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Choosing Chocolate For Health

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Can we really eat chocolate for our health? The last couple of years have seen magazines, television and the internet inundated the health benefits, or lack thereof, of eating dark chocolate. The problem with most of these is that they place all dark chocolate into one group, which is a dangerous assumption. If you go to the grocery and load up on Hershey's Special Dark, expecting to eat a bar a day, lower your blood pressure and lose weight, you are likely to be severely disappointed. If you choose your dark chocolate wisely, you are likely to be very pleased with the results.

First of all, as with all foods, pay attention to the ingredient and nutrition list. If there's more refined sugar than cocoa, then there's probably not a lot of benefit there. The sad truth is that most commercial chocolate bars contain very little actual chocolate, and with truth in advertising should only be billed as chocolate flavored. The type of fat that is used to make the chocolate creamy is also important. If it's not cocoa butter, then consider it inferior. Most commercial chocolate uses vegetable oils, or even waxes, to give the impression of "creaminess" when it's actually just a slick oily or waxy effect. Even if they use milk fat, which does give it a nice creaminess, the milk fat carries it's own set of health risks. Once you have eaten good quality dark chocolate that uses only cocoa butter as fat, you will easily tell the difference when you go back to the inferior chocolate. The type of sweetener used is also very important. Preferably you find a natural, unrefined sweetener such as raw cane sugar or other organic sugar. These natural sweeteners do not spike blood sugar in the way refined sugars do.

So, if you just love chocolate and want to eat it purely for pleasure, have no weight or health concerns, and are not into the "all natural" movement, then just go out there and buy what tastes good to you. But, if you are serious about reaping the health benefits of cocoa or have a specific health challenge you would like to address with this natural healer, then the most important factor of consuming it is that it be raw, natural, unprocessed. And even most quality chocolate companies use processed, alkalized and roasted cocoa. This processing strips up to 80% of the natural nutrition that cocoa starts with, but makes it easier to use less quality ingredients and still have something people will eat. Lets face it, 100% all natural cocoa is bitter beyond what most people are willing to tolerate. It's certainly not what most of us think of as "decadent". Only a few companies are trying it, and even fewer are succeeding. If you've already heard this and have been busily sampling the "organic" and "antioxidant" choices on your store shelves, you have discovered that. I know I have. If I had back the money spent on the bars I've bought, only to ditch them after the first bite, well, I'd be at least a little richer. So I try to spend my chocolate dollars wisely to get the most bang for my buck. I buy chocolate that uses cold pressed cocoa and all natural ingredients, preferably mixed with fruits and berries as sweeteners and cocoa butter for creaminess. And I have seen the benefits of doing this reflected in my health.

For more information on what makes chocolate truly healthy, ask the expert, Dr. Steve Warren, at http://mydrchocolate.com

Health Fitness Books - Which Should You Choose?

Monday, 25 March 2013

There are so many health fitness books on the market, how do you know which ones to choose?
Of course this question depends on what health fitness goals you have for yourself. Maybe you are interested in losing weight / body fat and toning up, or maybe you're already lean and want to put on some muscle. Maybe you want to increase your strength or your endurance, perhaps for a sport you're involved in.

The right health fitness book to choose will be one that corresponds most highly to your primary health and fitness goals.

My personal goals are to lose body fat whilst increasing muscle and strength. On my website I review health fitness books that have helped me with my goals.

The best books in my opinion take into account the mind and body components to getting into shape. Many health fitness books go into the exercises that you can perform however knowing is not enough. Without putting the knowledge into action you wont make any progress at all.

The health fitness books that I have used to make the most progress not only show you which exercises to do, they also explain the nutrition needed but most importantly of all, they go into details as to what your personal reasons are for achieving your goals and explain the ways you can stay motivated throughout the exercise program. They also lay out an easy to follow plan that if followed properly are sure to work.

Like anything worth achieving in life, your health and fitness goals will require hard work to achieve, but once you have the right book to guide you, its then all up to you to put in the effort and of course to reap the rewards!

New Research Evidence on Looked After Children & Adoption From Barnardos

Photograph by MegaBu7
Baranrdos has published a new, free to download report: What Works in Achieving Adoption for Looked After Children: An Overview of Evidence for the Coram/Barnardo's Partnership

The review was commissioned by Barnardo's and Coram to support their partnership initiative which provides consultancy and support to local authorities with the aim of increasing the number of children adopted from care and reducing delays in making and implementing decisions about adoptive placements. 

