Category Archives: Drug Addiction

Essential Oils Help With Addiction

How Essential Oils Help With Addiction

How Essential Oils Help With Addiction

In the pursuit of addiction recovery, a multi-pronged plan is always helpful. The goal is mental, physical and spiritual health so the more resources one engages, the better. This is why a holistic treatment center and, by extension, a holistic approach, is always a great route to take. Essential oils are a great addition to the holistic toolbox as indeed essential oils can help greatly with addiction. We will spend some time looking at which essential oils can be of service and how they will help. 

While some recovery methods treat only the physical symptoms and the addiction itself, a holistic treatment center likes to emphasize the treatment of the whole person. Improving their entire well-being includes physical, mental, spiritual and psychological condition. A holistic approach takes care to assess the overall spirit of the person and their quality of life. To that end, essential oils are a highly effective tool in fortifying the emotional components involved in overcoming any addictions. Essential oils promote physical balance and emotional peace, and treating these things makes it difficult for any negative energies or destructive memories to take up any space in the body. Essential oils may also help to improve the mental state.

List of Essential Oils that Help with Addiction

Though not a comprehensive list, we will take a look at which of the essential oils can help with the recovery process and what specific ailment each oil addresses:

Geranium Essential Oil

This oil promotes love and trust. It encourages the release of pain and grief, two of the most common emotions that addicts find themselves trying to avoid or mask, resulting in said addictions. Once the pain and grief are alleviated, geranium comes in and promotes more trust, which can help rebuild healthy relationships. 

Grapefruit Essential Oil

Regulating metabolism is the main advantage of this essential oil.  It also helps maintain proper serotonin levels and promotes nourishment of all types. According to an article in Medical News Today, serotonin is commonly referred to as the “happy chemical,” so boosting serotonin is a reasonable goal in the fight for recovery. Grapefruit ultimately is a mood enhancer.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is good at combating mental fatigue and clearing any confusion. The main target of lemon oil is liver function and so it acts a cleanser for the organ. The citrus nature of lemon oil is naturally refreshing and invigorating. This is a great asset to anyone in recovery because lifting energy levels is a vital part of the process.  

Peppermint Oil

This essential oil also addresses a specific physical symptom of the long recovery process: nausea. Nausea and vomiting are often a large part of the withdrawal phase of addiction recovery; peppermint oils can aid in that relief. Peppermint is also an effective deterrent for headaches; a few drops of peppermint oils on the temples can be cooling and soothing in the midst of head pain. Beyond the physical, however, peppermint is great at boosting the emotional state.  It promotes joy, buoyancy, and mental clarity. These are all necessary for a stable and positive mindset while fighting addictions. 

Tea Tree Oil

This oil (also known as Melaleuca) is mostly known for being an antiseptic agent. Along these lines, tea tree oil can clear dark energies that might be blocking paths. It is a good oil to reset functions. 

Lavender Oil

One of the biggest advantages of lavender oil is relaxation. Lavender promotes calm, heightens the ability to communicate and allows for speaking one’s truth. Many find lavender is especially useful at bedtime, as its relaxing qualities promote peace and restfulness. 

There are other essential oils that aid in the recovery process, but starting with these six will put you well on your way to re-building a healthy emotional foundation to steel you against addictions. It is important to note that essential oils are not a direct substitute for talk therapy or any other medical/clinical rehabilitation efforts. Essential oils should be used in conjunction with, or as a supplement to, more traditional methods of rehab. 

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How To Apply Essential Oils

Each essential oil is different and it is important to look up guidelines and tips for how to apply/utilize specific oils. Certain oils are too strong to be applied directly and doing some may cause damage to certain organs. It is important to be diligent about which oils need a carrier oil for application or which oils need to be diluted. 

But the main methods are:

Spraying

Some oils can be diluted in water and used as a spray for linens, clothes or the air.

Diffusing

If you own a diffuser, you can follow proper instructions on how to fill it with water and then put a few drops of one oil or a combination of chosen oils, based on the intended outcome. This will get the oil circulating in the air.

Steaming

Fill a sink or a large pot with hot water, add a few drops of whatever oil you need and then put a towel over your head and inhale the steam. This will help you breathe in the oil and reap the benefits held within. 

Apply to Skin

Some oils can be applied directly to the skin. The most effective place is to the bottoms of the feet.

Ingested

Certain oils can be added to water and other drinks and ingested directly into the digestive tract.

