Treatment Solutions http://www.treatmentsolutions.com Leading the way, one life at a time. Get addiction treatment and relevant information. Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:19:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Pregnancy, Cocaine, and Baby’s Brain http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/pregnancy-cocaine/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/pregnancy-cocaine/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:37:14 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=11460 For years, we have known that pregnancy, cocaine abuse, and infant brain development are a harmful combination. And medical research has proven that the harmful effects of cocaine abuse by pregnant mothers can be long-term. However, until now, scientists were unsure exactly what those effects were. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that babies of...

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Photo credit: Ron Medvescek

Photo credit: Ron Medvescek

For years, we have known that pregnancy, cocaine abuse, and infant brain development are a harmful combination. And medical research has proven that the harmful effects of cocaine abuse by pregnant mothers can be long-term.

However, until now, scientists were unsure exactly what those effects were.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that babies of mothers who abuse cocaine may have altered brain function. The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

A prevalent role

The scientists looked at approximately 152 brain scans of infants exposed to drug abuse and realized that brain function within a region known as the amygdala was different from healthy babies’ brains. The amygdala is often linked to drug use, as one of its primary functions involves arousal. Many substances, including cocaine, have considerable effects on the amygdala. Cocaine alters the function of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, and causes greater amounts of them to be released. In return, people experience a feeling of euphoria, followed by feelings of depression and anxiety when they sober up. Because of these lows, people desire to reach that same high. Past research has found that these chemicals are released in regions of the amygdala.

Babies who were exposed to any type of drug use had alternate brain functioning compared to the healthy ones.

The study authors noted that this is the first study of its kind to realize that cocaine use by mothers can actually affect the brains of unborn babies. 

Separating the groups

From “10 Facts You Should Know About Every Baby’s Brain”

From “10 Facts You Should Know About Every Baby’s Brain”

They discovered these findings by administering 152 magnetic resonance imaging scans on babies’ brains. Approximately 64 of the infants were not exposed to substance abuse, 45 were exposed to cocaine and 43 were exposed to other drug use. The scans proved that babies who were exposed to any type of drug use had alternate brain functioning compared to the healthy ones. However, babies whose mothers had abused cocaine had a few different neurological changes that no other group had.

How Does It Work?

The researchers realized that there was little communication between the amygdala and another region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which usually has control over the amygdala. That means the prefrontal cortex could have difficulty controlling emotion, arousal and other functions in that part of the brain. The researchers noted this may be why so many babies who were exposed to cocaine in the womb have an arousal dysregulation trait.

“This study may inform new strategies aimed at early risk identification and intervention,” said co-lead author Karen Grewen, Ph.D.

The researchers plan to continue their experiments on babies using these kinds of scans to determine what else they can learn and possibly create treatment methods.


References

“Prenatal Drug Exposure Affects Neonatal Brain Functional Connectivity” The Journal of Neuroscience, 8 April 2015, 35(14):5860-5869.

For more about infant brain development, see “10 Facts You Should Know About Every Baby’s Brain

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Do People Graduate from Addiction? http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/people-graduate-addiction/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/people-graduate-addiction/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 09:16:10 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=11228 Why do you “graduate” from an addiction recovery program? Is this the proper term for dealing with lifelong addictions? When you enter a 12-step program, your first step is admitting your addiction to drugs or alcohol. Once you’ve acknowledged it, you have made the realization that you will always be an alcoholic or drug addict,...

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Why do you “graduate” from an addiction recovery program? Is this the proper term for dealing with lifelong addictions?

When you enter a 12-step program, your first step is admitting your addiction to drugs or alcohol. Once you’ve acknowledged it, you have made the realization that you will always be an alcoholic or drug addict, even if you have been sober for more than 50 years. If this is the case, then why do you “graduate” from an addiction recovery program? When dealing with lifelong addictions, a struggle sure to continue after recovery, is there merit to considering that you can graduate from addiction?