The work forms part of the Department for Education 'Pathways to Permanency project'.

Why Choose Organic Gardening?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The term 'organic' is becoming more and more popular today. You see organic clothing, foods, even organic bedding. Entire stores are devoted to organic products and books about the subject are available everywhere. So why is there such an interest in all things organic these days?

People are starting to realize just how harmful chemicals are to our bodies and our environment. When pesticides and other chemicals were first being used in farming and home gardens, people sang their praises. But after years of use, we are seeing the negative side effects of using too many chemicals. This is not to say that all chemicals and pesticides are bad, they have their place when necessary. However, sole dependence on chemical pesticides and over use of these products has created soils that cannot sustain crops. In addition, many of these chemicals leach into our water supply and the food we eat, creating a multitude of health problems.

So what can the home gardener do to combat the effects of chemicals in the yard? There are several things. First of all, you can make the decision to use natural products in your garden. You can do this slowly or all at once. Many gardeners use organic products in most of their yard work, but chemicals for the really tough weed and pest issues. You will find that over time, you will rely less and less on the chemicals as your natural methods take control of insects and weeds.

One of the easiest ways to begin natural pest control is to introduce beneficial insects into your garden. Insects like lady bugs, praying mantis, and parasitic wasps are beneficial to the yard because they feed on the bad bugs. Lady bugs find aphids delicious and parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the backs of the tomato horn worm, then the hatching larvae eat the worm. These beneficial insects used to be found naturally in most gardens however pesticides that are used to get rid of harmful insects also kill and drive away the good ones. If you put beneficial insects in your garden, make sure you don't use chemical pesticides as well.

Another good method to keep away bugs is by using a simple solution of water and liquid dish soap. Simply put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the leaves of your flowers and other foliage. The soapy mixture is a great aphid repellent and it also keeps other bugs at bay.

For natural weed control, you will find that by using thick mulch around plants and trees. Bark or rock can be used, but keep in mind that bark is a natural material and it will break down over time so it will need to be replenished every year. Thick ground covers are also a good way to keep weeding to a minimum. Try to find plants that are native to your area and are not prone to overtaking the yard. Many times when you plant a ground cover, it tends to overgrow its boundaries. Planting your shrubs and flowers close together can also help to keeps weed growth down. Plant that grow in an attractive, close knit pattern leave little bare ground and light for weeds to germinate.

As you become more familiar with natural gardening methods, doing it the organic way will be easy. You don't always have to use chemicals to grow a great garden, just do it the way nature intended!

More Research on 'Sexting' From the NSPCC

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The NSPCC has published a follow up study on 'sexting' following on from their May 2012 study:  A qualitative study of children, young people and 'sexting'

The researchers conducted 12 focus groups with 120 young people, aged 13 to 14 years, across three counties in England. An additional 30 children aged 10-11, from two different counties in England, were also questioned.

The research findings were:

* there was widespread knowledge of sexting amongst 13-14 year olds. Although not everyone was engaged in sexting, many had peers that were

* 13-14 year old girls tended to self-generate as a result of a request from a boy, whilst boys tended to self-generate unprompted

* many 13-14 year olds reported that the fear of being judged would prevent them from talking to an adult if something went wrong

* most 10-11 year olds had to deal with some form of online abuse, but there was little evidence that they were exposed to sexualised content, or asked to self-generate.   The full report is available to download for free here:

Sexting: an exploration of practices, attitudes and influences (PDF, 172KB)

Girls at Risk of Multilation Lack Help From Teachers

Girls at risk of genital mutilation are not being helped as their teachers lack training in how to deal with this type of child abuse, warns the NSPCC.

The charity is urging schools to treat female genital mutilation as they would other forms of child abuse.

"Teachers are on the front line", said Lisa Harker, NSPCC head of strategy.

Some 20,000 girls in England and Wales are thought to be at risk of this illegal practice, according to government figures, but there are fears that this figure masks a larger problem.

In March, a study by midwives revealed more than 100 victims in Bristol alone over a single nine-month period.

The NSPCC says the practice has no medical benefits but is motivated by cultural beliefs about preparing a girl for adulthood and marriage by making her "clean, chaste and faithful". The charity describes it as being potentially life-threatening and sometimes carried out without anaesthetic.

