Tag Archives: research

Recovery Impacted by Smartphones

recovery

Young men and women in recovery must exercise caution when it comes to distractions. It’s paramount that those who begin a program of recovery stay focused if they are going to stay the course; there is a lot to take in, so it is vital that people do what they can to avoid any activity that can stand in the way of their goals. In the age of technology that we live in you can probably see that it’s not that easy to shield oneself from our smartphones constant interruptions. Let’s be honest; cell phones are always vying for our attention via push notifications from people social media apps.

All of us have an internal desire to connect with our peers, even those people who do not live close to us. Our smartphones allow us the opportunity to keep track of the lives of others, and they give us feedback about how peers receive our posts. Naturally, in small doses the behaviors associated with pocket devices can be healthy, social networks are a good thing after all. It’s when a person's digital social network comprises connection with their peers in the “real world” that problems can develop.

Smartphones haven’t been around long, which means scientists do not yet fully grasp the implications of substantial screen time. Common sense dictates that whenever someone prioritizes digital social networking over in-person relationships, it’s bound to lead to some issues. The rub is determining the problems that can stem from scrolling through timelines for hours instead of making a concerted effort to communicate with people outside of broadband?

Connection Strengthens Your Recovery

The topic of smartphones, as they pertain to recovery, is perhaps more important than you’d think. If you consider that working a program requires being part of a fellowship or support network of some kind, anything that can distract from forming strong bonds with your peers should be contained. If you have been in the program for even a brief time, then you know that progress depends on working with others toward shared goals. Meetings, working with a sponsor or mentor and socializing with your friends after the meeting are critical components to achieving your objectives.

When in the grips of active addiction socialization isn’t exactly a priority for most people. Everything a person does is in service to their disease, maintaining an insatiable illness is hard work and doesn’t afford many opportunities for establishing meaningful bonds with others. Conversely, recovery is a complete 180; isolation can no longer prevail, those bent on improvement must foster relationships with other humans. While social media can aid a person’s program on certain, extra specific occasions, by and large, human interaction should take precedence.

Smartphones, in a sense, are a hard nut to crack. There are times when not having one would make life incredibly trying, i.e., getting directions, keeping track of schedules, and calling your sponsor. When you think about it, isn’t it ironic how smartphones connect you with everyone in the world, wide web; and yet they serve to cut you off from people in the real world? They serve as tools that allow people to be über social but isolate you from your peers.

Hyper-Socializing is Problematic

There is an ever-growing concern that smartphones are habit-forming. The range of applications available allows people to spend hours upon hours on their phone each day. When you see people staring at their cellphone consistently, you might be inclined to think that they are isolating or are antisocial. However, one researcher argues that heavy smartphone users who continuously monitor their social media are hypersocial, Science Daily reports. Professor Samuel Veissière, a cognitive anthropologist from the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, says that we have an evolutionary predisposition to both observe and be observed by our peers. The findings of the research appear in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Professor Veissière’s work indicates that hyper-connectivity can result in the brain's reward system going into “overdrive,” according to the article. As a result of massive social media interaction on a regular basis, addictions can develop. Smartphone addiction may not lead people down the same dark roads as drugs and alcohol, but they can disrupt people’s lives and cause serious problems. The good news is that there are safeguards on your phone that can mitigate the risk of your phone butting in when you are focusing on something more critical, like recovery.

...the pro-social needs and rewards [of smartphone use as a means to connect] can similarly be hijacked to produce a manic theatre of hyper-social monitoring," the authors write in their paper.”

If you have made a habit of checking your phone throughout the course meetings, try turning off your phone or disabling notifications. If you are on your phone a lot when in the company of others, put your phone on a silent mode and engage with your friends. Little efforts can pay off in big ways down the road, if recovery is your priority—it must be prioritized.

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If you are a young man who is ready to break the cycle of addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center for a free consultation. We specialize in treating young adult males living with alcohol, substance use, and coöccurring disorders.

Quitting Cigarettes Helps Your Recovery

cigarettes

Cigarettes, albeit legal, are particularly harmful to anyone’s health. All of us are taught at a young age to avoid tobacco products of any kind, especially cigarettes. Otherwise we put ourselves at great risk of developing life-threatening health conditions, including: cancer, respiratory and vascular disease. The warnings are everywhere, even on the boxes they are packed in. There are mountains of research to support correlations between smoking and premature death. Yet, smoking in the United States and beyond continues in spite of the clear and present dangers.

