Why care about thyroid cancer? It’s about iodine.

Or more importantly about the lack of iodine and the excess availability of bromide, fluoride and perchlorate – all halides – all chemically similar enough so that the body may build thyroid hormone with them if there is a deficiency of iodine. Bromide replaced iodine in baked goods some point in time around the 1950s as an anti-caking agent in flour. Fluoride was added to water supplies and to toothpaste around the same time. Both fluoride and bromide may be used in medicines to help make a natural product able to be patented as chemically unique. They also may increase the active life of a medicine if the combination can be made to be able to enter cells with a molecule of bromide or fluoride attached then it tends to stay there longer because the molecule of the halide is so big that it is difficult for the cell to excrete  – which may make accumulation to toxic levels more of a long-term risk.

Iodine deficiency makes the risk of radioactive iodine more of a risk but it makes the use of X-ray machines with radioactive iodine more effective. Or the radioactive iodine to kill the thyroid cancer treatment more effective (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27856930). I prefer health. Iodine deficiency can make hypothyroid symptoms more likely which may include depression, easy weight gain and a reduced sex drive.

Will we ever be allowed to discuss underlying natural causes of chronic illness and cancer or do we have to simply trust that prescription pads can cure everything no matter how high the cost to individuals or society – and the problem with that plan is they can’t cure everything and the side effects of cancer treatments can be severe and may include cognitive deficits – loss of thinking ability.

Do we as a people have to be ashamed of a desire for health or for a healthy sex drive or is it now the norm to expect looking good to not be associated with feeling good? Shaming women over wanting to feel better or to wonder why they’ve lost interest in life, let alone sexual relations, is something I’ve experienced as a patient. If the standard lab test for hypothyroidism shows the presence of thyroid hormone then any symptoms are ‘crazy’ – ask for an autoimmune antibody lab test to be done. Hypothyroid symptoms may occur during autoimmune hypothyroidism while the thyroid hormone lab test shows the presence of thyroid hormone. It may be present but if it is loaded with bromide, chloride or fluoride atoms then it may simply be adding to long term cancer risk instead of performing the normal functions of regulating metabolism. Feeling cold and having easily thinning hair are also symptoms of hypothyroidism. Constipation and being sensitive to gluten containing foods may also be associated problems with hypothyroidism.

Shaming patients has not been found to be effective at helping them in the area of drug or alcohol problems:

“The results add to a body of literature suggesting that widely used shaming and humiliating methods of treating alcohol and other drug problems — such as those seen on shows like Celebrity Rehab — are not only ineffective but also may be counterproductive.” (9.156)

Patients with problems with chronic obesity or overweight issues that are actually due to hypothyroidism may try very hard to lose weight and may exercise a lot and eat very little and still not lose weight or even gain it. A severe hypothyroid problem can make a person’s metabolic needs drop far below average. An average diet for a person is recommended to not go below 1200 calories per day. Someone with hypothyroidism may be eating 800 calories per day and still not be losing weight – are they shameful over-eaters? or are they starving for iodine? I vote the latter. But society tends to look at anyone who is overweight as someone who eats too much – no it might be someone whose body gains weight too easily.

It has been made clear to me that sexual health is not to be discussed unless it is regarding men’s sexual health. Women don’t sweat, they just glow, or something like that. If men want sexual health it seems like they would want healthy partners too. We really aren’t talking about men’s sexual health either though, just take a pill and don’t worry about potential underlying cardiovascular risks that may be associated with ED (Erectile Dysfunction – yes, actually we don’t talk about that much either.)

Babies come from under cabbage leaves still I guess. Unfortunately they need iodine too. Rhubarb is a good source of iodine so maybe start looking for babies under rhubarb leaves. Or maybe just eat more rhubarb because it would not only be providing iodine, it also has a phytonutrient, parietin, that has been shown to be effective against cancer cells. A concentrated amount of the parietin was used however: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/613194/Cancer-killing-drug-rhubarb-ready-within-years

Parietin is an orange pigment found in the rhubarb and in many types of lichen. I don’t happen to have an image of rhubarb handy but here’s some pretty lichen on a rock in a desert area:

Colorful lichen on a rock in the desert during early winter, with colored pieces of glass, found nearby.

