New Sleep Guidelines to Keep Youth Healthy

By Richard Taite • 1 min read
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New Sleep Guidelines to Keep Youth Healthy

Sleep is essential for overall health. Without regular age appropriate amounts of sleep, adolescents are at risk for developing a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, weight change, and sometimes insomnia. There may be noticeable behavioral changes when teens don’t sleep well, such as moodiness, experimentation with substance use and an increase in stress from school. Many physicians today inappropriately prescribe addictive medications for both kids and adults, which can easily lead to abuse and addiction, or at least increases the possibility.

While previous studies have shown that many patterns of addictions have roots in childhood, the most recent research strongly suggests that increasing sleep time could have an influence on preventing anxiety and depression, disorders that commonly co-occur with addiction. Several research studies have reinforced the importance of good sleep habits, especially for young people who are physically and mentally still developing.

One study by the University of Michigan foundteens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medication are up to 12 times more likely to abuse prescription drugs than those who had never been prescribed such medication.” A study by the University of Texas found “reduced quantity of sleep increases risk for major depression, which in turn increases risk for decreased sleep.” Another study by the University of Basel reported that “teenagers who used digital media at night had an increased risk for poor sleep and depressive symptoms.”

The National Sleep Foundation convened a broad range of scientific experts to recommend new sleep ranges for all age groups. Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, chief of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School claimed:

“This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health, performance and safety.”

A summary of recommendations from The Sleep Foundation, for infants thru young adults includes:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)

 

Addiction is a growing public health concern and although getting good quality sleep on a regular basis will not guarantee a young person will never struggle with substance abuse, it does give the best opportunity for staying mentally healthy and alert. Sleep should be a priority for health, giving young people the best chance to develop into responsible adults.

 

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22534-teens-prescribed-anxiety-sleep-medications-likelier-to-illegally-abuse-them-later

http://www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29307

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10964-014-0176-x

http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

– See more at: http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/richard-taite/new-sleep-guidelines-keep-youth-healthy/#sthash.LrTsu8lL.dpuf



The Teenage Brain on Drugs

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
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The Teenage Brain on Drugs

One way to look at addiction is to consider it a form of learning, a type of learning that is extremely effective in its ability to affect the adolescent brain, report researchers working under an NIH grant. The maturation process of the brain may cause teens and young adults to become addicted faster than older adults, because the impulse control centers of the brain are not fully developed in the younger cohort.

Drugs not only interfere with the normal processing functions of the brain, they actually change both the structure and function of the brain. Over time, drug use and abuse can lead to addiction with all its negative, life-long consequences. Neuroscientists have reported for years that the human brain is not fully mature until around the age of twenty-five. Further, the research being conducted on brain development at several academic institutions suggests that the maturing brain may be at particular risk and highly vulnerable to both the short term and long term use and abuse of drugs. There is no question that substance use during the teen years significantly increases the chance of developing a substance abuse problem later in life.

Dr. Frances Jensen is a professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University Of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine. In a recent interview, Dr. Jensen said:

“The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain. And what is in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior.”

This neuroscientific research helps physicians, scientists and addiction professionals understand why teens are particularly susceptible to substance abuse, alcohol abuse, (tobacco) smoking, and even the over-use of electronic games and digital devices. These behaviors fold in all too well with a brain that is still developing its impulse control. Knowing these facts, we are better able to explain why teens and young adults make decisions that are risky and can lead to health and safety concerns. These individuals are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of particular behaviors. Fortunately, this information can allow us to redesign prevention strategies. It is imperative that prevention programs that promote a drug-free lifestyle are expanded along with care for substance abusing youth.

Previous studies have given us similar information. For example, we know that chronic marijuana users between 13 and 17, individuals who use marijuana at least several times a week if not daily for at least a year, consistently are shown to have decreased verbal IQ and functional MRIs show differences in brain function between marijuana users and non-users when completing various tasks. These represent permanent changes to the brain, caused by marijuana use.