The reasons people give for why they began smoking in the first place are varied. Much like the reasons people give for why they continue to smoke. But, one thing is certain. Most long-term tobacco smokers say they wish the never started and they would love to quit. A wish that is extremely difficult to achieve. For the simple fact that nicotine, an alkaloid absorbed into the bloodstream when one smokes is highly addictive. Nicotine is a stimulant, but it also acts as a sedative producing feelings of calmness. Which is why people tend to smoke more when they are stressed. If you are a smoker, then you are no stranger to this tendency.

Smoking cigarettes has inherent risks beyond those listed above for people working programs of addiction recovery. Research published earlier this year indicated that smokers in recovery are at a greater risk of relapse. Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health found over a three-year period, smokers were about two times more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.

Such findings are of the utmost importance. Previous studies show that at least two-thirds of people with a history of drug/alcohol addiction, have histories of smoking. What’s more, research from the last decade shows that around 60 percent of people in AA smoke.

Protecting Recovery - Quitting Cigarettes

In the field of addiction recovery nicotine addiction is typically not the zenith of priorities. Treatment facilities stress smoking cessation, yet quitting is not a requirement for achieving long-term recovery. Options to help quitting are always provided and clients are impressed to utilize these while under care.

However, it’s highly unlikely that anyone ever chose to buy a pack of cigarettes over paying their rent. Nicotine is not something that many people have lied, cheated, and stole to acquire. You get the idea. But, it’s worth remembering that cigarettes are often tried before any other substance. Most people don’t usually start down the road of addiction with hard drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana tend to be the first chapters of most people’s addictive storylines.

In recovery, any substance that can cause even minute feelings of euphoria can potentially jeopardize one’s recovery. Mind-altering substances that are used to cope with stress versus dealing with a problem in healthy ways — can be risky. Regardless of being considered benign.

Whether you have 10 days clean and sober or 10 years, quitting smoking can help your program. If your program is the most important aspect of your life, then quitting should be entertained. And there is no better time than the present. It is a difficult chore, but with the aid of the 12 Steps, your support network, and cessation aids it’s possible.

Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums, patches and inhalers can help you achieve the goal. The drugs CHANTIX® (varenicline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) have helped a significant number of people quit, as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in conjunction with nicotine replacements and a support network typically bears the most fruit.

Long-Term Recovery Requires A Healthy Body

This post began with a focus on the negative impact that cigarettes has on one’s health. With that in mind, anyone looking to continually maintain a program of recovery must prioritize healthy living. Recovery may keep you from a premature death. But, if something else counters it, it’s a serious problem.

Smoking cigarettes for years can wreak havoc on the human body. In some cases, causing irreparable damage that may be irreversible. Have you been smoking for years? If so, you might be inclined to think that the damage done thus far, is done. Set in stone. Which could potentially reinforce a continuation of the self-defeating behavior, on your part. However, one of the most remarkable things about the human body is its ability to repair itself. Of course, it must be given the opportunity.

Tobacco is extremely caustic. Although, new research indicates that shortly after quitting smoking, specific metabolic changes occur — reversing some mal-effects caused by tobacco. The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research.

Researchers analyzed lab samples of male volunteers attempting to quit smoking—up to three months after smoking cessation. The team observed 52 metabolites that were altered, and several that showed “reversible changes.”

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped a significant number of young males abstain from cigarettes. We understand that long-term recovery is contingent upon taking care of one’s health. The cycle of nicotine addiction, like any addictive substance, can be broken if one is given the right environment and tools. Please contact us today to begin the life-long journey of addiction recovery.

The Science of Addiction

addiction

One of the most read and loved monthly magazines is National Geographic. Most of us have fond memories growing up scanning the magazine for awe-inspiring images of animals and landscapes. With the first issue published in 1888, National Geographic now reaches more than 730 million globally in 172 countries and 43 languages every month. In the United States, there is a circulation of 3.5 million per month. Many readers subscribe for articles about pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee) or loxodonta africana (African bush elephant). But, Nat Geo focuses on human interests as well. In this month’s edition, the publication set its sights on addiction, and the conditions’ many complexities.

