Tag Archives: addiction research

genetic test for opioid addiction

Genetic Test for Opioid Addiction Could Soon be a Reality

If you could order a genetic test that could tell you whether you were at risk for opioid abuse later in life, would you take it? What factors are considered in this genetic test for opioid addiction? The test would be something like the one available from companies currently offering health predisposition information along with DNA testing. Instead of indicating whether someone has a higher-than-average risk of developing heart disease, the proposed test would tell who is at risk for opioid addiction.

A New Jersey research institute is working with leaders in the medical community, scientists and academics to unravel the genetic code as it pertains to opioid dependency. 
genetic test for opioid addiction

Team Investigates Factors Contributing to Opioid Abuse

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research, Rowan University’s Cooper Medical School and Cooper University Health Care have come together to launch the Camden Opioid Research Initiative (CORI). This team will investigate “genetic and biological factors that contribute to opioid abuse.”

One key part of the study will involve collecting and testing tissue samples from people who have lost their lives from an opioid overdose. The researchers will also be studying people currently in treatment for opioid addiction, along with patients who are receiving prescription opioids for chronic pain treatment but have not become addicted. The findings from the two groups will be compared.

Stefan Zajic, the principal scientist and scientific lead for CORI, explained that the dream for scientists would be to have access to a profile or algorithm that would provide doctors and patients with information about genetic factors that may influence their susceptibility to opioid addiction.

Genetic Test Could Influence Future Prescribing Habits

If a genetic test for opioid addiction were available to indicate to healthcare providers which patients are at higher risk for opioid addiction, a doctor could take that factor into consideration when making decisions about which medications to prescribe. The doctor may choose to prescribe a non-opioid, adjust the dose if he or she decides to prescribe an opioid medication or prescribe a smaller number of pills so that the patient can be monitored more closely for follow-up.

The research team will work with the medical examiner’s office to establish a biobank of the tissue samples (with the respective families’ permission). Zajic believes it will be the first one of its kind in the country. The tissue samples will be made available to researchers in the field of opioid abuse going forward.

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.”

12 step rehab vs non 12 step rehab

12 Step vs Non-12-Step Rehab

12 Step vs Non-12-Step Rehab

For those suffering from addiction, it can seem like there is no hope for recovery. The prevalence of alcohol, prescription, and recreational drug abuse & addiction has continued to rise for years, making the illness affect more people than ever. As one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, it’s clear that getting those in need the help they deserve is crucial to the well-being of the nation.

Fortunately, with the help of trustworthy and reliable rehabilitation facilities, there is hope. Rehabilitation programs are available that help sufferers to kick their addiction, recover from the damage it caused, and move on to a healthier drug-free life. However, rehab isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment – you will have to find the right approach for your situation.

There are a wide array of addiction treatment centers nationwide, each with their own personal philosophy, procedure, and treatments. There are two main treatment methods – 12-step rehab programs or non-12-step rehab programs. While sorting through all the possible rehab centers is not easy, perhaps the best way to begin is to decide which methodology best suits you and your personal circumstances.

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12 step rehab arizona

How Do the 12-Steps Work?

Easily the most common approach to addiction treatment, the traditional 12-step program focuses on self-help and community-driven treatment through meetings, peer counseling, and other social forms of therapy. Depending on whether the program is being administered in a rehab center or through a public venue meetup, the specifics of the treatment will vary but most programs emphasize 3 things: acceptance, social responsibility, and commitment.

The 12-step program is not necessarily a scientific approach to treating addiction, but rather a spiritual or philosophical approach that focuses on accepting that you have a problem you cannot control alone, being willing to accept help from others, and committing to improving your situation through regular participation. They leverage social responsibility and emphasize the community as a whole as a motivator to help yourself to help those around you.

Many 12-step programs are often religious in nature and those who are religious themselves may more greatly benefit from the approach, but nonreligious users have had success as well.

What Does 12-Step Rehab Offer?

While traditional 12-step rehab follows a specific set of teachings, you’re more likely to find hybrid programs that are influenced by the 12 steps instead of following them exactly. Treatment centers like Desert Cove Recovery often employ an array of treatment options to supplement the 12 steps, including one-on-one therapy sessions with an addiction therapist, mental health treatment to address underlying causes of addiction, and other holistic approaches while helping you to find acceptance, peace, and love with the guidance of the 12 steps.

