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Does ADHD Lead to Substance Abuse?

Does ADHD Lead to Substance Abuse?

Author: Shernide Delva

According to research, 25 percent of adults treated for alcohol and substance abuse have ADHD.

The two often go hand in hand, according to WebMD.

Common hallmarks of ADHD such as low attention span and impulsiveness make a person diagnosed with ADHD more vulnerable to patterns of addiction. Furthermore, the stress of undiagnosed ADHD make drugs and alcohol more tempting, the study notes.

“I see a lot of young women who will tell me that they’ve been able to gut it out and get through, but it’s been because what typically takes someone an hour or two to do at work takes them four hours. They’ve been getting to work early and staying late,” says Dr. Timothy Wilens, Chief of Child Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A 2010 study titled “A Sobering Fact: ADHD Leads to Substance Abuse” explained the connection between substance abuse and ADHD. It turns out, the risk of substance abuse among those with ADHD is “two to three times higher” than for people without the disorder.

Of course, what comes first?  In a chicken-or-egg fashion, we must look into whether ADHD leads to substance abuse, or whether the treatment of ADHD (with drugs like Adderall and Ritalin) plays a role.

In a Vice article, Niall Greene explained how he was not aware of his ADHD for most of his life. He just knew he constantly needed stimulation throughout the day. Soon, that stimulation emerged in the form of drinking and drugs. From the time he was 15, he blacked out every time he drank. By his 20s, he was doing cocaine compulsively and would sometimes take five ecstasy tablets at a time.

He says he was not doing this for fun. He was doing it out of desperation.

By 18, Greene moved to New York where he “spent every penny on drinking.” After bouncing from city to city, Greene realized he could not maintain a job. Nothing in his life was stable. He was spending all his money on gambling and alcohol.

Finally, he entered rehab where he met with a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with ADHD. It was the first time anyone had mentioned the disorder to him.  Greene looked everywhere for information on how to deal with adult ADHD, but there was little to be found.

Does Adult ADHD Even Exist?

That’s because until recently, Adult ADHD was not “thought to exist,” according to Dr. Howard Schubiner, an expert, and researcher on the disorder.

“It was thought to be a disorder of children that dissolved when they hit puberty,” he notes.

The CDC estimates that 6.4 million children ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. But then those kids grow up.

Now, doctors are realizing that ADHD is not something that simply goes away with age. Some 4.4 percent of adults in America struggle with ADHD, which in 2000, cost the United States $31.6 billion in health care costs and lost work hours.

The complex part of the epidemic is that ADHD manifests in a variety of ways in adulthood. While hyperactivity is commonly associated with ADHD, this does seem to lessen into adulthood. However, inattentiveness does not.

“It’s still there, but kind of internalized,” Schubiner says.

One way it internalizes is through addiction. In a 2005 study, 20-40 percent of adult children with ADHD had a history of substance abuse.

Studies show that people with ADHD typically turn to drugs as a way of making up for the deficit of dopamine in their brains. Still, Schubiner and other researchers question whether common treatments for ADHD—stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin—may also lead to the addiction spiral.

For now, there is no evidence to confirm this.

“There’s very little evidence that treating ADHD increases the risk for cigarette or substance abuse—it reduces the risk,” says Wilens.

A study of 25,000 ADHD patients noticed a downward trend in criminal behavior (including drug-related offenses) after those with ADHD took medication to treat the disorder.

“The signals seem to say if you continue on your medicine, there probably is a continued reduction in the risk [of substance abuse],” Wilens says. “At the very least, it doesn’t worsen the risk.”

“I think everybody in the field agrees, if you can get a toehold on the addiction, you should think about treating the ADHD relatively quickly,” he says. “If you treat ADHD aggressively and you monitor for substance abuse, you’re going to reduce [delinquency].”

After Greene was diagnosed with ADHD and completed treatment, he says he finally found stability. However, he struggles to spread awareness because Adult ADHD comes with a stigma.

