A case of Addiction: The Whitney Houston’s Story

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The iconic singer’s life story is an eye-opening reminder of how addiction can affect the life of anyone — and our need to improve how we treat it.
Addiction can happen to anyone
There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood that any person, Houston or otherwise, would turn to destructive behavior. This path can begin very early in life.

A prominent study on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), concluded that those who experienced abuse (physical, emotional, sexual), neglect (physical, emotional), or household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic abuse, substance abuse, incarceration, divorce) as a child faced higher likelihood for smoking, alcohol, and drug use. They’re even likelier to be overweight or chronically late for work.

A person can determine their proclivity toward these destructive behaviors by learning his or her ACE score, which is calculated through tallying the different forms of childhood trauma he or she experienced.

If she ever took the test, Houston may have had a high ACE score.

According to Janelle Westfall, clinical director at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Arizona, a child who endures traumatic events like those experienced by Houston is at “a much higher risk” for developing substance abuse and health issues later in life.

The traumatic experiences endured by Houston as a child are discussed at length in “Whitney.”

Despite the image of the idyllic family they projected once Houston became famous, the family’s household was dysfunctional. Houston’s parents, John and Cissy, engaged in marital infidelities, which ultimately led to their divorce. Houston was bullied in a predominantly African-American school due to the light color of her skin.

And in a bombshell revelation, a source in the documentary revealed that a relative sexually abused Houston as a child. She was left in the care of this predator as her mother, Cissy, traveled frequently to pursue her career as a singer.

There’s also a genetic component to addiction.

Studies have estimated that genetics may account for up to 60 percent of an individual’s vulnerability to addiction. This explains why some people can use a drug and never try it again, while others develop a serious dependency.

“If [an individual has] a genetic predisposition to addiction, then that can be very dangerous, and that experimentation can turn into an addiction rather quickly,” confirmed Westfall. Therefore, it’s important to discuss a family history of addiction with doctors from an early age.

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A third factor is an individual’s peer group.

According to the experts at Devereux Arizona, if those surrounding an individual are using a substance, they are likelier to experiment.

As seen in “Whitney,” Houston grew up in a middle-class home in East Orange, New Jersey that was surrounded by drug culture. Her brother Michael admitted to enabling her drug use.

“If anything was gonna be done, I was gonna be the one to show it to her,” he said in the documentary. Her brother’s friend, Keith Kelly, claimed he was the first to give Houston drugs — marijuana and cocaine — on her 16th birthday.

Fame can complicate addiction
Adulthood and fame didn’t help Houston escape this environment. On the contrary, Houston was surrounded by enablers who procured her drugs and normalized dangerous behavior.

These “yes men” can present significant hurdles between a public figure and treatment, said Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, the owner of Benton Behavioral Health Consulting and author of “Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic.”

“The curse of fame is often that there’s a lack of leverage within the family or entourage to lead a celebrity towards treatment,” Benton said. “Celebrities such as Whitney often surround themselves with people who are related to them or paid and who benefit from enabling them. If an employee put pressure on them to seek help, they could risk losing their job.”

Benton added, “There are also pressures that famous individuals such as Whitney may face which can be the perfect storm for addictive and mental health issues: unlimited money and access to drugs, sycophants, career pressure, grueling schedules and a party-oriented lifestyle — for some.”

For many, including those who aren’t celebrities or dependent on substances, drugs and alcohol are common ways to deal with life’s stressors as a form of self-medication.

“In our society we use… drugs and alcohol to cope with sometimes just everyday things,” said Yvette Jackson, LMSW, DBH, assistant executive director at Devereux Arizona. Jackson cited a drink after a hard week at work as a classic example of this behavior.

However, “when that glass of wine becomes a bottle, and then that bottle becomes two bottles,” the body can become used to the substances, and the dosage must be increased in order to feel the same effects.

But not all drugs are bad. When prescribed by a doctor, for example, “opiates can help provide you that calmness and that helps relieve your anxiety,” Westfall added. “So, there’s good side effects from the use of drugs. The problem is and that they have to use more and more and more as time goes on.” And those suffering from a mental illness, like depression or bipolar disorder, are more likely to abuse drugs.

They “are very drawn to the use of medication because they’re trying to make themselves feel better,” Westfall said.

Finding healthy alternative coping mechanisms is key
Jackson and Westfall agreed that drugs and alcohol are not long-term solutions for stress, because they can lead to dependence or overdose.

