Category Archives: Arizona Drug Treatment

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

When you or someone you love has an addiction problem, realizing the need for help is the first and most challenging step. Once you admit you have a problem and commit to getting help, you must choose the right rehab program for you. Since each person’s addiction is different, their path to recovery will also be unique. Some patients benefit from inpatient rehab while others see better results with outpatient addiction rehabs Arizona. Let’s take a look at what someone should expect and what they should look for in an outpatient rehab center.

What Can I Expect from Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona?

Unlike rehab programs where people live at a treatment facility, outpatient programs allow individuals to live at their homes and come to a facility for treatment. If you’re thinking of exploring this route, you can expect the following as you enter a program:

Be prepared to answer questions.

For rehab to be successful, those treating you need to know as much about you and your addiction as possible. Answering questions about how often you drink or use drugs is a must. If you’re not honest, you can’t expect to see great results. Before you enter an outpatient program, you will also be asked to take a drug test and complete a physical exam.

Be prepared to talk about what led to your addiction.

You need to be willing to open up and talk about any issues that may have led you to abuse drugs or alcohol. Many times the root of the addiction needs to be tackled so that you can get sober and learn to live a sober life.

Learn how to set boundaries.

In an inpatient rehab facility, you are essentially “closed off” to the rest of the world and the temptations that exist. In an outpatient addiction rehab setting, you may still encounter temptations.

An effective outpatient addiction rehab will teach you to effectively set boundaries that will help you as you navigate sobriety. Limiting the time you spend with certain people and in certain places may have to be one of those boundaries.
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What are the Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Rehab?

There are many benefits to choosing outpatient addiction rehab. Besides many outpatient programs being less expensive than in-house programs, you can also benefit in these ways:

You can continue your routine. You don’t need to take time off of work or school to get help. Many people still go to work or school every day and get the treatments they need. Maintaining a routine can help you to make the transition to sobriety easier because you learn to balance the real world with your road to sobriety at the same time.

You can get the support of family and friends. Getting sober takes a lot of support from family and friends. With outpatient rehab, that support can be available daily.

You may have more privacy. You won’t have to take off large amounts of time from work to attend outpatient rehab. So, you don’t need to explain your situation to your employer if you don’t want to. You can be discreet as you go to rehab if you choose.

Get the Help You Need

The need for outpatient addiction rehab centers is great in Arizona as statistics rank Arizona 8th for states with the largest drug problem. Desert Cove Recovery provides excellent outpatient addiction rehab that individuals need to get sober and to live a sober life.

Desert Cove Recovery realizes that every patient’s addiction is different, so every person’s recovery plan must be unique as well. There is an Intensive Outpatient Program available that includes group sessions as well as one-on-one sessions. Due to Desert Cove Recovery’s location in Scottsdale, Arizona, patients can take advantage of equine therapy, which has shown to reduce stress and addiction triggers.

If you’re ready to begin your path to sobriety, call Desert Cove Recovery today.

Employers Face Uncertainty When Dealing with Opioid-Addicted Workers

Employers Face Uncertainty When Dealing with Opioid-Addicted Workers

The national opioid epidemic is creating a legal wrinkle in the nation’s workplaces. Workers who are living with addiction are protected under federal law — the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — unless they happen to be currently using drugs illegally.

Defining “Current Use” Proving Challenging

The legal wrinkle comes from trying to determine what “current use” means. Some federal judges have ruled that current use for illegal drugs means up to a few weeks or a few months ago. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said in a decision (2011) that completing a drug and alcohol treatment program doesn’t necessarily give an employee disability protection. The court also said that it wasn’t going to bring in a “bright-line rule” that would set a standard for the number of drug-free days or months would be needed for someone to qualify for ADA protection.

“Bright-line Rule” Definition

A “bright-line rule” is used to clarify a law or regulations that could be read in more than one way. It may be established by a court where the judge determines that the need to make a simple decision is more important than weighing each side of an issue before making a ruling on it.

Opioid-Addicted Workers a Problem for Employers

People who have issues with opioid addiction (which includes prescription pain medications and illegal drugs) and are at risk for overdose are often employed. Workers in this category also present an issue for employers who often want to be fair to their team members, but who also need to ensure that the workplace is safe for everyone.

