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Let's Talk Life - Bellyful of woes

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson, Contributor

  • Bellyful of woes
  • Dear Counsellor:

    I am overweight and my cholesterol level is high. I have tried various diets with little success.

    - Suzette

    Dear Suzette:

    Weight management is more than diet planning. Aside from the obvious physiological issues, there is a spiritual and an emotional side, involving coping with stress and sadness.

    Life is about stress, sadness, joy and peace. It is, therefore, important that we accept that there will be stress, unhappiness and worry in life. These issues cause people to gain weight or be unable to lose weight.

    Observe what happens when you are experiencing various emotions. Some people have a sweet tooth, and eat when they are frustrated, disappointed or angry. People eat a lot when they are happy. When people diet, they feel as if they are starving themselves.

    In Jamaica, there is always food at various activities. People love fried foods and carbohydrates. Eat fruits and vegetables in abundance as this will balance your diet.

    Keep a journal about your eating behaviours and keep watch on what you eat. You might have to do food exchanges. In food exchanges, people have varieties of foods to choose from so a balance daily diet can be achieved.

    Spirituality is important. You need to have a special relationship with God. You need to pray often and have family and friends praying for you.

  • Disorderly conduct

    Dear Counsellor:

    I think my niece has conduct disorder. She has run away on several occasions and has seen several counsellors. I don't know what to do.

    - Marion

    Dear Marion:

    Conduct disorder is a challenging condition to treat. It affects more boys than girls and can start in the pre-teen period. These children are disobedient, rebellious, aggressive and oppositional. They do illegal things like stealing, raping and hurting other children. They form gangs and terrorise other children.

    Children with conduct disorder need to be treated in secure behavioural units. They need structure, parenting, limit setting and punishment. Many of them are in juvenile correctional centres or places of safety. Therapeutic facilities are needed to treat these children. They need mentoring and nurturing. They are just kids who took the wrong turn.

    In Jamaica, there are child-guidance clinics which treat children with conduct disorder. These children need anger management and treatment of their aggression. They need to learn conflict-resolution and dispute-mediation skills. Their parents and siblings also need help. A community management plan is also needed as many of these children come from communities that are lawless and violent.

    Take your niece to be assessed to identify whether depression, substance abuse, learning disability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are present. There will be relapses and recurrences, so patience and respite care are important. She may need residential care to give her family a break.

    Email questions to Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson at yvonniebd@hotmail.com or call her at 978-8602.