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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Are Stressed Out Moms the New Prescription Pill Poppers?

By David Sack, M.D.

Are Stressed Out Moms the New Prescription Pill Poppers?One of the most fundamental components of a healthy childhood is a child’s attachment to their parents. But children whose moms struggle with prescription drug addiction get a less than idyllic start. They learn that Mommy’s too sick to drive or too tired to play. Or Mommy goes through long periods when she’s “just not herself.”

Growing up in a home where fighting and instability are the norm can be devastating for children. Studies show that children of addicts are more likely to be neglected, abused or placed in foster care. The children are also at high risk of addiction later in life, and are more often exposed to dangers like riding in the car with a parent who is driving under the influence.

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To Disclose or Not to Disclose: Mental Illness at Work

By David Sack, M.D.

To Disclose or Not to Disclose: Mental Illness at WorkAbout half of the roughly 58 million Americans with mental illness are active in the workforce. Looking at the average company, you wouldn’t know it. Unless you work for an open-minded boss or a company that actively encourages people to come forward and get help, many workers keep their struggles with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other issues silent for fear of losing their job, their credibility or opportunities to advance. Although nondisclosure is certainly understandable, there are risks and benefits to consider on both sides.

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5 Simple Ways to Moderate Your Drinking

By David Sack, M.D.

5 Simple Ways to Moderate Your DrinkingMost people who have consumed alcohol for a few years or more have at least one embarrassing story: the time they humiliated themselves at an office party, the hangover that ruined their weekend plans, the time they drove when they really shouldn’t have. The next day, they inevitably tell themselves, “I should really cut down on my drinking.”

Not everyone is willing to cut alcohol out of their lives, nor do they need to. Those with a history of addiction or mental illness, who suffer from diseases of the liver or pancreas, or who are pregnant or taking certain medications shouldn’t drink at all. For others, there is a sometimes elusive middle ground called moderation.

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Ingredients of a Good Dad: What the Science Says

By David Sack, M.D.

Ingredients of a Good Dad: What the Science SaysIt’s time for our moment in the sun: Father’s Day  -  the day we dads are officially honored before things go back to normal for the other 364 days of the year.

While all that glory may feel undeserved at times, it turns out we might just matter more than many people think. Research shows that good dads have certain traits in common and the paternal influence runs much deeper than once imagined. On this Father’s Day, consider what studies say about all you’ve done for your children and all your dad did for you.

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Addicts Will Always Find a Way to Get High

By David Sack, M.D.

Addicts Will Always Find a Way to Get HighWhen the makers of OxyContin reformulated the drug to minimize abuse in 2010, the sudden unattractiveness of one of the most widely abused painkillers prompted a dramatic surge in heroin abuse. Onlookers expected OxyContin to lose its huge following, but few expected such a widespread shift to heroin. Yet studies show that’s exactly what happened.

From 2010 to 2012, researchers from Washington University and Nova Southeastern University surveyed over 2,500 people seeking treatment for opiate addiction at 150 treatment centers throughout the country. They further interviewed 103 people who filled out anonymous surveys in an effort to assess how their drug habits had changed over time.

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6 Common Fears in Addiction Recovery – and How to Face Them

By David Sack, M.D.

6 Common Fears in Addiction Recovery - and How to Face ThemFear is normal at every stage of recovery. Everyone enters rehab with some trepidation, even if they’ve been in and out of treatment for years. Likewise, most people leave rehab full of worry. What will happen when they leave the one place they know they can stay sober? How will they cope when the feelings they’ve been medicating come flooding back?

When you think about how the average person responds to a horror movie or passing a traffic accident, it is clear that, in some cases, fear actually draws us in rather than repelling us. Fear makes us alert to danger; it helps guide our decision-making process. But too much fear can be paralyzing in life and, in addiction recovery, can be a precursor to relapse.

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A Doctor’s Most Dreaded Patient: The Addict

By David Sack, M.D.

A Doctor's Most Dreaded Patient: The AddictIt is an unfortunate reality that most doctors don’t like treating addiction, and they don’t like addicts. They’ll treat the consequences of the disease but they won’t always confront the underlying issues, discuss treatment options or provide referrals to an addiction specialist or even a self-help support group like AA. What’s behind this institutional bias against addicts?

A Health Care System in Denial

Denial keeps addicts stuck in their disease. It’s also keeping our health care system sick. An estimated six million addicts receive health care in hospitals, emergency rooms and primary care clinics each year. This kind of access puts doctors in an ideal position to recognize and treat addiction, yet they receive very little training on how to do so. During medical school, there’s no required course in addiction and only a few states require continuing education in the use of narcotic medications and the management of chronic pain.

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