A problematic term
Many in the field of health care believe it may not be. Though people may have graduated from an addiction treatment program or center, they have not graduated from their addiction. Who knows – it may only be a few short months until a few of these graduates relapse and return to recovery, or begin using drugs and alcohol heavily again. For years, many addiction treatment centers have celebrated graduations. These ceremonies are in place to help clients focus on their past, reflect on their mistakes and eagerly look toward a successful, sober future.

Graduation also serves as the recognition of accomplishment. Getting through a treatment program is no easy thing. However, approximately 64 percent of people in the U.S. have entered an addiction recovery program more than once. Some may have even gone into a clinic more than twice. Izaak Williams, a researcher and addiction clinician, recently investigated this process to see how effective it actually is. 

“In order for a person to get an addiction treatment program’s full benefit, they need to be enrolled for at least 90 days.”

Though many people graduate from these programs each semester, what determines that they are ready to graduate? Every person is different, so the indications that they will remain sober and not be triggered by a past friend or memory are uncertain. Williams also stated that there is very little data on the motives behind encouraging members to graduate, and he wonders whether staff at these addiction recovery programs may be driven by graduation numbers instead of focusing on the patients. Some addiction treatment programs may try to boast high graduation numbers, but not actually follow up with clients after they leave the facility to see if they maintained their sobriety. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that in order for a person to get an addiction treatment program’s full benefit, they need to be enrolled for at least 90 days. The organization acknowledged that length may have a lot to do with how much of an impact the curriculum has on a patient. However, even after a patient leaves, the recovery process is not over, and it may take years before a person feels like themselves again. 

Many professionals in addiction treatment centers may believe that the graduation process is unnecessary or has the wrong intentions for patients. However, these staff members might not voice their opinions out of fear that they will be shunned or that the program will suddenly be different than all other programs that do perform a graduation process. Williams noted that there is no way to confirm this, sadly, as a survey has never been conducted on the subject. 

Believable Hope

Does recovery mean “free” from addiction?

 

Academic vs. addiction
In the academic world, graduation means being able to complete a degree or a program, and express that you’re now an expert on knowledge in a certain field. It also is an indication that you competed among others and prevailed. However, an addiction program should not be like that. Addiction is complex, there are many facets to it, and usually it takes time and several different approaches to work the right way. It also does not ever end – people need to work at it every day. In graduation from an addiction recovery program, people may believe they have reached the end of the road, and been cured of their illness. This common misconception among patients can lead to false hope and a possible relapse. It involves participation from a person, his or her counselor, the staff and a person’s family in order to go successfully. With an academic degree, it is much simpler. You go to class, pay attention, study and work hard, and you can graduate. Though the term graduation seems to apply well to academia, it may not be the best term for addiction.

So, perhaps using this term may cause people to be ill-prepared for the world they are about to face. Though they may have learned a lot in the past 90 days, and believe they are healed, returning to an old environment where people used to use drugs or alcohol can be very difficult, and tempting. Williams concluded that those in health care may want to change this term and process. While congratulations are in order for the work and courage it takes to get through a treatment program, those congratulations should not allow anyone to forget that the journey is far from over.

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Children of Opiate Abusers http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/children-opiate-abusers/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/children-opiate-abusers/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:17:51 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=11220 Researchers at the University of Vermont are conducting a longitudinal study to investigate the effects of parental opioid use on children, the VT Digger noted. The study is needed  to help the state find solutions for a growing problem in primary schools with children of addicted parents, and lawmakers want to know, what is the most...

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Researchers at the University of Vermont are conducting a longitudinal study to investigate the effects of parental opioid use on children, the VT Digger noted. The study is needed  to help the state find solutions for a growing problem in primary schools with children of addicted parents, and lawmakers want to know, what is the most effective way to intervene?

Lead study author Abby Crock, Ph.D., noted that currently there is very little hard data on the effects of this type of abuse on children and domestic life. However, she noted that there are several suggestions that indicate it is a growing problem in Vermont as well as the nation. The researchers plan to use students from several Vermont schools for the study, and follow them over a long period of time.

“In 2011, Vermont had the second-highest admission rate for prescription opiate abuse.”