Medication-assisted treatment is an effective treatment option for opioid addiction. It involves addressing drug cravings and other physical symptoms, which can last for several months, with medication while the client participates in group therapy and individual therapy sessions.

This type of addiction treatment is sometimes frowned upon by employers, who see it as “replacing one type of addiction for another.“ This is a myth since the medications used to treat addiction don’t create a sense of euphoria (a “high”) in the user. They are used only to deal with cravings and reduce the urge to use opioids.

If an employer dismisses an employee who is undergoing treatment or refuses to give them reasonable time off from work to go to a methadone clinic daily, it could be considered discrimination due to disability under the ADA. Medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction can be safely followed under a doctor’s orders for months or years, depending on a client’s needs. The medications used would likely appear on an employer-administered drug test; however, using them doesn’t void the employee’s protection under ADA in the same way that using street drugs would.

 

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

One of the most important but least remembered aspects of addiction recovery is that you are human, and relapse may be a part of your recovery process. It’s a real and valid concern. If you find yourself in relapse from recovery, contacting Arizona rehab centers is the best way to get you back on track, as soon as possible. Reaching out for help will help you maintain the progress and growth you worked hard to achieve.  

What To Do In The Event Of A Relapse

Too often, we feel like if we are in ‘recovery,’ we are on an upward-moving path and anything that takes us back is a failure. That’s simply not the case. Part of the recovery process Arizona rehab centers employ with their clients is the preparation for the possibility of relapse in recovery. The creation of a game plan is also discussed if it should happen.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s not uncommon for people who are in recovery to relapse, as learning to live without drugs or alcohol takes practice. Relapse can lead to damaging consequences, so if you should find yourself relapsing and falling into old habits and behaviors, it’s important to seek professional help quickly and purposefully.

What Causes Relapse In Recovery?

The answer to what causes relapse in recovery is as unique as the answer to the question, “What causes addiction?” Since the underlying reasons for addiction vary from person to person, the reasons for relapse will vary, as well.

That said, Arizona rehab centers have found that there are some commonalities in the reasons many people relapse. Often, facing stressful times or situations will propel a person in recovery toward their addictive substance as a way to cope with the stress.

Depression, negative emotions and feelings can also make one feel that returning to addictive habits may bring back happiness or clarity. Too often, those negative feelings can cloud the judgment of someone in recovery, and trick them into thinking life really was better before they entered the recovery process.

Additionally, when someone in recovery comes back in contact with people and places that are connected to the addictive habits, it’s tempting to want to fall back into those habits with those people as well. Seeing the people and paraphernalia, smelling the alcohol and remembering the ‘good times’ with those who were part of the addictive life can trigger the desire to relapse into those destructive behaviors.

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How Can Arizona Rehab Centers Help In Recovery?

When someone in recovery relapses, there is often guilt and shame that comes with relapse. These feelings can be even worse than what was associated with the addiction in the first place. You may feel as if you’ve not just failed in addiction, but you’ve failed in recovery.

You don’t have to believe that lie. Arizona rehab centers like Desert Cove Recovery are trained to help you immediately tackle the relapse, and to help you work through the guilt and shameful feelings you may have because you’ve relapsed.

The compassionate and professional staff at Desert Cove Recovery know that you are only human, and they’re ready to help you get your life back for good. They understand that there is nothing to be gained in beating yourself up, and will help you learn to realize that it’s not about what you’ve done—it’s about what your next move is. They want that to be a positive one, one that doesn’t deny that relapse may happen but instead realizes it may be part of the journey and needs to be dealt with in a caring and effective manner.

Desert Cove Recovery knows you greatly regret not only your addiction but your relapse, and they want to help so that you can minimize any of the potentially harmful effects of relapse in a caring and kind way.

You’ve already suffered enough in your addiction and you don’t need to endure this alone just because you’ve relapsed. Desert Cove Recovery wants to encourage you for not just taking the efforts to get help, but in understanding that relapse may be part of the journey and they’re there with you in every step of that as well.

You’ve worked hard in recovery; let Desert Cove Recovery stand by your side if you’ve relapsed. They’re there for you, so make the call.

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Very few people who pay attention to the news or engage in social media are aware of the enormous crisis we face with the abuse of opiates and opioid drugs. But many may not know that alcoholism is still by far the number one addiction epidemic in the United States, and the growing concern around alcoholism during the opioid crisis has been grossly overlooked.