The government says teachers have a key role in spotting children who may be at risk of or who have undergone genital cutting. In January, the schools watchdog, Ofsted, announced it would be including schools' safeguarding arrangements on female genital mutilation in inspections.

Updated Ofsted guidance says that key staff should be able to show how alert they are to "possible signs that a child has been subject to female genital mutilation or is at risk of being abused through it".

However, some 83% of teachers in England and Wales said they had not had child protection training in this area, according to a survey for the NSPCC.

The YouGov poll of over 1,000 teachers also suggested that some 68% were unaware of government guidance on schools policy on this form of abuse.

You can read more on this story on the BBC News website here.

The NSPCC's Policy summary on Female Genital Multilation is available to read here.

By Using Vacuum Therapy System You Can Enjoy Better Sex Life

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Sexual bliss can be attained by using vacuum therapy system. It should be administered with the thorough guidance from your doctor. One of the major problems faced by men is the inability to get a sexual arousal. There are many drugs in the market that cure erectile dysfunction, but it is the vacuum therapy system, that is very effective. The health and length of the penis can be maintained with the help of vacuum pumps and so are very helpful in curing erectile dysfunction. This is a natural cure for depression due to lack of satisfaction that leads to a reduction in the confidence level.

Sexual arousal can be possible when there is adequate supply of blood to the tissues in the penis. The vacuum pump creates negative pressure to supply blood to the penis shaft. It is a simple and easy to use device that can be used as and when required. There are many causes like diabetes, hyper tension, obesity, chronic diseases, surgical problems and the effect of long time medication, chemotherapy, smoking, etc. for erectile dysfunction. But this does not restrict men from acquiring sexual satisfaction as vacuum therapy is the solution to this problem.

The main problem of using medications to cure this problem is side-effects and the time they take to begin action. On the other hand, vacuum pumps start functioning very quickly. Any medicine takes a minimum time of ½ to 2 hours to begin action whereas a vacuum pump begins work within 5 minutes. After a certain span of time, medicines have the tendency to become inactive but once the pump infuses blood into the penis, men are in full control of the activity. You can be in full control of the activity as the erection can be held for as long as required.

The use of vacuum pumps is gaining popularity as people are becoming aware of its usage and the misconceptions about the pain involved are changing. Actually, the process is painless and the only thing to be done is- removal of the tension ring as soon as blood is infused into the penile shaft and the penis get the desired shape and size. These pumps can be used as often as possible as it helps in maintaining the health of the penis. Those who have erectile dysfunction suffer because there is improper blood circulation in the penis, this can be regularized by using the pump regularly.

Full control on your sexual life is achievable with the help of the vacuum therapy system. Doctors are using this therapy quite often to get good and satisfactory result. The process involves no pain and lacks the side-effects of drugs and so is gaining popularity all over. It is a simple and painless treatment for erectile dysfunction. Insurance companies and Medicare are offering coverage on some branded devices along with reimbursement. This therapy is a boon for those having erectile dysfunction on account of some physical problem as there are no restrictions involved.

Vacuum System Therapy Advantages

Sunday, 17 March 2013

There are many advantages of vacuum therapy over the other conventional method of treating the problem erectile dysfunction. Vacuum therapies have more chances to give you the result than other methods and products available in the market. The reason for that is that vacuum therapies use a very simple but unique method to draw blood to the shaft and makes it swelled, resulting in the erection and firming of the penis. So far none other products have been able to achieve this result, apart from vacuum system therapy and that too in a very quick time. This clearly indicates how this therapy is better than other conventional methods.

Compared to other products these penis pumps are also very cheap. This is one important factor, as most of the products are really very expensive and men desperate to get rid of this problem do not hesitate to spend thousands of dollars for these products. But unfortunately in spite of spending these huge amounts, they have not been able to achieve the results that really wanted, thus all efforts goes wasted at the end of the day. But penis pumps can be easily afforded and gives results that they are made to give.

Many products which claim to give the best results and claim to completely cure the erectile dysfunction problem are not only cheap but pose a serious threat to the health of the user. Use of these kinds of product and method might permanently damage the organ or leave a very bad impact on their health. This is where penis pumps stand out. These pumps have no side effects and it causes no damage to the users' health. Thus it is easily the safest product in the market for the people to use.

