Archive for August, 2009

Addiction News Alert: Binge Drinking Prevalent in Baby Boomers

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Last week, we discussed the SAMHSA study on baby boomers’ drug use. Now comes the news that binge drinking is also particularly prevalent in baby boomers.

In a recent LA Times blog post, it was reported that hard drinking is no longer a game for the young, as shown in a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. They have found that approximately 25% of US men and nearly 10% of US women aged 50-64 years old participated in “binge drinking”.

‘Binge drinking’ was defined as imbibing at least 4 to 5 servings of alcohol in a two-hour sitting in the last 30 days.

This segment of binge drinkers was also found to be more likely to use tobacco and illicit drugs. Of the women surveyed, binge drinking was more common in the employed and those already abusing prescription medications (using prescription medications for non-medical use). Binge drinker males were more likely to be unmarried and with a higher income bracket.

Authors of the study suggest that doctors should be asking more pointed questions about alcohol use, especially as this behavior poses an increasingly more serious health risk with age, as well as mental health risks. Binge drinking, although no less serious, seems to fall under the standards of alcohol-disorder screens.

It remains unknown, as this is not a lifetime study, whether this group ever moderated their drinking or if this is a lifelong-using pattern. It was, however, found in a 2000 national survey that 67% of baby boomers who drank, did so in levels that exceeded moderation.

Again, this study fails to address questions of addiction and addiction treatment options.

Why You Should Kick Your Addiction to the Curb

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Dr. Dr. Barton Goldsmith recently published the article “10 Reasons to Kick Addictions” for the Scripps Howard News Service.

These are great reasons for those who are considering entering into an addiction treatment program and for those who are already in any of the various stages of recovery. If you are thinking about getting sober, take a long moment to consider what you are about to read–imagine it for yourself, envision how your life will be once you aren’t chained down by your addiction anymore. Live it in your mind.

For those of you have already started down your path to sobriety, take a moment to soak these in. Let them live in you, and to serve as a reminder, especially during hard times, of all the reasons why you have taken up this hard, yet dazzlingly rewarding, task.

Ten Reasons to Kick Addictions:

1. Your friends and family will be happy to see and count on you again. If you are continually doing things that are self-indulgent or hurtful to those you love, they have no choice but to turn away from you.

2. You will like yourself better. Once you give up your habit, you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You also won’t be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

3. You will have more joy in experiencing a day rather than sleeping through it. When the demon has you in its grip, you have no life.

4. Your body and mind will feel awake and alive once again. One reason people continue to drink and use is because they physically experience the withdrawals of the substance and need to continue the addiction just to “feel normal.”

5. You can now have honest, deep and lasting relationships. Addicts don’t have relationships; they take hostages. Once you are sober, someone can choose to love you rather than choose to stay because they are afraid for you or of you.

6. You are now available to follow (and reach) your dreams. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself because you haven’t achieved your goals, you will be able to take the necessary steps to get there.

7. You will make the world a tiny bit better. Just by being a little nicer, as well as extending a helping hand to others, (which will help you stay sober), you will make this world a better place.

8. Others can once again trust you. An added benefit is that you can also trust yourself again, because you have gotten through one of the most frightening things in life.

9. You will have more money. Many people who are addicted spend all their money on their drug of choice. Sober, you no longer have that extra expense and are capable of earning more.

10. You give yourself a life. Many people drink and use because they are afraid of dying. Others are afraid of living. And all addicts are afraid of stopping. Using drugs and alcohol doesn’t make you less afraid; it just numbs you.

We all have our reasons. What are yours?

Addiction News Alert: Drug Use Continuing Into Later Years

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Released today, a new study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that many baby boomers are continuing drug use well into the later years of their life.

In An Examination of Trends in Illicit Drug Use among Adults Aged 50 to 59 in the United States, the first in a series of reports, SAMHSA found that as the baby boomers age, we are seeing an increase in drug use in the population group aged 50-59 years–almost doubling since 2002 to 9.4 percent. Rates in other age groups studied have either remained constant or have decreased in the same period.

The study, says SAMHSA spokesperson, speaks to the importance of preventing drug use at an early age. The study does not, however, address whether these people sought drug addiction treatment, nor whether they continued their extended drug use as addiction.

Nonetheless, it does show an interesting, possibly cultural, trend in the Woodstock generation.

