Jeff Zacharias, President and Clinical Director of New Hope Recovery Center, is mentioned in Jamie Marich's new book, Trauma Made Simple.

According to Jamie: "My wish is that one day, every client with unresolved trauma can have the good fortune to work with someone like Jeff.  The reality is that so many trauma survivors in need of such a therapist with a health, optimistic attitude cannot find this connection."

Jamie discusses trauma in the LGBTQI Community: "There are several major issues connected to the LGBTQI community and trauma that we must consider, especially because the shame quotient can be so high for those presenting for services.  According to my colleague Jeff Zacharias, the owner and director of New Hope Treatment Center, an addiction treatment program that specializes in treating the LGBTQI community of Chicago, every client in their care has some sort of trauma.  This trauma can manifest in multiple layers, from dealing with homophobia, to bullying, to HIV infection and diseases, to dealing with unkindness from other gay people....However, the most intense layer of trauma that he [Jeff] tends to see with the LGBTQI population relates to dynamics surrounding family rejection and ostracism."

And Jamie discusses Jeff's advice to therapists:  "Jeff Zacharias, introduced in Chapter 5, believes we must encounter our biases about sexuality and strive to educate ourselves about experiences for which we have no personal frame of reference.  Jeff has declared, 'It's not enough to be tolerant; we have to be fully accepting of who people are if we are serious about helping them with recovery.  You've got to dig in, do your own work, examine your biases, and learn.'"

New Hope Recovery Center and Jeff Zacharias appreciate Jamie and her wonderful book, Trauma Made Simple.  You can order her book now.

vivitrol addiction treatmentAs the science of addiction medicine evolves, doctors have begun using new drugs in revolutionary ways that are changing how we think of and treat addiction.  Vivitrol is a drug used to treat both opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.  Since 2006, when it was first approved by the FDA for alcoholism, many patients have shown much success.  In October 2010, this injectable form of naltrexone was approved to treat opioid addiction as well.  It has since been used successfully by many with addiction to opiates and heroin.

What should you know about Vivitrol and it use in addiction treatment?

What Is Vivitrol?  Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable version of naltrexone that is given once a month.  It is known as an opiate antagonist, meaning it works by binding with and blocking the receptor sites in the brain that would normally be affected by opiates or alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?  Unlike an opiate agonist, the opiate antagonist occupies the receptor site but does not activate the receptor.  This means that the site is tied up without the person feeling the “high” that would come with using a drug that activates the site.  Because the receptors are tied up, when someone on Vivitrol uses alcohol or opiates, they do not feel the pleasurable effects of intoxication.

How Is Vivitrol Different From Naltrexone?  Naltrexone requires a daily oral dose and has been used for years in addiction treatment  There are two main downsides to this self-administered daily dose:  1) it is easy for patients to forget the daily dose,  and patients who forget to take the medication are at a greater risk of relapse; and 2) there is a daily temptation to skip the dose for that day,  in order to drink or use or even to have the possibility to drink or use.

Vivitrol largely eliminates these issues.  It is a monthly shot administered by a health professional.  Its effects last for a full 30 days.   Two main benefits to the monthly shot versus daily tablets:  1) medical professionals can monitor a patient’s compliance and remind the patient when the next dose is needed.  Patients have someone to be accountable to and someone who will be talking with them if they are being tempted to use.  2) Patients are freed from the daily decision to take the dose or not and so there is no daily temptation to use.  Many patients report they have a greater peace of mind knowing there is no possibility to use.  (Actually they could use, but it would have no or very little effect on them.)

Pros of Vivitrol Use:

There are many benefits to using Vivitrol under the care of an addictions medicine specialist.  Vivitrol appeals to many doctors and patients alike, who do not wish to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid medication (also known as agonist treatment).

For individuals who have not been heavily addicted for more than a year and the brain has likely not been radically changed by drug abuse, Vivitrol is an ideal tool to use in early recovery.

Vivitrol drastically reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol.

For some, using Vivitrol while actively engaged in counseling and self-help groups such as AA, NA or SMART Recovery results in lasting sobriety, even after Vivitrol is discontinued.