Thousands of users have used many products in the market for erectile dysfunction. But none of them has helped them the way they wanted. Some take months to give result and some do not give result at all. But penis pumps are the only devices that not only give guaranteed results, but also give the results instantly. It takes less than five minutes for users to get what they could not get from any other product in the market. Results are what he users pay for, but unfortunately most of the products prove to be a waste whereas the penis pumps give best results and that too very shortly.

It is now clear why penis pumps are the best devices and how they are better than the conventional methods to treat the erectile dysfunction. These pumps not only cost very less but also give the result very fast. This result oriented device is also safe for users and they can use it as many times as they want without any fear of having any kind of side effects. These are the advantages that you get over the other products of similar kind, who do not deliver to the user what they promise. No doubt penis pumps are the only solution for erectile dysfunction problem.

Beyond Recovery to Restoration: Why We Need a New Paradigm for Working With the Trauma of Sex Abuse

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The mental health field has come a long way in unearthing the reality of sex abuse in our culture. Judith Herman's work in her landmark book, Trauma and Recovery, laid a foundation for understanding the impact of the trauma of sex abuse. Ellen Bass and Laura Davis through their book, Courage to Heal, opened the door for healing to those who have experienced sex abuse. John Briere with his research has produced statistical information and scientific measures that aid in treatment. Current understandings of the impact of trauma upon the brain provide even more evidence that sexual abuse perpetrates devastation.

With this increased freedom to break personal and cultural denial, and the accompanying new research about the impact of the trauma of sex abuse, comes the need for a deeper paradigm beyond the traditional use of recovery in healing.

Not just recovery or healing, but restoration

In 1935 when Bill Wilson founded AA, the first 12 step program, the concept was cutting edge. An entire generation of people in captivity to drugs and/or alcohol was able to make amazing steps towards freedom from the addictions that plagued them. The 12 step approach is based on the premise that if you admit powerlessness over the substance or behavior that is controlling your life, you have a key to freedom from it. And indeed the program has equipped thousands of people to break destructive habits. However, we suggest it is time for an additional paradigm that points to acquiring power, not giving it up.

The twelve step program is actually a transference of dependency. The participant moves from a substance addiction to dependence on a group and a system of management. It doesn't recover anything. Lemanski writes: "To transfer dependence on chemically addictive substances to emotional or psychological dependence on a group or recovery program is not recovery in the true sense of the word" (Lemanski, 1997). Twelve steppers are actually trapped within the program itself. They may have recovered from the visible symptoms of the addiction, but have not been restored to the full potential of what they were created capable of being.

There is great paradox in asking people to admit powerlessness in order to gain empowerment. The truth is not that we are powerless to overcome addictions or trauma. The truth is that the twelve step framework doesn't provide the pathway to the power we have. We submit that the power we seek is not found in a recovery program, but in a restoration paradigm.

Restoration declares that the power to not only override but rewrite unhealthy coping systems is available to you. The process becomes one of uncovering and restoring to your use your internal capabilities found in authentic identity that will provide direction, strength, and yes, even power.

In the current recovery paradigm there is no route for achieving freedom. At the end of the day you are stuck in a label and stuck with only a method of containment. The recovery paradigm provides liberty, not freedom. Liberty means simply that we are not oppressed. Freedom means we are the author of our experience (Block, 2002). The restoration paradigm, on the other hand, provides freedom. Freedom asks us to invent our own steps - not follow the recipe of others. It means we believe we are constituting or creating the world in which we live (Block, 2002).

When we seek restoration and not just recovery, we move from management of the symptoms to conquering the cause of the symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Theory has shown us that our behaviors are driven by belief systems, wounds, needs and longings. We do what we do based on what we think, feel or need. Long lasting and life-giving change of behavior is accomplished when we acknowledge and address internal needs and change unhealthy belief systems. When we simply work to change behavior without addressing the underlying drives, we are at constant war with our selves.

Once a week the staff of Connections conduct a self-awareness group for female adolescents in our local juvenile detention facility. Many of the girls we meet proclaim weekly, "I will not be back here again; I'm not going to do drugs anymore." They enroll in traditional behavior management programs and are out of detention for a time. Their intentions are strong; they do try not to use. However when the internal message or need that the drugs seem to answer becomes too much for their "management" skills the internal war resumes. The unprocessed emotional response or unmet need or belief system swamps the external controls, and they are cycled back into detention because they resorted back to using drugs.