Instead, these experts recommend finding alternative coping mechanisms. Therapy can be a key resource, as well as “replacement behaviors” like mindfulness training, yoga, and basic exercise, which can help an individual destress and “get the endorphins going,” Westfall said.

Overall, society can also take steps to reduce the stigma around mental health. One of these would be the integration of mental health into primary care.

“Mental health is healthcare,” stressed Jackson. “There’s no physical health without good mental health.” It’s a maxim worth remembering as the United States grapples with an opioid crisis, which is also a mental health crisis.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 American adults experience mental illness.

Minority groups are at greater risk
In addition to genetics, a person’s race, sexual orientation, and gender can all factor into the level of stress they experience. African-Americans and those in the LGBT community experience chronic stress at higher rates due to discrimination and perceived discrimination, reports the American Psychological Association. Stress can lead to a variety of health issues, including diabetes, mental disorders, and substance abuse.

Despite her success, Houston’s race did not make her life any easier. From the beginning of her career, Houston, who is black, was carefully marketed to a white audience with an image that glossed over her racial identity. As a result, she became the first black woman to top the pop charts. But this marketing had consequences. In 1989, Houston was booed at the Soul Train Awards, an act that had a life-changing impact on her self-esteem.

Houston’s struggles may also be rooted in the stigma surrounding her rumored sexuality. The singer never identified as queer in her lifetime. But in “Whitney,” the singer was described as “fluid” by her musical associate Rickey Minor, indicating an attraction to both men and women. The 1980s and early 90s saw the height of the AIDS crisis. It wasn’t an accepting time to be queer in the United States. An out female singer risked being publicly and commercially rejected.

The film also showed that, even today, members of Houston’s family weren’t accepting of LGBTQ people. Gary Houston, Whitney Houston’s brother, described Robyn Crawford — Houston’s friend, assistant, and rumored lover — as “wicked.”

Family acceptance is a key part of good mental health and an important safety net, said Jackson, and “this was something that didn’t appear to be there” for Houston.

Moreover, whatever their relationship may have been, Crawford was a lifeline to Houston, and her forced departure from Houston’s team left the singer vulnerable, attested Bobby Brown, Houston’s husband of 14 years, in an interview with “Us Weekly” in 2016.

“I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today,” Brown said. “She didn’t have close friends with her anymore.”

Diagnosis is essential
It’s unknown if Houston was diagnosed with a mental health disorder — and all three of the health experts that spoke with Healthline cited a policy of not diagnosing individuals who they hadn’t treated personally.

But during her lifetime, warning signs of Houston’s troubles were on display for the world to see: her near-skeletal appearance at the Michael Jackson tribute in 2001; her admission of drug use to Diane Sawyer in a shockingly frank interview in 2002; her legendary voice reduced to a rasp by the 2009/10 “Nothing But Love Tour.”

Benton recalled the 2005 Bravo reality show “Being Bobby Brown” — which showcased Houston, her then-husband Brown, and her daughter Bobbi Kristina — as being a major red flag.

“I remember being shocked at seeing a hardened Whitney sleeping on the couch late into the day and appearing out of it,” Benton said. “It was concerning that Whitney and Bobby were shamelessly exposing their daughter to a partying lifestyle as well as to their impairment on drugs and alcohol.”

However, Houston is no outlier as an entertainer struggling with drugs and alcohol. Recently, Demi Lovato overdosed on heroin and is currently recovering after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder several years beforehand.

There’s a crisis in the music industry, which is enabled by “a culture of greed that views musicians, actors, etc. as commodities and paychecks,” Benton said. This is a culture that needs to change.

“Agents and managers will often cover up and protect the celebrity from exposure and prevent getting treatment for selfish reasons instead of putting their employer’s well-being first,” Benton said. “I’d suggest that the industry culture needs to change so those closest to the celebrity have a process and leverage to get them help for whatever mental health, addiction, or medical condition they’re suffering from — without fear of losing their job. This should be viewed as an act of love and caring.”

Additionally, society’s overall attitude toward drug use and mental illness often perpetuate a culture of shame, making treatment even more difficult for those who need it.

This is magnified many times over when the person is a celebrity.

The larger legacy of an icon
Houston, through her music and life, gave love to countless people. Ultimately, her tragic end can also offer lessons to the world.

“Whitney’s story is a cautionary tale. She was a brilliant artist with the potential for lifelong success. However, fame and fortune don’t equate to happiness. Therefore, I hope that her fans can prioritize their wellness in life above success,” Benton concluded. “Additionally, I have read that Whitney never felt she could be herself on terms of the image that managers wanted her to portray. Let this to be a lesson that we must find and live our truth or we may lose ourselves in what others expect of us.”

