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Winnie-the-Pooh’s Mental Illness: How to Treat Others (in spite of their “flaws”)

mental illness

All of us in recovery have a story. Our stories go back to before we began walking down the treacherous road of addiction. Many of us had, for the most part, decent childhoods. Growing up in houses full of love. Parents who bent over backwards to ensure we would be afforded every opportunity in life. After all, that is the role that parents are expected to take in a child’s life. Two people who teach you how to be a good person, to yourself and to others.

However, our guides in early life had no way of knowing that deep inside their children something was amiss. Rather than a philharmonic orchestra, a syncopated jazz ensemble was on stage. The music sounded great, but it was off-beat. While there is certainly beauty in organized chaos, left unchecked the lines of discord and harmony become blurred. Truly, the number of variables that lead one toward the grips of addiction are numerous. Each individual case with unique roots, but the trees that would grow up were similar in appearance. Everyone recovering from addiction has unique experiences, but what brought us too surrender looked the same.

The signs may not have been picked up on early on. But, it can’t be denied that a significant number of people living with addiction met the criteria for mental illness. In one form or another, early on. Such conditions, and a lack of treatment, likely played a part in many people's’ path to drugs and alcohol. Verily, those touched by mental illness, but don’t have tools to cope or even talk about it, turn to self-medication. It doesn’t have to be in the form of substances, it can be behaviors as well. Patterns of risk-taking behaviors, specifically, resulting in co-occurring disorders.

What Does Winnie the Pooh Have to Do With People In Recovery?

When you were a kid, your parents likely read you children stories. Regardless of which decade you spent your childhood, A.A. Milne’s stories were probably read to you. Winnie the Pooh and his pals of the Hundred Acre Forest danced through your mind before falling asleep. We couldn’t see it then, but Milne was trying to reach us—even if it was inadvertently. You see, Milne fought in both world wars, which scared him. At the time “experts” would have called it bullet wind, soldier's heart, battle fatigue, or operational exhaustion. But, most people called it “shell shock;” what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder.

A new biopic ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin,’ explores A. A. Milne’s battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the creation of Pooh. Milne’s inspiration being his son and his toys, TIME reports. The Winnie the Pooh series has been dissected and has even been applied to schools of philosophy (i.e.The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet) over the years. Helpful for those in recovery, to be sure. Perhaps even more relevant to the field of addiction is a study from 2000, published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne.

In the study, Dr. Sarah Shea Read and colleagues started out with the intention of having a bit of fun. They assigned a mental illness to each character, using criteria from the DSM, according to iNews. Dr Shea claims that she hadn’t any knowledge Milne’s struggle with PTSD, at the time of the research. Milne’s characters were likely the author’s way of processing his own struggle with mental illness. Untreated mental illness, that is.

Concept of Comorbidity (Co-Occurring Disorders)

For some of you, decades may have passed since you read or watched something with Winnie the Pooh. Still, there is good chance you remember the attributes of the characters. iNews compiled some of the researchers’ insights on the characters:

Winnie the Pooh: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

This unfortunate bear embodies the concept of comorbidity [the presence of more than one disorder].
Most striking is his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As clinicians, we had some debate about whether Pooh might also demonstrate significant impulsivity, as witnessed, for example, by his poorly thought out attempt to get honey by disguising himself as a rain cloud.”

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Had he been appropriately assessed and his condition diagnosed when he was young, he might have been placed on an anti-panic agent… and been saved from the emotional trauma he experienced while attempting to trap heffalumps.”

Eeyore: Dysthymia – or ‘Persistent Depressive Disorder’

We do not have sufficient history to diagnose this as an inherited, endogenous depression, or to know whether some early trauma contributed to his chronic negativism.”

Tigger: Recurring Pattern of Risk-Taking Behaviours

We acknowledge that Tigger is gregarious and affectionate, but he has a recurrent pattern of risk-taking behaviours. Look, for example, at his impulsive sampling of unknown substances when he first comes to the Hundred Acre Wood. With the mildest of provocation he tries honey, haycorns and even thistles. Tigger has no knowledge of the potential outcome of his experimentation.”

Rabbit: Possible Narcissism

We note his tendency to be extraordinarily self-important and his odd belief system that he has a great many relations and friends. He seems to have an overriding need to organize others, often against their will, into new groupings, with himself always at the top of the reporting structure.”