Vivitrol is an ideal choice for patients coming off of methadone or buprenorphine (maintenance drugs) especially in the first few months, when they are at greater risk for relapse.

For those that work in jobs with frequent travel, such as pilots, business consultants, flight attendants, Vivitrol is appealing because it is a safe, supervised method of treatment that does not require daily dosing.

Cons of Vivitrol Use:

Perhaps the biggest con to Vivitrol is its cost.  Unless one has private insurance that covers prescription drugs well, Vivitrol is very expensive.  The shot can run up to $1200 per month (even higher in some cases).  Even with insurance, copays and deductibles can leave a patient paying quite a bit on a monthly basis.  The company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for those without insurance.  Even with this financial assistance, Vivitrol can be quite expensive.

Another drawback of Vivitrol is that patients can only get started on the drug after all alcohol and opiates are out of the patient’s system.  Generally this means that the patient has gone through detoxification and has been sober and clean for 7-10 days.  This usually only occurs when the patient is an inpatient program or a hospital setting.

Also, Vivitrol is currently only FDA approved for those 18 and older, although it is used “off label” for younger patients successfully and safely.

Finally, as with all prescription drugs, there are side effects.

Individual Decision

Vivitrol has many advantages and several disadvantages.  It is important for patients and healthcare professionals to understand the full picture when considering Vivitrol for substance abuse treatment.  The decision whether or not to take a drug like Vivitrol is an individual, case by case decision and should be made with a doctor who is properly credentialed.  If the decision is made to use Vivitrol, it should be done in conjunction with formal treatment and/or individual or group counseling for the best results.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen good results with clients who have used Vivitrol.  Most report drastically reduced cravings, increased confidence in their sobriety and a greater peace of mind.  Many have reported that they know it kept them sober and clean.  They realized there are points in any month where the stressors and temptation to use may become very high, but by getting the monthly shot, they knew they would find ways to cope that did not involve using.  You can contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Abstinence and Harm ReductionOne of the most polarizing philosophical debates in addiction counseling is between abstinence and harm reduction.  In general, Abstinence-focused addiction counseling believes that recovery only exists if the addictive substance is completely removed from the life of the individual it affects.  The issue is seen as largely black or white: either you drink/use drugs and deal with the consequences, or you abstain and live a life in recovery.  Harm Reduction-focused addiction counseling generally follows the belief that not everyone is in a place to completely abstain; and therefore, it is best to take steps to reduce the risks to the person and others when the individual chooses to partake in the addictive substance.  The notion is that some people may not currently be willingly or able to completely give up the substance of their addiction.

Philosophy of Abstinence in Addiction Counseling

The definition of abstinence means refraining, or being free from, the unwanted behavior.  Many people in the addiction world see abstinence as the only way to recovery based on the definition of addiction and the idea that the user has lost control.  The abstinence model follows the science behind addiction.  Science has shown that some people are genetically predisposed to addiction and are more likely to get hooked to substances or behaviors.  It is estimated that 40%-60% of a person’s predisposition to addiction is genetic.  Evidence also shows that with continued use, alcohol and drugs can physiologically and neurologically alter the brain.  The brain circuitry is forever altered, so if the individual starts using again, they will do so addictively.

This is the foundation for the disease concept and abstinence only philosophies. Someone who has become addicted to substances cannot undo the neurological and physiological alterations in a way that will allow them to use moderately in the future.  For these people, abstinence is seen as the only way to regain control of one’s life and effectively recover.  Alcoholic Anonymous and other 12-step fellowships follow the abstinence-based approach.  The only requirement may be a desire to stop drinking (or using) but the philosophy is rooted in this disease concept that the alcoholic has lost control over the substance and therefore treatment begins with sobriety.  AA and other fellowships are actually behavioral and psychological modification processes, seeking to instill in the minds of those who attend that if they are addicted, they are powerless over alcohol and other drugs.

Due to the nature of addiction, alcoholics and addicts usually have intricate denial and rationalization systems to convince themselves they don’t have a problem.  These psychological defenses are worked on with the First Step: admitting that they are powerless over alcohol and other drugs.  Cognitively, alcoholics and addicts need to retrain their minds that they are in fact powerless over alcohol and other drugs and therefore they cannot use them again.  Successful sobriety via the 12-step philosophy occurs when an individual can take their unhealthy attachment to substances and redirect it to a healthy attachment to the program.

