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Why Do We Have Allergies?

Allergies make thousands of people miserable in a day. We don’t even fully understand why our bodies bother to stir up such an uncomfortable reaction. Even though scientists and immunologists don’t have an exact explanation as to why we have allergies, the basics to this pertinent issues exist. The haze might still be there but scientists believe they have uncovered a molecular reason that could drive human allergic reactions.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are otherwise immune reactions gone wrong. They will upset the stomach, activate sneezing, lead to skin rashes or even lead to catastrophic anaphylactic shock. The reaction occurs when your immune system detects a foreign body and activates a series of reactions meant to remove that foreign body from our system.

This is a normal reaction that occurs when the body detects germs and pathogens only that the allergen in this case would be relatively harmless to the body. It could be as simple as pollen, dust or egg protein.

How Does the Allergy Process Occur

When the allergen enters the body, your plasma cells release immunoglobulin E antibodies specific to that allergen. These antibodies make their way to mast cells located in areas like your skin and the mucous membranes. These cells are in charge of inflammatory responses that improve the way your body reacts to foreign objects.

The other time your body encounters the allergen, the Mast Cells will release histamines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes, cells that will in turn trigger a wide range of allergic reactions whose sole purpose is to get rid of the allergen before it gets deeper into your body.

This will lead to:

  • Constricted airways in the case of asthma
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Increased phlegm or runny nose due to hypersecretion of mucus
  • Itchy or rashy skin

So far, the best way to fight an allergic reaction is by taking specific antihistamines that will cool down the rate at which the body reacts to the allergen. Scientists are yet to devise a fool-proof way of fighting allergens that will make you immune to that specific compound that gets your immune system tripping.

Drug Free Alternatives to Combat Allergies

Most people opt to keep of their triggers in order to avoid allergic reactions. Stocking a couple of reaction specific antihistamines also seems to be a great way to come prepared since most of the allergens are almost inevitable.

Apart from this abstinence and medical intervention, there are other medicine free approaches that help people with allergic reactions live an almost normal life.

If you are not allergic to honey, you can use it to accustom your body to pollen and reduce asthma or allergic reactions to pollen. Locally produced and unprocessed honey is the best. Use it sparingly until you are sure your body can tolerate it.

Acupuncture is a mythical treatment procedure that delivers results. Weekly acupuncture treatments can lead to fewer breathing problems and could be a great way out to people allergic to pollen.

A healthy diet and healthy living gives you more wiggle room. A research proved that junk food is directly related to allergies and asthma especially in kids.

Allergic reactions don’t have a perfect cure. The best you can do is mitigate the effects and be ready to appease the symptoms once they kick in. At least this will be our way around these unwanted and uncomfortable immune responses until doctors and scientists find a way to teach our bodies that allergens aren’t as harmful as it thinks they are.

 

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Allergies & Their Genetic Pathways

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An allergy is defined as a condition where the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance. There are many different types of allergies. These include:

  • Medications
  • Food
  • Pollen
  • Latex
  • Animal Dander
  • Mold

The Genetic Risk

The tendency to develop allergies is genetic, therefore, they are hereditary, which means they are passed down from parent to child. However, this does not happen 100% of the time. Just because you or your spouse may have allergies doesn’t mean your child will definitely inherit them. For example, while approximately 17.6 million adults have been diagnosed with hay fever, less than half of that number of children, 6.6 million, have inherited the same allergy.

Additionally, children do not inherit a particular allergy, rather they inherit the tendency to develop them. For example, a parent may be allergic to pollen and develop hay fever, while their child may be allergic to chocolate and develop atopic eczema or dermatitis. Conversely, some children develop allergies when no known family member has them. Chances are if you are allergic to one substance, you are likely to be allergic to others.

Developing allergies because of your genetic links is known as atopic. While over half the children from atopic families will develop allergies, only one in five from unaffected families will be diagnosed. In families where both parents have allergies, this risk of their children inheriting them is slightly higher. If only one parent has been diagnosed, that risk decreases, however, it is important to note that if the mother has allergies, there is a slightly greater chance her children will develop them than if the father does.

