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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Genetic Links of Mental Illness

mental illness
The brain is complicated in a myriad of ways which complicates researchers' ability to discern why some people are affected by mental illness. There is a significant need to understand mental health conditions better, how they come about and what we can do to treat such conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Addiction is another mental health disorder that has long puzzled experts; why are some people predisposed to struggle with drugs and alcohol?

A correlation exists between substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. The connection is apparent in the addiction treatment industry; clients regularly struggle with more than one condition. What’s more, research shows that when co-occurring disorders receive treatment simultaneously, better outcomes are the result. Despite a link being present, science has yet to pinpoint the genetic precursors of mental illness, or why multiple disorders besiege people.

If scientists can determine a constant in people living with mental illness, it may one day lead to methods of prevention and treatment. Some researchers theorize that there must be a marker present in the brains of people beset by conditions of the mind, that isn’t present in "healthy" brains.

 

A Roadmap for Psychiatric Disorders


A new study appearing the journal Science reveals some intriguing clues about how genes impact one’s mental health, GIZMODO reports. Researchers analyzed data from previous studies which dealt with the genetic makeup in cadaver brains of people with a mental health diagnosis. The findings indicate many similarities in mentally afflicted minds that were not present in “healthy brains.” However, the research presents some exciting results that are not what you might expect.

As was pointed out previously, mental illness often comes in pairs. Patients regularly present with both alcohol and substance use disorder and conditions like depression. Believe it or not, the new analysis showed little overlap between the brains of alcoholics and people with other psychiatric disorders, according to the article. It could mean that depression and alcoholism are not genetically connected after all.

The international research team found similar findings in the brains of depressives, whose patterns of molecular activity didn’t line up with brains affected by other conditions. The study did see a congruent molecular signature in the minds of people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which was surprising considering the two mental diseases have inconsistent symptoms.

“We show that these molecular changes in the brain are connected to underlying genetic causes, but we don’t yet understand the mechanisms by which these genetic factors would lead to these changes,” said senior author Daniel Geschwind, a professor of neurology, psychiatry, and human genetics and director of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. “So, although now we have some understanding of causes, and this new work shows the consequences, we now have to understand the mechanisms by which this comes about, so as to develop the ability to change these outcomes.”

 

Use Disorder Treatment


At Whiteside Manor, we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and start down the road of recovery. If you are struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder, we are fully equipped to address both illnesses simultaneously. Please contact us today.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Shatter the Myths® With NIDA

NDAFW
This week, addiction experts are coming together to set young people straight about drugs and alcohol; they aim to Shatter the Myths® about drugs and alcohol. Teenagers who do not have the facts about substance use are more likely to make choices that will derail the course of their lives. Most young people understand that drugs and alcohol can lead to problems but still choose to engage the dangerous practice anyway. It’s paramount that scientists impart their wisdom to teens and young adults before casual use morphs into a more severe condition, such as a substance use disorder.

In recent years, research like the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, has shown promising results in the area of adolescent substance use. The 2016 study indicates a steady decrease in past-month alcohol and cigarette use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 1996 to 2016. Prescription opioid use among 12th graders has also declined; a particularly salient find considering the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic are devastating the United States. Since the start of the survey (1975), students report the lowest rates of heroin use.

Past year illicit drug use among 12th graders in 2016: marijuana/hash (35.6%), amphetamines (6.7%), tranquilizers (4.9%), opioids other than heroin (4.8%), hallucinogens (4.3%), synthetic marijuana (3.5%), sedatives (3.0%), MDMA (2.7%), cocaine (2.3%), salvia (1.8%), and inhalants (1.7%).

 

Facts About Drugs and Alcohol


Surveys like the MTF, give experts targets to address with young people regarding substance use. While the 2016 findings are a good sign that most young people understand the inherent dangers of drugs and alcohol, there are still a significant number of teens and young adults holding on to misconceptions.

National Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week (NDAFW), is brought to you by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As mentioned above, the goal of addiction scientists across the nation is to give young people vital information about addiction and Shatter the Myths®. Perhaps you have time today, or during the weekend, to catch an event in your area? NIDA and NIAAA would also like you to join them in disseminating drug and alcohol facts on social media using the #NDAFW.

We can all have a hand in reducing and preventing alcohol and substance use among young people. Below you will find a National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® promotional video, introduced by NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow and NIAAA Director, Dr. George Koob:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

 

Use Disorder Treatment


If you are a young adult whose drug and alcohol use has become problematic, it is possible to recover from the alcohol and substance use disorder. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help, the longer you ignore your condition, the more likely you are to experience even more significant detriment. Please contact Whiteside Manor today.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pain in the Nation: Opioids, Alcohol, and Suicide

addiction treatment
The Trust for America's Health and the Well Being Trust released a report recently highlighting some rather dismal projections about mental illness in America. The authors of Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy, have cause to believe that the current trends are likely to get worse. In the next decade, 1.6 million Americans could perish from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Naturally, one of the primary driving forces of the stark estimate is the American opioid addiction epidemic.

Reports, like Pain in the Nation, are serious cause for concern and its projections should be used to encourage people to seek treatment for any mental illness. When people access substance-use-disorder-recovery-support-services, they can turn their lives around for the better. However, individuals are unable to confront psychiatric health conditions like addiction and depression on their own—psychosocial support is a must. As with any deadly health concern, time is of the essence. The report opens with:

The United States is facing a new set of epidemics — more than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides (2006 to 2015). Life expectancy in the country decreased last year for the first time in two decades — and these three public health crises have been major contributing factors to this shift.

 

National Resilience Strategy


While opioids are the focal point of most addiction-related discussions of late, alcohol is a heavyweight contender when it comes to premature death. The Berkeley Research Group’s analysis indicates the alcohol-related mortality rate spiked in 2015, with 33,200 deaths—a 35-year high, according to U.S. News and World Report. If those numbers aren’t bad enough, the researchers found that in the last decade suicides rose by nearly 30 percent.

