Author Archives: Desert Cove

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

The process of drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging for some people. When residents are at a rehab center in Arizona, they have the encouragement and support that is needed to be successful when they go home. There are classes offered at rehabs in Arizona as well as group and individual counseling sessions. However, finding a rehab that offers exercise as part of addiction treatment can be beneficial for many people who are dealing with addiction.

For many people, playing outside or walking on a trail is considered a form of recreation. For someone who is fighting addiction, it can be therapeutic. Exercise as part of addiction treatment allows for getting the mind healthy by focusing on activities that don’t involve drugs while talking to other people who are participating. Taking the time to get the body healthy, in at least a minimal way, can help to reverse any damage done by drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of the benefits that can be seen when exercise is offered as a part of addiction treatment:

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment Decreases Stress

A primary benefit of exercise as part of addiction treatment is stress reduction. When people rely on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stresses that they have in life, it can be difficult to take part in other activities that offer the same feelings.

Various forms of exercise increase the heart rate, relieving stress that is felt in the body for many residents in rehabs in Arizona. They can channel the stress that they have about issues with relationships and past situations in a manner that is often fun and refreshing.

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Exercise Helps Reduce Sleep Issues

Sometimes, people who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time tend to stay awake because of the high that they get from the substances. Exercise is a natural way to tire the body. Paired with planned activities at the rehab center as well as daily chores, exercise can often help residents who have had problems with sleeping in the past.

Once they begin to get a normal sleep schedule again, they can begin to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time the next day. This will help the body adjust to being functional in a healthy way once again.

More Energy from Exercise in Rehab

After exercising for a few weeks, residents at rehab centers can begin to see an increase in energy levels in the body. This increase in energy in a natural way instead of using drugs and alcohol can allow residents to focus on therapy sessions, classes that are taken, seeking employment, and interacting with the other people who are at the rehab center.

Exercise boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain and the other vital organs. As more oxygen circulates in the body and fewer drugs are introduced to the body, the person will be able to stay awake longer during the day and channel the energy that is built to positive tasks instead of those that are negative.

Mood Changes from Exercise

When there are no drugs in someone’s body, it can sometimes impact the mood that the person has during the day. There can be times of anger or sadness while the person is recovering in rehab. Exercise can help to stabilize the mood and even enhance the mood as the person begins to see the benefits of this kind of therapy.

While exercising, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals are responsible for feelings of happiness. As the person continues to exercise by walking, running, playing sports, or simply spending time outside doing something that involves movement, the endorphins will continue to be released. It usually doesn’t take long for endorphins to be released in the body, which means that residents in a rehab center can spend about 30 minutes a day exercising and have the rest of the day for other activities or resting and spending time alone.

Get Healthy While in Rehab

When the body has more oxygen delivered to its vital organs, the body becomes healthier. The only way that this can happen is through exercise of some kind. People who are in rehab can take a daily walk or participate in an exercise class to begin seeing health benefits that are provided by some kind of activity each day.

After weeks of exercising, people can usually begin to see a decrease in weight and begin to breathe easier. Regular exercise also helps in the prevention of heart disease, the risk of a stroke, and depression. It can also keep the bones and joints healthy.

While exercise is known to be an important part of a healthy life, for those trying to overcome addiction, it can be even more important. If you are ready to make a change in your life, and begin your journey in recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

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The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The opioid epidemic is characterized by an increase in the number of people who misuse narcotics, including prescription painkillers and heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 115 people experience a fatal overdose from these substances every day in the U.S. Many who survive are facing a new challenge: hepatitis C infection. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, hepatitis C and opioid use are linked.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a disease that damages the liver. It’s spread through the blood and can cause liver failure or cancer. Doctors believed they were on their way to eradicating the disease through the use of certain medications, however, the rise of the opioid epidemic changed those expectations. The number of people with hepatitis C tripled from 2010 to 2015, according to CNN. Currently, approximately 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C.