Philosophy of Harm Reduction in Addiction Counseling          

The general focus of harm reduction is not whether an individual does or does not do a particular behavior, it is about reducing the potential problems associated with it.  Substance use under the harm reduction approach is not black/white, either/or; it is the gray area in between.  If a person chooses to drink or use drugs, the focus is on ways to reduce the risk from using.  An important concept that some people and policy makers do not understand is that the harm reduction approach should not be seen as condoning risky or illegal behavior.  Rather, it understands that risky behavior is inevitably going to occur, so it is more beneficial to curb the negative consequences incrementally as best as possible. 

There are many types of harm reduction modalities including: drug replacement therapy such as methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone), needle exchange programs, designated drivers, substituting “less harmful drugs”, testing illicit drugs for harmful additives and behavior modification to control intake.  Because harm reduction philosophy and practice resides in the gray area of the continuum, research on the topic has been muddled, largely due to the lack of a consistent definition as to what harm reduction is and how it should be measured.  This makes sense even if you only consider the expansive list provided above as types of harm reduction.

Some in addiction counseling use harm reduction as a way to motivate the client for change and incrementally work towards abstinence: a harm-reduction now,  abstinence later approach to treatment.  Others in addiction counseling implement the philosophy fully in its own capacity: the end goal is not abstinence.

Evolving Integration of Abstinence and Harm Reduction

The philosophies of each group may be separate.  But in practice, the two philosophies are not as siloed as one might assume.  There is an overlap between the two philosophies and they are merging closer together than many people are aware of.  For people seeking help, total abstinence is an ideal goal but given their circumstances and motivation for change, that goal may be unreachable when they first seek help.  Many abstinence-based facilities are moving away from kicking out a client after one positive urine screen, which was not always the case.  Often the treatment team reassesses the situation and decides if the treatment plan is still appropriate and if the client is receiving the proper level of care.  Similarly, abstinence-based facilities are also increasingly using or allowing pharmacotherapy as an adjunct to treatment. Many treatment facilities now work with clients who are on Suboxone, Vivitrol, Naltrexone, etc.  In theory, allowing these medications is a harm-reduction approach to treatment, but in practice those modalities are becoming more acceptable across the board.

Client First

It is important to remember that the client and the client’s specific needs comes first, not the ideologies of the treatment staff.  There are no hard and fast rules that apply to all people trying to get sober and/or improve their lives.  No client is a black or white case, it is essential to individualize treatment and recognize the unique characteristics of each client.  The process should be a collaborative effort between the client and addiction counselor/treatment team.  If we put the client first, then the philosophical debates fall to the background.  The focus shifts to what is more important: being present and being an agent for change.

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

LGBT addictionWe previously discussed the first step in the process of coming out, self acceptance.  Once someone accepts that they are in fact LGBTQ, they are then faced with a situation that no other group of people faces…how, when, where and to whom do they disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity?  Most people in our society have a default setting which assumes the people around them are straight.  This is an example of heterosexism and it is the reason an LGBTQ person constantly questions whether and when they should come out to those around them.  Most people have numerous groups of people to come out to.  There are friends to consider, co-workers, fellow students, family members, relatives, friends, and acquaintances and within each group there are subgroups.  This can be overwhelming and stressful to think about.  As we discussed previously, the stress an LGBTQ person faces around coming out can lead to heavy use of alcohol or drugs and addiction.

A person’s identity as LGBTQ begins to form before the decision is made to come out or not.  The more developed someone is in their LGBTQ identity, the more likely they are to disclose themselves to others.  Simply stated, the more comfortable someone is with their authentic self, the easier it is for them to come out to others.

Once someone accepts themselves as LGBTQ, remaining in the closet forces them to live a double life, hiding who they truly are and how they feel from other people.  This secrecy is exhausting, stressful and lonely.  A life of concealment keeps one from truly connecting to others, because no one knows the real you.

