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Is Cheese Really as Addictive as Drugs…or Nah?

Is Cheese Really as Addictive as Drugs...or Nah?

Author: Shernide Delva

The controversy has taken over social media and news outlets everywhere.  Could cheese be just as addictive as heroin and crack?  Let’s get to the bottom of this.

I admit. I, too, am a cheese fanatic. The allure of cheese is hard to pass up, especially on pizza. Yum! Still, you can have an addiction to cheese? This just seems too crazy to me.

The study was originally published in the journal Plos One and it examines why certain foods are more addictive than others. Researchers identified foods that are commonly favored among others. They wanted to know if certain food had properties that were seen as addictive.

The study provided evidence that food addiction really is a thing. The study was based on animal models and it discovered that certain highly processed foods, like cheese, are associated with addictive-like eating. Cheese is digested in a way that keeps us coming back for more.

When we eat cheese, our bodies produce casomorphins which break down the protein casein found in all milk products.  Casamorphins attaches to the brain’s opiate receptors and produces a calming effect in our bodies the same way certain drugs like heroin and morphine do. Since cheese has a higher concentrated content of casomorphins, it was labeled by one researcher as “dairy crack” which spurred the cheese addiction articles.

The study identified 500 students to measure foods most commonly ate in food addiction. Pizza, unsurprising, came out on top of the list for more addictive food. Researchers discovered that cheese was the culprit.

 “[Casomorphins] really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element,” registered dietitian Cameron Wells said.

But are we stretching this whole concept of addiction?

After the study was published, several stories came out refuting the whole “cheese addiction” debacle. One article explained that the claim made “zero sense upon face value.”

Dopamine is pretty much quoted in every scientific article on addiction out there nowadays. I know, because I read tons of them on a daily basis. Dopamine is the “Kim Kardashian of neurotransmitters,” one article suggests. Even neuroscientist Vaughn Bell is quick to dismiss any scientific article that mention dopamine as evidence saying “it gives instant appeal to listless reporting and gives editors an excuse to drop some booty on the science pages.”

The casomorphins in cheese are not necessarily going to consume your life and send you to rehab so it’s hard to classify cheese as having any real “addictive” effects.  Furthermore, a 2009 study found that found researchers could only elicit opioid-like effects in animals if they injected it straight into their body cavity or brain. So unless you are injecting cheese into your body, you probably have little to worry about.

Food definitely can be abused and overeating is a real thing. Food addiction is proven to be a debilitating illness and obesity causes many health implications. However, we still do not have any solid research that REALLY shows any specific food item having more addictive properties than others.

Yeah, we might gravitate toward cake and cheese more than salad and carrot sticks but the reasoning for that is multifaceted and cannot be blanketed under the term “addictive” as easily as we want to believe. In the study, obviously salty and sweet things made it to the top while boring and tasteless items (e.g., broccoli, kale) were at the bottom. Foods that taste better and make us feel good will make us want to come back for more.

So what’s the answer? Overall, cheese can be addictive. Kind of. However, it definitely is a stretch to say it is as addictive as heroin and crack. Stop ignoring your addiction and get help now.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

Mad Max on Crack: Tom Hardy Speaks Up About Battle with Addiction

Mad Max on Crack: Tom Hardy Speaks Up About Battle with Addiction

Photo Via: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Hardy

Author: Justin Mckibben

I have to say that being a huge movie buff, and I’m the kind of guy who tries to remember every role my favorite actors/actresses play in. I highly anticipate the new Mad Max: Fury Road film starring the London talent turned Hollywood hero Tom Hardy, and as someone that follows the careers of actors and actresses I’m impressed with after they are able to grab my attention with just one intriguing role, I have become a huge fan of this guy. So when I first read about Tom Hardy speaking openly about his battles with drugs and his road to recovery it was something that makes him seem more human, and I might actually be a bigger fan for it.

Hard Man Hardy

Edward Thomas “Tom” Hardy is a 37 year old English actor from Hammersmith, London who made his feature film debut back in the day with Black Hawk Down in 2001. He since has been noted for countless amazing performances in some awesome titles including:

  • Star Trek: Nemesis (yes.. he was the main villain)
  • RocknRolla (appeared as Handsome Bob)
  • Inception (a performance toe-to-toe with Dicaprio’s)
  • Warrior (nuff said)
  • Lawless (the big brother/soft spoken moonshine man)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (duh… anything Batman is awesome)

And throughout his career he went from a much smaller size to a bulky brawler, getting him some serious notoriety as what he says Hollywood sees him as- a “hard man” on set, but that’s not who he thinks he is. This may be most noticeable in his role as the yoked-up mask-faced mercenary BANE from the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.

