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Thread: 'Dyslexia and Anorexia Aren't Real': Educator

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    'Dyslexia and Anorexia Aren't Real': Educator

    A school principal from southern Sweden has infuriated health workers and disabilities rights advocates after claiming in a newspaper article that dyslexia and anorexia are made-up diseases.

    In a column published in the local Spegeln newspaper from the Malmö suburb of Staffanstorp in southern Sweden, Gert Åkesson, principal of the Sundsgymnasiet high school in nearby Vellinge, opines about the way in which Sweden seems to create public agencies in response to media coverage of perceived problems in society.

    In making his case, the principal makes fun of a number of illnesses and handicaps by comparing them to made-up diseases featured in television comedy sketches.

    “Sometimes it’s a mix of state, regional, and self-appointed agencies. Examples of the latter are associations and councils created for all of the handicaps and diseases invented after the 80s like allergies, Asperger’s, DAMP, ADHD, anorexia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, oral galvanism, anal magnetism… the limits can only be found in one’s imagination,” writes Åkesson.

    Anal magnetism is a made-up disease from a wildly popular Swedish television programme from the 1980s called Nöjesmassakern (‘Fun Massacre’), featuring comedians Gösta Engström and Sven Melander.

    Oral galvanism refers to a condition which received a great deal of attention in Sweden as far back as the 1970s. However, questions about whether or not the condition actually existed were never fully resolved.

    “Concern over the harmful effects of oral galvanism (electrical currents in the mouth resulting from the presence of metal), said to cause discomfort, has been great in Sweden, a country where excitement is, perhaps, hard to find,” reads the abstract from a 1990 article detailing questions about condition published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

    “The alleged recovery of oral galvanism victims when their fillings are removed has not been verified by scientific study. Most symptoms reported by these patients could be caused by psychosocial factors, such as disturbance due to the loss of a father in early childhood.”

    Åkesson’s implied allegations that diseases such as dyslexia and anorexia were invented rather than clinical diagnoses prompted a storm of criticism from advocates for those who suffer from the conditions.

    “If you know what dyslexia is, you would never express yourself like he does,” Sven Eklöf, chair of the 6,000-member Swedish Dyslexia Association (FMLS), told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

    Eklöf was particularly incensed that an education professional such as Åkesson would refer to dyslexia in a way which implied the condition wasn’t real.

    “It seems completely inappropriate that a principal would speak about dyslexia in such a careless way. It hurts all of his students who are fighting with difficulties in reading and writing, as well as their parents.”

    A researcher from Capio healthcare company, which operates eating disorder treatment centres in several locations around the country, called Åkesson’s article “one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever heard”.

    “Anorexia has the highest mortality among psychiatric diseases. Such statements are inflammatory to both patients and an entire science,” Lauri Nevonen, from Capio Anorexicenter, told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

    The chair of the schools’ committee in Vellinge, Carina Larsson, told newspaper Sydvenskan that Åkesson’s formulation was “unfortunate” but refrained from commenting further on the article before having a chance to discuss it with the principal to learn more about what he was trying to say.

    Åkesson himself was unavailable for comment.
    http://www.thelocal.se/22934/20091028/

  2. #2
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    They are mental disorders, but I would not deny that they are real. Mental disorders do lead to mental illness, if they are not taken care of properly.

    Anorexia nervosa
    Anorexia — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatments and more.
    Definition

    Ironically, as concern grows over the rise in obesity rates, some people battle the opposite problem — anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia are obsessed with food and their weight and body shape. They attempt to maintain a weight that's far below normal for their age and height. In extreme cases, they may be skeletally thin but still think they're fat. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia may starve themselves or exercise excessively.

    Although anorexia (an-o-REK-se-uh) centers around food, the disease isn't only about food. Anorexia is an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems, perfectionism and a desire for control. When you have anorexia, you often equate your self-worth with how thin you are.

    Anorexia can be chronic and difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia's serious complications.

    Symptoms
    Some people with anorexia lose weight mainly through severely restricting the amount of food they eat. They may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively. Others with anorexia engage in binging and purging, similar to bulimia. They control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.

    No matter how weight loss is achieved, anorexia has a number of physical, emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms.

