Archives for February, 2012

Addiction

So Some Food Might Be Addictive – Now What?

A growing body of research suggests that food can be as addictive as drugs like cocaine and nicotine. In addition to being unhealthy, processed, sugary, wheat-based,  fatty and salty, foods affect the reward circuitry in the brain, resulting in compulsive eating despite the well-known risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol,...
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Addictive Drugs

Are We Medicating Our Feelings Away?

 Happiness is a feeling most of us are quick to embrace. But when feelings of sadness, anger, stress or frustration arise, it can be tempting to believe that feeling nothing would be better than feeling down. Whether it’s the laws of nature or the age-old principle of yin and yang, it seems that we are required to experience both extremes on the...
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Recovery

Why Fighting Addiction Can Feel Like A Game Of Whac-A-Mole™

I remember driving past a church one evening with a colleague. A large group of people stood out front, shrouded in an impressive cloud of cigarette smoke. “AA meeting,” my colleague remarked. He didn’t actually know this for a fact, but this is one of those iconic images of recovering alcoholics: coffee cup clutched in one hand, cigarette in the other.

Treatment programs don’t usually address nicotine addiction; they say it is just too much...
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Recovery

Are Recovering Addicts Happier Than Everyone Else?

Anyone who has managed to avoid addiction (whether to drugs, work, sex, food, or some other substance or behavior) is fortunate indeed. But those who have not may not be as unlucky as they think.

In drug rehab, addicts learn life lessons and skills that many people don’t learn until much later in life, if ever. As a result, I believe people in addiction recovery often lead happier, more meaningful lives than the...
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Recovery

5 Didn’t-See-It-Coming Relapse Triggers (and How to Avoid Them)

Some relapse triggers, such as stress, job loss, isolation, the death of a loved one, and other distressing events or feelings, get a lot of attention during treatment, and rightly so.

But sometimes it’s the happy moments (or the seemingly neutral ones) that sneak up and trigger a return to drug use. Here are five triggers that often take unsuspecting recoverees by surprise:

#1 Sex and Relationships

An oft-repeated (and oft-ignored) cardinal rule of early...
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Addiction

Why Do Doctors Prescribe Addictive Drugs To Known Addicts?

In 2011 a group of physicians descended on Capitol Hill to ask congress to help them fight prescription drug abuse. How? Finally require all health care professionals get real training in prescribing addictive drugs, recognizing signs of addiction, and identifying problematic patterns of use.

Most physicians receive little or no training regarding substance abuse and the use of controlled substances that have the potential for addiction. While there are many doctors...
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Public Policy

The Prescription Drug Epidemic Sparks Blame Game

Call it human nature. When something goes wrong, we look for someone to blame. When a child gets in trouble, they are quick to point the finger at a sibling. When a product malfunctions, we sue the manufacturer. So it isn’t surprising that “Pharmageddon” would spark its own type of blame game.

Even though the government’s War on Drugs started more than 40 years ago, in many ways it has been reborn...
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Treatment

The Challenges Of Treating Addicts With Borderline Personality Disorder

Rage. Instability. Mood swings. Impulsivity. These characteristics make people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) prone to substance abuse as well as over-spending, promiscuity, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors. In fact, studies suggest that 50 to 70 percent of those with BPD also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Addicts with co-occurring borderline personality disorder are known as some of the most difficult...
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Recovery

5 Steps To A Strong (Sober) Social Support System

Human beings are social creatures. Although we may not always like it, we need each other. For recovering addicts, who likely lost a lot of old drug-using friends when they got sober, this can be a particularly painful realization. Without conscious effort, early recovery can be a lonely time.

This is where one tried and true component of addiction treatment – a strong social support system – can bolster long-term recovery. A social...
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Addiction

5 Tips For Recognizing The High-Functioning Alcoholic Or Addict

In the field of addiction treatment, some of the most tragic stories are those of high-functioning addicts. The friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers you look up to – envy even – for their beautiful homes, loving children and successful careers may be dealing with a secret addiction that is destroying them from the inside out.

How long do you think it would take to identify the signs of addiction in someone close...
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