A 12 step program focuses on managing the symptoms reflected in the addictive behavior. That focus leaves the underlying motivating needs or beliefs in control. It denies where the power is really being experienced. The internal systems have the power and 12 steppers are equipped only to control the reactions to their internal systems as seen in their unhealthy behaviors. The only personal empowerment 12 steppers receive is how to control the behavior of the addiction.

In an emotional conversation with a friend of mine, a 12 stepper, I experienced firsthand how the tactics he learned in his recovery program stifled emotional growth and the possibility of restoration. When our conversation included deep questions and strong emotions, he automatically began to use one of his techniques to manage the emotion. He had been taught that to prevent his addiction trigger, he had to control (actually override) the strong emotional response he was having in the moment. With his AA tactic, he did prevent himself from moving to his addiction of choice, but denied his emotions and my emotions embedded in the conversation and did not address the underlying issue. The moment was calmed, but the issue will resurface because the emotions were not completed, nor any issues resolved.

The 12 step approach actually renders one powerless to change from the inside out as it fails to recognize the driving power of a person's internal belief systems. The fallacy: we are powerless. The truth: we do have power. The power lies in understanding why we behave the way we do, and the power lies in making the internal changes that ultimately will change the unwanted behavior where necessary.

In a restoration paradigm we acknowledge the behavior and assign to ourselves the power to change the compulsion that drives the behavior. How? By identifying the belief system or power behind the drive and making the appropriate adjustment to realign ourselves to the truth of healthy thinking and authentic identity.

Our restoration paradigm was developed to meet the needs of the victim of childhood sexual abuse. The trauma of sex abuse causes the victim to develop a distorted view of self, her world and how she relates to it. Her authentic identity is buried under misbeliefs and maladaptive coping mechanisms. The four ranges of restoration (Refugee, Overcoming, Conquering, Identity) provide a framework through which the victim can make appropriate internal adjustments, remove the accumulated impact of sex abuse and reconnect to who she was created capable of being.

Subsequent articles will further describe the restoration paradigm.


Block, Peter (2002). The Answer to How is Yes. San Francisco. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Lemanski, Michael, J. (1997). The Humanist. P18 - 24.

Free Evidenced Based Research On Poverty & Social Exclusion

The PSE website is a free educational resource for academics, students, NGOs and policy makers interested in evidence-based research on poverty and social exclusion in the UK. 
It contains information on: methodology, conducting original and ethical research, research findings, international surveys, as well as up-to-date articles and a searchable digest of news stories and reports on welfare, poverty, inequality and more.
They will also be publishing the results of two major surveys, exclusively on this site, over the next few weeks.

Top Mental Health Conditions And Their Indications

Monday, 11 March 2013

Mental health conditions are quite tricky to recognize specifically when you are unaware of their symptoms. Just like any bodily diseases, they can lead to an incurable state if not addressed early. As these affect the personality of the individuals concerned, their families also get hurt in the process. This is because memory loss and hostile behaviour may be evident among them. Thus their social function is affected and their family names could be dragged to embarrassing situations.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of these syndromes. People who suffer from these are usually fearful of different things. For one, thoughts about death do not only send shivers down their spine. These also cause them sleeplessness and withdrawal from activities they used to enjoy. Rapid heartbeat, sweating and uncontrollable responses to certain situations are clear symptoms of these disorders. Phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and social anxieties are examples.

Abrupt and extreme mood swings are characteristic of mental health conditions. Formally known as affective disorders, these involve extreme feelings of sadness and feelings of happiness. Depression, mania and bipolar disorder are common illnesses under this category.

On the other hand, those that affect a person's way of thinking are called psychotic disorders. These cause affected individuals to have distorted awareness of many things. Delusions and hallucinations are two illnesses one should be aware of. A person suffering from delusions see unacceptable behaviours as acceptable. A person suffering from hallucinations hear sounds or voices and see things that are not happening in real life.

Personality disorders are the usual reasons why people think and act outside the norms of society. Sufferers of these seek for mental health therapy because they interfere with their performances at work, school, or social relationships. They could be anti-social, obsessive compulsive and paranoid in most cases.

Generally dubbed as freedom of expression, sexual disorders also impair the minds of most people. The way they project themselves gender wise and their respective sexual behaviours. As they have distorted thinking about their gender and sexual desires, they are dressing up and acting differently from their female or male orientation.