It is critical that parents, addiction treatment professionals, and educators understand the specific needs of teens, not only to prevent addiction, but to treat it. More important, teens should be empowered to make healthy decisions by being taught what’s going on inside them, how they are developing. By helping teens understand their feelings and biological development, they can better navigate relationships and health choices, allowing them to create a more resilient, healthier lifestyle. Early and ongoing education is an important factor to help adolescents and young adults develop to their fullest potential.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399589/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/28/381622350/why-teens-are-impulsive-addiction-prone-and-should-protect-their-brains?sc=17%3Ff%3D13

– See more at: http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/richard-taite/teenage-brain-drugs/#sthash.ybp69Drd.dpuf



Danger to Gay Men Huffing Poppers

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
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Danger to Gay Men Huffing Poppers

Participants in a new study have reported a small but growing and worrisome trend among some gay American men. Often described as a new way to use poppers or as huffing poppers, in fact, the practice is simply inhaling organic solvents or propellants. This practice appears to have been going on for several years but may be increasing.

“Poppers” originally referred to recreational use of amyl nitrite, a substance that triggers production of nitric oxide and thereby produces a potent effect of widening of the blood vessels. It has been used to enhance sexual experience through relaxing smooth muscle and its mild psychoactive effects. Since the 1980s, amyl nitrite has been restricted to medical uses in the United States and Europe, but a number of related alkyl nitrites continue to be available in legal or semi-legal form.

The current trend does not involve the conventional poppers, which are inhaled directly from a bottle, typically in smaller amounts. The new huffing of solvents and propellants carries substantially greater risk both for death and for long-term neurocognitive damage than does the use of nitrite poppers. These new products now appear to be marketed toward or used by gay men, who may not recognize the difference between huffing solvents or propellants and the use of alkyl nitrite poppers.

It is difficult at this point to estimate the prevalence of this new huffing practice. Little if any systematic reporting on the topics of huffing among gay men, in either scholarly journals or the LGBTQ-oriented press has occurred. Consequently, even addiction specialists and LGBTQ specialist clinicians often have little familiarity with the mechanism of these new poppers and tend to assume that they are more or less similar to other inhalants. Therefore, most physicians likely do not realize that huffing organic solvents represents a marked increase in health risks over alkyl nitrite poppers.

To emphasize the need for education about these potentially dangerous “poppers,” Timothy M. Hall MD PhD stated:

“Clinicians are taught almost nothing about regular nitrite poppers. They are little more than a footnote at the back of most addiction textbooks, lumped in with sniffing glue and huffing aerosols, even though the physiologic effects are quite different. Gay and bisexual men, on the other hand, have little exposure to huffing but tend to think of nitrite poppers as fairly benign. There’s a real risk here for [gay men] to be taking a much more harmful substance than they’re expecting, and for clinicians not to recognize the difference.”

Those healthcare professionals working with gay men should learn the difference between nitrite poppers and propellants or solvents commonly used in huffing. Clinicians, whose patients exhibit potential symptoms of huffing such as cognitive impairment or neuropathy, or whose patients mention using poppers, should inquire more deeply regarding possible huffing. Education is an important key to prevent risky behavior and the resulting consequences. Considering talking to a personal healthcare provider about additional health risks.

 

 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19359705.2014.973180#.VNBHTi5LzIU

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150113111152.htm

– See more at: http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/richard-taite/danger-gay-men-huffing-poppers/#sthash.HVrlBaIM.dpuf



Alcohol Advertising Affecting Adolescents

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
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Alcohol Advertising Affecting Adolescents

Remember all those great Super Bowl ads for beer? According to a study by researchers at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) and Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD), seeing and liking alcohol advertising on television among underage youth was associated with the onset of drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking. Alcohol is the most common drug used by young people. In 2013, 66.2 percent of U.S. high school students reported trying alcohol, 34.9 percent reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and 20.8 percent reported recent binge drinking.

The alcohol industry claims that their advertising self-regulation program protects underage youth from seeing their ads and does not affect underage drinking. Furthermore, they claim, parents and friends influence teens to experiment more than advertising does. This study suggests otherwise; that underage youth are exposed to and engaged by alcohol marketing. In addition, advertising prompts initiation of drinking as well as transitions from initial experimentation to hazardous drinking.

James D. Sargent, MD, senior author on the study and a CHaD pediatrician claims:

“Our study found that familiarity with and response to images of television alcohol marketing was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking across a range of outcomes of varying severity among adolescents and young adults, adding to studies suggesting that alcohol advertising is one cause of youth drinking. Current self-regulatory standards for televised alcohol advertising appear to inadequately protect underage youth from exposure to televised alcohol advertising and its probable effect on behavior.”