Through these methods and with these oils, a holistic approach can be a successful route to addiction recovery. For more information, contact Desert Cove Recovery.

 

warning signs of heroin addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Drug addiction is truly an epidemic across the country, affecting increasing numbers of individuals all the time. Some people start with prescription drugs, never realizing that using opioids and similar painkillers may leave them pre-disposed to long-lasting addictions. Others use street drugs and can never seem to break their habits on their own. If you believe that someone you love may be using heroin, is important to recognize some of the common signs of heroin addiction. Whether you are suffering from the addiction or someone you love is struggling, you can always seek help at our Arizona treatment center.

How Big of a Problem Is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States with almost 20 million people over the age of 12 having a problem with substance abuse in 2017. Over a third of these adults used illicit drugs. In Arizona, heroin-related deaths have more than doubled between 2013 and 2016.

This problem extends beyond the individual and into his or her family and community. Many older generations now have grandchildren living with them as parents are incapacitated from drug use. The health care system is burdened with caring for these individuals’ health concerns, and even law enforcement agencies have found their resources taxed in responding to drug-related crimes.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal drug known as an analgesic. This means that it decreases pain throughout the body and gives a person an overall calm, relaxed feeling. Heroin usage has shot up in recent years. Some people turn to it after abusing prescription drugs. Because such prescription opioids as OxyContin and Vicodin are so similar to heroin, they are the most frequent gateway drugs.

Heroin comes from morphine and is ultimately produced from the poppy plant. It may be white, brown or black and can be called big H, hell dust or smack on the street. The black powdered version is sometimes called black tar heroin. Powders are easy to mix with other substances, such as sugar, making it nearly impossible for users to know how pure their heroin is or how much they are using. Users can inject, smoke or snort heroin although many choose to snort it.

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signs of heroin addiction

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin causes many behavioral symptoms, including secrecy and hostile behaviors. The individual may be unable to maintain eye contact and may suddenly cut off certain relationships while remaining relationships are quite strained.

In addition, the individual may lose motivation at work or school. Even extracurricular activities or social activities that they once loved may be dropped in favor of getting their next high. Those who suffer from addiction can veer from one extreme behavior to the next, having a difficult time managing their emotions. Depression or anxiety are frequently based on when the last time the individual had a dose of heroin.

What Are the Physical Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an incredibly addictive drug that creates a quick high before making users feel very sleepy. They may feel as if they are in a “twilight zone.” Inside the body, heroin quickly rushes to the brain where it attaches itself to opioid receptors. Thus, it decreases pain while creating a highly pleasurable feeling. Much like other opioids, it specifically affects the heart rate and respiratory rate.

Physical signs and symptoms may also include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Small pupils

Further physical signs of heroin addiction will develop following prolonged use of the drug. Over time, users may develop heart disease, which could include infection of the heart lining. Men may suffer from sexual dysfunction while women may have irregular menstrual cycles. Gastrointestinal symptoms could include stomach cramps and constipation. The liver and kidneys may also become diseased and may be unable to rid the body of toxins.

What Are the Visual Signs of Heroin Addiction?

You may notice that a person is acting differently from normal, leading you to wonder if he or she has used heroin. You may even see the person’s drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pipes or straws with burn marks. By understanding the visual signs of addiction, you can help your loved one seek quick treatment and experience the least amount of damage to the body from this drug.

After the person experiences the euphoria or high of initial use, they will seem to become very sleepy and may nod off for no obvious reason. This is probably the easiest sign to notice. Additionally, you may notice that their pupils are very small, which is described as “pinpoint.”

Changes in the person’s appearance is another common visual sign of addiction. He or she may have a newly unkempt appearance or may even be hiding his or her body to cover up needle marks.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as cold flashes, vomiting, restlessness or full body pain, may occur if the person cannot get another dose of heroin at the right time or uses heroin that is not as pure as what he typically uses.

How Can Our Heroin Treatment Center Help?

It can be nearly impossible to break an addiction to heroin or opioids on your own. You need help to deal with your symptoms, break your dangerous habits and turn your life around. At our Arizona treatment center, you will be surrounded with support from the moment you walk through the doors. You will find compassionate but experienced professionals who can help you through the difficult detox period and who will help you deal with your physical and mental symptoms. At Desert Cove Recovery, you will find help from other individuals who are going through the same process that you are.