A growing issue
Currently, substance abuse is running rampant throughout Vermont, especially heroin and opioid use. The Vermont Legislature noted that in 2011, Vermont had the second-highest admission rate for an addiction treatment center for prescription opiate abuse. They stated that those who were seeking admission for treatment were between the ages of 20 and 29. Heroin use is also fairly common, as the substance increased in drug abuse rate by 35 percent in 2012. The policymakers noted that with this rise in abuse, more people are seeking help for their addiction, but there currently are not enough resources. The legislature stated that the state needs to find a way to compensate for all the people in desperate need of help for opioid abuse.

The study authors from University of Vermont hope that they can get hard data from these children, but also get detailed stories that can help them find the best possible intervention for the parents and the children involved. The researchers want to create a more normal home life for these children and help them get the psychological treatment they may need. They hope to bring the information to the Vermont Department of Health, which can help initiate a change.

Parental opioid abuse stresses VT primary schools

Photo credit: Ron Medvescek

However, the governor and his staff have received a few concerning letters from principals at local schools who have noticed children with alarming behavior who seem to be from disturbed homes. One principal sent a letter in about three different children, all of whom were living in a house with substance abuse and addiction. The principal, who asked to remain anonymous, began his letter with a story of a child who was occasionally locked in a closet as a baby while his mother dealt drugs. The child expressed anger and other behavioral issues while in school, and is currently working with the school’s social services. The second child experienced homelessness after his parents lost their jobs. When his aunt finally took custody of him, he had not seen a dentist or a doctor in years and had to have several teeth pulled. He also had behavioral issues. The third child was a girl who constantly was transferred from school to school. She also witnessed domestic abuse in her home, and was far behind the others in her grade. The principal noted in the letter that though there will always be one or two children who have these kinds of issues, the numbers are increasing substantially, and the schools do not have the resources to properly handle it.

Taking action
All three stories indicate that this problem is not an uncommon one. It also shows that children who are exposed to domestic and substance abuse often face dire consequences related to behavioral issues and learning disabilities. Children of opiate and other substance abusers may also be neglected by parents too focused on an addiction to take proper care of their child.

The principal argued in his letter that despite their unfortunate upbringing, these children still have the right to a proper education. So, he urged that the government figure out a way to intervene with these families and determine how to help these children get a solid education that they can use down the road and find resources to help the parents dealing with addiction issues. Hopefully, the research conducted by the University of Vermont will be a good start and can help push for change.

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Studies shed light on development, current demographics of heroin use http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/studies-shed-light-development-current-demographics-heroin-use/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/studies-shed-light-development-current-demographics-heroin-use/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 05:53:59 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10494 Drug addiction has attracted several negative stigmas in recent years, none more damaging than the image of the down-and-out urban dweller who has nowhere else to turn but to substance abuse. Needless to say, this stereotype is not true, and several recent studies have explored the true demographics of drug abuse in the U.S. According to two studies...

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New-Test-Distinguishes-Heroin-from-poppy-seedsDrug addiction has attracted several negative stigmas in recent years, none more damaging than the image of the down-and-out urban dweller who has nowhere else to turn but to substance abuse. Needless to say, this stereotype is not true, and several recent studies have explored the true demographics of drug abuse in the U.S.

According to two studies from researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the demographics of heroin users have changed dramatically in the past 50 years. Whereas the first population to abuse the drug was decidedly younger and more urban, the current trend is toward older users located in traditionally suburban areas, an image contrary to the popular conception of a “junkie.” Moreover, most of these current users did not begin their substance abuse issues with heroin, but rather switched to the drug after developing dependencies on prescription painkillers because heroin was cheaper, more readily accessible and more easily abused.

Looking at a picture of heroin users
Heroin use is one of the largest drug problems facing the U.S. today. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, heroin addiction accounts for 18 percent of all admissions to drug treatment centers in the U.S. Exact figures on the number of current users is hard to codify, with numbers ranging from 153,000 to as high as 900,000.

