Drugs Don’t Cause Addiction Video

This video helps show how important human connection and how that relates to addiction. We highly recommend watching this.

Rehab & Recovery Denial: I Can Do It On My Own

Rehab & Recovery Denial: I Can Do It On My Own

Convincing someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol to go to rehab or to detox is often a very difficult and touchy situation. Even harder sometimes, is convincing someone to stick with rehab, detox, or recovery in a structured setting. Although there are lots of reasons why an individual will refuse to go to detox or rehab, or attempt to leave before they are ready, all of the reason are just a means to an end – which includes not recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Commonly, many addicts think that they can accomplish detox or sobriety on their own—without the help of professionals or rehab. Most addicts believe that they’re smarter, stronger and different from other addicts. Because of this false belief, many addictions escalate and get worse, and addicts lose even more control over themselves and their lives.

In addiction, in recovery, rehab or detox, certain ideas or themes or topics often get repeated in the education and rehab process. Often, when addicts go through multiple relapses, rehab attempts, and/or detoxes, they feel like they are just hearing the same things they heard all of the other times and their desire to overcome their addiction is lessened and seems to diminish. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and many individuals attempt to quit rehab before they are ready and recovered. When addicts don’t feel they are gaining any new insight, they often want to give up.

On the other hand, addicts can develop quick confidence sometimes when they’ve been clean for just a couple of weeks. They truly believe themselves to be fully recovered and don’t see the point in finishing the recovery process; thinking it is too costly, time consuming, or just inconvenient. These individuals are anxious to get back out into the world because they think they won’t relapse, that they are past that stage, but the sad truth is often that extended treatment produces much more recovered individuals who have fewer relapses and are more prepared to enter the world once again. Staying in a rehab program for as long as it takes is crucial to a more complete recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Addiction Recovery Success Story of Chris – Video

Chris’s story is so powerful. Watch this video and hear his story. Turning Point Center saved him from a life of addiction.

 

China Bans Fentanyl

China Bans Fentanyl

Finally, the Chinese government recently moved to ban the manufacture and sale of fentanyl. Foxnews.com reports that, “China announced Wednesday night that it will ban carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, acrylfentanyl and valeryl fentanyl from being manufactured there – a move that U.S. officials at the federal and state levels say is significant and likely to be felt in communities across the country.” (foxnews.com)

The report indicates that China is the source of the bulk of the fentanyl that is ruining so many lives in the US—killing more than 700 people each year. Fox reports that fentanyl is “50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. People whose skin accidently has come in contact with it have become addicted. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials see tighter fentanyl controls by China as a game-changer. When it got tougher about regulating 100 synthetic chemicals in 2015, the global supply of those substances plummeted, some as much as 60 percent, according to the DEA.” (foxnews.com)

Although the US has been begging China to ban fentanyl for a long time, they have waited and the effects have been disastrous. During the last few years, more and more dealers found profits could increase generously by cutting fentanyl with their drugs and the deadly substance has aggravated the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Again, fox reported that, “dealers discovered in the last two or so years that vast profits could be made by cutting fentanyl into illicit drugs. In fiscal year 2014, U.S. authorities seized just 8.1 pounds of fentanyl. By the first half of last year, they seized 295 pounds, according to Customs and Border Protection data. Overdose rates have been skyrocketing.” (foxnews.com)

Fox also provides a shocking summary of the statistics and effects of fentanyl recently in their report. They state that “in 2016, the U.S. lost more than 52,000 — enough to fill a major league baseball stadium — to drug overdose, 33,000 of which were from opioids. About 10 years ago, gun-related deaths outnumbered opioid-related death by more than 5-to-1. Today, more people die from opioid-related deaths than from gun homicides and traffic accidents combined. On an average day, 144 people in the U.S. die from a drug overdose, the majority are from pharmaceutical opioids or heroin or fentanyl and every day, nearly 600 people try heroin for the first time.” (foxnews.com)

Thus, China’s move to ban fentanyl production is an extremely positive one, and many people, some who haven’t ever been impacted by this substance, stand to benefit for the ban.