The chemical left healthy cells unharmed which is unlike typical chemotherapy treatments. The parietin may be stopping cancer cell growth by blocking anaerobic metabolism – the burning of energy without oxygen. Our bodies preferentially use metabolic pathways that use oxygen (and cause oxidative stress as a byproduct). This article is longer and contains a list of many other beneficial phytonutrients and vitamins found in whole rhubarb. It contains antioxidants and a variety of beneficial things in addition to iodine:  https://www.naturalhealth365.com/rhubarb-cancer-enzyme-1820.html

While I don’t have a picture I do have a recipe for Blueberry Rhubarb Jam – the two fruits work well together in a sauce, cobbler, or jam because rhubarb is fairly tart – acidic, and blueberries are fairly mild – more alkaline. They balance each other nicely in this low sugar recipe: http://transcendingsquare.com/2012/07/21/blueberry-rhubarb-jam/

If you happen to have a patch of rhubarb or know someone who does you’ll know that when it is season there is lots and then it is out of season, the leaves get large and the usuable part – the celery like stalks become too large, less tender, less colorful and the parietin at least is in the colorful pinkish pigments on the exterior of the rhubarb leaf stalks.

A simpler recipe that I made to use up a lot of rhubarb all at once was a Rhubarb Ginger Sauce which I would freeze in batches which turned into a sorbet like frozen treat. I also would use the sauce thawed in baked goods as a substitution for part of the liquid in a recipe similar to substituting applesauce.

The recipe was roughly 12 cups of washed and chopped rhubarb stalks, about 1/2 inch long sections, simmered with 3 cups of sugar and an inch or two section of ginger root, peeled and minced fine. Some might prefer less ginger or no ginger, that amount made a fairly zingy sauce. The stalks make their own sauce as they simmer and the chunks become soft and lose their form. Simmer for about 20 minutes. I would need to try it again to check the recipe but that is the way I remember making it. Once frozen the sugary treat was easy to eat like a fruit sorbet rather than freezing into a more solid ice cube. The sugar content would be necessary for that effect, I think a sugar free sauce would freeze more solid.

So plan ahead, eat healthy now and prevent precancerous cells the natural way – with a healthy immune system and active metabolic rate. It is difficult to have a normal lifestyle let alone exercise regularly when the body is coasting on 800 calories a day due to hypothyroidism.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

G3.4: Social contact would help protect against oxidative stress.

People and other species are social creatures whose survival may have been dependent on being part of a group rather than being isolated. Loneliness has been associated with increased inflammation and a reduced resistance to infection by viral diseases. Genetic changes have been found to occur in isolated individuals that lead to the increased inflammatory response in comparison to individuals who have more social support. Genes can be temporarily turned on or off depending on the environment.

Our instincts have developed to trust that being part of a group increases our chance of survival. Having a role that fulfills a valued purpose for the group is associated with an increased sense of happiness. Read more: A Better Kind of Happiness, by Will Storr, (G3.9).

Fitting into groups well can require social skills that need to be nurtured from birth. Infants learn body language at an early age by interacting with a parent who responds to the baby’s cues. If the baby smiles the mother smiles back and the baby learns to smile more readily. If the baby has a mother that doesn’t notice body language though, then the infant may stop smiling as often.

Infants and children depend on their caregivers for everything and try to please with their smiles, eye contact, or baby coos. If the infant isn’t receiving eye contact in return however they may stop trying or are scolded they may learn to look away and to avoid eye contact.

Children ideally need emotional support in order to develop trust in themselves and in others. Parents who have limited skills in understanding and accepting their own emotions may not be able to teach their children what they don’t understand themselves. Children who have some role model in their lives who understands emotional skills may cope better than children who don’t.

