Federal health officials have proposed a revamp of the strict patient confidentiality rules enacted in the 1970s. The revamp is meant to allow coordination among medical professionals offering treatment to victims of the widespread opioid epidemic. A patient’s consent will still be required to share this information.

According to the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the goal of these reforms is to ease the process of sharing a patient’s drug treatment history with doctors treating a drug addiction victim for other medical problems. Azar insists that this information sharing is important and can prevent serious and sometimes fatal errors. Think about when a doctor unsuspectingly prescribes opioid painkillers to a surgical patient with a history of dependence.

The Secretary feels that change is necessary to get a breakthrough in mental health treatment. An alliance of closely 50 groups, made up of mental health professionals, insurers, hospitals and pharmacists, has been insistent on a change. This push enjoys bipartisan backing in Congress.

A brief history of confidentiality rules

In the early 1970s, Congress acknowledged stigma associated with substance abuse and the fact that fear of prosecution stopped people from seeking addiction treatment. To address the problem, the Congress enacted a legislation to allow clients in a substance abuse treatment program a right to confidentiality (42 USC §290dd-2). These are commonly called Federal confidentiality regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 2, or Part 2). It has been a foundation practice for substance abuse treatment programs nationwide.

Primarily, confidentiality rules were meant to reassure individuals pursuing drug treatment from federally funded programs that their medical information would not be shared with police. But the paper-era rules haven’t caught up in the age of electronic records and doctor-patient communication via text message.

What information was protected?

· Information about any individual that has applied for or received any substance-abuse-related assessment, treatment, or referral services, and all information about that person that are not exactly permitted by nine limited exceptions.

· More restrictive of communications in many instances than either the doctor-patient or the attorney-client privilege.

· Current and previous clients from the time they make an appointment and apply to any information that would identify them as individuals who use substances either directly or by implication.

· Clients who are directed into treatment as well as those who enter treatment voluntarily

· On whether the person in search of information already has that information, has other means of obtaining it, has some kind of official status, is ratified by State law, or comes armed with a subpoena or search warrant.

Is the change of original rules necessary?

According to Azar, “This was all well-meaning”. “The idea was people won’t seek treatment if they feared that information would be available to law enforcement. (But) a highly restrictive regime on the control of that information has served as a barrier to safe, coordinated care for that same patient.”

Azar gave a typical example of what could happen when addiction treatment is not disclosed in patient’s files. Imagine a case where a hospital doctor sees a patient who is on treatment for heroin addiction using methadone. The doctor may decide not to mention the methadone treatment in the patient’s record perhaps with a concern that it could prompt official scrutiny of the hospital’s own records system. At a later date, another doctor treating the same individual might prescribe another drug that’s not safe to take with methadone, as are most anti-anxiety medications. Such exclusions could have serious ramifications for the patient.

The downside is that now that many patients communicate with doctors via text messages; the 1970s privacy rule has generated unanticipated problems. For instance, when a doctor receives a text from a patient in a recovery program, does the doctor’s phone have to be electronically wiped or smashed to safeguard sensitive information? The new rule would make clear that such texts can simply be deleted.

Azar insists that the proposal will uphold privacy protections for people getting addiction treatment through federally funded programs. The patient will still have to give consent on whether the information can be shared.

What does the revamp mean for addiction treatment?

Of course the concerns that led to enactment of these confidentiality rules still exist. It may mean that people and especially teens and ex-convicts may be afraid to come forward to seek drug addiction treatment. This is for fear of stigmatization or being reported to authorities. This might mean mental health department may suffer blow by having lesser people signing up for treatment.

Some lawmakers, insurance community and health providers seek expansion of the proposed changes to make it easier to navigate the heavily guarded substance use treatment privacy requirements of Part 2 and the broader HIPAA.

On the positive side, though …

· The proposed changes “are common-sense, responsive changes to concerns that both patients and providers have raised regarding providing holistic, collaborative, patient-centered care,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

· The risk of prescribing drugs that could affect the health of the person under substance abuse treatment is real and could be fatal. In the wake of sky-rocketing opioid abuse crisis it is important that this information is shared among practitioners to protect lives of clients.

