Relapse Prevention Through Naltrexone

relapseAddiction is extremely hard to recover from, but it is worth the effort if you are willing to take certain steps to improve your quality of life. It could be argued that there has been no other time in American history when addiction recovery has been more vital, in the wake of a prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. One of the reasons that the epidemic has continued as long as it has is the fact that recovering from opioid addiction is arduous and relapse rates are staggering.

There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about improving and expanding addiction treatment services nationwide, especially in rural America. Additionally, substance use disorder centers need to utilize evidence based treatments in order to mitigate the chances of relapse. A number of treatment centers have begun prescribing patients naltrexone – sold under the brand name Vivitrol ®.

Relapse Prevention

Early recovery can be a trying time, filled with strong cravings to use, coupled with new feelings and emotions that can drive such urges. New research suggests that utilizing naltrexone can dramatically reduce the chance of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of opioid narcotics, which means if an addict were to use oxycodone or heroin they would not experience a high. The participants in the study were all opioid-addicted adults with history involving the criminal justice system. The participants were split into two groups, one receiving monthly naltrexone injections; the other group didn’t receive the drug but was referred to counseling and referrals to community treatment programs, according to the article.

After six months, only 43 percent of the Vivitrol group had experienced a relapse, compared with 64 percent in the other group. What’s more, no one in the naltrexone group had an overdose during the six months, compared to five overdoses in the group that did not receive the drug.

Promising Findings

“We believe our study is the first of its kind to look at the real-world effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone in community settings,” lead author at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York said in a news release. “It may be particularly effective with populations, such as recently released prisoners, who typically don’t have access to other evidence-based daily medications for opiate disorders, like methadone or buprenorphine.”

If you are in need of addiction treatment services, please contact N2 Treatment. We can help you determine the best course of action for a successful recovery, giving you the tools necessary to prevent relapse.

Meditation Dramatically Reduced Patient Pain

meditationChronic pain affects millions of Americans. Left untreated, one’s quality of life can be severely diminished. In the United States, doctors treating chronic pain almost always turn to prescription opioids for pain management. While there is little question as to whether drugs like oxycodone are effective, the price of pain relief often leads to dependence, addiction and overdose.

The United States has been in the grips of an opioid epidemic for over a decade, a crisis driven primarily by prescription opioids. Government crackdowns and the tightening of prescribing restrictions have resulted in a number of prescription painkiller addicts turning to heroin to fill the gap. Heroin is cheaper and stronger than the majority of prescription opioids, and arguably more deadly for the fact that users are not always aware of what they are using.

Pain Management Alternatives

It may be harder to acquire opioid medications, but that does not mean that they are not being prescribed at alarming rates – still contributing to the problem. It is crucial that pain management experts turn to alternative forms of treatment, methods that do not involve dangerous narcotics.

New research suggests that meditation may be an effective alternative to opioids for treating pain, Medical Daily reports. A research team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that meditation dramatically reduced patient pain, without the assistance of their body’s “pain-blocking process and opioid receptors.” The research was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Meditation On Pain

The study involved 78 volunteers who were injected with either a saline placebo solution or naloxone, according to the article. The participants were separated in four groups; each group had a different variation of treatment, such as:

  • The first group received naloxone and meditated.
  • The second practiced meditation without naloxone.
  • The third group meditated and had a saline placebo.
  • The fourth group received the placebo and didn’t meditate.

The volunteers in the meditation groups saw pain reductions by over 20 percent, the article reports. However, the participants who did not meditate saw an increase in pain.

“Our finding was surprising and could be important for the millions of chronic pain sufferers who are seeking a fast-acting, non-opiate-based therapy to alleviate their pain,” said Dr. Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in a statement. “Our team has demonstrated across four separate studies that meditation, after a short training period, can reduce experimentally induced pain. And now this study shows that meditation doesn’t work through the body’s opioid system.”

About Holistic Treatment

We, too, understand the importance of using a holistic treatment approach which includes meditation. Prayer or relaxation exercises are proven to lower anxiety and reduce tension by increasing an individual’s spiritual awareness and sense of wellbeing. When volatile emotions are managed, there is less chance of relapse or binging. Over time, a meditation practice can be a long-term tool for achieving and maintaining sobriety and finding joy in life.

Holiday Season Ends – Dry January Begins

dry-januaryThe holiday season is finally over, and for many of those who consumed a lot of alcohol during that time period they may want to abstain from drinking for a while. A goal which coincides nicely with “Dry January,” a month for people committed to not drinking can take a break. The holidays may have also been a sign to some that their drinking has gotten out of hand, and drastic measures are required.

What is Dry January?

A lot of alcohol is consumed in the United Kingdom, especially during holidays. The goal of the Dry January campaign is to raise awareness of alcohol-related problems and teach people the health benefits of staying away from booze, The Independent reports. Last year more than 2 million people took part in Dry January.