Theodore Cicero, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Washington University and lead investigator of both studies, explored the current statistics of heroin use and the people who use the drug. In the first study that looked at the current demographics of heroin users, Cicero reviewed the data from 2,800 patients who were involved in an ongoing, self-reporting study on heroin dependence. All patients were admitted into a treatment center at the time of data capture.

Cicero found that among those who began using heroin in the 1960s, the average age of their first exposure was 16.5 years old. Moreover, 82.8 percent of these users were male and 80 percent had never consumed an illegal opiate substance before trying heroin.

The most recent generation of users showed themselves to be much older when they started taking heroin. The average age of patients seeking treatment for heroin use increased to 23 years old in 2010. Also, the rate of white patients skyrocketed from 40 percent in 1960 to 90.3 percent. Perhaps most surprising was the fact that 75.2 percent of respondents lived and acquired heroin in suburban areas.

“Our surveys have shown a marked shift in the demographics of heroin users seeking treatment over the past several decades,” Cicero said in a statement.

Explaining the shift toward heroin use
Simply looking at demographics figures does not explain why heroin use has risen so sharply in recent decades, so Cicero and his research colleagues examined why so many people have become addicted to this particular drug.

“In the past, heroin was a drug that introduced people to narcotics,” Cicero explained. “But what we’re seeing now is that most people using heroin begin with prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet or Vicodin, and only switch to heroin when their prescription drug habits get too expensive.”

The study reviewed data from 150 drug treatment centers across the U.S. from 2010 to 2013, using self-reporting surveys of 9,000 patients. When asked to provide a reason why they chose to use heroin, three factors repeatedly came up: the low cost of the drug, the feeling of the high and the ease of self-administration.

“The price on the street for prescription painkillers, like OxyContin, got very expensive,” Cicero explained in a statement. “It has sold for up to a dollar per milligram, so an 80 milligram tablet would cost $80. Meanwhile, they can get heroin for $10.”

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Newly approved painkiller Zohydro draws criticism, regulation from states http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/newly-approved-painkiller-zohydro-draws-criticism-regulation-states/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/newly-approved-painkiller-zohydro-draws-criticism-regulation-states/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 05:48:43 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10489 The common image of substance abuse in the U.S. is of some disaffected youth turning to drugs and alcohol out of rebellion or lack of awareness of the true effects of his or her actions. While this image has faded away as more scientific evidence on addiction comes to light, some people still believe that...

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Zohydro-draws-critisimThe common image of substance abuse in the U.S. is of some disaffected youth turning to drugs and alcohol out of rebellion or lack of awareness of the true effects of his or her actions. While this image has faded away as more scientific evidence on addiction comes to light, some people still believe that they are impervious to developing a drug addiction. After all, many people do not even know how to obtain illegal drugs if they wanted to.

However, using illicit drugs for recreational purposes is not the only way to develop a dependency on a foreign substance. Prescription painkillers normally given to patients after a major surgery or for chronic conditions are often incorrectly used by patients. Because these drugs are so strong, it may only be a relatively short period of time before a dependency or addiction develops.

While federal agencies have tried to regulate access to prescription painkillers and inpatient substance abuse treatment centers have attempted to educate the public on proper use of the drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a powerful opiate-based painkiller to the market, according to The New York Times. The drug, Zohydro ER, is so potent that several states, such as Massachusetts and Vermont, have already attempted to ban access to the medication within state limits.

Looking at the prescription painkiller picture

One more painkiller on the market may not seem like big news to some people, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 million people used prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes in 2010. In 2009, 475,000 people were taken to the emergency room for overdoses – a number that is double the figure from 2004.

How are these legally prescribed drugs being used illegally, though? According to the CDC, 17.3 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers were originally given them by their physician for on-label purposes. These medications are so strong that after only 30 days of continuous use, patients may develop a dependency on the substances.

Taking a stand

Because so many people inadvertently become dependent on opiate-based painkillers and even more illegally obtain pills from other sources, Massachusetts was the first state to prohibit Zohydro ER from sale within its borders. According to the Times, Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., and 28 other state attorneys called for the FDA to repeal its approval of the drug.

