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Individuals suffering from addiction in denial of needing treatment

“We admitted we were powerless —that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Once addiction takes the powerful hold it has over someone’s life, it can seem almost impossible to overcome. For those of us who have experienced it first hand, whether it be yourself or a loved one, we are all too familiar with the feeling of powerlessness and despair. While some people who have overcome their addiction by themselves through sheer willpower and self discipline, most addicts simply can’t do it alone. Many have tried time and time again to quit their addiction and almost always end with the same results. Failure.

There is a reason AA states “We admitted we were powerless —that our lives had become unmanageable.” as the first of the twelve steps. Admitting powerlessness means you have accepted you have a problem, but it can also mean a realization that you are powerless to do anything about it by yourself. The addict who has come to the realization that they have a problem may incorrectly assume they can overcome their addiction without the aid of others. After failures to quit and or repeated relapses, an addict may still believe they do not need to enter a treatment program. They do…

“Are you tired yet?”. Billy Hoffman, a professional peer consoler for Williamsville Wellness, asks this question for addicts who are in denial of needing any treatment. “Have you figured out yet that everything you’ve tried to do, on your own, has not worked? In fact, things have progressively gotten worse.” he says in the video above. There are greater benefits to participting in group therapy, professional counseling and meetings compared to not taking advantage of these resources.

It’s wonderful if an addict can overcome addiction on their own, but those who have tried and failed need to ask themselves “Am I tired yet?..”

Addiction in Prisions

I work with the Kairos prison ministry, and go to jails to talk to prisoners if they are interested. I’m a big fan of the success of the program – prisons track “recidivism” as opposed to true reincarnation, the main difference being recidivism can be defined to an easily trackable statistic. The reality is, the definition is part functional and part political – some states reward prisons systems with low recidivism, others only allocate money where needed, so higher recidivism rates mean more money.
However it is tracked, the Kairos program produces a minimum reduction of 30% in recidivism – and in Florida, where the program is prevalent, up to a 60% reduction in recidivism was shown for participants who remained active in the Kairos program while in prison. I should note that while this is a christian-based program, and I am christian, the program is open to anyone picked by the prison “inside team.” I have met with Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, Jews, etc. (I should also point out, while Williamsville Wellness employs many Christians, we are not a christian recovery center. We accept anyone who is serious about getting better.)
All of that said, drugs are actually a problem in prison. In one prison I visited, I ended up having to take an inmate aside and do a one-on-one session with him. He had been in prison for 14 years, and was 10 days sober. The last drug he’d taken, a home-made combination of a lot of chemicals, made him go blind temporarily. While in the prison hospital area, he had a cardiac event – but he wasn’t sure what kind, or he simply chose not to tell me. Either way, it scared him badly.
He needed to vent and talk about what he went through, so I listened. Then I recommend one of the AA/NA meetings routinely held at that prison. I really respected his willingness to try to be open to people about his issues, and that he wanted to work on then. We then talked about how much time he had left (2 years), and the vocational training available.
He wanted to be a barber – something that prison offered training in, which was actually a pretty good plan. If he needed to rent a chair at a location, his felony convictions could be overlooked by individuals with their own shop. His family had an old house zoned properly, not in use. He thought he could fix up and start his own shop one day. It was one of the more reasonable concepts I’ve heard for how to get on with the rest of his life for someone with that much time in jail. (He had been 19 when convicted.)
Recovery really isn’t about erasing and starting over – it’s about accepting, dealing, and moving on in a reasonable fashion. What’s done is still done – but moving forward, corrections can be made. Getting to peace with your past and current situation is an important part of healing.
Deep Meadows Tower

Deep Meadows Correctional Institute Guard Tower, in Henrico County, VA

Food for Cardio

Williamsville Wellness focuses on a total health picture, which includes working out and diet. We’ve found a lot of people have trouble meeting the recommended 30 min of actual cardio a day.

