Caveats Several assumptions

Assumptions and Caveats Several assumptions must be mentioned that are integral to our propositions. First, the entire process of developing self-esteem assumes a caring relationship. The qualities of affection and concern for the welfare of the child are so fundamental that we have little to say to parents who are not so emotionally invested. Similarly, therapists’ care for their clients is axiomatic.

No ethical therapist would presume to treat parents or families without at least a modicum of regard for their well-being. Next, the development of self-esteem must be considered within the larger developmental process of the child. The nature of the parent-child relationship as well as the tasks of healthy development must change over time. An effective relationship at one time will not necessarily be as worthwhile an influence at a later stage of development. Also, general principles may be functional, yet their expression may need to take a different form. While we suggest, for example, that acceptance is always important, its communication changes dramatically.

The acceptance is identical, but the language has changed. Other relationships, such as the control dimension, shift in both expression and substance to match the child’s developmental needs. A corollary to the developmental assumption is this:

Parents all too frequently choose their parenting styles not from a consideration of the child’s present need but from the unexamined reservoir of their own experiences in being parented. Having been learned at a more primitive level, their initial, “reflexive” response to exigencies of the moment will be either to repeat their analogous experience or, if they had a strong negative reaction to the event, to react in an opposite fashion, equally without planning. Because parents draw from their affective summary of what it was like for them as a child, then, what the child usually receives over time is a thematic and somewhat homogeneous experience.

Thus, even caring parents are apt to be more effective at some stages of the child’s development and less so at others. Another assumption is illustrated in this truism: In order to treat your children the same, you have to treat them differently. Children vary considerably, even within families. A parenting strategy employed with good effect on one child at age three may be inappropriate for a sibling at that age. Excellent longitudinal studies clearly indicate temperamental differences that must be taken into ac-count. In the adolescent years, what is coping for one child may be avoiding for another. Dependent, anxious children will fear challenging or disagreeing with others, whereas the oppositional child whose interpersonal strategy seems to be that the-best-defense-is-a-good-offence (misspelling intended) may be most fearful of a warm, cooperative relationship. A final assumption:

We freely admit that we have been describing an agentive theory in this book. Children, albeit influenced greatly by parents, are not caused. In spite of their best efforts, some children will not choose the outcomes parents have prepared for them, or interpret the parents’ persuasions as they in-tended them to be perceived. Other significant people (i.e., teachers, peers, even strangers) affect the lives of children in both beneficial and harmful ways, and, in the case of hurtful experiences, children’s interpretations may not be completely countermanded by the efforts of parents or therapists.

or most, there is a dramatic resurgence of the need to be accepted. Issues relevant to self-esteem, resolved successfully in childhood, resurface in the search for identity, at a time when parental influence may be seen as a threat to self-definition. Thus, the most expert counsel does not produce inevitable results. But it may increase understanding, foster planning by
parents, and emphasize critical learning experiences at the appropriate developmental stage, thereby increasing the chances for fostering self-esteem.

 

Family Relations and the Development of Self-Esteem

The impact of parents’ behavior upon the child’s self-esteem is undeniable; given the immaturity of children, however, parents’ expression of their own resolution of the self-esteem question is far more influential than what they teach verbally. Evidence suggests that children are unable to conceptualize a self until age 8 or older (Harter, 1983). Moreover, it is not until a child reaches adolescence that he or she can truly use such cognitive material to produce behavior-influencing understanding (Selman, 1980). Thus, while parents may understand and attempt to teach valuable concepts of self-esteem, for the child these concepts must be translated into experiences and feelings rather than verbally described.

The Therapeutic Task
Because this is a book about self-esteem and psychotherapy, the task for the therapist treating self-esteem difficulties in children or in the family becomes even more complex than treating individual adults. First, where in the family structure does the therapist inter-vene—with the child individually, with the family as a group, or with the parents as a consultant? Second, ingredient in the choice is another question: What is the nature of the therapist’s influence in each grouping?

