Author: Shernide Delva
Chronic pain can be extremely difficult to manage. Pain management involves a variety of treatment options, but one area that desperately needs attention is the psychological impact of chronic pain. According to researchers, about half of adults with chronic pain also experience anxiety or mood disorders like depression.
The findings, published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders, highlight the need to offer treatment and resources to those struggling with the psychological impact of chronic pain.
“The dual burden of chronic physical conditions and mood and anxiety disorders is a significant and growing problem,” said Silvia Martins, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author.
The research examined data to analyze the associations between mood and anxiety disorder and self-reported chronic physical conditions. 5,037 participants in São Paulo, Brazil participated in the interview process.
Among individuals with mood disorders, chronic pain was reported by 50 percent, followed by respiratory disease at 33 percent, cardiovascular disease at 10 percent, arthritis by 9 percent, and diabetes by 7 percent.
Anxiety disorders were also common among those with chronic pain reported at 45 percent, and respiratory at 30 percent, as well as arthritis and cardiovascular disease, each 11 percent.
“These results shed new light on the public health impact of the dual burden of physical and mental illness,” said Dr. Martins. “Chronic disease coupled with a psychiatric disorder is a pressing issue that health providers should consider when designing preventive interventions and treatment services — especially the heavy mental health burden experienced by those with two or more chronic diseases.”
Chronic Pain and Painkiller Addiction
One common treatment for chronic pain is the use of prescription painkillers. Opioids like Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet affect specific parts of the brain that reduce the perception of pain. However, along with reducing the perception of pain, these medications also release feel-good chemicals in the brain, often leading to dependence.
With this study, it is clear why chronic pain sufferers are susceptible to opioid dependence due to a variety of factors including the need for feel-good chemicals like dopamine. Chemicals like dopamine and serotonin are lacking in those with depression and anxiety.
Many patients who take prescription painkillers do so without forming any dependence. In some, opioid use generates negative side effects such as nausea, making them more unwilling to use the drug’s long-term. Still, some individuals are so desperate for pain relief, that they take larger doses than prescribed more frequently. Not long after, a full-blown addiction develops.
It is important to note that there is no way to know whether a prescription painkiller user will develop an addiction to opioids. However, factors like having a family history of addiction, struggling with mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, or experiencing a past trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse all increase the risk. Those who have struggled with previous addiction are at a higher risk as well.
Another dangerous aspect of opioid addiction is that it often leads to heroin use. Health officials confirm that this is not uncommon. Because painkillers are more difficult to obtain and more expensive, many users turn to using heroin. Heroin is in a similar drug classification as opioids and is easy to obtain for cheap on the street.
Overall, this study says a lot about the way mental disorders and addiction often go hand in hand. That’s why so many treatment centers offer a dual diagnosis program. Therefore, if you struggle with mental illness, addiction or both, please call now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Dug and Heidi McGuirk answer “Should I Drink in Front of My Loved One in Recovery?”
Author: Shernide Delva
Dug and Heidi McGuirk, who run the Revolutionary Family program for Palm Healthcare, recently answered, “Should I drink in front of my loved one in recovery?” in their latest video. This question was submitted by a parent with a son in recovery.
My husband and I love craft beers and he’s making a wine right now at home and while we don’t drink around our son or mention it, we were wondering if he moves back to town, although he won’t be living with us, does that mean we have to stop drinking for his sobriety, or just not drink around him? It seems strange to pretend that we have given up drinking. I also ask because when we were visiting, my dad drank right in front of him, and he didn’t say anything, but I was nervous since he’s still new to recovery. I thought other parents might have the same question. I don’t want to treat him differently than any others, but I also don’t want to hurt his sobriety.
This is a common question that many parents and loved one’s of addicts ask especially in the early stages of recovery.
To start off, Dug McGuirk answers that it is important to have an initial awareness of your behaviors around your recovering loved one.
“My initial thoughts are that it’s great that you’re considering it, that you’re being aware, and you have some sensory acuity,” Dug McGuirk affirms. “It’s also fantastic that right now, in early recovery, you’re not necessary drinking in front of him, that’s probably fine. That’s a great decision if you believe in it.”
Still, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your loved one relapsing. Your loved one can still relapse regardless of whether you have alcohol around the house or not. Alcohol is everywhere, and eventually, they are going to have to deal with that reality.
“At some point, he’s going to be exposed to alcohol, so what are you going to do? Be co-dependent?” Dug McGuirk asks.
“Being exposed to stimulus doesn’t necessarily make somebody drink,” Heidi McGuirk says. “Your loved one is going to be exposed to the stimulus all the time, and that’s part of life.”
“You could go your whole life and not drink a drop of alcohol in front of somebody, or not have any alcohol in the home around them and they still could relapse,” Heidi McGuirk continues.