Overall alcohol consumption has risen in the UK over the last 60 years, according to the article. In the wake of the increase of consumption, the rate of alcohol-related health problems has risen as well. There has been a 44 percent increase in the number of people over 50 requiring alcohol use disorder treatment since 2009.

The more people drink, and the more frequently they drink, greatly increase the chance of people developing alcohol addiction. Many of the people who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder will require assistance in quitting, and learning how to not pick up again.

Treatment

For many alcoholics, simply quitting alcohol is not an option and can even be dangerous to one’s health. Withdrawing from alcohol after years of consumption often requires medical assistance and long term inpatient treatment. If you or a loved one is battling with alcoholism, please contact N2 Treatment. We can help you begin the journey of recovery. Our expert addiction specialist can assess the problem and determine the best plan to get you the help you need.

Childhood Head Injuries Could Lead to Alcohol Abuse

alcohol-abuseConcussions, head traumas, or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are something that can severely impact one’s life and can be fatal. We see it all the time with football players who take major hits, they walk off the field and go home. Sometimes people with TBIs go to bed and never wake up.

It turns out, that even minor concussions can lead to changes in the brain that can impact people later on in life, possibly resulting in addiction. New research suggests that females who experience a head injury during childhood may be at an increased risk of alcohol abuse later in life, ScienceDaily reports. The study was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

A Bump On The Head

Working with mice, researchers found that females who experienced “mild closed-head brain injury” were at a greater risk of misusing alcohol later in life, according to the article. The females were also more likely to associate drinking with reward and pleasure.

Fortunately, the adverse effects may be reversible with enriched environments. The mice that were raised in environments that provided activities were less likely to exhibit increased drinking behavior, when compared to the mice raised in standard housing. The researchers found that enriched environments reduced degeneration of nerve axons.

It’s Not Set In Stone

“We wanted to demonstrate that this effect is not set in stone at the time of injury,” said Zachary Weil, assistant professor of neuroscience at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “There are ways to intervene, but they’re expensive in terms of effort and money. It requires sustained treatment and rehabilitation and educational support.”

“The best therapy for a childhood brain injury is everybody getting great medical care and rehabilitation, regardless of socioeconomic status,” he said. “People with juvenile head injuries are already at risk for memory problems, difficulty concentrating, poor learning and reduced impulse control. If we can prevent alcohol misuse, chances for a good life are much better.”

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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with alcohol. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Smoking May Be Bad for Your Recovery

recoveryLiving a life of recovery is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. After living in addiction for many years, learning to navigate the waters of life, coping with the daily trials and tribulations free from drugs and alcohol takes vigilance. It is often said that one’s addiction is right outside the door doing pushups, waiting for you to be off guard.

Whatever one can do to minimize the chance of relapse is crucial. Active members in recovery will avoid dangerous situations like the plague, keeping away from old friends and out of places that can jeopardize one’s sobriety.

Smokey Speed Bumps On The Road To Recovery

New research suggests that people in recovery who smoke cigarettes are at a greater risk of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study found that people in recovery who smoke are twice as likely to start drinking again with three years, compared to nonsmokers.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health used data from 35,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder. The findings held even after accounting for:

  • Mood
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Nicotine Dependence

Something to Consider

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health. But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober,” said lead author Renee Goodwin. Goodwin is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

The findings were published in Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research.

If you or a loved one is entering treatment for a substance use disorder, it is important to discuss smoking cessation options. Smoking is harmful to one’s health, and for those in recovery – quitting may increase the chances of success after treatment.
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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Navigating Social Situations Involving Alcohol

alcoholRecovering from a substance use disorder is challenging to say the least, around many corners are obstacles that can derail one’s program. In early recovery, sponsors in 12-step programs and counselors at treatment centers advise you to stay clear from situations where alcohol will be present – known as risky situations. Being around others who are consuming alcohol can be dangerous.

Unfortunately, alcohol is everywhere and avoiding situations where alcohol is present is often easier said than done. Holidays and work gatherings are common situations that people in recovery need to face, but it is possible to abstain from alcohol and have a good time. It is important for people working a program of recovery to stay close to their support network, if ever you feel shaky help is always a phone call away.

The Life of A Former Drinker

Alcoholics who give up drinking will find times in their recovery where they will have to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved. Some people will let their associates know they don’t drink, whereas others will try to remain inconspicuous about the fact that they abstain from alcohol. A new study has examined the wide variety of approaches that people who don’t drink take when it comes to how and whether to tell people that they don’t drink, ScienceDaily reports. The research was part of a larger study on how non-drinkers handle social events.