    Physical anorexia symptoms
    Physical signs and symptoms of anorexia include:

    • Extreme weight loss
    • Thin appearance
    • Abnormal blood counts
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Brittle nails
    • Hair that thins, breaks or falls out
    • Soft, downy hair covering the body
    • Absence of menstruation
    • Constipation
    • Dry skin
    • Intolerance of cold
    • Irregular heart rhythms
    • Low blood pressure
    • Dehydration

    • Osteoporosis

    Emotional and behavioral anorexia symptoms
    Emotional and behavioral characteristics associated with anorexia include:

    • Refusal to eat
    • Denial of hunger
    • Excessive exercise
    • Flat mood, or lack of emotion
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Preoccupation with food
    • Anorexia red flags to watch for

    It may be hard to notice signs and symptoms of anorexia. People with anorexia often go to great lengths to disguise their thinness, eating habits or physical problems.

    If you're concerned that a loved one may have anorexia, watch for these possible red flags:

    • Skipping meals
    • Making excuses for not eating
    • Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories
    • Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out after chewing
    • Weighing food
    • Cooking elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat
    • Repeated weighing of themselves
    • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
    • Wearing baggy or layered clothing
    • Complaining about being fat

    Causes
    It's not known specifically what causes some people to develop anorexia. As with many diseases, it's likely a combination of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors.

    Biological. Some people may be genetically vulnerable to developing anorexia. Young women with a biological sister or mother with an eating disorder are at higher risk, for example, suggesting a possible genetic link. Studies of twins also support that idea. However, it's not clear specifically how genetics may play a role. It may be that some people have a genetic tendency toward perfectionism, sensitivity and perseverance, all traits associated with anorexia. There's also some evidence that serotonin — one of the brain chemicals involved in depression — may play a role in anorexia.
    Psychological. People with anorexia may have psychological and emotional characteristics that contribute to anorexia. They may have low self-worth, for instance. They may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to strict diets and forgo food despite being hungry. They may have an extreme drive for perfectionism, which means they may never think they're thin enough.
    Sociocultural. Modern Western culture often cultivates and reinforces a desire for thinness. The media are splashed with images of waif-like models and actors. Success and worth are often equated with being thin. Peer pressure may fuel the desire to be thin, particularly among young girls. However, anorexia and other eating disorders existed centuries ago, suggesting that sociocultural values aren't solely responsible.
    Risk factors
    Anorexia may seem very common because of media attention and television specials, but in truth, its prevalence is hard to pin down, partly because anorexia is sometimes defined in different ways by different researchers. Some estimates say only about 1 percent of American girls and women have anorexia. Others suggest that up to 10 percent of adolescent girls have anorexia. Anorexia is more common in girls and women. But recent research suggests that an increasing number of boys and men have been developing eating disorders in the last decade, perhaps because of growing social pressure. And while anorexia is more common among teens, people of any age can develop this eating disorder.

    Although the precise cause of anorexia is unknown, certain factors can increase the risk of developing anorexia, including:

    Dieting. People who lose weight by dieting are often reinforced by positive comments from others and by their changing appearance. They may end up dieting excessively.
    Unintentional weight loss. People who don't intentionally diet but lose weight after an illness or accident may be complimented on their new-found thinness. Reinforced, they may wind up dieting to an extreme.
    Weight gain. Someone who gains weight may be dismayed with their new shape and may get criticized or ridiculed. In response, they may wind up dieting excessively.
    Puberty. Some adolescents have trouble coping with the changes their bodies go through during puberty. They also may face increased peer pressure and may be more sensitive to criticism or even casual comments about weight or body shape. All of these can set the stage for anorexia.
    Transitions. Whether it's a new school, home or job, a relationship breakup, or the death or illness of a loved one, change can bring emotional distress. One way to cope, especially in situations that may be out of someone's control, is to latch on to something that they can control, such as their eating.
    Sports, work and artistic activities. Athletes, actors and television personalities, dancers, and models are at higher risk of anorexia. For some, such as ballerinas, ultra-thinness may even be a professional requirement. Sports associated with anorexia include running, wrestling, figure skating and gymnastics. Professional men and women may believe they'll improve their upward mobility by losing weight, and then take it to an extreme. Coaches and parents may inadvertently raise the risk by suggesting that young athletes lose weight.
    Media and society. The media, such as television and fashion magazines, frequently feature a parade of skinny models and actors. But whether the media merely reflect social values or actually drive them isn't clear-cut. In any case, these images may seem to equate thinness with success and popularity.
    When to seek medical advice
    Anorexia, like other eating disorders, can take over your life. You may think about food all of the time, spend hours agonizing over options in the grocery store, and exercise to exhaustion. You also may have a host of physical problems that make you feel generally miserable, such as dizziness, constipation, fatigue and frequently feeling cold. You may be irritable, angry, moody, sad, anxious and hopeless. You might visit pro-anorexia Web sites, refer to the disease as your "friend," cover up in layers of heavy clothing, and try to subsist on a menu of lettuce, carrots, popcorn and diet soda.

