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Methadone Maintenance Brings Positive Outcomes

by James Heller 15. June 2012 13:09
Opiates are highly addictive and either controlled or illegal.  This combination of factors most often leads to increasing doses, which can cause the loss of employment, financial issues, and engagement in criminal activity.  Opiates, like heroin, are often administered intravenously, which also increases the risk of infection with HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne pathogens.   So there is a great risk of harm for those who find abstinence-only treatment difficult to maintain. 

Because opiate addiction impacts the addicted individual and society in the way described above, the treatment approach must include more than the traditional detox-to-abstinence model.  Abstinence should always be the ultimate goal.  The road to abstinence, though, may require a period of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) using Methadone Maintenance.  This could be a lifesaving step in the recovery process for many opiate addicts.

Methadone Maintenance has been proven effective as a “harm reduction” treatment method.  The linked paper below shows the true and positive effects of Methadone Maintenance.  The fact is that this form of treatment reduces health risks, crime, unemployment, and improves treatment outcomes for individuals who previously believed they had no hope of breaking their addiction cycle.


Tarzana Treatment Centers offers Methadone Maintenance to qualified individuals.  During this MAT treatment, our clients also undergo addiction counseling to help them on the road to abstinence.  We added this Narcotic Replacement Therapy (NRT) to our services because we want all addicts to have a chance to survive and recover.  Many opiate addicts are motivated for recovery, but they can’t get past the opiate cravings that drag them back to using again.  We keep them in treatment.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Telemedicine Uses – Senior Mental Health and Substance Use

by James Heller 21. September 2010 14:42
Aging brings more than the typical physical problems form seniors.  Most will survive family members and friends, and face other possible losses, causing depression or anxiety.  Some, following a doctor’s orders, may risk harm with prescription drugs without knowing that they are doing so.  Telemedicine, in these cases, seems to be a very compassionate gift from the medical community.

It commonly comes with longer life that family members and friends will pass on. As their generational companion list begins to shrink, depression and loneliness is inevitable.  The regular reminders of their own mortality can also be a source of anxiety.  In these tough financial times they may also lose property through foreclosure, or be swindled by unscrupulous individuals.  

Grief and loss therapy and mental health treatment can help to minimize emotional pain, but the tendency is to decline because they don’t want to leave home or they are immobile.  The pain will not improve without talking about it.  So if they have no one to grieve with, they become more isolated, and sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs for relief.

Prescription drugs are often ordered for seniors to stabilize physical or emotional pain.  Opiate pain killers and benzodiazepines can spell trouble, though, when individuals also use alcohol, take higher doses than prescribed, or use other medications.  Isolation and substance use can feed on each other, leaving a once vibrant person alone and numb.

These are the lesser known forms of alcohol abuse and drug abuse, and can be helped with addiction treatment.  However, it is quite rare for seniors to agree to enter drug treatment for the same reasons as above.  Sadly, younger family members tend to condone substance use to “ease the pain” of aging, and don’t offer proper assistance.  Every day is a risk that tragedy will strike by accident or drug overdose.

Telemedicine has the potential to improve the golden years for many individuals.  They don’t need to leave home to get mental health treatment or drug treatment.  There are specialists in both fields who work with seniors on related issues.  Grief and loss specialists can ease individuals through these processes, minimizing the duration of emotional pain.  Addiction treatment counselors can help them to see that drugs and alcohol add to problems if they are abused, and are never the solution for emotional pain.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides online therapy for mental health and drug addiction.  Our online treatment is delivered using the LiveVisit application, powered by MDLiveCare.  One only needs a computer with a webcam connected to the internet to participate.  This makes treatment convenient, accessible, and affordable.  Security is important in treatment, so LiveVisit runs behind several layers of encryption.  Phone access is available for those without a computer.

Telemedicine at Tarzana Treatment Centers is not limited to online mental health treatment and drug addiction treatment.  We also provide online medical care.  Our goal is to see that those who need treatment can get it.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

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Adolescent Drug Addiction – Don’t Discriminate

by James Heller 5. May 2010 12:37
Teen drug addiction does not only occur with drugs like heroin and methamphetamines.  Prescription opiate and benzodiazepine abuse can quickly lead to addiction, and we should not forget about marijuana and alcohol which are still drugs.  Parents need to be aware of these facts so they can easily spot the signs of impending drug addiction with their youth.

Don’t be fooled by the idea that if you don’t catch your adolescent using strong drugs, then it is not a big deal.  Granted, finding evidence of heroin or methamphetamine use can scare any parent into contacting the closest drug treatment center.  Too many parents, though, do not take the same drastic action with other drugs, and may simply resort to grounding or other minor punishments.

Alcohol and marijuana are the best examples.  Many parents still believe it is okay to allow teen alcohol use in the home, in hopes that they will not drink outside the home.  In most cases they will and put themselves at risk of injury and death.  Adolescents, in most cases, simply don’t drink responsibly like adults.  Getting a buzz is the purpose as opposed to having a social moment with friends.

