Author: Shernide Delva
Each year, more than 300 million people are affected by depression. Depression is a debilitating illness that is difficult to treat.
What if there was one gene that played a key role in depression? Furthermore, what if that gene could be identified and even manipulated to actually treat depression?
Shockingly, this could all be a possibility. Researchers have discovered a gene that may play a central role in depression. This gene either protects us from stress or triggers a downward spiral depending on its level of activity.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM). It was the first to pinpoint in detail how one particular gene, known as Slc6a15, is a key role in depression. The study found the same link in both animals and humans.
“This study really shines a light on how levels of this gene in these neurons affects mood,” said the senior author of the study, Mary Kay Lobo, an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.
“It suggests that people with altered levels of this gene in certain brain regions may have a much higher risk for depression and other emotional disorders related to stress.”
Potential Treatment Solution?
A study like this could help with treating depression in the future, and that help is desperately needed.
Nearly 800,000 people die annually from suicide. It is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 to 29. Beyond that, depression destroys the quality of life for tens of millions of patients, and their families suffer too. Although environmental factors play a significant role in many cases of depression, genetics are equally as important.
This is not the first time this gene was studied. Back in 2006, Dr. Lobo and her colleagues found that the Slc6a15 gene was common in specific neurons in the brain. They recently demonstrated that these neurons were important in depression.
Connection to Anhedonia
Her lab decided to investigate the specific role these neurons have in depression. In the latest study, she and her team focused on a particular area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This region is crucial in the brain’s “reward circuit.”
When you eat a delicious meal or participate in any kind of enjoyable experience, neurons in the nucleus accumbens are activated letting you know the experience is enjoyable. When a person is depressed, it ‘s hard to experience any kind of enjoyment, a condition known as anhedonia.
Researchers discovered subset neurons in the nucleus accumbens called D2 neurons. These neurons respond to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a central role in the reward circuit.
Mainly, these subset neurons responded to feel good chemicals like dopamine which is lacking in those with depression. Next, they studied mice susceptible to depression. These mice tended to withdraw from activities and exhibit behavior indicating depression such as social withdrawal and lack of interest in the food they would normally enjoy.
Dr. Lobo found that when the mice were subject to social stress, the levels of the Slc6a15 gene in the D2 neurons of the nucleus accumbens was noticeably reduced. The researchers also studied mice in which the gene had been reduced in D2 neurons. When those mice were subjected to stress, they also exhibited signs of depression. Furthermore, when researchers increased the levels of Slc6a15 levels in D2 neurons, the mice showed a resilient response to stress.
So what does this mean?
Next, Dr. Lobo looked at brains of humans who had a history of major depression and who had committed suicide. In the same region of the brain as the mice, the gene Slc6a15 was reduced. This indicates that the link between gene and behavior is found in both humans and mice.
In the future, manipulating these genes could help improve depression. While it is still unclear how Slc6a15 operates in the brain, Dr. Lobo states it may work by altering neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
This research could lead to therapies that focus specifically on this particular gene to treat depression. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, call now. Do not wait.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
True Blood star Nelsan Ellis passed away from heart failure due to attempting to detox from alcohol on his own. The 39-year-old actor is best known for his role as Lafayette Reynold’s on the HBO hit. Reports originally stated the actor’s death was due to heart complications. No other details were stated. However, days later the actor’s family opened up about the cause of death as a “cautionary tale” to help others.
Rather than shy away, the family of Nelsan Ellis revealed that it was a long battle with alcoholism that ultimately led to Ellis’ death.
The Illinois-born actor studied at the prestigious New York performing arts school Juilliard and played the role of Lafayette on True Blood from 2008-2014. More recently, he was working on the CBS detective series Elementary.
Prior to his death, Ellis was attempting to quit drinking. According to the reports, Ellis felt shame about his drinking and had already gone to rehab a few times before. Therefore, he decided to hide his drinking and quit on his own.
Detoxing from alcohol without medical supervision can result in a variety of medical issues including heart failure.
Warning: Alcohol Withdrawals are Deadly!
It is so important others learn from Ellis’ mistake to stop drinking on his own. Many people are unaware of how severe alcohol withdrawals are. In fact, alcohol withdrawals are more dangerous than any other drugs, even prescription painkillers, and heroin.