We’ve discussed opioids at such length there's probably little need to remind our readers of the staggering death toll; the more salient talking point is what we do about the crisis our nation faces. The authors call for a "National Resilience Strategy;" one that leads to reductions in suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse, the article reports. The means of achieving such a lofty goal is prevention and treatment expansion.

"These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable," John Auerbach, president of Trust for America's Health told U.S. News. "There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol."

 

Addiction Treatment Is The Answer


Individuals in communities across the country must have access to screening so they can receive a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, effective treatments using evidence-based psychotherapies can then be implemented. If treatment is followed by psychosocial and recovery support services, people have the opportunity to heal and lead productive lives.

If you are battling alcohol and substance use disorder, now is the time to take actions that will lead to lasting addiction recovery. Whether you meet the criteria for addiction, or a use disorder that is accompanied by another form of mental illness (dual diagnosis), Whiteside Manor can help. Please contact us today to embark on the lifesaving journey of recovery, a quest that begins with addiction treatment.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Your Focus On Recovery in 2018

addiction
All of us at Whiteside Manor are hopeful that 2017 was a productive year in recovery for you. We know that at times sticking to the program is hard work, but it’s worth all the effort. We sincerely wish for you to have a productive year in recovery in the 365 days ahead, and if you continue to do what you’ve been doing—there’s no reason why 2018 can’t be a benchmark year.

Before the curtain draws on 2017, please consider taking a moment to recognize all the areas of your life where you’ve made progress. One should never discount how far you’ve come, even small steps forward are better than the alternative. Taking some time to do an accounting of improvements made will help you better direct your focus in the year ahead. Addiction recovery is about progress, knowing what you need to work on ahead of time will assist you moving forward.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been in the program for a short time; it's likely that your life has already started to improve. Sure, you have a lot of work ahead of you, but at least you are facing in the right direction. Remember, each day that you abstain from drugs and alcohol is a win; especially when you consider that the disease is always trying to get the best of you.

 

Talk With Your Recovery Peers, Consider Their Suggestions


We are not always the best judge when it comes to our shortcomings and of where we have made improvements. Even if you are doing the work, you might not be able to see how far you've come and, more importantly how far yet you have to go. It’s important to sit down with your sponsor and listen to their observations; you may glean valuable insights about your recovery.

If your sponsor is unavailable, it’s likely you have a close friend, with more time than you, from whom you can impart wisdom. Addiction recovery is, after all, a cooperative endeavor for personal healing; our peers are instrumental in our recovery, we can’t do this without their help. However, sometimes we hesitate to ask for other people’s thoughts, which is usually the result of one’s pride and ego standing in their way. Sometimes we are just afraid of what we might hear, but you must overcome such fears.

One must rely on their support network if recovery is to continue moving forward. We learn how to improve our program, and then down the road we pass on what we learn to others with less time. The cycle of Recovery is a series of symbiotic relationships; your sponsor helps you, you help another person, which helps you in turn. The formula works, and has done so for nearly hundred years; which means, it will work for you.

 

Addiction Treatment


If you have decided that 2018 is the year you embrace recovery, Whiteside Manor can assist you in achieving said goal. The beginning of a new year can also be the start of a spiritual journey, out of the darkness of addiction and into the light of recovery. Please contact us today to begin making preparations for a whole new life.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Addiction: The Guitar Versus the World

addiction
Many consider Eric Clapton one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Few people can deny his contribution to rock and roll and the Blues. Those of you working in the field of addiction medicine or are working programs of recovery might be aware that Clapton’s career came with a lot of heartaches. You may also know that the former Yardbirds' guitarist also founded an addiction treatment center on the island of Antigua in 1997.

Eric Clapton, like many star musicians, struggled with alcohol and heroin for a long time; but as he said in a 60 Minutes interview back in 1999, his desire to be an excellent father to his son helped him decide to seek addiction recovery.

"When he was born, I was drinking and he was really the chief reason that I went back to treatment because I really did love this boy," recalled Clapton. "I thought, 'I know he's a little baby, but he can see what I'm doing, and I'm tired of this.'"

On March 20, 1991, Clapton’s son fell to his death from the 53rd-floor window of his mother's friend's New York City apartment. Such a tragedy would be any parent's worst nightmare, yet Clapton found a way to carry on with life.

 

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars


"I thought that if I stopped drinking and I stopped using drugs… I would not be able to play anymore."

One could argue that tragedy is a prerequisite for becoming a blues musician, with that in mind Clapton is certified. In a new documentary, Clapton’s life is brought into focus, both the good and the bad; the first half of the feature shows the road Clapton took to make it in the music industry, the second part is about how music saved his life.

Clapton gave an interview to Rolling Stone recently, where he talks about the Showtime documentary "Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars." He discusses the difficulty of finding recovery in an industry where, at the time, one could count on little support. It was his manager Roger Forrester who finally confronted the brilliant guitarist for Cream. When Clapton finally decided to seek treatment, it was his manager that he called in 1982.

“He packed me up and sent me off to [the rehab facility] Hazelden. When I got to Hazelden, I had to sign this thing saying who is your significant other,” Clapton told Rolling Stone. “Anyone else would have put a family member—or my wife. I was married. But I put him. Because he was the only one who would stand up to me and call me out.”

Sober now for decades, Eric Clapton found that he didn’t need substances to write music after all. He is currently working on his next studio album. Please take a moment to watch the official trailer:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

 

Addiction Treatment


Deciding to seek help takes tremendous courage, but it’s a choice that will change your life and allow you to have a future. Please contact Whiteside Manor to begin the journey of recovery.