The Allergic March

An allergy often follows a particular pattern where it is diagnosed in infancy through the toddler stage and into childhood, sometimes persisting into adulthood when a lifelong condition is diagnosed. When one allergic disease subsides and another takes its place, it is called the Allergic March. A common pattern is when atopic eczema leads to a food allergy, then asthma, and finally rhinitis. Some children, instead of experiencing the Allergic March, will experience a cumulative effect, meaning that one allergy does not replace another; it just gets added onto what they already have. Keep in mind, however, that all children are different; some may simply develop one allergy for life, instead of experiencing the Allergic March or a cumulative effect.

Common Allergens

Unfortunately, there are many allergens out there. The most common types are airborne and food. Some airborne allergies include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pets
  • Cockroaches

Food allergies include:

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Cow’s milk.

Other common allergens include:

  • Insects, such as a bee sting
  • Chemicals
  • Medications

There are also cross-reactions and cross contamination. Cross-reactions happen when someone who has an allergy to one thing, has a reaction to another. For example, someone who is allergic to birch tree pollen might react to eating an apple if it contains a protein similar to one in the pollen. Another example is that people who are allergic to latex often react to bananas, avocados, chestnuts, and kiwi.

Cross contamination happens when you come in contact with a substance you are not allergic to, but it was processed with something you are during production or packaging. It can also happen at restaurants or even at home when the same utensils or surfaces are used for more than one type of food.

While genetics is not the sole cause of allergies, it has been proven that many allergies are hereditary, so you should be evaluated if you have a family history.

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Complete Pathogen Detection from MD GeneticPro

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48-hour Results

Get right to the source of infections with our comprehensive infection management program, utilizing rapid molecular diagnostic testing to quickly identify over 90% of the pathogens that cause two of the most common and life-threatening infections in long-term care; respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

Results produced within 48 hours give clinicians the ability to accurately determine treatment paths based on the specific infectious agent rather than based only one clinical symptoms.

Advantages to Pathogen Detection Testing  

  • All-in-one test in one sample within 48 hours compared to separate tests in 3-5 days for cultures
  • Identify causative co-infections with the same sample in the same test
  • >95% sensitivity and specificity compared to the low sensitivity and high false negative rates of cultures and other methods

 

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Prevent Food Allergies

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There are a range of allergies, and food allergy falls among them. A food allergy is described as an abnormal response to the food eaten at that given time. Not all allergies are identical, as their indications maybe be minor or other times severe.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

The major symptoms of allergies may include among others the following:

  • low blood pressure
  • itchiness
  • diarrhea
  • itchiness

Most of the time it varies from different people. Some react within minutes, and others react within a couple of hours after exposure. However, when the condition is severe, it is referred to, as anaphylaxis.

Methods of Preventing Food Allergies

You can curb food allergies through the following ways:

Keep Away from Trigger Foods

It is also advisable to do away with trigger foods from the kitchen counters. Due to the fact that certain types of foods may cause allergy, keeping them around in the kitchen maybe lure one to consume the food, either intentionally or otherwise hence leading to allergic reactions. Exercising this may greatly reduce your risk of consuming allergic foods. Some of the most known foods to cause allergies include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts

Be Keen on Ingredients

Another useful precaution is to throw away any food products that you are not certain of the ingredients. Always keep it a practice to read food labels as possible as you can. This requires you first to identify the ingredients that often cause allergic reactions and avoid foods with such contents. Most developed countries require manufacturers to label their food containers with the top ten allergenic foods on food containers. Most allergens have code names for allergens an example is lactose, whey or rennet casein for milk.

Let your Baby Suckle

Medical experts advise that a mother should breastfeed her infant for at least 4 months of age, this helps in preventing allergies such as cow’s milk allergy, wheezing and atopic dermatitis.

Replace your Stock with Trigger Free Food or Their Alternatives

Removing your favorite foods because of allergy maybe not be an easy thing to do but alternatively, you can keep your pantry full of alternative foods thus minimizing the risk of consuming food with allergic content. In case you are in an environment around those who freely consume your trigger foods, you might want to consider storing your food separately.