We often think of addiction as being an American problem. We know it affects people around the globe, but in the United States we are using the market share of drugs. Especially opioid use, as you must be acutely aware by now has reached epidemic proportions. Opioid use, prescription or illicit, is a serious concern that deserves overwhelming attention. Yet, it is worth pointing out that opioids, like alcohol or any other mind-altering drug, can cut life short. This doesn’t just happen in America, it is happening almost everywhere. Finding ways to mitigate the risks of premature death is no easy task, to be sure. Although, taking the focus off the substances, and placing it on the underlying condition is perhaps the most salient. The disease of addiction.

After all, addiction is addiction is addiction. What one struggles with pales in importance to what is to be done about it. History shows us that billions of dollars can be spent to make it more difficult to get “high.” Yet, people will still get high.

Addiction by The Numbers

In the U.S. we have tried “locking up” every addict, and most people still use again upon release. All we’ve accomplished is creating an overburdened prison system housing mostly nonviolent drug offenders. Exhausting billions in taxpayers’ money every year. To make a long story short, treating addiction as a crime hasn’t paid off—doing absolutely nothing good. Rather than delve into to Our track record of draconian policies on addiction in America, let's pivot our focus. As was pointed out earlier, Nat Geo published a lengthy spotlight on addiction and the scientific effort for clarity. But first, some figures:

  • 1.1 Billion Smokers Worldwide
  • Over 100 Opioid Overdose in America Every Day
  • 3.3 Million Worldwide Die Each Year from Alcohol
  • 21 million Americans Living With Drug or Alcohol Addiction

In 2015, 33,091 Americans died of an overdose, enough to make anyone wince, but again addiction is not just Our problem. Over 200,000 people worldwide die of overdose or drug-related Illness every year, The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports. Such figures you might find hard to believe. You may find it even harder to believe that more people are living with the disease of addiction than cancer in America. Both are deadly, but only one of them carries social stigma. Veritably, we don’t need to point out which. If addiction in America is an epidemic, addiction worldwide is nothing short of a pandemic. And if solutions are to be found it requires the attention of some of the world's brightest scientists.

The Science of Addiction

In a sense, addiction is a pathological form of learning,” said Antonello Bonci to National Geographic, a neurologist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Which begs the question, can it be unlearned? Many experts would argue, no, it can’t. And for good reason. Few people, if any, have ever thought their way out of an illness. However, science continues to shed light on the complexities of addiction. In turn, new avenues have been opened to help treat the disease and give a greater number of people hope for breaking the self-defeating cycle.

The Nat Geo article has many facets and layers of minutiae. We obviously can’t cover all of it, except for the main takeaways. One area covered had to do with advancements in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The researchers working with TMS point out that medications can only go so far. They [medications] can help people quit using, but they do little to prevent relapse. The idea that putting down drugs and alcohol is easy, how to not pick them back up is the crux of addiction science. Dr. Luigi Gallimberti, a psychologist and toxicologist who has been treating addiction for 30 years has hope for TMS, according to the article. Which could essentially reboot the human computer (brain) by activating drug-damaged neural pathways. Gallimberti worked with Bonci, and preliminary research showed promise with cocaine addicts. Future research is planned.

It’s so promising,” Bonci says. “Patients tell me, ‘Cocaine used to be part of who I am. Now it’s a distant thing that no longer controls me.’ ”

Keeping Cravings At Bay

The article transverses several areas involving addiction, from sex to overeating. It talks about the merits of spiritual programs based on the 12 Step model, and beyond. But the overarching theme, or target for that matter, is “craving.” How to stop the brain from craving substances or behaviors that are self-defeating? If the brain's trait of remarkable plasticity can easily lead to addiction, could it be used to foster recovery?

As it stands now, the ways and means of recovery utilized today seem to be anyone's best shot at recovery. A combination of medical detox, residential addiction treatment, medications and continued spiritual maintenance has borne the most fruit. A modality that will surely be fine-tuned as science uncovers the mechanisms of addiction more fully. Particularly regarding craving and keeping dopamine in check. Interestingly, the article writes: “In Buddhist philosophy, craving is viewed as the root of all suffering.”