Other illnesses that involve the brain are tic disorders. Do you see people repeating sounds or body movements? These are tics which are uncontrollable. They happen involuntarily such as Tourette's syndrome, sleep-related problems, varied forms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The brain or mind can be very powerful. It can cause the body to experience symptoms of certain diseases even the latter are non-existent in the person's system. This is very true in the case of psychosomatic illnesses. An individual experiences sickness as the mind conditions the body to be so.

All these mental health conditions have corresponding cures which are combinations of medical and psychological services. It is important that professional help is sought as soon as any of the symptoms becomes visible. There are relevant facilities which provide related services. Be keen to choose from accredited mental institutions. Any of these is a sensitive matter to be dealt with. Thus, it must involve utmost care.

Free Resources For International Women's Day

Friday, 8th March was International Women's Day and to celebrate it a number of free resources were made available online.

These include:

The Impact and Statistics of Crystal Meth Usage

Friday, 8 March 2013

Everyone has heard about the nation's drug czar, and the questions as to whether or not America's drug policies are having any impact on drug use in this country. The statistics on methamphetamine usage might shed some light on the subject. While there are many drugs that are used illegally, some reports indicate that crystal meth use might actually be declining.

As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that 13 million people age 12 or older have tried methamphetamine at least once in their life. This represented 5% of the population at that point in time, while an estimated 46% of Americans were believed to have tried some illicit drug. What was notable about these crystal meth usage numbers is that they show a decline in all age groups from the results of the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It is hoped that as more current data become available, the downward trend will continue.

What was evident from the 2007 survey was that the age group that most heavily uses meth is the 18-25 year-olds. Their crystal meth usage rate is at least double that of any other age group. While people as young as 12 have reported using methamphetamine, the average age for the first use of meth is typically in the late teens or early 20's, fitting squarely in that high use age group. In many ways, this statistic is not surprising, as this is the age that young people are starting to live on their own, or going off to college, and are experimenting with making their own decisions without supervision for the first time. Trying drugs is part of that experimentation.

While the NSDUH statistics indicate a decline in methamphetamine usage, others seem to contradict these numbers. For example, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which tracks information on hospital emergency department incidents that are drug related, has reported a significant increase in the number of emergency department visits that are related to crystal meth abuse. In addition, admissions to treatment facilities for methamphetamine abuse have also increased significantly. In 1992, treatment admissions where meth was indicated as the primary drug of abuse represented 1% of all admissions, and totaled approximately 21,000 admissions. By 2004, that number had grown to more than 150,000 admissions, and represented 8% of treatment admissions. Clearly, these statistics are in conflict with the overall meth usage numbers.

However, that conflict might be a positive in the big picture. If usage is down across all age groups, and yet more people are entering crystal meth addiction treatment programs, there could be some hope that the scourge that is meth will eventually become less of an issue for the young people of America.

Some the latest new books available at Polhill Library

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Applied Social Studies's bookshelf: social-science-feb13