The decade from 2004 to 2014 saw a 400 percent increase in acute hepatitis C as well as an 817 percent increase in admissions of people ages 18 through 29 who injected prescription opioids. Most people who had hepatitis C before the 1990s were part of the baby-boomer generation. People born between 1945 and 1965 were more likely to have contracted the disease from unsafe medical procedures or blood transfusions. The increase of hepatitis C in the younger generation points to a link between the disease and opioid injections.

Hepatitis C is Spreading Through Injected Drug Use

Twenty-eight percent of people who inject drugs are infected with hepatitis C every year. Reusing the equipment that’s used to administer opioids intravenously can quickly cause an outbreak.

Jon E. Zibbell PhD was in charge of the study that looked at the connection between hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic from 2004 to 2014. He found statistically significant increases in the rates of hepatitis C among opioid users who injected the drugs.

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hepatitis c and opioid, addiction treatment az

Many people start taking prescription painkillers orally. Over time, they transition to injecting heroin because it is cheaper and delivers a quicker high. New infections occur most often among these opioid users, many of whom are younger than 40.

In some states, the number of people infected with hepatitis C is double the natural average. Once many people within a community are infected, the disease spreads more rapidly because they share equipment.

Women in rural counties are three times more likely to have hepatitis C than women in urban counties, according to a CDC study. The study did not intend to compare opioid abuse rates with hepatitis C rates, however, Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, the study’s author, said that 5 times more infants were born with opioid withdrawal symptoms in rural areas than urban ones. One concern that experts have is that babies born with hepatitis C may not be treated because their mothers are unaware that they’re infected.

Catching Hepatitis C Before It’s Spread Further

Because many people don’t have symptoms or seek treatment, the actual number of people who inject drugs and have the disease is probably much higher than researchers have found.

It takes time for symptoms of hepatitis C to show up, therefore, many people don’t know that they’re infected until it’s too late. Plus, most people with drug abuse disorders don’t seek treatment for their addiction. Oftentimes, many people don’t know that they have hepatitis C until they receive a blood screening for a blood donation or routine exam.

By that time, liver damage may have set in. People who do have symptoms right away are more likely to get treatment that prevents the disease from progressing.

The FDA has approved several treatment regimens that can cure the disease. The problem is that many people who suffer from hepatitis C and opioid abuse disorder don’t get help. People who suffer from addiction may be compelled to take part in risky behaviors, such as sharing needles, even though they know about the dangers.

Jonathan Mermin of the CDC says that testing people who are at risk of developing the disease, which includes anyone who has injected opioids intravenously, can increase the effectiveness of treatment for those who test positive.

Free needle exchange programs have cut down on the number of people who use dirty needles. However, the stigma of drug addiction prevents many people from taking advantage of these programs or going further to attend rehab. Access to treatment is another obstacle that people with hepatitis C face.

Treating Hepatitis C in Addiction Treatment AZ Setting

Many rehab centers are staffed by medical professionals who can provide treatment for hepatitis C alongside therapy for addiction. At rehab, patients can be monitored to make sure that they administer their hepatitis C medication correctly, which is crucial for curing the disease. Because some hepatitis C treatments cause side effects such as depression, getting help at a comprehensive rehab center, such as our addiction treatment AZ, is important for managing psychological and emotional issues as well as physical ailments.

If you have hepatitis C and suffer from opioid addiction, call our addiction treatment AZ to learn how we can help you manage your substance abuse disorder as well as other physical and medical conditions. Treating the mind, body and spirit can help you succeed on your path to recovery.

trauma and addiction treatment in arizona, trauma therapy addiction treatment

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Many times, those who love someone dealing with issues related to addiction think that if only they could rid them of the drugs or alcohol that they take, everything else would work itself out. However, this is generally too simplistic a view as, in many cases, it’s not really the drugs and alcohol that are the problem.

Instead, they can be part of the solution. By trying to help the person find the means to cope with a traumatic time they may have experienced in his or her past could make the difference.  This could possibly date back to childhood, or maybe instead something much more recent. Of course, there are other coping mechanisms that are much more positive than substance abuse, but some do turn to drugs or alcohol to help them get over their trauma.