For anyone with symptoms or a diagnosis of mental illness, the National Institute of Mental Health has compiled a list of helpful resources.

Suicide prevention
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
•  Call 911 or your local emergency number.
•  Stay with the person until help arrives.
•  Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
•  Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline.

 

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Maternity Dressing : Clever Ways to Hide a Baby Bump

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DRESSING FOR TWO
If your tummy’s popping before you’re ready to share the baby news, use these styling tips from Women’s Health senior fashion editor Thea Palad to keep your pregnancy secret a little longer. Bonus: They’ll be just as cute on you post-pregnancy as they are now.

Mirror Bump

MIRROR YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Mirrored prints
Reflecting a print along your vertical axis is instantly slimming and can help hide any weight gain

color block

COLOR BLOCK YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Color blocks

“Make sure the darker colors are strategically placed over your tummy and any other parts you want to shrink visually,” says Palad. Disappearing panels and ombre designs also have the same effect, so the darker portion will help mask your middle.

belt bump

BELT YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Belts

Wear a wide belt high and tight around your natural waist if you’re still able. When you accentuate the smallest part of your midsection it draws attention from your growing belly.

blouse the bump

Blouse Your Bump
BLOUSE YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Peasant blouses

They’re meant to have a billowy fit, so it’s a good way to hide a belly.

peasant blouse

MINIMIZE YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Mod-style mini dresses

“This style is cut to skim the body and flares out into a slight trapeze shape, so it hides a growing waistline—not that anyone will notice because the focus will be on your stems,” says Palad. “Be sure to wear great heels!”

blaze

Blaze Your Bump
BLAZE YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Boyfriend blazers

Boxy overcoats are a big trend ,Swap out any fitted or cropped iterations with this more forgiving one.

elongated lines

Elongate Your Bump
ELONGATE YOUR BUMP
Rock This Trend: Maxi dresses with prints

“Maxi dresses with busy graphics—like a beautiful floral, a realistic photo print, or an ethnic tribal print—can elongate your form and disguise your growing tummy,” says Palad.

Dont

Don’t Do THIS to Your Bump
DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR BUMP
“Nothing will get tongues wagging about your possible pregnancy faster than an empire waistline,” says Palad. Save this cut for when you’re ready to proudly show off your baby belly.

 

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How To Make Your Kids Love Veggies

 

veggies for kids

As some of you moms have surely witnessed, kids more often eat when they’re hungry and stop eating when they’re full. In other words, children are naturally following their internal cues so parents should try not to undo this healthy intake by encouraging kids to eat past the point of fullness.

Teaching children to stay tuned into their own hunger and fullness indicators allows them to have a comfortable relationship with food and avoid overeating as they grow older.

But in this world of aggressive junk food marketing, it can prove difficult to keep kids on the path of wellness, much less convince them that a plate full of fresh, colorful vegetables can be as tasty as a bowl of sugary cereal.

This is where we parents need to get inventive. After all, the habits our children develop at a young age are the ones they’re likely to carry with them into the rest of their lives.

Reinvent the Wheel
I love encouraging kids to look at vegetables differently. One of the fastest and most creative ways to do this is by asking kids to assist you in making pizza—with veggie toppers, of course! You can even do a grain swap and use a head of cauliflower to make the base and create a veggie full pizza crust that you and your kids can then top with whatever you’d like (thinly sliced eggplant on mine, please).

Another way to get kids to view vegetables in a new light is to make pasta veggies.

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You can either spiralize a zucchini with a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler or bake a spaghetti squash and top a mound of the spaghetti-like strands with marinara sauce, meatballs, and Parmesan.

Remember to never deceive kids with these recipes. Provide full disclosure (during or after eating) that they are made with vegetables so that kids learn to appreciate their diversity and flavor while never feeling like they’re being tricked.

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Play With Your Food
We all enjoy being able to pick and choose what ingredients we want in our salads and then adding dressing and toppings as if we were at our favorite frozen yogurt shop. So why not bring that same experience home with fresh, colorful veggies chopped up and placed in serving bowls?

Add a healthy salad dressing or two (along with some nutritious toppings that are fun to sprinkle) and you’ve got a new way to make family dinnertime a lot more playful, not to mention healthy. Plus, kids often enjoy helping to set up this homemade salad bar before partaking in it.

celery boats

Kids can also use different vegetables to create fun objects like celery boats. Fill celery stalks with low-fat cream cheese and top with red pepper “sails.” They can also cut veggies into strips and other shapes and then use them to design faces or artwork on whole-wheat mini pitas topped with nut butter, light cream cheese, or ranch dressing.