· It will also help come up with rules that are applicable in an era where electrical documents and digital communication are in use. Therefore doctors and facilities do not have to be in dilemma about how they handle substance abuse treatment information

The proposal will be open for public comments for 60 days after publishing in the Federal Register. The revamp is based on a recommendation by President Donald Trump’s commission on the opioid epidemic.

What is your opinion? What are your dilemmas or fears as someone under a treatment program, planning to enroll in one or have a loved in this situation? We will be providing more updates and our views on this proposal, so visit us often and get more insights about the issue.

Sources

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/feds-to-revamp-confidentiality-rules-for-addiction-treatment/2019/08/22/e7c27930-c519-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64176/

https://news.wttw.com/2019/08/23/feds-revamp-confidentiality-rules-addiction-treatment

a mother speaks to her about addiction and the child listens attentively

Your children are not spared from everyday challenges that expose people to dangers of substance use and abuse. If you are waiting to make your children understand addiction in late teens, it could be too late. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a third of teens have had a drink by 15. People between ages 12 and 20, account for 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States.

Most adults are extremely protective of their children and do not think it is a good idea to expose them to information about addiction. On the contrary, children need this knowledge to help them cope if a parent is addicted, and to not fall into the trap later.
How you approach this discussion depends on whether the children have experience with addiction or not. While children and addiction is a difficult topic to approach, these four tips can help your children understand addiction.

Speak Early and Allow Questions to be Asked

It is better to start speaking to your children about addiction early. Begin as early as pre-school. It should be a continuous conversation incorporated into everyday activities at different developmental stages. Children are exposed to dangers at a very early age through medicine and sometimes addicted caregivers. It is important that they are aware of telltale signs.

While having conversations around addiction, children will have innocent but difficult questions. Allow them to ask and be curious. Be prepared to answer them with all honesty. Share any family history around addiction if there is any. Do not keep secrets.

Questions from your child will give you cues on how much they can handle. It will also help you see how they process this information. In the case of an addicted parent, the questions will help you see how they feel about your addiction and possibly how it has affected them.

  • To help a child understand and cope with the addiction of a parent or a loved one, make them see it is not their fault using the ‘Seven C’s’ principle:
  • I didn’t cause
  • I can’t cure
  • I can’t control
  • I can help take care of myself by:
  • Communicating my feelings, making healthy choices and celebrating me

Have Age-Appropriate Conversations

Give information that children can process. How children understand addiction has to do with their present age and development stage. Again, at different stages children are exposed to different threats. They also have different behavior patterns. Here is an example of how to communicate for each age

  • 3 to 5 years: Talk about the benefits of healthy living and the problem of making unhealthy choices. Remind them staying healthy will help them remain energetic to play with friends. Teach them about the dangers of harmful substances such as adult medications or detergents. Use simple examples such as vitamins to demonstrate that medicine is good but can only be taken with care and the help of a caregiver.
  • 5 to 8 years: They will be coming into contact with more children from different backgrounds and new influences. Talk about their friends and allow them to bring concerns and questions to you. You can be more direct about the dangers of drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. When alcohol and drug scenes come up in movies, talk about the scenes.
  • 9 years and above (preteen): At this age, children want more independence. Create rules about drugs. Talk about peer pressure. Your efforts should be directed towards building their self-confidence and self-esteem. Help them separate reality from fantasy. Give them facts about substance use and remain available and approachable for questions and fears.
  • Teens- 13 to 18 years: Mature conversation needs to come into play. Enhance their power to walk away from situations and make decisions. Your conversations should bring a lot of validation. Tell your child what is wonderful about them. Get interested in their everyday struggles. Go all out on drug education; types of substances and their effects. Talk about mental health, the realities and how to enhance personal mental wellness. Encourage physical activity such as volunteering and sports and how they help in overcoming substance abuse. Take a stand against drugs.
  • Young adults (19-25 years): They have observed you for a while, so they will follow your actions. Talk about mental health and advise them to stay vulnerable. As they move out, talk about coping on their own; freedom and challenges if things do not work out. Most importantly, emphasize on how to take care of their mental health. Talk about taking alcohol for luxury and how to draw the boundary. Be open about your negative experiences with alcohol and other drugs.

