This has to be my least favorite “joke:” “How do you know when an addict is lying?” “It’s when his/her lips are moving.” Along similar lines, at an outpatient clinic I visited while doing research for Inside Rehab, an addiction counselor facetiously said to a roomful of clients, “The one thing we know about alcoholics […]
These tips focus on ways to use less alcohol and can be helpful for anyone with an AUD using harm reduction, as well as for those who just want to cut back.
It is important to recognize that people with addictions use for reasons that are important to them, and it’s important to acknowledge their loss.
As substance use disorders become more severe, people drink less to feel good and more to feel normal. In order to change, the scale has to tip so the costs or cons outweigh the benefits.
I was surprised to find a growing body of research supporting the value of practicing or expressing gratitude.
Recently, a new version of Dr. Robert Schwebel’s The Seven Challenges program was introduced for adults and is being piloted in a research project.
People who have RYGB gastric bypass are at increased risk of developing alcohol and chronic opioid problems post-procedure – even years after surgery.
The finding that spirituality does not appear to be a big player for most people who benefit from AA should be good news for the many who are turned off by the “spiritual” side of AA.
Personally, I take issue with the notion that “addiction is a family disease.” Do we say that cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are family diseases?
This column takes an in-depth look at the “universal precautions” approach to anxiety, addiction, and benzo use.
When we’re bombarded with statistics about the “opioid epidemic,” often what gets lost in the picture is that overdoses commonly involve other drugs.
Recurrences can be of particular concern for people who go to strict abstinence-based programs, where they’re told that any use of substances is a “relapse.”
One of the ways to connect to your future self and be able to delay immediate gratification is to identify a “self-defining future memory.”
Seldom with medical conditions do we use the term “relapse” when the symptoms come back.
Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a formal Policy Statement supporting the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorders.
Funding and research interests have been largely directed toward the study of AA and its 12-steps, while the study of alternative support groups has been neglected.
My 2017 wish list focuses on treating individuals with SUDs the same way people diagnosed with other disorders or illnesses are treated by our health system.
Everything on this year’s wish list I could have included last year, the year before that, and before I wrote Inside Rehab.
One of the things that can cut down on holiday stress is using a three-list strategy to triage the “to-dos” at holiday time – or any time of the year.
It’s often said, “If you think you have a drinking problem, you probably do.” But what does that mean?
Given the status quo about difficulties with opioid painkillers, how well do alternative pain approaches stand up to the scientific test?
What other qualities are important to look for in a substance use disorder counselor or therapist?
Research indicates how well clients do in treatment differs dramatically depending on the counselor to whom they’re assigned.
Sleep problems increase the risk for developing substance use disorders, substance problems can lead to sleep difficulties and sleep abnormalities can lead to recurrent substance use.
Allowing people to determine on their own that moderate or “social” drinking isn’t in the cards for them – as opposed to dictating abstinence from the outset – is empowering and gives clients ownership of their choice.
THC can have a paradoxical effect, acting as an antiemetic (preventing nausea) at one level but causing nausea and vomiting at higher levels when used over prolonged periods.
“Our daughter is 23. She started using when she was 15 – drinking and smoking pot – the summer before she entered high school. A few of her friends’ parents had addictions, and she’d come to us, letting us know things she was learning about drug use. The year before, at age 14, she started cutting. She was experiencing […]
With the CRAFT model, family members, as well as caring friends and partners, are the focus of the therapy instead of the person with the substance problem.
If you have a history of a substance use disorder, even if you’re in recovery or if painkillers weren’t your drug of choice, you’ll likely have difficulty finding a physician to prescribe opioids.
How does stigma and a lack of understanding for people with substance use disorders often extend to the loved ones surrounding them?
Weight gain is a common concern for those taking antidepressants – a concern substantiated by data from a new long-term study.
Working with people who are struggling to overcome addiction-related issues presents unique challenges.
SMART Recovery®, a program for people with alcohol and other drug problems, recently passed two major milestones.
While a national effort to fight substance use and mental health disorder stigmas should be lauded, the grassroots efforts are leading the charge.
Do holistic therapies add anything to the quality or ultimate outcomes of the rehab experience?
We tell people with substance use disorders that they have a disease, and then continue to punish them when they “fail.”
With available treatments for meth addiction proving inadequate, a new approach looked to determine whether exercise would be an effective adjunct to traditional behavioral approaches.
The mysteries surrounding prescription opioid addiction persist, leaving experts eager to solve them.
If people acted more like consumers when selecting an addiction treatment program, the outcomes would be greatly improved.
Online claims of miraculous addiction treatment outcomes and near-perfect success rates can – and do – mislead consumers about the recovery process.
Stressful addiction-related family issues certainly apply year-round, but they are especially difficult at holiday time.
Dr. Stephanie Covington’s own recovery from an alcohol use disorder inspired her to help other women not only stop using alcohol and drugs, but to change their lives in a much broader way.
