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...
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addiction

What we’re missing in treating addiction

Addiction is a disease of the brain. Over and over and over we heard this at the recent National RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta.

The president said it. His drug czar Michael Botticelli, said it. Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said it, along with the heads of the Centers for Disease Control, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration,...
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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...
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Coping with Depression

Is self-sufficiency making you depressed?

Sunday marked the 13th anniversary of my mother's death. Sixteen months before she died, my father passed. Eight months after she died, my dog died.

I loved my parents - and my dog - very much. But I probably should have known something was up when I cried much more when my dog died.

I didn't know anything about grieving back then. I didn't know it could fester inside in my soul and come out...
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Alcoholism

A recovered alcoholic asks: If I take antidepressants, am I still sober?

I am a recovered alcoholic. I also have bipolar II, which can manifest in depression.

I am what they call "dual-diagnosed" - or "twice blessed" as those of us in recovery often quip. I was about 7 years into my recovery when I slid into a deep depression and was diagnosed and put on medications.

The decision to take antidepressants and a mood stabilizer posed a huge ethical and medical conundrum for me. I had heard...
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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...
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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...
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General

How to screw up taking antidepressants

Once a week I refill my pill box. I take two antidepressants and one mood-stabilizer, along with a handful of supplements - fish oil, glucosamine, daily vitamin etc.

One-by-one I take each bottle out of a basket, open it, deposit the pills in their daily nook and put the bottle back into the basket. I take my medications without fail and I have done this little routine countless times over the years.

Last week I...
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General

Why you don’t know how much mental illness and drug abuse is really in your community

It's Sunday night. I am sitting at my desk in the newsroom. I am a reporter and every couple of months I pull a weekend shift. The newsroom is quiet and I can hear the police scanners clearly.

During the day, with all that's going on in the newsroom, the scanners are just white noise. The cop reporters pay attention but to the rest of us, they are annoying.

If you want an idea of how much...
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Coping with Depression

Why are all the great Christmas classics about depression?

Ever notice that the great holiday classic are about depression?

There's George Bailey, the financially strapped father of a posse of rowdy kids in It's a Wonderful Life. Then there's Scrooge and the Grinch. And how about that Santa-denying mother in Miracle on 34th Street? Charlie Brown and his pathetic little tree.

Let's not forget The Littlest Angel, a story about a little boy who dies, goes to heaven, can't keep his halo on straight, can't sing...
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