In 2011 and again in 2013, 1596 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 23 years completed a research survey. The surveys examined recall of more than 300 television-advertising images for top beer and distilled spirits brands that aired nationally in 2010-11. The authors derived an alcohol receptivity score based on having seen the ad, liking it and correctly identifying the brand.

Receptivity to television alcohol advertising predicted the transition to multiple drinking outcomes. The findings are consistent with the idea that marketing self-regulation has failed to keep television alcohol advertising from reaching large numbers of underage persons and affecting their drinking patterns. In the U.S. alone, producers of alcohol spend billions of dollars annually marketing their products, which includes television marketing. Advertising does work, thus the huge amounts spent to promote brand recognition by targeting current and future consumers.

Therefore parents need to be involved in discussions with their children about alcohol. Kids need boundaries in their lives that reflect their age and responsibility, so parents need to tell them not to drink and tell them why. A parent’s attitude affects a kid’s attitude, and subsequently drinking in general.

Other supporting research was recently published. University at Buffalo psychologist, Craig Colder said:

What our data is suggesting is that you can’t control all of your kids’ decisions, but you can help them to make good choices in situations where alcohol is available. You want kids to think about and reflect upon the pros and cons of drinking based on your previous discussions.”

Young people listen a lot more to what their parents and role models say than some adults give them credit for. Prevention started at a young age is encouraged; kids grow up fast. Continuing the conversation until children are grown-up gives the best chance for successfully influencing your kids’ decisions.

Talk to a health care professional for more information about substance abuse.

 

http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2089643

http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/01/004.html

 

– See more at: http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/richard-taite/alcohol-advertising-affecting-adolescents/#sthash.uXAbm8RE.dpuf



Write Your Story, Improve Your Health

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
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Write Your Story, Improve Your Health

Studies have shown that writing about yourself and your personal experiences can improve mood disorders, improve health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory. Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.

In an early study on personal story editing, researchers gathered 40-college freshman who were struggling academically, were worried about grades and questioned whether they were intellectual equals to other students at their school. The students were divided into intervention groups and control groups. Students in the intervention group were given information showing that it is common for students to struggle in their first year and encourage thinking that they just needed more time to adjust.

The long-term intervention results were profound. Researchers found students prompted to change their personal stories improved their grade-point averages and were less likely to drop out over the next year than the students who received no instructions. The control group received no advice about grades, and 20 percent of the students dropped out within a year. However, in the intervention group, only 1 student, or just 5 percent, dropped out.

Another study asked married couples to write about a conflict. Half of the couples were randomly assigned to receive reappraisal intervention and half were not. This effect of the reappraisal intervention on marital quality was mediated through reductions in conflict-related distress. Among 120 couples, those who explored their problems through writing showed greater improvement in marital happiness than those who did not write about their problems. The study demonstrated that a 21-minute writing intervention in which the participants reappraised the conflict their marriage, over time protected them against declines in marital quality.

Getting people to come to terms with who they are and where they want to go is a result of expressive writing according to James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas. He found that students who wrote for about 15 minutes every day about important personal issues, had fewer illnesses and visited the student health center less. He believes that expressive writing can help influence a positive “life course correction.”

Timothy D. Wilson, a University of Virginia psychology professor and lead author of the first study said:

“These writing interventions can really nudge people from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself. Writing forces people to reconstruct whatever is troubling them and find new meaning in it.”

At a practical level, these findings provide a promising target for clinical interventions. At a methodological level, these findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating the power of brief, theory-based, social-psychological interventions to promote achievement, health, and well-being. There is compelling evidence that writing can benefit mental health and improve stressful situations with fresh ideals. Confronting the truth with what personally matters the most, creates the greatest opportunity for change.

 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789406000487

http://web.stanford.edu/~gwalton/home/Welcome_files/FinkelSlotterLuchiesWaltonGross_PSci.pdf



It’s Harder for Women to Quit Smoking than It Is for Men

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
cigarette 2

It’s Harder for Women to Quit Smoking than It Is for Men

Women are at an increased risk of relapse after a smoking cessation attempt. Research indicates that both the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle and the negative symptomatology experienced while quitting play a role during smoking cessation and can influence outcomes.

