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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



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.

Continue reading… »



Why Drug Addicts Will Always Choose Drugs Over Love

By David Sack, M.D.

Why Drug Addicts Will Always Choose Drugs Over LoveA relationship with an active drug addict is inherently dysfunctional. They love you but then steal from you, lie at every turn and trick you into believing their lies. When they continue to use drugs even though their children are being neglected and the love of their life is threatening to leave, loved ones ask, “Why is he/she choosing drugs over me?” The natural, albeit faulty, conclusion is that the love is no longer there, or at least it isn’t strong enough to overcome addiction.

The Illusion of Choice

Although understandable, the question misinterprets the nature of addiction. In truth, the addict isn’t choosing anything. Their behavior is reflexive and automatic, based on a physical and psychological need for a substance. Drugs flood the brain with dopamine, training the brain to rely on the relief they provide and to assign greater value to drugs than other things needed for happiness and survival. Over time, addiction changes the chemistry and function of the brain, robbing the user of control and thus taking away the possibility of choice.

Continue reading… »



6 Surprising Traits You May Have in Common with a Drug Addict

By David Sack, M.D.

6 Surprising Traits You May Have in Common with a Drug AddictIn this age of political correctness, even the most tolerant among us looks at criminals, homeless people, addicts and other “outsiders” with an air of consternation. It’s “them” versus “us,” and somehow it feels safer that way. But if you take a closer look behind the stigma, you may be surprised to find that you have more in common with a drug addict than you think. Do any of these traits sound familiar to you?

Continue reading… »



Is My 2-Year-Old Mentally Ill? How a Culture of Over-Diagnosis and Over-Medicating Is Harming Youth

By David Sack, M.D.

Is My 2-Year-Old Mentally Ill? How a Culture of Over-Diagnosis and Over-Medicating Is Harming YouthChildhood Mental Health Treatment: Can  We Call Over-Medication Progress?

A disturbing trend has emerged in the health care field: Parents are visiting their doctor’s office asking whether children as young as 2 could have a diagnosable mental illness such as depression. And now more than ever, parents are likely to leave with a prescription in hand.

According to Medco Health Solutions, one in four children now take regular medication. The number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the percentage using antipsychotic medication has doubled in the past decade (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly one in 10 children has been diagnosed with ADHD.

Have we become so accustomed to medicating problems away that we see pathology everywhere we look, or are we getting better at identifying disorders that were once dismissed as personality traits?

Continue reading… »



 
 

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • mkc: I believe alcoholism is an addiction and as such there is no middle ground. Perhaps your blog is not directed at...
  • Pamster: Not only do addicts lie. They lie, cheat and steal. My junkie nephew stole from me while he was a guest in...
  • StaticTraveller: but that is how things currently are, it seems. My main intention for writing this, good sir or...
  • StaticTraveller: Dear Harddrive, Your post really touched me. I had a friend who died last year from an overdose of...
  • David Sack, M.D.: I encourage you to call the Al-Anon hotline at 1-888-4AL-ANON to find the meeting closest to you....
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!