Is Hoarding a Mental Illness?

by Brooke Strickland

Many of us have heard of and are even fans of the TLC show, Hoarders.  While it’s often disgusting and disturbing to watch, there is also something somewhat fascinating about the minds of the people that hoard their belongings.  Hoarding is considered the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to get rid of them.  Hoarding is also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hoarding syndrome.  People who hoard often do not see it as a problem.[1]  Hoarding is very different than collecting.

What are the signs of hoarding?

-Cluttered living spaces
-Inability to get rid of belongings
-Keeping stacks of books, magazines, newspapers, junkmail
-Acquiring and keeping unnecessary items
-Difficulty managing daily activities and limited social life/interactions
-Difficulty organizing items
-Excessive attachment to personal belongings

For many people who hoard, they believe they’re saving items that they’ll need in the future, or they have significant personal attachment to personal belongings. 

What causes hoarding?
While there is no clear medical definition as to what causes hoarding, it’s more common to see families with history of hoarding, making genetics a likely factor. There are also other factors that can trigger hoarding, such as stressful or traumatic life events, such as the death of a loved one or divorce.  In addition, individuals that have been socially isolated for long periods of time have shown high hoarding tendencies, as they fill loneliness with more and more personal possessions.

In extreme cases, hoarding can cause significant health risks, including increased risk of falling and mainly unsanitary living conditions which can pose risk to overall health.  If you’re considered someone you know is a hoarder, it’s important to seek professional advice from a mental health professional.  And of course, if there are concerns of the living conditions of the home, contact authorities to be sure living areas are clean and suitable for healthy living.


[1] Hoarding.  Mayo Clinic.  Accessed April 4, 2012.

Is lemon water good for you?

By Brooke Strickland

We all know that drinking enough water is very important.  But did you know drinking lemon water is good for you, too? All you’ve got to do is put an eighth or so of a lemon in some hot water and you’ve got a naturally delicious drink.  We’ve compiled some great reasons as to what makes lemon water so good for your body.

1.     Immune system boost:  Lemons have lots of vitamin C and they’re high in potassium which is great for your brain and blood pressure.

2.     PH:  Drinking lemon water on a daily basis can help balance out your body’s PH level and overall acidity. 

3.     Weight loss:  Lemons are high in fiber, which can help curb hunger cravings.

4.     Digestion:  Lemon water is so great for aiding in digestion.  It helps flush out nasty materials in your body and can fight constipation.  It also helps keep your urinary tract healthy.

5.     Skin:  The vitamin C in the lemons can help get toxins out of your body and keep your skin clear and help reduce the appearance of scars.

6.     Breath:  Lemony-fresh breath sounds pretty nice, right?  It can also help with gingivitis and other gum disease but be careful – too much lemon can be harmful to the enamel on your teeth, so monitor this closely.

Lemons are packed full of vitamins, live enzymes, and minerals that are naturally great for your body.  Wanting to kick the coffee habit in the morning?  Try this!  Or maybe you’re trying to cut down on your intake of pop.  Try putting some lemon in some sparkling water and there you go – your soda craving is satisfied!

Lemon water is a super inexpensive way to improve your overall health and keep you healthy.  Bottoms up!

What’s happening with healthcare in the Senate?

By Brooke Strickland

The new healthcare changes in our country have been all over the news.  So what do the recent changes waiting to be approved in the Senate really mean?

A recent article published by Time explains that the goal of the President’s plan is to extend health care coverage over 10 years to 95% of the legal, non-elderly population. Right now, about 83% of people are insured and if the plan goes through, more than 32 million people would gain coverage. The cost? Over the decade, it would be about $1.4 trillion. [1]

Some of the main concerns are the cost – projections are that the Obama plan could raise the annual deficit as much as $150 billion.  In addition, people are likely to find loopholes in the system, one of the main concerns being employer dumping – meaning companies could stop providing health care insurance and force their employees to get healthcare plans that are subsidized by the government.   Furthermore, hospital costs are projected to rise and patients with Medicare and Medicaid would get hit hard with decreased coverage.