Stress and Risks of Coming Out

Feelings of shame often keep the LGBTQ person from sharing their true selves. They often hear that they are bad, or evil or unworthy.  Fortunately, things are changing.  Over 53% of Americans support marriage equality.  But reading and hearing the daily news show that the acceptance is far from universal.

People may withhold the decision to come out to others because of the risk of rejection, fear of physical harm, discrimination, harassment, and a desire to protect loved ones from the stress of coming out.  It is not a coincidence that many of the LGBTQ clients struggling with addiction also struggle with some aspect of coming out.  Either they came out and faced one of the risks listed above, or they are frozen in fear that one of those risks might result if they were to tell others.  It is very common to hear about people struggling with addiction who have compartmentalized their life in an effort to hide certain aspects about themselves from others because of shame.

Some project their own anxiety and shame onto their loved ones as a justification for not coming out to those loved ones.   For example, my fear during my closeted years was always that others could not adjust to my uniqueness but really it was me who never gave myself a chance.  As a result I developed a false self to live up to the perceived expectations of my family and society so I would not hurt myself or let others down.  Yes there is a lot of risk associated with the very brave decision to come out but the other side has unlimited potential.  Giving yourself the opportunity to be your unique, honest, and authentic self is one of the most empowering experiences you can do in your life.  Coming out does not guarantee it but it provides the opportunity and there are people who are willing to help you reach that place of authenticity.

The Coming Out Process Never Ends

There is a myth about the coming out experience: that it is this milestone event and then after that the individual is in the clear.  However, this is not the case and the decision to come out is a lifelong, almost daily process that LGBTQ individuals are faced with.  Social contexts and an individual’s environment are constantly evolving and therefore decision whether or not to disclose one’s identity to others is constantly being made.

Even once one comes out to some people in a certain group, there is the stress of wondering who else in the group has been told.  For example, coming out to close coworkers can lead one to wondering who those coworkers have told.  There becomes an uneasy wondering of “do they know”.  Because a person’s sexuality is only part of who they are, it would seem forced and strange to start every conversation with “By the way, I am gay”.

Pride Month is a time to raise awareness of the issues those in the LGBT community have and reach out to others who feel alone.  Holding onto shame is a lonely place.  Healing occurs from hearing other people’s experiences. New Hope Recovery Center offers the New Hope With Pride Program for those struggling with any aspect of addiction and LGBTQ-related stressors.  For more information please visit our website New Hope Recovery Center, call us at 888-707-4673, or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

LGBT AddictionDid you know there is an increased risk for substance abuse and addiction for those LGBTQ individuals who are dealing with any stage of the coming out process?

What is Coming Out?

Many people don’t understand what is involved in coming out (disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity).  Most envision it to be like walking through one doorway, a single time.  But it is far from that simple.  Maybe for a few celebrities who can come out in a national publication, it only involves one disclosure or interaction, but for most LGBTQ individuals, coming out is a life-long process repeated again and again. This process can be filled with stress and anxiety as the LGBTQ person contemplates who it is safe to come out to and when.

The decision to come out is one of the defining moments in an LGBTQ person’s life.  Let’s look at what is involved in coming out, how an LGBTQ individual may feel or think during the process and why LGBTQ individuals are susceptible to risks of addiction and substance abuse.

Understanding Oneself Requires Understanding Our Culture

For many LGBTQ people, based on the world they see around them, they only know one way in which it is ok to live, and that is heterosexual.  The dream they have heard since infancy is to fall in love with the opposite sex, get married, have children, and live happily ever after.   But LGBTQ people grow up feeling different.  They know they don’t quite fit in, something seems off and they sense it is them.  They often feel less than others.  They believe, and are often told by those who are close to them, that being straight is how their lives are supposed to be.

Many LGBTQ individuals feel as if they should be like everyone else.  Not fitting in, struggling to fit in and even trying to understand how they think and feel can lead to feelings of deep shame.   Many spend years hiding and denying they are LGBTQ from everyone, including themselves.  Being LGBTQ can be so foreign to them that they don’t have a way to understand who they are.