Other times it causes no harm to walk around in stores to check for products specifically for folks with allergies, this may be a good idea because many manufacturers are considering that trend.

Limit Cross Contamination

In many typical homes, it is not so accidental to get into contact with trigger foods through cross contamination. This, however, can be prevented by being on the look lout on what you bring home and how you store and even cook it. Some precautions may include; using different utensils from others, owning your own cooking appliances such blenders and lastly cleaning your hands properly before handling any food stuff.

Put Down Your Meal Plans

If you constantly prepare your meal yourself, at a personal level, you stand a chance of reducing the risk of consuming trigger food. This also goes a long way in ensuring you get the right amounts of required vitamins and keep fit. This can occasionally be, maybe once a week. Take keen notice on meals you often miss at home. If you get to a restaurant, it is advisable to check the menu first.

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What Triggers Asthma

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Living with asthma is manageable. But to understand how to live with it, you need to understand what can trigger it. Here’s a look at some of the things that can trigger asthma.

Allergies

While allergies manifest themselves in different ways, some allergic reactions cause asthma. The list of allergens that can trigger asthma is a long one. Dust mites, rodents, and pet dander are common household allergens. An often overlooked cause allergy is household mold. It can hide in your air vents and trigger a reaction.

There can be outdoor allergens as well. In the spring, pollen may irritate you and cause asthma. There are various types of pollen, and one pollen may cause asthma while another doesn’t bother you.

Respiratory Issues

If you’re not usually prone to asthma, you may experience it as a result of a respiratory illness. One of the symptoms of pneumonia and the flu is asthma. Other illnesses that can trigger it include a cold, sinus infection, and sore throat. While these respiratory issues can cause asthma in an adult, they most often do so in children.

 Airborne Irritants

These irritants are different from allergens because their presence doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. Instead, they make your airways swollen and more narrow. As a result, they trigger asthma.

These irritants include cigarette smoke, smoke from a fire, dust, chemicals, and strong fumes. Different people have different sensitivities to these irritants. So, what triggers asthma in one person may do nothing in another.

Exercise

When you exercise, your body fuels the work with Oxygen. And that means that you breathe harder. In some people, this causes asthma. Known as exercise-induced bronchocontsriction, this type of asthma is only triggered during exercise.

Exercise-induced bronchoconstritction doesn’t usually show up the second you start to exercise. It takes a few minutes for the asthma to kick in. Fortunately, it is manageable with medication.

Weather

The weather can have a direct affect on asthma. Cold air can trigger an attack, as well as dry wind. Sometimes, a seasonal weather change can effect asthma. Additionally, people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction usually have more asthma attacks when they exercise in cold weather.

Strong Emotions

When you experience a strong emotion, your breathing changes. Anger, excitement, and fear can all trigger asthma. Some of the actions you take while experiencing these emotions (like yelling, laughing, and crying) can also trigger it.

Reflux

People who suffer from reflux may experience asthma as a direct effect of reflux. There are other medical issues that can have similar results.

Medicine

Some people are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDs. Taking them can trigger asthma if you have a sensitivity. Taking beta blockers may make it harder for your to control your asthma.

Knowing Your Triggers

If you know what triggers your asthma, you may be able to prevent an attack. It can also help you and your doctor establish a treatment plan. The next time you have an asthma attack, consider which of these triggers may have been the culprit.

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Types of Metabolic Disorders

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Numerous types of metabolic disorders exist in the contemporary world. While some are relatively minor, others are major and can be life threatening. The moment you notice symptoms of any metabolic disorder, it is prudent to visit your doctor to have it attended to before it escalates into something dangerous.

The primary cause of metabolic conditions is a malfunction in the body’s metabolism. In some instances, though, metabolism disorders arise from inadequate chemical reactions. Below are some of the main metabolic disorders:

  • Obesity

Obesity can be brought about by a plethora of factors. Among these factors are metabolic problems. There are diseases which have been confirmed to be a trigger factor for obesity. Some of those diseases are thyroid disorders among others. Individuals who have a low basal metabolic rate tend to be fatter than their counterparts who have high metabolic rates.