There are a slew of other reasons why the healthcare reform bill is taking up so much time and attention in the news today.  It’s a hotly debated topic for a good reason – it will dynamically affect every single person in the United States within the next 10 years.  Republicans are generally very against it, while as a whole, Democrats are more in favor of it.  But either way, the Supreme Court has a huge decision to be made and whether the changes are approved or rejected, the bill is likely not going to solve all the healthcare problems, including financial, that the country faces. 

The Court is expected to vote on if the reform law is unconstitutional and expects to make a ruling by the end of June.

[1] Sivy, Michael.  “The Real Trial for Health Care Reform.” Time Business. April 5, 2012. Accessed April 7, 2012.

Do I have poor posture?

By Brooke Strickland

Your mama and your grandma probably told you growing up: “Sit up straight!”  It’s something you hear all the time but grandma was right!  Incorrect posture is common and often comes from habit, fatigue, or simply laziness.  Slouchers and those with poor posture are putting unnecessary stress on the spine and surrounding muscles, which can often cause back pain and in the long run, permanent damage to the spine. 

What can you do to prevent poor posture?

  • Stretch:  Doing regular stretches to relieve back muscles can help loosen them and prevent back pain. 
  • Wear the right shoes:  Wearing shoes with supportive inserts can be very beneficial to overall back health.
  • Get a supportive desk chair: Getting a desk chair that helps maintain better posture and balance in the spine will help.
  • Sit close to your desk: If you’re regularly at a desk for work or at home, make sure to sit close to the desk so you’re not stretching your arm muscles out unnecessarily and causing undue stress on them.
  • Move, move, move:  If you’re sedentary a lot of the day, try to get up often and move. Take breaks to move around and get your muscles moving with a walk. This will help decrease fatigue in your back.

Does good posture bring about health benefits?

YES!  Maintaining good posture is very beneficial to your help.  First of all, it’s a great image booster.  People who always slouch are often seen as lazy, sad, depressed, or mean-spirited.  So when you start standing up straight and walking/sitting with confidence, you’ll not only feel good about yourself, but you’ll also project to others around you that you’re confident and assertive. 

In addition, good posture helps you breathe better. And when you breathe better, you’ll be able to think faster and concentrate more easily.  The more oxygen you have going to your brain, the better!

For many people, their posture is so bad that they need to seek medical attention.  A chiropractor can often help get your back working well again.  There is great value in maintaining good posture and it’s not too late to start.


What is a PICC line?

By Brooke Strickland

A PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) is a long, slender, flexible tube that is inserted into a peripheral vein that is threaded through a large vein in the chest near the heart.  The upper arm is usually the best place to insert the PICC line, but they can also be inserted through the leg and even the head.   PICC lines are like standard IVs, but instead offer centralized treatment through the central line of the body.

What is the PICC used for?

-Long-term antibiotics


-Blood transfusions

-Drawing of blood samples


How is a PICC inserted?

To insert a PICC, a specially trained PICC nurse specialist, radiologist, or physician assistant will use x-ray and ultrasound technology to locate the best and strongest vein.  For adults, the PICC is generally inserted via bedside to reduce discomfort.  For children and infants, light sedation or even full general anesthesia may be required as to decrease mobility and allow ease of access to the child’s veins. 

What are the risks with having a PICC line?

Infection is one of the greatest risks of having a PICC line.  It’s possible that the area near the outside of the line can get infected and go into the vein.  It’s very important to keep the area dry and clean.  If it becomes red, swollen or painful, or if you see discolored fluid discharging and develop a fever, call your doctor immediately. 

It’s also possible for the PICC line to become blocked.  To help reduce the risk of this happening, sterile saline fluid is injected through the PICC line to help flush it.  This can be done once a day, or once a week – every doctor’s orders differ on how often the PICC should be flushed. 

There is also a risk that the line can come out.  If the line is not secured well with tape or covered dressing, it can come out.

How is the PICC removed?

The PICC line removal is simple and painless. It can be gently pulled out and removed in an outpatient setting or even in the patient’s home in only a matter of minutes.  It will be removed by a specially trained nurse.