From medications and physical treatments to therapy sessions and biofeedback, we can help you break free from your heroin addiction and rediscover the fullness of your life once again. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today and find hope and help for the rest of your life.

comparing behavioral addiction and substance addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

If you or anyone you know is suffering or has suffered with addiction, you know how serious of a problem it can become. Drugs, alcohol, and smoking are obvious addictions that can destroy your life and health, but there is more to addiction than simply substance abuse.

It can be hard to notice an addiction when the behavior isn’t directly dangerous to your health like drug or alcohol abuse is. Despite posing a lesser immediate threat, these behavioral addictions can be equally crippling, but are often taken less seriously than others. In some cases, they can even evolve into substance addiction, making it important that you seek treatment for both behavioral addiction and substance addiction so that your addiction can’t progress further.

However, you can’t seek treatment if you don’t know there’s a problem. Identifying your addiction, understanding the consequences of it, and deciding to seek help are the first steps to recovery.

The Dangers of Addiction

Whether it’s sex, drugs, or rock and roll, when we do something that we enjoy the reward pathways in our brain release dopamine – the “feel good” hormone. This chemical rush acts as positive reinforcement to our body, telling us that what we did was good for us. Over time, this conditions your brain to seek out the dopamine release to the point of a physical or mental reaction when it doesn’t get what it wants. This is what causes an addiction, with the addiction type depending on how you achieve the release.

Many times, addiction results from using something (like a drug or activity) as a coping mechanism for mental disorders like depression or anxiety. These disorders can make it hard for the brain and body to achieve the dopamine release, so once something is introduced that activates the reward center in the brain, a need for it – or addiction – develops.

Addictions are dangerous because they alter your mental state, affecting your decision making and potentially leading to dangerous consequences. This can be going bankrupt from a gambling addiction or dying from withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse.

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A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

Behavioral Addiction

Just about everyone at some point in their life becomes infatuated with something. Whether you go through a stage of animal obsession with a room full of stuffed animals or develop a passion for baseball, human beings are wired to do what they enjoy. Unfortunately, the things that make us feel good are not always good for us. This is especially true when that passion or obsession escalates to a need or addiction that becomes out of our control.

Behavioral addiction leans more towards the psychological or mental side of addiction than the 2-sided substance addiction. It occurs when your addiction comes from a certain action or behavior that stimulates the reward center in your brain rather than a substance activating the response. This can be something like sex, gambling, sky diving, shopping, eating unhealthily, and other potentially harmful behaviors that don’t involve altering your body or blood chemistry directly.

Behavioral addiction is slightly more taboo than substance addiction, with some questioning whether or not it actually qualifies as an addiction. This is possibly because culturally, outside of drug use, being addicted to something is synonymous with loving or enjoying something. It can also be underestimated because there is no chemical or physical need for it in the same way that alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawals can be fatal – though both can cause physiological symptoms. However, behavioral addictions can have a similar effect on your brain as substance addiction does (or even lead to substance addiction), making it something to take seriously.

Substance Addiction

Drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. Many people know someone who suffers from or has suffered from alcoholism or drug use that cost them their life, destroyed their health, or ripped their family apart. These addictions are often easier to see because they manifest physically as opposed to behavioral addictions that tend to be more mentally focused.

Substance addiction is the most common form of addiction in the country, with more than 21.5 million Americans suffering with a drug use disorder in 2014. It occurs when someone mentally and physically needs to take a drug or substance to achieve a dopamine release and feel “normal”, otherwise they will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be lethal if untreated.

Behavioral addiction and substance addiction are similar in that both addictions are caused by the comfort or happiness the behavior or action provides, but substance abuse adds a chemical dependence on top of the mental addiction which makes it more physically dangerous (and likely causes it to be taken more seriously than behavioral addiction).

Substance addiction can be something simple like frequent binge drinking that leads to liver damage or something as extreme as abusing opioids and potentially overdosing as your body builds a tolerance to the drug.

Treating Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction with Rehabilitation

When it comes to treating addiction, it’s important to seek professional help regardless of whether it is substance or behavioral addiction. An addiction often develops due to a reliance on a coping mechanism for a mental disorder. By treating the underlying cause, it helps to prevent you from seeking a new coping mechanism after kicking your current addiction. This is known as addiction transfer, and though your new addiction may be less harmful than a substance addiction, addictive behavior can still be dangerous to your mental and physical health because it can evolve into something serious again.