  • Hyperthyroidism

This is another major metabolic disorder characterized by too much hormone being produced by the thyroid. The thyroid is located in the area front of the larynx and is a key gland for metabolism. It is the organ responsible for the production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, the two thyroid hormones critical to body metabolism of fats, emotional heats as well as heat. If these hormones are produced in excess, the result is the triggering of an entire series of metabolic disorders that is capable of producing serious or less serious damage to an individual’s health.

  • Hypothyroidism

This is a condition brought about when the thyroid produces insufficient thyroid hormones. It is also a major cause of the occurrence of goiter. Goiter is brought about when there is an increase in the size of the thyroid. The increase is seen in the appearance of a bulge on the front side of the neck. The proper weight of the thyroid gland is usually about 20-30 grams. The weight of an enlarged thyroid gland can be as serious as one kilogram. This can easily become one of the leading causes of difficulty in breathing as well as swallowing.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause cretinism. Cretinism is a physical condition which is characterized by poor physical and mental development. Other characteristic physical symptoms may include waxy skin, belly and speech problems.

Low thyroid hormones can also be a cause of other far-reaching conditions including myxedema coma. This condition is preceded by characteristic symptoms including hypotension, slow breathing, extremely dry skin, and hyposensitivity to cold.

  • Diabetes

This is a metabolic disorder characterized by excess sugar in the blood and urine. Diabetes is of two types.

– Diabetes insipidus which is a result of the lack of vasopressin hormone.

– Diabetes mellitus which is as a result of the alteration in sugar metabolism.

Diabetes mellitus is further subdivided into:

– Insulin dependent diabetes type 1. This is a disease that is most prevalent in children and youths. Its characteristic is the deficiency of insulin in the blood. Resulting from a pancreas which produces too little insulin.

– Non-insulin dependent diabetes (type II). This condition, on the other hand, is prevalent in individuals aged 40 and above. Here, the cells find it difficult to absorb insulin from the blood. This may happen even with a normal insulin production by the pancreas. The evolution of this type of diabetes is much slower than that of juvenile diabetes.

The above are some of the metabolic disorders that are prevalent among humans in the modern world. If you fall victim to any of them, be fast in opting for medical solutions before it’s too late.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness

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Alcohol has been shown to statistically cause more teenage fatalities than all other drugs put together.

Because alcohol has been shown to be strongly correlated with the three leading causes of death among young adults – suicide, murder, and accidents , such as car accidents – the threat that alcohol poses to young populations needs to be taken more seriously.

The health care costs of both drug and alcohol abuse are staggering as well. The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that alcohol abuse costs $27 billion every year in health care costs and drug abuse collectively costs $37 billion for illicit and prescription drug abuse combined. Those numbers are worrying.

More worrying still is the fact that these numbers are only a drop in the bucket compared to the overall costs that alcohol and drug abuse take on a nation in terms of lost productivity, increased crime, and as already alluded to skyrocketing health care costs.

When you add up these three costs (lower productivity, higher crime, and higher health care costs) you’re talking about nearly a quarter-trillion or $249 billion annually for alcohol abuse and over a quarter trillion for illicit and prescription drugs combined.

The Monitoring the Future study’s results show some promising trends as well as areas for continued concern with respect to today’s youth and tomorrow’s future. Alcohol use among 12th graders, for instance, has gone down about 7% over the last 3 years whereas illicit drug use has pretty much stayed steady with about half of 12th graders indulging in illicit drugs.

Fortunately, the number of 8th graders choosing to partake in alcohol use has gone down since 2013 when it was 27.80% – today that number is 22.80%, which means that fewer than one in four 8th graders is choosing to use alcohol. The number of 12th graders using marijuana, though, has remained fairly constant at around half (~48%) over the last three years.

The frightening reality for many substance abuse, mental health experts, politicians, and concerned parents is that youngsters that drink are more than 7 times more likely to partake in other illicit drugs. And get this: A kid who drinks who 50 times more likely to use cocaine illicitly and on a recreational basis than another kid who abstains from alcohol altogether through his or her middle school, high school, and early adult years.