Perhaps one day soon every addict will have a magnetic wand waved over one’s head. Putting an end to the cravings that lead to relapse. Programs of recovery today, are in no way full proof. But they can lead to long term recovery for anyone who is willing to give the program their all. Those who are committed to being vigilantly honest with them self and others can succeed. It is not easy, testament to the rates of relapse in recovery. But, those who lay a solid foundation to build their recovery upon can, and do recover. At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of young adult males touched by addiction. Are you ready to break the cycle of addiction and learn how to mitigate cravings to avoid relapse? If so, please contact us today. Recovery is possible.

Legalization: Placing Age Limits On Marijuana

legalization

More than half of the 50 United States have voted in favor of medical marijuana legalization, and nearly a fifth of all states have legalized the drug for recreational use. Since marijuana policy reform in America seems to be heading one way, it is vital that lawmakers heed the wisdom of researchers when it comes to drafting such policies. It is ever important that quality standards and age restrictions pay mind to experts in the field.

For the most part, those charged with rolling out recreational use in states like Colorado and Washington have deferred to scientists and experts. The fact that one must be 21+ years of age to buy and use the drug was not decided at random, and it was not meant to be an affront to ebullient 18-year-olds itching to exercise their new-found sense of freedom. The age restriction in states with legal “weed” was set in deference to brain science, and the fact that the human brain continues to develop into the mid-20s.

Given there is ample research showing that the marijuana can have a serious impact on cognitive function, affecting memory and intelligence quotient, the further along one goes in life before having tried marijuana — the better. On top of that, studies have also shown that marijuana use, beginning at a young age, can increase one’s risk of abuse and dependence of not only cannabis, but other substances, down the road. While marijuana may register low on the Richter scale of dangerous drugs for adults, there is really no way of predicting what kind of damage it may do to a developing brain.

Cannabis in America, Legalization and Beyond

Last November, you may have been one of the majority of Californians who voted in favor of legalization. Adults over the age of 21 in California can use, possess and even cultivate the plant in their own home. The retail aspect of Proposition 64 isn't expected to take effect until sometime next year, which will give officials time to work out the minutiae.

What’s more, efforts are likely to be underway to ensure that the right messages are being sent to young people about the drug. Specifically, that while cannabis is now legal for people over the age of 21, that doesn't mean that it is safe for everyone to use.

With more states expected to adopt a more lenient position about marijuana, continued research is of the utmost importance. At the end of the day, experts know far less than they don’t know, the byproduct of over 80 years of prohibition hindering effective research on the substance. As our neighbors to the North prepare to announce next month Canada’s plan to legalize marijuana from British Columbia to Newfoundland effective July 1, 2018, age restrictions are a hot button topic, according to a press release from Concordia University. The Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends that cannabis use be restricted to those who are at least 18 years in age. While the restriction is 3-years below what U.S. states have set, CBC reports that provinces would be allowed to set a higher age limit.

Research Supports 21

A new study published in the journal Health, examined the results of three national surveys on tobacco, alcohol and drug use (two in Canada and one in America), showed that those who refrain from using marijuana until the age of 21 are unlikely to develop a lifelong habit, the press release reports. Study coauthor James McIntosh, professor of economics in the Faculty of Arts and Science, said that earlier in life one starts using marijuana, the more negative the physical and mental effects will be. McIntosh and his co-author Rawan Hassunah’s study was novel in how closely is examined the age of first marijuana use. They found that early cannabis initiation and use can lead to cognitive impairment, including:

  • Memory Loss
  • Diminished IQ
  • Reduced Educational Success
  • Greater Risk of Mental Illness

Despite the findings of the study, McIntosh believes that the pros of legalizing outweigh the cons. He points out that Canada’s move towards legalization puts the country in a distinct position to start seriously researching the effects of the drug on every age group:

We need to start collecting data on it to see what the effects are on people of all ages. You can get all kinds of information on drinking behaviours -- they should do that with marijuana."

Cannabis Addiction

The use of cannabis, while considered to be a benign practice by those with a history of addiction or not, can actually wreak havoc on one’s life. As was listed above, the impacts of heavy cannabis use, starting at an early age can make your life unmanageable. Attempts to cease use often results in withdrawal symptoms which are typically mitigated by continued use of the drug. It is not uncommon for marijuana addicts to seek help by way of an addiction treatment center. If you are a young adult, male whose life has been significantly impacted by cannabis use, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

Addiction Linked to Weak Working Memory

addiction

Addiction and poor impulse control. Well, it is fair to say that the two go hand in hand. Addicts and alcoholics can easily be typified by making rash decisions, that are rarely in one’s best interest. A major component of addiction recovery is reining in such destructive impulses that, in recovery, can surely lead to relapse. It isn't an easy task. True addiction develops over the course of years. During which time, people’s brains become wired to act and react to various things in certain ways. Breaking such patterns is hard work, requiring continued maintenance.

