Tag Archives: treatment

Educating Americans About Substance Use Disorders

NCADDMillions of people around the world are currently working programs of recovery, determined to live a life free from all mind altering substances and to be productive members of society. While the nation and the rest of the world have a long way to go with regard to understanding that addiction is a treatable disease, one that should be openly discussed to break the stigmas that have long been associated with drug and alcohol use - in recent years Americans have come a long way and addiction is no longer viewed as a moral failing. The Internet has played a large role in bringing addiction out into the open, and has become a vital tool for those looking for information or help for themselves and/or a loved one. There are hundreds of organizations that are devoted to breaking the stigma of addiction, so that those who are struggling can receive the help that they so desperately need. One such organization, is the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), an advocacy organization which has been addressing alcoholism and drug dependence since 1944 - the oldest of its kind in the nation. Last week, via a press release, NCADD announced the launching of their new website which encompasses the organization’s commitment to educating Americans about substance use disorders. The organization's goal is to inform people about the fact that addiction is treatable, preventable and millions of people do recover. The new website gives users the ability to access a wide range of information that both addicts and their loved ones can harness to make informed decisions. The NCADD site works on multiple platforms, and is an inclusive resource that people can turn to for more information about alcoholism, drug dependence and options individuals can turn to for finding recovery.
We have reconfigured the website to reach more people,” says NCADD President Andrew Pucher, “making it easier for those searching for answers about alcoholism and drug dependence to find them - regardless of what device they choose to utilize.”
In the 21st Century, those battling with addiction are fortunate to have resources as informative as the NCADD at their fingertips, which could not be more useful at a time when our nation continues to face an insidious opioid epidemic; a scourge linked to thousands of overdose deaths every year. Learning that you are not alone can often be the catalyst required for people to reach out for help in the form of treatment and/or 12 step programs. NCADD makes available a number of personal recovery stories that people can not only learn from, but relate to - the tie that binds. While every story of addiction is different, the underlying themes are the same, which are easy for any addict or the loved ones of an addict to identify with. One’s story of recovery is the common bond, recovery is not possible alone.
Personal experience provides the heartbeat of recovery,” says Pucher. ____________________________________________________________________
If you are or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

Drug and Alcohol Use in America Compared to Europe

drug-useExcessive alcohol and illicit drug use are problems that every industrialized country struggles with, albeit they all go about it in different ways. While many argue about which measures are most effective from one country to the next, it turns out that some countries are doing better in the fight against addiction. So, how does the United States compare to the rest of the western world? The easy answer is, ‘not that well’! Using data from the United Nations, a group of treatment professionals worked to create a series of maps to compare drug and alcohol use in the United States to European countries. The findings showed that Americans overwhelmingly lead the way in opioid and amphetamine-type stimulant use. The United States has the most people in substance use disorder treatment and we have the highest rate of overdose deaths per year. prevalence-of-opioid-use-once-year-past-year Interestingly, the U.S. did not even make the top five when it came to the availability of substance abuse treatment. America tied with Spain for the most cocaine used, and we came in second (per capita) for marijuana use. However, with Amsterdam considered to be a marijuana mecca, the Netherlands failed to make the top five. The data gathered showed that America is in the top five for almost every national measure of drug abuse. Europe, on the other hand, has a long history with alcohol which may be why countries in the EU top the charts for alcohol use in the last year. America, did not make the top five for once, sitting somewhere in the middle. Norwegians came in first, with the most alcohol consumed per capita; with the stereotypical hard-drinking Irish ranking fifth. This data and mapping help experts determine what policies are working, and which are not. It should help us develop more effective measures going forward. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you or a loved one is living with addiction, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