Recent data shows that among the nearly 4 million people who were treated in 2005 for substance abuse a full 2.4 million were also treated for alcohol abuse. That’s because there’s a big comorbidity (or co-occurrence) between the two kinds of abuse. There also happens to be a big correlation between drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders, and depression.

This is still a chicken or the egg question that psychologists and mental health professionals are trying to work out but it’s currently believed that anxiety disorders, major depression, or bipolar disorder could predispose certain people to start using certain illicit substances and alcohol in order to self medicate. This is never appropriate and a mental health professional and substance abuse counselor should always be called in to help.

Help is needed more desperately than ever because more Americans are falling prey to drug and alcohol abuse. Worryingly, a full 40% of violent crime has been associated with alcohol use, according to the United States Department of Justice. In a single year (2007) alcohol-related traffic fatalities topped 10,000 people. That’s more than should ever succumb to these kinds of accidents.

If you or a loved one are struggled with drug abuse or alcohol abuse contact a substance abuse counselor today for help.

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What is Red Ribbon Week?

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Each year, the nation celebrates Red Ribbon Week. However, many people aren’t quite sure what it is, or how it got started. Red Ribbon Week is a campaign dedicated to bringing awareness to drug, alcohol, and violence prevention. It is observed during October each year in the United States. It is the largest, and oldest, drug prevention program in the country.

Red Ribbon Week’s Origins

In 1988, the National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Week in partnership with President and First Lady Reagan. Red ribbons began showing up in 1985, in response to the murder of Special Agent Enrique Camarena. Camarena was a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agent, who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and killed by the drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico in 1985. He joined the DEA to make a difference, and his death angered parents and children across the country.

Red Badges

In honor of Camarena’s memory and the work he did to rid the country of illegal drugs, Camerena’s childhood friend, Henry Lozano and Congressman Duncan Hunter created “Camarena Club”. They began wearing red satin ribbons to show their opposition to drugs. The symbol spread across the country. Soon, parents who were sick of the destruction caused by alcohol and drugs joined them. They formed coalitions, coalitions that adopted the symbol of Camarena’s memory, the red satin ribbon.

Red Ribbon Week Today

Today, Red Ribbon Week is celebrated during the last week of October each year. It is a way for schools, businesses, and families to educate their youth and get them to participate in drug prevention activities. Red Ribbon Week activities reach millions of people each year. Wearing red ribbons during the month of October represents a pledge to live drug free and honors the sacrifice of Special Agent Camarena and others who have lost their lives fighting against drugs.

From Red Ribbon Week photo contests to Red Ribbon Week-themed essays, schools take part each year in a big way, and parents are always encouraged to participate. Businesses often hand out Red Ribbons, and employees wear them to show their support. Rallies are often planned in cities, and even in the nation’s capital to bring awareness to this important subject.

Now, even the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can earn a DEA Red Ribbon Patch.

See what your community is doing this year to commemorate Red Ribbon Week, and make sure to wear your ribbon.

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Symptoms of Depression

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Over 16.1 million people in the United States suffer from depression. For some, it is mild. There are other people who suffer from persistent depressive disorder (PDD), which continues for at least two years. Some people become depressed after serious life events such as chronic illness, the death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship or a marriage. There are others who become depressed due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are several symptoms that are related to a major depressive episode.

Feelings of Sadness

Everyone feels sad at one time or another, however, if your sadness persists and doesn’t seem to go away, you could be suffering from depression. Feelings of emptiness is also a symptom.

Feelings of Hopelessness

If you once felt hope about your life and your future and suddenly you are experiencing feelings of hopelessness, you could be suffering from depression.

Lack of Interest in Activities that Once Caused Pleasure

If you once had hobbies and activities that you enjoyed and suddenly, you don’t find pleasure in any of them, you could be suffering from depression. For example, if you once looked forward to your Saturday afternoon basketball game and suddenly you would rather stay home, depression could be the underlying reason. Also, if you once enjoyed sex and suddenly you have no sex drive at all, you could be suffering from depression.