Those living in active addiction have a “go to” response for most things that come up. If they are stressed, they use. If they are happy, they use. Ad infinitum. But in most cases, the continued reliance on a substance for coping with all things Life, comes down to how your brain functions with regard to memory. Addicts and alcoholics often have short attention spans, and minds that easily forget where drugs take them. Sure, one may find relief in using a substance for a time. But such relief is always outweighed by the bad that comes with the use of a substance. Despite that fact, people continue to use regardless.

Naturally, we are all wired a little bit differently, sometimes a lot differently. Beginning at a young age, individuals process things in a subjective manner. Some young people excel at staying focused and on-task, while others struggle to keep their heading. There is compelling research indicating that those who struggle with impulse control and working memory, the capacity to focus on a task without being easily distracted, are at greater risk of substance use disorder later in life, according to a study conducted by researchers at three institutions. The findings of which, were published in the journal Addiction.

Risk of Addiction

More times than not, teenage substance use is a risk factor for a substance use disorder in adulthood. Early drug and alcohol initiation, while the brain is still developing, can wreak havoc on the course of one’s life. However, that is not always the case. The majority of teens who experiment with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in high school, don’t progress to addiction later in life. For a significant minority, the future holds something altogether different.

It goes without saying there isn’t a test that will identify who will be touched by addiction. Sure, there are several factors that often play a part in the development of the disease (i.e. family history and upbringing), but they do not necessarily mean that the child will follow the same road as an addicted parent. While doctors cannot look at any one thing and say emphatically, ‘this teen will have problems later in life,’ identifying which adolescents have certain risk factors can help guide prevention methods that may mitigate the likelihood of addiction developing in the future.

Researchers looked 387 study participants (ages 18-20) who were recruited as 10- to 12-year-olds in 2004 for a long-term study, a University of Oregon news release reports. Baselines for the participants working memory and impulsive tendencies were defined at the beginning of the study. Teens with weak working memories and poor impulse control were at a greater risk of experimenting with substances at a young age, and having a substance use disorder later in life.

We found that there is some effect that was carried through the early progression in drug use. It is a risk factor," said Khurana, who also is a research scientist in the UO's Prevention Science Institute. "But we also found that the underlying weakness in working memory and impulse control continues to pose a risk for later substance-use disorders."

Predicting Addiction Later In Life

In middle schools and high schools across the country, substance use prevention efforts employ a total abstinence methodology. The idea being that if teens don’t ever use drugs and alcohol, they will be less likely to have a problem later in life. While that may be true in some cases, it is an idea that isn’t based in reality for the simple fact that young people will often do that which they are told not to do. As was mentioned earlier, most of the young people who experiment will not have a problem later in life. With that in mind, it would seem that prevention and intervention methods that work to improve certain behavioral deficits, could help many young people in the future.

Drug prevention strategy in the schools typically focuses on middle school when early drug use tends to take place and assumes that any drug use at all is a problem,” said Co-author Dan Romer, research director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “This study suggests that prevention needs to be more nuanced. The risk depends on whether drug use is likely to progress.”

If impulse control and one’s ability to stay focused is strengthened, teenagers and young adults would benefit greatly with regard to the relationship they develop with mind-altering substances.

Working with Young Adult Males

Through intensive, one-on-one addiction psychotherapy, under the care of licensed Master Level Therapists, PACE Recovery Center clients learn about and become aware of their experiences with addiction and behavioral health issues. They begin to identify personal core beliefs associated with negative sense of self, which exacerbates self defeating behaviors such as depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol use. Clients begin to challenge these self-destructive beliefs and ultimately restructure them into a healthier and more adaptive way of living free from mood altering substances. Each client's treatment plan is closely monitored, modified when necessary and evaluated by their therapist and the clinical treatment team.

Cannabis Use: A New Report

cannabisIf you live in one of the several states which have adopted legislation for medical marijuana, legalized cannabis or both, there is a good chance that you have heard several claims about the drug. While some of what you have heard was likely supported by research, the majority of claims heard about the drug were probably not grounded in science—or what could be considered credible research.

