutt, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, Roh Moo-Hyun, Lucy Gordon, Phyllis Hyman, and David B. Kellermann to name a few.

Many have attempted suicide: Halle Berry, Alexa Ray Joel, Greg Louganis, James Stockdale, Donna Summer, Drew Carey, Mike Wallace, Paul Robeson, Elizabeth Taylor, Fred “Rerun” Robert Young, Maxene Andrews, Adam Ant, Mary Astor, Tai Drew Barrymore, Brigitte Bardot, Danny Bonaduce, Maria Callas, Martine Carol, Diana, Princess of Wales, Walt Disney, Micky Dolenz, Patty Duke, Eminem, Marianne Faithfull, Peter Fonda, Clark Gable, Stan Getz, Dwight “Doc” Gooden Mariette Hartley, Susan Hayward, Houston, Betty Hutton, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Elton John, Sally Kirkland and countless others. Why so many people who seem to have it all feel helpless? What does this say about our ability to handle life’s pressures? Did anyone hear their cries for help?

In addition to fame, these celebrities have in common various forms of depression and a cry for help. Most people with depression, particularly those with extreme depression, don’t commit suicide; however, it is important that it is addressed. Depression is a neutral disease that is unbiased to gender, race, or class. Depression does not exempt even celebrities with all the fame and fortune from falling victim. In fact, these deaths and attempts of suicide are a microcosm of larger mental health and social problem.

What is depression?
According to the National Institute of Health Publication and Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene, depression is a disorder of the brain and body's ability to biologically create and balance a normal range of thoughts, emotions, and energy. It is a potentially life-threatening mood disorder that affects up to 12% of the population or approximately 17.6 million Americans each year. Unfortunately, depression can lead to suicide. It’s important to recognize one doesn’t need to be diagnosis with chronic depression to attempt or commit suicide. The following data from the National Institute of Health Publication and Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene provided context for suicide prevalence in the United States:

• 15% of those who were clinically depressed died from suicide.
• In 1997, suicide was the 8th leading cause of death in the United States. 10.6 out of every 100,000 persons died by suicide. The total number of suicides was approximately 30,535.
• In 1996, there were an estimated 500,000 suicide attempts.
• There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion; the ratio is higher in women and youth and lower in men and the elderly.
• More than four times as many men than women die by suicide. However, women report attempting suicide about twice as often as men.
• In 1997, suicide by firearms was the most common method for both men and women, accounting for 58%.
• 72% percent of all suicides and 79% of all firearm suicides were committed by white men. The highest suicide rates were for white men over 85 years of age-65 per 100,000 persons.

Why do some individuals who suffer from depression commit or attempt suicide and others do not? This is a complex question. There is a variation in people with suicidal ideation and various demographics have been correlated with certain suicidal behaviors. Research suggests that 90 percent of those who commit suicide have depression or another diagnosable mental, emotional, or substance abuse disorder. Further research points to physiological reasons, such as the alterations in neurotransmitters like serotonin are associated with the risk for suicide. Decreased levels of serotonin have been found in patients with depression, impulsive disorders, a history of violent suicide attempts, and also in postmortem brains of suicide victims. The highest risk factors for attempted suicide in adults are depression, alcohol abuse, cocaine use, and separation or divorce.

Forlornly, life’s challenges in combination with other strong risk factors, such as depression may lead to suicide. It’s important to know that suicide ideation and attempts are not normal responses to life’s stress and the average person who experiences challenges in life don’t commit suicide. The following is a list of potential risk factors for suicide:

• One or more diagnosable mental (e.g., major depression) or substance abuse disorders
• Impulsivity
• Adverse life events
• Family history of mental or substance abuse disorder
• Family history of suicide
• Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
• Prior suicide attempt
• Firearm in the home
• Incarceration
• Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, including

Be aware of possible signs of depression and seek help. Many of the signs can be the result of other health related problems, contact your health care provider. However, people with depression have certain visible behavioral symptoms that, generally affect the body’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. The following is a list of potential signs of depression:

• Persistently sad, anxious, or empty moods
• Loss of pleasure in usual activities (anhedonia)
• Feelings of helplessness, guilt, or worthlessness
• Crying, hopelessness, or persistent pessimism
• Fatigue or decreased energy
• Loss of memory, concentration, or decision-making capability
• Restlessness, irritability
• Sleep disturbances
• Change in appetite or weight
• Physical symptoms that defy diagnosis and do not respond to treatment (especially pain and gastrointestinal complaints)
• Thoughts of suicide, death, or suicide attempts
• Poor self-image or esteem (as illustrated, for example, by verbal self-reproach).