Our society is very much oriented toward heterosexuality, it is a given.  So young LGBTQ often don’t have a concept of anything other than heterosexuality.  Fortunately TV, movies, books and public discussion about LGBT rights are changing this.  But it is a slow change.  And growing up feeling and thinking differently from everyone else can be lonely.  It can also be tragic.  Suicide among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual teens is 4 times higher than non-LGBT teens. Bullying (9 out of 10 LGBT teens report being bullied in the past year at school because of sexual orientation), gay-bashing, discrimination (it is legal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in 29 states), violent anti-gay hate crimes (including murder) are still happening around the country.  Is it any wonder LGBTQ individuals struggle with accepting their sexuality or their true gender?

Why Come Out?

For someone who is questioning their sexuality or gender identity, the first person they have to be honest with is themselves.  Not being your true self leaves you susceptible to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide.

So, the first step in coming out is to come out to oneself internally, accepting one’s own sexuality or gender.  Although this may seem to be an easy thing, it is usually not. There are many pressures on LGBTQ individuals to not fully accept themselves as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  Bullying, fear of being harmed or killed, fear of being disowned by family and friends and fear of discrimination are all real possibilities for many.  It can often seem easier to deny a part of themselves instead of facing these consequences.  However, denying one’s true self leads to an incredible amount of stress, anxiety and additional fear.  If we are not ourselves, we cannot form real relationships because we know the relationship is not based on our real selves.

The benefits to truly being oneself outweigh all the real and imagined risks of being LGBTQ.  However, when someone is struggling with self-acceptance, the potential risks and consequences of coming out can seem enormous.  For those struggling with sexuality or gender identity, it can be helpful to read what others have experienced.  There are a number of great books on the subject of coming out, including the classic “Coming Out: An Act of Love” by Rob Eichberg.

And one final reason to come out: It Gets Better.  It really does.  Truly being oneself is worth the risks.  Thanks to Dan Savage and Terry Miller for creating the “It Gets Better” videos and book.  They have brought real awareness to the issue of coming out and bullying and have provided inspiration to millions.

It is important to realize that the period of coming out prior to full self-acceptance can be very lonely and very stressful.  Many LGBT individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to ease the pain and suffering they are experiencing.  To help these individuals with their addiction, most find it best to seek an addiction treatment program that understands and caters to the unique needs of LGBTQ persons.  New Hope Recovery Center’s “New Hope With Pride”, is such a program.  You can reach us at 888-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

 

You may also be interested in reading: Addiction Recovery and Self Esteem

 

Jeff discuss GLBT addiction sex addiction

New Hope Recovery Center Clinical Director and President, Jeff Zacharias

Recently Jeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center Clinical Director and President, was interviewed by Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S for PsychCentral.com.

The interview discusses New Hope Recovery Center and its programs as well as GLBT addiction and treatment.  Jeff and Rob discuss GLBT addiction trends, including the impact digital technology has had on all addictions, but particularly sex addiction.

Jeff Zacharias LCSW, CSAT, CAADC has created New Hope Recovery Center's New Hope with Pride Program for GLBT individuals with addictions.  Jeff is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist.

Mr Weiss is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. He founded The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles in 1995. Mr. Weiss is the author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men and Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction,and co-author with Dr. Jennifer Schneider of both Untangling the Web: Sex, Porn, and Fantasy Obsession in the Internet Age and Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Parenting, Work, and Relationships, along with numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters. For more information you can visit his website, www.robertweissmsw.com.

Heroin has recently been called an epidemic and a plague in our country.  The number of deaths from heroin use has escalated dramatically nationwide.  It is a serious problem with life threatening consequences.

For a change of pace, we want to highlight that many people who have used or been addicted to heroin now live happy, successful lives.  So here are 12 famous people who once used or were addicted to heroin, but are living free of heroin today:

courtesy www.deccanchronicle.com

Robert Downey, Jr.

1.  Robert Downey Jr.  Between 1996 and 2001, Robert Downey Jr. was arrested numerous times on drug-related charges
 including heroin possession. "I accidentally [got] involved in heroin after smoking crack for the first time. It finally tied my shoelaces together," Downey Jr. told Rolling Stone in 2010.   “Smoking dope and smoking coke, you are rendered defenseless.”  Today he enjoys sober success, in 2013 he was named Forbes top earning actor.  He has been in 2 movies making more than $1billion dollars, Marvel’s The Avengers and Iron Man 3.