The reality is, there is more that scientists don’t know about the drug, than they do know. And what researchers think they know “now,” is often proved inaccurate by further research. Dizzying, right? This is likely the result of under researching the drug during this country’s lengthy prohibition. Decades of understanding what would have been potentially gained, were lost by 80 years of federal prohibition. Now, with state voters taking a more tolerant approach to the drug, researchers are racing to play catch-up.

It is widely agreed, when it comes to illicit drug use, marijuana is probably the safest comparably. But is it important that we differentiate between “safer” and “safe.” Just because a drug is let say, not likely to lead to an overdose, does not mean that it lacks the potential of negatively impacting your life. It is not uncommon for regular “pot” users to report problems with memory or that they have trouble functioning in certain settings.

Heavy marijuana users are susceptible to withdrawal-type symptoms during sustained abstinence. Those who become dependent on the drug are likely to continue use to avoid such discomfort. If what you have just read sounds like addiction, that is because that is precisely what it is—cannabis use disorder. Of course, marijuana addiction is an extreme example of where regular use can lead. The majority of pot smokers, whose use can be typified as being casual, will probably not find themselves in the grips of addiction down the road. That does not mean that there are no other risks to be aware of, findings that could influence one’s choice to use.

Cannabis Research: Making Sense of the Noise

In recent years, there has been much research conducted on both the potential health benefits and health penalties of cannabis use. Both advocates and opponents of the drug will introduce the findings of such research as if it were 100 percent accurate, when it is often not. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal, if the confidence in such research didn’t sway voters; who, in the end, may find they have voted against their best interest.

Making sense of it all so that we can produce informed decisions about the drug can be nerve-racking, to say the least. To make sense of the noise in deciding which research to put stock in, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) sought to shine some light on the subject. The organization analyzed more than 10,700 study abstracts published in peer-reviewed journals since 1999. The conclusion of which, supports what was written above, researchers know little about the effects of marijuana use.

After looking at research, ranging from studies on marijuana's hand in mental health development, treatment of chronic pain and the drug's effect on the lungs—there was little that could be backed by substantial scientific evidence. NASEM writes:

This is a pivotal time in the world of cannabis policy and research. Shifting public sentiment, conflicting and impeded scientific research, and legislative battles have fueled the debate about what, if any, harms or benefits can be attributed to the use of cannabis or its derivatives. This report provides a broad set of evidence-based research conclusions on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids and puts forth recommendations to help advance the research field and better inform public health decisions.”


The report on the review of the abstracts indicated:

  • Twelve of the conclusions are supported by conclusive or substantial evidence.
  • Twenty-five are supported by moderate evidence.
  • Twenty-seven are supported by limited evidence.
  • Another 27 conclusions no or insufficient evidence.


Problem Cannabis Use

As for substance abuse, or problem cannabis use as it is often called, there is science that users should be aware. The was substantial evidence that cannabis use at an earlier age, being male and smoking cigarettes are risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use. There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between increases in cannabis use frequency and the progression to developing problem cannabis use. There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or substance abuse disorder for substances including:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Other Illicit Drugs


Moving forward…

A review of research abstracts often resets the starting line for new research. This type of review is a much needed resource for scientists, as they set parameters for new studies. It is also a useful resource for addiction experts in the field of medicine and clinical therapy. NBC Nightly News’ Harry Smith presented a good overview of this study, you can see it here.

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for marijuana addiction please reach out to our California drug abuse rehab today.

Substance Use Linked to Sleep

susbtance useIf you get 8-hours of rest per night, then you will spend a third of your life asleep. The importance of healthy sleep patterns cannot be overemphasized; those who manage to get over 6-hours of sleep every night are typically more productive and happier when they are awake. Those of you who are actively working a program of recovery are probably aware of how valuable getting a good night's rest is, knowing how vital balance is to your recovery. Addiction is a chaotic existence, typified by extremes in nearly aspect of one’s life. Conversely, recovery is about equilibrium, failure to keep a balance could lead to rash decisions and potentially a relapse. There is an acronym that is often recited at 12-Step meetings - H.A.L.T. - which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. All four of which are considered to be risky for people in recovery, people whose instincts are geared towards turning to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with feelings. While the H.A.L.T. acronym may seem trite or being that which falls under the umbrella of common sense, the reality is that it is quite common to find yourself in one of those four vulnerable states. We cannot stress enough how important it is to your program to be vigilant about eating regularly, pausing when agitated, being a part of the community and getting enough sleep.

