Treatment Solutions http://www.treatmentsolutions.com Leading the way, one life at a time. Get addiction treatment and relevant information. Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:36:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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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Break these junk food habits for a healthier diet http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/break-junk-food-habits-healthier-diet/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/break-junk-food-habits-healthier-diet/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 00:15:52 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10436 The human body has been compared to an engine, and just like a car, it will poorly run if supplied with low-quality fuel. Every child grows up learning that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts the body’s metabolism, and athletes are trained to eat a large meal the night before...

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Break these junk food habits for a healthier dietThe human body has been compared to an engine, and just like a car, it will poorly run if supplied with low-quality fuel. Every child grows up learning that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts the body’s metabolism, and athletes are trained to eat a large meal the night before a big game so they have plenty of energy to make that last-second play

However, someone who eats anything that comes across his or her path most likely will not have as much energy as a person who carefully chooses what to eat. This is where junk food can wreak havoc on people’s diets, waistlines and digestive systems. Evidence suggests that junk food such as potato chips, soda and candy is designed to produce an addictive response in the person who eats it, though rehab centers rarely treat that kind of addiction. Instead, everyone can take immediate steps toward a healthier lifestyle and diet by breaking some simple junk food habits.

Designed to snack
No matter how hard they try, some people just cannot help themselves from eating an entire bag of potato chips or finishing off a liter of soda. The fault may not lie entirely with the consumer, however, as The New York Times explained that an entire industry of food production companies employ scientists, chefs and advertisers to create foods that are optimally crunchy, sweet, savory and sour.

According to the Times, multiple food giants like Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell Soup and General Foods have turned to Howard Moskowitz, Ph.D, director of a food optimization consulting firm in New York.

“I’ve optimized soups,” Moskowitz said. “I’ve optimized pizzas. I’ve optimized salad dressings and pickles. In this field, I’m a game changer.”

Moskowitz looks at various aspects of different foods, such as the complexity of the flavors, the visual appeal, the brain’s tendency to grow bored of a certain dish and dozens of other factors. Once he determines the sweet spot for a particular food product, consumers typically have a hard time eating only one chip or cookie and business profits skyrocket.

Cut out soda
Even though certain foods have been specifically designed to make it hard to quit them, it only takes a bit of willpower to make a serious change that can benefit anyone’s overall health. CNN explained that, on average, six weeks of dedication to a new diet is enough time to change a person’
s overall food preferences
.

To start those six weeks, one of the simplest ways to take strides toward healthier living is to stop drinking soda. Health Ambition explained that the standard can of soda in the U.S. contains about 39 grams of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. For an enlightening test, place a can of regular and diet soda in a bucket of water – the regular soda will sink to the bottom because of its sugar content while the diet version will float.

Stop emotional eating
For some people, junk food is not so much a nutritional requirement as it is a way to comfort themselves during times of stress. FitDay explained that emotional eating can happen when people experience excessively strong positive or negative feelings.

This junk food habit is particularly dangerous to a healthy diet because it is not related to feeling full or satisfied. Instead, people who think they might be emotional eaters should pick up a hobby to channel their energies through an avenue separate from junk food. Spending more time with friends may also stop emotional eaters from indulging too much.

Of course, giving up all junk food may prove unreasonable for some people, so reducing junk food intake to a moderate level can be a perfect start toward healthy living.

 

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Recovery Idol gives Philadelphia-area former drug users chance to show talents http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/recovery-idol-philadelphia-area-drug-users-chance-show-talents/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/recovery-idol-philadelphia-area-drug-users-chance-show-talents/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 00:11:28 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10430 One of the most overlooked harms of addiction is the way it isolates people from one another, though the professionals at addiction treatment centers are experienced in the practice of rebuilding the connections that heavy drug and alcohol use have the unfortunate tendency to break. While some of those in recovery may still know people who continue to...

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Addiction-Recovery-SingingOne of the most overlooked harms of addiction is the way it isolates people from one another, though the professionals at addiction treatment centers are experienced in the practice of rebuilding the connections that heavy drug and alcohol use have the unfortunate tendency to break. While some of those in recovery may still know people who continue to use, that is often an unsafe environment for someone who is looking to build a new life for him or herself.

Thankfully, communities of people looking to leave behind their histories of drug and alcohol abuse not only exist, but are full of vibrant and talented people. One such community in Philadelphia showcases not only those special abilities, but the participants’ incredible progress since their days of substance abuse with Recovery Idol, a lineup of vocal performances comprised entirely of Philadelphia residents who have left histories of drug and alcohol abuse behind and are continually working toward their sobriety.

Taking it note by note
This year marks Philadelphia’s Recovery Idol’s fourth iteration, and founder Derrick Ford has organized the finals of the psuedo-competition to take place at Penn’s Landing, one of the city’s most famous venues. Those talented enough to make it to the last round will perform in front of 20,000 people – most of them in recovery as well.

Ford is no distant philanthropist, however. The Philadelphia Inquirer explained that Ford has a long history of drug abuse, but an even longer history of recovery.

