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Recognizing Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is behavior someone uses to control a spouse, partner, date or elderly relative through fear and intimidation. It can involve emotional, sexual and physical abuse, as well as threats and isolation. In most cases, men are the abusers.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, abuse can show itself in the following ways:

Physical battering. The attacks can range from bruising to punching to life-threatening choking or use of weapons. A problem often begins with threats, name-calling and/or harm to objects or pets, but escalates into more serious attacks.

Sexual abuse. A person is forced to have sexual intercourse with the abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity.

Psychological battering. Psychological violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the victim from friends and family, withholding money, destruction of personal property and stalking. The person may accuse the victim of being stupid, ugly, unfaithful or having another fault, the American Bar Association (ABA) says.

Clues to violence
The following signs often appear before abuse occurs and can be a clue to a potential problem:
• Violent family life. People who grow up in families in which they were abused as children, or in which one parent beat the
other, learn that violence is normal behavior.
• Use of force or violence to solve problems. A person who has a criminal record for violence, gets into fights or likes to act tough is likely to act the same way with his or her partner and children. Warning signs include having a quick temper, overreacting to little problems and frustrations, cruelty to animals, destroying or damaging objects you value, punching walls or throwing things when upset.
• Alcohol or drug abuse. Be alert to drinking/ drug problems, particularly if the person refuses to admit a problem and get help.
• Jealous of friends and your family. The person keeps tabs on you and wants to know where you are at all times, or wants you to spend most of your time with him or her. The person makes it difficult for you to find or keep a job or go to school.
• Access to guns or other weapons. The person may threaten to use a weapon against you.
• Expecting you to follow his or her orders or advice. The person becomes angry if you don't fulfill his or her wishes or if you can't anticipate his or her wants. The person withholds money from you when you need it.
• Extreme emotional highs and lows. The person can be extremely kind one day and extremely cruel the next.
• You fear his or her anger. You change your behavior because you are afraid of the consequences of a fight.
• Rough treatment. The person has used physical force trying to get you to do something you don't want to do, or threatens you or your children.

Abusers don't fit a particular character type, says the ABA. They may appear charming or they may seem to be angry. What is common among abusers are the signs listed above.

If someone you are with exhibits these behaviors or if you have any questions contact Canopy EAP or talk with a domestic abuse hotline counselor about your situation. If you're in danger, call 911.

Krames Staywell

Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depression that occurs during a particular season of the year. Most people with SAD are depressed during the fall and winter, when the days are shortest. Their depression disappears in the spring and summer. A less common type begins in late spring or early summer. Changes in the amount of daylight may be the cause of SAD.

Although many people say they get the "blues" in the winter, a person with SAD has much more difficulty coping during this season. Like other forms of depression, SAD interferes with daily life. Overcast days can make a person with SAD feel worse. People with SAD have mild to moderate depression.

SAD can affect anyone, although women are approximately 1.5 times more likely to develop SAD than are men. Those most affected are people in their late teens, 20s, and 30s, with the majority women in their 30s. Older adults are less likely to develop it. It is more common in northern latitudes and extreme southern latitudes. The depression is frequently moderate to major. SAD sufferers frequently have other family members with mental illness, such as depression or alcohol abuse.

Varying levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are believed to play a role in SAD. The sleep hormone melatonin, which has been linked to depression, also may play a role. The body makes more melatonin in the dark, so the shorter, grayer days of winter boost levels of melatonin.

The symptoms of SAD can be confused with symptoms of other illnesses, including hypothyroidism and viral infections such as mononucleosis.

People with a mild case of SAD can ease symptoms by increasing the time they are exposed to daylight during the day. Spending time outdoors each day and getting regular outdoor exercise are two effective methods to combat SAD. For more severe cases, doctors may prescribe light therapy and possibly antidepressants. Light therapy involves exposure to very bright, full-spectrum fluorescent light for a certain amount of time each morning.

What to Do
During the fall and winter, try to get regular exercise and spend time outside each day. Rearrange the furniture in your home and workspace and open the blinds or curtains to take advantage of as much sunlight in the fall and winter as possible. Talk to your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of SAD significant enough to interfere with daily life. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional trained to treat patients with SAD.

Krames Staywell

Apple Pumpkin Soup
Apple Pumpkin Soup

• 2 - 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
• 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 2/3 cups applesauce
• 2 granny smith, or other
tart apples, diced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon sage
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup cream
• kosher salt
• olive oil

Preheat large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add diced onion, apples and a little kosher salt. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add chicken or vegetable stock, apple sauce, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until apples are very tender.

Add pumpkin and brown sugar and cook for 10 – 15 minutes over medium heat. Use a submersible blender to blend soup until it is smooth. You can also use your blender to blend the soup in batches. Add cream to soup and heat through, but do not boil. Add more cream or water if desired to thin out more. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple slices or hazelnuts.

Serves 2.