Monday, July 23, 2012

Magical thinking and the ditto head mind

Magical thinking at a young age

Rightardia occasionally writes about Ricky the Rightard. He is the slack jawed family ditto head drooler. Even principled conservatives in the family consider him a dreamer or a source of amusement.

When Ricky was eight his mother suggested Ricky and I build a cat scratch post as a father-son project. We went to the hardware store and bought some ply wood, carpet, some nails and screws, and found a cardboard tube in our cluster home.

I started the project then asked Ricky where the center of the base board to the scat scratch post was. He pointed with his finger and placed an x on the board.

I then showed home how to use a ruler to measure the board so marks could be put in the middle the top and bottom of the board and the left side and right side. then a line could be drawn top and bottom and left and right to find the center.

I also showed home a simpler way by just drawing lines between the four vertices or corners of the boards.

The centers matched using two different proofs.

However, Ricky had some developmental issues and couldn't grasp that his "magical thinking" about the  where the board's center was wrong.

In  clinical psychology, magical thinking is a condition that causes the patient to experience irrational fear of performing certain acts or having certain thoughts because they assume a correlation with their acts and threatening calamities.

In other words, my thoughts can influence or change reality.

Children exhibit a form of magical thinking by about 18 months, when they begin to create imaginary worlds while playing. By age 3, most know what is fantasy and reality  . .  .

At age 8, however, Ricky was using magical thinking to find the center of a board and when his error was pointed out, he became hysterical

Ricky is now a middle aged adult and still relies on his magical thinking. 

A case in point

Ricky had been coming over to our home for more than a year complaining about his health but he refused to go to a doctor. Ricky had a couple of weekends training as a personal trainer and is convinced he could medically diagnose himself and get cures at the health food stores by using  supplements. 

He was complaining about being hot all of the time which suggested hyperthyroidism. My wife dragged him to an endocrinologist who determined his lipids and cholesterol were through the roof. Ricky appeared to have metabolic syndrome, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. 

Ricky had been eating a high fat diet late at night which I warned him was unhealthy. He did modify his diet and reduced his lipids and cholesterol, significantly, but the results were still abnormal. 

About a month later, his blood pressure went wild after he had been on antibiotic treatment for a couple of weeks. After two months of blood work and visit to three different doctors, he received preliminary diagnosis of hyperladosteronism, a rare condition. 

Rightardia would point out that the thyroid gland and the adrenals often work together and disorders of these two endocrine glands may have similar symptoms. 

However, after reading an running account of hyperaldosteronism in blog, it was apparent that Ricky the Rightard has that condition..

It's the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) or the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) is a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and water (fluid) balance.

In the WaywardBus, the visit to the emergency room started with a high blood pressure spike which is exactly what happened to Ricky. This is not a common symptom in thyroid conditions which more often affect pulse.

The treatment

Ricky's nephrologist wanted Ricky to take spironolactone, a drug that treats the hypertension, counteracts the extra aldosterone and is a potassium spraring diuretic. However, this drug at far higher doses is used  with a companion hormone by transsexuals. 

Well, that one fact, scared Ricky with his heightened sense of masculinity. However, hyperaldosteronism can result in virlism in both males and females, 

In the case of males, they lose their hair, but have an increased growth in eyebrows, beard and body hair. So the sprironolactone prevents Ricky from going too far in the other direction.

if you hae even seen a bald headed man with bushy eyebrows, a beard and lots of body hair, he may have hyperaldosteronism. 

Besides getting the appearance of one of the demons in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hyperaldosteronism can result if kidney, liver, hear, and lung failure if untreated.

The road to recovery? 

We think Ricky is on the road to recovery if he takes his medicine.

That is a "big if" because yesterday Ricky told me he doesn't think he has hyperladosternism. He thinks he has an auto-immune disorder and hyperthyroidism.

However, Ricky had a A radioactive iodine uptake (RAI/U) test that scanned his thryorid last week and he has a normal thyroid. In addition, a thyroid antibodies test was slightly abnormal, but normal upon retesting.

The RAI/U test was conclusive and put any speculation about a thyroid disorder to rest. However ditto heads are easy to confuse with facts.

So there are no facts that bear out Ricky's magical thinking about his medical condition.

But this is par for the course for a drooling ditto head. Will Ricky take his medication which will help him get well?

We can only hope so.



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