If you’re ready to address the addictive tendencies that make you human and get to the core of your addiction, you’ll need the help of addiction and recovery specialists. The experts at Desert Cove Recovery provide a comprehensive holistic treatment program influenced by the 12-step process to ensure that all aspects of your addiction are addressed so that you can prevent relapse and move on with your life. Offering inpatient programs for drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, anyone who is suffering with addiction can get the help they need in a safe and professional environment.

If you’d like to learn more about how Desert Cove Recovery can help you take control of your life back, contact us today.

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

All too often, the phrase “substance abuse” is used interchangeably with the word “addiction.” Abuse and addiction take similar physical, psychological, and social tolls for those who are suffering. However, it is important to understand the difference between substance abuse vs addiction. Learning about each will help you identify if an individual is casually abusing drugs or alcohol or in serious need of assistance to break an addiction.

Recognizing Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and addiction are not actually the same thing. On the surface, substance abuse may not look like extreme or dangerous behavior. In fact, it may not stand out as abnormal at all. If drinking or recreational drug use has become normalized in your social circle, you could even be abusing substances without knowing it. 

Substance abuse involves using a substance, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit “street” drugs, to a point that becomes a hazard to your health. This includes using medications in ways other than prescribed.

When Substance Use Starts to Affect Your LIfe

Substance abuse also includes using substances to a point where doing so starts to affect your ability to live your life as you had prior to using. This point can come far quicker than many people realize. As soon as you start using your substance of choice to cope with emotions, thoughts, stress, or living situations, you are abusing that particular substance. This is true even if you have not experienced any consequences yet as a result. 

For example, consider alcohol consumption. According to the USDA, a safe and moderate level of alcohol consumption is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Someone who drinks more than this is abusing alcohol by definitions, even if their consumption does not appear excessive to others. It has been shown drinking past the recommended daily limit increases the risk alcohol will affect your health, put at risk for DUIs, and other undesirable outcomes. 

Most individuals who abuse substances but are not yet addicted, feel like they can stop whenever they want to. Some people abuse substances intermittently instead of regularly. This can mask the fact that there is a problem. Substance abuse is still a widespread issue causing problems in many people’s lives. The CDC notes that more than 10 percent of people over the age of 12 have used some type of illicit drug in the past month. While not everyone who abuses drugs will go on to develop an addiction, many will. 

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Substance Abuse vs Addiction

When Substance Abuse Becomes Addiction

Addiction is a more serious problem than substance abuse. While substance abuse can be situational, addiction is a pervasive problem affecting every aspect of a person’s life. Substance abuse is a negative behavior that a person chooses whereas addiction is a disease of the brain. Many people are able to stop abusing substances on their own, but recovering from addiction is a significantly more complex task usually requiring outside help. 

The main hallmark of addiction is physical dependency. After a person abuses drugs or alcohol for a long enough period, their brain starts to change physically, making it difficult for the person to feel normal without their substance of choice. Drug or alcohol use causes a rush of dopamine in the brain. Eventually, the brain acclimates to the euphoria and begins to demand more, building a tolerance and creating an addiction.

When an addicted person does not have drugs or alcohol in their system, the lack of dopamine beings to show ill effects. Addicted individuals will start to experience withdrawal symptoms like tremors, nausea, and hallucinations (withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance). Essentially the person loses their ability to function normally when not drunk or high. 

Is Addiction a Choice?

Substance abuse may be a choice, but addiction rarely is. One of the defining traits of addiction is the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol, despite the negative social or health consequences. To an addicted person, seeking out and using their substance of choice is the most important thing in life.

Addiction will cause users to lie, steal, and sneak around to use drugs or alcohol. It is not that they are inherently bad people. It is simply their illness has hijacked the decision-making parts of their brain, leading them to take actions unfathomable prior to developing an addiction. 

Addiction is widespread with more than 15 million adults in the United States addicted to alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Further, addictive behaviors cost the U.S. more than $740 billion every year in health care costs and lost productivity. The good news is addiction is treatable, although only about. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of those addicted actually receive treatment. 

Are You Dealing With Substance Abuse or Addiction?

If you are wondering whether you or a loved has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the odds are likely that you may indeed have a problem. Whether or not the substance abuse has progressed to the level of addiction, it is important to seek help as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

You or a loved one may be addicted to a substance if any of the following are true: 

  • You use drugs or alcohol alone.
  • You lie to friends or loved ones about your substance use.
  • You feel out of control and cannot stop drinking or using even when you want to.
  • You experience physical withdrawals when you cannot use your substance of choice.
  • Your drinking or drug use is affecting your relationships, job, or academic performance.