September is National Recovery Month

recovery-monthOrange County, California is well known for many things; such as its affluent communities and sandy beaches. It is also known for its large recovery community, being home to many substance use disorder treatment facilities, sober living homes and hundreds of 12-step recovery meetings held every week. People working programs of recovery make up a large part of the community; triangle and square stickers proudly adorn many a car bumper. While today and this month will be the same as yesterday and last month when it comes to working the principles of recovery, this month is a special time for many who are working a program or work in the field of addiction medicine. September is National Recovery Month, a time to recognize the countless people working towards living a healthy life - free from drugs and alcohol. If you would like to find a Recovery Month event in your area and learn more about local activities to support recovery efforts, click here. You are welcome to attend, even if you are not in recovery; the disease of addiction touches everyone in one way or another, when more people support the efforts of recovery it reduces the stigma that has long accompanied the illness. Recovery month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), and if you are interested in hosting an event they have a number of tools at your disposal to guide you through the process. Use these tips, guidelines, and resources to help you plan your Recovery Month event: The President issued a Proclamation endorsing National Recovery Month, and it is worth reading in full:

NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH, 2015

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

Every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. From big cities to small towns to Indian Country, substance use disorders affect the lives of millions of Americans. This month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all those who are seeking or in need of treatment, and we recognize the key role families, friends, and health care providers play in supporting those on the path to a better tomorrow.

This year's theme is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!" It encourages us all to do our part to eliminate negative public attitudes associated with substance use disorders and treatment. People in recovery are part of our communities -- they are our family and friends, colleagues and neighbors -- and by supporting them and raising awareness of the challenges they face, we can help eradicate prejudice and discrimination associated with substance use disorders, as well as with co-occurring mental disorders. Prevention and treatment work, and people recover -- and we must ensure all those seeking help feel empowered, encouraged, and confident in their ability to take control of their future. Americans looking for help for themselves or their loved ones can call 1-800-662-HELP or use the "Treatment Locator" tool at www.SAMHSA.gov.

My Administration remains dedicated to pursuing evidence-based strategies to address substance use disorders as part of our National Drug Control Strategy. Seeking to widen pathways to recovery, our strategy supports the integration of substance use treatment into primary health care settings and the expansion of support services in places such as high schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the criminal justice system. In the wake of public health crises related to non-medical use of prescription drugs and heroin in communities across our Nation, my Administration has pledged considerable resources to help Federal, State, and local authorities boost prevention efforts, improve public health and safety, and increase access to treatment in communities across the country. And the Affordable Care Act has extended substance use disorder and mental health benefits and Federal parity protections to millions of Americans.

Behavioral health is essential to overall health, and recovery is a process through which individuals are able to improve their wellness, live increasingly self-directed lives, and strive to fulfill their greatest potential. During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we reaffirm our belief that recovery and limitless opportunity are within reach of every single American battling substance use disorders, and we continue our work to achieve this reality.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

___________________________________________________________________________ If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

The New Criteria for Alcoholism

alcohol-use-disorderAlcoholism will now be diagnosed on a spectrum, including mild, moderate, and severe. Historically, doctors divided problematic drinking into two categories, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. The new criteria for alcoholism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), no longer includes abuse and dependence diagnoses, Science Daily reports. Now, there is a single alcohol use disorder diagnosis. Under the new criteria, new research suggests that a third of adults have an alcohol use disorder, and just 20 percent seek treatment for their disease. Having a single drink per day could put one at risk, depending on family history and behavior. Diagnosing an alcohol use disorder now involves an 11 item criteria list, according to the article. Mild alcohol use disorder requires having two or three criteria from the list, while a severe diagnosis requires six or more. Worldwide, alcohol use disorders affect more people than any other mental health condition. In the United States, researchers found an alcohol use disorder lifetime prevalence of 29.1 percent - but only 19.8 percent of adults were ever treated.
"Most importantly, this study highlighted the urgency of educating the public and policymakers about AUD [alcohol use disorder] and its treatments, destigmatizing the disorder and encouraging among those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment," the study concludes.
The research indicated that the 12-month prevalence of alcohol use disorder under the new DSM-5 criteria was 13.9 percent and the lifetime prevalence was 29.1 percent. The aforementioned percentages equate to approximately 32.6 million and 68.5 million adults. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Binge Drinking Has Lasting Effects