Decide What You Believe In:
Ultimately, Heidi McGuirk says it comes down to doing what you believe in. It is important to keep that in mind when making these types of decisions.
“Everybody’s going to be different,” she says. “Don’t do what you think is going to keep somebody sober. Do what you believe in instead.”
You may decide that not drinking around your loved one is a small sacrifice to make. That decision may give you some peace of mind when they are around. You have to determine that for yourself depending on the circumstances.
For Heidi McGuirk, she says if her father, who wrestled with addiction, were still alive, she likely would not feel comfortable drinking around him.
“If he were still here and he was still in recovery, we would not have alcohol around him. I just– I don’t believe in that. I wouldn’t want that for him,” she admits. “Me, not drinking anyway, it’s irrelevant, but if he were staying in my house, I would just do what I believe in. which is not having any alcohol around.”
Heidi McGuirk says her decision would come from a loving place. She compares it to the way she would behave around someone struggling with managing their weight.
“Just for the same reason that if I knew somebody who was managing their weight and they had a gastric bypass, I wouldn’t sit down to a four-course meal of desserts in front of them because I would find them kind of rude, but that’s me! Could I be a little codependent there? Probably. But that’s how I love,“ she explains.
Everyone is Different:
Heidi McGuirk explains how these decisions may simply come from a place of love for your addicted loved one. However, it also good to note how your loved one feels about it. They may feel offended by your decision to not drink or have alcohol around.
“In my own life, I wouldn’t want for one second for somebody not to drink around me,” she admits. “I have lots of friends, lots of family, who drink in front of me all the time, and I don’t take offense to it, and I wouldn’t want them to change their lifestyle. So again, it’s not about keeping somebody sober, it’s finding what you believe in and then practicing what you believe in from a place of your heart versus your mind on what you think is going to keep somebody well.”
“The simple answer is that whether you drink or not is not going to make someone relapse,” Dug McGuirk says. “Cause if someone relapses, it has nothing to do with what they’re exposed to. It has everything to do with: Are they working their recovery?”
Insights From My Relationship
Personally, I related to this question a lot, and agree with the answer Dug and Heidi McGuirk gave. My boyfriend was five years sober when we first got together nearly two years ago. However, I am not in recovery from drugs or alcohol. In the beginning of the relationship, I wanted to ensure he was okay with seeing me consume alcohol.
It turns out; drinking in front of my boyfriend did not bother him at all. In fact, he felt more comfortable when I did not alter my behavior due to his recovery. However, his drug of choice was never alcohol, so drinking was never a trigger for him to begin with.
If needed, I would have abstained from alcohol while he was around, simply from a place of love. Fortunately, I never needed to make that decision. As you can see, these situations really vary from person to person.
Still, whether or not to drink in front of a loved one is a multifaceted question. Communication is essential. In early recovery, drinking or having alcohol around the house might not be a good idea. Later on, it may become less of an issue. Overall, if you have any uncertainty about your loved one’s sobriety, please reach out. We can help. Call now.
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
We know how devastatingly common alcohol-related car accidents are, but what about drug-related accidents? Turns out, drug-related accidents are becoming more common than those involving alcohol.
For the first time, drug use is topping booze in fatal U.S crashes. Recent U.S data reveals that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk. Furthermore, marijuana was involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, according to a study released on Wednesday.
Among driver fatalities, 36.5 percent used marijuana followed by amphetamines at 9.3 percent, the study confirms. The study was based on the most recent U.S state data reported to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)
“People generally should get educated that drugs of all sorts can impair your driving ability,” said Jim Hedlund, a former NHTSA official who wrote the report. “If you’re on a drug that does so, you shouldn’t be driving.”
The study included any substance that can impair driving including:
In 2013, alcohol and drug traffic fatalities were at about 40 percent, with alcohol slightly higher, stated Hedlund.
Since 2005, the drug fatality levels have risen steadily. Before 2005, alcohol was detected in 41 percent of traffic deaths and drugs in 28 percent. Hedlund said he was unable to find a direct link between the increased U.S. drug users, such as the opioid epidemic, to the rise in drugged drivers.
The number of U.S. deaths from opioids has massively quadrupled since 1999, with more than 33, 000 deaths in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Palm Beach County, a recent report from medical examiners stated a person died from an overdose fatality every 15 hours.
The increase in drug-related driving fatalities also coincides with marijuana legalization. In the United States, 29 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allow medical or recreational marijuana use. The reports state that marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 28 percent after the state legalized recreational use of the drug.
However, Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group, questions the correlation. Because marijuana can linger in the body for weeks, a driver might not actually be intoxicated when being tested, he said.