Mental and moral evolution is direction of Freedom

FREEDOM
ONE who has recognized the principles upon which the philosophy of self-help is based, to say nothing of the exceedingly practical relation of psychology to living, can hardly fail to have as a result a new conception, if not a new sense, of freedom. It will have occurred to him that the most prevalent form of slavery is a bondage to false beliefs and to the tyranny of the senses, and that this concerns him more nearly than any Social or Political tyranny whatsoever. He will have concluded, therefore, that true freedom lies in the perception of truth and in perfect self-control, and that, as he has been in slavery to his own sensations and opinions, he may now be his own liberator. As ignorance binds, truth makes us free. Every false belief is a link in the chain; but wisdom overcomes ignorance, as love casts out fear and light dispels darkness. Mental
and moral evolution is, therefore, always in the direction of freedom. Defects of character and disposition are obstacles we interpose between ourselves and the light, obstacles to our own progress. As these are surmounted one by one, we see more clearly, and experience greater freedom. Enlightenment and freedom go hand in hand. False belief shackles us, for whatever we believe stands to us in the place of truth, and usurpers are never just rulers.

The Aztecs were vanquished more by their own fear and superstition than by any prowess of the Spaniards, and were thus enslaved because of beliefs which obscured their vision of the facts and paralyzed their activity. In like manner we are all victims to our own fears and to false concepts, which shut out the light of truth and diminish our native energy, if they do not wholly obstruct our activity. Let us not blame either Society or Fate, then, for conditions which are personal to us and for which we have the remedy in our own hands. While there is much discussion in regard to hypnotism, apparently no one has recognized the fact that we are all hypnotized, more or less, by the world-thought.

As this is one of the factors which militates against our freedom, there is something to be said of the necessity for hyperventilation. The import-ant question is not—can we be hypnotized or no; but being already in a state of hypnosis, how are we to be hypnotized and freed from the tyranny of false world-beliefs? Some are in the profound hypnotic sleep and their acts are purely automatic, their opinions wholly reflected.

Others are merely in a drowsy state and are obedient only to the hypnosis of certain ideas from which they have never been free. This hypnosis, begun by their parents, by stupid nurses and silly Sunday-school teachers, has been fostered ever since by the verbose nonsense of the newspapers and by the pressure of the world-thought itself. There is only one remedy for ignorance and that is enlightenment, but if you do not know you are in slavery you will not seek freedom.

The most hopeless class intellectually are the half-educated who think they are wise. And in this day of the general diffusion of cheap knowledge and half-truths, when every one has a smattering of information, and people learn from the newspapers a thousand things which are not true, this class is rapidly growing. Instead of thinking for themselves, as
they fondly suppose, they are merely reflecting opinions and their point of view depends on the paper they take. It is a hopeful sign when any man becomes intellectually self-reliant—a sign of developing character: when he accepts a theory, because on his own reconnaissance he believes it to be essentially good and not simply because others think so; when he essays to examine popular notions concerning ethics, religion, and hygiene and rejects or accepts them at his own discretion. He is in a fair way to free himself from much superstition and false belief which cramps the mind and inhibits its power; he is on the road to intellectual freedom. Self-trust is inseparable from character, and to inspire any one to a greater degree of self-trust is above all to help him to help him-self.

If we do not think for ourselves—if we have the habit of delegating others to do our thinking for us—the fiber of the mind grows flabby like an unused muscle. If we are to run a race we must gradually strength-en the muscles and the lungs to that end.

the real life is in your spirit.

THE INNER LIFE
OUR study of the nature of man and his relation to God has shown us that his real life is in spirit. Our experience with the world, on the other hand, reveals how little he lives this true life and how exclusively his interest is absorbed in a material and wholly objective life. More than this, the experience of most men proves to them, sooner or later, how unprofitable is this objective life if lived to itself alone. Men do not commonly consider, however, how intimately their philosophy of life is related to their prevailing mental states and thus to their health as well.

All the cynical old men say we can gather no figs in this life. They do not take into ac-count that they have sown only thistles. If you sow only to the senses, you shall reap the fruit of the senses, which is Pain; and if you sow to the material you shall reap the fruit of the material, which is Weariness.
Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, but man born of the Spirit is of eternity. If you worship Mammon you shall receive the reward of Mammon, which is despair, and if you worship God you shall receive the reward of God, which is peace. Choose, then, whom you will serve. Rest assured, not in this world or the next is there any departure from the natural sequence of cause and effect. It is true that since we have bodies we must have a relation to the material world. But we should establish a normal relation.