Clearly, this is not the right move to make, but it happens, and it is especially important to get trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona if this is the cause. The connection between recovering from the trauma and using this treatment method can be an especially strong one as the person suffering from the trauma may feel like there are no other coping methods that would work as well. This can often be the case even when it has become clear that addiction has resulted from the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

In order for someone to be successful in recovery, they must treat the root of the problem – the trauma. Trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona must be combined with trauma therapy and addiction treatment so that both the original problem and the incorrectly chosen solution can be addressed. This allows the individual to recover from both hardships that have been experienced. It is not going to be easy in either case, but it is what needs to be done in order for the solutions to be long-lasting.

It’s important for both those seeking treatment, and people who love them, to know that types of trauma can vary quite a bit. One type of episode might deeply affect somebody, while the exact same type could result in little to no trauma for another. It is important to hear from the addict how certain situations affect them and to help them learn healthy ways to cope amidst these feelings. Some examples of types of trauma that can cause people to turn to drugs or alcohol for numbing include abuse, neglect, illness, accident, violence, bullying, military-related trauma and separation from loved ones.

Some of the most damaging things that some do to those who have suffered trauma is to dismiss it by saying things like, “Why are you letting that bother you?”, “I experienced the same thing”, and “I’m fine.”

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How to Treat Trauma Related Addiction

Trauma therapy addiction treatment includes, most importantly, determining other ways to cope with the feelings of trauma in a healthy manner instead of turning to the damaging habits of drugs or alcohol. Some of the things that this involves include the realization that recovery is a process and that it will not be overnight. Although it may seem like it should just involve flipping a switch to some, it really is not like that. Progress can absolutely be made, but it will be a gradual process, little by little.

But what makes it more difficult in this situation is that recovering from trauma combined with recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol exacerbates things. Removing the drug or alcohol just on its own is often a trying situation because of the detox necessary to rid the body of the addiction. However, what needs to be handled with care is the simultaneous removal of the trauma coping mechanism. A new one must be found and encouraged so that old habits aren’t easy to return to once rehab has been completed.

When Dual Diagnosis is Present

Sometimes adding to the difficulty of a healthy detox are co-occurring mental health issues that accompany the addiction and trauma. In this case, the addiction may be the result of one or the other or both, and sensitive care must be given to help those in recovery.

Our staff is trained to handle all of these types of situations and ensure that treatment is given in an all-encompassing manner that helps the individuals recover from every aspect of their troubles and start regaining control of their lives again. The treatment will be individualized to the person and his or her situation.

One of the treatment methods that is often used is the inclusion of a peer-supportive environment. It tends to be easier for people to recover mentally from their addictions and traumatic experiences if they are able to regularly speak to those who are experiencing and have experienced similar things. Being able to share experiences and learn from what others are experiencing can really help the recovery process.

If you or a loved one could benefit from these services, contact us today for more information.

accredited addiction treatment AZ

Accredited Addiction Treatment ARizona

Accredited Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a big step. In light of this, it is important to take the time to identify a treatment center that will address your specific needs.

Since your primary goal is to free yourself from your addiction, it’s crucial to choose a rehab that relies on proven, evidence-based practices and has patients’ best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can just take a facility’s word for; there is too much at stake for that. By sticking with facilities that offer accredited addiction treatment in Arizona, however, it will be much easier to identify one that will arm you with the tools for long-term success.

What is Accreditation All About?

It is easy enough for a drug rehab facility to state that it uses proven methodologies and is otherwise above board regarding addiction treatment. As the saying goes, however, actions speak louder than words. Since your health and life are at stake here, this isn’t the time to give a place a shot and hope for the best. Instead, insist on undergoing treatment at a facility that holds relevant accreditation from authoritative accreditation bodies. Read on to learn more about how to find them.

Why Does Accreditation Matter in Addiction Treatment?

