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Lottery winner“Dr. Campos,” the office manager said in her best business voice, “Would you like to contribute ten dollars to the office lottery pool?”

Ugh…we aren’t going to win. Greater chance of getting struck by lightning, twice! But I couldn’t stand to let my colleagues get rich without me, not for ten dollars…so I bought in.

I am relieved we did not win. It is not that I am above the fantasy…but I know something: Nobody unprepared to handle such a massive sum of money will keep it for long, or at the very least, the work it takes to manage a jackpot will stagger them. Very few people realize this fact, but many lottery winners rue the day they hit the numbers.

“You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up too.” ~ Jack Whittaker, West Virginia, Powerball lottery jackpot winner, $315 million

BlingSpending sprees are the first order of business. Gotta buy the bling, and the houses, and the boa constrictors, and the stripper pole…you know, lottery-winner necessities. But ask any big-name athlete or celeb who has squandered away millions (Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson), it goes fast…like water through the fingertips if you are not careful. About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Today, after spending almost all her winnings — “big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends” — [Sharon Tirabassi] is back in the working class: riding the bus, working part-time, living in a rented house.

But not just the spending, the people coming out of the woodworks with hands outstretched. Numerous lottery winners talk about friends and family who have come asking for assistance, only to get offended if the new millionaires say no or ignore their calls. On Good Friday 2004, Sharon Tirabassi and her sister, Shavaughn, walked to a variety store to buy lottery tickets.  Shavaughn also wanted a renters’ guide, but at the first store there were none, so they moved on without buying tickets. Next store, same thing, no renters’ guides. They continued walking for several blocks, entered the third store, where Shavaughn grabbed a renters’ guide. She went to the counter and bought a Super Seven ticket. Sharon followed and bought her ticket.

When Sharon won the $10 million lotto, Shavaughn believed it was because of herself; it was her wanting the renter’s guide (and purchasing two random pick tickets before Sharon) that allowed Sharon to be in the right place at the right time. Without Shavaughn, there would be no lottery winnings. For this reason, Shavaughn thought she deserved a payout. Sharon gave her $500K. Shavaughn wanted more. Today the sisters no longer speak.

I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you’ve loved deep down, and they’re turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me.” ~ Sandra Hayes, split $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006

outstretched handsBesides the challenges of managing newly acquired wealth, many lottery winners make grave mistakes which affect their psychology and support networks. Some cut contact with old friends, family and their familiar neighborhood in order to move among the rich in a fantasy paradise. New neighbors are often not friendly to the ‘nouveau riche’ and as a result lotto winners have difficulty with social integration.

But the most macabre outcome for a number lottery winners is the death that seems to follow after hitting the jackpot. Take young Craigory Burch Jr., 20-year-old forklift driver-turned-lottery winner, who won nearly half a million dollars in Georgia; he did not live long to enjoy his winnings, as he was killed in a home invasion last month, only two months after purchasing a winning ticket.

Abraham Shakespeare Or take the story of Abraham Shakespeare of Sebring, Florida, $30 million lottery jackpot winner, found murdered and buried under a slab of cement in the backyard of his new lady acquaintance’s home.

Or Jack Whitaker, our $315 million jackpot winner from West Virginia, whose granddaughter was found dead, wrapped in a plastic sheet, dumped behind a junked van. The cause of death listed as ‘unknown’, but likely due to her drug lifestyle which Whittaker says is a direct result of his lottery winnings. He believes the Powerball win had become a curse upon his family. ”My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he said.

According to a 2009 study by the Paris School of Economics, sudden windfalls can in fact increase one’s risk of death.

“Positive individual income shocks produce changes in lifestyles which may well be prejudicial to health. Exogenously higher income“—that is, wealth that comes, poof, out of the blue—”produces unhealthy living.” ~ Anneli Rufus, Lotto Death Curse

Out Of MoneyAdd 46-year-old Urooj Khan, who was found poisoned with cyanide following a $1 million jackpot win. And 47-year-old Deborah McDonald who was run over by a car near Sandusky, Ohio, after leaving a bar where she had been celebrating her win on the Ohio Lottery’s official TV show. And the bus in 2003, carrying a group of Germans, which overturned, killing 28—they were on a trip to Spain that they had won in a lottery. And the list goes on and on…

No I am grateful that neither me nor my colleagues hit the numbers last month. We are here to provide service to the world, and any windfall of big-time money is not going to get us there; it will serve the least amount of people—not the staff, not the clients, and not the community. I played the game for $10 to stay cohesive with my mates, but in the end I had to sigh a big, fat, “Phew…” Tragedy prevented by mathematical improbability. And on to play another day.