Although more men than women smoke, women take less time to become dependent after initial use, report shorter and less frequent abstinence periods, smoke for longer periods in their lives, and have more difficulties quitting the habit than men.

The number of smokers is gradually decreasing in the Western world, but international and local epidemiological reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Quebec (Canada) Statistics Institute suggest that cigarette smoking is on the rise internationally among young women and teen girls. Therefore, understanding the biological differences between males and females that can affect recovery efforts is very important.

Published in Psychiatry Journal, a new study by Adrianna Mendrek of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Institute Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal, indicates how the menstrual cycle appears to have an impact on nicotine cravings. Mendrek claims:

“Our data reveal that incontrollable urges to smoke are stronger at the beginning of the follicular phase that begins after menstruation. Hormonal decreases of estrogen and progesterone possibly deepen the withdrawal syndrome and increase activity of neural circuits associated with craving. Taking the menstrual cycle into consideration could help women to stop smoking.”

Fifteen tobacco-smoking men and 19 women underwent a functional MRI scan during presentation of neutral and smoking-related images known to elicit craving. The women were tested twice during their menstrual cycle, once during the early follicular phase and once during the mid-luteal phase. The researchers led their study with two specific objectives in mind. The first was to check if there are gender differences in the neuronal circuits linked to craving. The second was to determine if the electro-cortical changes associated with nicotine withdrawal fluctuate in tandem with hormone variations.

The main finding of the study suggests that brain function associated with craving for cigarettes fluctuates across the menstrual cycle in women smokers. Research emphasizes the need for gender-specific programs to quit smoking, as well as taking into consideration the menstrual cycle phase during addiction treatment in women. Women represent half the population and deserve to have researchers recognize their specific needs in future studies.

“A greater knowledge of the neurobiological mechanisms governing addiction should enable us to better target treatment according to the smoker’s profile,” said Mendrek.

Attempting to quit smoking is difficult, as with any addiction. Talk to a professional for advice on the best possible recovery options and help in personal recovery. Long-term success is possible with the decision to quit and become healthier.

 

 

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/psychiatry/2014/723632/

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2010/9789241599511_eng.pdf?ua=1

http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/statistiques/sante/enfants-ados/alcool-tabac-drogue-jeu/tabac-alcool-drogue-jeu-2008.pdf

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460310000225

 



Alcohol and Cigarettes Use in Teens Declines

By Richard Taite • 1 min read
cigarette 2

Alcohol and Cigarettes Use in Teens Declines

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use. The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States. Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975.

All three grades showed a decline in the proportion of students reporting any alcohol use in the 12 months prior to the survey. Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator said:

“Since the recent peak rate of 61 percent in 1997, there has been a fairly steady downward march in alcohol use among adolescents. The proportion of teens reporting any alcohol use in the prior year has fallen by about a third.”

Of perhaps greater importance, the proportion of teens who report “binge drinking” in the two weeks preceding the survey, fell significantly to 12 percent for the three grades combined. This statistic is down from a recent high point of 22 percent in 1997. While this is an important improvement, roughly one in five (19 percent) 12th graders still reported binge drinking at least once in the prior two weeks.

For the three grades combined, 28 percent reported any smoking in the prior month in 1997, the recent peak year, but that rate was down to 8 percent in 2014. Furthermore, only 23 percent of students had ever tried tobacco cigarettes, as compared to 56 percent in 1998.

The importance of this major decline in smoking for the health and longevity of this generation of young people cannot be overstated,” Johnston said.

Of particular concern is the possibility that e-cigarettes may lead to tobacco cigarette smoking, and reverse this hard-won, long-term decline. More than twice as many 8th and 10th graders reported using e-cigarettes as reported using tobacco cigarettes.

Part of the reason for the popularity of e-cigarettes is the perception among teens that they do not harm health. Only 15 percent of 8th graders think there is a great risk of people harming themselves with regular use of e-cigarettes. This compares to 62 percent of 8th graders who think there is a great risk of people harming themselves by smoking one or more packs of tobacco cigarettes a day.

