If you are in recovery, it may feel like no one else is in the same boat, especially if you’re young. However, if we know anything about addiction, we know that it is incredibly wide-reaching. In fact, it is estimated to impact about ten percent of the population. That’s why it is so important that addiction, and recovery, be represented in the media- and be represented correctly. We certainly know that substance abuse can be misconstrued in the media through glamorizing and rationalization, but luckily there are some books, movies and more that provide an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be addicted to drugs- and what it’s like to get clean.
One of the irrefutably best books about recovery is a memoir called Dry by author Augusten Burroughs. Burroughs, who achieved memoir success with the popular book Running With Scissors, strikes again in this accurate depiction of addiction, recovery and relapse. With his trademark wit and laugh out loud humor, Burroughs paints the story of how he developed an alcohol abuse disorder and how his co-workers insisted he be sent to rehab. After rehab, Burroughs describes the trials and tribulations of early recovery in shocking accuracy. Furthermore, Burroughs describes a painful relapse, but writes without pretense, judgement or dishonesty. The book is a look not only at the (recovering) addict themselves, but the relationships they have with those around them and how alcohol abuse can alter, and strengthen them.
Another popular book about addiction is called A Million Little Pieces. Told in a heart wrenching furious manner, a Million Little Pieces entails the journey of the author, James Frey. However, after parts of the book were later found to be untrue, the book changed from a memoir to a novel. While there was a lot of outrage over this perceived inaccuracy, whomever the story describes, it speaks pretty truely of the struggles and emotions experienced in recovery, and in treatment in general. In treatment, Frey suffers through a root canal without pain medicine and the trials and tribulations that accompany falling for another addict in early recovery.
As far as movies, there are also a lot of good options that reflect addiction and recovery. One popular choice is 28 Days, starring Sandra Bullock. In it, Bullock stars as a hard-partying city girl who inadvertently ruins her sister’s wedding by being messed up. She then enters a 28 day rehab. At first, she is skeptical of those trying to be sober, but after falling out of a window in an attempt to grab pills, she begins to consider the fact that she may need to. However, the journey to recovery isn’t so easy or straightforward.
While movies and books are a good source of inspiration, they can’t be the only tool in your toolbox in terms of recovery. This is where addiction counseling and intervention specialists come in. Recovery Care Partner can help you source the recovery counseling and guidance you or a loved one may need.Learn More
As the war with opioids and addiction rages on in America, people often want to look for reasons why addiction afflicts some and not others. Many stereotypes have evolved in the wake of this fear to suggest that addicts have a lot in common. However, with more studies, research and stories being published, we can now understand that addicts come from every race, creed, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status and more. However, we can say with some confidence that there is a genetic element to the disease of addiction, a quite strong one.
So what is the commonality to addiction besides the genetic component? Are there any personality traits that can perhaps predict addiction? Well, studies are starting to say yes. The trait that is most often associated with addiction is impulsivity. Perhaps this is not surprising as one could fathom that more impulsive people tend to drink and do drugs more frequently and at greater levels than those who are not. However, impulsivity can show up in a number of ways.
One such is that people of a more impulsive nature tend to choose the small, quick reward in comparison to one that is delayed, but larger. This represents the hardship that is experienced when addicts try to overcome the delay of not getting what they want. However, it also represents the importance of overcoming this barrier and rewiring your brain to less need momentary gratification and rewards.
So do other people besides addicts experience impulsivity? Absolutely. Impulsivity is just quick, momentary reactions to internal or external stimuli, often with consequences that are unplanned. Certainly this is a behavior everyone can empathize with, even if doesn’t apply directly to drugs or alcohol. Everyone has things they find themselves doing that they perhaps did not plan. Eating an extra doughnut, buying something we can’t afford, etc. The impulsivity manifested in any of these behaviors represents the cruz of addiction.
So if we know a factor that generates addiction do we know the solution? Well, we may have a place to start. We can now identify resisting impulse as a barrier that addicts must face in order to have long-term recovery. However, this pattern is often hard to break, especially for those who prefer short-term, in comparison to long-term, gains.
