How much does a website cost?

HOW MUCH FOR A WEBSITE

WHAT ARE YOUR NEEDS

Imagine walking into a car dealership and asking “How much for a car?” Do you want a Volkswagen or a Porsche? You determine the needs of your website, we build it.

  1. DO YOU HAVE A DOMAIN?
  2. DO YOU HAVE HOSTING?
  3. DO YOU HAVE CONTENT?

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Dehydration 

Since finishing the Belfast Half Marathon two days ago I have felt lousy. Tired, shivery and a headache that just won’t shift. I’ve self diagnosed (as ever) and concluded that I must be suffering the effects of post race dehydration. I took on board water and energy drinks at regular intervals during the race itself but must confess that I neglected myself after the event.

You see, my numero uno vice is Diet Coke. I drink gallons of the stuff. And yes, I know it isn’t good in such amounts. And yes, I equally know that it’s not going to remotely hydrate you like H2O would after running 13.1 miles. Never forget the .1. That’s the most important bit. So after I collected my medal and t-shirt upon crossing the finish line on Sunday I celebrated by cracking open a DC as opposed to water.

And then another. And then another. By the end of the day I had polished off a six pack. I woke up the next morning feeling awful. It was akin to a hangover from my drinking days. A horrible, groggy feeling that I thought I would never experience again after I stopped drinking alcohol four years ago. I spent most of yesterday feeling sorry for myself. Why me? Instead of basking in sporting glory I was wallowing in self pity. I felt dire.


Today has been better. I have forced copious amounts of water into me and am gradually feeling more human. Diet Coke is evil. I don’t need this grief. A dehydrated Stephen is a grumpy Stephen. It’s a mistake that I won’t make again. Future race days will be fuelled by water and nothing else. I don’t want to repeat this listless sensation ever again.

There are days too where I feel spiritually dehydrated. Flat. Empty. Devoid of anything even remotely resembling the Christian spirit. These days usually follow periods where I have neglected my Bible study, prayer life and church attendance. It’s so easy to lose your spiritual discipline. There are so many earthly distractions which are capable of dragging us off in any number of directions except the one that matters. Towards God.

Spiritual dehydration can be fatal. A parched, arid soul will eventually transform into a hellish scenario. A desert wasteland of broken dreams and ruined hopes. Where anger, frustration and unforgiveness reign unopposed. But freely available prayer, study and worship can unleash floods of living waters and torrents of unlimited grace.

The choice is yours. All I know is that it works for me. I need to remain spiritually hydrated. My sanity and quality of life depend on it. Literally. Without it I wilt quickly. I lose my focus and find myself lapsing into old patterns of sinful behaviour. I choose hydration. I choose life. I choose Jesus.

John 4:14 – ‘but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I give him will become in him a well of water springing up in eternal life’.

Have you ever been physically hydrated?

How do you stay spiritually hydrated?

Source: Dehydration 

Brain and Addiction

Understand Your Brain and How Addiction Works

Your brain is who you are. It’s what allows you to think, breathe, move, speak, and feel. It’s just 3 pounds of gray-and-white matter that rests in your skull, and it is your own personal “mission control.” Information from your environment—both outside (like what your eyes see and skin feels) and inside (like your heart rate and body temperature)—makes its way to the brain, which receives, processes, and integrates it so that you can survive and function under all sorts of changing circumstances and learn from experience. The brain is always working, even when you are sleeping. (Learn more about the brain-body connection.

The brain is made up of many parts that all work together as a team. Each of these different parts has a specific and important job to do.

When drugs enter the brain, they interfere with its normal processing and can eventually lead to changes in how well it works. Over time, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to and even after it causes terrible consequences to their health and other parts of their lives.

Drugs affect three primary areas of the brain:

  • The brain stem is in charge of all the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, moving blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord, which runs down the back and moves muscles and limbs as well as lets the brain know what’s happening to the body.
  • The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate. The good feelings motivate us to repeat the behavior, which is good because eating is critical to our lives.
  • The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-shaped outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. It’s divided into four areas, called lobes, which control specific functions. Some areas process information from our senses, allowing us to see, feel, hear, and taste. The front part of the cortex, known as the frontal cortex or forebrain, is the thinking center. It powers our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions.

How does your brain communicate?

Nuerons: Building Blocks of the Brain. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells, also known as neurons. Neurons communicate with other neurons through a process known as neurotransmission.