Use Simple Language – Do Not Lecture

Create a sense of trust and safety when discussing addiction to children. Using the age guidelines given earlier, find the right communication tools for each child. Know their language of love and make it an open discussion. Let the conversation evolve with their development and sense of knowledge.

Draw connections to things they understand. Use everyday examples such as food to demonstrate the causes and process of addiction. You can talk about how someone starts with one cookie, and they can’t control themselves and end up eating a whole plate. Before you know it they are sick from overeating cookies.

Scare tactics loaded with lengthy and firm lectures do not work with children. Do not say things like you will die or rot in jail if you use drugs. This scare might work for kids when they are little, but as they grow they will be looking for someone that died or was jailed. What if they do not find one? It will be time to explore what you were keeping from them.

Addiction is Still a Disease – Only that it Can be Prevented

When making children understand addiction, the rule remains – addiction is a disease. Emphasize that just because someone is addicted, it does not make them a bad person. On the contrary, they are sick. Go as far as discussing symptoms of each addiction type. Talk about withdrawal and different treatment plans. Remember, you should not use intimidating language.

Be clear that addiction is a difficult disease to recover from. But still, people can get better. They require a good doctor and proper support to treat and recover fully. With this understanding, children get fully aware of the consequences of substance abuse. It also helps lessen the resentment, fear or blame they may have towards an addicted parent or sibling.

Unlike what most people think, children listen to their parents. It is possible that you can impact how your children understand addiction. These tips will help you communicate effectively. If you still need help on how to prevent and handle addiction among teens, talk to us.

 

After making the monumental decision to seek addiction treatment, some people are left wondering where to turn. This decision marks the beginning of a healthier and happier life. However, more changes will need to occur in your life to continue down the road to recovery. Addiction is a disease that requires treatment by professionals. Individuals are usually unable to recover alone and at home. Being in a professional treatment center in Arizona provides a person with many benefits, including lowering their risk for relapse and overdose. It is time to relocate.

Arizona may come as a surprise for many. However, it provides those seeking recovery the perfect environment to cleanse their mind, body, and soul. This next chapter in your life is an important one and will lead you down a healthier path. The choices you make now will help to shape your new life. Give yourself the best chance of success by travelling to Arizona for your treatment.

Access to a Strong Support System

When you enroll in a treatment center, you will have access to all the amenities and bonuses that come with it. This includes the professionals who work there. Most often, a healthcare professional will become available to you all hours of the day and night. This means you can have as little, or as much monitoring that you need. If a medical complication does arise, there will always be someone close by that can help you. This also helps immensely with the detoxification process. This process can often be difficult for those in recovery and sometimes uncomfortable. However, if you are in an environment with medical professionals, you will be able to discuss different options. This will help you to seamlessly transition into the next stage.

You will also be surrounded by peers that will no doubt support you in the recovery process, as they are going through this process as well. While no two paths are the same, you will all share the same goal. Group meetings and activities will often be planned. You will be encouraged or mandated to attend, since these meetings will be filled with important information. These peer groups will help you to feel more understood and foster new growth.

Improvement of Mood and Attitude

The atmosphere and environment of Arizona will promote a more positive mood and overall attitude. This beautiful state boasts sunny weather an average of three-hundred days a year. You might be thinking that Arizona is just dry and hot, but the weather can actually vary. However, it always feels like you’re right in a postcard. Sunshine contains Vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for overall health. It helps to prevent inflammation and lowers your blood pressure. Feeling sunlight on our bodies and faces can also cause us to have a heightened sense of relaxation. Having access to an environment with near-perfect weather will promote more positive feelings.

Development of Positive Coping Skills

While in treatment, those in recovery will learn necessary coping skills in order to stay on the right path. Addiction is considered a brain disease and disrupts reward pathways. This can make functioning in everyday life a challenge, while also making it difficult to properly manage emotions. While in rehab, you will learn how to cope with your emotions without the use of drugs and alcohol. While in Arizona, you will have access to several healthy outlets, which will make emotion management something that can be looked forward to as a positive step.

