Busy, busy, busy – Nothing quiet on the All About Addiction front

Okay, I feel like I’ve been slacking on the writing for A3 recently. After finally finishing my Doctorate at UCLA a little more than a month ago, things have been surprisingly hectic for me. In case you hadn’t read it here or on the Huffington Post, I’ve been getting a little more exposure recently, some of it unwanted, but I’m hoping that in the process we’ll get more attention for our work here on All About Addiction. In the end, it’s all about helping addicts get help.

We’ve also begun featuring articles by Dirk Hanson, the journalist behind Addiction Inbox, one of my favorite sites featuring addiction information. Dirk’s first post had to do with the patterns of addiction treatment entries in the U.S. using the TEDS data from SAMHSA. One of my goals for this next year is to begin featuring more articles from outside writers including international experts on addiction. Hopefully, we’ll be able to include a peer-review process similar to that of academic journal to bring the level of our writing even higher – if that’s possible!!!

Thank you everyone for your continued support – We’re 15,000 visitors strong every month now and from the feedback I’m getting, we’re helping at least some of our readers out there and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jaffe

Alcoholism , Sniffing Bath Salts, and Prescription Medication Abuse

If you care about addiction you’re going to want to read our weekly update from across the globe. It’ll make you smarter – promise (at least when it comes to alcohol and drug abuse issues)!

Drug Abuse – Vaccines to treat addictions, and Sniffing Bath Salts

Medical News Today-A biochemical breakthrough by researchers at Cornell  produces a unique vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. Researchers believe the vaccine could be tailored to treat other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin, and methamphetamine. While similar to other vaccine discussions we’ve had here, the method and generalizability here are of specific interest.

BBC News-Publicity of scholastic journals back fired on Dr. David E. Nichols as drug makers profit off his research findings. Dr. Nichols says while some drugs can be manufactured in the kitchen the scale to which these “legal high” drugs are produced indicates some small companies are involved.

Fox News.com– A new “drug abuse” trend of sniffing bath salts to try to get high is emerging in Louisiana and is creating a issue for the Louisiana Poison Center. It appears that more kids are attempting this “trend” resulting in of paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, as well as hypertension and chest pain. The problem’s gotten so bad in the state that the Governor had to make the active ingredient in the bath salts illegal. The bath salts contain a chemical called “Mephadrone and Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV, which is known to be a stimulant that may also cause paranoia and hostility.

Alcoholism – Studies and Personal Stories about alcohol

Science Daily- A new study has been conducted which shows that midlife alcohol consumption may be related to dementia which is often assessed about 20 years later. The study found that both abstainers and heavy drinkers had a greater risk for dementia and cognitive impairment than light drinkers. Again, it seems that drinking no-alcohol is associated with risk factors and outcomes that are not as ideal as moderate consumption and somewhat similar to heavy drinking.

Counselor Magazine Blog- Everyone loves watching a good and inspirational movie from time to time. The new movie “Country Strong” deals with many issues that everyday individuals face such as alcoholism, mental illness, co-dependency, ageism, and grief. These are elements that a person goes through when they are dealing with alcoholism. The movie depicts that alcoholism is a family disease and does not affect just the alcoholic. Another great point that the movie shows is that if there are underlying issues that are often not resolved that relapse is very common.

Prescription Drug abuse and death

Reuters- A new study has found that an increasing amount of individuals are dying from abusing and misusing prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. In recent times deaths from “accidental poisonings” or overdose are more than ten times higher than they were in the late 1960s. This increase in drug deaths is higher across almost all age groups than it was in previous decades, especially amongst white Americans.

Chicago Sun Times- Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in our country, and deaths from unintentional drug overdoses in the US have increased five-fold over the last two decades. The drugs that are commonly causing these deaths are particularly painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and fentanyl. What many individuals do not realize is prescription drugs can be much more deadly than illegal drugs. In 2007 alone, abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Prescription painkillers, most of which are opioids, are synthetic versions of opium used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain, however in large and excessive quantities, they can suppress a person’s ability to breathe and are very dangerous when they are mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Is marijuana addictive? You can bet your heroin on that!

marijuana“Is marijuana addictive?” seems to be the ultimate question for many people. In fact, when discussing addiction, it is rare that the addiction potential for marijuana doesn’t come up.