Seeking Help and Getting Sober

It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance use. Substance abuse versus addiction is indeed an important question. However, most important is finding the help you or your loved needs.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with either substance abuse or addiction, let them know specially trained professionals are here to help, in addition to their friends, family, and the community they live in. Contact a professional at Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

 

how addiction affects each generation

How Addiction Affects Each Generation

How Addiction Affects Each Generation

When it comes to an addiction, your age and the generation you are a part of can have a major impact on how you respond to this condition. The causes and factors surrounding addiction vary greatly according to how old a person is, as the reason for dependent behavior can be rooted in significant life events which revolve around a person’s age. How an addiction can affect a person differs based on many various factors, including socio-economic status, the presence of co-occurring disorders, and a history of trauma. But age is an often-forgotten element when it comes to putting together important parts of the picture.

The Role Age Plays in Addiction

The reasons why a person will end up developing a serious addiction can be significantly influenced by their particular age group. For instance, binge drinking is a significant problem for individuals aged 18-25, as peer pressure can play a role in convincing someone to drink. But for people aged 40-64, the same type of social pressure in regards to drinking will not as prevalent. However, this generation struggles more with prescription drug abuse, due to it being widely available and often prescribed for medical conditions which can impact an older population.

This fact can be illustrated by a recent statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) which detail the differences between specific age groups in relation to one’s age. The rate at which U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 developed a substance addiction was 5% in 2014, or approximately 1.3 million individuals. People aged 18-25 have the highest rate of substance abuse across the board, as this group is particular vulnerable to struggling with addiction.

Although painkillers and opioids are a big concern for an older generation in regards to becoming addicted, it is actually the millennial generation which struggles the most with a prescription drug addiction. Studies have shown how this particular section of the population is much more likely to abuse things such as Vicodin, Adderall, and OxyContin than they are marijuana. This differs from the drug of choice for baby boomers, as this group was more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics during their youth.

One of the reasons researchers speculate that millennials are struggling more with prescription drugs abuse than their parents is due to the fact that mental health issues have become more common. It is thought that the rise in ‘helicopter parenting’, where many millennials were overly protected from the world, is a factor in why this generation is finding itself more prone to become addicted to prescription drugs. The Good Men Project states that because these individuals have been stripped of their mental defenses, their ability to deal with life in a healthy way can be reduced, increasing the likelihood of resorting to negative coping skills.

However, older individuals also struggle with addiction, as this generation is prone to abuse things such as Fentanyl, opioids, and other prescription drugs. In fact, addiction has become one of the leading causes of death among people aged 40-64. Individuals who are 25-35 still have the highest rate of death as a result of an overdose, highlighting how drug addiction is impacting a younger generation more intensely than the older generation.

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how addiction affects each generation

How Treatment Differs According to One’s Age

The route a clinician will take in order to properly treat a patient’s addiction can be very different depending on how old the person is. A treatment plan for a married 50 year-old addicted to drugs or alcohol will look much different than a single person in their late teens. Financial pressure, health concerns, and life stress can be a major source of addiction for someone who is in their middle age.

The most effective approach to providing substance abuse treatment which works is to take a holistic approach to a person’s unique circumstances, including their age demographic group. Certain methods of intervention are specifically designed to work best with a targeted age group, making the selection of a particular treatment modality especially important. A skilled clinician will be able to efficiently navigate a person towards recovery by helping to address the underlying cause for their addiction.

For older adults, treatment may include an assessment of one’s finances, career, mental acuity, and family dynamics in order to gain insight into the causes of a person’s condition. It may include an approach which takes into account health and wellness concerns, conditions which may be specific to a person’s age. It may also include the importance of rediscovering meaning and purpose in life as a way to overcome a crippling addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction and needs to find a way forward that works, contact the caring professionals at Desert Cove Recovery. We treat all age groups and work directly with our clients to address their unique concerns and circumstances. Our trusted team will help guide you through the recovery process, working directly with you to create a treatment plan that will have you on the path to a new lease on life.

Young Adults at Risk for Addiction Show Variation in Key Brain Region

Young Adults at Risk for Addiction Show Variation in Key Brain Region

An international team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that young adults who are at risk for addiction show distinct differences in an important region of the brain. The study adds more credence to the idea that a person’s biological makeup is an important factor in determining if they will develop an addiction during their lifetime.