The topic is discussed in more detail in the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD, (New Harbinger Pub., Inc., 2015, Oakland, CA) (G3.10) (This book is not a twelve step book and is not affiliated with the Adult Children of Alcoholic or Dysfunctional Parents twelve step group.) On page eight the author discusses the importance of emotional connection for humans and other mammals for responding less negatively to stress. Stephen Porges published work in 2011 suggesting that mammals evolved a way in which we can get additional soothing during fear situations when we are in touch physically or possibly even mentally – thinking about them during times of need. It involves vagus nerve pathways that can be inhibited to reduce the fight, flight, or freeze stress reaction. (G3.10)

So a sense of connection to others can help reduce the negative inflammatory effects of the stress response. Some stress can be healthy to help get us moving to meet whatever challenge has occurred. Stress may become more overwhelming however if the person is isolated or never learned social skills or developed enough trust in others to ask for help or seek out help.

Children in situations with emotionally immature caregivers may learn that people around them can’t be trusted or that trying doesn’t lead to success so why bother trying – they can learn a sense of helplessness and hopelessness and not even try to seek help because they are unfamiliar with finding strength or support from others.

In the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson (G3.10) four different types of emotionally immature caregivers are described and how growing up with them might affect children. Solutions are also provided in the form of techniques for how, as an adult, a person might overcome the lessons they learned as a child once they discover that emotions aren’t dangerous things to never be discussed or worse –  that one might be punished for exhibiting them.

Some emotionally immature people may feel threatened by strong emotions and may react negatively to children who are simply being children. The child in that situation learns to not trust themselves and may not learn that emotions are normal rather than upsetting or frightening.

Severe childhood trauma can lead to changes in the brain that cause ongoing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A new strategy for treating PTSD has been developed which involves electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve called Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS).  

The excerpt summary from the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (G3.10) regarding the research by Stephen Porges suggests that the vagal nerve is the nerve pathway that naturally is stimulated when social contact is sought by mammals who are enduring a stressful situation. (G3.11) (G3.12)

Whether you are a parent or a teen or an adult learning more about emotional maturity and immaturity can help understand your own emotions and others. Whatever we grow up with will seem normal to us and as adults we tend to seek out similar relationships to those we were familiar with as children – but sometimes what seems normal to some people isn’t normal for everyone else and there is no need to continue living in abusive situations just because it seemed like a normal part of life as a child.

Lack of emotional skills may increase the risk of acting inappropriately when under severe stress. People need the support of people to help reduce negative effects of stress and increase a sense of connection and purpose. People need to learn emotional skills from people who have emotional skills  – or sometimes from a book, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson: (G3.10)

  • Attachment Theory and parenting styles are discussed in section 8. Trust is learned early.

The descriptions in this section suggest the inconsistent parenting of the Disorganized style or a parent that switches between Avoidant and Anxious-Resistant styles. A more trusting  Secure style can be achieved with the help of Cognitive Therapy techniques and practice; but it is a lot of work to change core values, or more realistically – attempt to modify slightly, core values that remain from early childhood. Art Therapy or EMDR therapy can help access nonverbal feelings and events that may have occurred during the preverbal years of childhood. Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help when there are cognitive and physical issues underlying mood symptoms.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

References:

G3.3: Negative stress can trigger the “fight-flight” response – Who’s at Risk?

Stressful times can make fear and anxiety more likely as our body’s instincts expect to either run from danger or to freeze in position, possibly in the hopes of not being noticed by a predator.

Who’s more at risk to experience negative stress?

Who is more at risk to experience a challenge with a negative fight, flight, or freeze stress response? (G.10)  Instead of having their body or mind perceive a stressor as a positive challenge and an exciting reason to get up each morning ready to say “Carpe diem”?   

Who is more at risk to experience stress as a negative stress response instead of seeing it as a positive challenge and reason to get up and get busy?

  • Answer: many groups are more at risk for having their bodies respond to an event with more of a negative stress response than the average person.     