So we have discussed the history of ADD, but how does a disease or disorder become established as an entity?  This is an important question because it determines the course of a disorder historically, sociopolitically and economically.  But most important, it determines how diseases/disorders become etched into the human psyche.  Think this doesn’t play a massive role in human health?  Think again.

The current health paradigm that predominates today is the medical model.  It would take more than just a few paragraphs to do the subject justice (if you are interested, I highly recommend my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health), but I can give a brief synopsis here:

Modern medicine views the human body mechanistically–like an intricate machine.  Just as a machine can be broken down into ever smaller parts, so, too, can the human body.  By studying and mastering the workings (physiology) of the parts (systemic anatomy), we can understand the operation of the whole.  Simple.  When the parts start to malfunction (pathology), we can address them…cure them…through medicines (pharmacology) and/or removal (surgery).  Fair enough.  I find it flawed, but…as far as strategies go, it’s not bad.

But wait, it gets better.  Because we are physical beings in a material existence, then all problems related to our physical bodies have to have a physical basis.  Yes, even mental ones.  Because at our core we are simply neurophysiological life forms.  And when we break down human beings to their most fundamental parts, we are just electrochemical processes doing their thing.  It’s all rather Maxwellian.  Simple physics.

Physical problems, then, should have physical solutions, and throughout much of medicine’s very short history (I know you thought it was long and illustrious) the victories have been quite awe-inspiring.  Mass infectious epidemics have been nearly conquered; emergency medicine now saves lives that would have be long lost even fifty years ago; human prosthetics are damn-near perfect; even our increased life span is often credited to the wonders of modern medicine.

So what?  What does this have to with ADD?  Well, medicine did something peculiar…it started targeting what it considered “normal” physiological processes gone awry–things like cholesterol levels, and impotence, and symptoms of the common cold; it even started in on normal mental states like depression and well, fidgeting.  Yes, anything that could be considered a deviation from the norm was fair game.  The inability to focus in a schoolroom setting, then, was ripe for medical intervention.

It is interesting how unwanted (and unappreciated) physical and mental states become established as disorders.  First, they are recognized and their symptoms recorded, and then a profile of the most commonly afflicted is noted.  The disorders are then given a name, but over time, more symptoms are added, some possibly subtracted, but then re-added again, and the parameters stretch outward inch by inch.  As the definition of the disorder expands, more and more people are labeled with it, and the growing numbers are then called an epidemic.  Epidemics demand solutions, and in our mechanistic medical model this usually means drugs or surgery (think swine flu and carpel tunnel syndrome respectively).

Once somebody is labeled with a disease or disorder, the inclination of the human mind is to identify with it.  The person becomes the disease:

Hi… I’m Nick and I’m an alcoholic (now a disease, too).  Hola, me llamo Jesus: yo tengo blue balls (it’s coming [figuratively speaking]…swear).  Greetings, my name is Fenster P. Finkleschitkid, and I’ve got AD…hey, that’s my toy!!!

And they are never short of support.  Medical science supports them, doctors and therapists support them, society and it’s numerous special interest organizations support them, and of course, their loving families support them, because well…it’s a disorder you see, and we…just…want them…to have…normal….lives (whatever the hell that is).

ADD is no different.  It’s just one of many, many diseases and disorders that gets big money to study (remember, it’s the “best studied disorder in medicine”) and support all the intricacies (the changing ones) tied up in the horrible scourge.  And, of course, when they get their own drug treatment, they hit the big time–it all becomes official.  The AMA then takes a position on it and it becomes etched into the consciousness for all time.  Hallelujah!  Praise Hippocrates, we did it again.  Thank you, thank you, thank you (pat on the back)…and on to the next one.

Next post I’ll offer a better solution.


No free ride—dang!  There never seems to be something for nothing. Always a cost, always a price. Anyway, now it looks like a popular blood pressure medication may raise cancer risk. You mean I can’t eat what I want, neglect exercise, or indulge in type-A behavior at any time I want, and then just take a magic little pill that’ll make everything all right? Whuh?

According to a recent analysis of five previous studies following about 60,000 patients, researchers found a link between taking angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and cancer. ARBs are taken by millions of people worldwide for conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetic kidney disease. Researchers found that people taking these meds had a one percent higher risk of developing a whole range of cancers, including prostate, breast and a noticeable spike in lung cancer. About 85 percent of the people in the studies were on telmisartan, sold as Micardis, made by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp.

Although the individual risk is modest, the wide numbers of people taking these drugs means that the overall cancer numbers worldwide should increase due to ARB use. It is unknown at this time if the cancer risk is reduced following discontinuation of the drugs.

