3 Ways to Guard Against Abusive Love

By David Sack, M.D. • 3 min read

3 Ways to Guard Against Abusive LoveOne of the most heartbreaking things about abusive relationships is how much they can look like love in the beginning to their victims. They are often swept off their feet, passionately courted, and made to feel more special than they have ever felt before.

Then comes the crash: The desire to be near becomes a desire to control; talk of love becomes suspicion, sarcasm and hostility; behavior seems aimed at demeaning rather than revering. And to this emotional abuse is often added physical abuse as well.

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Boomers: 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Light That Joint

By David Sack, M.D. • 3 min read

Boomers: 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Light That JointIf you were a teen in the 1960s or ’70s, odds are good that you know your way around marijuana, even if you didn’t inhale. So who can blame you for being intrigued now that the drug is being sold in a way once unimaginable – legally.

Oregon and Alaska just approved recreational sales, and in Washington State and Colorado, anyone over 21 can already stroll into a retail pot shop and buy marijuana buds and cannabis-infused cookies, tinctures and sodas. A medical marijuana card gets you access to the same in close to half the states. And because the majority of us now back legalization, polls show, availability of the drug can only be expected to increase.

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What Your Superstition Says About You

By David Sack, M.D. • 2 min read

What Your Superstition Says About YouSuperstition is everywhere in our culture: athletes grow lucky beards, black cats sit unadopted in animal shelters, and high-rise elevators commonly go straight from the 12th to the 14th floor. About a quarter of us admit to being “somewhat” superstitious, according to a Gallup poll, and those numbers are trending upward.

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Are TV Docs Dispensing Bad Medicine?

By David Sack, M.D. • 3 min read

Are TV Docs Dispensing Bad Medicine?In times past, the doctor was in. Today, the doctor is also on, and millions of us are watching.

Syndicated TV shows such as The Doctors and The Dr. Oz Show examine issues of physical and mental health, usually through a talk show format that blends experts, ordinary folk, celebrities, and viewer questions. Such shows are hugely popular, with these two alone capturing more than five million viewers daily. What’s not clear is to what extent viewers depend on this information for their health decisions.

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DUI: A Sign of Addiction?

By David Sack, M.D. • 4 min read

DUI: A Sign of Addiction?If you have ever been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), or in some jurisdictions driving while intoxicated (DWI), you quickly learned the legal and financial consequences of driving while impaired, but you may have been left wondering what the DUI means for your personal well-being. Did you make a one-time mistake, or could a DUI be a sign of a bigger problem?

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Drugs and Alcohol: These Looks Can Kill

By David Sack, M.D. • 4 min read

Drugs-and-Alcohol-These-Looks-Can-KillDrug and alcohol abuse do ugly things, not only to our insides but to our outsides. And the effects on our appearance can have the power to move us. Tell us that alcohol damages our liver and brain, and we nod. Tell us that it may make us fat, well, now you have our attention.

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Dispelling Myths About Naltrexone: Is It Right for You?

By David Sack, M.D. • 4 min read

Dispelling-Myths-About-Naltrexone-Is-It-Right-for-YouNaltrexone has been around for decades as a treatment for those struggling with opioid or alcohol dependence, first in pill form and now as a once-a-month injection marketed under the name Vivitrol.

Despite its long-term presence on the scene, confusion about naltrexone’s efficacy and appropriateness abound. Here’s a look at a few myths surrounding this increasingly popular addiction medication to help you determine if it might be right for you:

Myth 1: It’s not that effective.

Historically, it has been hard to judge how well naltrexone worked because patients needed to take it every day. If they missed even a few doses, its benefit was lost. It is now clear that when the pills are taken as directed or the intramuscular injections are received monthly, naltrexone offers significant relief for many who struggle with addictions to alcohol or opioids.

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Painkillers for Pregnant Women: What We Don’t Know Might Hurt Us

By David Sack, M.D. • 4 min read

Painkillers for Pregnant Women: What We Don't Know Might Hurt UsPregnant women are often scrupulous about what they put in their bodies, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, processed meats and mercury-laced fish in an effort to protect their developing child. But if they go to their doctor for pain, about one in five will leave with a prescription for a narcotic painkiller such as codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone, according to a recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. That’s a record number.

What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. The problem is we just don’t know for sure.

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Obamacare’s First Act: Why I’m Optimistic

By David Sack, M.D. • 2 min read

Obamacare's First Act: Why I'm OptimisticThe dust has begun to settle ever so slightly on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known popularly as Obamacare, giving us a glimpse at what might be and what has already begun to change in terms of helping some of the most vulnerable among us – people struggling with addictions and mental illness.

As someone who works directly with this population, I am optimistic. It’s still early in the process, but the ACA’s mandated health coverage is having important practical and philosophical effects. In practical terms, more people are getting on the insurance rolls; philosophically, there’s increased recognition that those dealing with mental health issues or substance abuse need and deserve help, and that it benefits all of us when they get it.

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Baby Boomers: No More Strength in Our Numbers?

By David Sack, M.D. • 5 min read

Baby Boomers:  No More Strength in Our Numbers?We baby boomers have been lucky. Born into post-World War II prosperity, we grew up with more access to nutrition, medical care and education than any other generation in history. We’ve had opportunities undreamed of by our ancestors, and through our sheer numbers – 78 million strong – we’ve dominated the political and cultural landscape.

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