    If you're experiencing any of these problems, or if you think you may have an eating disorder, get help. Remind yourself that you're not actually in control anymore — the anorexia is. If you're hiding your anorexia from loved ones, try to find a trusted confidante you can talk to about what's going on. Together, you can come up with some treatment options.

    Unfortunately, many people with anorexia don't want treatment, at least initially. Their desire to remain thin overrides concerns about their health. If you have a loved one you're worried about, urge him or her to talk to a doctor. But unless you have legal authority to do so, you can't force loved ones to get treatment.

    Tests and diagnosis
    When doctors suspect someone has anorexia, they typically run a battery of tests and exams. These can help pinpoint a diagnosis and also check for any related complications.

    These exams and tests generally include:

    Physical exam. This may include measuring height and weight; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; checking the skin for dryness or other problems; listening to the heart and lungs; and examining the abdomen.
    Laboratory tests. These may include a complete blood count (CBC), as well as more specialized blood tests to check electrolytes and protein as well as functioning of the liver, kidney and thyroid. A urinalysis also may be done.
    Psychological evaluation. A doctor or mental health professional can assess thoughts, feelings and eating habits. Psychological self-assessments and questionnaires also are used.
    Other studies. X-rays may be taken to check for broken bones, pneumonia or heart problems. Electrocardiograms may be done to look for heart irregularities. Testing may also be done to determine how much energy your body uses, which can help in planning nutritional requirements.

    Diagnostic criteria for anorexia
    To be diagnosed with anorexia, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

    DSM diagnostic criteria for anorexia are:

    • Refusal to maintain a body weight that is at or above the minimum normal weight for your age and height
    • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though you're underweight
    • Denying the seriousness of having a low body weight, or having a distorted image of your appearance or shape
    • In women who've started having periods, the absence of a period for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles

    These criteria, however, are not without controversy. Some medical professionals believe these criteria are too strict or don't accurately reflect symptoms in some people. Some people may not meet all of these criteria but still have an eating disorder and need professional help. As more is learned about anorexia, the diagnostic criteria may change.

    Complications
    Anorexia can have numerous complications. At its most severe, it can be fatal. Anorexia has one of the higher death rates among all mental illnesses, around 5 percent but perhaps even higher than that. Death may occur suddenly — even when someone is not severely underweight. This may result from abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or electrolyte imbalances.

    Complications of anorexia include:

    • Death
    • Anemia
    • Heart problems, such as mitral valve prolapse, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure
    • Bone loss, increasing risk of fractures later in life
    • Lung problems resembling emphysema
    • In females, absence of a period
    • In males, decreased testosterone
    • Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or nausea
    • Electrolyte abnormalities, such as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride
    • Kidney problems

    If a person with anorexia becomes severely malnourished, every organ in the body can sustain damage, including the brain, heart and kidneys. This damage may not be fully reversible, even when the anorexia is under control.

    In addition to the host of physical complications, people with anorexia also commonly have other mental disorders as well. They may include:

    1. Depression
    2. Anxiety disorders
    3. Personality disorders
    4. Obsessive-compulsive disorders
    5. Drug abuse

    Treatments and drugs
    When you have anorexia, you may need several types of treatment. If your life is in immediate danger, you may need treatment in a hospital emergency department for such issues as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or psychiatric problems.

    Treatment of anorexia is generally done using a team approach that includes medical providers, mental health providers and dietitians, all with experience in eating disorders.

    Here's a look at what's commonly involved in treating people with anorexia:

    Medical care
    Because of the host of complications anorexia causes, you may need frequent monitoring of vital signs, hydration level and electrolytes, as well as related physical conditions. A family doctor or primary care doctor may be the one who coordinates care with the other health care professionals involved. Sometimes, though, it's the mental health provider who coordinates care.

    Psychotherapy
    Individual, family and group therapy may all be beneficial. Individual therapy can help you deal with the behavior and thoughts that contribute to anorexia. In psychotherapy, you can gain a healthier self-esteem and learn positive ways to cope with distress and other strong feelings. A type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is most commonly used but lacks strong evidence that it's superior to other forms of therapy. The mental health provider can help assess the need for psychiatric hospitalization or day treatment programs.