The body is good, money is good, food is good ; but when we become absorbed in eating and drinking, or in acquiring money, or in the care of the body, to the exclusion of our true and spiritual aims—then, and only then, these things are bad. One and all are means, never an end in life, and when we falsely elevate them in consciousness to a ruling place, they invariably become tyrants. The body has no health or strength in itself. It has no life apart from the informing mind. If that consciousness be in harmony with truth then will the body show forth harmony, and if that consciousness be discordant the body must manifest discord, as a mirror reflects an object. Now the inner life is a consecration to the Spirit, an effort to establish and maintain a consciousness in harmony with God, that is to say, with love and truth. Love caste out fear and the truth makes free, therefore in these should we take refuge.

If we have prepared a place within, we may retire at will and find peace. But if we have cultivated only objective states of mind and placed our whole dependence in material things, where shall we turn? For these things must fail as they have failed a host of deluded men before us. Each one must prepare a sanctuary for himself, and in the measure that he has consecrated himself to the inner life and meditated upon the truth, he has made it his own and it will serve him in time of need. In the journey of life, every travel comes to the branching roads that lead to the Without and the Within. Every step on the mad of the Without takes us further from the recent; the road of the Within leads to God. The true means of self-help, because it is the very purpose of life, is to find our recent, to bring our consciousness into harmony with God; for God is our life and our strength and apart from God we are nothing.
God is to man what the Sun is to the sun-beam, what the dynamo is to the individual light. Only as we live from within can we avail ourselves fully of the divine current of which the personal self is but the means of transmission. The spiritual laws of our being supply the conditions under which we shall best transmit that power. Every departure from these laws is a disturbance of those conditions, and to live from without is to receive and transmit only a fraction of the power which we should normally manifest in a spiritual life. You may think because you attend all the lectures and have read the latest books that you are living from within. Do not deceive – yourself. Silence and meditation are the means of following the way. Not reading about life but living avails. The most any one can do for you is to inspire you to think  for yourself and to thus help yourself.

Neither does attending church mean that you are living from within. Repeating dogmas by rote will help you no more than it helps the parrot who might be taught to do the same. If you believe salvation comes through the sacrifice and death of some one else—your brother, for instance, you are still in the pit of ignorance.

Ideals and Beliefs we hold in mind

We are but grown-up children, and like children we learn by experience that certain ways are profitable and others to be avoided. Experience and philosophy are two roads to the same point. Experience is the long road of the ignorant; philosophy the short cut of the wise. A child does not reason about the fire, but burns himself and thenceforth avoids it. It is not necessary that we should always burn ourselves in order to discover the facts, for if we will but use our reasoning powers, we may often come directly at the truth without the intervening experience.

As a rule, however, we listen too much to the world and give no heed to the inner voice. We are hypnotized by the world-thought, carried away in the tumultuous stream of consciousness and tossed in the rapids of false beliefs. Learn to still the mind, that truth may make itself known through the admonitions of the Soul; for the Soul is not subject to experience: it is God in us, God who is absolute Love and Truth. To hold true ideals in mind is, to that ex-tent, to be one in consciousness with truth—to bridge the gulf which exists in consciousness alone between God and the individual. This is the philosophic atonement which means harmony, and the result of such harmony must be, not only peace of mind but nervous reactions conducive to health. Let us bear in mind always that health is harmony and the efficient means of its retaliation is by the impression of true ideals through auto-suggestion; as the means of solving a problem in mathematics is to bring to mind the principles and apply them. The ideal state, of course, would be habitual right-thinking, the habit of always reacting upon true ideals. Obviously no lifetime is long enough for such perfection.

But no matter how distant the goal, the first and chief consideration is—are we travailing in the right direction? To meditate upon true ideals, to clearly frame them in mind and concentrate the thought upon them to the exclusion of all else, is literally to sow the seed—and God will give the increase. As we sow we shall reap. No one has ever gathered figs from thistles. If you have been sowing thistles in your mind—thoughts of fear or selfishness, of weakness or disease—do not cry out against Fate when your crop matures. Do nothing further to foster the growth of the weeds Let your weed patch die for lack of recognition and
meanwhile do you cultivate new fields and plant this time good seed. If we have been all our lives sowing thistles we cannot expect in a day to reverse this order. But if any one will sow seeds of love and truth, and foster them with the same care and energy he has devoted to thoughts of fear and of error, he shall be repaid and shall reap a hundred-fold. Nature works always for health.