The brain is a complex communications network of billions of neurons, or nerve cells. Networks of neurons pass messages back and forth thousands of times a minute within the brain, spinal column, and nerves. These nerve networks control everything we feel, think, and do. Understanding these networks helps in understanding how drugs affect the brain. The networks are made up of:

  • Neurons
    Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons—nerve cells that work nonstop to send and receive messages. Within a neuron, messages travel from the cell body down the axon to the axon terminal in the form of electrical impulses. From there, the message is sent to other neurons with the help of neurotransmitters.
  • Neurotransmitters—The Brain’s Chemical Messengers
    To make messages jump from one neuron to another, the neuron creates chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters. The axon terminal releases neurotransmitters that travel across the space (called the synapse) to nearby neurons. Then the transmitter attaches to receptors on the nearby neuron.
  • Receptors—The Brain’s Chemical Receivers

    A cartoon depiction of how brain cells communicate.

    To send a message, a nerve cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) into the space separating two nerve cells, called the synapse. The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to proteins (receptors) on the receiving nerve cell. This causes changes in the receiving nerve cell, and the message is delivered.

    As the neurotransmitter approaches the nearby neuron, it attaches to a special site on that neuron called a receptor. A neurotransmitter and its receptor operate like a key and lock, in that a very specific mechanism makes sure that each receptor will forward the right message only after interacting with the right kind of neurotransmitter.

  • Transporters—The Brain’s Chemical Recyclers
    Once neurotransmitters do their job, they are pulled back into their original neuron by transporters. This recycling process shuts off the signal between the neurons.

How do drugs affect your brain?

Drugs are chemicals. When someone puts these chemicals into their body, either by smoking, injecting, inhaling, or eating them, they tap into the brain’s communication system and tamper with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently. We know there are at least two ways drugs work in the brain:

  • Imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers
  • Overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain

Some drugs, like marijuana and heroin, have chemical structures that mimic that of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in our bodies. In fact, these drugs can “fool” our receptors, lock onto them, and activate the nerve cells. However, they don’t work the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and the neurons wind up sending abnormal messages through the brain, which can cause problems both for our brains as well as our bodies.

Other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, cause nerve cells to release too much dopamine, which is a natural neurotransmitter, or prevent the normal recycling of dopamine. This leads to exaggerated messages in the brain, causing problems with communication channels. It’s like the difference between someone whispering in your ear versus someone shouting in a microphone.

The “High” From Drugs/Pleasure Effect

Most drugs of abuse—nicotinecocainemarijuana, and others—affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. Normally, the reward circuit responds to feelings of pleasure by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine creates feelings of pleasure. Drugs take control of this system, causing large amounts of dopamine to flood the system. This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or intense excitement and happiness (sometimes called euphoria) linked with drug use.

The Repeat Effect

Our brains are wired to make sure we will repeat healthy activities, like eating, by connecting those activities with feeling good. Whenever this reward circuit is kick-started, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered, and teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it. Because drugs of abuse come in and “hijack” the same circuit, people learn to use drugs in the same way.

After repeated drug use, the brain starts to adjust to the surges of dopamine. Neurons may begin to reduce the number of dopamine receptors or simply make less dopamine. The result is less dopamine signaling in the brain—like turning down the volume on the dopamine signal. Because some drugs are toxic, some neurons also may die.

As a result, the ability to feel any pleasure is reduced. The person feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that once brought pleasure. Now the person needs drugs just to bring dopamine levels up to normal, and more of the drug is needed to create a dopamine flood, or “high”—an effect known as “tolerance.”

Watch our video below: Why Are Drugs So Hard To Quit? for more.

Long-Term Effects

Drug use can eventually lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits. These changes can still be present even after the person has stopped taking drugs. This is more likely to happen when a drug is taken over and over.

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes a person to compulsively seek out drugs, despite the harm they cause. The first time a person uses drugs, it’s usually a free choice they’ve made. However, repeated drug use causes the brain to change which drives a person to seek out and use drugs over and over, despite negative effects such as stealing, losing friends, family problems, or other physical or mental problems brought on by drug use—this is addiction.

What factors increase the risk for addiction?

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can’t predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A combination of factors related to your genes, environment, and development increase the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction:

  • Home and family. Parents or older family members who abuse alcohol or drugs, or who are involved in criminal behavior, can increase young people’s risks for developing their own drug problems.
  • Peers and school. Friends and acquaintances who abuse drugs can sway young people to try drugs for the first time. Academic failure or poor social skills can also put a person at risk for drug use.
  • Early use. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, research shows that the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious use. This may reflect the harmful effect that drugs can have on the developing brain. It also may be the result of early biological and social factors, such as genetics, mental illness, unstable family relationships, and exposure to physical or sexual abuse. Still, the fact remains that early use is a strong indicator of problems ahead—among them, substance abuse and addiction.
  • Method of use. Smoking a drug or injecting it into a vein increases its addictive potential. Both smoked and injected drugs enter the brain within seconds, producing a powerful rush of pleasure. However, this intense “high” can fade within a few minutes, taking the person down to lower levels. Scientists believe that this low feeling drives individuals to repeat drug use in an attempt to recapture the high pleasurable state.