In recent years, the U.S. has experienced tremendous changes in public opinion toward alcohol and other drug use. Prevention through education has helped and needs to continue; declines in availability and the rise in costs may be contributing factors to the drops in teen substance use. This positive trend is one we hope will continue. The older individuals begin to use substances like tobacco and alcohol, the more likely they are to use them in moderation.

 

http://monitoringthefuture.org/purpose.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216082151.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216082149.htm



A Dangerous Trend: The Move Away from Abstinence Based Addiction Treatment

By Richard Taite • 2 min read

A Dangerous Trend: The Move Away from Abstinence Based Addiction Treatment

The face of addiction treatment is changing, and not for the better.

Betty Ford and Hazelden have long been beacons of hope in the addiction treatment community, two well-known and respected centers that used 12-step treatment and abstinence based recovery to help thousands of people recover from addiction for decades.

The Betty Ford Center and the Hazelden Foundation announced in 2013 that they were pursuing a “formal alliance” to become the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider. Mainstream media outlets noticed the story but in general, the news did not gain the public’s attention. On the surface, why should it? However, to those of us who owe our lives to abstinence-based addiction recovery, the news was shocking.

Hazelden and now Betty Ford, may be minimizing or eliminating their emphasis on abstinence-based addiction recovery. In an abstinence-based recovery model, addicts are considered sober if they refrain from using mind-altering substances on a recreational basis. Some minor exceptions are made for painkillers for a short term, such as after a major surgery, but for the most part, addicts are suggested to live a life not taking substances for non-medical purposes or that affect them from “the neck up.”

Instead of an abstinence model, Betty Ford and Hazelden are embracing what is known as a harm-reduction form of treatment using pharmaceutical interventions. These medical based treatments use pharmaceuticals like methadone or Suboxone, and other drugs, to limit the “harm” or negative consequences of substance abuse, attempting to keep the individual using a pharmaceutical in smaller amounts than their drug of choice, less often, and staying addicted to the pharmaceutical substitute, but using enough of a substitute not to get dope sick. This is an “evidence-based” treatment, and one that pharmaceutical companies are pushing as they stand to make millions of dollars from the sale of harm-reduction pharmaceutical products.

Hazelden supports medication-based treatments for harm reduction, which is in truth only replacing one drug for another drug. Insurance companies are inclined to pay for this treatment as it can get people out of residential care rather quickly; residential care is more expensive than outpatient treatment and there is no guarantee that residential treatment, for which insurance only offers limited stays, will work, particularly if the care is cut short by insurance.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act ensures that insurance will pay for a 30-day inpatient program for those who require it. Originally, practitioners within the field of drug and alcohol rehabilitation had hope that access to treatment facilities would increase because of the law. In fact, just the opposite has occurred. The push is now to keep addicts addicted to pharmaceuticals instead of truly helping them get clean and rebuilding happy lives. The impetus is economic.

There are many different approaches to the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, and studies show that a multi-modality approach is the best. Everyone recovers differently. All treatments should be available and the choice left to the individual and physician, not the insurance provider.

When choosing a treatment center, know what kind of life you want. If you want to be free from drugs and alcohol, find an abstinence-based treatment center that uses evidence-based, whole-health therapies and go for 90+ days. That’s what the science tells us provides the best opportunity for long-term recovery, and you deserve your best life.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/24/betty-ford-center-merges-with-hazelden-foundation/2865931/

http://www.sagepub.com/jungstudy/articles/15/Moos.pdf

http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/05/hazelden-introduces-antiaddiction-medications-in-recovery-for-first-time/

http://www.addictionpro.com/article/hazelden-redefines-its-opioid-addiction-care-will-use-maintenance-dosing

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Richard Taite is founder and CEO of Cliffside Malibu, offering evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment based on the Stages of Change model. He is also co-author with Constance Scharff of the book Ending Addiction for Good.



Think Before You Drink

By Richard Taite • 2 min read
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Think Before You Drink

Even though many of us are aware of the higher rates of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on New Year’s Eve, myths about drinking and driving persist. These myths are related to how quickly alcohol affects the body and how long these effects can last.

Scientific studies supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) on how alcohol affects our brains and bodies provide important information that challenges these commonly-held, but incorrect beliefs.

Many New Year’s revelers get into trouble because they generally do not recognize that critical driving-related skills and decision-making abilities are diminished long before the obvious physical signs of intoxication.