Opportunities and Activities

While in Arizona, you will have access to many unique opportunities and activities. When working with a professional, you may discover new hobbies you might be interested in trying. A group outing may consist of hiking new trails, swimming, yoga, or other forms of exercise. This group activities and formation of new hobbies will help a person in recovery with their coping skills, as well as helping them to adapt to a more positive life.

Risk of Relapse Decreases

Traveling to Arizona for treatment helps you to maintain distance between you and your triggers. One of the greatest risks for relapse is exposure to triggers without proper skills in place. This typically occurs when someone decides to stay home. Your mind and body are not equipped to handle this unsafe environment and has a higher likelihood of reverting back to its old ways. While avoidance is a good tactic, it is not forever. You will eventually run into one of your triggers, but it is best to have first learned how to deal with that situation.

Professionals will be able to help you identify your triggers in a safe and productive environment. Then, you will learn how to properly address your triggers and what to do once they arise. Healthcare experts may also help you to purge the negativity in your life or things that may be damaging to your recovery process.

Finding Treatment in Arizona

Making the first step towards a better life is a huge accomplishment and deserves to be celebrated. No two paths on this journey will be the same. Choose an environment that is dedicated to your safety and support. This will ultimately lead you in the direction of success and promote healthy growth. While this decision may seem small in the grand scheme of things, it could have a significant impact on your life. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease that cannot be treated alone at home. Seek the help you need and enroll in a treatment program today.

A Better Today Recovery Services is located in bright and energizing Arizona. They are home to a dedicated team of professionals that strive to better the lives of those affected by addiction. Their qualified team of experts understand that addiction can happen to anyone and affects all aspects of a person’s life. That is why they take an all encompassing approach to addiction treatment, offering a variety of different treatment options. Call today to discuss what options are best for you.

a person dealing with an addiction and co-occurring disorder

While every mental illness can present a threat during addiction, there are top co-occurring disorders with substance abuse. About 5.6 million people in the United States have co-occurring disorders according to a survey carried out in 2006. Another study in the ’90s showed that about 56 percent of people had a co-occurring disorder. SAMHSA predicts that things are even more serious now with a rise in mental health conditions.

While there is a chance for addiction to co-occur with substance, there are top co-occurring disorders with substance abuse. We shall explore them in this blog and perhaps understand why their dominance.

What is a Co-occurring Disorder?

People with substance use disorders and mental health disorders are diagnosed as exhibiting co-occurring disorders. This condition is often known as dual-diagnosis. This term –dual diagnosis is also used to describe the process of diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders or dual disorders.

Simply put a co-occurring disorder is when someone that has a substance use disorder such as alcohol addiction is also diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression. SAMHSA recommends that treatment addiction centers carry out a dual-diagnosis to establish whether the patient has co-occurring disorders.

To get a better understanding, we can split co-occurring disorders into its two components: a substance disorder and mental health disorder. Substance abuse is when substance use interferes with functioning at work, school or in relationships. It is diagnosed when it causes a dangerous situation or worsens a medical condition.

· Substance use disorder

Substance dependence is severe than substance abuse. In addition to the negative consequences, the person is not able to abstain from its use or control its use. In severe cases, it becomes physiological dependence so that you need more of the substance to get the same effect (heightened tolerance) and you experience symptoms such as tremors and nausea when you discontinue its use (withdrawal effect).

· Mental health disorder

Mental health disorders, on the other hand, include mood disorders and anxiety and are caused by various issues such as age, trauma, substance use or other chemical imbalances in the brain system. A high percentage of people with severe mental illness have a co-occurring substance use disorder according to the National Institute of Mental health.

Severe mental health disorders are defined by the length of episodes of illness. They include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and come with symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions commonly called thought disorders.

Co-occurring diseases require special treatment from both mental or substance use disorder because ideally, it should combine both. However, with a successful dual-diagnosis, it is still possible to help a patient through dual-recovery with 100 percent success.

While it is possible for any mental illness and substance use disorder to co-occur, there are some disorders that are more likely to be diagnosed with substance use. We will look at the top co-occurring disorder with substance abuse.