Learn about addiction risk, Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs.

Can you die if you use drugs?

Yes, deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the last decade. In 2015 alone, more than 52,400 people died from a drug overdose. More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve some type of opioid, either prescription pain reliever, heroin, or man-made opioids like fentanyl. Among young people, just over 4,200 deaths from a drug overdose occurred that year.1 Young males were two times more likely to die from a drug overdose than were females. Learn more about drug overdoses in youth.

In addition, death can occur from the long-term effects of drugs. For example, use of tobacco products can cause cancer, which may result in death.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2015 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2016. Available at: http://wonder.cdc.gov.

 

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

Yes, there are treatments, but there is no cure for drug addiction yet. Addiction is often a disease that is long-lasting (sometimes referred to as chronic). As with other chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, people learn to manage their condition. Scientific research has shown that 13 basic principles are the foundation for effective drug addiction treatment. Find out more in NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide or from Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.

Types of Treatment

Treatment will vary for each person, depending on the type of drugs used and the person’s specific circumstances. Generally, there are two types of treatment for drug addiction:

  • Behavior change, in which people learn to change their behavior
  • Medications, which can help treat addictions to some drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or other opioids

Length of Treatment

Like diabetes and even asthma, drug addiction typically is a long-lasting disorder. Most people who have become addicted to drugs need long term treatment and, many times, repeated treatments—much like a person who has asthma needs to constantly watch changes in medication and exercise. The important point is that even when someone relapses and begins abusing drugs again, they should not give up hope. Rather, they need to go back to treatment or change their current treatment. In fact, setbacks are likely. Even people with diabetes may go off their diet or miss an insulin injection, and their symptoms will recur—that’s a cue to get back on track, not to view treatment as a failure.

Motivation for Treatment

Most people go into drug treatment either because a court ordered them to do so or because loved ones wanted them to seek treatment. The good news is that, according to scientific studies, people can benefit from treatment regardless of whether or not they chose to go into treatment.

How do I know if someone has a drug problem?

There are questions people can ask to gauge whether or not a person has a drug problem. These may not mean that someone is addicted, but answering yes to any of these questions may suggest a developing problem, which could require followup with a professional drug treatment specialist. These include:

  1. Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who had been using alcohol or drugs?
  2. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs to relax, to feel better about yourself, or to fit in?
  3. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs when you are alone?
  4. Do you ever forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?
  5. Do family or friends ever tell you to cut down on your use of alcohol or drugs?
  6. Have you ever gotten into trouble while you were using alcohol or drugs?

What should I do if someone I know needs help?

If you see or hear about someone misusing opioids, talk to a coach, teacher, or other trusted adult.

If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now, please call:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (they don’t just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by).

If you need information on treatment and where you can find it, you can call:

For more information on how to help a friend or loved one, visit our Have a Drug Problem, Need Help? page.

Continue reading “Brain and Addiction”

Smart Phone Addiction

Smart Phones are Causing Social Isolation

People today are more connected to one another than ever before in human history, thanks to Internet-based social networking sites and text messaging. But they’re also more lonely and distant from one another in their unplugged lives, says Massachusetts Institute of Technology social psychologist Sherry Turkle, PhD. This is not only changing the way we interact online, it’s straining our personal relationships, as well.

Turkle’s new book, “Alone Together” (Basic Books, 2011), explores the ways online social networks and texting culture are changing how people relate to society, their parents and friends.

alone-together-cover-Anonymous People-Addiction

The book is based on meta-analyses of individual and family studies and her own interviews with 300 children and 150 adults. Turkle maintains that people who choose to devote large portions of their time to connecting online are more isolated than ever in their non-virtual lives, leading to emotional disconnection, mental fatigue and anxiety.

The Monitor spoke to Turkle about her research and what it means for the Facebook generation.

How has social networking through technology changed society the most?

The most dramatic change is our ability to be “elsewhere” at any point in time, to sidestep what is difficult, what is hard in a personal interaction and go to another place where it does not have to be dealt with. So, it can be as simple as what happens when 15-year-olds gather for a birthday party. As anyone who has ever been 15 knows, there is a moment at such events when everyone wants to leave. Things get awkward. It is, however, very important that everyone stay and learn to get along with each other. These days, however, when this difficult moment comes, each 15-year-old simply retreats onto Facebook. Whether or not they physically leave the birthday party, they have “left.”

When teens tell me that they’d rather text than talk, they are expressing another aspect of the new psychological affordances of the new technology — the possibility of our hiding from each other. They say a phone call reveals too much, that actual conversations don’t give them enough control over what they want to say.

Does social technology isolate people from the real world, or augment our personal relationships?