So when Hardy recently talked about his troubles with drugs and how helpless he was in active addiction, I can’t help but imagine him saying (in my best possible Bane impersonation) “I was wondering what would break first, my mind… or my body!” Addiction struck in his mid-20’s, but it seems Hardy counts himself fortunate to have recovered before getting the chance to terrorize us in Gotham City.

Hardy’s History

In an interview with fellow former addict Kenny Ross, Hardy talked about how his had nearly fallen apart, along with his career due to drugs and alcohol. Despite his successful performance in Black Hawk Down, he quickly found himself in a downward spiral that landed him broken.

“I didn’t want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn’t hide it. Eventually, the body gives up. I was completely kaput. I was lucky I didn’t get hepatitis or AIDS.”

Hardy admitted that his troubles began at an early age of 13, when he was already experimenting with hallucinogens. Coming from an affluent home Hardy was kicked out of boarding schools for theft, and an addiction to crack cocaine and abusive relationship with alcohol quickly followed. Hardy was arrested for stealing a Mercedes and possessing a gun at 17, but somehow managed to get off without punishment. The years went on and his addiction was only growing, and he abused crack cocaine consistently. At one point he said:

“I would have sold my mother for a rock of crack”

While it didn’t get to the point his mom was on the auction block, it apparently got bad enough for Hardy to make a change.

“I did something particularly heinous that allowed me to wake up.

“I had to lose something. Sometimes you have to lose something that is worth more to you than your drinking.”

Then one day in 2003 he woke up in a puddle of his own blood and vomit on the streets of Soho, and after years of using and boozing he finally realized he needed help. Luckily for him, he was able to find it.

His Reaction to Recovery

Hardy may have become one of the “hard men” of Hollywood, but he is certainly able to admit his shortcomings and his faults. During an interview Hardy described his transition into recovery from despair and desperation, and how the message had stuck with him.

 “I was told very clearly, ‘You go down that road, Tom, you won’t come back. That’s it. All you need to know.’ That message stayed with me clearly for the rest of my days. I am f–king lucky to be here.”

When he talks about his trip to rehab, his intentions going in, and the revelation he had while in treatment it is a very familiar story. This inspiration hits close to home remembering my own journey to treatment for addiction, and one thing I can honestly relate to is when he said:

“I went in thinking I’d do it for a little bit until I can go out and drink and people forgive me. But I did my 28 days, and after listening to people who had been through similar circumstances I realized I did have a problem.”

Hardy has now been sober since 2003, and he credits a lot of that to helping others in many ways to reach out. He has actively worked a 12 Step program, and admits that at times his work may be his substitution for his drinking and drugging, but he does his best to stay aware of what that element of his ambition could do. He is the first to admit he has the same potential to ruin it all today as he ever did, but he is grateful for his life today and for the opportunity to chase his dreams and raise his son.

While our new Mad Max may look like a bit of a bully in his movies, it appears as though he is anything but. As a loving father and active member of a fellowship who has dedicated himself to helping others and spreading the message, he seems to take his role in recovery very seriously, and isn’t afraid to talk about living in the fear. Sometimes we don’t see how our heroes are humans too. We all need a little help sometimes. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

Most Common Drugs at Music Festivals

Most Common Drugs at Music Festivals

Author: Justin Mckibben

Music is an amazing expression of life beyond what we can say. Music has the power to transcend how we feel, and has the power to give some essence and substance to the beauty and the pain that we believe in and live through in our lives. Music festivals are another awesome opportunity to live in that; let’s just get that out there. We are talking about being able to spend a day or even a week entranced by guitar strings, bass pumping a heartbeat that is a melting-pot of culture and rhythm, camping out with your friends and engaging in all types of free form frolick-like fun and other shenanigans. It can be an experience like no other, and a catalyst into a breakthrough for someone who easily gets caught up in their head.

But there is also the risk of running into some more questionable extra-curricular circumstances at music festivals, like drug use.

Social media has lately become a frequently used medium to accumulate aggregating data, given that everyone is so willing to share their experiences and lives online the whole task of collecting information is made so much simpler. With sites like Facebook and Instagram that allow for fair use of users’ data, by logging on and translating vast quantities of shared experiences and preferences you can decipher a lot, and recently one website released some data detailing the amount of times that certain drugs were mentioned in Instagram posts with relevant festivals.

It should be understood that this is not a scientific study, and does not exactly describe the quantity or drugs taken at these festivals or how many people took them. This study simply took note of how often these drugs were mentioned in a variety of contexts.