Of course, Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., makers of the drug Micardis, dispute the results, claiming their hypertension drug is one of the most-studied in the world. The company claimed in a statement that it had “internal safety data” contradicting the recent study. According to studies run by the pharmaceutical company, there was no link between increased cancer risk and Micardis. Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Lead author of the study, Dr. Ilke Sipahi, warned patients not to stop taking their drugs, and recommended they consult their doctor if they were concerned. However, he does say that he now thinks twice before prescribing ARBs himself. Nevertheless, for some people that can’t handle the side-effects of some of the other hypertension drugs, the risk of dying of stroke or heart disease far outweigh those of developing cancer.

Well let me interject my two-cents. Hypertension comes in two flavors, primary and secondary, the former being due mostly to lifestyle behaviors, the latter secondary to other causes, many hormonal. 85 percent of people with high blood pressure have the primary type. I hope you see where I’m going. If you handle your own lifestyle modification, take things into your own hands, why…you could lower your blood pressure and avoid the increased risk of developing cancer by using and ARB, like Micardis. Go figure.

Here are a few simple tips to lowering blood pressure:

  • Get adjusted—studies have shown chiropractic care can reduce blood pressure by 17mmHg systolic and 10mmHg diastolic*
  • Lose weight—obesity increases blood pressure; the heart has to work harder to pump through the fat
  • Reduce sugar intake—yeah I know it’s hard, I live it every day. So what, do it anyway; sugar is a killer
  • Reduce salt intake—this decreases blood pressure in about 33% of people
  • Quit smoking and reduce or quit drinking alcohol—I know, I know, but just so you know, both increase blood pressure immediately
  • Learn to handle your stress—stress is a necessary part of life; however, putting things into balanced perspective is essential (don’t know how? contact me)

Blood pressure medications are supposed to be prescribed after lifestyle changes have been modified. But you know as well as I do that, like pretty much all medications in our arsenal, they are prescribed first and immediately, with lifestyle behaviors touched only obligatorily with the five second, “Oh, and you should probably lose weight and quit smoking,” line your doctor says as he hands you your scrip and walks out the door.

Listen, don’t rely solely on your doctors. They are overworked, and they know that most people won’t comply with suggestions on lifestyle changes (although this is not entirely true, it is a belief of the average medical doctor).  Be good to yourself, take your health into your own hands.  The results are yours and yours alone.  Trust me, there’s never something for nothing.  Nobody can do your exercises for you, and there is no such thing as a magic bullet.  Don’t worry, it’ll be worth all the hard work.

*Thank you Dr. Tim Swift, best chiropractor in San Clemente, for the reminder of my obvious oversight.


Driving under the influence is a crime, but some researchers think we should make an exception…for the ADHD driver. Doh! According to research recently present to the American Psychiatric Association, adults with ADHD are more prone to auto accidents. So to combat this phenomenon, researcher recommend ADHD drivers to be cranked out on speed. Nice.

The study showed that adult ADHD drivers had significantly more auto collisions than the general public and received more citations. ADHD teens and adults have also been shown to be nearly twice as likely to having their licenses suspended. According to UC Berkeley psychologist Nadine Lambert, Ph.D., “People with ADHD have serious difficulties planning ahead, following through, and staying on task—things you need to do to drive safely.”

Apparently ADHD drivers are more likely to be convicted of speeding, not obeying signs and signals, following too closely, improper passing, and not following road markings. Additionally they’re somewhat more likely than non-ADHDers to participate in reckless driving, drunk driving, and poor lane placement.

So what’s the solution? Give ‘em speed. Now that’s responsibility in the psychiatric research profession–recommend drugging our drivers, yeah! I’m never for the drugging solution, especially when it comes to mental health. Instead of encouraging our unfocused fellow citizens to develop good driving skills, we resort to the simple solution—drugs. I’m not anti-drug, but giving legalized speed, and that’s essentially what these ADHD drugs like Ritalin are, is foolish. It’s not going to make one a more attentive driver. Why don’t we just put a kilo of coke in their trunk—that’ll make them pay attention–guaranteed. But no one would seriously suggest that because it’s nonsensical. And so is drugging our drivers.

I deal with a lot of auto accident victims in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office. Accidents caused by people under the influence are some of the worst I see. If the general public is considered impaired even under the influence of cold medications, why recommend speed for ADHDers? The use of drugs to treat mental “disorders” will remain somewhat controversial for years to come; but let’s hope cranking out our ADHD drivers won’t cause more problems than they fix.

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