Sleep and Substance Use

Even if you are not in recovery it is important to maintain balance in your life, as developing unhealthy patterns can have consequences. And for some people, such behaviors can actually lead to substance use and potential abuse down the road. In fact, new research suggests that teenage males who get less sleep were more likely to engage in substance use, CBS Pittsburgh reports. The findings were published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a longitudinal study involving 186 low-income boys, according to the article. The researchers instructed parents to measure their children's sleep duration and quality at age 11. The young males were interviewed about drug and alcohol use at ages 20 and 22.
If we just look at age 16, the group of kids getting the most sleep… only about half of them had tried alcohol,” Dr. Hasler tells KDKA’s James Garrity. “If we look at the group of kids getting the least sleep, nearly three quarters of them had tried.”
The study showed:
  • Childhood sleep problems may be prospectively linked to adolescent substance use.
  • Less sleep predicted earlier onset of alcohol and cannabis involvement.
  • Worse sleep quality predicted earlier onset of alcohol and cannabis involvement.
  • These associations generally held after accounting for various covariates.
  • Childhood sleep is a promising target for reducing adolescent substance use risk.

Intervening Early

It is well understood that teens who use drugs and alcohol, are more likely to continue use into adulthood. Early onset substance use is commonly associated with a greater likelihood of abuse later in life. Parents who realize their teen is not getting much sleep should do what they can to ensure healthy sleep patterns. Lack of sleep can lead to a host of problems that people will use drugs and alcohol to cope with.
Poor sleep can lead to problems like anxiety and depression, and those can in turn lead to possibly problems with substance abuse,” said Dr. Hasler. “We also know sleep has effects on the brain. So, not getting enough sleep affects the prefrontal cortex and makes it more difficult for people to regulate themselves.”

Recovery

If your teenager’s substance use has morphed into abuse during young adulthood, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our team specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. We can help your son break the cycle of addiction and adopt healthy behaviors to ensure long-term recovery.

Cannabis Use: Mental Health Consequences

cannabisIn November, a number of states are likely to vote on legalizing adult cannabis use or medical marijuana programs. California is one of the states that many believe will vote in favor of legalization, two decades after it became the first state to pass medical marijuana legislation. With each year that passes, Americans seem to be more in favor of ending the 80 year prohibition that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders being sent to jail or prison. While it can be difficult to compare marijuana to the other illegal drugs, it is important that we have all the facts before decisions are made. Last week, Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), came out against legalization. The “drug czar’s” stance comes from concerns over heightened marijuana use rates among teenagers and young adults, and that cannabis can serve as a “gateway” to harder drugs. His views are in line with the President, who has arguably had the lightest stance on the drug, compared to former commander-in-chiefs. While Botticelli, who is in recovery for addiction himself, has a valid point, there are a number of people in the field of medicine who are in favor of ending the prohibition. This week, the formation of the organization Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) was announced, the group of physicians is calling on states and the federal government to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis in the interest of public health. The group includes a former surgeon general and faculty members from some of the nation's most prestigious medical schools. The DFCR argues that legalizing and regulating marijuana is most effective way to:
  • Ensure Public Safety
  • Combat the Illicit Drug Trade
  • Mitigate the Negative Consequences Affecting Disadvantaged Communities
Both the ONDCP and DFCR make good arguments that may impact how people vote this November. However, we can also look to science for guidance on the subject. Decades of prohibition prevented scientists and health experts from conducting cannabis research. There is a lot that is unknown about the drug, such as its effect on the brain. In recent years, medical marijuana and legalization efforts have given researchers the ability to conduct long overdue research. These findings can be an invaluable resource for those considering how they will vote in the 11th hour of 2016. A group of scientists from the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia raise awareness about the potential consequences of cannabis use, primarily with regard to mental health, The Guardian reports. They say that the evidence is clear, that marijuana can cause psychosis in the vulnerable. To be clear the scientists are not claiming that those who use the drug are at risk of psychosis, rather that those who are vulnerable to psychosis could jump start the illness by using marijuana. “Cannabis alone is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause psychosis.” Research published in Biological Psychiatry indicates that deterring heavy use could prevent 8-24% of psychosis cases.
It is important to educate the public about this now,” said Nora Volkow, director of National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Kids who start using drugs in their teen years may never know their full potential. This is also true in relation to the risk for psychosis. The risk is significantly higher for people who begin using marijuana during adolescence. And unfortunately at this point, most people don’t know their genetic risk for psychosis or addiction.”
The use of marijuana can become an addiction, negatively impacting one’s life. If you are addicted to marijuana, please contact PACE Recovery Center for help. Our drug abuse treatment program specializes in developing individualized treatment plans to meet the unique needs of all our clients.