People more vulnerable to the negative health effects of stress include:

  • older adults;
  • mothers and especially working mothers;
  • less educated individuals;
  • divorced or widowed individuals;
  • people with financial concerns or lack of health insurance;
  • isolated or lonely people;
  • people who are targets of racial or sexual discrimination;
  • people who live in cities,
  • and people with a history of childhood trauma can be more risk to feeling stress.
  • Summarized from “Stress“: (G3.5), University of Maryland Medical Center.

Antioxidant foods can help protect against negative effects from stress.

Eating antioxidant rich foods can help protect the body from negative effects that can occur due the waste chemicals produced during normal metabolism and increased during situations that cause more oxidative stress from  either emotional or physical reasons. Angry and tense due to having to hold in your temper at work, or angry and tense because the traffic was so physically dangerous to navigate simply to get to work in the first place; – both can increase the amount of oxidative stress occurring throughout the body.

Social contact with caring people can also help the body physically detoxify negative chemicals produced during stress or produce less of them in the first place, that will be discussed more in the next post. (G3.10)

The stress response produces chemicals which can cause other inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Having extra antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and assuring adequate omega 3 fatty acids was shown to help reduce inflammation in autoimmune Celiac sprue. (G3.6)

Dark chocolate has also been shown to be beneficial antioxidant source. Forty grams (1.3 ounces approximately) per day of chocolate was found beneficial with a college student population. (G3.7) That is quite a bit of chocolate for someone with limited room for the empty calories from sugar. Sesame seeds would provide antioxidants with no added sugar.

Eating sesame seeds as part of the daily diet has been shown in sports research to help reduce oxidative stress. The trial subjects ate 2 tablespoons per day of the seeds. See: Effects of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) Supplementation on Creatine Kinase, Lactate Dehydrogenase, Oxidative Stress Markers, and Aerobic Capacity in Semi-Professional Soccer Players. (G3.8)

Using tahini in the diet regularly would have similar health benefits. Raw oil or seed butter products may have the most antioxidant content. Look for the phrase “unroasted” on a seed or nut butter product or “cold pressed” on the label of an oil or coconut oil product. Tahini is a sesame paste similar to peanut butter except it has different flavor. The flavor is stronger and to my taste does not go well with sweet jams or jellies like peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. I have found daily use of tahini to be more beneficial to my health then sunflower butter as a substitute for peanut butter – which I have to avoid. I have many dietary restrictions because I feel better without the foods, due to intestinal sensitivities and the autoimmune inflammatory reactions that can occur when I have even very small amounts of some things.

My easy answer to fueling my body so I can get back to what I like doing – reading and writing – is simply tahini spread on rice cakes. I’m used to it now and eat it plain but when I first started eating it I would drizzle a small amount of blackstrap molasses on as a sweetener with a stronger flavor and a good supply of iron and trace nutrients. Or more often I would sprinkle ginger powder on for a zingy accent that provides pain killing anti-inflammatory chemicals. Later in this section on oxidative stress TRP channels will be discussed and their unfortunate sensitivity to many common foods – including ginger. Sadly for my diet and inflammatory condition, I no longer can use ginger due to the intestinal overactivity of TRP channels – presumably, more on that in a later section –  however it may take a while, note the abrupt change in the next footnote number, there is some stuff in between the beginning and the end of the footnote list:

Chocolate and antioxidant foods and herbs found helpful for stress are discussed in more detail with references on a UCLA webpage providing information about integrating Eastern medical philosophies and treatments with Western medical methods. (G3.112)