“I think you really need to take these kind of analyses with a pinch of salt,” he said in a phone interview with U.S. News
The report cautions that the data varies widely on how many drivers are tested and how they were tested.
What the Future Holds
Overall, the study brings up some important points. With the opioid epidemic hitting tragic numbers, and marijuana legalization increasing throughout the states, it is likely that drivers will have more than booze in their system.
Therefore, driving under the influence encompasses a lot more than just alcohol. Mixing alcohol with other substances is a major concern as this further impairs a person’s ability to drive. It also increases the risk of an accident and not only puts the driver at risk but also other drivers on the road. What do you believe should be done about this?
Driving under the influence of any major drug is a huge no-no. Please reach out for help if you are having trouble controlling your substance use. Do not wait. You are not alone. Call now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Dug and Heidi McGuirk Answer “How Do I Set Boundaries?”
A few weeks ago, we covered the dangers of enabling discussed in the Revolutionary Growth video, “How do I know I’m Enabling?” Dug and Heidi McGuirk explained enabling and how to stop doing it. The best way to stop enabling is through setting boundaries with your addicted loved one.
Furthermore, in the next video, Dug and Heidi McGuirk, who run the Revolutionary Family program for Palm Healthcare, answer:
How Do I Set A Boundary?
After you have made the decision NOT to enable your addicted loved one, the next step is to set clear boundaries. At this point, you have decided to no longer support their addiction. Instead, you are determined to support their recovery and beyond.
To do this, you must set healthy boundaries, but how exactly does one set healthy boundaries?
First, it is important to remember you are setting boundaries, not ultimatums.
“It’s all about you. You can’t set a boundary to manipulate another person. That’s called an ultimatum. We aren’t doing an ultimatum. Those don’t work,” Heidi McGuirk says.
“We are doing a boundary which is people are going to do what they’re going to do, and you need to decide how you are going to experience what they’re going to do, and that’s it.”
It is crucial to take steps to ensure your addicted loved one knows where you stand. Do not become upset and argue with them if they do not abide. Do not tell them to simply stop their behavior. Instead, commit to your boundaries.
Dug and Heidi McGuirk’s steps to creating clear boundaries:
- Be Clear:
Let your addicted loved one know what it is that you won’t tolerate and what your plan is if they do not abide.
- Use Direct Assertive Language:
No “wishy-washy” behavior. Use very few words and let them know the consequences.
- Make Consequences You Will Follow Through On:
Try not to make consequences that are unmanageable. Make consequences that you can commit and follow through on consistently.
- Check for Understanding:
Make sure that they have heard you. If needed, have a cheat sheet to communicate more effectively.
How to Create a Boundary “Cheat Sheet”
If you struggle with communicating boundaries and consequences, Heidi and Dug McGuirk recommend carrying a cheat sheet that will help guide you through the process.
Cheat Sheet Example:
“When you ___, I feel ___; I want___ If you___, I will___.”
Here is how the cheat sheet can be applied when communicating boundaries:
Cheat Sheet Applied for Drunken Behavior:
- “When you come home drunk, I feel nervous, scared and violated. I want to have a sober, healthy and safe home to live in. If you come home drunk again, I will leave for the night; lock the doors, ask you to get treatment, etc…”
Cheat Sheet Applied for Verbal Aggression:
- “When you speak to me that way, I feel assaulted, attacked, upset, frustrated, scared, and violated. I want to be able to have a rational discussion with you. I want to feel safe in our conversations together. I want to not be around that anymore. If you continue to speak to me that way, I will walk away, leave, hang up the phone, etc…”
The key is to follow through with the boundaries you set:
“You might have to leave, walk away, hang up the phone 25 times, but the key to this is to follow through because that’s really how you teach people how to treat you so make sure you’re prepared to do what you say you are going to do,” Heidi McGuirk says.
After some consistency, your loved one will know what you are going to do and when you are going to do it whenever they mess up. Eventually, all you will have to do is give them “the look, ” and they will know exactly where you stand.
If you want to read more about boundaries, download our free E-book “What is the Difference between Helping and Hurting?”
DOWNLOAD FREE E-BOOK
The Importance of Commitment
Dug McGuirk explains this concept of “the look” using their toddler, Ellie, as an example. Often, toddlers know exactly what you are going to do because the boundaries were followed through with many times in the past.
“There’s sometimes the look or the countdown or the whatever. You do that a few times, and they know what’s going to happen because it’s been implemented,” Dug McGuirk says.
However, this awareness will only happen if you follow through with the consequences consistently. Do not become lax with your boundaries. It is important it is to commit to boundaries even in weaker moments.