A Look at Binge Drinking Among College Students

binge drinkingIt could be easily argued that alcohol is a part of college life. Without fail, between Thursday and Saturday night, college students will come together to imbibe at parties and at bars for those over the age of 21. While college drinking may seem relatively benign, as something that is going to happen regardless of prevention efforts, there are many young adults who do not fully grasp the dangers of “binge drinking” even though they may be engaging in the activity regularly. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as consuming 5 or more drinks for men, and 4 or more drinks for women in about 2 hours. Whenever someone drinks as much as they can, as fast as they can, the risks of danger exponentially mounts. Alcohol poisoning is a common occurrence among teenagers and young adults, a condition that can be potentially fatal. A team of experts have sought to paint a realistic picture of the dangers of binge drinking. The researchers estimate that every year 1,825 college students ages 18-24 lose their life from unintentional alcohol-related injuries, according to a University of Alabama press release. Those who do not experience an alcohol related tragedy put themselves at risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol; the research team found that about 20 percent of college students meet the current diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder. While alcohol is legal for adults over the age of 21 to use, research published in The Lancet indicates that alcohol is the most dangerous substance, according to the article. Even more harmful than:
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
Alcohol abuse, binge drinking in particular, is thought to be a rite of passage for college students; but in reality it's a very serious health epidemic in the United States," said Peter Hendricks, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health Department of Health Behavior. "It is important to understand what alcohol is, why it's problematic, and what a person can do to minimize the risk should they choose to drink."
It is crucial that institutes of higher learning make alcohol prevention and education a top priority if the problem is to be mitigated. On top of not operating motor vehicles when intoxicated, college students should also be aware of the signs of alcohol poisoning, which include:
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Irregular Breathing
  • Seizures
  • Slow Breathing
  • Vomiting
Alcohol is ingrained in our culture, and binge drinking is perceived as a lighthearted, fun and humorous rite of passage among college students," said Hendricks. "It's crucial to communicate the dire risks of binge drinking and challenge the notion that alcohol use is a normal and harmless part of the college experience."
If you are college-age male whose alcohol use has become problematic, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in working with young adult males struggling with substance use disorders. We can help you begin the journey of recovery.

Millennials Drink A Lot Of Wine

MillennialsMillennials, or Generation Y, are now all above the age of 21, the legal age to consume alcohol in the U.S. This means that researchers can now take a look at alcohol patterns for the demographic and compare these to other generations. When we think of young adults drinking, beer and hard liquor probably come to mind. The practice of drinking as much as you can as fast you can may also accompany your thoughts about the Millennials’ drinking. You may find it surprising to learn that Gen. Yers drink more wine than any other age group. In fact, Millennials (79 million Americans ages 21 to 38) consumed nearly half of all the wine in the United States last year, USA Today reports. The findings come from a study conducted by the industry nonprofit Wine Market Council. The researchers found that the age group drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015, 42 percent of all the wine in the U.S. That is an average of two cases per person. The study also looked at what is known as “high frequency” drinking among various age groups, according to the article. High frequency drinking is the act of consuming alcohol several days a week. Out of everyone who drinks multiple days a week, the researchers found that:
  • 20 percent were Gen X’ers.
  • 30 percent were Millennials.
  • Baby Boomers made up 38 percent.
Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject: If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click here. It is somewhat troubling to see that Gen Y’ers were not too far behind Baby Boomers when it comes to high frequency drinking. While drinking multiple days a week does not mean that a person has a problem with alcohol, the more often a person drinks, the greater the likelihood of developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Many high frequency drinkers become dependent or addicted to alcohol. If you feel that your drinking has gotten out of hand, and is impacting your life, please contact PACE Recovery Center for help. Our experienced staff specializes in the treatment of young adult men (18-30).