Do Unto Others… The Stigma of Mental Illness

People living with untreated mental illness are often treated poorly by society. What people can’t understand, often frighten them. Impelling them to treat people in ways that they would never wish to be treated. Perhaps all of us missed the most important aspect of Milne’s stories. That it is O.K. to be different. That things happen in life that are beyond any one person’s control. And rather than ostracize and exile others, compassion and love can be what helps them heal.

Humans have a long history of treating those with mental illness as broken. Moral weakness, and a lack of constitution, drove them to insanity and vice. That has never been the reality, but if people are treated that way they will never find the courage to recover. Recovery is possible, so long is people are given the opportunity to do so—without fear of repercussion.

More than anything, the key to the books are their tone of love and acceptance and unspoken forgiveness in the Hundred Acre Wood,” said Dr. Read. “The stories provide lovely examples of how humans should behave.”

Many of us, upon finding recovery, were unaware that our addiction was inextricably linked to a co-occurring mental health disorder. We found that when our depression or anxiety was treated, achieving lasting addiction recovery was exponentially more likely to come to fruition. If you are a young male battling addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help.

You can watch the ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ trailer below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Depression Affects Many Young People


At the beginning of May we wrote about depression, which was timely considering that the debilitating mental illness was the focus of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day (April 7, 2017). If you did not read the article, no worries, we can give you a little recap. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a year-long campaign called, “Depression: Let’s Talk” to illuminate the public about the fact that over 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. WHO has determined that the mental illness is one of the leading causes of poor health in the world.

If people are unwilling to talk about the mental health disorder due to fear of social stigma, the whole world suffers. For every person touched by the illness, there are exponentially more people who are close to the afflicted whose lives are affected. By encouraging people to talk about their disease, we have a better chance of such people seeking help. In the realm of addiction medicine, it is abundantly clear that untreated mental illness of any form is correlated with an increased risk of substance use and abuse. Simply put, those who ignore their mental health disorder, by not seeking help, are on an easy course to addiction.

In the 21st Century, a time where the use of social media is ubiquitous, our ability to have open discussions about not only mental illness, but also the effective treatments available is significantly greater than in decades past. What’s more, the ability of scientists to disseminate facts about mental illness and that mental health problems beget other mental health issues—is greatly improved by the internet.

With that in mind, we also know now that problems like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder often begin at a young age. And if it can be screened for early on, then it can be treated before behaviors like self-medicating with drugs or alcohol develop.

Depression Affects Teenage Boys and Girls

At PACE Recovery, we specialize in the treatment of addiction affecting young men. However, it is relevant to discuss how mental health is a problem for both sexes. A new study of data regarding children's mental health in the United States, showed that depression can begin in children at age 11, The Washington Post reports. The data indicates that 13.6 percent of boys and 36.1 percent of girls have experienced or are depressed by age 17. The results of the study highlight the importance of early screening. The findings were published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

mental illness

The researchers admit that the reasons why females are at greater risk of depression in adolescence are not well understood, according to the article. Teenage boys, the data shows, are more likely to have problems with conduct, aggression and substance abuse; whereas depression appears to be much more common among girls. Understanding the reasons why for the time being, in many ways, pales in comparison to the importance of parents, teachers and medical professionals keeping a close eye for signs and symptoms of depression. Failure to do so, as you well know (probably), can have disastrous consequences—addiction and suicide to name a couple.

When you are seeing young people with symptoms consistent with depression it is really much, much better to get them connected to a pediatrician to get them a comprehensive mental health assessment and hook them into treatment sooner rather than later,” said study author Elizabeth Miller, director of the division of adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Young Adult Rehab Program

In a perfect world every child, of either sex, would be screened early on and regularly for mental illness. Unfortunately, we are not at that point, yet. The fact is, many young men experiencing symptoms of mental illness make it through high school without ever having been screened, and as a result turn to mind-altering substances to cope with their symptoms. As is clearly evident by the prevalence of young adults in need of substance use disorder treatment in America.

The good news or silver lining, in a sense, is that mental illness, whether it be depression, addiction or both, can be treated. Recovery is possible and the trained professionals at PACE Recovery Center can help you break the cycle of addiction and learn how to live a fruitful life in recovery. Please contact us today to begin the process, it is likely to be one of the most important phone calls you ever make.

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.