“The findings tell us that former problem drinkers can find it tricky to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved, and makes clear it’s important to support those who aren’t drinking and not push non-drinkers to disclose their reasons for not having a drink,” says Lynsey Romo, study lead and an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University.

The study involved 11 former problem drinkers who were interviewed by the researchers. The participants length of sobriety ranged from one to 19 years, according to the article. Some people were open about the fact they didn’t drink, while others tried to avoid the situation outright by holding a cup the whole time or saying “no” when offered a drink.

Staying Social In Sobriety Without Stigma

“We found that former problem drinkers still want to be social, of course, but that they had to find ways to determine whether to disclose their non-drinking status to others,” Romo says. “Study participants said they felt the need to weigh how much they should tell other people. Essentially, they assessed the risk of being socially stigmatized if they were open about not drinking or about being in recovery.”

The research was published in the journal Health Communication.

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If you are or your loved one is struggling with alcohol, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

What is National Recovery Month?

recoveryDespite the continued fight against prescription opioid and heroin abuse in the United States which continues to take people’s lives every day, it has arguably been a good year so far for substance use disorder prevention and addiction recovery. In 2015, the President has already pardoned a number of people for lengthy drug related prison sentences, including some who were serving life sentences. Steps have been made to provide greater access to clean needles and the life saving drug naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.

All of the aforementioned measures reinforce the prevailing idea that addiction is a disease that requires treatment, not imprisonment. It shows that more people are beginning to understand that people can recover and lives can be saved if we, as a nation, are willing to dismantle the stigmas and misconceptions that have long accompanied addiction.

What is National Recovery Month?

Every year, the month of September is National Recovery Month. Throughout the month, addiction and mental health recovery events are held with the help of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). This is a time when people working a program of recovery and the vast number of people who work in the field of recovery receive recognition for their achievements.

September is an opportunity to reach out to and educate those still in the grips of addiction, letting them know that recovery is possible and addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. Events will be taking place all over the country and everyone who would like to learn more about recovery is welcome.

The President is for Recovery

President Obama made a Proclamation that September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!”. Please read the full Proclamation below:

NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH,
2015

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. From big cities to small towns to Indian Country, substance use disorders affect the lives of millions of Americans. This month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all those who are seeking or in need of treatment, and we recognize the key role families, friends, and health care providers play in supporting those on the path to a better tomorrow.

This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” It encourages us all to do our part to eliminate negative public attitudes associated with substance use disorders and treatment. People in recovery are part of our communities — they are our family and friends, colleagues and neighbors — and by supporting them and raising awareness of the challenges they face, we can help eradicate prejudice and discrimination associated with substance use disorders, as well as with co-occurring mental disorders. Prevention and treatment work, and people recover — and we must ensure all those seeking help feel empowered, encouraged, and confident in their ability to take control of their future. Americans looking for help for themselves or their loved ones can call 1-800-662-HELP or use the “Treatment Locator” tool at www.SAMHSA.gov.

My Administration remains dedicated to pursuing evidence-based strategies to address substance use disorders as part of our National Drug Control Strategy. Seeking to widen pathways to recovery, our strategy supports the integration of substance use treatment into primary health care settings and the expansion of support services in places such as high schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the criminal justice system. In the wake of public health crises related to non-medical use of prescription drugs and heroin in communities across our Nation, my Administration has pledged considerable resources to help Federal, State, and local authorities boost prevention efforts, improve public health and safety, and increase access to treatment in communities across the country. And the Affordable Care Act has extended substance use disorder and mental health benefits and Federal parity protections to millions of Americans.

Behavioral health is essential to overall health, and recovery is a process through which individuals are able to improve their wellness, live increasingly self-directed lives, and strive to fulfill their greatest potential. During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we reaffirm our belief that recovery and limitless opportunity are within reach of every single American battling substance use disorders, and we continue our work to achieve this reality.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

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If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Cortisol May Curb Heroin Cravings

heroin-cravings, cortisolHeroin has been in the news a lot lately due to the number of overdose deaths occurring across the country. The rate of heroin use is staggering; many people find their way to the highly addictive substance by way of prescription opioids. Over the last few years, governmental measures intended to reduce prescription drug abuse has had the unintended consequence of nudging addicts towards heroin – which happens to be cheaper, stronger, and can easily lead to overdose.

Last year, 681,000 Americans aged 12 and older used heroin, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports. With over half a million users, the need for greater access to effective substance use disorder treatment is crucial. While drugs, such as buprenorphine, are effective at alleviating withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, addiction researchers are always looking for new methods that will give recovering addicts the best chance at a successful recovery.

Cortisol for Cravings

A new study has found that cortisol, a stress hormone, may reduce cravings for heroin, Newsweek reports. The research included 29 heroin addicts undergoing treatment with pharmaceutical heroin (diacetylmorphine). The researchers found that cortisol decreased cravings in heroin patients by up to 25 percent.

