5 Truths About the Addict in Your Life

By David Sack, M.D.

5 Truths About the Addict in Your LifeMost families have been touched by addiction. Many have been forever altered by it. And though most people are affected by it, few understand it. This is because addiction is not a logical disease. The selfishness, the repeated mistakes despite devastating consequences – none of it makes sense, not even to the person living it.

The recurring tumult – ER runs, bail requests, evictions – can lead the addict’s family members to make sweeping assumptions: “He doesn’t love me anymore.” “We’ve lost him forever.” While this may turn out to be true, it’s a story that is being written and the ending is far from certain. The hopelessness that sets in makes the entire family sick and makes it more difficult for the addict to seek the help they need.

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5 Must-Have Conversations for Back-To-School Season

By David Sack, M.D.

5 Must-Have Conversations for Back-To-School SeasonThis is the time of year when shopping for school clothes and the latest electronics and accessories is foremost in your child’s mind. But, for parents, back-to-school season brings up more pressing concerns that should find their way into conversation, whether casually at the mall, in the car or watching TV or in a more formal family discussion around the dinner table.

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Three Unlikely Groups Hit Hard by the Prescription Drug Epidemic

By David Sack, M.D.

Three Unlikely Groups Hit Hard by the Prescription Drug EpidemicThe face of drug addiction has changed dramatically in the past decade. Gone are the days when the “typical” drug addict was a junkie shooting heroin on the street. The widespread abuse of prescription drugs, which are easily accessible and presumed “safe,” has meant that addiction is plaguing some unexpected populations. Three unsuspecting groups have been hit particularly hard:

#1 Seniors

A new generation of addicts is making its way into drug rehab centers. Many Baby Boomers, who grew up in the 60s and 70s in a culture that romanticized drug abuse as consciousness-raising, are now retiring. Free from the responsibilities of work and raising children, some are using their extra time and money to return to the drugs of their youth or to experiment with newer drugs, including prescription medications.

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5 Realities of College Life Every Parent Needs to Know

By David Sack, M.D.

5 Realities of College Life Every Parent Needs to KnowThousands of recent high school grads are stocking up on dorm essentials and packing their bags for college. Since your blossoming young adult may be far from home for the next few years, and they’ll be none too quick to call with updates, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the dark about what really happens at college. Here are five of the less savory aspects of college life every parent should be on the lookout for:

#1 Stress Leads to Drug Use, Binge Drinking.

Transitions can be extremely stressful, especially for young people trying to balance a full load of classes, a part-time job, a social life, and new responsibilities like cooking, shopping and cleaning. Whether it’s the stress of school, the first taste of freedom or an attempt to fit into an unfamiliar environment, studies show that substance abuse and other risky behaviors increase significantly during this time.

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Do I Have to Stop Taking My ADHD Medication During Rehab?

By David Sack, M.D.

Do I Have to Stop Taking My ADHD Medication During Rehab?Drug rehab centers put a number of guidelines in place to ensure the safety of their patients, many of which are challenged by recovering addicts looking for as much normalcy and comfort as possible during the difficult early stages of recovery. One of the most frequently asked questions is: Why no Adderall to treat my ADHD during treatment?

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Grieving the Loss of Addiction

By David Sack, M.D.

Grieving the Loss of AddictionAn addict who has tried to kick their habit for years finally makes their way into recovery. What could they possibly have to grieve about?

Actually, recovering addicts have a lot to grieve. The activity that has been the central focus of their lives is now something they can never do again. The only comfort they have known is gone, and their life requires a complete overhaul. That’s a lot to take in, especially at a time when they are least prepared in terms of ego strength and coping skills.

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FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits – and Misses – the Mark

By David Sack, M.D.

FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits - and Misses - the MarkAs awareness grows about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, the government is following through on its promise to address the “nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revealed its risk evaluation and mitigation strategy for extended-release and long-acting opioids to prevent misuse and abuse, starting with education for doctors who prescribe highly addictive painkillers as well as the patients who take them.

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What Does Drug Rehab Accreditation Really Mean?

By David Sack, M.D.

What Does Drug Rehab Accreditation Really Mean?When you’re searching for a drug rehab, one of the first recommendations you’ll hear is to find a program that is accredited. What does it mean for a program to be accredited? And does accreditation ensure quality treatment?

In lieu of or in addition to getting licensed by the state, some addiction treatment programs choose to get accredited by a third party. In the U.S., drug rehab centers are most commonly accredited by:

  • CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) – an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits addiction and dual diagnosis programs. It is the largest accrediting body for addiction treatment programs.
  • The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) – America’s largest accreditor of health care services and the second largest accreditor of addiction treatment programs.

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5 Lessons Addicts Can Learn from Weight Watchers

By David Sack, M.D.

5 Lessons Addicts Can Learn from Weight WatchersThe 22 million Americans addicted to drugs aren’t as “different” as they may think. Added to their ranks are nearly 150 million obese or overweight Americans who are compelled to eat in much the same way addicts are driven to get high.

Although it has taken awhile for science to catch up with human experience, we have learned that certain foods affect the brain in similar ways as drugs like cocaine and nicotine. In a study by Yale researchers, just looking at a milkshake lit up the same areas of the brain that become hyperactive when an addict sees cocaine.

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Stuck in Adolescence: Helping Your Young Adult Act Like One

By David Sack, M.D.

Stuck in Adolescence: Helping Your Young Adult Act Like One She looks like an adult, sounds like an adult and occasionally dresses like an adult. But take a closer look and you’ll see someone who more closely resembles a teenager than a bona fide grown-up. The increasingly common phenomenon of taking the long road to adulthood goes by different names – failure to launch, Peter Pan syndrome, the boomerang generation – but is becoming a pressing concern for many families.

Most young people don’t struggle with the transition into adulthood, and of those that do, there are often understandable – even healthy – reasons for it. Some are busy seizing other opportunities – trying on different jobs and romantic interests to see which fits, traveling, or building job skills at unpaid internships. For these youth, living at home and settling down later makes sense.

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