“We are in the midst of a public health emergency around [opiate] abuse and we need to do everything in our power to prevent it from getting worse,” Patrick said in a statement.

“People are fearful this will be another original OxyContin,” Sharon Walsh, director of the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, told the Times.

Zohydro is a time-release opiate-based painkiller, meaning that effective doses of the medication the pills contain are consumed by the body slowly over time. Though the drug is meant to help patients with chronic conditions, it is sold in quantities almost five times that of immediate-release products. Also, Zohydro ER is packaged as capsules that, once crushed, can be snorted or injected – both common administration methods of painkillers.

“Bold actions are necessary – we are in the middle of a crisis,” Cheryl Bartlett, Massachusetts’ commissioner of public health, told The Boston Globe. “We wanted to make sure safeguards are in place for this drug … It’s making sure it’s prescribed and used in the safest way possible.”

As legislators continue to fight for greater regulations over potent prescription painkillers, patients should speak to their physicians about any concerns about accidentally developing a dependency.

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Study finds 11 genes that may predict alcohol addiction risk http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/study-finds-11-genes-may-predict-alcohol-addiction-risk/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/study-finds-11-genes-may-predict-alcohol-addiction-risk/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 05:15:15 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10484 There is no single factor that determines whether or not people will develop a substance abuse problem. For decades, the medical community believed that addiction was an active choice made by those with the condition, but further research uncovered the physical toll of substance abuse on the mind and body of the user. Research has also shown...

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Genes-Alcohol-Addiction-RiskThere is no single factor that determines whether or not people will develop a substance abuse problem. For decades, the medical community believed that addiction was an active choice made by those with the condition, but further research uncovered the physical toll of substance abuse on the mind and body of the user.

Research has also shown that genetics play an important role in the risk of developing a substance abuse habit. The thinking behind this generally fell under the guise of family history – if a relative developed an addiction, other people in the family were thought to be equally susceptible to the condition as well. Until now, there had never been an empirically defined method to identify a genetic predisposition to substance abuse.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at several universities in the U.S. and Germany and published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, a group of 11 genes reliably predicted the incidence of substance abuse in patients’ medical records. While the researchers were quick to note that a genetic predisposition does not guarantee that a person will develop a substance abuse habit, the findings could be used at the population level to determine those at a higher risk of alcoholism than usual.

Breaking down the genome
The study, which spanned six U.S. and six German universities, sought to explore the link between genetics and predisposition to alcoholism. In a review of a German study of the human genome, the researchers identified 135 genes that could possibly be correlated to higher incidences of alcoholism.

Once the candidate genes had been established, the researchers altered the genomes of mice to express different genes in those 135 areas. When stressed, the mice were supplied with alcohol and the researchers observed which combinations of altered gene expressions correlated with higher alcohol consumption.

These tests allowed the researchers to identify 66 variations of 11 genes that could be used to identify higher rates of alcoholism among Caucasians, African-Americans and Germans – the only three populations the researchers had both genetic and alcohol consumption data for.

Alexander Niculescu III, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at the Indiana University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, explained that the genes identified by the study are closely related to those used to predict Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder and anxiety syndromes. Niculescu believed that because all of these conditions involve changes to brain chemistry, it is not surprising that they should be genetically related.

Differentiating between correlation and causation
Even though these 11 genes may predict the risk of alcoholism for an individual, Niculescu was careful to explain that genetic tests do not imply that people with genomic aberrations will develop an addiction.

The value of the findings, according to Niculescu, is that individuals can be forewarned about any possible predisposition to alcohol. If people are aware of their genetics, they may be able to prevent widespread damage.

“As alcoholism is a disease that does not exist if the exogenous agent (alcohol) is not consumed, the use of genetic information to inform lifestyle choices could be quite powerful,” Niculescu said in a statement. “We believe this is the strongest result to date in the field of alcoholism and offers a comprehensive – though not exhaustive – window to the genetics and biology of alcoholism.”