Some basic points about marijuana:

The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 and CB2). Since it is a partial agonist, it activates these receptors, though not to their full capacity. The fact that cannabinoid receptors modulate mood, sleep, and appetite is why you get the munchies and feel content and why many people use it to help with sleep.

But how is marijuana addictive? What’s the link to heroin?

What most people don’t know is that there is quite a bit of interaction between the cannabinoid receptor system (especially CB1 receptors) and the opioid receptor system in the brain. In fact, research has shown that without the activation of the µ opioid receptor, THC is no longer rewarding.

If the fact that marijuana activates the same receptor system as opiates (like heroin, morphine, oxycontin, etc.) surprises you, you should read on.

The opioid system in turn activates the dopamine reward pathway I’ve discussed in numerous other posts (look here for a start). This is the mechanisms that is assumed to underlie the rewarding, and many of the addictive, properties of essentially all drugs of abuse.

But we’re not done!

Without the activation of the CB1 receptors, it seems that opiates, alcohol, nicotine, and perhaps stimulants (like methamphetamine) lose their rewarding properties. This would mean that drug reward depends much more heavily on the cannabinoid receptor system than had been previously thought. Since this is the main target for THC, it stands to reason that the same would go for marijuana.

So what?! Why is marijuana addictive?

Since there’s a close connection between the targets of THC and the addictive properties of many other drugs, it seems to me that arguing against an addictive potential for marijuana is silly.

Of course, some will read this as my saying that marijuana is always addictive and very dangerous. They would be wrong. My point is that marijuana can not be considered as having no potential for addiction.

As I’ve pointed out many times before, the proportion of drug users that become addicted, or dependent, on drugs is relatively small (10%-15%). This is true for almost all drugs – What I’m saying is that it is likely also true for marijuana (here is a discussion of physical versus psychological addiction and their bogus distinction).

Citation:

Ghozland, Matthes, Simonin, Filliol, L. Kieffer, and Maldonado (2002). Motivational Effects of Cannabinoids Are Mediated by μ-Opioid and κ-Opioid Receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 22, 1146-1154.

About Alfred Adler – One psychoanalytic view of alcohol and drug addiction

In a previous post (see A Million Ways to Treat an Addict) I had mentioned that there are many ways to approach the treatment of addiction to drugs and alcohol. I mentioned methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and a growing number of medications (like Vivitrol) and possibly some preventative measures (like an upcoming nicotine vaccine). The reason its important to know about the options for addiction treatment is that even if one treatment doesn’t work, there’s nothing to indicate that another will not and I believe that it’s the duty of those who treat alcohol and drug addiction to be aware, and make use, of multiple therapies to give their clients the best chance at treatment success. However, even within specific categories of treatment methods, like psychoanalysis, there are several schools that approach the individual problem differently.Here I think that an individual therapist’s discretion is the best tool we have in terms of therapy selection, at least for now.

Alfred Adler and addiction

While he was part of the group that started the school of psychoanalysis along with Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler had his own ideas about psychology. I’ll let you read more about the man and his history on your own time, but I want to point out his emphasis on family structure, dynamic, rank, and power structure as a main source for later psychopathology.

adlerHis concept of ‘inferiority complex‘ is one that is especially familiar to addicts. Feeling somehow incompetent, many addicts compensate by attempting to prove their worth at every possible chance. The overcompensation can make them seem cold, competitive, and insensitive. This often alienates them more, straining relationships and making them withdraw further. This is at least one of the reasons for the necessity of ‘drug buddies’ or ‘using friends’ to make up for the loss of many other social relationships.

Adler stressed equality as important for the prevention of pathology. Adlerian therapy establishes equality from the start with a therapist-client relationship that is collaborative rather than one in which the therapist is a teacher or master. Some clients will find this method more suitable, while other will need a more confrontational therapy, which we will address soon.