The years during adolescence and young adulthood figure prominently in a person’s development. During these years, someone may start to demonstrate behaviors associated with addiction. These behaviors suggest that people in this age group may be at risk for addiction and substance abuse.

Impulsivity Associated with Addiction Risk

Impulsivity is one of the behaviors associated with the risk of addiction. There are times when a person needs to make decisions quickly, such as when there is a danger and they must take action to avoid an immediate threat. At other times, it’s a better idea to stop and think carefully before taking any action. Impulsivity is acting without considering the consequences of one’s actions.

Most people do act impulsively on occasion, and it’s not uncommon. However, people who are living with disorders such as substance abuse, behavioral addictions, anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience higher levels of impulsivity.

99 Young People Participated in Study

In a study recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Psychiatry and Denmark’s Aarhus University found a “strong association” between increased impulsivity in young adults and certain abnormalities in nerve cells located in the putamen. This part of the brain has already been identified as a key region connected with addictive disorders.

Ninety-nine young people between the ages of 16-26 completed a computer-based measure of impulsivity as part of the study. The researchers scanned the participants’ brains with a sequence that can identify myelin content.

Myelin Levels Related to Impulsivity

Myelin is a protein-rich covering that coats a nerve cell. It works in the same manner as the plastic coating that is placed around electric wiring and is needed for rapid nerve conduction between the body and the brain.

The researchers found that people who demonstrated higher levels of impulsivity also had lower levels of myelin in the putamen. This conclusion builds on previous studies conducted with rodents at Cambridge University and at other locations.

Dr. Camilla Nord, of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, the lead author of the study, said that people who show a heightened level of impulsivity are also more likely to experience a number of mental health issues, which include substance abuse, eating disorders, behavioral addictions, and ADHD. Dr. Nord went on to explain that this suggests impulsivity is an endophenotype. This is defined as “ a set of behavioural and brain changes that increases people’s general risk for developing a group of psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

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.

er missing opportunity to send overdose patients to addiction treatment

ERs Missing Opportunity to Send OD Patients on to Addiction Treatment

In spite of the current opioid crisis that has been making headlines on a regular basis, Emergency Room (ER) doctors and staff have been missing opportunities to refer overdose patients to addiction treatment. The results of a recent study conducted on Medicaid claims in West Virginia indicate the health care system “doesn’t seem to be set up” for referring patients to further help.

Hospital Codes for Opioid Poisoning Examined During Study

The researchers examined insurance claims made for 301 people who overdosed in the years 2014 and 2015. By analyzing the hospital codes used for opioid poisoning, they were able to follow the treatment the patients received. The researchers were specifically looking to see whether the patients were billed in the months following their ER visit for health care services such as:

  • Counseling or mental health care
  • Opioid counseling visits
  • Prescriptions for psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants, anxiety medications, etc.)
  • Prescriptions for substance abuse medications

As a result of their work, the researchers found that less than 10 percent of the patients received (per month) substance abuse medications such as buprenorphine. Since methadone isn’t covered by West Virginia Medicaid, it wasn’t included in the study.

In the month the overdose occurred, about 15 percent of the patients received mental health counseling. In the 12 months after the overdose, that number had dropped to lower than 10 percent of patients per month.

Researchers Expected More Addiction Treatment for Overdose Patients

Neel Koyawala, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, the lead author of the study, said that the researchers “had expected more…especially given the national news about opioid abuse.”

Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said that resources should be focused on getting patients who have experienced nonfatal overdoses into treatment.

He compared the situation to someone coming into the ER with a heart attack. Patients and their families take for granted that heart medication and a referral to a cardiologist will be provided when the patient is discharged. Kolodny wants to see patients who come to the ER with an overdose to get started on buprenorphine in the hospital and receive a referral to some type of addiction treatment when they leave.

Both Kolodny and Koyawala point to a combination of lack of training and understanding among health care professionals for what continues to happen to overdose patients after they are stabilized.

Dr. Matt Christiansen, an assistant professor at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Department of Family & Community Health, stated that [a substance abuse patient’s] risk of overdose is the same the day after as it was on the day of an overdose.

excuses to avoid going to rehab

Excuses We Use to Avoid Going to Rehab

Excuses We Use to Avoid Going to Rehab

Making the decision to enter rehab is not an easy one, as it requires a person admitting they have a problem. This is not a simple task for people who pride themselves on their independence, most choose to avoid going to rehab instead. Seeking outside help to address a serious addiction can be a significant barrier for many individuals considering rehab as a solution to their problems. But beyond the issue of pride getting in the way of recovery, there are many other reasons why individuals who are thinking about finding help choose to stay away instead.