However, it is also a factor that at different times in our life we experience impulsivity waning and waxing. Namely, people are more impulsive in their youth and less so in their older years.
With this information in mind, it can be determined that impulsivity is often a prerequisite to addictive behavior and could be quite definitely used as both a screening mechanism and a barrier to cross in terms of future addiction treatment. If you or someone you know is in need of researched, compassionate treatment, look no further than Recovery Care Partner.
You may have heard of heroin or other opiates, but have you heard of fentanyl? This lesser known drug is having a serious impact. The newest drug to hit the streets has completely reignited the opioid crisis and is more deadly than any drug cops have ever seen. It is a driving force behind overdoses all over the world, and country.
So where did fentanyl get its start? Well, fentanyl began its reign in British Columbia. In 2016, British Columbia declared a public health emergency due to the rampant overdoses experienced in the region. They also started a website called fentanylsafety.com. However, this unfortunately did not stop the drug from growing in popularity and spreading to other parts of the country.
So what is fentanyl composed of? Well, it’s a pain reliever so it is an opioid similar to morphine or heroin. Except it’s a lot, lot stronger. In legal settings, it is administered in a patch for really bad, chronic pain, such as in the case of cancer patients. But the fentanyl that is coming from overseas bears almost no resemblance to the legal, medical form. It is about 50 to 100 times stronger than medical fentanyl.
It is the strength and insidious nature of fentanyl that leads it to claim so many lives. People began to learn of the danger of fentanyl several years ago. Around the time it was gaining popularity in British Columbia, a photo by the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory was released. It show two vials, one with a lethal dose of heroin and one with a lethal dose of fentanyl. The dose of heroin clocked in at 30 milligrams, while the lethal dose of fentanyl was only 3 milligrams. Basically, the tiniest scoop can kill you. The picture served to represent just how dangerous and insidious fentanyl can be.
Fentanyl is changing the lives of everyone involved with it. Obviously, addicts and their families are completely ravaged by the fentanyl, but the police and first responders are even having to change their practices in response to the drug. There have been several incidents in which officers have been injured due to contact with fentanyl. In 2016, a police officer in Jersey had to go to the hospital simply because he breathed a small portion of the fentanyl. Because of this and other incidents, police officers are currently using protective gear like Tyvek suits and respirators. This is because fentanyl is so dangerous and so strong that even touching or breathing it in could result in overdose or death. Naloxone, or narcan, as its often known is also a big part of first responders’ jobs in the current opioid crisis. Naloxone works to reverse the effects of overdose.
If you or someone you know is addicted to fentanyl or another drug, the time for help is now. If you are looking to have an intervention in New York or the DMV area, Recovery Care Partner is the best place to go.Learn More
Recovery Care Partner is committed to finding new, innovative ways to tread the terrible disease of addiction. For this reason, we are always finding new avenues and exploring new ways that the medical field is combating addiction around the world. Our commitment and promise for compassionate expert support is of course, substantiated by our commitment to research, academia, medical advancements and the field of addiction treatment at large.
So what new techniques is the medical community trying to help combat the opiate and overall addiction epidemic? Well, one method is Vivitrol. Branded as naltrexone, the once a day pill has technically been around for over 30 years, but a new form of the drug that is administered once a month and helps block the opioid receptors that aid someone in getting high, is relatively new. Naltrexone works in a number of ways. First, it is known to cut cravings for both opiates and alcohol. Also, it will make it so opiates are not received when taken. It is important to understand this as risks accrue when the user cannot feel the amount of the drug they are taking. However, when taken correctly, and in conjunction with abstinence from opiates, it can be very helpful. Furthermore, some people are now taking naltrexone before they engage in drinking to cessate the process germane to many alcoholics of craving, which occurs once the first drink sets in. A large number of people have had success with this method, and the Food and Drug Administration has called it ““a significant advancement in addiction treatment.”