    Family therapy can help resolve family conflicts or muster support from concerned family members. Family therapy can be especially important for children with anorexia who still live at home. Group therapy gives you a way to connect to others facing eating disorders. And informal support groups can also be helpful. However, be careful with group therapy. For some people with anorexia, group therapy or support groups can result in competitions to be the thinnest person there.

    Nutritional therapy
    A dietitian offers guidance on a healthy diet. A dietitian can provide specific meal plans and calorie requirements to help meet weight goals. In severe cases, people with anorexia may require feeding through a tube that's placed in their nose and goes to the stomach (nasogastric tube).

    Medications
    There are no medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat anorexia since they've shown limited benefit in treating this eating disorder. However, antidepressants or other psychiatric medications can help treat other mental disorders you may also have, such as depression or anxiety.

    Hospitalization
    In cases of medical complications, psychiatric emergencies, severe malnutrition or continued refusal to eat, hospitalization may be needed. Hospitalization may be on a medical or psychiatric ward. Some clinics specialize in treating people with eating disorders. Some may offer day programs or residential programs, rather than full hospitalization. Specialized eating disorder programs may offer more intensive treatment over longer periods of time. Also, even after hospitalization ends, ongoing therapy and nutrition education are highly important to continued recovery.

    Treatment challenges in anorexia
    Anorexia occurs on a continuum. Some cases are much more severe than others. Less severe cases may take less time for treatment and recovery. But one of the biggest challenges in treating anorexia is that people may not want treatment or think they don't need it. In fact, some people with anorexia promote it as a lifestyle choice. They don't consider it an illness. Pro-anorexia Web sites are proliferating, even offering tips on which foods to avoid and how to fight hunger pangs.

    Full Article:http://www.bing.com/health/article.a...exia&FORM=K1RE

    Anatomy of a Learning Disability
    By Ronald D. Davis © 1985


    • The individual encounters an unrecognized stimulus.
    • This could be a word (written or spoken), symbol, or object that is not recognized.
    • The lack of recognition causes a feeling of confusion.
    • Confusion naturally and automatically stimulates or triggers disorientation.
    • The individual uses disorientation to mentally examine the stimulus in an attempt to bring about recognition and resolve the confusion.
    • Disorientation produces false sensory perceptions.
    • The different views and perceptions the individual is examining mentally are being registered in the brain as actual perceptions.
    • The disorientation and resulting false perceptions brings about the assimilation of incorrect data.
    • The incorrect data causes the individual to make mistakes.
    • The individual cannot recognize the incorrect data as incorrect because it is registered in the brain as actual perception.
    • The mistakes cause emotional reactions.
    • No one likes to make mistakes. The individual is simply experiencing a human reaction.
    • Emotional reactions bring about a condition of frustration.
    • The frustration is a result of the cumulative effects of the mistakes and emotional reactions.
    • Compulsive solutions are created or adopted to solve the mistakes.
    • A solution will be a method of knowing something or a method of doing something. It will have worked at least once, and it will be compulsive. These solutions usually begin to appear around age eight or nine. Now instead of the confusion triggering a disorientation, it will trigger the compulsive solution.
    • The disability aspect of a learning disability is composed of the compulsive solutions the individual acquires. These compulsive solutions are what disable the learning process.
    • To effectively unravel this sequence, the underlying reasons for the need to formulate and adopt compulsive solutions must be addressed. These are disorientations and the feelings of confusions that trigger them.
    • Because disorientation and confusion are both internal and subjective responses, the individual, himself or herself, is the only one who can truly do something about it.
    Full Article:http://www.dyslexia.com/library/anatomy.htm


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    I don't doubt genuine dyslexics exist, but I also think dyslexia is far too often used as an excuse for ignorance, carelessness and laziness. Far too many modern people would suffer from "dyslexia".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resist View Post
    I don't doubt genuine dyslexics exist, but I also think dyslexia is far too often used as an excuse for ignorance, carelessness and laziness. Far too many modern people would suffer from "dyslexia".
    I agree! I used to work with an alcoholic that claimed he was dyslexic. He did not have any higher than a fifth grade education, but he was actually very intelligent. He was very good at repairing cars and motorcycles. He was always reading the newspaper or his fishing magazines on his lunch break, but when it came to reading our computer monitors, he could read them just fine, when he was sober. He would come in drunk some days, and have trouble reading the monitors. He always used being dyslexic, as his excuse for his drunkenness. It occurred to me, that he could have succeeded in life better, had he wanted too, but he did not want to learn. I don't even believe that he really was dyslexic, but just a lazy drunk! The last I heard of him, he was unemployed. Go figure.

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