Hell and Hope

inferno

Sometimes, I feel like a tour guide for believers that are walking through hell. I point out the different strugglers, and urge each one not to linger too long but to keep moving. We look on those trapped (they have no hope within them) but we hope that they are yet to reach out for the Savior. It is distressing, and yet somehow we understand them just a little bit.

Our journey out and down each sad corridor can be painfully disturbing for us. There are so many different types of prisons and chains used to confine and control. Dante wrote his “Inferno” (Italian, for hell), and somehow he in some curious way walks through the different levels (varieties) of hell with us. Virgil (Dante’s own tour guide) takes Dante through some pretty hairy stuff, and they pass through the very gate, which bears an inscription, of the infamous phrase “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate“, or “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Our own rescue from this dreadful place is based on that singular word, “hope”. Somehow, hope has distilled inside us, and that alone can enable us to walk out as the freed. We have chosen not to abandon hope, but to use it as our passport out of the bottom of hell itself. We show it to each guardian, and then pass through without any hinderance.

  • And so at last the poor have hope. (Job 5:16)
  • Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. (Job 11:18)
  • Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. (Ps. 10:17)
  • All day long I put my hope in you. (Ps. 25:5)
  • Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. (Ps. 33:22)
  • O Lord, you alone are my hope. (Ps. 71:5)
  • Your word is my source of hope. (Ps. 119:114)
  • “Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the Lord!” (Isa. 51:1)
  • And his name will be the hope of all the world.” (Matt. 12:21)
  • Even when there was no reason for hope, “Abraham kept hoping.” (Rom. 4:18)
  • We, too, wait with eager hope. (Rom. 8:23)
  • Rejoice in our confident hope. (Rom. 12:12)
  • The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait. (Rom. 15:4)
  • Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love. (1 Cor. 13:13)
  • That you can understand the confident hope he has given us. (Eph. 1:18)
  • Our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all. (1 Tim. 4:10)
  • In order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. (Heb. 6:11)
  • This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Heb. 6:19)
  • Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm. (Heb. 10:23)
  • They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. (Heb. 11:35)
  • You have placed your faith and hope in God. (1 Pet. 1:21)
  • If someone asks about your Christian hope. (1 Pet. 3:15)

I suppose we must say (it’s clear) that hope is what sets us free from the difficulty that rests in our minds. Whatever DSM-IV has branded us, whatever a psychiatrist has declared us to be, and whatever our therapist has told us– our hope, that’s in Christ, will open all doors that are closed and locked.

Hope really is the Christian’s freedom from hell. Those of us who have been freed from our incarceration from our mental illness are amazingly liberated. I know the lostness of being very much lost. But hope is everything. When our hope somehow connects with Jesus, our souls are set free. We walk out of hell, with our souls soaring clean.

kyrie elesion, Bryan

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Today’s Suicide Toll: Put Faces to the Numbers

It’s time to attach faces to numbers. In less than 24 hours, 1577 will commit suicide. If you look closely, you can see faces.

As believers, these are our business. They are God’s business. Be aware of this. And pray.

 

For more valuable information see:

http://www.facebook.com/puttingafaceonsuicide AND http://nami.org/

Anorexia & Bulimia

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.

A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Eating disorders are very complex, and despite scientific research to understand them, the biological, behavioral and social underpinnings of these illnesses remain elusive.

The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third category is “eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS),” which includes several variations of eating disorders. Most of these disorders are similar to anorexia or bulimia but with slightly different characteristics. Binge-eating disorder, which has received increasing research and media attention in recent years, is one type of EDNOS.

Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder.

Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. People with eating disorders also can suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

Eating disorders are treatable diseases

Psychological and medicinal treatments are effective for many eating disorders. However, in more chronic cases, specific treatments have not yet been identified.

In these cases, treatment plans often are tailored to the patient’s individual needs that may include medical care and monitoring; medications; nutritional counseling; and individual, group and/or family psychotherapy. Some patients may also need to be hospitalized to treat malnutrition or to gain weight, or for other reasons.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior. Some people with anorexia lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.

Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight, even when they are starved or are clearly malnourished. Eating, food and weight control become obsessions. A person with anorexia typically weighs herself or himself repeatedly, portions food carefully, and eats only very small quantities of only certain foods. Some who have anorexia recover with treatment after only one episode. Others get well but have relapses. Still others have a more chronic form of anorexia, in which their health deteriorates over many years as they battle the illness.

According to some studies, people with anorexia are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness compared to those without the disorder. The most common complications that lead to death are cardiac arrest, and electrolyte and fluid imbalances. Suicide also can result.

Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric and physical illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, substance abuse, cardiovascular and neurological complications, and impaired physical development.

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

  • thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • brittle hair and nails
  • dry and yellowish skin
  • growth of fine hair over body (e.g., lanugo)
  • mild anemia, and muscle weakness and loss
  • severe constipation
  • low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
  • drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
  • lethargy

TREATING ANOREXIA involves three components:

  1. restoring the person to a healthy weight;
  2. treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder; and
  3. reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to disordered eating, and preventing relapse.

Some research suggests that the use of medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers, may be modestly effective in treating patients with anorexia by helping to resolve mood and anxiety symptoms that often co-exist with anorexia. Recent studies, however, have suggested that antidepressants may not be effective in preventing some patients with anorexia from relapsing. In addition, no medication has shown to be effective during the critical first phase of restoring a patient to healthy weight. Overall, it is unclear if and how medications can help patients conquer anorexia, but research is ongoing.

Different forms of psychotherapy, including individual, group and family-based, can help address the psychological reasons for the illness. Some studies suggest that family-based therapies in which parents assume responsibility for feeding their afflicted adolescent are the most effective in helping a person with anorexia gain weight and improve eating habits and moods.

Shown to be effective in case studies and clinical trials, this particular approach is discussed in some guidelines and studies for treating eating disorders in younger, nonchronic patients.

Others have noted that a combined approach of medical attention and supportive psychotherapy designed specifically for anorexia patients is more effective than just psychotherapy. But the effectiveness of a treatment depends on the person involved and his or her situation. Unfortunately, no specific psychotherapy appears to be consistently effective for treating adults with anorexia. However, research into novel treatment and prevention approaches is showing some promise. One study suggests that an online intervention program may prevent some at-risk women from developing an eating disorder.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/or excessive exercise.

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia can fall within the normal range for their age and weight. But like people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly, because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week. Similar to anorexia, people with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse problems. Many physical conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth-related problems.

Other symptoms include:

  • chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw
  • worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acids
  • gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • kidney problems from diuretic abuse
  • severe dehydration from purging of fluids

As with anorexia, TREATMENT FOR BULIMIA often involves a combination of options and depends on the needs of the individual.

To reduce or eliminate binge and purge behavior, a patient may undergo nutritional counseling and psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or be prescribed medication. Some antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), which is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating bulimia, may help patients who also have depression and/or anxiety. It also appears to help reduce binge-eating and purging behavior, reduces the chance of relapse, and improves eating attitudes.

CBT that has been tailored to treat bulimia also has shown to be effective in changing binging and purging behavior, and eating attitudes. Therapy may be individually oriented or group-based.

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For more on these Eating Disorders, see: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml

For a Christian perspective: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/eatingdisorders.html

The Hidden Life of Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/or excessive exercise.

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia can fall within the normal range for their age and weight. But like people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly, because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week. Similar to anorexia, people with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse problems. Many physical conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth-related problems.

Other symptoms include:

  • chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw
  • worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acids
  • gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • kidney problems from diuretic abuse
  • severe dehydration from purging of fluids

As with anorexia, TREATMENT FOR BULIMIA often involves a combination of options and depends on the needs of the individual.

To reduce or eliminate binge and purge behavior, a patient may undergo nutritional counseling and psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or be prescribed medication.

Some antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), which is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating bulimia, may help patients who also have depression and/or anxiety. It also appears to help reduce binge-eating and purging behavior, reduces the chance of relapse, and improves eating attitudes.

CBT [or, talk therapy] that has been tailored to treat bulimia also has shown to be effective in changing binging and purging behavior, and eating attitudes. Therapy may be individually oriented or group-based.

Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/

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