“Every Saturday night, no matter what’s going on, I’m in my 8 o’clock meeting with my group of folks in recovery,” Ford told the paper. “I get spiritually fed and I am restored there.”

That is the general attitude surrounding Recovery Idol. Rather than a competition in the same vein as the popular TV show, Ford stressed to all the participants that there is no promise of fame or money attached to the event. Rather, it is an opportunity to those struggling with histories of addiction to come together, form a sense of community and show how rich their lives have become since their time spent mired in drug and alcohol abuse.

Making a new life
Gina Albater is one of those people who thought there was no hope for her because of an early history of drug use.

“I always wanted to be a singer, but I started using drugs when I was 13, so all my dreams went down the drain,” Albater told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I never lost hope. I thought, ‘I’m not meant to die like this. I’m supposed to be here for something.’”

That something, Albater explained, is singing not only for herself, but for other girls who may be in situations similar to hers.

“There’s probably a girl out there and she’s 13 and she’s lost her mom and she doesn’t know where to go,” Albater said. “I want to make sure she knows there’s a way out and you don’t have to make all the mistakes I did.”

Albater’s chosen melody in the preliminary round of the competition was Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone.” Fellow Philadelphian Robin Collins sang Mary Wells’ “Two Lovers.” Ron Davis of North Philadelphia crooned to the Isley Brothers’ classic, “At Your Best (You Are Love).”

Regardless of the outcome, all of the participants are asked by Ford about their current statuses. He wants to talk to them about any urges or cravings they may be struggling with and if there is any possible way he can help them through it.

And then Ford watches them step on stage and sing from the bottom of their hearts.

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London embraces trend of alcohol-free bars http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/london-embraces-trend-alcohol-free-bars/ http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/london-embraces-trend-alcohol-free-bars/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 00:07:29 +0000 http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/?p=10425 Alcohol is often called a “social lubricant,” meaning that only when people drink can they truly enjoy themselves in a crowd. This can be a dangerous approach to a substance that holds a high potential for dependency. Not only may people feel pressured to drink when they do not want to, but they may also...

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Alcohol-Free-Bars-LondonAlcohol is often called a “social lubricant,” meaning that only when people drink can they truly enjoy themselves in a crowd. This can be a dangerous approach to a substance that holds a high potential for dependency. Not only may people feel pressured to drink when they do not want to, but they may also drink more than is safe. Habitual consumption of alcohol in such a manner may necessitate alcohol rehab.

Each country has its own social norms when it comes to alcohol consumption, but no place may normalize the act more than the United Kingdom. In London, drinking is sometimes an unavoidable method of social interaction between friends and co-workers. For anybody with a previous history of alcohol abuse, this tacit acceptance of habitual heavy drinking can lead to conflicts with friends and family.

However, a new trend of alcohol-free bars in London is providing hope to Brits who refuse to surrender their social lives to alcohol, according to The Guardian. Started by a former executive of the Virgin Group, dry bars offer London citizens a way to live out their lives as normally as possible – all without the added temptation of an alcohol-filled drink.

Running dry
Catherine Salway used to be the chief brand director for the Virgin Group. She made an executive’s salary and partied like one, too, she told The Guardian. By the mid-90s, however, something changed within Salway, and she knew her life must as well.

“I was overweight, drinking too much, pretty miserable,” Salway told The Guardian. “And I thought: ‘I could just sit here grinding away, doing corporate jobs, or do something meaningful.’”

That was when Salway opened “Redemption,” London’s first dry bar located in the western part of the city. It has food, hip decor, exposed brick and a usual buzzing night crowd. Other than the gastropub’s insistence against serving alcohol in any form, Redemption appears like any of the innumerable other pubs scattered around London.

Salway opened Redemption as a way to combat the seeming omnipresence of alcohol in British culture. If Londonites want to socialize at night, there were few ways for them to do that in alcohol-free settings.

“You can’t even go to the cinema now without considering having a glass of wine,” Salway told The Guardian.

In a society that has prized habitual drinking for centuries, though, Redemption has had its detractors. Salway explained how early on in the development of her business plan, some property developers told her that her idea would never take off – London and its people ran on alcohol, they said, and neither would willingly give it up.

“And I said, ‘Well, not everybody, and not all the time,’” Salway retorted.

Sobering facts
Salway’s alcohol-free business may actually be ahead of a developing trend among the citizens of Great Britain. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of adults aged 16 and over who consumed at least one drink per week has been in decline since 2005. In 2012, that number for men sat at 64 percent, down from 72 percent. The rates for women fell from 57 to 52 percent.

Other London restaurants that normally serve alcohol also took advantage of an event known as “Dry January,” where citizens are encouraged to abstain from drinking for the entirety of the first month of the new year. Instead of alcohol-laden cocktails, restaurants across London brought in tea experts and purchased stocks of alchemical sodas to cater to diners’ teetotaling sensibilities, The Telegraph reported.

Whether Londonites call dry bars like Redemption their permanent home for social gatherings or cut alcohol out of their lives for the space of a month, both activities signal a trend toward more moderate opinions on drinking in a country where few might have thought it possible.

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