To provide sustenance for the journey and a way to add chocolate to your diet for anyone who can’t think of any, see my antioxidant rich recipe for chocolate chip cookies. See the third version on this page of recipes and information about gluten free food sensitivity and autoimmune sensitivity for an egg free, butter free, gluten free cookie recipe. It is still a treat with calories and fat, but with fewer ingredients that contain inflammatory chemicals and more ingredients that are very good sources of antioxidants or healthy types of fats: G8.Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Regarding TRP channels – cinnamon is a spice that can activate a type of the membrane gates to allow nerve signals or other actions to occur. The spice has been to help reduce blood glucose levels for patients with diabetes. About one quarter to one half teaspoon per day was found helpful.  (G3.124) A half teaspoon of cinnamon powder is a large amount. Some people enjoy it stirred into a bowl of hot cereal in the morning. It could also be added in smaller amounts to a few cups of hot tea throughout the day, or an evening cup of hot cocoa. Cinnamon is a spice that I avoid due to migraines, it may be causative as a TRPA1 channel agonist. More is included in later sections on TRP channels and the foods that may cause problems for some people such as those with a tendency towards migraines or Irritable Bowel Syndrome or concerns with chronic itch or skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema.

The science regarding cinnamon and blood glucose is complex, some of these terms and chemicals will be discussed in more detail later, this is an introduction to the topic of oxidative stress and TRP channels:

Cinnamaldehyde is a phytonutrient found in cinnamon. It activates ion channels (TRPA1) found in membranes of nerve cells in the tongue and throughout the body. Activating the TRPA1 ion channels causes a release of proteins called peptides from the nerve cells. The nerve cells carry pain sensations and also supply nerve signals to blood vessels. Blood vessel and cardiovascular functions can be beneficially affected by the peptides (including “calcitonin gene-related peptide, (CGRP), and Substance P, (SP)”) and activation of the TRPA1 channels within nerve cells of the gastrointestinal tract can also signal satiety centers in the brain (satiety is the sense of fullness, and hunger signals stop). Cinnamon use by patients with Type 2 diabetes has been found to help decrease blood glucose levels. Release of insulin promoting hormones (glucose-dependent insulinotropic hormone (GIP) and GLP-1) by the TRPA1 ion channels may be the reason for the decrease in insulin levels with the use of cinnamon. (page 1118, G3.113) 

How much cinnamon, what type? Cinnamon that included another phytonutrient called linolool was found to be helpful to lower blood glucose levels in an animal-based study at doses of 12.5 or 25 mg/kg of body weight, and more was not better. Doses of 50 mg/kg no longer had the beneficial effect. (G3.124) For a human who weighs 150 pounds/68 kilograms, that might be a serving size of 850-1700 milligrams, which might be roughly ¼ to ½ teaspoon per day – and one teaspoon, 50 mg/kg, would not be more helpful. Many nutrients and other activities in life are good in moderation but may be not helpful or even harmful in larger amounts

See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

References:

Marginalization and Violence

Studies on random violence and terrorist acts have found that individuals and groups who are marginalized may be more at risk. Persecution and humiliation and child trauma or neglect was more common in the history of people arrested for a violent crime. The recent death of a peaceful protester in Charlottesville is tragic for the family and community, and the nation. (bloomberg.com/2017-08-14)

We are becoming even more divided since the difficult campaign season but marginalizing young adults may just lead to more violence. A group that has appeared to be supportive of or producing the Nazi themed memes  has a petition up to help save them from oppression, whether it might be satire about saving Pakistan is unclear. (change.org/p/the-recognition-and-freedom-of-the-kekistani-people)

of-the-kekistani-people)

Update, 8/18/2017, I’ve looked into this group further and it does seem to be a satire group whose artwork got taken up by other extreme right wing groups.. Their group’s name and artwork was not visible in any of the video footage that I saw of the event at Charlottesville. And a police officer has stated that the event may have been allowed to happen as a political move to show that the current administration is inciting violence. If the police officer is correct than the Charlottesville administration was the ones inciting it, but they deny it. Snopes has a debunking statement up about the police officer’s claim. Ever since the site debunked a story by suggesting it was simply a math anomaly I’ve been suspicious of their results – yes odd math happens but that is not a “debunking” – you’re not supposed to simply throw out the unusual experimental results simply because they fall at outside of the 98th percentile. See this article:  (yournewswire.com/charlottesville-inside-job) there’s a Snopes factcheck of it that says its false: (snopes.com/were-police-told-stand-down-charlottesville)

Young adults who are just looking for recognition and freedom from “normies” may need more variety of role models to follow. When “normal” society is the bad guy and Trump is the savior figure in the artwork – we all have a problem.