While Desert Cove Recovery, a premier rehab in Arizona, believes it’s important to work toward ending the opioid crisis, the fact that alcohol abuse and alcoholism contribute to more than 88,000 deaths a year is quite alarming. In fact, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claims that the deaths due to the use of all other drugs combined are only 30,000 in number per year. Unfortunately, too many people underestimate the dangers that alcoholism can bring.

Not only can an alcohol overdose kill a person just as a drug overdose can, but the continued abuse of alcohol slowly and undoubtedly adds to the deterioration of one’s body and relationships. With so much focus on today’s opioid crisis, the alcoholism epidemic continues to grow quietly but steadily, destroying lives in the process.

During The Opioid Crisis, Alcoholism Concerns Rise

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, it’s estimated that almost 16 million people over the age of 12 have an alcohol addiction. That number is 50% higher than the figures reported just a decade before and the numbers keep growing. A 2017 report from The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that of the 19.7 million Americans over the age of 12 with a substance abuse disorder, almost 74% of them are addicted to alcohol, compared to those who suffer from drug addiction.

With statistics that show alcoholism to be more than twice as big a problem, alcoholism is clearly still a deadly issue for Americans. It’s the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, but it’s a backseat killer as press and awareness for the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction seem to be at a historic high.

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Taking Priority: Lumping Substance Abuse Together and Ranking Unequally

Even though there is still an alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis America is facing, a quick Google search will show that there is far more current news and initiative happening to address the opioid crisis. Or, what is often seen in studies is the lumping together of alcohol abuse and addiction with drug abuse, even though opioid abuse is often separate from ‘illicit drug’ use and abuse.

While President Trump has shared his concern about alcoholism because of his brother’s death due to alcoholism in 1981 and even donated $100,000 for alcoholism research, there have been no executive campaigns to end alcohol addiction or bring awareness to the alcoholism epidemic. Yet, at a 2019 Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, the President reiterated his commitment to ending the opioid crisis once and for all.

While the efforts to end opioid abuse and addiction are needed and worthy, there is just as much need to address the alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis as well.

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Different Epidemics Need Different Solutions

One of the most critical factors in ending the alcoholism epidemic and preventing needless deaths and destruction of relationships comes in the form of treatment and recovery. While today’s society views drug addiction as severe and more often than not, requiring professional help, alcohol abuse and addiction are often overlooked as issues that ‘people can stop on their own.’

That’s just not always the case. At Desert Cove Recovery, our knowledgeable staff understands that overcoming alcohol addiction is not easy. With so much focus on the opioid crisis, it’s easy for alcohol abuse to go under the radar, especially considering it’s easy and legal to obtain and relatively inexpensive to buy. We know that to battle the alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis, we need to take unique approaches that consider the seriousness of alcoholism.

Desert Cove Recovery also knows that not only is alcohol abuse often overlooked, but instead glamorized in entertainment and advertisements. As a premier rehab in Arizona, we understand that treatment and recovery begin with compassionate and concerned care that is committed to helping you live your best life—without dependence upon alcohol. More, our staff knows that statistically, those who abuse alcohol are also more inclined to abuse other damaging substances as well, and we work to create individualized treatment plans that are geared toward your full recovery, health, and happiness—substance abuse-free.

Desert Cove Recovery believes in the holistic treatment of alcohol addiction and integrates 12-steps of recovery with cutting-edge techniques that were designed by clinicians and experts who know how to help you retake control of your life. We specialize in treating addictions by looking at and focusing on the underlying conditions that lay behind the addictive behaviors and habits. We offer a safe and nurturing environment that takes alcoholism seriously and commit ourselves to help you find the freedom and health you deserve.

The alcoholism epidemic is just as real and dangerous as the opioid crisis is, and we want to be sure your recovery and road to long-term health and happiness are taken just as seriously. Call us today to get your life back.

Long-acting Buprenorphine Injections Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment

Long-acting Buprenorphine Injections Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment

A monthly injection of buprenorphine BUP-XR is more effective than a placebo for treating opioid addiction, according to the results of a new study. This formulation is the extended release version.