Desert Cove Recovery 12-step rehab program teaches patients that nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Addiction can make the user feel powerless, but self-improvement and salvation are always possible with the courage & motivation to admit your faults and resign yourself to a higher power. Once you’ve achieved acceptance, you can proceed to make amends with those you have wronged and continue your healthy habits to lead a sober lifestyle, encouraging others to do the same by guiding & sponsoring others who are struggling.

What Are the Alternatives to 12-Step Rehab?

Many treatment programs move away from a social therapy focus and implement individualized evidence-based treatments along with group-based options to support them. They focus on the individual while sometimes incorporating the community, emphasizing personal responsibility for your actions and working to improve yourself as a whole. Some of these programs may be religious, while others are not. 

One of the primary examples of alternative treatment options is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on addressing what thoughts or feelings cause the need to abuse drugs or alcohol. Another is pharmacotherapy, which uses medication to curb the withdrawal effects of kicking an addiction to make the recovery process safer and easier. Both of these treatments are conducted by trained medical professionals, making them both safe.

Comparing Rehab Program Options

As stated previously, there are a variety of different treatment approaches available for treating addiction. Most facilities will have their own unique implementation of the 12 steps, incorporating their personal philosophies to offer more comprehensive care. 

Treatment Focus

The 12-step program is community-driven treatment that focuses on group therapy, building a community, and helping yourself through helping others. The program itself implements an overarching set of guidelines that can be applied to many cases of addiction in order to begin healing. Rather than addressing the cause of the addiction, users are encouraged to resign to their addiction, make amends for their wrongdoings, and start over by living a clean life. Some programs will include other therapies, as is the case at Desert Cove Recovery, however, some other 12-step based rehabs rely solely on the 12 steps as a basis of treatment. The focus upon community, acceptance and primary interaction with other people in a similar situation can be a great source of comfort and strength for many sufferers who feel that they cannot fight their illness alone.

Non-12-step program treatments usually focus on the individual, emphasizing self-care, addressing flaws, and improving on any shortcomings directly rather than starting over. Many programs may also take a holistic approach to treatment, treating the body, mind, and spirit of the individual based on their specific needs and situation. The focus upon the ‘root’ of a person’s is designed to find a way out of the addictive cycle by addressing the fundamental personal, mental and physical circumstances that lead to an individual’s illness. This can be a longer, less uniform approach to recovery that requires fundamental changes in a person’s life and relationships.

Level of Care

The standard 12-step program does not prioritize formal individualized therapy. Instead in many cases they will assign a sponsor or partner to each member, with their partner acting as their primary support system. These sponsors and partners are often recovering or have recovered themselves, and don’t necessarily have professional experience or qualifications. They do however often have an affinity and understanding of the trials and obstacles that must be faced and overcome in the journey from addiction to recovery. Many people in rehab find a great deal of solace and comfort in this relationship.

Non-12-step programs usually include heavy individualized therapy treatment, often with group therapy as a secondary point. Patients in these programs will likely meet with a therapist or psychiatrist to address their personal situation, address any triggers for the addiction, and build a personalized treatment plan.

Effectiveness

As they are not unique to the individual, 12-step programs have had their effectiveness questioned. Dr. Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry estimates that 12-step programs only have a 5-10 percent success rate (source). This is because programs like Alcoholics Anonymous – the most famous implementation of the 12-step process – are one-size-fits-all in their approach. Such programs do however have a large volume of participants across the US and have been helping people with addiction since the 1930s. Their positive impact upon individuals and communities is difficult to ignore.

Due to the wide variety in different non-12-step programs, it is hard to calculate the success rate of treatment. However, cognitive behavioral therapy – one of the most popular non-12-step forms of treating addiction, was shown to be 60% effective at keeping patients who abused cocaine clean over a 1-year period, according to a study by RA Rawson of the University of California. (source)

Cost & Availability

Traditional 12-step rehab programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are volunteer-run and open to the public, making them entirely free and relatively easily available. Hybrid 12-step rehab programs are often offered at addiction treatment facilities and need to be paid for, making them not free, but usually available depending on your location.