There are a few articles on my website about Zionism and World War II but the information is not in support of Hitler. Anti-Zionist at the time of World War II included Jewish people, such as Albert Einstein. There was collusion between Hitler and the Zionists at the time which may have left more of the non-Zionists Jews at risk for the concentration camps while a few left early for Palestine and they were allowed to take their possessions.  It all may involve banking and the national monetary system that Germany put in place after WWI cost them a large amount in reparations. History is complicated and the winners write the books.

I’ve been working on a health information website, a directory of links to other resources with narrative about their value. It started out as an example of a policy manual for preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Violence is bad, um’kay.” (A paraphrase of a line from Southpark.)

The footnotes aren’t renumbered for this yet, either. but here is a section regarding random violence and humiliation of others. When one is singled out for persecution it is warning all the others in the group and other marginalized groups, that if they aren’t careful then they could get the same treatment – so follow the group’s expectations – their norms. As a medical marijuana patient I’ve been in a marginalized group and the expectation has been to quit being an addict and take part in the business world and social community. I can’t. I’ve tried many times and my health keeps getting worse when I try.  It’s proven to me even more how important it is for my health.

Policy manuals can set consistent standards and be shared quickly. My own role as an administrator included many of them because I worked in a rural area with a small caseload and small budget for staff. As the main Program Coordinator I was responsible for several and then I also had the roles of “Nutrition Education Coordinator,” “Breastfeeding Coordinator,” and “Outreach Coordinator” – it doesn’t fit on a resume line let alone look good in a Human Resources interview. Each role had manuals to keep up to date, and it being a large rural area, I had four sets to keep up to date, one for each of four locations that the same few staff traveled too. Seven years later can I remember them? The names aren’t right, but, 1. the main State/Federal Policy Manual; 2. the Local Agency Policy and Procedures Manual (I had to write that one with our local methods for required policies and procedures); 3. AnthropometricLab & Clinic Standards Manual; 4. Civil Rights Training Manual; 5. Outreach Manual; 6. Nutrition Education Lesson Plan Manual with examples of all the handouts used, this was mostly original writing also, with some lessons and handouts from the state or other local agencies; 7. the Breastfeeding Manual; 8. the Coupon Inventory Log; and 9. the Equipment Inventory.

I loved my job – what I really did was measure babies and children, poke fingers for iron lab tests, assess nutrition, and income and social needs, as well, and provide education and counseling guidance as needed and enter it in the computer and print out food coupons – with few staff available I worked clinics by myself sometimes or with one other person to help. Updating policy manuals or even reading them was spare time work for at home in the evening, unpaid, or occasionally approved overtime on a weekend for an end of the year report or audit. With few staff it is difficult to make time during a work week for much besides the ten to forty clients I might have seen in a day.

The following is an excerpt from a book about policy manuals – exciting:

9.4: “Running amok,” “going postal,” or “a red stapler” moment.

Creating a pleasant work atmosphere where people feel safe from unfair persecution or humiliation may help prevent sudden violence where people who had seemed like quiet average people snap and try to harm others.

The sudden outburst of violence is not that common and is not about a serial killer who is concealing themselves as average among peers, or the manipulative and charming boss with a narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic side. A random violent outburst more likely might be the hard worker who finally reached a “camel straw” moment – the proverbial final straw added to a load that makes the already overloaded camel’s burden too heavy for it to carry any further.

Verbal and physical intimidation are more common problems in the workplace; and not reporting problems is also common. When is problem behavior serious? Or when is joking and teasing and pranks approaching harassment?