addictionThe effort to understand the effects drug and alcohol use has on the brain during developmental years continues. When teenage drinking is talked about, the words “binge drinking” often arise, that is, consuming five or more alcoholic beverages (male), or four or more drinks (female), over a 2-hour period. The practice is quite common among teenagers who are trying to consume as much alcohol as they can - in the limited time they have. Binge drinking has been associated with a number of health problems, including alcohol poisonings and the potential for addictive behaviors to develop. New research suggests that teens that binge drink may experience changes in the brain that last into adulthood, The Los Angeles Times reports. Researchers found that repeated exposure to alcohol throughout one’s formative years may cause long-lasting changes in the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. “In the eyes of the law, once people reach the age of 18, they are considered adult, but the brain continues to mature and refine all the way into the mid-20s,” lead author Mary-Louise Risher of Duke University said in a news release. “It’s important for young people to know that when they drink heavily during this period of development, there could be changes occurring that have a lasting impact on memory and other cognitive functions.” The brains of teenagers and young adults are still developing, according to researchers, and are uniquely sensitive to levels of alcohol consistent with binge drinking, the article reports. Using rats, the researchers found that those who regularly consumed alcohol while their brain was developing had problems with:
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Judgment
  • Learning Ability
"It's quite possible that alcohol disrupts the maturation process, which can affect these cognitive function later on," said Risher. The findings appear in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

AAP Against Random Drug Testing in Schools

random-drug-testAll would agree the need to prevent substance abuse among teenagers and young adults is of great importance. At every school in the United States, emphasizing to kids the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and identifying those abusing substances is a top concern. Some schools even implement random drug tests to deter and catch those using drugs. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an update policy statement recommending against “suspicionless” drug testing at schools, Reuters reports. The AAP suggests that there is little evidence to support the efficacy of random drug testing practices at public schools. The new policy statement’s lead author, Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital, says that there is little evidence that random drug testing identifies kids who use drugs and helps them receive treatment, according to the article. “Evidence on either side is very limited,” said Levy. “It’s possible that you do get some prevention out of these programs, but on the other hand it seems very expensive, very invasive, and has pretty limited results,” added Levy. Levy points out that because teen drug use is usually sporadic, many teen drug users could pass an annual drug test, only to go on and use drugs for the rest of the year. Those who do fail a drug test are more likely to receive punishment, rather than substance use disorder treatment services. “Pediatricians support the development of effective substance abuse services in schools, along with appropriate referral policies in place for adolescents struggling with substance abuse disorders,” the AAP wrote. The AAP noted that the negative consequences associated with random drug testing include:
  • Eroding of the student-school relationship.
  • The potential for confidentiality breaches
  • Mistaken interpretations of drug tests, resulting in false-positives.
The AAP’s recommendation can be found in the journal Pediatrics.

The Best Approach to Combating Binge Drinking

binge-drinkingIn England, just as the United States, binge drinking is a major problem among young adults. The act of drinking as much as you can, as fast as you can, can lead to a number of problems and even result in addiction. Combating the practice of binge drinking has proven difficult, with research indicating that campaigns against binge drinking have bore little fruit. A new research conducted by Royal Holloway, University of London, in conjunction with three other UK universities, has found that official messages about binge drinking are unlikely to work and are often dismissed as irrelevant by young drinkers, Science Daily reports. The findings may be due to the consumption of large quantities of alcohol being part of their sub-cultural social identity, a group driven by the need to subvert rules and norms. "The insight that heavy drinking can be part of a rule-breaking sub-culture may seem obvious, yet huge sums have been spent in the past on Government anti-drinking advertising campaigns that simply fuel the sense that sensible drinking is boring and conformist, while binge drinking is subversive fun," said Professor Chris Hackley, from the School of Management at Royal Holloway. "Government messages that say 'drink sensibly' ignore the ways many young people actually enjoy drinking. This research also has implications for other areas of Government health policy, where compulsive and excessive consumption can sometimes be fuelled by a need to defy and subvert official rules." What’s more, the research showed that high-price tagged ad campaigns may actually have an adverse effect on people most at risk of drinking to excess, according to the report. In the United Kingdom, alcohol related injuries and deaths cost the National Health Service £3.5 billion a year. Clearly, with the price of excessive alcohol consumption being as high as it is, the need for more effective methods is apparent. The researchers contend that a more targeted and practical approach to alcohol intervention may be more effective than multi-million pound anti-drinking campaigns. The findings were published in the Journal of Business Research.

Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana Use

cannabisBipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is one of the more common co-occurring disorders that people living with addiction experience. Those in the field of addiction are acutely aware that those with co-occurring disorders are some of the most difficult to treat, due to the fact that both the substance abuse and the co-occurring disorder need to be addressed, if a successful recovery is to be achieved. Failure to properly diagnose and medicate co-occurring disorders accordingly usually results in relapse. Many living with mental health disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, often use illicit drugs to cope with their illness. Unlike prescription psychotropic medications, illicit drugs often exacerbate the mental illness, and often times lead to substance dependence and/ or addiction. New research has found that those living with bipolar disorder who use marijuana experience increased manic and depressive symptoms, Medical News Today reports. Symptoms including:
  • Shifts in Mood
  • Energy
  • Activity Levels
  • The Ability to Carry Out Day-to-Day Tasks
Researchers involved in the study found that around 2% of the UK population has Bipolar Disorder, and 60% of them have used marijuana at some point in their lives, according to the article. "One theory that is used to explain high levels of drug use is that people use cannabis to self-medicate their symptoms of bipolar disorder," said lead researcher Dr Elizabeth Tyler of the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University. "The findings suggest that cannabis is not being used to self-medicate small changes in symptoms within the context of daily life. However, cannabis use itself may be associated with both positive and negative emotional states. We need to find out whether these relationships play out in the longer term as this may have an impact on a person's course of bipolar disorder." The findings were published in PLOS ONE.

NPY: Not Only a Treatment for Alcohol Abuse – but a Marker

binge-drinking-NPYThe practice of “binge drinking” is a common occurrence among young adults, especially with young men. Drinking as much alcohol as you can, as fast as you can, may be appealing to those trying to catch up with their peers; however, binge drinking can be extremely dangerous - leading to a number of health problems - as well as dependence and addiction. As a result, researchers have long sought ways to curb binge drinking behaviors using science. At the University of North Carolina (UNC), a team of researchers used "a series of genetic and pharmacological approaches" to identify a protein in the brain called neuropeptide Y (NPY), which suppressed binge drinking behavior in a mouse model, Medical News Today reports. "Specifically, we found that NPY acted in a part of the brain known as the extended amygdala (or bed nucleus of the stria terminalis) that we know is linked to both stress and reward,” explained study lead author Thomas L. Kash, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of pharmacology and psychology and a member of UNC's Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies. This antidrinking effect was due to increasing inhibition (the brakes) on a specific population of cells that produce a 'pro-drinking' molecule called corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)." "When we then mimicked the actions of NPY using engineered proteins, we were also able to suppress binge alcohol drinking in mice," notes Kash. What’s interesting, in the study the researchers found that the "antidrinking" NPY system may be susceptible to alteration by long-term drinking in multiple species. The researchers’ findings suggest that NPY may not only be a treatment for alcohol abuse - but a marker. "The identification of where in the brain and how NPY blunts binge drinking, and the observation that the NPY system is compromised during early binge drinking prior to the transition to dependence, are novel and important observations," study co-author Todd E. Thiele, PhD, professor of psychology at UNC and a member of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies. The findings were published in Nature Neuroscience.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
...