 

Sources: Foxnews.com, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Signs of Elderly Prescription Drug Abuse

Signs of Elderly Prescription Drug Abuse

Drug abuse among the elderly is on the rise. The overuse and abuse of prescription medication is the most common form of drug abuse in the elderly. Although less than 13 percent of the U.S. population is 65 years and older, they consume approximately one-third of all medications prescribed. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “elderly persons use prescription medications three times as frequently as the general population and have the poorest rates of compliance with directions for taking medications. It is now estimated that 17 percent of persons aged 60 or older are affected by prescription drug abuse.”(nih.gov)

There are key things to look for if you are concerned that your loved one is abusing prescription drugs. More specifically, familydoctor.org gives the following are things to look for to determine if an older adult might be abusing prescription drugs:

“A person who is addicted to a prescription drug may:

  • Get a prescription for the same medicine from two different doctors
  • Fill a prescription for the same medicine at two different pharmacies
  • Take more of a prescription medicine than they used to or take more than is instructed on the label
  • Take the medicine at different times or more often than is instructed on the label
  • Have behavior changes, such as becoming more withdrawn or angry
  • Often think or talk about a medicine
  • Be afraid to go without taking a medicine
  • Be uncomfortable or defensive when you ask about the medicine
  • Make excuses for why they need a medicine
  • Store “extra” pills in their purse or in their pocket
  • Sneek or hide medicine
  • Have been treated for alcohol, drug, or prescription drug abuse in the past”(familydoctor.org)

The two most commonly prescribed and abused drugs among the elderly are narcotic analgesics and sedative-hypnotic drugs. These drugs, designed to kill pain and help sleep are part of the abuse of prescription drugs by the elderly that is a growing problem in the U.S.

 

What Are Bath Salts

What are bath salts?

Many have heard that bath salts can be addictive and used like drugs. Most of us don’t really understand how. Bath salts are synthetic cathinones — synthetic drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, and people sometimes chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. However, when variants of cathinones are synthetic, the effects can be much stronger and more dangerous.

Bath salts are typically swallowed, smoked, injected, or snorted and their effect on the brain is still largely unknown. However, it has been shown that the effect of bath salts on the brain is similar to cocaine but is at least 10 times more powerful. Bath salts can produce effects such as: paranoia, nosebleeds, increased sex drive, hallucinations, increased sociability, and panic attacks. In some cases, use of bath salts as drug has resulted in death.

Behavioral therapy has been used to treat addiction to bath salts but there is currently no medication available to treat this addiction.

Source: Baumann et al., 2013

Memory and Addiction

Memory and Addiction

A recent study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience by Washington State University researchers. They indicated that found a mechanism in the brain that enables memory in the process of drug addiction. This is important because the discovery opens a new area of research geared at discovering a therapy that could alter or stop this mechanism in addiction; making drug addiction less addictive.

Turning off the tool that creates these powerful memories will hopefully lessen the impact and content of the memory – thereby decreasing the motivation for relapse and addiction. Memories associated with drug use definitely drive the impulses behind drug addiction. The brain reinforces memories, and in so doing, gives them emotional weight. The result of the memories being reinforced is a perfect list of what guides and directs the basic decisions.

The NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) indicates that the amygdala, a part of the brain’s limbic system, which is critical for memory and responsible for evoking emotions, becomes active and a craving for drugs is triggered when an addicted individual thinks about, sees, or hears about drugs.

They indicate, “This craving demands the drug immediately. Rational thoughts are dismissed by the uncontrollable desire for drugs. At this point, a basic change has occurred in the brain. The person is no longer in control. This changed brain makes it almost impossible for drug addicts to stay drug-free without professional help. Because addiction is a brain disease.”

In the WSU study they found that their processes did not erase the drug memory completely, but perhaps diminished its emotional power. Hopefully, Learning how to hone in on emotional strength in memories and what allows for them will hopefully, ultimately, lead to information that can allow for control over these memories. This type of finding could help end the vicious cycles of drug abuse and addiction.