Another innovative way to combat the opiate crisis is via Alda-1, a revolutionary new painkiller that is devoid of addictive properties. The drug is so helpful because it is necessary to provide the world with a safe painkiller alternative. People with chronic pain need something to be prescribed to them, but as it stands, prescribing them with addictive opiates just creates more addicts. This sentiment was echoed by Daria Mochly-Rosen, the professor who discovered the compound and said, “Finding a new pain medication is important because we need a safer drug; there are 17,000 deaths from prescription opiate overdoses [each] year.”
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is another type of therapy being use to combat addiction in individuals. This non-invasive tool uses pulses to change activity in varying areas of the brain, including those that affect addiction, habit-making and cravings. The ability to alter these dynamics in an addict’s brain is incredibly crucial, as anyone with any experience with an addict will understand. A similar strain of therapy is memory reconsolidation, which entails rewiring devastating memories that trigger the destructive behavior that is so central to addiction.
If you are interested in intervention and treatment that stays at the cutting edge of the scientific community, look no further than Recovery Care Partners. We have a wide understanding and compassion for addiction and other related afflictions.Learn More
If you have any experience with addicts, you’ll know that they vary greatly in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background, socioeconomic status and more. But did you know that certain populations are prone to addiction more than others? This has nothing to do with stereotypes (trust us, plenty exist about addiction). There are certain groups of people that are proven to have higher predispositions to alcohol or substance abuse. So what people do these groups include and what characteristics make them more susceptible to addiction?
One group of people that are more likely to abuse drugs is young, white men. Young people in general (18-34) are more likely to fall vulnerable to addiction. If you think about it, this makes sense, due to the environmental factors germane to that age range and period. However, young men are particularly prone, also arguably due to social pressures and factors. Furthermore, race plays a part in addiction. Research has shown that white people are more likely to be addicts than those of an african-american nature. Also, studies have shown that native american youths have the highest likelihood to abuse drugs, followed by whites, african-americans and then asian-americans. The likeliest explanation for this disparity regarding who addiction affects is that race, especially in this country, is not only a demographic but also an experience. It dictates, to some extent, factors and possibilities that could influence personality characteristics and also drug habits.
Another group of people that are disproportionately prone to be addicts are children of addicts. This is probably a fairly unsurprising demographic, as most people are aware of the genetic component behind addiction. But the statistics on predispositions for children of drug abusers truly are staggering. According to the National Institute of Health, children of those who abused drugs are 45 to 79 percent more likely to have a problem with drugs or alcohol themselves than in comparison to the rest of the general population. Not only are children of drug addicts impacted by the genetics they receive, they are also often influenced by the accompanying home and family background.
Another population adversely exposed to drug and alcohol addiction are those that suffer from mental illnesses. This is why the phenomenon of dual diagnosis (when addicts are treated for outside issues, not just their substance abuse problems) has risen in past years. Studies have shown that individuals with mental illness issues attempt to medicate with drugs and alcohol attempt to medicate the symptoms of their mental illness. This is especially prevalent in those with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder characterized by dramatic mood swings and borderline personality disorder, a personality disorder characterized by loss of self, feelings of emptiness, compulsive behavior, mood swings and more. Furthermore, those with the widely common mental illnesses of anxiety and depression are also more at risk for addiction.
There are other groups that are prone to substance abuse, including those with higher IQ’s, members of the LGBT community and those described as sensitive, but we hope our blog gave you an inside look on those left more vulnerable to addiction. Here at Recovery Care Partner, we care especially about those predisposed to addiction, and care deeply about all those who addiction affects. If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction, contact Recovery Care Partner today.Learn More
When one part of the population experiences such a different reaction to drugs and alcohol than the everyone else, it’s natural to wonder what is behind it. In this blog post,we’ll attempt to explain variations in addicts from neurological, biological, environmental and genetic levels. Regarding the genetic explanation for what creates an addict, the answer is pretty straightforward and generally understood. Genetics play a big role in if one is predisposed to addiction. Those with addicts or alcoholics in their family are more likely to become them themselves. However, a little bit harder to explain are the biological, neurological and environmental factors to addiction.