Heidi McGuirk describes how their toddler Ellie would receive a time-out every time she smacked her. It was important Ellie knew this behavior was inappropriate. One night, right before bed, Ellie decided to smack her again.
Heidi McGuirk knew she was tired, in bed, and knew giving their daughter a time-out would be a major inconvenience. However, she realized this is exactly why enabling behaviors happens.
Often, the loved ones of addicts do not follow through with their boundaries because they are constantly tested during these inconvenient moments. It is important to follow through when tested during weaker moments so that your addicted loved ones knows you are serious.
“What I’m saying is the more that you practice your chops at holding your line, the less testing they’ll be” Heidi McGuirk states.
“Patience and Discipline are the parents of execution,” Dug McGuirk affirms.
Overall, setting boundaries is a matter of knowing what you need and knowing how you want to experience your loved one’s addiction. The next part is committing to the boundaries you set. We know it is not easy. Therefore, if you have a loved one struggling with addiction, of if you are having trouble dealing with your loved one’s addiction, please reach out to us. We want to help. Do not wait. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Author: Shernide Delva
A California rehab is under scrutiny after it was discovered that the rehab incorporates marijuana in their addiction treatment program. The different uses of medical marijuana continue to raise controversy, especially when it comes to addiction treatment.
Therefore, the question remains:
Does medical marijuana have a place in addiction treatment?
The mission of the California rehab states: to help addicts stop abusing substances that are most harmful to them. The rehab says marijuana is a tool to help clients along the withdrawal process, and if needed, aid in long-term recovery. While the treatment center boasts positive results, their stance on marijuana use is at odds with many in the treatment and recovery community.
But they are far from the first. Other treatment centers are considering a similar treatment philosophy. So, is it wrong to do so? Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist and the author of “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” agrees with the philosophy.
“This stuff that emphasizes this morality, we don’t have anything else like that in medicine,” said Szalavitz, a former heroin addict, and AA member. “And the 12-step thing talking about ‘defects of character,’ that’s not exactly helpful for someone who already has a lot of self-hatred.”
“This whole idea that total abstinence is the only route to recovery has been incredibly damaging to the addiction field,” she continues.
This idea of “non-abstinence” treatment relates to a program known as harm reduction which accepts that drug use is a part of life. Instead of trying to get people to stop doing drugs, harm reduction focuses on improving overall safety through reducing the negative consequences associated with using drug use.
An example of a harm reduction program is safe needle exchange programs. These programs focus on providing addicts with clean needles that overall, reduce the risk of infections like Hepatitis C. Another example would be methadone clinics or suboxone maintenance programs. While controversial, these programs help in reducing the number of overdose fatalities.
Does Marijuana Curb Addiction?
Despite treatment centers using marijuana in addiction treatment, there are not many studies that confirm its efficacy. Research exists that suggests cannabis may be a helpful tool for opioid addiction. Marijuana is used in some treatment facilities to aid with long-term pain relief and opioid withdrawals.
Still, a major report published in January by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said that “only one randomized trial assessing the role of cannabis in reducing the use of addictive substances” exists.
Furthermore, many of the studies suffered from at least one research error. Mostly, the sample size was too small to make a solid conclusion.
“I think ideally you’d study it before you just go and do it,” Szalavitz said. “I think it’s an intriguing idea that we need more research on.”
Many experts argue the use of cannabis to treat addiction is absurd.
“Marijuana has exactly no role in the treatment of any mental illness, especially substance-use disorders,” Thomas McLellan, who founded the Treatment Research Institute and served briefly as the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama administration, told The Guardian.
Marijuana: A Gateway Drug?
Even if marijuana is not someone’s drug of choice, it is possible that cannabis use can trigger a relapse. Any mind-altering substance can lower a person’s ability to make rational decisions regarding their sobriety.
“People are more likely to seek their primary drug or alcohol when they are intoxicated or high,” says Anne Lewis, a clinical psychologist and licensed addictions counselor with Indiana University Health. “It lowers your inhibition, so you don’t care. We don’t make good decisions when we’re drunk or high.”
Therefore, even if a person does not have an issue with marijuana, it may increase the temptation to use. Marijuana could make it harder to stay on the recovery path.
Chemicals in the Brain?
To explain further, one must understand brain chemicals. Cannabinoid receptors closely tie into the brain’s dopamine systems. These chemicals play a role in reward—motivated behavior. Blocking those receptors can assist people trying to give up smoking, alcohol, cocaine or heroin. However, the use of marijuana can trigger those receptors increasing the risk of a relapse.
While there are always success stories from clients who have used marijuana maintenance plans successfully, for the most part, the risks are great.
What are your thoughts? What do you think about treatment centers incorporating marijuana in the treatment process? Addiction is an epidemic of great proportions. The first step is seeking treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135