In severe cases alcohol withdrawals can result in:
- Severe tremors
- Racing heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Brain Damage
Alcohol leads to more deaths than all other drugs combined. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) estimates that alcohol causes 88,000 deaths every year.
Nelsan Ellis’ Family Comes Forward to Help Others
It was very brave of the family to come forward with the reality of their loved one’s condition. The original news reports released after the actor’s death did not mention anything regarding the actor’s alcoholism. It would have been extremely easy for the family not to say anything and go along with the reports
Instead, they released a statement so that others struggling with alcoholism know the importance of seeking treatment before it is too late.
“Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years,” the actor’s manager said on behalf of the family.
“After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.”’
“On the morning of Saturday, July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul…Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”
From the statement, it is evident the family decided to make the death of their loved one a warning to others. Many addicts would rather hide in shame or attempt to detox on their own instead of getting the help they desperately need.
Alcohol withdrawals vary from person to person, and for some, detoxing without medical supervision is highly risky. Individuals may experience what is known as delirium tremens (DTs) characterized by disorientation, severe agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever.
DTs can last up to 3 or 4 days, according to Dr. Richard Saitz in “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal,” a paper published on the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
“About 5% of patients who experience DTs die from metabolic or cardiovascular complications, trauma or infections,” Saitz state.
One should never detox on their own.
This unfortunate death serves as a message to those considering withdrawing from drugs on their own. Don’t do it. The detox process should be monitored by medical professionals that can provide the tools needed to do so safely.
Overall, we must commend Nelsan Ellis’ family for choosing to come forward about the adored actor’s condition. The stigma of addiction prevents addicts from seeking treatment. Do not try to fight your addiction on your own. Instead, call today. We are waiting for your call.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
When we are in a crucial time of combating substance use disorder and drug addiction in America, it could be useful to remind everyone of the key differences in different drug categories and which common drugs can qualify for these descriptions.
Needless to say, this is not a complete list of every known drug. Truthfully, there is a vast library of known chemical combinations that are utilized as either medical treatments or abused as a means of recreational intoxication. There are the more abstract medications that have no known recreational use, and there are many synthetics that can be far more complicated.
Still, plenty of drugs that we know of have been put into different classes. Here is a brief breakdown of the different drug categories and what drugs qualify.
Prescription Medical Drugs
First we will make a more solid distinction between medical drugs and recreational drugs. Sadly, prescription drug abuse has become a major problem in the country. The opioid crisis has been largely impacted by the abuse of drugs created for medical use. It is important to be aware of the dangers of prescription medical drugs.
Many medical drugs have side effects that make them appealing to people who don’t have a real medical reason to be prescribed these substances. Common medical drugs to be abused include:
The tragedy we have learned through the opioid crisis is that even though these drugs are typically prescribed for medical purposes, they can be extremely dangerous. That includes people who use them recreationally, and for those who are prescribed the medication because of the risk of physical dependence.
Some prescription drugs are more addictive than others, and many can be deadly when taken improperly or with other drugs, especially alcohol.
Recreational drugs are substances specifically used to achieve a desired feeling, or to get ‘high’. Most recreational drugs are illegal. Some legal drugs are recreational, and some recreational drugs are legalized in certain areas for medicinal purposes.
Recreational drugs are typically categorized into three main categories: depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens.
Depressants, which are also called ‘downers’ are drugs that depress activity in the body, meaning they slow down the messages sent to and from the brain. Examples of depressant drugs include:
- Opiates (such as heroin and morphine)
- Sedatives (such as Valium)
- Some glues, petrols and other solvents
An individual is at an even higher risk of overdose from depressant drugs when consuming different types of depressants at the same time. Large amounts of depressants can cause life-threatening respiratory issues and loss of consciousness.
Stimulant drugs are also known as ‘uppers’. The term refers to the way these drugs make someone feel ‘up’ or ‘alert’ by speeding up the messages sent to and from your brain. Examples of stimulants include:
- Amphetamines (such as speed or ice)
Some of the hazardous side effects of stimulant drugs include:
- Severe strain on the heart
- Increased body temperature
Combining different stimulant drugs, or using stimulants with depressant drugs can create even more strain on the heart and the body, which can cause major health problems or even death.
