Following a rather trying 2013, former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes has recently completed treatment at a rehabilitation center and has returned home to live with her parents. Bynes herself told InTouch magazine that she’s “doing very well.”
Bynes had a tumultuous couple of years where she was arrested for driving under the influence after hitting a police car in West Hollywood in 2012. In May 2013, she was arrested again for criminal possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment after she was caught throwing her bong from her high-rise apartment. Two months later, Bynes was kicked out of the Ritz-Carlton after racking up $2,000 in room service and drunkenly trespassing on a retirement community.
But her life came crashing down around her days later when she was involuntarily hospitalized on a 5150 hold after setting a fire in the driveway of a Thousand Oaks, CA home; such holds are used “[w]hen any person, as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled.” She left the psych ward at the UCLA Medical Center in early September and entered the more cozy confines of The Canyon in neighboring Malibu. Days before Thanksgiving, Bynes was released to her parents’ custody – her mother received temporary conservatorship over her finances and medical care in August – in order to continue her rehab.
"Amanda and her entire family would like to thank everyone who's contacted them with good thoughts and wishes for Amanda's recovery," said lawyer Tamar Arminak in a statement. "Amanda has completed her inpatient rehabilitation and she's feeling better every day."
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles this year has thrown more fuel into the fire over whether or not sex addiction – or hypersexual disorder – is a valid medical condition.
On the heels of a 2012 study that declared sex addiction should be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), Nicole Prause, a researcher in the department of psychiatry at UCLA, noted that the study did not include neurological data and decided to perform a follow up experiment using brain scans on 52 self-described sex addicts; 39 men and 13 women between the ages of 18 to 39. After filling out a questionnaire, the subjects were shown various pictures – some sexual, some not – while taking an electroencephalography (EEG) scan.
The idea was to test the subjects’ response 300 milliseconds after being exposed to the photographs, hypothesizing that the more addicted to sex that person was, the higher the response. But instead, they discovered that their response correlated to the levels of sexual desire as expressed in the questionnaires. "Brain response was only related to the measure of sexual desire. In other words, hypersexuality does not appear to explain brain responses to sexual images any more than just having a high libido," said Prause.
Naturally, skeptics of the UCLA study voiced their concerns, including clinician and author Robert Weiss, who contended the basic premise of those with a high libido don’t necessarily have an addiction to sex. “You can’t define an addiction by what a person eats, what kind of alcohol they drink or whether they play blackjack or craps,” Weiss said. “We look at their life and determine if a substance or behavior is negatively affecting the quality of their life to the point where they need help.”
Linda Hatch, a psychologist and certified sex addiction therapist in Santa Barbara, CA, said “sex addicts’ problems stem from their desire to run away from other issues or mask pain. Just like some addicts turn to drugs to ignore their problems, sex addicts use sexual activity.”
In a recent interview with HuffPost Live, Joe Manganiello revealed both his alcoholism and sobriety at the same time. The "True Blood" actor was plugging his new book Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted, and admitted to having a former drinking problem before getting sober 11 years ago. Manganiello explained that his drinking “always got in the way [of his career]” and that he had needed to get sober for “about four years” before finally doing so in 2002.
"My life was ruined…I was homeless, careless and broke with no career, so yes, it was worth it [to get sober]," he said. "It was one of those obstacles that I had to get over and once again I needed to clear the road in order for these things to happen, so it really is an inside job. I had to clean up my act and figure the whole situation out."
Manganiello also revealed that he was bullied as a child. But while it may have caused him pain that could have led to his drinking problem, he also said it provided him with motivation professionally. “Failure became a huge part of my success story,” he explained. “Now you hear about these soccer games kids play when goals aren't counted. Everybody gets the orange slice and the pat on the back and everybody says 'Good job!' And that wasn't the case for me and I think I benefited from that. I'm glad that I lost, I'm glad that I failed…I never wanted to feel that way again and it drove me."
Two recent studies claim to have found a link between the age a child takes his first alcoholic drink and his later drinking behavior. These studies hypothesize that the younger a child is when he is first exposed to alcohol, the higher his chances of later becoming an alcohol abuser.
The first study, done at the University of Pittsburgh, surveyed 450 kids from Allegheny County. The children filled out questionnaires at fourteen distinct points between ages eight and eighteen. They were asked questions including when they had their first taste of alcohol, the first time they had consumed three or more drinks, and if they had ever gotten drunk. The researchers found that childhood exposure to alcohol was widespread, and that even sipping an alcoholic drink at a young age correlated with later heavy alcohol use. If a child had consumed an alcoholic drink by age ten, for example, that child was twice as likely to be drinking regularly by age fourteen.
In a similar study, researchers from the University of Heidelberg in Germany examined the correlation between children who took their first drink at puberty and later drinking behavior. The researchers collected data on 283 adults, determining the age at which they took their first drink, and then tracked their drinking behavior at ages 12, 22, and 23. They then did a similar study using rats. The results showed that alcohol use during puberty predicted heavier drinking later in life.
The author of the German study, Dr. Miriam Schneider, believes that the developing brain in puberty could explain the results: “It is during puberty that substances like drugs of abuse – alcohol, cannabis, etc. – may induce the most destructive and also persistent effects on the still-developing brain, which may in some cases even result in disorders such as schizophrenia or addiction.” In order to prevent later problems, experts advise, “an alcohol-free childhood is the safest option.”
One of the former governors of Mexico’s ruling party has been charged in the U.S. with drug smuggling. Tomas Yarrington is being accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers that included the Gulf Cartel, making him the third politician in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the last week alone to be federally indicted. Yarrington is also being charged with bank fraud, racketeering, money laundering and working with drug cartels. If convicted on all charges, the 56-year-old could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.
The indictment filed in Texas says that Yarrington began taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel while working as the mayor of Mexican border town Matamoros in 1998. Even while serving as the governor of Tamaulipas from 1999-2005, he allegedly continued to work with cartels and even smuggled bulk shipments of cocaine into the U.S. between 2007-2009. Yarrington is also being accused along with Mexican business owner Fernando Cano of moving over $7 million into U.S. bank accounts held by shell corporations.
He was suspended by the PRI last year, but vehemently denied any involvement in money laundering or working with cartels. But even after Yarrington stopped working as the governor of Tamaulipas, the area has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years. The Mexican government confirmed last May that reported murders in Tamaulipas increased more than 250% in the past four years, while the Border Patrol made more than 16,000 immigrant arrests in the Rio Grande Valley sector last March.
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