Like anyone who is ready to reclaim a sober life, you’re probably already planning to do your homework before choosing an addiction treatment center. However, you are a novice when it comes to addiction treatment, so you can’t be expected to know what to look for. Accreditation matters because when a facility is accredited, it has proven to an independent organization that it meets or exceeds a rigorous list of standards. Think of this independent organization, or accreditation body, as detectives who do the heavy lifting for patients like you. If a facility has the “all clear” from a respected accreditation body, you can rest assured about the quality of care that you will receive.

Who Offers Accreditation for Addiction Treatment Facilities?

Learning that a treatment center is accredited is a step in the right direction, but it’s also important to confirm that the accreditation comes from a respected and reputable organization. Many accreditation bodies offer accreditation to addiction treatment centers; without a doubt, The Joint Commission is the best known of them all. Formerly known as JCAHO, The Joint Commission provides accreditation to facilities that meet an exhaustive list of stringent quality standards.

Another name to look for when seeking accredited addiction treatment is CARF—The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. This organization has been accrediting health care facilities since 1966. They offer various levels of accreditation, but the three-year one is the gold standard. Other accreditation bodies include the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the All States.

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The Accreditation Process for Addiction Treatment Centers

It’s important to know what is involved in acquiring an accreditation from an organization like The joint Commission because it drives home just how stringent their standards tend to be. To receive an accreditation from The Joint Commission, for example, a facility must demonstrate that it meets all of the organization’s accreditation conditions and that it is committed to continual improvement. An intensive on-site survey is performed to confirm that a facility meets these standards. The organization is typically given time to make corrections before a follow-up survey is completed.

To maintain its accreditation, an addiction treatment center must submit an annual Quality Improvement Plan along with an annual Conformance to Quality Report to the accreditation body.

Benefits of Choosing an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center

Some of the top advantages of choosing an accredited facility for addiction treatment include:

  • outcome- and evidence-based treatments that are continually assessed and improved for quality
  • emphasis on individualized addiction treatment—patients are not treated like numbers
  • effectively trained and credentialed personnel who undergo continuing education and training on a regular basis
  • emphasis on customer satisfaction
  • access to the latest evidence-based treatment options
  • the peace of mind of knowing that the facility must meet and continue to meet a rigorous list of standards to continue to hold the accreditation

You will also find that accredited facilities tend to offer the most pleasant and relaxing surroundings for people who are in recovery. Oftentimes, these facilities employ a whole-person, or holistic, approach to addiction treatment, which recognizes the fact that physical dependency is just one aspect of addiction and that many other factors often contribute and must be addressed.

Accredited Treatment is the Right Choice

In light of Google’s recent move to address shady, fly-by-night rehab facilities by refusing to display their ads in search results, it is more important than ever to perform your due diligence when seeking addiction treatment. While the search engine’s efforts are a step in the right direction, there are still many pitfalls to watch out for. One of the best ways to sidestep the worst of them is by sticking with facilities that possess accreditation from dependable and reputable accreditation bodies.

Desert Cove Recovery is accredited by The Joint Commission, so you can be rest assured you are receiving quality care from start to finish. Contact us to learn more about our programs and take the first step on your road to sobriety. 

How Meth Use During Pregnancy Affects Neonatal Outcomes

Methamphetamine addiction is on the rise again in many areas. Meth use by pregnant women resulted in a number of negative neonatal outcomes, according to results from a systemic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. The review indicated meth use during results in a measurable decrease in the following:

• Infant birth weight
• Head circumference
• Body length
• Gestational age at birth

The review also found that expectant mothers who were exposed to methamphetamine didn’t experience “excessive pregnancy complications” due to their illicit drug use.

Pregnant Women “Vulnerable Population” for Meth Use

Dr. Dimitrios-Rafail Kalaitzopoulos, from the Reproductive Endocrinology Unit, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, wrote that pregnant women are one of the “vulnerable populations” that use methamphetamine. Dr. Kalaitzopoulos stated that data about the effects of meth use during pregnancy is limited, since existing studies have involved only small samples and have not accounted for the participants using other drugs as well as methamphetamine.

