Treatment

Dispelling Myths About Naltrexone: Is It Right for You?

Naltrexone 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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Addictive Drugs

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

Pregnant 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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Treatment

Obamacare’s First Act: Why I’m Optimistic

The 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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Addiction

5 Truths About the Addict in Your Life

Most 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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Addictive Drugs

Three Unlikely Groups Hit Hard by the Prescription Drug Epidemic

The 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
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General

5 Realities of College Life Every Parent Needs to Know

Thousands 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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