The moral force of the universe is drawing man towards God, that is towards the absolute Good. Pain and disease and much of our trial and tribulation result from the obstruction we offer in consciousness to the flow of the divine current. In our ignorance, in place of going with the current by shaping our lives in accordance with love and truth, we vainly essay to resist and go against the current. The Law is never broken, but we are broken upon it. If a sculptor wishes to model a perfect form, he studies and keeps before him a perfect model, not a distorted one, and by concentrating his attention and his energy upon an ideal, he is able to give it corresponding expression in his work. Were he to hold fixedly in mind the image of a cripple, it would be impossible for him at the same time to model a perfect figure .

Philosophy of Life and Your Character

WE may now inquire as to what philosophy of life is to be deduced from the fore-going facts of psychology and what effect a recognition of these facts and principles may be expected to produce upon character and upon health. Such a recognition must influence at once the nature of our views and lead us to substitute, to the best of our ability, controlled for uncontrolled thinking, true in place of false concepts.

It will, in short, imbue us with the dominant idea of self-control, that is to say, control and direction of the thought-force; for it can hardly fail to reveal more clearly the nature of cause and effect and our own responsibility in the matter. Much that we have heretofore assumed to be altogether independent of ourselves, much that we have bid at the door of “bad luck” or attributed to the inscrutable acts of Providence, will now appear in its true light as merely the objective effect of a subjective cause for which we ourselves are responsible.

If it has been our habit to defend ourselves with the excuse that, as we did not know that two and two made four we were not to blame for our miscalculations. we must now admit that it is our business to know it, and that we cannot too soon acquaint ourselves with the fact, that in future our calculation may be correct. If again we have been inclined to blame others for our troubles, we must now admit that, while this may occasionally be justified, it is not the rule but the exception, and that ignorance and fear are our real enemies; that we have stood in our own light and created most of our own troubles.

A recognition of the simple fact alone that all consciousness is motor cannot fail to have a considerable influence. But the realization of the deeper fact that, as there are principles of mathematics, so there are principles of Truth absolute, which underlay our relation to God and to man, and that failure to comply with these in our attitude to life must manifest itself in both mental and physical in-harmony, inasmuch as health is harmony and harmony is conformity to principle—such a realization is the most practical awakening
which can come to the mind. What is the basic fact of our philosophy? It is this: that the self  as know er the Soul—is one with God, the universal winnower , the subject of knowledge; whereas the self-as-known, the stream of consciousness, is the agent, subject to development and control, and the body merely its gannet or material envelope.

This means that God is immanent in us, that we may appropriate the divine energy in the measure of our capacity to realize it in consciousness and give it expression in our lives. Man is a spiritual being clothed with a body, and a character fashioned upon this basis is necessarily both superior to and more stable than one fashioned after the false postulate that man is a material being and that he may or may not have a “soul.”

Mind is the potter and matter the clay and not only was the potter destined to mold the clay according to his will, but to conform his will to the divine Will which is wisdom. The implication is not alone the ultimate triumph of mind over matter but the victory of the higher over the lower in consciousness, of positive over negative states of mind, of love over fear and selfishness, of wisdom over ignorance.

ALL ABOUT THOUGHT AND THE BRAIN

SO much has been said of late on the subject of thought-control and the relation of the mind to the body, that the idea has u-fortunately become rather hackneyed—unfortunately, for the simple reason that our minds are so readily blunted by the habitual or familiar, that when a truth becomes a truism it no longer makes any impression. While there is not much left to be said on this subject that has not already been said, we may be pardoned for referring to some of its practical aspects.

The stream of consciousness uses the brain as its instrument and has been clearly shown to model that organ more or less according to the nature and extent of its activity. Professor Gates in experimenting with guinea-pigs by training one animal in a certain direction and not the other, has found on examining the brains of the two animals,that the one whose faculties had thus been encouraged showed an enormous development in the corresponding brain area over the one which had not so been treated.