Childhood poverty and social exclusion: From a child's perspective
5 of 5 stars
This book is available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1170843~S20 Childhood poverty has moved from the periphery to the centre of the policy agenda...
Anti-Racist Social Work, Third Edition
5 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedforshire Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1452797~S1 The third edition examines changes in anti-racist practice since the first edition, situating it...
Children As Victims
5 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1432983~S1 This book highlights the problems, dilemmas and challenges facing the child protection agencies...
Class, Self, Culture
5 of 5 stars
Available in the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click on this link to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1492794~S20 This book shows how different classes become attributed with value, enabling culture...
Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives, and Practice
4 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1373679~S20 This enduring bestseller remains the most comprehensive examination of constructivism and ...
Critical Practice in Social Work
5 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click here to see the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1434833~S20 What do social workers need to know in order to practise skilfully and effectively? The sec...
Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide
5 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1465917~S20 A comprehensive, easy to read book that shows students how to undertake a literature revie...
Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science
4 of 5 stars
Available from the University of Bedfordshire Library. Click on this link to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1458177~S1 Step-by-step advice on completing an outstanding research project. This new editi...
Introducing Social Policy
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. click on this link to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1432597~S1 The completely revised second edition of this highly respected textbook provides a comprehensive yet diges...
Meeting The Needs Of Ethnic Minority Children: Including Refugee, Black, And Mixed Parentage Children: A Handbook For Professionals
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1365886~S1 Professionals working with ethnic minority children can find themselves at a loss as to how to understand and meet...
Social Capital: Critical Perspectives
5 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1467283~S1 The idea of social capital is increasingly prominent in international, national, and local policy-making and in th...
Social Policy: An Introduction
5 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Clikc here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1403234~S1 This is an extremely useful, updated text for students of social policy and other related areas, such as social wo...
Social Policy and Social Work: An Introduction
5 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1490615~S1 An understanding of social policy is crucial for social workers as it underpins and shapes the legislative framewo...
Social Policy For Social Work
5 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1171160~S1 Social Policy for Social Work provides a comprehensive, critical and engaging introduction to social policy for st...
Understanding Social Work Research
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1500965~S1 Social work students need to understand the relationship between research, knowledge and practice to be effective ...
Using Groupwork
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1596505~S1 Written by an experienced groupworker and academic, this book promotes greater knowledge and understanding of grou...
Understanding Poverty
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1377775~S1 Pete Alcock provides a comprehensive introduction to the analysis of poverty and social exclusion covering the def...
Textbook on Criminology
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1501130~S1 Textbook on Criminology offers an engaging and wide-ranging account of crime and criminology, addressing the theor...
Sociology for Social Work: An Introduction
5 of 5 stars
Available from the Uob Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1473133~S1 This textbook introduces the social work student to the field of sociology, illustrating how sociology is connecte...
Social work and direct payments
4 of 5 stars
Available from the UoB Library. Click here to view the catalogue record: http://www.library.beds.ac.uk/record=b1170863~S1 The 1996 Community Care (Direct Payments) Act came into force on 1 April 1997, empowering social services departme...


Peers Tell Government To Outlaw The Caste System In The UK

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

In a vote in the House of Lords peers defeated the government and said that discrimination on the grounds of caste should be outlawed in the UK. Peers backed an Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill amendment to add caste to race discrimination laws.

The government opposed the move, saying it had set up an education programme to tackle caste discrimination. Peers said this was not enough, and the law needed to be changed. The government was defeated by 256 to 153.

The defeat was the second of the day for the government, with peers also challenging the government over the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in promoting a more equal society.

You can read more on this story on the BBC News website here.

The Many Drug Abuse Effects

Monday, 4 March 2013

With today's level of education on the issue, it is fair to say that everyone in the Western hemisphere knows drugs are bad for you. However, do you know what 'bad for you' constitutes? Drug abuse effects range from the mental to the physical to the social.


Most people see this as a 'harmless' drug, mostly because it has some medicinal properties, and is a naturally occurring substance. Unfortunately this doesn't mean that there are no negative effects on long term users. While this may not be the kind of drug which can kill you with one dose, it can still have devastating consequences for your life over a long period.

Marijuana can cause you to develop mental problems through long term and short term use. Excess use can lead to paranoia, in both the long term and short term. Studies have also shown that prolonged use has a negative impact on mental abilities and IQ. The drug can also lead to apathy and stereotypical 'stoner' behavior, where the user is interested in nothing but the next joint.

Marijuana can also harm a fetus during pregnancy, and lead to psychosis and mental dependence on the drug.


Heroin is commonly seen as one of the most unpleasant drugs available to buy. It invokes strong chemical and mental dependency. The problems caused by heroin are threefold; the actual drug itself which is incredibly harmful to the body; the culture of violence and crime surrounding its sale and production; and associated diseases such as AIDS which are associated with sharing needles.

The effects on the body are extreme - as the drug depresses respiratory function, prolonged use can lead to lung or heart failure! It also has associations with liver disease and pneumonia due the suppression of the immune system.

Secondary illnesses which are associated with heroin abuse include the AIDS epidemic and hepatitis. This is largely due to the sharing of needles, which leads to cross contamination. Both these diseases can be managed, but not cured and greatly affect the lives of those who contract them.

The social aspect, including the dependence upon the drug makes the user incredibly venerable to dealers. Many people are coerced into trades such as prostitution in order to fund their drug abuse.

Cocaine / Crack Cocaine

Cocaine and crack cocaine are similar drugs; crack cocaine is a processed form of cocaine which is mixed with baking soda or ammonia. Drug abuse effects caused by cocaine are severe; often users will continue to take the drug only to avoid the savage withdrawal which the drug causes.