This is different from a 30 min workout designed to get the heart rate up, and you can only really figure out if you’re doing it with a heart-rate tracker of some kind. One thing you can do to make it easier is a diet tweak – although I personally don’t need anymore fiber. 😉

Drug Rehab Centers in Richmond VA. Perhaps I’m the Wrong Tool

Drug Rehab Centers in Richmond VA

Perhaps I’m the Wrong Tool by Tall Jerome

Mark Willenbring, a former Director of the Treatment and Recovery Research Division of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/National Institutes of Health weighs in on Hazelden’s embrace of Suboxone

So, Hazelden’s new approach is a seismic shift that is likely to move the entire industry in this direction. I told Marv that it was like the Vatican opening a family planning clinic! However, although this is a major positive step, they continue to be wedded to a strictly 12-Step approach along with the medication. But, I don’t see this ever changing. Hazelden has always seemed to operate like a Catholic hospital: science was okay as long as it didn’t conflict with ideology, and when it did, ideology won out.

His post betrays the trope that 12 steppers control the treatment world.

So, what are the beliefs driving his celebration of buprenorphine maintenance? In another post he offers what he believes should be the informed consent statement offered to opioid addicts entering treatment. [emphasis mine]

The only treatment proven effective for treating established opioid addiction is maintenance on a medication such as Suboxone or methadone, often with adjunctive counseling. Studies show that maintenance treatment reduces illness, mortality and crime, and is highly cost-effective. Therefore, it is the first-line treatment and the treatment of choice. There is no evidence of effectiveness for abstinence-based treatment.”

Wow. “The only treatment proven effective“? “There is no evidence“?

Mark Willenbring is a doctor. What kind of treatment would he receive if he became an opioid addict? Would he get Suboxone maintenance?

No. He would not.

Why? We don’t treat doctors with Suboxone maintenance. They get abstinence-based treatment.

Wait, what!?!?!? They get treatment for which there is “no evidence of effectiveness”?!?!?!?

Actually, there’s evidence that they have great outcomes with abstinence-based treatment.

All of the finger wagging about maintenance as the treatment approach with the strongest evidence-base raises some important questions:

§  Why do the most culturally empowered opiate addicts with the greatest access to the evidence base reject this evidence base with respect to their own care and the care of their peers?

§  What does this say about the evidence and its designation as an evidence-based practice? That this evidence doesn’t offer a complete picture?

§  What does it say that health professionals get one kind of treatment and give their patients another?

§  Why are some addiction physicians and researchers so indignant when others question their advocacy of a treatment approach that they and their peers refuse to use on themselves?

§  Does this advocacy of a medicalized approach have anything to do with the fact that they are indispensable in this medicalized approach?

Drug Rehab Centers in Richmond VA and the Debate of Whether to Use Suboxone as a Maintenance Drug

Drug Rehab Centers in Richmond VA. Perhaps I’m the Wrong Tool,maintenance

Drug Rehab Centers in Richmond VA. Using Suboxone as a maintenance drug for addicts is an interesting debate.

Drinking and Driving: Women, Be Careful on New Year’s Eve

Illinois alcohol limitA VroomGirls study shows men and women are not alike when it comes to drinking and driving. A cautionary tale for New Year’s Eve.

Women should be especially wary of driving after drinking even lightly this New Year’s Eve, according to a study of nationwide car accident statistics conducted by VroomGirls.

The study showed that women drivers involved in fatal car crashes after drinking were 7% more likely than men to have blood-alcohol levels at or below 0.08% – the most common legal limit. About 19.4% of women drivers who were drinking before fatal car crashes had blood-alcohol levels at or below the 0.08% standard, vs. about 18.1% for men.

Overall, male drivers were far more likely than women to be involved in alcohol-related fatal crashes – 17.5% of fatal accidents involving male drivers were alcohol related vs. 9.5% involving female drivers.

VroomGirls reviewed gender differences in 2011 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Among other findings in the VroomGirls study:
– Women drivers were also less likely to be involved in drug-related fatal cashes – 5.3% of fatal accidents involving male drivers were drug related, vs. 4.3% involving female drivers.
– Women were less likely to be speeding when driving in a fatal car crash – 31.7% of fatal accidents of male drivers involved speeding, vs. 24.1% of female drivers
– Women drivers were far more likely to be involved in fatal wrecks involving other vehicles – 54.5% of fatal crashes with female drivers involved another car, vs. 40.4% of male-driver crashes. Conversely, 59.1% of male-driver crash wrecks did not involve a collision with another vehicle.

AA benefits vary between sexes

Anew study finds differences in the ways that participation inAlcoholics Anonymous (AA) helps men and women maintain sobriety. Two Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators found that while many factors were helpful to all AA participants, some had stronger effects in men and some in women.