Mental health disorders co-occurring with substance abuse

1. Depression

Depression is a mood-related disorder just like dysthymia and bipolar disorder. It exhibits itself in ways such as weight loss or gain, low-self-esteem, blunted emotions, excessive sleeping, social withdrawal, agitation, poor grooming, slowed thought process and early morning awakenings.

There are various degrees of depression with dysthymia being the mildest. Major depression involves feeling sad, worthless, hopeless and helpless for a prolonged period of time. And no, it is not a bad day or a blue day. These feelings will be accompanied by persistent physical symptoms that rarely respond to treatment such as chronic pain, headaches, and digestive disorders.

2. Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder has been known to co-occur with substance use disorders. It causes extreme mood swings that could switch up from mania or extreme happiness, grandiosity, ecstasy or irritability or lessened need for sleep. Usually, the person sequences from one extreme state to another while going through few or no symptoms in between.

But bipolar is not just mood swings. It is the dramatic change in overall appearance, behavior, and levels of energy alongside the mood swings. These bipolar cycles come in the form of depression, mania, and a “mixed state.”

Other symptoms include an increase in goal-oriented activities, inflated self-esteem, more talkative and extreme involvement in pleasurable activities. Most people fall victim to substance use to help sustain these manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. This is why it is one of the most common co-occurring disorders.

3. Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is the flight or fight response to danger. It helps us respond to a perceived threat. We need it for survival. But when it is triggered unnecessarily, persists even after a threat is long gone, or causes you to restrict your life, it then becomes a disorder.

Anxiety disorders take many forms; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

When you examine the symptoms of all the categories of anxiety disorders, you realize that people are like to indulge in substance use to overcome them. Perhaps explaining why it is a top co-occurring disorder. Symptoms like confusion, muscle tension, excessive fear, avoiding people, impulses, recurring thoughts and restlessness.

4. Severe mental illness and co-occurring disorder

A severe mental illness is defined by the length of attack and the nature of the disability it causes. They produce psychotic symptoms such as schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. In severe forms, they will produce bipolar disorder and depression.

  • Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. It manifests in different psychotic, negative, cognitive and mood symptoms such as hallucinations, apathy, loss of interest or pleasure, delusions, false perceptions, mood shifts, anger, anxiety, and problems with attention and psychomotor speed.
  • Schizoaffective disorder is similar to schizophrenia, but it is usually long-term and with more severe symptoms. The victims will have severe depressive or manic symptoms. So the symptoms are more frequent and manifest for longer periods.

Severe mental illnesses also manifest in the form of thought disorders. These are disorders that affect perceptions and manifest in the form of delusions, hallucinations and abnormal behavior. The victims tend to manifest loss of contact with reality, and so they are sometimes known as psychotic disorders.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The best shot for co-occurring disorders is dual-diagnosis that is followed up with dual-treatment. It is always advisable to seek treatment from a facility that emphasizes on dual-diagnosis. It is effective and offers hope for a full recovery.

 

Addiction is one of the biggest challenges facing both normal people and the government in our country. When you consider that nearly one in three people know someone addicted to drugs of some description, it really magnifies the scale of the problem. However, there is hope to be found in the darkness.

People are becoming more open to discussing and solving the problem of addiction and this will make strides towards a better, safer future for everyone. Here, we look at five Ted Talks on Addiction, which can help us better understand and tackle this issue.

Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong – Johann Hari

Johann Hari is a journalist who has traveled over 30,000 miles exploring drugs and addiction. He presents to the audience early on in his speech that many of us have actually been given pure heroin if we’ve undergone a serious operation. Do we all come out as junkies? No. This confronts the idea that people will get addicted to heroin just from taking a lot of it.

Why don’t many people get addicted to drugs? According to Hari, and research, he has studied, it’s because of our human bonds. We want to stay well for the connections in our lives, for the human bond.

He discusses how the war on drugs across the globe has criminalized addicts. People are made to feel alone, ashamed, unwanted, dirty, criminal. Then he discusses Portugal, who decriminalized drugs in 2000 and has seen enormous success in helping people get back to working and being part of their communities.