Cortisol is naturally secreted from the adrenal gland in response to stressful situations. Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland gave some patients cortisol tablets and others a placebo before administering a dose of heroin, according to the article. The patients were asked to rate their level of cravings at a later time.

The patients who were on a lower dose of heroin (up to 305 milligrams daily) and were given cortisol, reported having less craving for another dose of heroin. Unfortunately, patients who were taking a higher dose of heroin daily did not report having lower cravings.

The findings appear in Translational Psychiatry.

Looking Ahead

The study’s lead author, Dominique de Quervain, believes that cortisol may be helpful in treating other forms of addiction. More research is needed to determine the “safety and efficacy” of cortisol as a treatment for addiction.

“It might be interesting to see if [cortisol] also works for other addictions — for example, nicotine or gambling — because they are all driven by craving,” de Quervain said.

“We observed previously that cortisol can reduce memory retrieval in healthy subjects,” says de Quervain. “What we think is that cortisol, by reducing addiction memory, can actually also reduce craving.”

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If you are or loved one is addicted to opioids, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you learn how to live a life free of opioids.

Cutting Off Veterans from Opioids

veteransThe prescription opioid epidemic has had a lasting effect on every demographic in America. Years of overprescribing and limited options for those who become addicted to drugs like OxyContin ® (oxycodone) and Vicodin ® (hydrocodone), have created a problem that no one has been able to control. Efforts to reduce addiction rates and overdose deaths have done some good, but at the same time, new policies have failed to address the underlying addiction.

One demographic that has been hit especially hard by the new policies is veterans. Measures made to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions among veterans, in favor of alternative pain management, have left many struggling with chronic pain, The Star Tribune reports.

A Double Edged Sword

Over an 11-year period, the number of prescriptions for opioids prescribed by VA doctors increased dramatically. In fact, prescriptions for oxycodone and morphine jumped 259 percent nationwide by 2013. After more than a decade of war, almost 60 percent of veterans listed chronic pain as their most common medical problem, according to the article.

Prescription opioids, while addictive, are by far the most effective way to manage chronic pain. The problem starts when addiction sets in and the drugs are still required. The federal government’s mandate to reduce opioid prescription did manage to reduce the rates of addiction, the article reports. Unfortunately, many veterans were left to deal with pain on their own, a number of which sought out illicit methods to manage their pain.

No Offers Of Assistance

Individuals who use any narcotic, especially opioids, require detoxification and effective alternatives to the drugs they were using. Simply cutting off the supply may look good for reports, but fails to address the addiction that comes with years of use. Addicts who are cut off from their supply will seek other avenues to find what they need, unless an effective alternative is offered.

“There wasn’t a lot of discussion with the veteran except for the provider saying, ‘We’re not going to be doing this anymore because it’s not good for you,’ ” said Joy Ilem, of Disabled American Veterans, one of the nation’s largest veteran service groups.

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If you are or loved one is addicted to prescription opioids, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you learn how to live a life free of opioid addiction.

Surrender Your Drugs and Go To Treatment

surrender-drugsThe “war on drugs” has been quite effective with regard to getting addicts off the streets, but it has done little to address the problem of addiction – a disease which plagues millions of Americans. People who are arrested and imprisoned, simply for the crime of being an addict, often find themselves in a hamster wheel.

The rates of jail recidivism among drug addicts who are released is extremely high. Research tells us that jail does little when it comes to teaching people how to live a life free from drugs – something treatment does quite well.

Treatment Over Jail

In many states there exist drug courts, which give those charged with drug crimes the option of probation and addiction treatment counseling as opposed to being locked up. Such programs have been found to save taxpayers money, and help rather than harm a number of people who are already suffering. However, there are many who feel that treatment is more successful when it is not mandatory or forced.

In many states across the country, prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction have become the largest social welfare issue. The death toll related to the use of opioids is staggering and some cities have begun thinking outside the box.

Surrender Your Drugs and Go To Treatment

In the little New England city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the local police chief launched a novel program which provides substance use disorder treatment for people who turn in their illegal drugs to the police, WBUR reports. Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said that 17 people have accepted the offer thus far.

While the number of people who have accepted treatment may seem small, Campanello points out that 17 people is more than three times the number of people who have died of drug overdoses in a town of 29,000, Needham, MA, this year alone. What’s more, the 17 who surrendered were using opioid drugs, such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone – drugs which all carry the potential for overdose.

“We need to get people into treatment,” Campanello said. “If they fail, we need to get them into treatment again. Just keep trying. Arresting them or coercing them into treatment just doesn’t work.”

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If you are struggling with prescription opioids or heroin abuse, please do not hesitate to contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help show you how to live a life free of opioid addiction.

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