The investigators examined several types of materials while conducting their review, including an orderly review of clinical literature and a deep dive analysis of case-control studies. They included studies which compared women who were exposed to methamphetamine during their pregnancy with a control group who didn’t use meth.

Multiple Studies Examined by Researchers

Eight studies involving a total of 626 participants who used methamphetamine during pregnancy and 2,626 women who didn’t use the drug during pregnancy (the control group) were examined and analyzed. The results showed no difference (statistically) between women who used meth during pregnancy and the control group on preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) rates.

Dr. Kalaitzopoulos pointed out there was a limitation to this type of meta-analysis due to the methods used to identify pregnant women who used meth. The ones who were recruited into the methamphetamine users group were placed there through a combination of self-reporting and toxicological reports, such as maternal urine tests, meconium tests performed on the infant’s first bowel movement or neonatal urine toxicology. In some instances, self-reporting only was used or taking a urine sample from the infant only was used.

None of these methods is considered ideal. To determine the extent of maternal drug use, all these methods should be used together, according to Dr. Kalaitzopoulos.

baby boomers' drinking patterns, alcohol treatment center in arizona

An Alcohol Treatment Center in Arizona Reports on Baby Boomers’ Drinking Patterns

An Alcohol Treatment Center in Arizona Reports on Baby Boomers’ Drinking Patterns

A recent survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed several alarming trends in Baby Boomers’ Drinking Patterns.

High-risk drinking increased almost 30 percent over the past decade and alcohol use disorder jumped a whopping 49.4 percent.

Around 40,000 adults participated in the study. There were increases across all demographic groups, but those among baby boomers were the most dramatic.

Baby Boomers and Alcohol Abuse

Adults born between 1946 and 1964 consume 45 percent of the nation’s alcohol supply. The number of boomers who engage in high-risk drinking shot up 65 percent in a decade. High-risk drinking is defined this way:

  • For men, having five or more standard drinks per day, at least weekly, over the past year
  • For women, having four or more standard drinks per day, at least weekly, over the past year

The NIAAA survey also revealed that 3 percent of older people have alcohol use disorder, which encompasses mild, moderate or severe abuse. Given that alcohol problems are compounded by dual diagnoses such as depression and anxiety, this is nothing short of a public mental health crisis.

If you’ve noticed a tendency to drink more as you age, you could be at risk for addiction, poor health and a shortened life expectancy.

Alcohol abuse is a challenging brain disease, but it’s not insurmountable. The more you know about it, the less likely you are to spiral into addiction. Keep reading to learn more and find out how you can get help at a top-rated alcohol treatment center in Arizona.

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Baby boomers drinking, alcohol treatment center arizona

Why Are Baby Boomers Drinking More?

The researchers couldn’t offer concrete reasons for the spike in late-life drinking, but some concluded that the Great Recession of 2007 played a role. Anxiety over long-term unemployment, foreclosure or bankruptcy may have tempted many Americans to drink more.

Some experts pointed out that people in their 60s and 70s are more active and healthy than in past generations. Boomers might think that they can continue drinking as they always have — or drink even more — without consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In older people, every drink causes blood alcohol levels to rise higher than they would in younger drinkers. This is because people lose muscle mass as they grow older. An aging liver metabolizes alcohol more slowly. Aging brains are more sensitive to alcohol’s sedative properties.

In other words, alcohol’s effects are more pronounced in a 60-year-old than in a 40-year-old.

There may be a generational explanation for the spike in older-adult drinking. Many Americans who grew up during Prohibition embraced abstinence as a value and continued to let it guide them. Boomers came on the scene long after drinking became socially acceptable.

Some theorize that the popularity of wines and winery tours is partly to blame. It’s more common for people to stock up on wine and drink at home every night.

Are Baby Boomers Drinking Themselves Into Poor Health?

Alcohol exacerbates chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes that could easily be managed with a healthy diet, frequent exercise and medication. It is strongly linked to higher risk of stroke, heart disease and several types of cancer.