  • More information and guidance about workplace violence, and examples of common situations in Canadian workplaces is available at violenceautravail.ca/Understanding violence.  The site includes a list of “Examples of Workplace Violence:  being threatened with death or injury; getting hit or pushed; having an object thrown at us; being subjected to sexual touching and sexual assault; being scratching or pinched; being spat at; being yelled at; receiving threatening messages or emails; being ridiculed or humiliated; being threatened physically (for example, being shown a fist); having our property damaged. (9.105)

Labeling situations as serious and reportable may help an employee see that what they are experiencing is “bad enough,” and that they should seek help before anything “really serious” happens.

Labeling emotions can help to recognize when they are starting to build in one self or others. Unrecognized emotions may be more difficult to control because they are unrecognized but are uncomfortable and may lead to agitation and gradually build to more intense out of control anger or fear.

Running amok” is an older term and “going postal,” is a newer term for sudden violence. A “red stapler” moment is a reference to a movie from the 90’s that became an instant classic among disgruntled workers everywhere: Office Space.

  • If you happened to missed it, then if you would just go watch Office Space, “That would be great.” (9.79)
  • Or go read this article about it: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Office Space (9.80)

The movie Office Space shows all the “do not do this to your employees” bad boss examples to avoid following. Don’t be left holding only a stapler, plan ahead and give everyone their own. Fair treatment and a sense of autonomy, a right to some control over one’s work, are important for employees in addition to earning a fair paycheck. Threatening job loss or other retaliations can leave workers feeling trapped and hopeless because they may need that paycheck even if it isn’t fair.

9.5: “Amok” was a medical condition during stressful times.

Research has found that during stressful times, whether due to economic or environmental reasons, people are more likely to act out verbally or physically against people who are not of their same ethnic group. (9.41) During times of stress, violence against women is also more common, particularly against women who are suspected to be sexually active or to have been unfaithful in a relationship. (9.43) Other research has found that the rate of violent crime is associated with the rate of infection in the population. Research into group and individual behavior suggests that the rate of infectious disease in a group is significantly associated with the rate of violent and property crime and with the rate of violent crime against strangers. (9.41)

It is unclear from epidemiology studies whether an association is causal or correlated, but if health is associated with less violence, it seems like a reasonable goal to promote health and try to prevent infectious disease.

Some types of infectious disease can directly lead to symptoms of increased irritability or rage and historically, and times of environmental or economic stress have been linked to a medical condition that was called “amok” where a previously healthy person suddenly started killing or assaulting people randomly. Historically a condition known as amok was first described in 1893 where an individual suddenly acted violently and then would forget the manic episode. Descriptions of the disorder were recorded by the British medical superintendent of the Government Asylum in Singapore. Increases in cases of amok were more associated with “times of social tension or impending disaster.”

The term fell out of use as a medical diagnosis but became commonly used in the phrase “running amok” to describe anyone who was acting unusually out of control. 99.42) Gun violence in modern times has involved racist xenophobia or religious ideology in many cases (9.53, 9.54, 9.56), it can also involve copycat reactions to news coverage of other violent offenders, (9.55), and in a few cases may have involved a shooter who claimed to have amnesia of the event afterwards. (9.44, 9.45)

Is “amok” a real condition that needs a more modern name? Controlling guns doesn’t control violence with knives or vehicles or explosives or with poisons. Promoting health might help more individuals control themselves.

Negligence can also be lethal.

Promoting compassion for others rather than supporting persecution and humiliation of those who are different is necessary. The young learn by observing the way others act and how they treat each other. Teaching compassion or another topic is easier with demonstration than discussion. Police brutality that goes unpunished teaches the wrong message that persecution and humiliation of some types of people is okay when it is done by other types of people. Recently teens filmed a man while he drowned and the group’s laughing and taunting was caught on the audio. The teens never reported the drowning and the man’s body was only found after a missing person’s report was filed. The video later became available and legally it has been found to fall into a loophole in the state’s laws. There is no legal requirement to help a person who is in danger in that state. (9.100)

Divisive politics and economic hardship can lead to more focus being placed on differences in religion or culture, sexual orientation or gender, between oneself and others but it doesn’t have to. Being civilized can mean recognizing those differences and valuing and seeking to understand them better instead of fearing or mistreating those who are different from oneself.

