Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Point of No Return

A few years ago I saw a 41 year old man, owner of a small business, for a gambling addiction. Once he built a successful business, he decided to take life easy and enjoy the fruits of his labor. He got hooked onto Poker and Blackjack and liked the royal treatment he received in the Las Vegas casinos. In due course, he also became addicted to alcohol. Naturally, his business suffered due to a lack of attention. Mounting losses and debt drove him to anti-depressants and sleep aides.  These medications made matters worse by clouding his judgment.

I wanted to make sure before accepting him as a patient, that he had not crossed the point of no return. His business was battered, but not dead. Besides, he was committed to give up his addictions, regain his reputation and get his business back on track. I told him that he was on the edge, but had not crossed the point of no return. If he had closed his business, he had no chance of recovering from his plight because he would have had nothing to lose. People fall into an abyss once they cross the point of no return. By appreciating good health, a loving family and a successful career you will not reach the point of no return and that will be a turning point in your life.

Balasa Prasad

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Legalizing Marijuana (pot) leads to more pot-heads on the street

As an anesthesiologist and intervention pain management specialist I do not believe pot should be legalized for two reasons. First, there are many powerful less addictive analgesics and minimally invasive pain management techniques to manage chronic painful conditions. Besides analgesics are smooth and benign anti-emetics available to help people who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Secondly, the abuse potential of human beings knows no boundaries. There are no monitoring systems that can prevent legalized pot from falling into the wrong hands eager to make a quick buck or to get high. Therefore, I believe there is no redeeming value to legalize marijuana. It is high time for society to take a serious look at the dark side of the legalization of marijuana and prevent an impending catastrophe.

Balasa Prasad M.D

Can you protect yourself from the Blinding Rage of Adam Lanza? It’s more common than you think.

Human emotions are more sophisticated and complex when compared to any other animal on the planet. Our emotions are like a double edged sword, too little or too much can lead to disastrous consequences while just the right amount can lead to productivity, achievement, altruism and greatness. Blinding rage can happen to anybody under certain circumstances. However it is more likely to occur among those who have established difficulties regulating their emotions.
Over many years I have worked with children as young as 3 and I have come across a few that are enveloped with blinding rage. When calm they tend to be logical, reasonable and capable of normal interactions. But when enraged, all logical thinking goes out the window leading to destruction of self, others or both like in the Sandy Hook and other mass massacre shootings. 
Other factors that play in the lack of control of emotional rage are the presence of neurobiological illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Depression, poor impulse control in the form of ADHD resulting in emotional impulsivity and social skill deficits. The use of drugs and alcohol can also lead to lapses in judgment and dangerous behaviors.
So what do you do with a 6 year old who wants to kill or assault everyone within sight when set off by the smallest emotional trigger? Do you blame the parents, the child’s genes, the child’s traumatic experiences or the violence ridden neighborhood?  The few lucky ones living in states like NY that has some mental health services might get help. Otherwise they may go in and out of hospitals, clinics and eventually juvenile detention centers. I do understand the plight of mothers like Liza Long the “Anarchist Soccer Mom,” as parents like her might find themselves stuck either because of uncontrollable circumstances or their self-made situations. 
As long as humans inhabit this planet, blinding and illogical rage is here to stay. The bottom line is that there are two choices to prevent carnage of innocent lives. Either fix the emotional landscape of human functioning and accountability or fix the gun laws. I think it is easier to amend gun laws to make it harder for lethal weapons to fall into the wrong hands. But this can happen only if all politicians put their personal and political agendas and emotions aside.

By Preetham Grandhi MD