Drinking is especially dangerous for people who take medication. Alcohol either interacts or interferes with hundreds of prescription drugs. Even conscientious people make a common mistake: thinking that it’s safe to have wine with dinner because they’ve completed the prescribed dosage for the day.

Medications are designed to work 24/7. At best, your pills simply won’t perform as well. At worst, the combination of pills and alcohol will wreak havoc in your system.

The health consequences of late-life drinking are starting to show up in statistics. Cardiovascular disease and stroke, which had long been on the decline as Americans became more health-conscious, are holding steady. Deaths from liver cirrhosis are on the rise for the first time since the ‘60s. Emergency room visits for alcohol-related falls and accidents have increased.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 88,000 deaths are attributed to excessive drinking every year. Around half of them are the result of binge-drinking. For women, binge-drinking is consuming at least four drinks in about two hours. For men, binging is having at least five drinks in two hours.

Alcohol Treatment Center Arizona

Some of your friends can have a drink or two now and then and suffer no ill consequences. They observe their limits. They don’t have cravings when they’re not drinking. They don’t feel like they have to lie about their alcohol consumption. If they decide to swear it off altogether, they can easily do it.

If you’re drinking more as you age, we’re glad that you’re reading. You will have less and less control as time goes on. It’s not about willpower; it’s about an insidious disease that takes even the most careful drinkers by surprise.

Contact Desert Cove Recovery today. Our caring, experienced staff can help you make the coming years the best of your life.

New Research Examines at Link Between DNA and Opioid Addiction

Bentley University and Gravity Diagnostics have entered into a partnership to conduct research into whether a person’s DNA can predict susceptibility to opioid addiction. The results of this work could give doctors prescribing pain medication an indication of how likely a patient is to become addicted. It could also predict how well patients who already have an opioid addiction problem will respond to specific treatments.

From Prescription Opioid Use to Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 21-29 percent of chronic pain patients don’t take their medications properly and more than 115 people lose their lives due to opioid overdose every day. The majority (80 percent) of heroin users began their slide toward this illicit drug by misusing prescription opioid pain relievers.

Researchers will examine individuals’ DNA to discover how susceptible this factor makes them to becoming opioid-dependent. For people who have already become addicted to opioids, the scientists will examine their DNA to determine whether they are likely to respond well to both opioid and non-opioid treatments.

The results of this work could have a significant influence on doctors’ decisions about whether to prescribe opioid to specific patients. When a physician does make the choice to prescribe an opioid pain medication, a patient’s DNA profile may influence how much of the medication he is prescribed. The research results can also influence how doctors treat patients with a history of addiction.

Partnership Includes Multiple Departments at Bentley

The partnership, which will last three years, will include faculty from several departments at Bentley: Natural and Applied Sciences, Sociology and Economics. A public health geneticist will also be on the team to provide assistance with research. Bentley students will enter and process data, and write computer scripts.

Gravity Diagnostics, a Northern Kentucky-based laboratory, is providing a $360,000.00 grant to finance the work. Bentley was selected as a research partner because, “[it is] doing successful research that is relevant to the world today.”

Data Analytics First Phase in Research

In the initial phase of the research, data analytics will be used to pinpoint the genetic features that are the best predictors for addiction and responses to treatment. Once they have been identified, these features and predictions will be tested by comparing them to DNA samples taken from active opioid addicts and those in recovery.

The goal is to discover why some people become addicted to substances quickly, while others can use the same drug and seem to be resistant to physical addiction for some time.

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

There’s no doubt that our country is in the throws of a crisis. How did opioid addiction begin? Let’s take a look at the history of opioid addiction and how Arizona rehabs are trying to help.

There is reliable evidence of opium use as far back as 3,400 B.C. The opium poppy was called “joy plant,” and it spread from Mesopotamia to Assyria, Egypt and the Mediterranean. In 460 B.C., Hippocrates acknowledged its usefulness. Alexander the Great introduced it to Persia and India, and Arab traders took it to China. The Opium Wars were fought in China from 1839 to 1860.