Overall, Adler’s approach seems very much in line with motivational interviewing methods whereby the therapist and client move together to find appropriate solutions that come from the client’s own resolution of ambiguity and indecision. I personally believe that such non-confrontational methods are important for many clients as they avoid the accusations, finger pointing, and blaming that normally goes along with trying to direct addicts to treatment. Still, there are many options out there, and being aware of what is available allows clients, and their loved ones, find the right treatment and produce much better choices.

Drug, alcohol, and other addiction help from All About Addiction

If you need help finding treatment for your own, or a loved one’s sex addiction, make sure to give our Rehab-Finder a try: It’s the only evidence-based, scientifically created, tool for finding rehab anywhere in the United States!

About Addiction: Alcohol, drugs, and bipolar disorder

Have any questions about different drugs or alcohol? We bet you do and we’re glad to see you back at All About Addiction ! You should browse our content and check out the information on alcohol, heroin, marijuana.  It is a great source for a quick 30 minute information session.

“Traditional” Drugs

BBC– A man in England was killed after consuming heroin that contained anthrax in it. This was the fifth case of a drug user in England who became ill due to anthrax. It appears that drug users are becoming increasingly vulnerable to having their contraband contaminated with anthrax.

Join Together– Do you think Marijuana should be legalized? That was the question on the minds of many individual’s as they went to the polls on Election Day, yet despite the concerted efforts of some people Proposition 19 was defeated. Some of the arguments for supporting the legalization of marijuana was so that it would be treated like alcohol and tobacco and would not be criminalized along with drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine. Apparently the majority of voters thought those benefits didn’t outweigh the possibility that legalizing marijuana would increase social problems. By the way, this is not the first time Californians have rejected the legalization of marijuana, it also occurred in 1972, which likely means that some of the people who voted against it this time supported it in the past.

Synthetic Drugs and new drug combinations

KTLA-How does a drink of prescription cough syrup, soda and jolly ranchers sound to you?  Although this may be unappealing to some it is actually a drink bar-goers are getting in to. The drink is also known as Sizzurp (I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Snoop Dog say that in song) and can produce quite a high thanks to the codeine that is found in it. Unfortunately, the combination of alcohol and codeine also increases the chance that the drink will be deadly deadly. Apparently this drink is often promoted by individuals in the music industry and the DEA is worried and wants to crack down on it.

Addiction Inbox– If you would like to learn about a new drug called Mephedrone then this article is for you ! Mephedrone is a new synthetic drug found mostly in England. For more on this topic check out Dirk’s article!

Alcohol: Working Mothers and Energy Drinks

Marin Institute- There has been a growing recognition of the risks of alcoholic energy drinks and officials across the country are starting to take action against them (who hasn’t had a RedBull and Vodka?). Often times these energy drinks are marketed to youth but those individuals do not know the stress that high amounts of alcohol and caffeine can have on the body. Since 2008 major companies such as MillerCoors, Anhueser-Busch, and InBev have removed caffeine from their brands, but smaller companies have begun marketing even more dangerous products that come in larger sizes with higher alcohol content. The news media is attempting to educate the public on the dangers of these products and legal action may even be taken. Check out this article for a great read!

CNN– Working mothers have a lot to balance in their daily lives from running kids to school to doing errands and keeping houses and lives in order – it’s a tough job (just ask my wife). The magazine Working Mother found that 40 percent of working mothers turn to alcohol to try to alleviate stress and 57 percent reported misuse of prescription drugs. Check out this article to find out more and to watch a video which discusses this fuller details and don’t forget to look at some of our content on moderate alcohol intake.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Breaking the cycles– It has often been reported that individuals who have certain mental health problems such as bipolar disorder have a greater chance of developing substance abuse problems (to alcohol or drugs). This article is very helpful in providing the families of individuals with bipolar disorder information to understand the disorder better as well as the alcohol and or drug abuse than may come with. With this understanding the families of these individual can help reduce the stigma of both the bipolar disorder and their addiction.