“It’s like the black sheep of mental health conditions,” he says.

Last year, Jerome Kagan, Psychologist, and Professor at Harvard University debunked the existence of ADHD altogether:

“(ADHD) is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million (ADHD-diagnosed) kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.”

Kagan believes ADHD is over diagnosed, and says most people simply need guidance.

However, for Greene, this was far from the case. Treating his ADHD helped him to feel in control for the first time in his life. Three years ago, Greene started Adult ADHD NI, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding other adults across Northern Ireland with the disorder. His mission is to help others struggling like he once was, regardless of those who think ADHD does not exist.

“I embrace the challenge,” he says.


There clearly is a relationship between ADHD and substance use disorder. The question is, how did we address it? If you had either conditions and are struggling, please reach out for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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Chris Brown and Lil Wayne Targeted in Federal Drug Investigation

Chris Brown and Lil Wayne Targeted in Federal Drug Investigation

Author: Shernide Delva 

Chris Brown and Lil Wayne are in hot water after both artists were alleged to have incriminating text messages.  Both were named in a federal drug investigation of music producer Harrison “Cuban Harry” Garcia, who stands accused of dealing cough syrup and other narcotics.

Garcia allegedly sent incriminating texts that have implicated himself, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne in drug dealing.  Authorities presented screenshots from Garcia to one of Lil Wayne’s underlings that reference a marijuana deal:

“I’ll shoot u some trees… It’s for Wayne.”

Garcia also admitted to police that he sold “a lot of narcotics” to Wayne.

Garcia has texts sent to a female friend in which he brags about receiving a bank wire for $15,000 from a “Christopher Brown,” according to U.S Homeland Security.

“Look who put money my account,” Garcia wrote to his friend. When the friend questioned what the money was for, Garcia responded, “Drugs … lean and sh*t.”

Lean, also known as “sizzurp” or “purple drank” is a cocktail of prescription-strength cough syrup mixed with Sprite or Mountain Dew and Jolly Rancher Candy. It has been popularized for many decades by rappers like Lil Wayne and R&B singer Chris Brown. It also was mentioned in the song ’Sippin on some Sizzurp” by Three 6 Mafia.

Both Lil Wayne and Chris Brown have a history of trouble with this particular drug cocktail. Lil Wayne suffered seizures, and Chris Brown’s associates claim Brown is sipping his way to rock bottom.

On Garcia’s Instagram, there are photos of stacks of cash funds and drugs; this is what initially attracted federal investigators in the first place. Homeland Security agent Geoffrey Goodwin presented the photos to the jury that featured piles of gold jewelry, a pendant featuring purple liquid in a foam cup (usually what lean is slurped from) and teeth grillz that were “somewhat bejeweled.”

“I had an image to portray, to boost up my followers,” Garcia said in court, explaining the photos. “I guess it’s just the music industry.”

Garcia has been caught selling drugs to informants twice and has been arrested for his involvement in pharmacy robberies in Florida. The investigation is still open.

As of today, Garcia’s accounts are now on private. In the past, he was known for posting photos with extravagant cars, guns, and sneakers.

—-

Lean contains codeine, an opiate similar to heroin, OxyContin or Vicodin. For several years ‘gangster rap’ artists have glorified ‘purple drank’ in the lyrics of rap/hip-hop music. However, the danger of the drug remains despite the glorification. Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé, who rapped excessively about this drink died at age 33 in 2007, after suffering a heart attack one week earlier that left him in a coma.

Possible short-term side effects:

  • hyperthermia
  • increased heart rate
  • seizures
  • slowed breathing
  • slumping over
  • stiff muscles
  • sweating
  • hallucination

Possible long-term side effects:

Codeine is a light narcotic typically used to suppress a cough, but in stronger concentrations, it can suppress breathing or rapidly lower blood pressure. A common sign of narcotic intoxication is small pupils. Codeine is the ingredient that makes lean addiction. Over time, the effects of lean rear off, therefore the quest continues to get high.