Hallucinogen drugs are psychoactive agents which can cause hallucinations, anomalies in perception, and other substantial subjective changes in thoughts, emotion, and consciousness. Examples of hallucinogens include:
- LSD (acid)
- ‘Magic’ mushrooms
- High doses of cannabis
Hallucinogen drugs do a number on the mind, and therefore they tend to make people experience things like:
- Risk taking behavior
Legal VS Illegal
One thing that we should always keep in mind is that a drug isn’t necessarily safe just because it is legal. Whether or not a drug is illegal, it can still pose a great deal of problems to different people for different reasons.
Consider alcohol. This is a legal substance, but it is still considered by many to be the most dangerous drug there is. That isn’t to say that it is as potent as drugs like heroin, but the danger rating comes from the fact that it is deadly, addictive AND highly accessible! For one, someone can get alcohol poisoning and die if they drink too much. Also, alcohol withdrawals can be some of the most dangerous there are. Add in the fact that it is extremely addictive, even more lethal when combined with other drugs, and can be purchased on pretty much every corner in America.
THAT is a dangerous drug.
Then, there are synthetic drugs. These substances can be ambiguous when it comes to being flat out illegal. For a while there were constantly news stories about new dangerous synthetic drugs being sold as “legal highs” that were making people deathly ill. In some cases, people did die.
Synthetic drugs can also fall into any of these categories, for example:
These drugs can be far more dangerous than others because of the often random chemical combinations they come in, being cooked in homemade labs with substances that have no clinical trials on human biology.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs are designed to put you in the best position to succeed with as many resources as possible, and it all starts with a healthy detox. Understanding the different drug categories may help you better understand the importance of a safe and effective treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Introduction by: Justin Mckibben
We have shared some excellent stories of Palm Partners Alumni who have done some amazing things. Recently I had the privilege of speaking with one of our Palm Partners Alumni, Jeff Salinas. We spoke about how his recovery has helped him achieve some incredible things in the last few years. Jeff attended treatment with Palm Partners back in 2015. Ever since getting his second chance he has been on an inspiring journey to an astonishing transformation. Today, we are all so proud to share his story.
When I reached out to Jeff, it was in regards to the Indialantic Boardwalk Triathlon he is set to compete in this weekend. After connecting on Facebook, I sent Jeff a message asking if he would be interested in sharing his story with our blog on Palm Healthcare Company’s website, so we could share it with the world! Jeff replied that he had been writing quite a few things about his transformation that we would like to share. He told me he would happily help us spread his “ongoing recovery stories as a beacon of hope for others still continuing with the struggles of any addictive behavior”.
In one message Jeff offered up an awesome story he wrote about the power of healing through yoga. As a yoga teacher with Palm Partners, I was elated to hear someone talking about the physically and mentally restorative practice of yoga. I thoroughly enjoyed this writing, and I surely hope someone else will too. Here is what Jeff has to say:
“The Wound is the Place Where the Light Enters You”
April 14, 2016
How Yoga Saved My Life.
It was a little over a year ago as I was wallowing away in despair in a detox center for treatment. I mean, you can only do so much in there. After I had enough in my room trying to read or watch tv, I decided to wander around the cafeteria. Hmmm.. The bulletin board. Blah… Blah… For lunch..blah.. Blah… For dinner… Hmmm.. Yoga.. later this evening. I signed up for it right away.
I for one had a huge amount of anxiety while in detox. Nonstop pacing, walking aimlessly around the center, like I said one can only do so much, so you can see the anticipation I had when I found out they were having a Yoga Class in there. And there she was, her presence alone can calm a crying baby, pretty much what I was in there. As I helped her lay out the mats and prep the library/sitting/TV room, I asked her if she was in recovery. She said 21 years.
Throughout that moment in practice, that hour and some minutes I was taken to a different place. You want to know where that was? I was taken to me, in my present moment, my breath, my physical posture. I was in me. For so F’n long I escaped me every waking moment I had either that was alcohol/chemically induced or complete utter destruction of self through physical fitness. But that calm and serene moment, I felt, well, I felt me; completely whole and organic, Non-GMO what have you.
From then on I continue the practice of Yoga, as it truly has a mystical and magical way of healing. By no way at all am I cured from my addiction, I am simply aware that a next drink for me will definitely be the kiss of death. So I continue to do what has been working for me, as well as to engage myself to forego the ultimate endurance challenge; The Ironman Race as I now train for this level headed and clear with with acknowledgment to my body learned through the practice of Yoga. On another note which explains my nightly yoga picture post in my Tri-shorts apparel.