Opium’s power to alleviate pain has resulted in thousands of years of abuse. In modern history, famous opiate users who battled addiction include Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Florence Nightingale, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and River Phoenix.

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arizona rehabs History of Opioid Addiction

The History of Opioid Addiction in the U.S.

Opiates are an unfortunate part of American history. With the advent of synthetic opioids, the problem only got worse:

  • The armies on both sides of the American Revolutionary War gave wounded soldiers opium. In his final years, Benjamin Franklin took it for a painful bladder stone that had tormented him for years.
  • Morphine was first isolated in 1803, and Merck & Co. took over commercial production in 1827.
  • Morphine and other opiates were widely used by the time of the Civil War. An alarming number of veterans were hopelessly hooked following the conflict.
  • Heroin was first made from morphine in 1874. As a cough suppressant, it was hailed as a wonder drug. Bayer Corp. launched it commercially in 1898. Heroin increased in popularity when users discovered that injecting the drug enhanced its effects.
  • Doctors were alarmed by climbing rates of drug addiction in the early 1920s. Heroin was made illegal in 1924.
  • World War II gave rise to nerve block clinics; anesthesiologists administered injections to treat pain without surgery. The clinics operated during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
  • President Gerald Ford set up a task force to study drug addiction in the 1970s. The focus shifted from marijuana and cocaine trafficking to the heroin epidemic.
  • Painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin were already becoming a problem by the late ‘70s. Many doctors were reluctant to prescribe them.

Dr. Hershel Jick of Boston University School of Medicine disagreed there was a problem. After analyzing almost 12,000 patients who’d been treated with narcotics, Jick concluded that addiction to opioids was rare in patients with no history of substance abuse. A pain-management specialist, Dr. Russell Portenoy, studied 38 patients six years later and also declared that opioid maintenance therapy was safe.

The two studies sparked a discussion that lasted into the early 1990s. Pain management became a priority for patients.

  • Every year in the early 1990s, the number of prescriptions for painkillers increased by 2 to 3 million. Then, from 1995 to 1996, the one-year increase was 8 million.
  • Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in 1996. One year later, prescriptions of all opioid painkillers on the market increased by 11 million.
  • The Joint Commission is a nonprofit group that accredits medical facilities. In 2000, as part of doctors’ required continuing education, the commission published a book that cited studies in which there was “no evidence that addiction is a significant issue when persons are given opioids for pain control.” It expressed the opinion that doctors’ concerns about addiction were “inaccurate and exaggerated.”

The book was sponsored by Purdue Pharma.

Dr. David W. Baker with the Joint Commission later remarked, “There is no doubt that the widely held belief that short-term use of opioids had low risk of addiction was an important contributor to inappropriate prescribing patterns for opioids and the subsequent opioid epidemic.”

  • Purdue Pharma was charged in 2007 with misbranding and downplaying OxyContin’s high potential for addiction. Three executives pleaded guilty, and Purdue settled with the government for $635 million.
  • In 2010, the manufacturers of OxyContin released a new formula that contained an abuse deterrent. It was supposed to be more difficult to crush, inject or snort the product. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 24 percent of abusers reported being able to get around the tamper-resistant measures.  One participant in the study said that most former OxyContin users had switched to heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get.
  • Portenoy, one of the doctors who insisted in the 1980s that opioid therapy was safe, later said, “Clearly if I had an inkling of what I know now then, I wouldn’t have spoken in the way that I spoke. It was clearly the wrong thing to do.”
  • In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began taking steps to address the opioid crisis.

As of 2018, several states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, have sued pharmaceutical companies for their role in the epidemic. Cities that have sued include Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and Seattle.

How Arizona Rehabs Can Help

The history of opioid addiction is a grim one. Substance abuse is a serious brain disease that affects people with all different backgrounds.

Getting clean for good requires professional help. Like many other Arizona rehabs, we at Discovery Cove Recovery are committed to helping people like you reclaim their lives. Call today to speak to an experienced, caring staff member.