In other words, stimulating the mind had rap-idly promoted cellular growth in the brain. We have every reason to infer that in this manner all areas of the brain may be developed by persistent thought through channels which use these particular areas. Thus an artist, a linguist, a mathematician, each tends by the exercise of his profession to develop certain areas above others.

A thoroughly well cultivated mind must tend to increase all brain-areas more or less; a well balanced mind will cultivate no one at the expense of others; while an unbalanced person has either cultivated one area out of all proportion to the rest. or failed wholly with regard to some which are essential to normal thinking. The fact is, we develop our brains through thinking, very much as we perfect our muscular system through exercise.

Doubtless the most important discovery of psycho-physiology is the fact that, whereas the sense areas of the brain are congenital, the ” thinking ” areas are acquired. Huxley has shown that the brains of an infant and Towards nature, the normal attitude is by all means a friendly one, for, as we shall see when we come to consider the subject of Belief, the attitude towards any object reacts upon us, though the idea in mind be entirely false. Make friends in nature, then; make friends of mankind, a friend of God. Go with the current by assuming the normal attitude toward all things. Make friends of the air and water, of heat and cold, of food and drink, for you do not fear your friend. Every fear in your mind works you harm, but your friends rally to your support; love works for you always.

First and last be your own friend, for if you have not harmony within you are a house divided against itself. Consider well the nature of the personal self—that multitude of ephemeral and shadowy persons whom we galvanize into apparent life by the energy of thought, only to let them fade away into nothingness—and learn to distinguish it from the true self, the wise and unfettered Soul which is God within you, unchanging and unchangeable. Deathless, disease less, age-less, untroubled in a world of sorrow—it is to the Soul you shall turn as to your refuge and your strength, to that you shall cling as to the Rock of Ages. It is merely a habit that we identify ourselves always with the flowing stream of consciousness. Let us now substitute the habit of identifying ourselves with that alone which is not subject to fear—the immortal Soul.

HEADACHE

Headaches are probably the single most common symptom that brings people to their doctor. While a headache can be extremely painful, its severity is not related to its seriousness. For example. migraine headaches are extremely painful but usually not very serious. On the other hand, a brain tumor may sometimes cause only a mild headache.

Fortunately, most headaches are not serious and are relieved with home treatment. These are typically tension headaches caused by muscle spasm and related directly to stress. They usually occur during the day and cause a tightness or pressure sensation over your forehead, at your temples, or at the back of your neck. Like tension headaches, migraine headaches tend to run in families.

Migraines are thought to be caused by a disturbance in the blood vessels of the head and neck and are thus known as vascular headaches. Before a migraine headache, you may experience visual disturbances, depression. irritability or other characteristic symptom
toms. The headache itself is often described as a throbbing pain located on one side of the head. Unlike tension headaches, migraines usually are accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Without treatment, attacks may last for hours or days. Besides tension and migraines, there are many other causes of headache symptoms, including fever; head injuries, dental disease; diseases of the eyes (such as eyestrain or glaucoma). ears (such as middle ear infections), or of the nasal sinuses (such as sinusitis); severe high blood pressure; allergies; and exposure to certain toxic substances (such as carbon monoxide or lead).

HEAD INJURY PRECAUTIONS

If you have suffered a hard blow or bump to your head, you should be aware of danger signs that indicate the need for prompt medical attention Following a head injury, most people will have a mild headache for one lo three days. See your doctor for an initial evaluation. It the headache becomes severe, grows progressively worse. or continues longer than expected, medical reevaluation should be obtained immediately Other warning signs indicating a need for prompt medical attention are:

  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Especially progressive drowsiness.
  • During the first 24 hours after it head injury.
  • The injured person should be aroused from sleep every two hours If there is trouble waking the individual, call your doctor immediately
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Oozing of blood or fluid from the nose or ears uncontrollable twitching or convulsions muscle weakness or numbness of the arms and/or legs
  • Sudden or progressive vision problems
  • Unexplained lever

WHEN TO BE CONCERNED

How can you tell when your headache requires a doctor’s attention? Although the severity of your pain may not be a clue, it it appears suddenly and without reason, especially if you rarely get headaches, you should call your doctor immediately. Since tension headaches usually appear during a stressful day, be concerned when a headache wakes you from sleep.