How do you feel this case should be handled? Should Chris Brown and Lil Wayne face charges due to these allege incriminating text messages?

One thing for certain is that this “purple drank” is not fun and games. It is a dangerously addictive drug. If you are struggling with any form of substance abuse, please call now. We are waiting for your call.

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

Author: Shernide Delva

As most know by now, the opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions.  In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. The leading cause of accidental death in the United States are opioid overdoses, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. When these drugs are abused, they present some of the same risks as heroin on the street. Furthermore, as prescription opioids are regulated, more and more people are turning to heroin making the risk of a fatal overdose even greater.

With all that said, how exactly do opioids affect the body? We wanted to explore several areas of the body and understand how opioid abuse specifically affected each area.  Whether it is prescription drugs or heroin, opioids affect almost every part of your body. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to your health. Read on further to learn how the body reacts to abuse of opioids. Treatment can put a stop to the risk and address issues that may have already arisen in the body.

The Effects of Opioid Use on the Body:

  1. THE BRAIN

    Painkillers are known to have side effects such as extreme drowsiness which can result in needing stimulant medication to counteract this effect. For example, heroin can elicit profound drowsiness. Abusers frequently experience bouts of ‘nodding off’ as they slip in and out of consciousness. Over time, the use of painkillers results in an increased risk fo major depression. Patients using painkillers for more than six months has a 50 percent greater chance of developing depressive episodes.

  1. THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

    Opioid overdoses can lead to a condition known as respiratory depression. It essentially means that breathing slows down significantly. The body goes into respiratory arrest and deprives the brain and body tissues of oxygen.

  1. THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

    Opioids affect the muscles of the digestive system making constipation common. This effect is due to the slowing of the digestive transit. The gastrointestinal motility and chronic constipation associated with opioid abuse can lead to more severe conditions such as small bowel obstruction, perforation, and resultant peritonitis. Nausea is very common among opioid users along with sudden, uncontrollable vomiting.

  2. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

    The chronic use of opioid painkillers can lead to a syndrome that can increase your sensitivity to pain resulting in a condition known as hyperalgesia. Furthermore, opioid use may result in psychomotor impairment and an overall slowing of a person’s physical movements and loss of coordination.

  3. THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

    Opioid use affects the immune system which means you’re more vulnerable to getting illnesses or feeling under the weather. The opioid receptors regulate immunity so long-term opioid abuse can negatively affect this process.

  1. THE LIVER

    Most people are unaware of how many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, the same ingredient found in Tylenol. Excessive use of these drugs can cause liver damage from toxicity. Damage to the liver is an undeniable risk to taking excessive amounts of prescription painkillers like Vicodin. When you add alcohol to the mix— as many opioid-dependent users do—it makes a risky situation, even more,

Overall, opioids affect every part of the body, and we did not even mention the psychological impacts of drug abuse. Opioid use disorder wreaks havoc on your life and the life of those around you. Do not wait for the potentially life-altering consequences of opioid abuse to take its toll. Please call to speak to a professional treatment support specialist today. Please call now. 

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

 

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

Author: Shernide Delva

TV star Craig Ferguson recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety on February 18, 2017. He tweeted to his followers about his major milestone.

He said: “I’m 25 years sober and anyone who knew me back then would tell you how impossible that is. Thanks for the miracle.”

Craig Ferguson became a household name as the presenter of the Late Late Show which since has been taken over by James Corden.

In an interview, he acknowledged the start of his recovery journey:

“I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.”

During his years on the Late Late Show, Ferguson regularly discussed his days in active addiction in a humorous and commendable way.