Initially, alcohol acts as a stimulant and you may temporarily feel upbeat and excited. Inhibitions and judgment are affected first. Gradually fine motor skills and reaction time begin to suffer and behavior becomes poorly controlled and sometimes aggressive, compromising driving abilities even further. Continued drinking can lead to the slurred speech and loss of coordination and balance that we typically associate with being “drunk.”

At higher levels, alcohol acts as a depressant, which causes people to become sleepy and sometimes pass out. Large quantities of alcohol, particularly if consumed rapidly, can produce a blackout, an interval of time for which the intoxicated person cannot recall key details of events, or even entire events.  Research has shown that blackouts are common among social drinkers of college age.

During a night of drinking, it is easy to misjudge alcohol’s lasting effects. Many revelers believe that they can drive safely once they have stopped drinking for the night and have had a strong cup of coffee. The truth is that alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after the last drink has been consumed. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body. As a result, judgment and coordination can be impaired for hours after drinking.

Driving home late at night is especially hazardous because natural drowsiness is magnified by the depressant action of alcohol. Driving abilities may even be impaired the next day when any alcohol remains in the system.

No one intends to harm anyone when they get behind the wheel on New Year’s Eve. Yet traffic fatalities persist from people with good intentions, but who choose to think they can drink then drive. There is no way to speed up the brain’s recovery from alcohol and no way to make good decisions when drinking too much, too fast. This is a fact.

So this New Year’s Eve, do not underestimate the effects of alcohol. Moreover, as you think about the consequences of an arrest or a potentially fatal traffic crash, make alternative plans to get home safely if you do plan to drink even a little. Pace yourself, set a specific limit and stick to that limit. If you have trouble keeping to your limit consider counseling for the New Year. The idea of welcoming the New Year completely sober is a good choice also.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

 

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkHoliday/NIAAA_NYE_Fact_Sheet_2012.pdf

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm

 

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Richard Taite is founder and CEO of Cliffside Malibu, offering evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment based on the Stages of Change model. He is also co-author with Constance Scharff of the book Ending Addiction for Good.



The War on Weed is Over

By Richard Taite • 1 min read
Marijuana.Plant

The War on Weed is Over

Congress provided a historic victory for the legal marijuana industry with the massive government-funding bill passed Saturday night, December 13. The bill will end the federal government’s ban on selling or using pot for health reasons in states where it’s legalized. Within the $1.1 trillion spending measure are protections for industrial hemp and medical marijuana companies in states where they are legal.

In addition, an amendment to the measure prohibits the Department of Justice from spending money to go after medical cannabis programs in legal-weed states. When signed into law, the bill brings the federal government closer to ending arrests of individuals in pot businesses allowed by state law, as well as raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

The war on weed pursued by countless law enforcement personnel since at least the 1960s is effectively over.

California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr told the Huffington Post:

“Today we made history. It is a great day for common sense because now our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on prosecuting criminals and not sick patients. The federal government will finally respect the decisions made by the majority of states that passed medical marijuana laws.”

Farr, who with California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, co-sponsored the medical marijuana protections amendment.

Medical marijuana programs in 23 states that legalized medical marijuana, in addition to the 11 additional states authorizing types of CBD extracts, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana proven to provide relief in severe cases of epilepsy, are now under federal protection.

Marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies the drug as having “no currently accepted medical use,” on the same level as heroin and LSD. Since that designation will not change with the passage of the spending bill, how the new rules will play out in practice is unclear.

However Congress has not quietly laid down arms in its war against marijuana. It appears Congress has blocked the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C., after a vote with more than 70 percent of voters approving use. A few members of Congress oppose the bill’s wording, saying the law may still have a chance of moving forward next year.

The war on weed has finally ended and quietly laid to rest. Now more effort can be given to drug abuse prevention and recovery. That is where attention should have been given all along.

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/14/congress-medical-marijuana_n_6317866.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/congressional-deal-upends-pot-legalization-in-dc/2014/12/10/8c67669c-805c-11e4-b936-f3afab0155a7_story.html

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Richard Taite is founder and CEO of Cliffside Malibu, offering evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment based on the Stages of Change model. He is also co-author with Constance Scharff of the book Ending Addiction for Good.

 



 
 

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