Top Drugs Mentioned at Certain Festivals

The graphic released by the site depicted the percentage of social media posts mentioning a specific substance AND event. Again these posts are not direct evidence that each individual was themselves using the substance mentioned, but these averages are meant to show the music festivals and concerts where we see the highest mentions of specific drugs.

Burning Man

  • Mushrooms- 7.42%
  • DMT– 7.22%
  • LSD- 5.64%
  • Crack Cocaine- 3.85%
  • Mescaline- 0.48%

Camp Bisco

  • MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 21.00%
  • Mushrooms- 2.81%
  • LSD- 2.6%
  • Mescaline- 0.43%
  • Marijuana- 25.11%

Electric Daisy Carnival

  • MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 42.99%
  • DMT- 0.90%
  • Pills- 0.47%
  • Mescaline- 0.33%

Lollapalooza

  • Cocaine- 10.67%
  • Opioids- 5.63%
  • Pills- 0.29%

Bonnaroo

  • Marijuana- 25.05%
  • Mushrooms- 5.99%
  • Crack Cocaine- 3.73%

Ultra Music Festival

  • MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 37.68%
  • LSD- 2.61%

Mad Decent Block Party

  • Cocaine- 11.76%
  • Opioids- 5.88%

It doesn’t come as much of a shock to anyone familiar with the reputation of Burning Man to see that psychedelics were most prevalent in posts from that festival. Also showing up in many Burning Man Instagram posts was crack cocaine, a drug not commonly associated with music festivals, yet it shows up a few times on the list.

What may also not be much of a surprise is the prevelance of MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy in relation to the electronic music festivals listed, including Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, Camp Bisco.

The data shown on the graph only listed the top 3 concerts or festivals by substance, so some only made the list in one category for one substance, but that still deserves mention.

  • Coachella for one only made the list once with its popular posts relating to cocaine use.
  • The same goes for Marley Fest, which didn’t make the top 3 in any other category, but scored highest on marijuana posts with 82.04% of Instagram posts containing key words relating to marijuana. Far out, right?
  • And the highest stat of ALL averages of social media posts actually came out of the KISS’s Chili Cook-off, where more than 90% of posts were related to alcohol.

Giving It Some Thought

So when we take into account all the information laid at our eyes by this collection of pics, tweets and tags, we have to acknowledge that drug use is prevalent at all music festivals, even the KISS Chili Cook-off and not just the more infamous and flamboyant festivals like Burning Man.

Giving it some thought, it doesn’t matter where you go, there will always been temptation. Realistically whether you are at a music festival or a middle-school play-ground there will be the possibility of exposure to drugs. What is important isn’t that we blame the places and things, but instead make an honest effort to educate young people about the dangers these drugs pose to them, and promote positive life-style choices that still allow for them to experience exciting events.

In sobriety I have attended music festivals and concerts. I have a roommate who has been sober a number of years and goes to more concerts and festivals than anyone I know, and I actually attend more live concerts and events in sobriety than I ever did using drugs and drinking. My life has been a lot more fulfilling for each experience, and getting my life back (and better) has shown me that I can be in the moment, and that freedom for me makes more room for the music.

Music festivals are a unique experience, but too many people use them as an excuse to abuse drugs that can dull them to that experience and put them at serious risk. Too many times we hear stories of people serious hurt or poisoned by drugs at concerts, and that doesn’t sound worth it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135   

In the News: Delray Beach Drug Trafficking Ringleader Arrested

In the News: Delray Beach Drug Trafficking Ringleader Arrested

The war on drugs in South Florida has had quite a few notable victories as of recently, and this story is one of those cases that took a little time to conclude, but will make an impact on the community in Delray Beach. 38 year old Delray Beach resident by the name of Andrae Marquis Waters was booked into jail this past Friday, suspected as being the leader of what local authorities would later describe as a “well-organized narcotics trafficking organization”. Police stated they started their detailed investigation back in March of 2013. Following an investigation that lasted more than a year, according to a Delray Beach Police arrest report, finally the supposed head of operations Andrae Marquis Waters has been taken into custody.

Andrae Marquis Waters Drug Trafficking Organization

Agents directly involved so far refer to the operation simply as the Andrae Marquis Waters Drug Trafficking Organization, and report that this narcotics ring was involved in the distribution of crack cocaine in Delray Beach and the surrounding area through an intricate chain of main and street-level dealers, lookouts and a main supplier. Once purchased through the supplier the cocaine was cooked into crack-cocaine and packaged at an apartment near the Youthland Academy on the 600 block of Auburn Avenue in Delray Beach.

Kenell Pierre is suspected as the source through which the cocaine sold by the organization was supplied. Police stated Kenell Pierre would carry out drug transactions with Andrae Marquis Waters at businesses located around West Palm Beach where Pierre lives such as gas stations and fast food restaurants. Pierre was sentenced in May and is currently serving a four-year sentence for drug trafficking.