Young Adults: Depression On The Rise

depressionDepression is one the most common forms of mental health disorder that affects American adults. In fact, depression is one the leading causes of disability for patients between the ages 15 and 44, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Every year, more than 15 million American adults over the age of 18 are affected by symptoms of depression. While the disorder is more common among women than men, major depressive disorder can affect people regardless of their age, gender or race. The median age of people with onset of major depressive disorder is 32.5-years old, yet nearly one in 11 teenagers and young adults experiences a major depressive episode in any given year, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health

The findings of the study, led by Dr. Ramin Mojtabail, come from an analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2005 and 2014, LiveScience reports. The data indicates that depression among adolescents and young adults has risen dramatically, especially among young women. Major depressive episodes affected 11.3 percent of adolescents in 2014, compared to 8.7 percent in 2005. A major depressive episode is characterized by persisting for two weeks or more. Major depressive episode symptoms include:
  • Feelings of Emptiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
The uptick of depression among young people was limited to 12 to 20-year olds, skirting the 21 to 25 age group, the article reports. However, the biggest takeaway from the study isn’t that there has been a rise in major depression among young people, but rather that the research team did not see alterations with mental illness treatment for young people. The researchers did not observe a rise in young people seeking treatment for mental illness, either. For treatments to be effective, they need to be adapted to target the population being affected. The authors write:
"The growing number of depressed adolescents and young adults who do not receive any mental health treatment for their [major depressive episode] calls for renewed outreach efforts."

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Young adults struggling with any form of mental health disorder are far more likely to develop unhealthy relationships with drugs and alcohol. This is because people will often drink alcohol and or use drugs to cope with their symptoms. Choosing to self-medicate one’s mental illness, can be a slippery slope leading to a host of problems that can complicate the severity of mental illness symptoms, such as addiction. People with depression, or other forms of mental illness, often think that drugs and alcohol will mitigate the problems that accompany living with such disorders. However, self-medication is a far cry from meeting with mental health professionals and starting a regimen of antidepressants in conjunction with therapy. All too often, the people seeking help for addiction will also have a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety and/or depression. It is not uncommon for people with depression to develop a substance use disorder, because they attempted to treat their symptoms on their own. Those who are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring disorder need to be treated for both conditions simultaneously, if recovery is to be achieved. At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating young adult males with co-occurring disorders, otherwise referred to as having a “dual diagnosis.” Our experienced team of addiction counselors and professionals is fully equipped to provide a specialized plan of care when treating the patients' co-occurring disorders. Successful outcomes are contingent on doing so. Please contact us today, to start the process of healing and addiction recovery.

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.”


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.

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).

Many Attorneys Drink Alcohol At Unhealthy Levels

attorneys drink alcohol unhealthy levelsMillions of Americans, upon finishing their workday, will often times cap off their night with an alcoholic beverage or two. This is why drinking alcohol is commonly equated with unwinding or decompressing. The behavior of drinking alcohol after a stressful day is usually considered to be relatively benign; however, sometimes end of the day drinking can get out of hand which can become problematic - especially for those whose line of work is stressful. New research suggests that more than one-fifth of licensed, actively working American attorneys drink alcohol at unhealthy levels, The Chicago Tribune reports. The study showed that many of those same attorneys suffer from depression and anxiety as well. The findings will be published this month in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. What’s more, the research showed that younger attorneys were affected by the aforementioned problems the most. The researchers hope that the new data will result in action.
“Any way you look at it, this data is very alarming, and paints the picture of an unsustainable professional culture that’s harming too many people. Attorney impairment poses risks to the struggling individuals themselves and to our communities, government, economy and society. The stakes are too high for inaction,” said study lead author Patrick Krill, in a news release.
The data comes from a sample of 12,825 attorneys in the United States who filled out surveys designed to assess both substance use and other mental health problems, according to the article. The findings showed that 28 percent of lawyers struggled with varying degrees of depression and 19 percent exhibited symptoms of anxiety.
“This is a mainstream problem in the legal profession,” said Krill, the Director of the Legal Professionals Program at a well respected treatment facility. “There needs to be a systemic response.”
This is the first major study on the prevalence of addiction among attorneys in 25 years, the article reports. The research was co-funded by the American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. This research is especially important because many attorneys are unwilling to seek help for mental health problems for fear they will be disbarred or lose their position. PACE Recovery Center specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. During this important transitional phase our clinical team focuses on helping young adults put into practice skills gained while in addiction treatment and balance their lives as they begin to integrate back into real world settings. Our treatment program is designed to focus on and develop our clients’ life skills, including understanding when stress and anxiety can impact one’s program of recovery.