Due to the rise in blood pressure, and resultant rush, there is a high incidence of strokes among cocaine users, as well as a variety of other cardiac problems. The drug is also associated with acts of violence due to the savage rush it entails.

These are just some of the drugs and the effects of drug abuse which are affecting society today. Hopefully you are now a little more aware of the consequences of drug abuse, and can make an informed choice as to whether or not you use.

Social Workers Need Compulsory Substance Misuse Training Say Experts

Photograph by grant_loy
A report by the charity Adfam, revealed widespread fears that social workers are not given adequate training or effective managerial supervision on substance misuse and its impact on children and parenting.

Social work degrees should include compulsory training on substance misuse, drug charities have warned.

You can read the full article in Community Care here and also vote in their poll.

New Reports On Poverty From The Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Photograph by Ed Yourdon
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has recently published a series of reports looking at poverty in the UK. They are:

Effective Treatment For Drug Abuse

Saturday, 2 March 2013

There are many types of treatment for drug abuse, but all are not equally effective, so how do you know with which drug rehabilitation centre to go if you or a loved one needs help with an addiction? Well, one thing is for certain and that is that traditional, short-term and outpatient methods do not work and this was proven once again by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2008. Their research has indicated that an alarming 93 percent of these conventionally treated cases relapse.

Programme Content

Effective and appropriate treatment for drug abuse relies heavily on well-researched and proven programme content and to this end; the outdated view of applying a standardised programme to all addictions is simply not acceptable. The well-known Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous 12-step programmes have proven extremely effective and thus forms part of many drug rehabilitation centres' treatment programmes. Experience has shown that a recovering addict should complete this programme at least up to Step 7 before they can be considered recovered.

Different Drugs; Different Types of Treatment for Drug Abuse

A single rehabilitation programme or treatment plan could not hope to address the idiosyncrasies and unique characteristics of every type of drug or recovering addict. Tailored programme content is required to cater for many factors and these include:

  • The physical state of the addict upon arrival at the rehabilitation centre. Most of them are undernourished and have a low BMI, which conspires against their recovery and their concentration levels. A healthy eating plan should form part of the treatment programme.
  • The psychological state of the addict upon arrival. The addict may exhibit various maladaptive behaviours that require treatment, like depression or obsessive-compulsive disorders

Crack and Cocaine

Of course, the treatment for drug abuse would very much depend on the drug of choice and a great deal of research is necessary to find the correct methodologies to treat certain addictions. For example, a programme from the USA has proven very effective for treating cocaine and crack addiction and assisting these people in coming to terms with their addiction, the unique allure of these drugs and the undercurrent of addiction.

Heroin Fighters

In similar vein, the South African-developed Heroin Fighters programme is now world-renowned for assisting in the treatment for heroin drug abuse. Heroin is often regarded as a drug that is impossible to overcome, so the first aim of the programme is to give the addict hope that they can overcome their addiction. A part of this process is education about this drug of choice in order to give the addict an understanding of their dependence and finally, equipping them with necessary skills to overcome heroin.

Alcohol Annihilators

Alcohol Annihilators is another locally developed programme and a very effective treatment for alcohol drug abuse. The programme has been developed with the cooperation of recovering alcoholics and their inputs have rendered a programme that has worked superbly well in assisting alcoholics in coming to terms with alcoholism's effects, craving cycles, the cycle of addiction and the addiction culture, while providing invaluable spiritual perspectives.

Treatment for Drug Abuse: Other Drugs and Programmes

Eating disorders can also be very debilitating and destroy lives on a daily basis, so excellent treatment for this type of ailment is extremely important and may include element of the following:

  • Special menus and food preparation
  • Supervised meals
  • Education about the effects on the body
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy

This type of therapy also has to be constantly supervised by trained professionals.

Holistic Treatment for Drug Abuse

Few drug rehabilitation centres are likely to achieve a decent measure of success with a fragmented and uncoordinated approach and a holistic approach has proven the most effective. This implies the bringing together of all the treatment options available in one place and finds most of its impact in three critical areas:

  1. A standardised treatment plan is unrealistic and ineffective; each individual and each drug requires a tailored treatment plan.
  2. Short-term, conventional and outpatient treatment techniques do not work. UNODC research proved again in 2008 that 93 percent of these relapse. Treatment should last for at least six months.
  3. Treatment should take place in a residential treatment facility in order to exercise complete control over the addict's environment and improve their chances of a full recovery.

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