Durkheim in his seminal work on Suicide (1897) asserted that it's the lack of social integration which may induce suicide. This means when social integration of a person is at a high level it could prevent the person from committing suicide and that small levels of integration implies the predispose to suicidal behavior. It is believed that people need social supports; however, alienation and isolation are clearly social conditions that contribute to possible suicide.

Lastly, because there is a strong correlation between depression and suicide, seek help and encourage those you know to seek help from a mental health professional. Another drink or using illicit drugs will not heal the internal pain of depression. Confronting depression and treating it like any other disease is the only attempt for cure. Life challenges will continue to occur, but how one handles and responds to these challenges make living with them less stressful. Many people think it's impossible to be helped, but a combination of treatments to include therapeutic and pharmacological approaches are available.

American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
phone: (202) 682-6220
web site:

American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
phone: (202) 336-5500
web site:

National Suicide Hotlines USA
United States of America
1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-784-2433
1-800-273-TALK 1 (800)-273-8255
Deaf Hotline 1 (800)799-4TTY (4889)
Toll Free 24 hours a day 7 days a week

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A woman who kills: Did race play a role in the system's failure to seek justice for Amy Bishop's brother's death?

Amy Bishop, using a 12 gauge rifle fired three shots, the second of which blew out her brother (Seth Bishop, 18) chest, fatally killing him. Bishop reportedly ran from the scene and into a nearby auto repair shop, according to the Boston Globe, where she pointed the deadly rifle at two people and demanded a getaway car. CNN said Bishop, than 20 years old, was not charged with the crime, Sadly, Police Chief Paul Frazier, Braintree, Massachusetts, told reporters the records for the incident are missing and was listed in the log as an accidental shooting. What scared young lady, who accidentally shoots her brother, keep shooting and demand a get away car? Did any one in the Justice System find anything remotely unusual about this fatal crime? Did any one think Bishop needed psychological help? What was going on in her family that caused her to kill her brother? Did the system fail to intervene and seek justice for this horrific crime because of race?

There is a bit of controversy around what role, if any race played in the systems failure to prosecute Bishop in the murder of her brother. If the system had prosecuted Bishop, in the case of her brother 20 years ago, could this have prevented the murder of three faculty members of color? The question of race, class and culture in America remains a very sensitive issue, which is a complicated and uncomfortable conversation to most. However, when the very system that is designed to protect and serve engages in questionable racial practices, it generates reason for concern. Extensive literature reviews suggest race remains a significant influence in the Unites States Justice system.

For example in the study, “The Color of Justice” research suggests, “African Americans were five times more likely to be arrested for felonies, seven times more likely to be sent to prison, and thirteen times more likely to be sentenced under the States “Three Strikes” law.

In another study, “Uneven Justice” reports African Americans make-up 900,000 of the 2.2 million people incarcerated. African American’s are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites and Hispanics and at a double rate compared to whites. The states leading in the Northeast and Midwest that have the highest disproportionate of black to white ratio for incarcerations are: Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. Subsequently, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey are the states leading in the highest disproportionate rates of Hispanic to white. According to Uneven Justice:

1. Disproportionate rates of incarceration are caused by funds dedicated to policing communities of color and prosecution initiatives that emphasize large degree of drug arrest;
2. Disproportionate rates of incarceration are influenced by the limited resources that divide race and class in the justice system and impact the unequal outcomes in the justice system;
3. Disproportionate rates of incarceration impact the reliance on public defenders that are overwhelmed and assigned to low-income defendants who lack access to treatment and options to sentencing;
4. Disproportionate rates of incarceration create an increasing number of children with incarcerated parents; and
5. Disproportionate rates of incarceration impact gender imbalances in the community.

These studies paint a bleak picture of the Justice system and their ability to seek equal, fair and unbiased justice. What is more alarming, when bias interferes with justice crimes go unpunished, people lack the needed treatment for mental illness, people are falsely accused, and criminals remain free to hurt others. Unfortunately, the system failed to seek justice for Bishop's brother and perhaps even "failed to protect" the three University faculty members who were murdered at the hands of Bishop.

Seeking tenure (like many things in life) is certainly a stressful, grueling and arduous process and most describe it as one of the worst experiences of their life. However, it is not a reason to kill and most scholars who are denied tenure don't kill. The research suggests, however that like police, firemen and other professions those seeking tenure should obtain “psychological counseling” to cope with the stressful process.

Regrettably, in the Bishop case, three faculty members were murdered because of Bishop’s seemly untreated, emotional instability. How else do we make sense of such anomalous behavior? We know that many homicides are the end result of fervent emotions and those emotions are in a social context positioned and gendered, as men kill at a much greater rate than women, regardless of race.