The neurological factors to addiction entail the brain’s experience while addiction is happening. There are three primary stages to addiction- first is preoccupation, second is binge and third is withdrawal. The stages have complex, intertwining relationships with one another and grow worse and worse with the use. However, what is profound about these stages is that the way one’s brain chemically responds to the stages is a major factor in addiction. The chemical response put out by one’s brain during the three stages changes very quickly and this alters brain chemistry; the functioning of a brain’s circuitry decreases a lot in users, giving them sensations of desperation and more. The change in brain chemistry can transform a normal brain into that of an addict, depending on how one reacts to the drugs/alcohol they are ingesting.
There are also a lot of biological factors behind addiction. These factors draw from both neurological and genetic counterparts. A user’s response to a drug or other stimuli is based primarily on their brain makeup. Brain makeup is what comprises the biological factor. Brain makeup is based on inherited genes as well as brain circuitry functions and chemical patterns that comprise neurological factors. Brain makeup may sound complex, but just understand it entails one’s thought process. Anyone that has any experience with an addict knows that their thought processes vary greatly from those without the disease. A big trademark of addicts is lack of ability to resist impulse. This thought process, or lack thereof, helps to exemplify the biological reasons for addiction.
Lastly, and probably the most complex, environmental factors have a lot to do with determining addiction. In a nutshell, the environmental factors for addiction entail the fact that substance abuse can pop up as a poor coping mechanism or response to some kind of tragedy or trauma. How you interpret things growing up and what specific things happened to you while growing up combine to the environmental factors behind addiction. Those that are easily distraught, easily swayed or upset, those that have a hard time working or making friendships, or those that are persecuted have a higher likelihood of substance abuse. The concept of persecution or isolation is especially relevant. In those that have experienced derision, rates of substance abuse are higher. For example,it has been stated that 20 to 30 percent of LGBTQ people battle addiction, whereas the rate is only 9 percent for the rest of the population.
Whatever factors are behind the substance abuse of you our a loved one, you are going to need help. Rely on the help and support of Recovery Care Partner to change lives this new year.Learn More
Addiction is perhaps the murkiest health concern, in terms of public perception. Not only does the public have very little knowledge of adiction, a lot of the public goes as far as to believe untruths that are perpetuated by the media and other sources. Here at Recovery Care Partner, its very important to us that the right information gets disseminated in regards to addiction and its antidote, recovery. Our articles and services in general serve to bring a lot of light to the world of addiction, light that is often hard to find for those struggling in the darkness with their own, or a loved one’s addiction. In this blog post, we expose myths often perpetuated about addiction, as these myths can often be quite dangerous and can inhibit addicts from achieving recovery.
One of the largest myths that gets disseminated to the general public is that the best treatment is that which shames addicts or puts them “in their place.” It has long been thought that confrontational, shame-based methods are the most effective at combating addiction. A lot of this philosophy stems from the Synanon Model, a philosophy/group forged by a spin-off of AA. Though the group had peaceful/thoughtful psychosocial origins, it eventually culminated in bloody, haunting ends. This evolution mirrors the harm that overly confrontational models can have on addicts. Not only do these methods not result in efficacy, they can also be especially damaging. Recent studies conducted by researchers at The University of British Columbia have proved a correlation with relapse and declining health and treatment methods that procure shame in addicts.
The sentiment that addicts need to be put in their place stems from a wider, though still largely disseminated belief that addicts are inherently bad people. Unfortunately, a lot of people see addiction as a choice, not a disease and subsequently, the desperate actions they see addicts do to procure their drug of choice lead them to believe the person is a bad, dirty individual rather than a sick one. People have a lot of misconceptions about addicts in general. But addiction knows no race, gender, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, or especially sexuality/gender identity. Most people tend to think of addicts as young straight white males, but the truth is much more colorful. In fact, addiction affects LGBTQ people disporortionately.
Rates of substance abuse are staggering within the LGBTQ population. It has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of individuals who identify as LGBTQ battle addiction, whereas the rate is only 9 percent concerning the rest of the population. So what are the reasons for this huge disparity? Well, it’s no secret that LGBTQ people suffer daily discrimination, stigmatization and isolation. These factors contribute to higher levels of mental illness and as is well known, mental illness and addiction have a high correlation. The concept that individuals that experience more discrimination, trauma or general hardship experience higher levels of substance abuse is prevailing, though not widely accepted.