The 21st Century has seen an equalizing with alcohol of the social acceptance of marijuana.  The drug has become normalized with such a high percentage of the population having smoked pot in younger days.  If marijuana use caused them no major problems, parents may allow their teens to use it or just wave it off as typical youth behavior.   What they don’t know is that marijuana is now much more potent and addictive, and can also lead to injury or death if they drive under the influence of pot.

Now prescription drugs like Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin), and benzodiazepines (Xanax and Valium) have become popular with adolescents.  Adolescent prescription drug abuse is largely driven by a low perception of risk.  Teens believe there is no danger that comes with the high, as long as they take the drugs in controlled situations.  But drug addiction can take hold quickly with these drugs, which can lead them to try heroin addiction since it is cheaper and more potent.

Drug addiction treatment usually begins with drug detox or alcohol detoxDrug withdrawal symptoms include flu-like aches and intestinal problems among others, and alcohol withdrawal can be fatal in serious cases.  It is best to avoid the need for medical detoxification before teen drug treatment.  The way to do this is to treat all teen drug abuse equally, and seek treatment at the earliest signs of use.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment, as well as prevention education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Teen Substance Use - Prevention and Treatment

by James Heller 22. April 2010 13:50
It’s no secret that a certain percentage of teens will recreationally use alcohol or drugs before they finish high school.  We would all like to wave a magic wand and put a stop to it, but that is just a dream.  We can only do our best to teach adolescents the damage that alcohol abuse and drug abuse will cause in their lives.

Sometimes it seems like a futile effort.  Some of our youth will engage in substance use no matter what they are taught, or even if they face legal and academic consequences.  Many of them begin using out of curiosity or peer pressure, and others do so in order to escape negative feelings.  Some are even undiagnosed with mental health disorders, and find comfort in self-medicating.

The consequences of teen alcohol and drug abuse are evident to anyone whose primary work is in service to adolescents.  At schools, we see promising students suddenly miss homework assignments or watch grades drop on tests.  Youth organizations and similar groups notice that some kids just stop attending meetings and functions.

Sadly, there is no magic wand that will put an end to adolescent substance abuse.  Prevention is an effort that must continue, though, because teens will otherwise not hear our message of consequences.  They will be left only with reasons to try alcohol and drugs, and none make them think first about future problems.  Although it may seem like a lost cause, at times, lives are saved every day.

In times of doubt, remember that when teens engage in alcohol abuse or drug abuse they increase the likelihood of future problems with alcohol dependence or drug addiction.  Each and every adolescent that hears this message gets the opportunity to live into adulthood alcohol and drug free.  At the very least, we can attempt to delay the start of substance use until after adolescence.

It is also important that we know when to refer teens to youth alcohol and drug treatment.  There is often a delay because of the mistaken parallel between adolescent substance abuse and adult substance abuse.  In actuality, teens need to at least speak with an addiction counselor at the first sign of abuse so the true nature of the problem can be understood in each case.

Adolescent alcohol and drug treatment helps teens to discover why they use alcohol or drugs.  This allows them to grow by dealing with life problems instead of escaping with substance use.  When mental health disorders are discovered, the treatment center should include in-house care for co-occurring mental health disorders.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment, as well as prevention education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Domestic Violence is Treatable

by James Heller 25. February 2010 08:27
Domestic violence as it relates to substance abuse is not as simple as it may seem.  While alcohol abuse or drug abuse may increase chances of a violent incident, and vice versa, one does not suggest the other exists.  The good news from this is that domestic violence is known to be a separate issue from substance abuse, and it is treatable.

The stereotype of alcoholism in the family being the catalyst for spousal abuse and child abuse is not the norm in terms of domestic violence.  It is more likely that a person with violent tendencies will become violent in cases of alcohol abuse rather than alcohol dependence.  In other words, domestic violence occurrences happen more with occasional binge drinkers than daily heavy drinkers.  When inhibitions are relaxed with alcohol, violence may seem justified to the abuser.

Domestic violence occurs more with illegal drug abuse than with alcohol abuse.  It is widely believed that individuals with violent tendencies use drugs to avoid feelings of anger.  The impairment from drugs can spark their anger at any time, likely during withdrawals at the end of a binge, and again justify violence in their minds.

In any case, domestic violence is inexcusable, and is not connected to alcohol or drug use.  If alcohol or drugs are involved they are not the cause of violence, but are simply catalysts.  Because of this, domestic violence must be treated along with the substance abuse problem.  Otherwise, when the alcohol or drugs are removed the violent tendencies will remain a problem.

Domestic violence and anger management treatment includes individual and group sessions, as well as mental health treatment for those who need it.  Family counseling is valuable in that victims of domestic violence also need to heal.  These programs are equally effective for individuals whether or not they are in alcohol and drug treatment.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides the services for domestic violence above as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or domestic violence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Addiction - Denial

by James Heller 29. October 2009 10:53
People have a hard time understanding why loved ones suffering from alcohol dependence or drug addiction wait so long to enter alcohol and drug treatment.  A major reason for this is denial of reality.  As bad as things look to the outsider, alcoholics and drug addicts just don’t see it.