Underestimating the Extent of the Problem

One of the biggest reasons people avoid going to rehab is due to the personal belief that one’s addiction isn’t that big of an issue and can be stopped at any time. It can be easy to convince oneself that an addictive behavior is still a choice and is not a significant problem worth addressing. However, this tends to be based on a convenient, psychological distortion of reality. The truth is it can take a long period of time before a person realizes that their behavior has reached the point of a serious addiction.

Individuals who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances tend to deny that a problem exists. It can be easier to continue engaging in the behavior instead of coming to terms with the fact that a serious addiction has taken root. Admitting that a problem exists is one of the most important steps in the recovery process, one that many people have a difficult time with.

The Belief that One’s Addiction Doesn’t Hurt Anyone

Addiction, specifically when it comes to drugs and alcohol, can be one of the most destructive behaviors a person can engage in. It sabotages one’s potential, sacrificing many important aspects of your personal life such as your career, family life, finances, and physical and mental health. Clearly, an addiction is an incredibly negative force in one’s life that can start to dominate nearly every aspect of your being.

But, contrary to the belief that addiction is only detrimental to the person afflicted with the disease, it can also have profound effects on those closest to you. A parent who is struggling with addiction will not be able to be as present for their children, as they will often be more focused on getting their fix instead of paying attention to their loved ones. The excuse that entering rehab isn’t important because it only affects the person dealing with the addiction rings hollow because it can have a serious impact upon others in one’s life.

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Rehab Isn’t Affordable and I Can’t Miss Work

A common reason people give to avoid going to rehab is based around financial constraints. Many individuals believe rehab will be completely unaffordable within their budget and will be far too expensive to feasibly go through with. People also believe that missing time from work in order to enter rehab is not a realistic proposition, as the time spent away from work will negatively affect their pocketbook. Additionally, many people have reservations about attending rehab because of how it will reflect upon their professional life.

Thankfully, seeking professional help to deal with one’s addiction is not as expensive as one might expect. The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2011 has made entering treatment to deal with an addiction a much more affordable proposition. This is because substance abuse has been designated as an essential health benefit that the vast majority of insurances now cover. The cost of treatment will depend on a person’s particular coverage, but there are plenty of low-cost to no-cost treatment options available for those seeking help.

My Addiction Isn’t Bad Enough to Go To Rehab

When it comes to substance abuse and addiction, there are certainly varying degrees of severity which can make it much less obvious that treatment is necessary. If a person is a functioning addict, they may be able to convince themselves that their condition isn’t bad enough to warrant a trip to a rehab facility. While a person may be well aware of how an addiction is negatively impacting their life, it can be easy to put off the possibility of attending rehab because it’s not worth the hassle.

The truth is, rehab is beneficial for anyone struggling with an addiction, regardless of how serious it may seem to the person afflicted with the condition. If you are personally dealing with an addiction and are unsure of how serious your situation is, it is recommended to seek a professional opinion from a counselor or addiction specialist. Often, people have a very difficult time judging their personal situation and it can be hard to know how serious one’s addiction has become.

I Need Drugs or Alcohol to Cope with My Life

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why people become seriously addicted to drugs or alcohol is rooted in the relief the substance provides them. Individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, or suffering from traumatic experiences often seek refuge in the form of getting high or becoming intoxicated. Although this act actually compounds their problems and can make their mental health much worse, the temporary relief from their emotional pain can seem hard to resist.

Indeed, drugs and alcohol are a huge negative coping mechanism for people dealing with difficult life circumstances. Once an individual has connected the substance with an act of self-medicating, it can become incredibly challenging to give up using. For these individuals, entering a rehab facility which addresses the root causes of their addiction is essential to regaining a sense of autonomy and independence.

Overcome Addiction with Rehab in Arizona

Overcoming an addiction can feel like an impossible task, especially if you’re going it alone without any outside support. If you’re seeking support to make this important self-transformation a reality and are looking for an excellent addiction treatment center, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. Our trusted team will help guide you through the rehab process, working side-by-side with you to create a treatment plan that works.

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.