The Use of Marijuana Has Doubled

marijuanaAs the country becomes more accepting of marijuana use, with states voting in favor of medical marijuana and recreational use, it stands to reason that more people are using the drug. Historically, research involving marijuana was limited; however, in recent years there have been a number of studies conducted on the drug. The latest study involving marijuana has found that marijuana use has doubled since 2001, with nearly 10 percent of American adults reporting use in 2013, the Oregonian reports. With the increase of use, dependence and addiction follows in its wake.
“While many in the United States think prohibition of recreational marijuana should be ended, this study and others suggest caution and the need for public education about the potential harms in marijuana use, including the risk for addiction,” the report stated.
The research showed that the percentage of people reporting marijuana dependence or abuse doubled. In 2001, only 1.5 percent reported marijuana addiction, compared to nearly 3 percent in 2013, according to the article. Researchers found that 3 out of every 10 people (nearly 7 million Americans) have a marijuana abuse or addiction problem. In the U.S., 23 states have adopted medical marijuana programs and four states have passed recreational use laws. More states are expected to follow suit, and people's perception of the drug is likely to become more relaxed. However, it is important that teenage exposure to marijuana is limited; studies show that the drug can have an impact on developing brains, the article reports. The report highlights potential problems that can arise from marijuana use, including:
  • Addiction
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Injuries
  • Psychiatric Symptoms
  • Psychosocial Impairments
  • Poor Quality of Life
  • Use of Other Drugs
  • Vehicle Crashes
The findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you are or a loved one is abusing marijuana, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

The Future of Alcoholism Treatment

dopamine-stablizersDopamine stabilizers may be the future of alcoholism treatment. The findings of two separate studies indicate that dopamine stabilizers may reduce alcohol cravings in alcoholics, ScienceDaily reports. While more clinical studies are required, researchers have found that the dopamine stabilizer OSU6162 normalized the level of dopamine in the brain reward system of rats that had consumed alcohol for a long time period. The findings come from research conducted at the Karolinska Institutet and the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden.
"The results of our studies are promising, but there is still a long way to go before we have a marketable drug," says Pia Steensland, PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience of Karolinska Institutet, and co-author of both studies. "The socioeconomic costs of alcohol are huge, not to mention the human suffering. It is inspiring to continue working."
Researchers examined the effect that OSU6162 had on cravings of those with a history of alcohol dependence. The participants were split into two groups, half were given OSU6162 and the other half was given a placebo, according to the article. The group that was given the dopamine stabilizer reported having less of a craving for alcohol after drinking one drink.
"At the same time, the OSU6162 group reported not enjoying the first sip of alcohol as much as the placebo group," says Dr. Steensland. "One interesting secondary finding was that those with the poorest impulse control, that is those thought to be most at risk of relapse after a period of abstinence, were those who responded best to the OSU6162 treatment." "We therefore think that OSU6162 can reduce the alcohol craving in dependent people by returning the downregulated levels of dopamine in their brain reward system to normal," says Dr. Steensland.
The findings were published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you are or a loved one is abusing alcohol, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

The First National Public Opinion Research On Opioids

opioidsThe unprecedented spike in prescription opioid use in America has raised a number of questions with regard to how the country found itself in the grips of an epidemic. Certainly, most people who experience pain which requires an analgesic of some kind; the pain goes away and they stop taking the prescription. On the other hand, many people continue using prescription opioids long after the pain dissipates, resulting in dependence and/or addiction. Many Americans understand that the country is in the midst of a prescription drug crisis, with thousands of overdoses every year and even more people in need of addiction treatment. Some people will use prescription opioids that were prescribed for someone else, despite having the knowledge that opioids are dangerous and addictive. A new study, which may be the first national public opinion research on opioids, has found that in the past year more than one in four Americans took a prescription opioid, ScienceDaily reports. What’s more, fifty-eight percent of those surveyed say they understand that opioid abuse is major public health problem. The study was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"This study shows that many Americans have had direct experience using prescription pain relievers and a sizable share have misused or abused these medications themselves or have close friends or family members who have done so," says study leader Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "The seriousness of the issue has become salient with the American public."
The findings indicate that the American public may be in a unique position to pass bills that could combat the opioid epidemic, according to the article. The public could support:
  • Better medical training for safely controlling pain and treating addiction.
  • Curbing “doctor shopping” (seeing multiple doctors for the same drugs).
  • Requiring pharmacists to check identification.
"We think this is the perfect time to work on passing policies that can truly impact the crisis of prescription pain reliever abuse," says study co-author Emma E. "Beth" McGinty, PhD, MS, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "The issue has not yet been highly politicized like some public health issues such as the Affordable Care Act, gun violence or needle exchanges, so we may have an opportunity to stem this epidemic."
The findings were published in the journal Addiction. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you are or a loved one is abusing opioids, please contact Pace Recovery Center.