 

courtesy www.mercurynews.com

Angelina Jolie

2.  Angelina Jolie told 60 Minutes TV Show in 2011, “'I took just every drug possible - coke, ecstacy, heroin, everything,' In 1996, Angelina told the UK’s Mirror: “I have done just about every drug possible: cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and,
 my favorite, heroin.”

from http://media.onsugar.com

Nicole Richie

3.  Nicole Richie
on CNN in 2005 stated, “By 18 I had stopped using cocaine and that’s when I got — got into 
pills a little bit and then — and then I got into heroin.”

 

from thefix

Chris Herren

4.  Chris Herren, former Boston Celtics NBA player stated in his autobiography Basketball Junkie “People think that when you're doing drugs you're high all the time, out partying. They think you're having fun. That's not it at all. You're not having fun. You're in hell.”  Chris has been clean and sober since 2008.

courtesy thedailybanter.com

Russell Brand

5.  Russell Brand
 told The Guardian in 2013, "I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralizing pain.  The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction."

from http://thedailybanter.com

Steven Tyler

6.  Steven Tyler, Aerosmith lead signer states in his autobiography, he was spending $2,000 a week on heroin, cocaine and alcohol. “I blew 20 million. I 
snorted my Porsche, I snorted my plane, I snorted my house in that din of
 drugs and booze and being lost.”

courtesy bigbang.no

Eric Clapton

7.  Eric Clapton
 was depressed and addicted to heroin during 1971 and 1972. With help from friends Pete Townshend, Stevie Winwood, Ron Wood, Jim Capaldi, and others, Clapton had kicked heroin for good by 1974 when his Number One album 461 Ocean Boulevard came out.  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/eric-

from http://www.eonline.com

Samuel L. Jackson 

clapton/biography#ixzz2yVWgjbifhttp://coolalbumreview.com.

8.  Samuel L. Jackson
 overdosed three times on heroin.  He told biographer Jeff Hudson, “The third time I OD’d on heroin I quit
 the drug completely. It’s too dangerous, I was mad. I was crazed. I was not happy with who I was.”

from lastfm

P!NK

9. Rock star P!nk  “I overdosed in ’95, and then I never took drugs again, ever."  "Heroin is a horrible thing. I've seen first hand what it can do to people and it's not pretty. I was never that much into it to need treatment. "But you name it, I took it. I buried three friends from heroin overdoses.She recently told Britain's The New Review (speaking about her daughter), “No, she (is) never gonna f**king touch heroin. I'm gonna make sure of it. And if she wants to f**king hate me for it, that's fine."

from http://www.hollyscoop.com

Ozzy Osbourne

10.  Ozzy Osbourne – In 1978 Ozzy admitted he was addicted to heroin and entered rehab.  His public struggles with his addictions over the years show that there is always hope, and recovery is possible at any time.

from timeinc.net

Corey Feldman

11.  Corey Feldman
 was arrested in 1990 for heroin possession.  In 2013 he told HuffPost Live “…maybe I should try that [heroin] now. So I did, and boom – instantly addicted…The only one that really ever took me down that fast and that hard was heroin, and it was awful. It lasted maybe a year, a year and two months."

from timeinc.net

Tatum O'Neal

12.  Tatum O’Neil describes her heroin use in her memoir, Found: "I had started craving [heroin] psychologically, longing to sink into oblivion. Then without it, I began to experience frighteningly dark depressions, with fierce anger as their flip side."

Thanks to all of these celebrities and to the many other people who publicly discuss their use and struggles with drugs, particularly heroin.  They offer hope and examples that there can be a wonderful life waiting anyone who is struggling with heroin addiction or heroin abuse.