For example, in 2007, when pop star Britney Spears was struggling with her own personal issues, Ferguson was one of the only late night hosts to not poke fun at her. That year, Spears was caught shaving her head and getting lips tattooed on her wrist. In case you do not remember, the media went berserk. Shortly after, Spears was checked into rehabilitation. At the time, Ferguson felt it was wrong to joke at another person’s expense.

“Now I’m not saying Britney is alcoholic, I don’t know what she is — alcoholic or not — but she clearly needs help,” he said.

Reflecting on Sobriety

In an interview to Times magazine in 2009, Ferguson explained that even if he was not an alcoholic, he would not drink. The concept of drinking without getting drunk simply does not interest him.

“The idea of having one or two drinks bores the ass out of me. If I’m going to drink, I’m going to do it to get drunk. If I’m not going to get drunk, I’m just not going to drink. It’s hard to explain. That isn’t necessarily what alcoholism is, I just tried to explain it as it manifested itself in me.”

Right getting sober, Ferguson admits alcohol saved him from committing suicide. In one of his most famous monologues, Ferguson talks about a weekend “all-night bender” that shifted the direction of his life. He woke up on Christmas morning covered in his own (or someone else’s) urine and miserable.

That morning, he decided he would commit suicide by swine-diving over the tower bridge in London.  He decided to stop by his favorite bar and that was when his bartender Tommy offered him a glass of cherry. One thing led to another and Ferguson says he forgot to kill himself that day.

“Here’s the important point: the alcohol saved my life. I was self-medicating. I’m an alcoholic.  I needed alcohol. I needed something…” he said.

After that day, he continued drinking heavily doing stand-ups and continuing his binge-drinking ways. Finally, on February 18, 1992, he called his sober friend seeking help and that friend helped him go to rehab.  After his 28 day stint in rehab, Ferguson says the work had just begun.

“I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a thinking problem.”

Ferguson finally understood his alcoholism and accepted that, for the rest of his life, he would have to stay sober.

“Certain types of people can’t drink. I’m one of them,” he said.

In the 2007 monologue, Ferguson concluded that the best way he copes with his alcoholism is through reaching out to others who have had similar experiences.

“I have found that the only way I can deal with [alcoholism] is to find other people who have similar experiences and talk to them. It doesn’t cost anything. And they’re very easy to find. They’re very near the front of the telephone book. Good luck,”  he said.

Now 25 years sober, Ferguson remains grateful for each day.

Ferguson’s Upbringing

Growing up, Craig Ferguson did not have the easiest childhood.  Born in 1962, he had the kind of dark childhood that often leads many to a career in comedy. He was chubby and bullied and he lived in Cumbernauld, 15 miles outside Glasgow.  Ferguson notes that his town was named the ­second-worst town in the United Kingdom, an appraisal he finds excessively flattering

Then, during a punk phase in the 80s, he played drums in a band called the Dreamboys. His band-mate, actor Peter Capaldi, convinced him to try comedy. He wrote about all of this in his memoir American on Purpose.

“Peter was the first person who told me that being funny was a gift and, when done well, was an art form,” he writes. “Up until this point, I had learned that being funny, particularly in school, was stupid and could get you physically injured.”

After a few false starts, Ferguson went back to the drawing board, inventing a character to play at a show in Glasgow. He decided to parody all the native über-patriot folk singers in Scotland and the act stuck. From that point, Ferguson was on his way.

Yet, as his career and comedy continued to climb, Ferguson’s alcoholism continued to drag him down. Ferguson spent his spare time draining himself with too many pints of alcohol. Finally, on that fateful day in 1992, Ferguson made the decision to get sober. That was just the beginning, and 25 years later, he understands his disease more than ever.

“I have an addictive personality,” he notes. “I’ll try anything a hundred times just to make sure I don’t like it.”