For example, avoidance of companions who encourage drinking and social situations in which drinking is common had more powerful benefits for men, while increased confidence in the ability to avoid drinking while feeling sad, depressed, or anxious appeared to be more important for women. The report will appear in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and has been released online.

“Men and women benefit equally from participation in AA, but some of the ways in which they benefit differ in nature and in magnitude,” said John F. KellyHarvard Medical School (HMS) associate professor of psychology and the associate director of the MGH-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. “These differences may reflect differing recovery challenges related to gender-based social roles and the contexts in which drinking is likely to occur.”

Kelly and his co-author, Assistant Professor of Psychology Bettina B. Hoeppner, note that, while AA was founded by men, one-third of its members today are women.  Studies have found that women benefit at least as much as men from participation, and many women become deeply involved in the AA program. The researchers carried out some of the first studies identifying the behavioral changes behind the success of AA participation, and this report is the first to examine whether the benefits differ between men and women.

Kelly and Hoeppner analyzed data from more than 1,700 participants, 24 percent of whom were women, enrolled in a federally funded trial calledProject MATCH, which compared three approaches to alcohol addiction treatment. Participants in the trial were free to attend AA meetings along with the specific treatment program to which they were assigned.  At several follow-up sessions, participants reported their success in maintaining sobriety, whether or not they were attending AA meetings, and completed specialized assessments of factors such as their confidence in their ability to stay sober in particular situations and whether their social contacts supported or discouraged their efforts to maintain abstinence.

In September 2011, Kelly, Hoeppner, and colleagues reported in the journalAddiction that increased confidence in the ability to maintain abstinence in social situations and increased time spent with people who supported abstinence were the behavioral changes most strongly associated with successful recovery among Project MATCH participants attending AA meetings.  The current study reanalyzed some of the data used in the Addiction study to see if there were differences between men and women in the impact of factors included in the assessments.

For both men and women, participation in AA increased confidence in the ability to cope with high-risk drinking situations and increased the number of social contacts who supported recovery efforts. But the effect of both of those changes on the ability to abstain from alcohol was about twice as strong for men as for women. In contrast, women benefited much more than men from improved confidence in their ability to abstain during times when they were sad or depressed. “It is striking that this effect was virtually absent in men while it was a major contributor to women’s ability to remain abstinent and to limit the number of drinks they consumed when they did drink,” says Hoeppner. Several factors that helped to reduce the intensity of drinking in men — such as less depression and fewer friends who encouraged drinking — did not appear to be as important for helping women.

Kelly says, “AA helps both men and women stay sober following treatment by enhancing sober social networks and boosting confidence in coping with high-risk social situations. In terms of alcoholism recovery more generally, we found the ability to handle negative moods and emotions was important for women but not for men. Conversely, coping with high-risk social situations — which could be attending sports or other events where people are likely to drink — was important for men but not women.  These differences suggests that, for women, finding alternative ways to cope with negative emotions may yield recovery benefits, while among men, a greater focus on coping with social occasions that feature drinking may enhance recovery.

“In terms of drinking intensity — the number of drinks consumed on days when someone does drink — because the variables we studied explained only about half of the effects of AA for women, there must be other factors involved that were not captured in our analysis,” he adds.  “More work is required to fully capture the biopsychosocial effects of AA participation for enhancing alcohol addiction recovery, particularly among women.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.



How can parents prevent drug abuse and drug use?

1. Set a positive example.
2. Ask open-ended questions.
3. Practice open communication daily.
4. Get involved in your children’s lives.
5. Be nonjudgmental.
6. Talk about drugs and alcohol early on.
7. Set clear rules and enforce them.
8. Be a parent instead of a friend.
9. Praise your children often.
10. Educate yourself about drugs.

To read the full article, Click Here


Men vs. Women: Does Gender Matter in Addiction Recovery?

Not so long ago, addiction was seen as a “man’s problem.” In recent years, addiction research has broadened its focus to include the differential impact addiction has in the lives of both men and women. We know more than ever about the biological and psychosocial factors that affect how men and women experience addiction.

So in the battle of the sexes, who “wins” in addiction recovery? At first glance, men may appear to have the upper hand as women tend to progress more quickly into chemical dependency and face serious consequences faster than men. However, women are less likely to struggle with addiction than men and fare just as well in treatment. In the end, it’s a draw. Neither sex is better or worse off; they simply experience addiction and recovery in different ways.