Why isn’t there more guidance on how to decline alcohol, considering the many social situations in which alcohol flows freely in our society?
Many primary care physicians lack adequate training in substance use disorders, have archaic ideas about addiction, and lack knowledge of relatively simple interventions.
Alcohol abuse can lead to a 10-15 pound weight gain if you don’t compensate for the same amount of calories by eating less or being more physically active.
Are there any real benefits to homeopathic medicine? Recently released data seems to indicate the answer is no.
According to Marc Lewis, Ph.D., addiction involves the powerful phenomenons “now appeal” and “ego fatigue,” driven by an exaggerated focus on instant gratification and an inability to control impulses.
“I truly believe no treatment will work on a person with an addiction if the patient hasn’t fully given themselves over to the fact that they have a disease that does not heal itself.” Margaret F.’s words capture a core belief of the traditional type of treatment program she attended, one common in 12-step-based facilities. […]
Addiction and mental illness are often presented as deviant or abnormal behaviors, prompting researchers to study the effects of that portrayal.
Approximately 30% of adults in the United States have had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) at some time in their lives. Despite the high number, only a small percentage ultimately seek professional help.
I have to admit that, when it comes to practicing formal meditation, I struggle, but I’m trying. I benefit most from the mindfulness component of yoga…
“AA critics are prone to attack AA for its perceived lack of evolving thought, yet are equally quick to attack what they see as any inconsistencies over time.”
A number of people expressed anger and indignation at Part 1 of this series, with some suggesting that I had “turned” into an AA supporter, but my views have not changed.
People who know me well will be surprised to find that I’m writing in defense of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet I can’t deny that countless people have been helped by AA.
The new FDA guidelines officially recognize that abstinence is not always attainable in clinical settings and that there can be significant benefits when drinking is reduced.
For those of us who want to satisfy our sweet tooth and be mindful of health, is it safe or possibly beneficial to use sugar substitutes to sweeten foods and drinks?
Why do addiction treatment facilities hold graduation ceremonies signaling the end of a treatment stay, sending a message that treatment is completed?
One facility after another told me they don’t use or recommend “maintenance” use of buprenorphine – which most people know as Suboxone – aside from using it during detox.
When a program touts itself as “dual diagnosis,” consumers have a right and a need to know exactly what that means and what care clients will be getting.
My recovery from an alcohol use disorder was “established” in 1983. Not long ago, I decided to borrow this terminology from “The Anonymous People,” a documentary film…
My heart was going full-speed in panic mode until it occurred to me to put into practice the very skills we use with clients at a holistic outpatient clinic. As I started my breathing…
Those who assert that abstinence is “the only way” often have heated debates with harm reductionists who maintain that recovery can include use of substances.
For people needing more structure than outpatient treatment alone, experts advocate staying in a quality sober living facility while attending a good outpatient program.
Despite popular thinking that rehab is the sine qua non for addiction recovery, outpatient treatment is just as helpful as residential rehab for most individuals.
If you go to rehab, it’s likely that you’ll be warned about the potential for “cross addiction” to substances that are not your “drug of choice.” But, is this a real risk?
Industry experts weigh in on five common rules of rehab, from cell phones and computers, to male/female “fraternizing” and couples in treatment together.
Is there really sound scientific evidence that sugar or other food components are “addictive” in the way that alcohol and other drugs are? Here are highlights from the 12-expert review of the scientific literature…
In the biz, you hear a lot less language like “druggie” and “crack head” to describe clients, but there’s still too much verbiage floating around that isn’t productive.
Studies suggest that only 25 to 35 percent of those who attend one AA meeting become active participants. Here are some alternative support groups with different philosophies.
When treatment program staffers don’t tell clients about non-12-step support groups, how can the groups proliferate? It’s the obligation of professionals to learn about multiple means of support for their clients.
She was abruptly taken to jail by police officers because she’d been informed that she wasn’t abiding by the program rules and had “failed to accept a higher power…”
Why is it so difficult to find effective treatment for teens with substance problems? Here is a close look at three adolescent drug and alcohol treatment programs that measure up.
What really works when your teen has a bona fide substance use disorder? Is it group treatment, the 12 steps, and/or sending them away for a month or more?
While the JAMA report concluded the medication, acamprosate, is one of the most effective FDA-approved medications for AUD, a number of seasoned clinicians told me that they do not find it to be beneficial.
The Journal of the American Medical Association just released a “best of studies” review of FDA-approved medications, including acamprosate, naltrexone and…
CRAFT teaches family members steps they can take to support a person’s sobriety, encourage alternatives to using, and enhance their own happiness.
While having a relative who struggles with substance abuse can cause a great deal of hardship for families, there’s no evidence that “something is wrong” with such families.
When more than 13,000 addiction treatment facilities are out there, how do you choose one that’s right for you or a loved one?
When I interviewed more than 100 people who had been to addiction rehab, asking how they chose their place of treatment, I found that many didn’t go about it very thoughtfully. So what are some things to ask of and look for in a rehab center?