Non-12-step programs are often run by licensed professionals and individualized, primarily requiring an appointment or reservation to be seen or admitted. They can be costly depending on the specifics of the individual program, but many insurance plans cover treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy and others to a certain degree. The availability of these programs depends on the type of program you are seeking and your location, but they are usually available enough that you will likely be able to find treatment near you.

Choosing a Rehab That Offers the Best of Both Worlds

The key to addiction treatment is comprehensive and versatile care. Both 12-step and non-12 step methodologies provide routes to recovery. Recently there has been a growth in programs that combine the communal benefits of 12-step programs with targeted individual treatment methods such as CBT. Studies have shown that combining the 12-steps program with newer target methodologies such as CBT can lead to much higher recovery success rates.

At Desert Cove Recovery, we seek to utilize the benefits of both these processes. Our licensed treatment facility offers specialized treatment with a holistic approach that allows us to treat your body, mind, and spirit by integrating the 12-step program into our proven techniques and treatments. We’ve been helping people to beat their addictions and live happier, healthier lives drug-free. If you’re struggling with addiction but are ready to change your life for the better, we’d love to be your guides on the path to recovery. To learn more, give us a call.

 

 

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.

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

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.

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.

Friend struggling with addiction, drug rehab scottsdale

How to Support a Friend Struggling With Addiction & How Drug Rehab Scottsdale Can Help

How to Support a Friend Struggling With Addiction

If you have a friend who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you want to help, following a proven plan will get you moving along the correct path. Substance addiction is a sensitive topic and makes some people uncomfortable, but you need to take action to protect your friend.

Inability to control substance addiction can lead to health problems, legal trouble and death. Using the wrong approach will make the problem even more difficult to handle, so you must exercise caution at each step.

Although your friend must make the final decision, you could be the motivating factor that gets them to change their ways and make better decisions in the future. Getting your friend into drug rehab Scottsdale should be your ultimate goal. You might even save a life.

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The Warning Signs of Addiction

Learning to spot the warning signs of addiction before you take action is important. Knowing the red flags makes you sure of your decision, allowing you to move forward with confidence. The biggest red flag is using the drug or drinking so much that doing so forces your friend to overlook essential obligations.

For example, your friend could fall behind on rent or other financial responsibilities. If your friend starts missing work or getting into legal trouble, take a closer look to get a clear picture of the problem with which you are dealing. In addition to looking for the other signs, keep an eye out for unexpected behavior or strange acquaintances with whom your friend does not normally interact.

Approach the Situation with an Open Mind

Seeing your friend go down this dark and unforgiving path can cause a range of emotions, but you must maintain a level head as you move forward. Fight the urge to be judgmental if you don’t want your friend to cut you off entirely. Be as calm and open-minded as possible if you would like to get a positive response when you first mention the topic. If your friend does not seem open to having the conversation, don’t push it because doing so can cause more harm than good. You can change the topic and approach the issue in the future to increase your odds of reaching a favorable outcome.

Tell Your Friend You Are Concerned

When your friend is open to talking with you about their addiction, let them know you are concerned about their well-being, and you should get a positive response. You don’t need to worry if you don’t know what to say during this step, because this issue is common.

Without being aggressive, encourage your friend to consider how their life might turn out if they continue on the path without getting the help they need. People who open up about addiction are not always looking for advice or feedback. Be willing to listen without interrupting when your friend decides to speak with you.

Don’t Enable Your Friend’s Addiction

When you help your friend overcome the challenges associated with addiction, don’t let yourself go too far. A thin line separates assisting from enabling, and you need to use caution if you don’t want to make the wrong choice. Although doing so will be hard for you, make your friend clean up the mess related to their addiction, and don’t lend them your money. Lending money and bailing your friend out of the problems caused by addiction only make it easier for them to make poor choices. You can be a little more flexible if your friend shows an honest and consistent effort to overcome addiction.

Seek a Drug Rehab Scottsdale

Nothing you do can ever replace the results of drug rehab Scottsdale. Getting your friend who is struggling into a treatment center can do wonders to break the chains of addiction and get your friend moving in the right direction. Our experts will learn about your friend’s unique needs and craft an approach that offers the highest odds of success. Our mission is to help our clients recover and reclaim control of their lives, and we look forward to working with you. If you have any questions or want to learn how you can begin, pick up your phone and call us right away.