A daily dose version of buprenorphine was approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) in 2002. It has been an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Daily doses mean patients must commit to taking it each day; they may start to experience cravings for opioids once they get close to the end of the 24-hour cycle when they can take more medication.

Medication Assisted Therapy and Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Buprenorphine and methadone are both used in MAT (Medication Assisted Therapy) to treat opioid addiction. These medications are used in combination with behavioral counseling as part of a “whole patient” approach. The medications are used to control cravings and clients work with a counselor to develop new ways of thinking and responding to life stresses.

Extended Release Buprenorphine Called Sublocade

The extended-release version of buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in November 2017, which is being marketed under the brand name Sublocade. Approval was based on positive results in a Phase III human subjects study. The study has been published in The Lancet to make it available to the wider scientific community.

Double-Blind Study Conducted

Researchers divided 200 participants in the randomized, double-blind study into three groups. All of them had a mean duration of opioid use of between 11 and 12 years. Two of the groups were given different monthly doses of BUP-XR and one was given a placebo.

Both groups who were given BUP-XR reported “substantial portions of participants” abstaining from opioids. They also experienced relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms and control from cravings for opioids without having to take medication on a daily basis.

tell my employer i'm going to rehab

Should I Tell my Employer I’m Going to Rehab?

Should I Tell my Employer I’m Going to Rehab?

You have taken the first steps toward recovery by looking into drug treatment centers in Arizona, but now you face some difficult questions. If you are stuck wondering “Should I tell my employer I’m going to rehab? And if so, how?” you are on a good path toward recovery already. In general, the answer is yes, you should be honest about your situation.

Remember that getting treatment is a good thing.

You are more likely to keep your job in the long term if you seek treatment by going to rehab than if you continue to struggle with addiction on your own. If your addiction has been affecting your work, for example with poor work performance, spotty attendance, or compromised decision-making skills, you will be far more likely to improve the quality of your work after receiving treatment than if you continue repeating the same mistakes. It may even be a relief for your boss to know any erratic behavior you’ve been exhibiting has a cause and that you are working on a solution.

How do I tell my employer I’m going to rehab?

Be honest. If your boss or coworkers already suspect something is up with you, it will be much less suspicious if you are up front about going to rehab rather than adding extra layers of lies and deceit to cover it up. Being honest also makes you come across as a responsible person taking initiative for your health.  Not to mention, if someone at work finds out you have lied and are actually at a drug treatment center in Arizona, that does not bode well for your future at the company.

If your boss allows it, schedule a one-on-one meeting so you don’t have to rush through the conversation at an inopportune time during the workday.  If privacy is important to you, emphasize that you need discretion. Make your needs clear, but be respectful of company time and your boss’s schedule.

Understand your rights as an employee.

Before taking any official action, check company policy to see if rehab is protected or addressed. It may fall under your legally-protected sick leave, which guarantees you will have a job to come back to. Some companies offer counseling or related help with finding an addiction treatment center. Even if your company’s policy does not address rehab specifically, an open and honest conversation with your boss or a human resources manager should help you understand your options. If you lie about where you are for the duration of your absence, your leave might not be legally protected, and that could put your job in jeopardy.

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Don’t be embarrassed.

Every employee struggles with something, but not everyone is capable of reaching out for help and seeking treatment. The fact that you are taking active steps to better yourself is a strong mark in your favor.

Understand that some people may react poorly to your announcement. That is okay. You can feel assured that you are making a healthy decision for yourself by choosing to get well, and that indirectly means you are making the best choice for your company as well. Stand your ground and do not let anyone pressure you into not seeking treatment. You are doing the right thing. 

Take some initiative to plan ahead.

Get as many important, time-sensitive projects finished as possible before you leave. Explain your job functions to a close colleague, so if the company has to bring on a temporary replacement while you are gone, you are helping to ensure a smooth transition. This extra effort and concern for the company’s time and money will cast you in a more favorable light than if you were to leave without much notice or preparation.

Do not feel pressured to explain everything.

You do not owe anyone, including your boss, a detailed explanation of your situation or your choices. You are not on trial; you are simply notifying your employer that you will be taking leave.

If you feel you are in a position where you simply cannot be honest and up front about where you will be going, that’s okay. Your health and recovery are more important.  Do what you need to do in order to attend rehab and get healthy, and worry about the rest later.