Niculescu’s findings may help people better understand the genetic component of alcoholism, but substance abuse can occur in individuals due to a variety of environmental factors, too. A troubled childhood or abusive relationships can be enough to drive people to drink, so genetics cannot be relied on as a foolproof indicator of substance abuse risk.

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Enjoyment of alcohol’s effects linked to substance abuse risk http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/enjoyment-alcohols-effects-linked-substance-abuse-risk/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/enjoyment-alcohols-effects-linked-substance-abuse-risk/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 05:12:43 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10479 Substance abuse addiction is such a complex condition that even medical experts have trouble identifying a single issue that causes people to develop destructive behaviors with drugs and alcohol. While mental and emotional troubles factor into the presence of unsafe habits with dangerous substances, the problem is often much deeper than this. One contributing cause to addiction is...

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Alcohol-use-disorderSubstance abuse addiction is such a complex condition that even medical experts have trouble identifying a single issue that causes people to develop destructive behaviors with drugs and alcohol. While mental and emotional troubles factor into the presence of unsafe habits with dangerous substances, the problem is often much deeper than this.

One contributing cause to addiction is exposure to alcohol at a young age. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is one of the most common and dangerous activities among adults and underage drinkers alike. Of all the alcohol consumed by people below the age of 21, 90 percent is drank in mass quantities over a short period of time – usually five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women over two hours. During a binge drinking episode, people are 14 times more likely to get behind the wheel of a car.

With so much danger surrounding unsupervised exposure to alcohol at a young age, parents, family members, friends and loved ones should monitor how young adults act around alcohol. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, young binge drinkers who associate the effects of inebriation with positive consequences are significantly more likely to develop alcoholism in the future.

Monitor teens’ activities
It is impossible for parents to watch their children’s every moves, but the findings from the University of Chicago study may make them think twice about how their kids act around alcohol. The researchers contacted 104 young adults and provided them with either an inebriating amount of alcohol – around 0.8 grams per kilogram – or a placebo drink. Once intoxicated, the participants were asked about their opinions on alcohol and their personal drinking habits.

Over the course of the six-year follow-up period, the researchers found that the participants who reported greater symptoms of intoxication exhibited more problematic drinking behaviors as they aged. The group that reported lower reactions to alcohol’s effects did not develop an alcohol dependence at the same rate.

“We knew that at age 25, there were binge drinkers who were sensitive to alcohol’s more positive effects,” Andrea King, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “We just didn’t know what was going to happen to them. Now we show that they’re the ones more likely to go on to experience more alcohol problems.”

Start a dialog
Because children may be more susceptible to the effects of alcohol at a young age, parents may still want to consider starting an open and ongoing conversation about alcohol and other substances with their kids.

KidsHealth.org explained that children who have discussed alcohol use with their families show lower dependence rates and behave more responsibly in situations where alcohol is present. If parents cannot be sure that their kids will avoid alcohol, give them the tools they need to resist it.

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Web-based intervention system may help people stay in treatment http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/web-based-intervention-system-may-help-people-stay-treatment/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/web-based-intervention-system-may-help-people-stay-treatment/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 20:10:18 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10474 The first step that most people take on their journey to leave substance abuse behaviors in the past is an intervention. With the support of family and friends, those with drug and alcohol addictions can receive the medical assistance that they need. From there, professional counselors and therapists can equip people with the skills to...

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Web-based-intervention-addiction-treatmentThe first step that most people take on their journey to leave substance abuse behaviors in the past is an intervention. With the support of family and friends, those with drug and alcohol addictions can receive the medical assistance that they need. From there, professional counselors and therapists can equip people with the skills to resist cravings and urges to relapse. After completing treatment, many people credit it with saving their lives.

All the benefits of addiction treatment centers may make people jump ahead to this step. However, family and friends first need to successfully intervene in a loved one’s life. Once the person is convinced that he or she needs medical assistance, this continuous network of support may prove critical to success at treatment.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a Web-based intervention system that can be accessed at any time was found to increase the odds of success for people in treatment programs. The technology could prove useful for recreating the critical yet supportive environment of an in-person intervention, which helps people stay committed to their sobriety.