Brain Cell Changes Linked to Opiate Addiction, Narcolepsy

UCLA researchers have made two discoveries that provide new information on chemical messengers in the brain regulating addiction and sleep. One of the new findings involves the brain of people living with a heroin addiction and the other involves the brain of drowsy mice.

In 2000, scientists at the University of California Los Angeles found that narcolepsy (a sleep disorder whose symptoms include excessive sleepiness, sleep attacks, hallucinations and loss of muscle control) is caused by loss of approximately 90 percent of the brain cells that contain the neurotransmitter hypocretin. This chemical messenger is normally present in 80,000 brain cells.

Narcolepsy and Heroin Addiction

Narcolepsy is not a common disorder, affecting about one in 2,000-3,000 people. It can go undiagnosed for a number of years, with the patient usually starting to experience symptoms in childhood or adolescence.

The results of a new study have revealed that heroin addicts have 54 percent more hypocretin-secreting neurons that non-addicts, on average. Tests performed on mice have confirmed that opiate use is responsible for this increase. The jump in hypocretin cells lasted for up to four weeks after morphine treatment stopped, which is well after the morphine would have left the mice’s bodies.

The researchers thought morphine, which is the active ingredient in heroin, may restore the hypocretin-producing neurons which are missing in narcolepsy patients. To put this idea to the test, they gave narcoleptic mice morphine. The researchers found that morphine increased the number of hypocretin-producing cells, and the symptoms of narcolepsy disappeared.

Brain Neurotransmitter May Contribute to Opioid Cravings

The mice continued to produce hypocretin after they were taken off morphine. To the researchers, this observation led to a theory that humans may continue producing hypocretin after going through heroin detox (detoxification). The researchers thought the increase in hypocretin levels may be linked to opiate cravings and that bringing them close to “normal” levels might potentially reverse narcolepsy symptoms in humans.

More work will be needed with mice before this treatment approach can be recommended for human patients. Researchers would like to discover whether reducing the number of “excess” hypocretin cells could have a role in relieving withdrawal symptoms for long-term opiate users and preventing relapse once they are clean.

insurance coverage for addiction treatment

Increase Insurance Coverage for Addiction to Lower Risk of Opioid Deaths

Increase Insurance Coverage for Addiction to Lower Risk of Opioid Deaths

Patients who are living with an opioid addiction and want to get help shouldn’t be denied access to treatment by their health insurance providers. This statement was one of the new policy recommendations co-authored by Professor Claudio Nigg, from the Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Lack of Full Coverage for Addiction Treatment a Barrier

The most likely reason people who want, but don’t get, addiction treatment is that government and private insurance policies don’t cover the cost of getting help, according to a statement posted June 27, 2018, on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s website.

Professor Nigg explained, “To fight the opioid addiction epidemic that is ravaging the US today, policymakers need to increase Medicaid funding for addiction treatment and declare the opioid epidemic to be a national emergency, and not just a public health emergency.”

On a typical day in the United States, 3,900 people start taking a prescription opioid medication for non-medical reasons. Dozens of people die each day from an opioid overdose. In 2016, 77 people died from an opioid overdose in Hawaii, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Research has shown that medication-based treatment (MAT) is one approach for clients living with opioid addiction. It includes two components.

First, clients take medication to decrease cravings for drugs (such as oxycodone, morphine and heroin). They also attend behavioral modification therapy (“talk therapy”), which helps them change their thinking and actions.

Funding for Counseling Needed Along with Medications

Professor Nigg points out that while many insurance programs will pay for the medication, getting funding for counseling is much more difficult. He points out that people need the talk therapy, not just the medications to be treated properly for their addiction.

Nigg is an expert in the behavioral health science field. He has studied theories of behavioral change throughout his career and has conducted research on the motivations for people to take part in healthier living strategies.

For more information on opioid addiction treatment, and to find out if you have insurance coverage for addiction treatment, give us a call today.