Lack of Energy

Lack of energy is a common symptom of depression. If you suddenly have no energy and you feel tired all the time, it could be that you are working too hard and spreading yourself too thin, however, it could be a sign of depression. If you find that you are sleeping several more hours each day than usual or that you would rather be sleeping than doing anything else, you could be suffering from depression or PDD.

Insomnia

While fatigue and sleeping more is a symptom depression, insomnia is as well. If you have trouble sleeping at night even though you are tired, you could be suffering from depression.

Changes in Appetite

Changes in appetite is a sign of depression. For some people, they lose their appetite, resulting in a weight loss. There are some people who overeat when they are suffering from depression which results in weight gain. If you notice changes in your appetite, it is a warning sign.

Irritability

If you were once a happy, easy going person and suddenly you find that you are irritable, it could be a sign of depression. There are some cases when irritability is caused by other issues, such as stress and lack of sleep, however, if you find that you are feeling irritable often, you could be suffering from depression.

Persistent Physical Symptoms

There are cases where depression can manifest itself in physical symptoms. There are people who suffer from depression who complain of frequent headaches, digestive disorders, and pain that have no medical explanations. While depression manifesting itself as physical symptoms is rare, it does happen.

Cognitive Problems

Depression can result in cognitive problems such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions and short-term memory loss. Since these problems are signs of other health problems, depression can be difficult to diagnose if these are the only symptoms.

Thoughts of Suicide

Thoughts of suicide are the most danger

ous symptom of depression. Many depressed people who think about committing suicide eventually attempt it.

Depression is a very serious illness. It can result in physical ailments and in more severe cases, death. Fortunately, through regular visits with a mental health professional and with medication, depression can be treated.

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How to Handle Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is a very serious problem in the United States. Statistics show that 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. If you suspect that a friend or family member is being abused, it is up to you to intervene. If you don’t do something early enough, your loved one could be severely injured or possibly killed. When it comes to domestic violence, there are a few ways that you should handle it.

Look for the Signs

Most victims of domestic violence don’t want to admit that there is anything wrong with the relationship. Even though it is not the victim’s fault, they often take the blame. Many victims are too embarrassed to admit that they are being victimized. Finally, many victims still love their abusers and they don’t want people to think poorly about them. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, you should look for the signs.

  • Becoming isolated from family and friends
  • Being sad or withdrawn
  • Mysterious bruises on their body
  • Nervousness and jumpiness when their partner is around.

Ask Questions Without Berating

If you suspect that a loved one is being abused, you should ask them straight out. If they don’t admit it, you should press them without berating them. Let them know the reasons that you suspect that there is abuse. If you have recognized the signs, let your loved one know. In many cases, they will see that they are not hiding it as well as they thought they were and they will come clean.

Help Them Create a Safety Plan

If your loved one is willing to admit to you that they are being abused, it doesn’t mean that they will be ready to leave the relationship. If this is the case, it is up to you to help keep them as safe as possible. You should help your loved one come up with an emergency plan if their partner hits them. This means coming up with a place for them to go where they can be safe. When they leave, they are going to need to get away as quickly as possible and be away for a few days. It is a good idea for your loved one to pack a safety bag. It should include a few days worth of clothing and medication. If they have children, make sure that the victim has packed clothing and toys for them as well. If they feel safe, they can hide the bag in the trunk of the car. If the victim is worried that their partner will discover the bag, you can keep it at your house so that their partner won’t find it.

Encourage Them To Get Help

As mentioned above, most victims of domestic violence don’t want to go to the police. They worry about getting their partner into trouble, even though they are being abused. If you cannot get your loved one to go to the police, you should talk them into getting counseling. Many people who are victims of domestic abuse suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This can cause panic attacks, depression, anxiety, nightmares, and insomnia. Your loved one will need the help of a mental health professional to treat the PDSD. Also, the therapist might be able to get your loved one to understand that it is not their fault and they need to report the violence to the police.

If you believe that someone you love is being abused, it is up to you to be there for them. You could be the one to save their life.

 

 

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