If you or someone you know is affected by heroin addiction or use, reach out for help.  It is a deadly drug.  New Hope Recovery Center offers treatment for heroin and other addictions, you can reach us at 888-707-HOPE (4673), or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

According to a recent study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, young adults 18-24 years old who have occasionally used stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, have impaired neuronal activity.  Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that the stimulant users had higher tendencies of impulsivity and consistent patterns of diminished neuronal activity in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning and updating anticipation based on past trials.  The study is published in the March 26, 2014  issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The occasional stimulant users had taken stimulants on average 12-15 times in their lives, whereas the non-stimulant users had never taken stimulants.  The results suggest that the hard wiring of the brain is affected by the stimulant use and may make people more prone to drug addiction later in life.  Impulsivity is closely linked to drug use and abuse.

This discovery is good news for both professionals and parents because it serves as a means for identifying at-risk youth long before they have any obvious outward signs of addictive behaviors. Even occasional users of ADHD medicationss were observed to make more mistakes during neurological testing. Their performance worsened and tasks became harder for them during the study. By identifying at-risk youth for potential drug abuse, both doctors and parents can make alternative choices and use different methods for dealing with ADHD instead of defaulting to chemical interventions. Another positive finding in this research is that those with impaired neurological activity can begin to re-calibrate their brain function. The next step is for scientists to determine if the brain can be “re-wired” or exercised in a way that reduces or eliminates the changes caused by stimulant use. 

Concerned someone you know may be abusing or addicted to stimulants? 

Some of the major symptoms of stimulant substance abuse include:

Behavioral changes:

  • Problems in school, failure to complete homework
  • Change in activities or friends
  • Heightened attention, long periods of sleeplessness or not eating
  • Unusual behaviors, including secrecy and isolation, unexplained spending
  • Legal problems

Physical consequences:

  • Memory lapses, fatigue, and depression
  • Heart problems and seizures
  • Psychological difficulties including confusion and delusions
  • Unusual behaviors, including secrecy and isolation
  • Aggressiveness, irritability, mood swings
  • Hyperactivity, euphoria
  • Weight loss
  • Dilated pupils, dry mouth and nose

Parents of ADHD children should be aware of the consequences of stimulant use, especially the prescription medicines Adderall and Ritalin.  Be alert for the tendency toward addiction due to stimulant use by your child.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen an increase in clients with addictions who were or are prescribed ADHD medicines.  If you or someone you love would like help with an addiction, contact New Hope Recovery Center  at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

 

There are differences between the men and women who enter drug rehab and alcohol rehab for substance abuse.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts a census of all yearly admissions to addiction treatment facilities that are reported to SAMHSA.  A report issued in April 2014 shows the results from 2011 as compiled by SAMHSA.  Interesting differences between men’s and women’s use of drugs and alcohol are highlighted.

More Men Than Women in Rehab.  The SAMHSA report shows the gender differences and primary substance of abuse across different age groups.  The numbers show that of those who enter treatment (or rehab) for substance abuse 1/3rd are women and 2/3rd of them are men.  This is an increase from findings even in the last decade that showed 1 woman to every 4 men entering treatment.

Younger Females (Ages 12-17) Equal to Younger Males in Rehab.  Men 18 and older have almost twice the rate of substance dependence as women.  However, the rates for males and females are about the same for adolescents age 12 to 17.

Younger Women (Ages 12-17) Are Twice as Likely to Report Alcohol as Primary Substance of Abuse Versus Young Men (21.7% vs. 10.5%)

Women More Likely to Abuse Prescription Drugs Versus Men.  The SAMHSA report found statistically significant differences between the primary substance of abuse for women and men.  For instance, women are more likely to abuse prescription pills as their primary drug compared to men.  In the 65 and older bracket women are almost 3 times more likely to primarily abuse prescription pain relievers compared to men.

Young Men More Likely to Abuse Marijuana vs. Young Women.  Women were less likely to abuse marijuana compared to men in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 age brackets.

Women More Likely to Abuse Methamphetamine/Amphetamines.  Women 18 to 34 are significantly more likely than men to abuse methamphetamines/amphetamines as their primary drug of abuse.

Gender Differences and Primary Substances of Abuse

There is no denying that women suffer from the disease of addiction differently than men.  The research also shows that women have better outcomes in treatment when they have gender-specific programming.  New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer gender-specific programming to meet the unique needs of women.  Our staff is culturally competent and attuned to helping women find their place in recovery.  For more information please call  888-707-HOPE (4673) or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.