How constant support helps
The study identified a group of 507 adult men and women who would be entering outpatient addiction centers across the country. The participants were split into smaller groups, where one group would receive standard treatment for 12 weeks while the other would get treatment and access to an Internet-based questionnaire and intervention system for the same time.

The study found that the group with access to the software had a lower dropout rate for treatment – 5 percent lower than the control group. The experimental participants also had a 5 percent increase in the rate of people who abstained from drugs or alcohol for the entirety of the study length.

The study authors wrote in a statement that the constant access to a dedicated system of support and information for their addictions served as a supplemental tool in outpatient settings. Outside of time spent at treatment settings, people enrolled in such programs may not have the full source of support that those in inpatient facilities do. With the electronic system, though, these individuals may now get the same experience as their counterparts.

Do not overlook intervention
Television shows and movies may have overused the concept of the intervention in recent years, but the reality of the situation is that intervention is often a critical part of the overall recovery process.

With that in mind, many family, friends and loved ones still bring up reasons not to seek treatment for somebody. Psych Central explained that certain myths only serve to hurt the person who has a drug or alcohol addiction.

  • Wait for rock bottom. One of the most popular excuses, this one has people wait until someone commits serious bodily or emotional harm on him- or herself or others. This only increases the danger of substance abuse for everyone and should be avoided if possible.
  • A past relapse means help is meaningless. Relapse is actually a normal part of the recovery process, and many people who mistakenly return to past habits work through them to become stronger than ever.
  • Catch him or her in the act. Professionals will always advise against it, but some people wait for the person to drink or do drugs before beginning the process. This not only creates a volatile situation, but it also means that the person may agree to things without understanding their full impact, which can obviously clash with the need for people in treatment to be completely committed to sobriety.

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Daughter of NYC mayor honored for addiction recovery progress http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/daughter-nyc-mayor-honored-addiction-recovery-progress/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/daughter-nyc-mayor-honored-addiction-recovery-progress/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 00:19:15 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10461 Many people who struggle with addiction prefer to undergo recovery efforts in a private setting. Substance abuse can be a very intense subject to address, and unfortunately it carries a stigma among the general public. Those who have struggled with drugs or alcohol often prefer to avoid other distractions so they can focus primarily on their own...

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Addiction-RecoveryMany people who struggle with addiction prefer to undergo recovery efforts in a private setting. Substance abuse can be a very intense subject to address, and unfortunately it carries a stigma among the general public. Those who have struggled with drugs or alcohol often prefer to avoid other distractions so they can focus primarily on their own health and wellness.

However, this level of privacy may not be realistic in some cases. Celebrities often play their lives out on a stage for the public, though politicians are arguably under greater scrutiny to maintain a clean-cut image to garner more votes from the electorate. The current mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, was faced with such a situation during his campaign when his daughter’s history with substance abuse became a focal point of media coverage.

Rather than shy away from the attention, Chiara de Blasio spoke plainly about her struggles with drugs and alcohol in video statements and long-form essays. De Blasio’s forthrightness and integrity regarding her rocky past transformed her into a symbol for young people affected by substance abuse across the U.S., and the first daughter of New York City was recently honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her work with the substance abuse community, The New York Times reported.

Facing addiction head on

Substance abuse is nothing new in New York City. According to the NYC Health Department, 16 percent of the city’s population uses illegal drugs regularly, well above the national average of 14 percent. New Yorkers are also more likely than the rest of the country – 9.1 percent versus 8.5 percent – to abuse hard drugs such as cocaine, prescription pills and heroin.

Among this population, one 19-year-old woman with her own history of substance abuse would not normally draw much attention. But when that woman is the daughter of the mayor of New York City, the formula changes.

In a YouTube video posted months after her father won the highest seat in New York City politics, de Blasio cataloged her long journey from privileged daughter to a young woman struggling with substance abuse.

“I had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence,” de Blasio explained in the video. “So that’s been something I’ve always dealt with. It made it easier the more I drank and did drugs to share some common ground with people I wouldn’t have. It didn’t start out as a huge thing for me, but then it became a huge thing for me.”