People need to be loved, to feel cared for, to know they’re not alone. This is the key to helping addicts – not sending them away or arresting them. Hari firmly believes we need to change how we act and feel towards addicts, across the board. This will help change the story.

The Critical Role Librarians Play in the Opioid Crisis – Chera Kowalski

Chera Kowalski is a librarian at the McPherson Library in Philadelphia, located in a low-income area with very little opportunity historically. She chose to work here – she knows the area and its endemic problems. She knew it was center to the city’s drug trade and drug use. She didn’t become a librarian to save lives.

However, she points out that public libraries are places that are all about community support. People come into the library all day long, seeking shelter, resources, a place of repose, or to do their homework.

McPherson Library is in a park, and the staff had to face an even bigger problem as the opioid epidemic grew. People came to buy drugs in the park and use them around the library. Not only is Chera used to seeing people in various stages of opioid intoxication, but all the kids and teens who visit the library are too. The public toilet in the library even got blocked by discarded needles.

There have been overdoses inside and outside the library. All of this is reminiscent of Chera’s childhood. Her parents were heroin addicts. She constantly feared they would die. She has learned to use NARCAN and has saved lives with it. She knows the kids that see this think it is normal, but it shouldn’t be.

Her point is that the opioid epidemic isn’t just about users and their families – it affects the entire community that surrounds it. The reach of the epidemic impacts the entire community.

Addiction is a Disease. We Should Treat it Like One – Michael Botticelli

Director of Drug Policy for Barack Obama, Michael Botticelli was honest about his recovery, but there were still people who thought that it would affect his chances of getting that job, despite the fact he had been in recovery for 20 years. Michael is an alcoholic.

He’s also gay. He has seen how people fought to be heard, especially regarding the AIDS and HIV epidemic. He remembers when people blamed those with AIDS for being sick and wanted to separate them from others. He has seen how that has changed. The disease of AIDS may be eradicated in our lifetime.

Now he sees the disease of addiction. People are rude, derisive, speak with scorn about those with addiction. There’s a stigma like there once was with LGBT. Addicts are people too, they have faces and families, people that love them.

He discusses how someone with cancer will be treated; someone who has a heart attack will be rushed to the hospital. They have a disease, so do alcoholics and drug addicts. Decades of research has proven that addiction is a chronic medical condition.

The Affordable Care Act has changed things, but people need to change their views about addiction. He speaks about his own addiction because people are more than a disease. They need help, kindness, and compassion so that they can get help earlier and when they need it.

In the Opioid Crisis, Here’s What it Takes to Save a Life – Jan Rader

Jan Rader is a firefighter and qualified nurse who lives and works in Huntington, West Virginia. She’s used to saving lives from burning buildings, fire accidents, and national disasters. When the opioid epidemic hit, suddenly she was trying to save more lives from drugs. In 2017, her community saw 831 overdoses and 183 deaths from overdose.

She asks people to think about what it’s like to have an addiction – to feel fragile and ashamed. Then imagine you overdose, someone calls 911 and you wake up to five or six strangers who have just plunged you into withdrawal by using naloxone. You’re not grateful they saved your life – you’re defensive, angry. Then consider being the first responder who has just saved your life and how they feel, even though they may have actually saved you from overdose before. It creates a bad dynamic.

This community has changed the way they treat the opioid epidemic, from installing a Quick Response Team, a freestanding clinic devoted to opioid users and self-care for the firefighters. It has resulted in 50% fewer overdoses and 50% fewer deaths.

As she says, it takes a lot of people to save a life, not just once, but over and over. It takes a community effort and a change of approach. She hopes her community can show how to move forward – just listen and be kind.

How Isolation Fuels Opioid Addiction – Rachel Wurzman

What does it mean to be normal and what does it mean to be sick? Rachel Wurzman explores this question on a neurological level. She opens with how she suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and even people who don’t have it can imagine it because your brain can give you similar experiences. Tourette’s Syndrome gives her involuntary tics, she calls them unvoluntary.

Then she asks where do we put opioid abuse on the spectrum of unvoluntary behavior? We already know that something about the way addiction is treated isn’t really working.