If you are looking for professionals that approach addiction as the complex, multifaceted entity that it is, you need look no further than the experts at Recovery Care Partner.Learn More
If you practice any kind of addiction therapy or medicine, or if you simply want to know more about addiction and related topics, check out the Elevate Your Practice event, hosted by Ashley Addiction Treatment. The event will be held in Ellicott City, Maryland and will be co-sponsored by Columbia Addictions Center, as well as the folks here at Recovery Partner. The event begins February 9th so make sure you sign up soon!
Have you ever experienced an emotional hangover? Scientific evidence shows that the same area of the brain that is triggered from substances is also triggered by three early recovery challenges: romances, finances and resentments. Due to the fact that recovery is a lifelong process with challenges across the way, we will explore the emotional roller coaster of these three frequent offenders in early recovery and the subtle changes in thinking and behavior that make us vulnerable for relapse.
Many in the addiction and recovery communities are wary of taking/being prescribed medicine to help with cravings and other manifestations of substance use disorder. It seems counter-intuitive, especially as many Americans get hooked to pills they were prescribed in the first place. However, as both alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder are bonafide diseases, scientific and medicinal treatments are really not so out of place. Of course, many people find their answer with 12-step programs, yoga, meditation, therapy or more. However, some addicts and alcoholics may benefit from a drug that cuts down on cravings or another addiction-related drug. Of course, here at Recovery Care Partner, we recommend a holistic approach at combating addiction- medication should be paired with therapy which should be paired with meetings. This approach truly helps fight the fact that addiction affects you inside out, and affects all parts of your life. In this blog post, we will help you take a look at different addiction medications that you may be interested in, or perhaps not.
One popular and up and coming addiction drug is Naltrexone. Naltrexone falls under the class of opioid antagonists and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of opiate addiction and alcoholism. So how does it work? Well, it works in three primary ways. It blocks the effects of the opiate, decreases the desire one has for opiates or alcohol and also interferes with desire to drink thus preventing a drinking relapse. It essentially cuts down on cravings one has for both opiates and alcohol, which is as any addict or alcoholic knows, is a big win. In terms of alcohol, it can also be administered via what is called the Sinclair Method. The Sinclair Method is a treatment for alcohol use disorder. Also known as pharmacological extinction, the method works by the addict taking naltrexone an hour before taking a drink. Woah, what? Yes, this method doesn’t revolve around abstinence. It totally may not be the right method for you, but for those who have tried it, the method has a 78 percent long-term success rate. One quarter of those doing TSM eventually become completely abstinent, the rest of the successful TSM users continue to take naltrexone prior to drinking. Another important thing to say about naltrexone is that it also comes in the form of a shot, called Vivitrol. This is known by a lot of heroin and other opiate addicts to cut down cravings, by blocking both opiates and endorphins. There are not a lot of side effects to naltrexone, it is regarded by the FDA and large scientific institutions as completely non-addictive. However, some addicts report, when taking naltrexone regularly (not just before a drink), a loss of interest/pleasure in usually enjoyable things such as eating food or having sex. This is because of the blocking of endorphins. However, if you subscribe to the Sinclair Methods or other practices in which you are not taking naltrexone regularly, this is very unlikely. Perhaps it is not for you, but with all the talk and hubbub surrounding naltrexone in the scientific community, we had to put it on our list.
Other addiction medications include bupropion (brand name- Wellbutrin) and suboxone and methadone. Bupropion is primarily used to treat cravings for nicotine and food, but in some cases has been found to cut down cravings for drugs and alcohol. Suboxone and methadone are partial opioid antagonists and opioids, respectively. However, they are considered pretty controversial because often, addicts transfer their addiction to these more legalized, less dangerous (but still highly addictive) drugs. Perhaps medication is not the treatment you are seeking, but Recovery Care Partner wants to make sure you are up to date on all cutting-edge addiction treatment- we want to make sure you have all the tools in your toolbox to treat the addiction you or a loved one are battling.Learn More