When de Blasio went to college, her life continued to spiral out of control, and it was not until she sought help at an addiction treatment center that she was able to step back from her drug and alcohol use.

Becoming a symbol for recovery

As political campaigns often go, during the campaign the de Blasio family was forced to address certain issues that most families would rather keep private. De Blasio’s struggle with substance abuse was confronted briefly in a series of statements and videos, the Times explained, but it was not until she wrote a column on her experience for XOJane, an online magazine for women, that de Blasio became a symbol for all of New York’s young people struggling with the same issues.

Because of her willingness to talk about her addiction, de Blasio was honored by the HHS with an award that recognized the part she has played in helping young people across the U.S. confront substance abuse.

In her acceptance speech for the award, de Blasio said that she would devote her life to helping other young people work through recovery and achieve better lives – just as she did.

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Learn the 5 stages of substance abuse http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/learn-5-stages-substance-abuse/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/learn-5-stages-substance-abuse/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 00:41:11 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10442 Generally, substance abuse is a difficult topic to talk about. Many people have been affected in some manner by drugs and alcohol, yet the stigma surrounding the condition continues to suppress a public dialog on programs to improve treatment options and get those struggling with substance abuse into detox centers. In many ways, openly talking about drugs and...

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5 stages of substance abuseGenerally, substance abuse is a difficult topic to talk about. Many people have been affected in some manner by drugs and alcohol, yet the stigma surrounding the condition continues to suppress a public dialog on programs to improve treatment options and get those struggling with substance abuse into detox centers. In many ways, openly talking about drugs and alcohol can be an effective means to educate people from starting or continuing down a self-destructive path.

Understanding just how that path looks can be another effective way to inform people about how a pattern of addictive behavior occurs. While addiction affects every person in different ways, the five stages of substance abuse are a general guideline for how even casual use can transform into behavior that may not be easily controlled.

1. Experimentation
The first stage of substance abuse is also the most innocuous. Many people’s first exposure to potentially addictive substances begins as a social event. Teenagers may drink at parties or with friends, while adults may dabble with drugs just for the experience.

For many people who are able to control their intake of drugs and alcohol, their experience with substance abuse does not progress past this stage. However, StopMedicineAbuse.org explained that others may find themselves rationalizing more regular drug or alcohol consumption as within their ability to regulate it.

2. Regular use
Once a person has progressed past the experimentation phase, regular use of drugs and alcohol ensues. This may include drinking or consuming drugs only on weekend or other periods of downtime. People may often miss the fact the their consumption has increased because they are doing it in the company of other people.

This second stage is also where drug and alcohol use begins to affect people’s lives. Collateral damage from substance abuse such as falling grades in school or missed social engagements may be examples of this.

3. Risky use
With the onset of the third stage, serious collateral complications begin to manifest as people’s normal lives clash with the instability of substance abuse. While some may think that a drink or two after work is harmless, they may not be able to realize that they are too drunk to drive. Teenagers may see their grades fall precipitously and their group of friends change drastically.

The University of Rochester Medical Center explained that even though people may acknowledge that drugs or alcohol are beginning to affect their lives, they may balk at attempts to decrease their substance consumption or to get them help.

4. Dependence
The fourth stage of substance abuse is where things begin to take a serious turn. Dependence means that while no physical changes have taken place in the chemical makeup of the brain, people will continue to drink and use drugs regardless of the impact to their health, job, friends or anything else.

Dependence may be characterized by higher doses or increased potency of substances to overcome a growing tolerance and withdrawal symptoms without a constant supply.

5. Addiction
At the final stage, a chemical change has taken place within the body so no matter how hard people may try, giving up the substance of choice is almost impossible without help. People in this stage may experience sudden and intense cravings for drugs or alcohol and will act on these cravings until they go away.

While the picture of substance abuse may seem dark, addiction treatment centers across the country are staffed by professionals with the expertise necessary to help anybody move from a habit of addiction to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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