To read the full article, Click Here

Symptoms of prescription pain killer abuse and addiction (Top 10)

Do You Think You Or Someone You Love Has A Problem With Pain Killers?

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between temporary changes in behavior and lasting effects of pain killer abuse. And while self help for opiate addiction is available, it’s a hard row to hoe. Here, we outline the top ten major symptoms of prescription pain killer abuse to help you identify signs of painkiller addiction. Your questions about pain killer abuse or comments about harm reduction in opioid users  are welcomed at the end.

Symptoms Of Prescription Pain Killer Abuse

If you are taking prescription pain killers, or you have a loved one currently prescribed one of these medications, stay aware of these warning signs of drug abuse and possible pain killer addiction:

1. Taking more medication than prescribed. This is usually the first sign of a problem. If you are unable to stick with the dosing regimen given by your doctor, it’s important to speak with him or her about this. It could be that you are in need of a higher dosing, but it’s also important to speak to your physician about the possibility of developing prescription pain killer dependency.

2. Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more drugs. Known as “doctor shopping”, this behavior is a typical way that people addicted to pain killers get the extra dosing they are craving. If you find that your doctor has cut you off or limited the amount of drugs you are prescribed, and, as a result, you are going to additional doctors with the goal of getting more drugs, you are definitely showing signs of addiction.

3. Going to the streets to get your drug of choice. Prescription pain killers are big business on the streets. Just one oxycodone tablet can sell between $5 to $50 depending on the strength. For those who have fallen into addiction, the cost of purchasing drugs on the street can be financially devastating, not to mention the dangers involved.

4. Changes to personality, behavior, or mood. Drug abuse and pain killer addiction causes a preoccupation with the drug of choice. People who abuse drugs to get high no longer show interest infriendships, love, or fun. None of these things matter as much as they did before. The main goal in life of a pain killer addict gradually becomes the drug before everything else. As a result, the person no longer appears to be the person they were before addiction.

5. Social withdrawal. Once addicted to pain killers, a person may pull away from those they are closest to. The desire to deny the problem is one reason for this. Those who know you best are more aware of the changes happening. They may function as a mirror for you, and it can seem easier to pull yourself away than to face the truth about what’s happening.

6. Negative changes in personal hygiene. Along with pain killer abuse comes lethargy and lack of motivation. Even taking a bath, brushing your teeth, or doing laundry can seem like too much work. Housework may also fall to the wayside as an addiction progresses. If you find that the initial positive feelings pain killers created for you have been replaced with an overall lack of motivation, this is a sign of addiction.

7. Defensiveness when discussing the problem. As family and friends witness the changes happening to their loved one, it is normal for them to want to discuss the issues and attempt to help. If you find your family is bringing up the topic of pain killer abuse, and your reaction is to get defensive, then it’s time for you to reflect. Your defensiveness is likely a form of denial.

8. Preoccupation with the pain killer. Do you find yourself counting your pills several times throughout the day? Planning your week or month around your pain pills — When will you run out? When will you need more? Do you accuse others of stealing pills from your bottle because you feel like they’re disappearing too fast. Are you constantly hiding your pill bottle(s) so that no one can find them? When the drug is taking up your thoughts and focus this is addiction.

8. Continued usage of the pain killer even after medical condition has improved. While some people have chronic pain that may require longtime use of pain medication, most people who are prescribed pain killers are not meant to take these drugs for long periods of time. If you received a root canal three months ago, but you’re still taking pain killers, this is an example of pain killer abuse or addiction.

9. Withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. Ironically, one of the most common withdrawal symptoms of opioid pain killer addiction is severe pain. This can make it very difficult for the addicted person to stop the cycle since their only immediate relief from the pain is taking more of the drug. Other symptoms of opioid pain killer withdrawal are nausea, vomiting, cramping, and anxiety. Withdrawal can be dangerous if not medically supervised, so if you struggle with any negative symptoms when you don’t take your medication or miss a dose, contact your doctor immediately for assistance or get to a hospital for help.

10. You recognize any or all of the above signs. Depending on the severity of the pain killer abuse, and how long the problem has been going on, some may recognize all of the signs we’ve discussed here, while others may only recognize only one of the symptoms listed above. It’s important to understand that, regardless of how many of the signs exist, if any of symptoms of prescription pain killer abuse exist, it’s time to get help.


To read the full article, Click Here

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