Both. Some people do use social networks to keep up with real friendships, to keep them lively and up to date. There is, however, another trend in which people “friend” people they don’t know or where they are unsure of the nature of their connection. We Facebook-friend people who do not know their commitment to us and similarly, we are unsure of what commitment we have to them. They can, in fact, be more like “fans” than friends. But their presence can sustain us and distract us and make it less likely for us to look beyond them to other social encounters. They can provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship, without the demands of intimacy.

How does that reduced intimacy cause problems in our relationships?

We are tempted to give precedence to people we are not with over people we are with. People talk to me about their phones and laptops as the “place for hope” in their lives, the “place where sweetness comes from.” We text during dinner with our families. We text as we drive. We text when we are with our children in the playground. Children say they try to make eye contact with their parents and are frustrated because their parents are looking down at their smart phones when they come out of school or after school activities. Young men talk about how only a few years ago, their dads used to watch Sunday sports with them and during the station breaks or between plays, they used to chat. Now their fathers are too often checking their email during games. The young men I interview sometimes call it “the BlackBerry zone” when they speak of their fathers’ unavailability. For those who would object that it’s the same as reading a Sunday paper while you watch sports, it is not. We give another level of attentional commitment to our devices.

What are some of the benefits of solitude and taking time off from technology?

I have a feeling, I want to make a call

It’s a great psychological truth that if we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will always be lonely. When they’re always connected, children, adolescents and adults become dependent on the presence of others for validation in the most basic ways. When people move from, “I have a feeling, I want to make a call” to “I want to have a feeling, I need to send a text,” something unfortunate happens to their relations with others. They start to need other people to feel validated and they cannot approach others as full, individual, differentiated people. Rather, other people are used, as what one might think of as part objects — spare parts to support a fragile self.

In a recent New York Times article, the founder of an online dating site (www.datemyschool.com) summed up the problem of his generation by saying that, “People in the 21st century are alone. We have so many new ways of communicating, yet we are so alone.”

For young people who’ve never really known a world without social technology, how can you stress the importance of preserving a non-networked life?

My guarded optimism about the future comes from the young people I speak with who already complain about having to perform a character on social networks. Living on social networks means performing one’s profile, and indeed multiple profiles, almost all the time. Young people complain of performance anxiety. Between performance exhaustion and the sense that they have never had their parents’ full attention, young people are in fact nostalgic for something they have never had.

TEEN-SMART-PHONE-Anonymous People-Addiction

One of the case studies in “Alone Together” that most moved me was the case of Sanjay, a 16-year-old whom I met for an interview. During the hour we met, Sanjay had put away his phone and laptop. After the interview was over, he took it out and he had over 100 new messages, most of them texts. He explained that some of these were from a girlfriend “in meltdown,” some of these were from a group of friends with whom he was starting a band.

As he collected his technology in order to begin to respond to these communications, Sanjay was clearly overwhelmed. He said, not particularly to me but more to himself, as a comment on his situation, “How long am I going to have to do this?” As we ratchet up the volume and velocity of our communication, we begin to set up a pace that takes us away from each other.

Do men and women use social networking technology differently?

In my own research, I find that men are more likely to be confrontational on social networking sites and women more likely to “stalk” (obsessively check people’s status updates and learn about them) and less likely to bully or be confrontational.

One gender element that did become apparent is that mothers are now breastfeeding and bottle-feeding their babies as they text. Of course, in feeding an infant, so much more is going on than giving nutrition to a baby. There is the emotional exchange on the most primitive level, the feeling of gratifying someone and being gratified in return. A mother made tense by text messages is going to be experienced as tense by the child. And that child is vulnerable to interpreting that tension as coming from within the relationship with the mother. This is something that needs to be watched very closely. It reminds me of something that has occurred to me often as I have done this research: Technology can make us forget important things we know about life.

Do you have any strategies for getting away from technology and nurturing real-life relationships?

I have some basic rules. I think of them as creating sacred spaces around certain activities. No technology at meals. I used to check email before my daughter came down to breakfast, but then I got into a “just let me finish this one last email before I make you breakfast” mode and she called me on it! So, no technology when I’m with my daughter or out with friends.

When my colleagues bring their phones to dinner and place them on the table, I sometimes tease them about the unlikeliness of “epistemological emergencies.” The idea that we should put each other on pause as though we were machines in order to attend to those who are not present has become commonplace. It needs to be examined. I don’t think that is how we want to treat each other.

Also, no technology when I’m taking time for myself in nature. I have a house on Cape Cod and I notice people walk the dunes with their eyes down, looking at their smart phones. I think it is important to teach the next generation the importance of walking in nature, and in the city, and focusing on those experiences. I am concerned about our losing touch with the realities of our physical surroundings. I am concerned about our losing touch with the kind of solitude that refreshes and restores.

Think About It! Bobby C. –Incloud Design

By Michael Price

 

Continue reading “Smart Phone Addiction”