5 Realities of College Life Every Parent Needs to Know

By David Sack, M.D. • 4 min read

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. • 2 min read

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. • 4 min read

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. • 2 min read

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. • 3 min read

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. • 4 min read

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. • 4 min read

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. • 3 min read

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. • 3 min read

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. • 2 min read

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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