Many treatment facilities offer job assistance at the end of your stay, so you do not have to feel like your job is the only option in the world. If your current opportunity ends, you will find another when you are healthy.

What is a good drug treatment center in Arizona that can help me?

Desert Cove Recovery offers a helping hand through every step of your recovery journey, starting with detox and ending with extended care for long-term help. Whether your preference lies with the classic twelve step treatment or with more holistic methods, Desert Cove Recovery will make every effort to address your unique needs as an individual.

There is no need to fear being cooped up in a hospital room for weeks on end. Spending time in nature with the Outdoor Therapy program gives you time to take in the fresh air and the beautiful Arizona scenery while you get back on your feet.

How can I get started?

Contact a treatment professional at Desert Cove Recovery to get more information or inquiry about program availability. 

You can also contact your insurance or physician’s office if you need a referral, or for help deciding what the best course is for you moving forward.  

what sober living is like

Top 10 Myths of Sober Living and What Sober Living is Like

Top 10 Myths of Sober Living and What Sober Living is Like

The path to sobriety is rarely a straight one. Treatment options range from local support groups to inpatient treatment centers. In the middle are sober living homes, offering individuals a drug and alcohol free residence where they may focus weaning themselves from harmful substances. Unfortunately, the myths of sober living and what it is actually like are preventing patients from considering sober living homes.

Below is a list of the top 10 myths often associated with sober living homes. Although there is always the exception to every rule, or in this case myth, most sober living homes are helping individuals find their path to sobriety. A sober living home may be the most effective option for you or a loved one struggling with addiction.

1. Sober Living Homes Are Always In Bad Neighborhoods

Local non-profit organizations or government programs often supported the first sober living homes. With limited funding, homes were established where it was more cost-effective at the time. This meant homes were opened in less desirable neighborhoods where the property values were more affordable.

However, as the stigma of addiction shifted, overall funding increased, and the introduction of private treatment facilities grew, so too did the establishment of sober living homes in more comfortable areas. Today you will find sober living homes in nearly every type of neighborhood. From the inner cities to the posh suburbs, finding a sober living home in a neighborhood of your liking has never been easier.  

2. Poor Maintenance Plagues Sober Living Homes

When fixated on the myth that all sober homes are in bad neighborhoods, the likely vision most individuals will have is that of a dilapidated house in need of dire repair. Although some homes may indeed require attention, the privatization of sober living homes has meant companies need to attract new patients to survive.

The need to attract new patients has shifted sober living homes from having been treatment centers of last resort to now becoming the first choice patients seek to become sober. The more inviting a sober home is, the more likely to attract clients and the funding needing to keep the doors open.

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myths of sober living and what it's like

3. Sober Living Homes Are Not Regulated

While it may be true that sober living homes might not receive the same scrutiny as other medically related residences such as assisted living or nursing homes; they are far from being unregulated. Depending on local ordinances, governments consider most sober living homes either apartments or short-term living accommodations (like a hotel).

In either instance, the laws and regulations for such facilities are much more stringent than if the local government consider the location simply a single-family home. Further, if any medical services were provided by the sober home on premises, additional regulations would apply.

4. Drug Use is Common in Sober Living Homes

While every sober living home has their own set of rules, the ultimate goal of sober living is to provide a place removed from the temptations of the outside world. Many sober living homes subject residences to random drug tests.

How a particular sober living home resident responds to a positive drug test determines the perceived leniency toward drug use. Rules related to drug or alcohol use can range from soft to strict. For example, an individual caught using a banned substance may only be required to seek counseling. More strict locations may ask individuals to leave entirely.

5. Safety is Concern in Sober Living Homes

Sober homes exist to help suffering individuals from all walks of life. There are indeed facilities who will welcome former criminals as they work to transition back into society. Such homes are beacons of hope for those whose addiction may or may not be directly connected to their criminal activity.

While some sober homes accept all individuals regardless of history, others are more restrictive on who they accept. On the other hand, there are sober living homes that specialize in working specifically with individuals who have had run-ins with the law. Ultimately, it is the sober home’s responsibility to keep their residents safe. Consider the home’s safety record just as you would any other residence you might consider.  