—-

Overall, Craig Ferguson exemplifies why one should never give up on their sobriety. Regardless of how deep into your addiction you believe you are, it is never too late to reach out for help. Do not wait. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Former NFL Player Shane Olivea Overcame 125 Vicodin-Per-Day Habit

Former NFL Player Shane Olivea Overcame 125 Vicodin-Per-Day Habit

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Former NFL player Shane Olivea opened up to the media about his painkiller addiction. At one point, Olivea states he was taking 125 Vicodin pills per day and spent more than $584,000 fueling his painkiller addiction.

Shane Olivea, who excelled as a college football star at Ohio State University, admits that at the height of his addiction he was taking an astounding 125 Vicodin pills per day. He says that he was high every day after first trying Vicodin at the end of his rookie NFL season with the San Diego Chargers.

To obtain the drugs, Olivea had a variety of sources. On several occasions, he would pay a cab driver $100 to drive to a “pharmacy” in Tijuana.

 “You could buy anything you want if you had cash. I’d go buy a couple hundred Vicodin, or by then I’d progressed to OxyContin.”

Eventually, the disease of addiction progressed into buying more and more.

“It got to the point I would take a pile of 15 Vicodin and would have to take them with chocolate milk. If I did it with water or Gatorade, I’d throw it up,” he said.

After a while, Olivea began to withdraw from teammates and his relationship with coaches and management suffered. In 2007, Olivea was benched late into the season and his weight spiraled up to nearly 390 pounds.

All of his friends and family were worried. As a last resort, the entire family, andhis Chargers teammate Roman Oben came together for an intervention and asked him to seek treatment.

In April 2008, Olivea entered rehab at a California treatment facility. During his initial medical examination, his doctors were stunned.

“[The doctors] looked at me and said, ‘We’ve never seen anybody living with that amount of opioids in you. You’re literally a walking miracle,’” said Olivea. “That was a punch to the gut.”

Starting Over

Later that year, Olivea signed with the New York Giants, however, a back injury eventually ended his career. Despite the setbacks, Olivea has managed to stay sober since his days in treatment. In 2015, he re-enrolled at Ohio State University, and then graduated last December with a degree in the sports industry.

In addition to considering job offers on and off the field, Olivea also wants to use his experience with addiction to mentor players struggling with the physical toll of the game. He wants to ensure others are on the right path.

“If you got it, you can spot it,” Olivea said. “I can spot an addict in a public setting. I know the behavior. I know the tendencies. I know what he’s going to do. I’ll be able to notice somebody going down that slippery path and maybe catch them.”

Fact or Fiction: 125 Vicodin per day?

In delving into this article, I read many comments stating that it was impossible that Olivea consumed that many Vicodin without major health consequences.

Some of the comments via the Daily Mail read:

    • “125 pills per day? Yea, right. That would kill you, I don’t care how big you are.”
    • “I kind of don’t believe 125 a day. You might be able to survive a chronic opioid addiction, but if you took that much acetaminophen – the other ingredient in Vicodin – your liver would give out in short order.”
    • “I don’t believe his story entirely – if he’d taken 125 Vicodin pills a day, his liver would have packed up and he’d have died. You can abuse Vicodin a bunch, but 125 pills a day isn’t abusing it, it’s taking an O/D _every day_.”
      —-

Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is the opioid part of Vicodin while acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone. The acetaminophen part is the same chemical found in Tylenol so most of us are familiar with it.

Since Olivea was at a high weight level (peaking at 390 pounds) and had built up a tolerance to the drug, chances are he would be able to handle a higher amount of Vicodin than the average person. However, the astounding amount of 125 pills a day normally would result in an overdose.

Furthermore, large quantities of acetaminophen can easily result in major liver damage. For the average person, even a few days of exceeding the recommended dose of the drug could result in liver damage.  The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and weakness.

Furthermore, the 125 Vicodin per day number does seem astounding. Ultimately, whether or not that number is accurate is irrelevant. The takeaway here is that Shane Olivea had a serious addiction to opioids and was able to overcome it through treatment. It is inspiring to see Olivea use his achieved sobriety to help others.  If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please call now. Do not wait. Call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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