  • TJ Brown suggests how in a section “Fight for a More Civilized Bigotry,” (pg 14) from a longer article: FEE’s Guide to Keeping Friends Despite Political Differences: How to Have Opinions and Friends (at the Same Time!), fee.org (9.106)

9.6: Gratitude and friendship boost dopamine, so does shaming.

Shaming others, reminding them of guilt, can cause an increase of dopamine in the brain of the person doing the shaming. However a compassionate exchange with a friend or acquaintance can also boost dopamine, and so can reading new and interesting information. Listening to music and enjoying good food can also. There are many positive ways to boost dopamine besides shaming others, such as being grateful for others’ diverse skills and unique backgrounds.

Shaming others may be a natural instinct to promote one’s own morality by making it clear one is not in support of the topic or person being shamed, (9.21), or it may derive from a sense of guilt about the situation or person being shamed. (9.22)

Being fair in the first place would leave less to feel guilty about, accepting each other for our differences as well as our similarities might also.

Shaming others, purposely humiliating them, can also be a form of control or intimidation to show power over another person or group of people. Shaming one member of a group can serve to humiliate and control the group. Less equal societies, with a group of wealthy elite at the top, may be more likely to use humiliation as a control tactic. (9.81) Human sacrifice in ancient cultures was found in a recent anthropology study to be more common in societies that also had greater inequality between the rich and poor. (9.82)  However, does shaming work as a form of social control to effectively promote changed behavior in the person being shamed?

The answer is no – or at least not effectively and consistently when it comes to alcohol abuse. Research with reality shows focused on alcohol addiction and recovery have found that alcoholism or relapse were still likely to occur even after public shaming. (9.156)

“The results add to a body of literature suggesting that widely used shaming and humiliating methods of treating alcohol and other drug problems — such as those seen on shows like Celebrity Rehab — are not only ineffective but also may be counterproductive.” (9.156)

“Guilt” is a noun referring to the feeling one feels oneself over an error or misdeed, while “shame” can be used as a noun it is more typically used as a verb, “to shame.” Others shame the one who is guilty or believed to be guilty of something the group disapproves of. Other studies with alcohol counseling individually also found that shaming tactics did not effectively help individuals stop abusing alcohol. (9.156)

Studies of serial killers and other types of violent offenders found an association with early childhood abuse. Rejection by a parent or other important person in their life was found to have occurred in the early lives of 48% of a group of 62 serial killers in the study. Other types of physical, sexual or emotional abuse such as humiliation have also been associated with violent offenders, and early adoptions, neglect, or abandonment in early childhood have been associated with violent crime. (9.63)

In a study that included over 1000 violent offenders, shame and humiliation were found to be a common factor; violence was an attempt to restore a sense of pride or self-worth: “In the work, “Shame, Guilt, and Violence,” qualitative data from over 1,000 institutionalized offenders were gathered and analyzed over the course of four decades. According to Gilligan, self-conscious feelings of shame and a deteriorated sense of self-worth are the causal factors underlying violence; humiliation, Gilligan argues, compromises one’s identity, i.e. the way one sees oneself, and leads to feelings conceptualized as a loss of cohesion of the self, or a conceptual death of the self. This leads one to become violent in order to restore pride, or a sense of self-worth (Gilligan, 2003).”  Overcrowding and economic job stress, which leads to lack of parental time, are factors thought to be involved in the number of young men in gangs who may join them seeking the nurturing that was missing at an empty childhood home. (9.83)

If someone at work has a favorite stapler, maybe just let them enjoy it in peace instead of teasing them about it – and maybe get one of your own to find out what the appeal might be. The topic of shame and shaming is continued in the next section, and a therapy method for individuals who suffer from excessive guilt and a tendency to self-shame (9.158) is discussed in more detail.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.