6. Pets are Not Allowed

The decision whether to allow pets entirely rests with the sober home. Although it is true many locations will not allow pets of any kind, more homes are opening up allowing pets on-site. Caring for a pet can help promote responsible behaviors as well as providing a loving companion for someone in recovery. Researchers are exploring the benefits caring for a pet might have for those recovering from addiction.    

7. Most Sober Living Homes are Full

New sober living homes are opening all the time. The best run facilities are able to accept new residents almost immediately. If space is not immediately available, most sober living homes are a part of a larger network that can assist in placement very quickly. Treatment professionals understand recovery success is partially dependent on how fast an individual can be enrolled and begin treatment when they feel ready to start.  

8. Residents are Not Allowed to See Family or Friends

The support of family and friends is a critical aspect of addiction recovery. Nearly all sober living homes allow visitations from those who care about you. There may be, however, restrictions and rules governing when and how often residents may receive visitors. Often visitors must be approved by the sober living home’s manager while the resident has to meet certain progress milestones. In some circumstances, program rules may allow residents may be to leave the home overnight.   

9. It Is Free to Live in a Sober Living Home

Most sober living homes charge rent. A few homes may receive charitable assistance or government subsidies, but more homes are now privately owned and have developed a rent schedule based upon the services provided, number of residents, and length of stay.

There are sober living homes who do not charge their residents. However, most often these homes are for individuals who do not have any financial means to pay rent. Once residents begin to hold down a job, rent will be required of them.

10. All Sober Living Homes Are the Same

Sober living homes come in a variety of different program types. Individuals seeking recovery, along with their counselors, can select the best program to fit their needs including:

  • Sober houses
  • Halfway houses
  • Sober apartments
  • Sober dormitories
  • Transitional housing

For people who suffer from certain mental illnesses or come from a correctional facility, locked residences are also available. However, the differences between sober living homes go way beyond the type of residence. Residences can be very simple in style providing basic living facilities, to high-end luxury apartments.

Choosing a Sober Living Home

Separating the myths of sober living and what it is actually like is an important first step in continuing the journey to clean living. Sober living through Desert Cove Recovery teaches residents how to address the root causes of their addiction. Counseling and therapy are provided in a comfortable, substance-free environment, allowing residents to realize the meaning and purpose of their lives. We have inpatient services in our network ready to work with you or your loved one to receive the most effective treatment.

Xanax, Valium Abuse Increasing, According to US Survey Data

Xanax, Valium Abuse Increasing, According to US Survey Data

Approximately 20 percent of people who take Xanax, Valium and other benzodiazepines (benzos) are not using them as directed by their doctor, according to the results of a US survey. The results also show that adults are using this potentially-addictive medication more than twice as often as previously reported.

Nearly 13 percent of those surveyed said they had used benzos within the past 12 months.Studies conducted in 2013-14 estimated that four-six percent of adults were taking them.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are prescribed by doctors to treat anxiety and panic attacks, along with insomnia. Drugs in this class commonly produce a sedative effect in patients and can also cause weakness or unsteadiness.

Approximately 25.3 million adults stated they used benzodiazepines as prescribed by their doctor during the past year. The researchers said they were surprised to discover that middle-aged respondents (between ages 50-64) are taking benzodiazepines more often than any other age group. Just over 14 percent reported they had used this class of drugs during the previous year.

Another 5.3 million respondents said they had misused their medications. Misusing a prescription means using it in a way other than directed by a doctor, including taking a higher dose, taking it more often or longer than prescribed.

Benzodiazepine Misuse Common Among Young Adults

Lead researcher Dr. Donovan Maust commented that young adults in the 18-25 age group are most likely to misuse benzodiazepines. He is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Maust said that misuse for this type of drug is “as common as prescription use,” which he described as being disturbing.

Overdose Deaths due to Benzos “Snowballed” in Last 10 Years

These survey results, which were published in the journal Psychiatric Services, are similar to reports released earlier in 2018 which warned that overdose deaths related to benzodiazepines have snowballed over the past decade. The overdose rate coincides with a steady increase in prescription rates for this class of drugs.

Benzodiazepine-related overdoses increased sevenfold in the years 1999-2015, jumping from 1,135 to 8,791 deaths. These figures originally appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (February 2018).