She talks about the brain’s autopilot, which is controlled by the striatum. It knows to trigger whatever behavior you have done most when confronted with the same conditions. We don’t choose to do things, we do what we have become programmed to.

The striatum has been closely connected with loneliness. Also, we have naturally occurring opioids in our brain and opioid-receptors. These react to pleasure. Loneliness makes our brain-hungry so that anything will satisfy it, even if that is opioids. People are becoming addicted more easily because they are lonely. People without good social connections are relapsing more.

We need deep emotional connections to keep the striatum healthy. Humans need to remember that they are human and build social connections, not online but in person. Wurzman believes, and her research backs it up, that we can heal ourselves and the others around us through proper connection.

Conclusion

Watching educational videos on addiction is vital for everyone in the community. Those who think they aren’t touched by addiction should keep an open mind. These Ted Talks on addiction show that society has a huge part to play in healing the opioid crisis. When people come together, keep learning and banish the stigma around addiction, then the numbers change for the better.

If you know someone who is suffering from addiction, listen, learn and help as much as you can. Reach out and contact us for professional help today.

Resources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/nearly-one-in-three-people-know-someone-addicted-to-opioids-more-than-half-of-millennials-believe-it-is-easy-to-get-illegal-opioids

man holds up a bag of methamphetamine

At A Better Today, we never shy away from the chance to speak out and educate the public on addiction. We are on the frontlines and see the devastating impact that addiction has on people from all walks of life. One problem that we are starting to see more and more from the men and women that walk through our doors is an increase in meth use.

Listen our Clinical Director Eboni Fields share her expertise…

Meth has always been dangerous, and it’s not getting any safer. In fact, it’s getting increasingly more dangerous. “Primarily imported from Mexico by major drug traffickers, ‘meth 2.0’ is stronger, cheaper and far more plentiful than the old home-cooked variety,” reports USA Today.

This exceedingly dangerous drug is more potent and easier to get than it used to be. Our own clinical director, Eboni Fields, sees first-hand how this new generation of meth impacts people.

“The people who are making the drugs, they’re going to make it to where it’s going to stretch as far [as possible] and it’s going to get you the highest,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM. In other words, you just don’t know what you’re getting. There’s no way to know if it’s laced with another substance, and if so, what and how much. Therefore, chronic abuse and overdosing are both exceedingly easy to do.

Almost three in every 100,000 people lost their lives to a meth-related overdose in 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite the low cost, meth 2.0 is known for its high purity rate of up to 97 percent. This creates an even higher risk for overdose.

Although the opioid epidemic has garnered a lot of public attention lately, meth is also a big concern. Fields agrees, telling KTAR News 92.3, “We have been seeing an uptick of people with meth [addictions].”

Meth and opioid addictions are well known, probably due to their high death rates. But every addiction can be dangerous. Addiction is a psychological disease that requires professional treatment.

That’s why we’ve developed a full-service treatment program at each of our facilities. From detox to aftercare, we understand that the more support our patients have, the more likely they are to achieve lifelong recovery.

Successful addiction treatment must include detox (if applicable), cognitive behavioral therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, and aftercare. In addition to these services, we also integrate expressive therapy, yoga, strength training, nutrition education, equine therapy, life coaching, life skills training, and a variety of resources.

For additional support after treatment, we recently opened our new sober living program. People in recovery can live in a safe, supportive environment for an extended time period. If you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction to any substance, including meth, opioids, alcohol and more, we can help.

Give us a call today at 888.906.0952. We’re available for a confidential consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Let us help you overcome an addiction and rebuild a happy, healthy, meaningful lifestyle.

Sources

[1] Calfas, Jennifer. “Meth Is Top Drug in the West for Overdose Deaths.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 25 Oct. 2019, www.wsj.com/articles/meth-is-top-drug-in-the-west-for-overdose-deaths-11572024548.

[2] Vestal, Christine. “Cheap and Powerful ‘Meth 2.0’ Is Ravaging Communities and Slowly Killing Its Victims.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 4 Nov. 2019, www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/11/02/meth-use-surges-stronger-cheaper-drugs-imported-mexico/4124765002/.

 

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