So, this was my #Transformation #Throwback
May you all have peace within yourselves and find the solace that’s needed through our struggles in whatever they may be.
To follow up on what Jeff has written, the integration of the mind, body and spirit through yoga is one way holistic healing changes lives, and sometimes even saves them.
Mindfulness and meditation are a powerful forms of holistic treatment for people struggling with substance use disorder or addiction, and even the most basic meditation techniques can have a significant influence to ease severe pain, reduce anxiety and other symptoms of depression, and even improve heart health. Yoga and transformational breath work help to promote self-awareness, and align the body and the mind with a new healthy pattern. The philosophy of yoga speaks a lot about self-study, discipline and compassion. Yoga also teaches people how to let go and seek love and connection. The power of yoga cannot be overstated.
Thanks again to Jeff for spreading some empowering and enlightening truth with us. We look forward to more insights into your adventures.
We are happy to cheer for our Palm Partners Alumni, and excited to share the message Jeff shared with us about the power of yoga and the importance of finding peace and setting your own path in recovery. Real recovery is possible. Drugs and alcohol do not have to keep you from the life you dream of having. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
When it comes to looking for addiction treatment, there are a variety of concerns that need addressing. One important decision is whether or not to travel for recovery or stay at home. Regardless of what you decide, the primary concern should be finding the right treatment for your needs.
That said, sometimes it is necessary to travel for treatment to receive the best care. People often turn to their insurance to figure out what treatment centers are covered under their benefits. Many plans offer a variety of treatment options, and while some options are local, others are further away.
Regardless of how you pay for treatment, some options locally may not offer the level of care you need. If you are willing to travel for treatment, it expands your options tremendously to hundreds of thousands of centers across the country. Therefore, you can be more selective in what program suits your needs.
With all that said, are there any benefits for traveling to treatment?
The answer is Yes. There are quite a few benefits to traveling to a new city or state for treatment. Traveling puts you in the mindset of taking a journey toward recovery. It offers you a fresh step in a new environment.
For many, it is crucial to put some distance between their hometown and recovery. Some may find that staying home brings up way too many triggers which increase vulnerability to a relapse.
But Staying Home is Way More Convenient!
When looking for a treatment center, may consider convenience first. This is understandable. We all lead busy lives, and it might seem easier to go to a nearby treatment center instead of traveling hundreds to thousands of miles. However, you must remember that your disease requires the best care possible.
Your addiction has become unmanageable, and it is important to make time for yourself to heal. Your family, work life, and routine are already being affected by addiction and traveling for treatment give you the best chance of recovering.
Here are a few reasons why you should recover away from home:
You get a fresh start:
Pursuing treatment in another geographical area provides a “fresh start” both physically and psychologically. A new location allows you to move forward instead of being reminded of past mistakes. The goal is a long-term recovery, not short-term convenience. In a new location, you can focus on recovery and healing. Addiction is a brain disease, and recovery requires brain healing and restoration. Attending rehab in a new environment jumpstarts the process of your brain forming new neural connections and associations.
Seeking treatment far away from home limits the amount of distraction you have around you. You won’t run into “friends” who are also seeking treatment, and your old life will not interfere with your future. Traveling also makes it more difficult to continue using drugs or alcohol. Of course, it is still feasible; however, familiarity with an area can make it easier to do drugs. In a new location, there are fewer memories of past substance abuse. You are not near any drug dealers you already know or neighborhoods that you used to do drugs in. Finally, you can begin to build and experience healthy relationships and learn what it means to lead a sober life.
You can curb impulsive behavior:
When you are in a familiar area, it is easier to follow through on impulsive decisions. Remaining in rehab for a longer period is crucial to recovery. Several studies note how extended periods of time in treatment away from home increase the chance of recovery long term. It is easy to not give into impulses when you have a strong support system hoping the best for you.
While you may know of some programs close to home, that does not mean they are right for you. Price and convenience should not be the only consideration when choosing treatment. Your life depends on finding adequate care. Do not skimp on your recovery. Choose the best treatment center that you can afford to go to, even if it means spending more or sacrificing more.
Getting treatment for substance abuse is an investment. It is your first step toward a new, sober life. What are your thoughts on traveling for treatment? Remember, if you are currently struggling with substance abuse, please do not wait. Seek adequate care today. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135