Investigation Information

One of the most helpful tactics used in the investigation were the two phones used in the organization that had been tapped by the authorities for around two months, starting back in October. These wiretaps of the two phones we authorized by a judge, and utilized for police to listen in on conversations and transactions between Andrae Marquis Waters and others. This way they could track and record several drug deals from October to December. This abundance of information leads to a 28 page long arrest report.

Throughout the investigation undercover officers had made a few efforts to set up and execute a few purchases for crack-cocaine from one of Waters’ distributors in November of last year. In one deal in particular set to take place in a Wendy’s fast food parking lot an agent waited to complete a buy from one of the networks dealers. Unfortunately this dealer told the officer “something wasn’t right” and walked away from the transaction, making that a dead end sting for the officers. However the operation continued and 5 days later a SWAT team executed a search warrant at the Auburn Avenue apartment and found Waters hiding in the bathroom. According to the police report Andrae Marquis Waters admitted to the agents he had been in the kitchen at the time cooking crack-cocaine.

At the time he was originally only arrested on two charges and Waters was later released after only one day in jail. Later on when he was arrested investigators had accumulated an astonishing 71 charges against Andrae Marquis Waters. The suspected leader of a narcotics network is now facing charges for cocaine selling, trafficking and other drug charges. He is currently being held in Palm Beach County Jail with a price-tag on his bail of $645,000. With a tab like that hopefully he will be in custody long enough for the trial to run its course, and if all goes well this specific organization will be eliminated in this South Florida community.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

If you’re ‘one of us’ – a recovering alcoholic/addict – then you know this fun little game: Guess the DOC. Often times, there are ‘tells’ – traits, characteristics, or signs that can be a dead give-away as to what someone’s main drug of abuse was while they were in active addiction. Here is a fun little blog about what your drug of choice says about you.

DOC: Alcohol

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

Usually, people who are strictly alcoholic tend to fall into one of two categories: the party animal or the socially awkward. Those who fall into the first category might have started out as the typical college drinker, tailgating on weekends and attending all the Greek parties on campus. Their occasions (read: excuses) to drink then started blurring together where they were drinking more often than not. For those with social anxiety, alcohol is also a favorite: they find it to be the ultimate social lubricant – allowing them to lower their inhibitions and feel comfortable around others and at social gatherings.

DOC: Marijuana

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

Potheads often are hyper people, by nature. It is quite common for people who prefer marijuana to also have certain medical diagnoses such as ADD and ADHD. These folks tend to smoke a lot of pot as a way to self-medicate and chill out because they are either high-strung or find that their thoughts are firing at rapid fire speed. Pot smokers like that it slows down their thoughts and allows them to relax.

DOC: Benzos (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ambien, Ativan)

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

People who struggle with anxiety, PTSD and/or who have experienced some sort of traumatic event tend to abuse benzos – anxiolytic (anti-anxiety meds) – because they are designed to reduce anxious feelings. The problem with these meds is that they are highly addictive and, in fact, often cause someone’s anxiety disorder to become worse. Therapy and coping mechanisms are a much better way of handling past trauma and anxiety.

DOC: Opiates (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Roxys, Fentanyl, methadone)

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

Being a former heroin addict, I can say that I liked opiates because they energized me and made it easy to escape reality (for a time). So, I’d say, people who are avoiding painful memories and/or dealing with depression tend to go for the opiate class of drugs. In other words, people like opiates as a way to numb themselves.

 What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

Another type of person that gets caught up in heroin and other opiate drugs is the person who was prescribed painkillers for a legitimate reason, such as major surgery. The addicts in this category began taking painkillers as prescribed but then found themselves wanting to achieve the initial ‘high’ they felt, rather than merely taking the edge off of their pain. They would have begun to take their prescription more often and at higher doses. Sometimes, they turn to heroin when they can no longer get pills.

DOC:Amphetamines (cocaine, crack, Adderall, Ritalin)and Methamphetamine (crystal meth)

What Your Drug of Choice Says About You, Part One

image credit: wifflegif.com

These addicts are either seeking a way to increase their energy and productivity level – such as college students pulling all-nighters – or are ‘the quiet type’ looking for a way to be the life of the party. Of course, as with any other class of drugs, any of these may have a different effect on the user depending on their particular body and brain chemistry. But, people who abuse amphetamines and/or methamphetamine generally like the speedy effect they get from taking this kind of drug.

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Don’t see your particular DOC on this list? No worries, stay tuned for another installment of What Your Drug of Choice Says About You.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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