Alcohol Addiction and Balcofen

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Time Magazine recently published ‘Treating Alcohol Addiction: A Pill Instead of Abstinence?‘, discussing the use of balcofen for treating alcohol and other substance addictions.

Balcofen, although approved for relaxing muscle spasms, is being increasingly prescribed and used as an anti-craving medication. Although scientific evidence has yet to be conclusive, there is much anecdotal evidence floating around–and grabbing headlines.

Many report that regular use of balcofen aids in resisting triggers (friends, environments, sights, smells, sounds, etc.), and thus prevents relapse. Some even say that they can now occasionally drink, able to resist bingeing: “I realized I wasn’t having that nagging feeling in my head, ‘I should really get a drink. It never appeared during the dinner either so that was the eureka moment.,” Bob, a balcofen user, tells Time Magazine. Bob now can drink moderately, a few times a week, never more than a beer or two.

Balcofen attacks cravings at their centre–intercepting the release of dopamines in response to a physical cue. But to remain effective, the medication needs to be taken indefinitely as cravings return almost immediately after use is stopped.

Miracle cure? Probably not.

Effective treatment? Very possibly.

Many addiction treatment centres firmly adhere to an absolute abstinence treatment model, ignoring the health benefits of harm reduction treatments. Treatment there is all or nothing. At Heritage Home, however, we stay on the cutting-edge of addiction research and new treatment methods, recognizing that different therapies are effective for different people. As a small residential treatment centre, we have the freedom to design a treatment program that best fits, and therefore give the best possible outcome for, the individual.

Recovery takes a different path for each addict. At times, for some people, anti-craving and other addiction treatment medications are an effective bridge to longterm sobriety, helping in the initial phases of recovery. For others, they are a permanent part of their lives after-treatment.

Either way, our goal is your success.

Carole Bennett's Road to Addiction

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Carole Bennett, a rather new contributor to The Huffington Post, has been blogging about substance abuse issues over the last several weeks in a new column ‘The Road to Addiction’. Carole is the founder of a nation-wide US phone counseling service after having suffered the effects of substance abuse in her family for many years–from her husband to her step-children.

Her blog posts are always eloquent, speaking from both a personal and clinical perspective. The result is an article that is at once informative and powerful.

This week, Carole, in response to her previous article ‘How Trauma Can Lead to Addiction‘, published one reader’s letter–a soulful, moving account of one man’s addiction. Although, no two path’s to addiction are the same, there is always common-ground in every shared human experience, and great comfort in the act of sharing. With this in mind, we felt it important to share one man’s story of trauma, healing, recovery, and success in hopes that it inspires you to either make a powerful change or rejoice in your own success:

Dear Carole,

Reading your column in The Huffington Post was a Godsend for me today. I’d never heard of you and have felt for years that my opinion on my reasons for substance abuse were only my own.

On August 9, 2001 my mother suddenly and unexpectedly died. Six months later, on February 14, 2002 my only daughter was abducted, held at her captor’s home and brutally raped for six very long days.

I responded with the worst experience of substance abuse imaginable, ending a 25 year marriage and concluding in treatment at the VA Medical Center. While there, trying to get a handle on what was happening to me and rejecting this antiquated theory that I was genetically predisposed to be an addict, it became a personal goal of those providing treatment to put me in my place and break me into a “time to go to a meeting” 12 step addict.

My storied experience persisted for over 6 years and has culminated in acts of patient abuse that would make your hair stand on edge. It did not help that I am black and my abusers are white. Racism dominated these relationships and concluded with seven VA. employees no longer holding positions in the Mental Health Care Line of the Dayton VA. The last person to be forced out for my charges of patient abuse was actually the Director-Chief of the Mental Health Care Line.

I have been free of substance abuse for five and a half years now and I live a productive life again. I knew that something horrible happening to me combined with my lack of the coping skills to deal with catastrophes was the cause of my problems but I was in the minority.

Having an entire department of Mental Health professionals pounding everyday to convince me that I was wrong and I was simply a hopeless addict actually hindered my recovery by years. It made the mountain so much harder to climb.

Thank you for bringing new thought and new words to recovery.
Sincerely yours,
Darrell Hampton

We applaud The Huffington Post for featuring Carole, bringing important issues of addiction treatment and substance abuse to light and hope that they reach out addicts, inspiring positive and powerful change.