Addiction Information– Do you remember a couple weeks ago when All About Addiction reported that Michael Lohan wanted to open up his own rehab center? Well the apple does not fall to far from the tree because Lindsay Lohan now wants to open up her own rehab center.  Lindsay has been in and out of rehab five times in the past two years – Is this too early for her to open up a rehab center? I think that’s probably true and that she should focus on getting herself healthy first.

About Addiction: Sex and Drugs, and Addiction’s impact on children and stress

Have questions about addiction? You should browse our content and check out the links in this article and all the others we’ve written. It’s a great quick stop for 30 minutes of information!

Sex and Drugs

Science Centric– What a great way to help others! A peer based outreach service have been developed to aid sex workers resolve their drug problems. The program is lead by current and former sex workers and is helping to increase entry to detox and residential drug treatment programs among women in sex work.

Take Part– A male porn star has tested positive to having HIV. This positive test has put a halt to production of new sex tapes. This article provides five things that individuals should know about the porn industry. It is a great read!

Addiction inbox- Spice has been marketed as a synthetic cannabis. It can get a person high but at the same time will allow individuals to pass a drug urinalysis. That fact is making spice very common in places like police stations, fire department, and army bases.

Breaking the Cycles– Everyone knows how hard it is to break a habit, it often takes time and it is a struggle to maintain the new behavior. This is the same when an addict or alcoholic successfully makes it through their rehab. The hard part however comes when individuals are trying to prevent relapse.  SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) suggests that to prevent relapse individuals should think about doing something as opposed to not doing something. This allows individuals to create an anti-drug and anti-drink. This article follows the pattern of our earlier writing on relapse prevention by replacement.

Addiction’s impact on children and stress

Sober teens online- This is not a typical article post that we love to provide you, however it is no doubt very moving. This site displays artwork which depicts the emotions of foster children who are victimized by addiction.

Stress and addiction– Does stress cause addiction? Does addiction cause stress? That’s a popular question when people are trying to figure out the causes of addiction. It is no surprise that stress and addiction have a reciprocal relationship with each other. Stress can cause an individual to start drinking or taking drugs, and stress often triggers addict to use drugs or alcohol. Stress such as early childhood trauma may cause an individual to become an addict when they are older. This article examines the interplay of stress and addiction and also offers a great video about stress and addiction.

About Addiction: Drug Information, alcohol safety, and Addiction recovery resources

You guessed it, another great piece detailing some interesting information about addiction from the corners of the world (wide web?). Enjoy, and remember to let us know if we’re missing some topics you’d like to see here!

Drug Information and alcohol safety

Drug.ie– Educating teens about drugs during the time of adolescence may be too late according to this piece. which claims that parents are very ignorant about the whole drug culture (many do not even know that their teens are using drugs or alcohol). In order to try to combat the drug problem parents should be educated and the whole community should work together to help alleviate the drug problem.   

Irish medical news– A new street drug has emerged in Ireland and is selling for €2 (something like $3). The drug has said to be as dangerous as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The drug is currently being analyzed for its properties but is thought to be as potent as mephedrone, BZP and MDPV.

Examiner– This article examines the history of Amy Winehouse and how she used to be deeply involved in the world of drugs.  The good thing that emerges from this article is the fact that Amy Winehouse has been sober for over 3 years – If Amy can do it, I’m sure many other addicts can!

Breaking the cycles- This article examines the proper ways to deal with individuals when they are drunk.  Alcohol works by depressing the central nervous system by slowing down the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and slowing a person’s breathing rate. If a friend passes out and they have consumed a lot of alcohol you should turn them on their side in order to prevent them from choking on their vomit. This is important, however it cannot stop the depressant action of alcohol as it keeps working on the central nervous system.

Addiction recovery resources

Bloomsburg Buisnessweek– Mental illness stigma is very difficult to shake when it comes to addiction recovery. In order to compact this issue individuals need to be educated about mental illness. In order to reduce stigma people should be urged to focus on the person rather than the disease.

5min Life Videopedia– This video gives a great perspective on how to help individuals who are recovering from drug addiction and alcohol abuse. It is worth watching, Enjoy!