Sources: sciencedaily.com, wsu.edu, nida.gov

 

Men and Body Image: Steroid Abuse

Men and Body Image: Steroid Abuse

New research by both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Harvard Medical School indicates that many young, non-athlete men are using androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) and other appearance and performance enhancing drugs. Androgenic-anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Many believe that they can avoid unwanted side effects of steroid abuse by taking them in various ways (such as combining steroids, stopping and restarting use, and/or slowly increasing their dose). However, steroids affect not only one’s muscles but also the brain and can trigger extreme paranoia, irritability, delusions, or impaired judgment. Further, long term steroid abuse can lead to kidney and liver problems, as well as heart problems. Men also can experience baldness, breast development, increased risk for prostate cancer, decreased sperm count, and/or shrinking testicles.

However, abuse still exists despite the awful side effects and many are beginning to realize that it has to do with an increase in attention by the media on the male body. The trend may be driven by an idealized male image shown in the media that increasingly concentrates on bulkiness, sturdiness, and muscularity. The rise in the number of young men who report dissatisfaction with their body size and shape and concern about body and muscle mass is very concerning. Just as we must emphasize to young women that they have worth and beauty no matter what their shape or size, the same must be related to young men: their muscle mass and size doesn’t determine their worth. How they treat others and conduct themselves is what makes them who they are and abusing steroids is not a solution to poor body image.

 

Source: drugabuse.gov

Smoking Rates on the Decline

Smoking Rates on the Decline                

A recent report by cbs.com indicates that smoking in the U.S. is declining more rapidly than ever. In fact, they reported that, “The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to 15 percent last year thanks to the biggest one-year decline in more than 20 years. The rate fell 2 percentage points from 2014, when about 17 percent of adults in a large national survey said they had recently smoked. The smoking rate has been falling for decades, but it usually drops only 1 point or less in a year.” A recent government survey was the source for the reported trends.

In the United States, smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable illness. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. The recent survey pertained to 2015 and researchers don’t know exactly why the drop happened nor do they know if the trend will continue.

Interestingly, about 50 years ago, about 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked. Many remember encountering cigarette smoke in offices, restaurants, airplanes and even hospitals. Awareness of disease has been key in the gradual decline of smoking in the U.S. Also, anti-smoking campaigns launched years ago as well as recently have proven effective along with bans on smoking in certain locations/areas.

Further, research also points to the fact that e-cigarettes use is on the rise as smoking traditional cigarettes is declining. Perhaps e-cigarettes are replacing traditional cigarettes. But many wonder if the e-cigarette popularity will propel smoking back into greater rates or continue to replace the habit altogether. Either way, experts fear that the addiction to nicotine, which occurs with either smoking method, will continue and will prove dangerous.

Source: cbs.com

Effectiveness of Neurofeedback

Effectiveness of Neurofeedback

Many insurance companies will pay for a 30-day traditional addiction treatment for those recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse. Many individuals believe that this is “enough” and that they can get clean and sober in the 30-day period. Although this treatment can be helpful, for most individuals, it is not enough. Relapse often occurs, leaving individuals discouraged and depressed. 30-day treatment programs generally aren’t long enough to address all of the needs of an addict and help individuals acclimate back into everyday living without their addiction.

Another possible treatment option is a process called neurofeedback. Through a retraining process, neurofeedback treats addiction in the brain. Through neurofeedback, the brain is taught to be calm, focused, and relaxed and can aid in allowing individuals to think more clearly and rationally. Many relapses are caused by stress in people’s lives. Learning to relax and calm the brain through neurofeedback can help block relapses in addiction recovery. Learning these strategies neurologically can lead to long term recovery. In addition, many facilities prescribe medication to treat addiction. Some see this as problematic—solving the problem of pill addiction with more pills. Neurofeedback treatment is a great option because it doesn’t involves medication. It is a non-invasive therapy that has been shown to have no negative side effects.

Neurofeedback works by helping to correct dysfunctional brain patterns that contribute to addiction.  Using brain mapping, a plan can be created that targets and trains certain areas/regions of the brain that may be malfunctioning. Treatment facilities have seen much success with neurofeedback and find that individuals struggling with addiction can break the vicious cycle they fight against.