Neural Pathway Linked to Addiction and Depression

Neural Pathway Linked to Addiction and Depression

New research conducted by a team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has identified a neural pathway that is linked to addiction and depression. Their findings, which were recently published in the journal Nature, found an increased intensity of signals passing between the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens.

Pleasure and Reward System Governed by the Brain

The pleasure and reward system is one of the most important systems that the brain regulates in humans. It gives us the “nudge” we need to eat, drink and be sexually active. All these activities are needed to ensure the continued survival of our species.

The way the reward system operates is also an important factor in many types of addictive behavior.

Professor Scott Thompson, Ph.D., the leader of the research team, stated that the two parts of the brain (the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens) are known to be important in processing rewarding experiences for humans. He went on to say that the communication between the two is stronger in a case of addiction, although the underlying mechanisms were unknown to the team.

Team Tests Depression Hypothesis

The research team tested a new hypothesis: whether the same signals became weaker in people living with depression. Since one symptom of depression is anhedonia (a loss of pleasure in usually pleasurable activities), the researchers wanted to discover whether weakening signals in the neural pathways could be the underlying cause of depressed patients.

Using mice, the team focused on brain circuitry that plays an important role in goal-oriented behavior. They wanted to see if they could change the animals’ activity. They added light-sensitive proteins into the neurons forming the brain’s circuitry. Once this step was completed, the researchers hoped to control the signals by blocking or boosting the levels between the hippocampus and the nucleus.

The researchers created a false reward memory in the mice that received the light-sensitive protein by exposing them to light during a four-second period. This meant the mice learned to associate pleasure with the location where they felt light exposure.

After a day, the researchers took the mice back to the place where they had received the false memory of associating pleasure with light and exposed them to light again. The goal was to shut down the signal between the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens this time, however.

They confirmed this pathway is critical to the way the brain is wired for reward association. Once the pathway is shut down, the mice stopped liking the location where they originally received the reward memory.

Next, the researchers looked at depression. They tried to boost brain activity in depressed mice but this part of the experiment wasn’t successful. The researchers had to administer antidepressants to the mice before they could imprint any artificial reward memories in the brain of depressed mice.

Dr. E. Albert Reece, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said these are exciting results that will bring us closer to understanding what’s happening in the brains of clinically depressed patients.

President Signs Bill to Curb Opioid Crisis

President Signs Bill to Curb Opioid Crisis

After declaring the US in the midst of a public health emergency in 2017 due to the opioid crisis, The President signed a bill into law that experts believe will help to curb the opioid crisis. The new legislation is called the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

More Funding for Addiction Treatment

The new law provides funding to federal agencies and states so that they can provide increased access to addiction treatment. It also puts measures in place to help alleviate the crisis, such as:

  • Preventing overprescribing
  • Training law enforcement agencies to intercept drug shipments at US borders

The bill signing was the culmination of a 12-month effort by the legislative and executive branch to react to the opioid crisis. While lawmakers said the bill was a step in the right direction, although many of them said it didn’t go far enough to deal with the epidemic. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey cautioned of ramifications of talk of reducing access to publicly-funded treatment programs.

Congress and the White House entered into discussions for making a plan for confronting the epidemic in October 2017. This was before several congressional hearings by the House and the Senate on the same subject.

Public health experts have spoken out in favor of the bill since it increases access to treatment. They say this is a critical step to controlling the epidemic. One of the measures in the legislation removes an old measure that didn’t allow clients with substance abuse issues to get treatment in mental health facilities with more than 16 beds under Medicaid.

Private Companies on Board with New Initiatives

The White House has also pointed to new initiatives from private companies:

  • Amazon has programmed its Alexa voice service to answer consumers’ questions about opioids and addiction.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield, the major insurance provider, will establish a national toll-free phone number to help US residents locate drug and alcohol treatment centers.
  • Biopharmaceutical company Emergent BioSolutions will offer free Narcan nasal sprayers at over 16,500 public libraries and 2,700 YMCAs. Narcan, when administered to someone experiencing an opioid overdose, can help reverse the condition.

Treatment Still the Main Focus

What this new law and other efforts do is to help continue to focus on the need for treatment at all levels. This current drug crisis won’t subside until there are enough people seeking and receiving quality treatment for their substance use disorders. Desert Cove Recovery is proud to be a leader in rehabilitation for people both in Arizona and from all over the country.