A headache that seems to worsen every day despite home treatment is also a cause for concern. Any headache associated with convulsions (see Convulsions), dizziness (see Dizziness), head injury (see Head Injury Precautions), or very high fever (with or without neck stiffness) requires immediate medical evaluation. These symptoms may indicate a serious condition.

TREATMENT

enchantment of your headache depends on its cause. If you suffer from tension headaches, rest, relaxation, and freedom from emotional stress are of primary importance. Try lying in your darkened bedroom with a cool cloth over your Forehead and doing deep breathing exercises. Forget your troubles for the moment. A hot bath or gentle massage may help to loosen tight muscles. Nonprescription
painkillers such as aspirin (if you’re not allergic) or acetaminophen may also give relief, but you should never take them for more than a few days. If your headache continues despite home treatment, see your doctor.

If you have classic migraines, your physician may prescribe medication to prevent these attacks. If you are having an acute attack, call your doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is most successful when it is received in the earliest stages of the attack. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that constricts or narrows the blood vessels. Always take these drugs as directed. If your headache symptoms are the result of any of the other many possible causes, your doctor will first do a thorough evaluation and prescribe appropriate therapy.

CALL YOUR DOCTOR WHEN:

  • You suddenly and without reason develop a severe headache. especially if you rarely get headaches.
  • Your headache worsens every day despite home treatment.
  • You have migraine headaches for the first time or you suffer an acute attack.
  • Your headache wakes you from sleep.
  • Your headache is associated with convulsions, dizziness, high fever. or a head injury.

LOCALIZED WEAKNESS

DESCRIPTION Many people confuse symptoms of weakness, fatigue, and exhaustion (see Weakness, Fatigue, and Exhaustion). Localized weakness is really an actual loss of muscle strength in one muscle or muscle group. Since weakness is a relative symptom, always describe it to your doctor carefully in terms of your normal activities.

The muscles involved will give your doctor a clue to the underlying cause. For example, if one side of your face is weak (see Paralysis), your doctor will know that a particular nerve and muscle group is involved. Weakness of the same muscles on both sides of your body is likely emotional or caused by a generalized illness. Weakness clearly localized in one arm or one leg is more likely caused by a nerve or muscle injury. Your other symptoms may provide additional clues. Numbness and tingling in any weakened limb are likely due to a nerve injury.

Fever or weight loss, on the other hand, suggest a general underlying illness as the cause of your weakness. Pain in the weakened muscle group is a clue that the muscles themselves may be involved.
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED Weakness in a particular muscle group that limits your regular activity is a significant symptom. Is there a change in the size of your muscles? Compare the weakened muscle with the opposite normal muscle. Any change in size or muscle mass is significant. Any associated weight loss. fever. or numbness and tingling in the weakened muscle is a cause for concern.
TREATMENT There is basically no home treatment for significant weakness in a particular muscle group. Don’t simply try exercises to increase strength. See your doctor promptly and give him a very careful medical history. He’ll watch you perform various tasks with the weakened muscles, check your reflexes, and measure your strength. Certain blood tests. nerve conduction studies, and possibly a muscle biopsy may be necessary to find the cause.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR WHEN:

• you experience any significant localized weakness in any part of %our body.

PARALYSIS

DESCRIPTION You probably think of the inability to move the arms or legs when you hear the word paralysis, but that’s not entirely accurate. The word paralysis refers to loss of movement of any muscle of your body. You can experience paralysis of just the muscles of one side of your face, as in a condition called Bell’s palsy, or one whole side of your body, as in the case of some strokes. Parkinson’s disease (paralysis agitans) is not a true form of paralysis. With this disorder, people move their muscles so slowly that they may appear to he paralyzed. Bell’s palsy typically comes on suddenly and for no apparent reason. It’s possible that sleeping with your windows open and getting a chill could produce this disorder, but that’s really only a theory.

Whatever the reason. the nerve that controls the muscles of half the face is affected, resulting in paralysis. The involved side will look flat, and when you smile, only the unaffected side moves, so your expression may stern twisted. In secrete cases, you may have
trouble closing one eye. Often there is a decreased sensation on the affected side as well. Strokes (cerebrovascular accidents) can occur whenever the blood supply to your brain is decreased. They are extremely rare in people under 40. Usually the cause is a clot or plug somewhere in the vessels of your neck or brain that blocks the flow of blood to your brain.