Research also further points out that when women kill, it is usually someone very close to them and based on a strong emotional experience. Furthermore a psychotic and/or personality disorder is diagnosed in more than 80% of women who kill. Therefore, when Bishop murdered her brother should the system have done more to understand why, seek justice and provide help to a very disturb young lady? It remains a mystery why Bishop was never prosecuted for her brother’s death or what circumstances lead her to kill him. What we do know is she killed before and subsequently, killed again. Did the system deduce her brother's murder to an accident without any further inquiry, simply because of race?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are Women More Accepting of Infidelity? Celebrity wives seem to be...

On Friday, February 19, 2010, Tiger Woods broke his three month silence at a press conference and he apologized for cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren. The following are excerpts from Tiger’s press conference:

“Everyone of you has reason to be critical of me."
"I am deeply sorry for the irresponsible and selfish behavior I have engaged in."
"I have let you down. I have let down my fans."
"I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated."
"I was wrong. I was foolish."

He also stated fame got the best of him. Fame is not to blame--for most of us. We may have had someone in our lives cheat and then lie about it by men who are not famous. Let’s be real ladies is an apology enough to forgive a cheating partner? Is it simply cheaters need to satisfy their sex drive? Do we no longer think Freud was an insane oversexed weirdo?

Infidelity is a pattern of behavior that seeks self-gratification with the same or opposite sex at the expense of commitment to another. It strikes at the core of defining the meaningful characteristics of marriage such as: commitment, trust, honesty, and faithfulness.

According to Playboy Magazine:

• 2 out of 3 women and 3 out of 4 men admit they have sexual thoughts about co-workers;

• 75% of men and 65% of women admit to having sex with someone they work with.

Are women really more forgiving and understanding of the sex drive? Can they really overcome the pain and embarrassment of infidelity? Can the marriage survive to become a strong partnership once again? Is a healthy marriage possible after infidelity? The answer to these questions is a startling yes. It however, will take time, patience, understanding, and communication.

Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, David Letterman, Rudy Giuliani, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, David Patterson, Mark Chmura's, Jesse Jackson, Frank Gifford, Calvin Broadus (Snopp Dogg) John O. Norquist, LL cool J, David Vitter, Gary Condit, John Edwards, Magic Johnson, Kevin Hunter (husband of personality Wendy Williams), are just a few of a long and illustrious roster of admitted adulterers, and they all have one thing in common: women who stand or stood by their transgressing husbands. Have the wives of these men lost thier self-respect, dignity and sense of self? Not hardly.

Women say they are more forgiving because they see the “big picture”. For example, religious reasons whereby women view marriage as a sacred union sanctified by God, children, time invested in marriage, deep love, and in some cases the security of their husband’s income, and simply because they aren't willing to turn their man over to a "home wrecker". Whatever the reasons, it appears infidelity is not always a speedy step toward divorce for women.

On the other hand, women who cheat with married men state they do so because: (1) the man promises to leave his wife, (2) the woman felt they weren’t hurting anyone, (3) “the sex is good”, (4) there is a heightened sense self-confidence, power, and control over the situation, and (5) married men present more stability and money – oh yes the old “Sugar Daddy” cliché. Money is one reality both married and cheating women desire. Sorry cheating women, the money is short lived and very few men leave their wives for the "jump off". We forgot, women who cheat with married men are not seeking lasting love, commitment, and family.

So, ladies take inventory of yourself and your relationship before infidelity destroys your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.

The data suggest that over 85% of women who notice signs of infidelity are correct. Infidelity is steadily increasing. Below is a list of signs to beware:

1. Change in demeanor or character
2. Lack of interest in sex
3. Feel distant from your partner
4. Their mind is frequently drifting or somewhere else
5. Late night or frequent computer use
6. Partner seems secretive or you feel something isn’t right
7. Late nights at work
8. Frequent business trips
9. Unusual spending
10. Turns of cell phone or hide phone when home

This list is not exhaustive and you should really trust your “gut” instinct!

Ladies Loop

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Are you Depressed on Valentine's Day?

In 2004, TRUE Beginnings conducted a scientific, provocative, and thought provoking investigation on the psychological impact of loneliness surrounding Valentine’s Day. The study suggests that single men and women do in fact experience heightened feelings of emotional distress in connection with Valentine's Day.

The study concluded that adults who reportedly did not participate in or receive gifts or other signs of affection in connection with Valentine's Day do exhibit symptoms of emotional stress, ranging from mild depression to anxiety. The study showed people experienced symptoms up to four weeks after the holiday and affect men and women in different ways. The holiday related stress experienced by men decreased within a few weeks after Valentine’s Day, but tend to increase in women over time.

The study seek to understand how societal norms surrounding Valentine's Day in Westernized societies have a harmful impact on the mental and emotional well-being of adult singles who are not involved in romantic relationships. These societal norms could be further influenced by race, age, and sexual orientation.