Beautiful Images of Breast feeding Women

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Breastfeeding has been the subject of great controversy lately. I must say it came as a surprise to me. I mean, that’s what breasts are there for, right? I was so perplexed by this sneering and sometimes flat hate people have been directing at mothers who are feeding their babies as nature intended. Have we sexualized women’s breasts to such a degree that their original purpose is starting to look like a perversion? Thankfully, a group of moms have posed with their babies in full breastfeeding mode to show that just because breastfeeding has been a public taboo for so long doesn’t mean it should stay that way.

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1. A Flower Child And Her Baby
A beautiful shot that says “I support life and I do it beautifully.” Those flowers are nothing like the ones you see at Coachella.

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2. The Kiss Of True Love
A baby is a precious and helpless bundle of potential. There are few ways to help them achieve that potential like a mother’s nourishment.

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3. These Three Are Never A Crowd
This photo is warm with love, even with the cold background. There is further controversy with older children breastfeeding, but this mom seems happy with the results.

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4. Mommy Can Be Your Everything
There is no greater feeling for a mother than knowing she can be there to support her kids in whatever way they need. Moms love to feel like their kids can utilize them as a resource for everything. Here Mom is dinner and entertainment all at once!

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5. Enjoying The Breeze
Those trusting eyes are fixated on Mama. As the two sit together, their bond grows. This is how great connections and strong family ties are fortified.

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6. Majestic
Some day this child will be able to look at this picture and see the beauty in it.

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7. Safe In Her Arms
There will never be a safer, happier place in the world for this little one.

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8. A Snack So Quick The Floor Will Do
Sometimes you’re in a rush but hunger knocks. The top of that business formal outfit will have to open for business.

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9. Lounging In The Window
That window seat was once for solitary reading and dreaming of a family. Now it’s the perfect perch for two.

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10. Sharing The Love
Many mothers will tell you that breastfeeding is one of the most relaxing things a woman could do. It brings out a gentleness in even the most stone-faced woman.

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11. Blossom
This little baby’s life is just budding while everything else is in full bloom. Mom can’t wait to watch her little flower grow and with all this wholesome eating, that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

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12. “I’ll Love You Forever, I’ll Like You For Always. As Long As I’m Living My Baby You’ll Be”
A mother’s love is eternal, and feeding is an important part of how she shows her love. There is so much love to be given and received between a mother and her baby through feeding time. Let’s try to change some hearts and minds so this natural act can lose its negative stigma

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Most Incredible Mothers

Pink greetings

It’s Mother’s day again..Let’s salute some incredible ones recorded.

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1.The Mom with Most Kids (69 kids)

Imagine living in a family of 71, your mom either must really like giving birth or the gift of life if you prefer or just hates being lonely. Valentina Vassilyeva, set the record for most children birthed by a single woman. This Russian woman gave birth to total of 69 children. However, few other details are known of her life, such as her date of birth or death. She gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 births.

8 babies

2. Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman Gutierrez aka Octomom gave birth to 8 children from a single birth. She gave birth to octuplets in January 2009, drawing the media attention.

tiny mom

3. Cristianne Ray, from Seattle, is the world’s smallest mother. She is 2 ft 9 inches tall and she gave birth to a happy baby girl named Kyrsten. She weighed 4 lbs 8 oz and was 14 inches long after she was born; what is around half of her mother’s height. When she saw her daughter for the first time, she said: “She was tiny, but at the same time she was huge compared to me.” She tries to lead a happy and healthy life; she goes bowling trying to keep fit and takes care of her newborn baby. Her fiancée Jeremy Bowden is 6 ft 4 inches.

male mom

4. World’s First Male Mother: Thomas Beatie was born as a woman but after a sex change operation he/she decided to have a babie. The 34-year-old’s wife, Nancy, was unable to conceive because of a prior hysterectomy. Therefore Beatie decided to have a baby himself, through artificial insemination using donor sperm and Beatie’s own egg. It doesn’t seem to be a healthy solution in any respect.

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5. Mom with the longest interval between kids: Elizabeth Ann Buttle gave birth to two kids, but what is special is the interval between their births. Belinda Buttle was born on May 19, 1956 when Elizabeth Ann Buttle was 19. Joseph Buttle was born on November 20, 1997 when Elizabeth Ann Buttle was 60, an interval of 41 years 185 days. Joseph’ sister was old enough to be his own grandmother.

Source: emirates247.com