This can also happen anytime a clot dislodges from your heart or the arteries leading to the head and is carried into the smaller arteries of the brain. Bleeding inside the brain itself can also result in damage to brain tissue. Typically, a stroke occurs suddenly. Depending on what area of the brain is affected, it may produce symptoms from slight slurring of speech to paralysis of one side of your body to coma. Parkinson’s disease generally affects middle-aged and elderly people. Rather than paralysis, the disease begins with a tremor, usually in one hand, followed by slowing of movement and finally rigidity of muscles.
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED Anytime you experience paralysis of any muscle, consult your physician. Don’t ignore symptoms that come and go since they may be a clue to something more serious. Although strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, attention to warning signs such as temporary loss of movement in the limbs of one side of your body, changes in speech or vision, or occasional fainting spells can lead to stroke prevention.
TREATMENT Most cases of Bell’s palsy are not severe and will resolve within a few weeks to a few months without specific treatment. If your eye is involved. your doctor may recommend nitrocellulose eye drops and/or an eye patch to protect the cornea. Upward massage of the face for 5-10 minutes three to four times a day may help to maintain muscle tone.

You can prevent strokes if you control your blood pressure, stop smoking, and watch the fats in your diet .

DIZZINESS

You’ve probably heard someone call another person “dizzy,” meaning that the person is a little foolish or even stupid. That’s because the word dizzy comes from an old English word. dystopi, which means just that. However, when you say that you feel dizzy, you usually are trying to say that you feel light-headed or giddy. In this strict sense, dizziness is very different from vertigo, in which you experience the illusion of movement (either you feel yourself moving or you think things around you are moving) (see Dizziness, Vertigo. or Loss of Consciousness). The most common cause of dizziness is physical or emotional strain.

For example, after playing a strenuous game of tennis in the hot sun, you might experience some light headeness, especially if you’ve been sweating a lot and haven’t been watching your fluid or salt intake. Likewise, as part of an acute anxiety reaction, you may

suddenly feel light-headed and actually faint (see Loss of Consciousness). Although dizziness is often nothing to worry about, it may also result from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), drug reactions, alcohol intoxication, or head injury.

WHEN TO BE CONCERNED

If you’re feeling a little light-headed when you are too warm, overtired. tense, or nervous, and the episode lasts for just a few moments, chances are there is nothing to worry about. However, whenever you experience prolonged dizziness or recurrent dizzy spells, you should consult your physician.

Occasionally, dizziness may be caused by medication you are taking (especially drugs for high blood pressure), so check with your doctor. You’ve probably heard about hypoglycemia and know it can cause dizziness, but you may not realize that dizziness alone is generally not caused by low blood sugar. If you have other symptoms, such as sudden blurred or double vision, headache, irritability, sweating, and palpitations, suspect hypoglycemia and call your doctor immediately.

This reaction may occur if you are a diabetic and take too much insulin, wait too long to eat, exercise too much, or just don’t eat enough food. Healthy people who drink alcohol on an empty stomach or who drink alcohol mixed with sugar-containing mixers may also develop symptoms of hypoglycemia. Anytime you experience dizziness associated with a head injury with or without loss of consciousness, call your doctor.
TREATMENT The treatment of dizziness depends on the cause of your symptoms. If you know your dizziness is related to certain stressful emotional situations, try to avoid them or consider counseling to overcome your anxiety. If your dizziness is associated with being overtired, often a brief period of rest will solve your problem.

Anytime you experience dizziness with other symptoms suggesting hypoglycemia, you can try eating sugar or sugar-containing food such as honey, candy, or fruit. However, even if you feel better, you should see your doctor for a complete evaluation. Don’t forget to take along any medications you are taking and be prepared to explain
exactly what seems to bring on your symptoms. That’s the best way for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

CALL YOUR DOCTOR WHEN:

  • Your dizziness doesn’t go away within a short time. • you experience recurrent episodes of dizziness.
  • Your dizziness is associated with a head injury (call immediately).
  • Your dizziness is associated with symptoms suggesting hypoglycemia.