Archives for Treatments

addiction

Addiction, recovery and sex

When I was new in recovery I memorized and learned the 12-Steps. Then, at a meeting I heard someone mention the 13th Step. What!? There's another step I have to do? I asked what the 13th Step was. "It's hitting on newcomers - hooking up with newbies," I was told. "Ah," a much younger and better looking me said to myself. "That's why all these guys are giving me hugs and buying me coffee." I stopped hugging guys that creeped me out - stuck out my hand instead. I learned the true understanding of "helping the newcomer." I listened to my sponsor and old-timers I trusted: "You don't get into relationships or date when you are in early recovery." "Why?" I asked. "Because nothing will take your mind off your recovery quicker than a guy,"  I was told. "And besides, you have demonstrated and extraordinary inability to have a healthy relationship. Your picker is broken."
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General

Buprenorphine: How many patients is too many?

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services published in the Federal Register a notice of rulemaking for medication assisted treatment - MAT - for opioid abuse that would increase the maximum number of patients a practitioner can treat from 100 to 200. The proposed rule would apply specifically to buprenorphine, also known as "bupe"among drug users. The drug is used to wean addicts off prescription and street opioids, such as oxycodone and heroin. Buprenorphine joins methadone and naltrexone as the only three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid addiction. The irony of the government's efforts to regulate patient limits for buprenorphine, is that there are no limits on the number of patients a practitioner can treat with the prescription opioids that feed addition. In fact, there is no other prescription medications with patient limits.
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Alcoholism

How private are a drug addict’s treatment records?

The confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records is under the government's microscope. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - SAMHSA - has filed notice of rule-making for such records. The proposed changes to 42 CFR Part 2- HIPPA - were published in Federal Register on Feb. 9. It's been 29 years since there have been any substantive updates to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations. A lot has changed, especially the recent push for an integrated, continuum of care and the use of electronic medical records. I say changes are needed because you have a bunch of 20-something-year-old newly recovered addicts owning and operating some of the HIPPA-protected treatment programs, such as intensive outpatient programs, called IOPs. They, in turn, share a patient's health condition with their "clinical staff" - who are also newly recovered 20-something-year-old addicts who have little or no formal training and often no more than a high-school diploma.
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Alcoholism

4 reasons why addicts should not trust doctors

One Last month I went to the emergency room with tightness in my chest and shortness of breath. I answered a bunch of questions about my medical history, told them about my depression and bipolar, the meds I am on and made it clear that I am a recovered alcoholic/addict and that I do not want to be given any medications that might cause me to relapse. The doctor came, looked at my chart, looked at me and asked if I was in pain. I said no, just uncomfortable tightness and shortness of breath. . "Do you have any pain?" the doctor asked. "I'm going to give you some Ativan. It will help you relax," the doctor said. "No you're not," I said. "I'm a recovered alcoholic/addict and I don't take benzos." "Why?" the doctor asked.
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Coping with Depression

Four reasons to exercise when you have depression

Shortly before my depression snapped me in half, I went to a spin class at the gym. Of all the exercise I have done - and I have done a lot - spin is the most intense aerobic workouts.

An hour of riding a stationary bike -mostly at your maximum heart rate - and my body is toast. However, my brain is on a pink cloud - awash in endorphins.

But on that day, the endorphins did not...
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Dual-Diagnosis

Addiction treatment: Here’s the prescription for relapse

I met yet another addict who is taking benzos prescribed by a doctor who knew this woman is an addict trying to stay clean.

WTH? (I would like to say WTF? but I'm a lady.)

This addict said the doctor who prescribed her Klonopin and Ativan knows she is in recovery. In fact, he's the doctor who treats clients in her intensive outpatient program. (Again, WTH?)

I have two problems with this common scenario:

Doctors who prescribe benzos to patients...
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Bipolar

Chiropractic care for physical and mental health

My insurance company wants to know why I have been to the chiropractor so much recently. The company has asked my chiropractor for an explanation. I've got an explanation: My back hurts. I did not injure it. I was not in a car accident. I'm 56-years old and sometimes it just goes out of whack. But here is the main reason I've been seeing my chiropractor so much. I am a recovered alcoholic and I have bipolar II. You see, I can't and don't want to take muscle relaxers. I might abuse them. I don't want a shot of some steroid because if you take the pain away without correcting the problem, I will go back to my usual exercise routine and very likely hurt myself. Exercise is a critical component of maintaining my mental health. It's not just the endorphins, it's the way I feel - energized, strong, capable. It builds my self-esteem and gives me confidence. It's the camaraderie and fun I have at the gym. It's my tribe.
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Alcoholism

Drug treatment: How many times will you go to go to rehab before you realize it isn’t working?

This is going to make some people mad. I'm going to say it anyway. Why do addicts and alcoholics go to rehab over and over and over if it doesn't work for them? If you had cancer and you did 10 rounds of treatments and they weren't working, would you keep going? I know you are going to say relapse is part of the disease. But if you relapse over and over and over and over, why go back to the same treatment? At a certain point you have to stop blaming the disease for your relapse and realize the treatment you are doing for your disease simply isn't working. Stop going to rehab. Stop paying tens of thousands of dollars for a treatment protocol that isn't working for you. I'm not saying that rehabs don't work. They do - for some addicts and alcoholics. Treatment will work for the highly motivated addict or alcoholic who won't be distracted by the cushy, resort-like facilities that offer massages, tai chi, golf "therapy" and meditation on a Florida beach.
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Dual-Diagnosis

Why can’t we understand the link between teens, drugs and depression?

I just read an article that suggested teens with mental illnesses should be screened for substance abuse. To which my inner teen said, "D'uh!" The article also suggested that treatment for  SUD and MI in teens should be integrated and not on parallel tracks. "Double D'uh!" I can't believe that articles like this still are written. Did we learn nothing from Curt Cobain?
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Alcoholism

How my depression nearly killed my sobriety

This month I celebrate 17 years of sobriety. Let me say that again. This month I celebrate 17 years of sobriety. I can't believe I just said that because it seems so impossible and sounds so weird coming from my mouth. 17 years. How the heck did that happen? One day at a time. I also followed suggestions, especially from a doctor friend who told me about 12 years ago that I was in a major depression and needed antidepressants.
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