Denial should not be compared to a blindfold.  It’s more like blinders on a racehorse.  Alcoholics and drug addicts are well aware of the problems they face in life.  But they are incapable of accepting the consequences they suffer because alcohol and drugs are an important part of their lives.  As far as they are concerned, alcohol or drugs are a solution and far from a problem.

It comes from a belief that absent their calming substance things would be much worse, not better.  When a thought that problems stem from alcohol or drugs begin to enter their minds, it is quickly dismissed as preposterous.  There is a tunnel vision that temporarily pushes these thoughts out of sight along with all of the problems that need to be solved.

Even deeper in their psyche is an incapability to deal with emotions.  Denial protects alcoholics and addicts from feelings.  When they are confronted by a loved one, they will run to the comfort of alcohol or drugs to “clear their heads”.  The escape from emotions is a comfort.  In fact, it is usually the only comfort they have.  

This cycle is never-ending because alcohol and drugs are both the solution and problem for the alcoholic and addict.  But the solution illusion always wins in their minds.  Thus, they will not seek alcohol and drug treatment until problems are insurmountable or the family calls for an intervention.

Sadly, it takes a shock to the system to drag the alcoholic and drug addict into reality.  Once denial is shattered they may feel lost, so care must be taken to avoid provoking them back to denial.  The best bet is to be firm with the shock, but have loving arms to catch them when they fall.  Then immediately contact an alcohol and drug treatment center.

Drug-addiction.com, an informative website, posted an article a few years back that offers a glimpse at the problem of denial with the disease.  The portion excerpted below shows pertinent statistics, and the full article offers some additional insight.

-- Begin external content --

According to the results of the survey, of the 5.0 million people who needed but did not receive treatment in 2001, an estimated 377,000 reported that they felt they needed treatment for their drug problem. This includes an estimated 101,000 who reported that they made an effort but were unable to get treatment and 276,000 who reported making no effort to get treatment.

"We have a large and growing denial gap when it comes to drug abuse and dependency in this country," said John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "We have a responsibility--as family members, employers, physicians, educators, religious leaders, neighbors, colleagues, and friends--to reach out to help these people. We must find ways to lead them back to drug free lives. And the earlier we reach them, the greater will be our likelihood of success."

-- Source: http://www.drug-addiction.com/drugs_and_denial.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles can help with intervention as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Drug-Related Death

by James Heller 2. October 2009 11:36
Drug addiction is a disease that can result in death.  The subject is certainly not pleasant to discuss. However, in order to save lives we must face this fact.  More people need to be aware that drug treatment helps to prevent drug-related deaths.

Drug abuse and addiction results in death from several consequences.  Overdose is the obvious one.  These days it isn't just the addict who injected too much heroin.  Even those who use prescription drugs, like pain killers and benzodiazepines, ordered by their physician can accidentally overdose and be lost.

Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines affect the heart, causing possible heart attacks.  And the erratic behavior of these users can lead them to destructive activities that can cause serious injury and death.  The sad thing is that most of these users are seeking to be in that state of mind.

We've all seen individuals say they are okay to drive after an evening of alcohol abuse.  Driving under the influence of drugs is equally dangerous.  Drug users tend to actually believe they drive better on drugs, though, because of the false notion they are more attuned to things around them.  Sadly, DUI and other factors of drug abuse leads to lost innocent lives.

Drug addiction leads individuals to commit crimes that harm innocent bystanders.  The impaired mind of a drug addict only seeks to satisfy its need for more of the drug of choice.  It is selfish and lacks remorse if when life is lost in the pursuit of its needs.  This, above all other reasons, should persuade anyone of the urgency to get drug addicts into treatment.

Treatment helps drug addicts to stop using drugs and learn how to live productively without them.  When drug detox is complete, entering residential rehab or outpatient treatment gives addicts a chance to understand why they use drugs and what may trigger a relapse.  It is urgent that treatment is sought before a life is lost.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) about drug-related deaths in the United States.  A portion is below, followed by a link to the full report.

-- Begin external content --

DAWN is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related deaths referred to medical examiners and coroners in selected participating metropolitan areas and states.  Although the DAWN data cannot be extrapolated to the entire United States, the information can be helpful for analyzing the nature and scope of substance abuse-related deaths in the areas it covers.
 
For example, analysis of the 2007 DAWN Report reveals that among the 10 states participating fully with DAWN, rates of drug-related deaths ranged from a high of 21.0 deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico to a low of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 population in Virginia.  The rate for the State of Oklahoma saw a 79 percent increase from 2006; while Vermont's rate dropped 12 percent. 
 
-- Source: https://dawninfo.samhsa.gov/pubs/ --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medical detoxification, and residential and outpatient treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Living with your Liver

by James Heller 25. August 2009 08:05
Many people with chronic alcohol dependence or other drug addictions experience liver disease. This is no accident. The liver is used to digest food, absorb nutrients, and get toxic substances (like alcohol and drugs) out of your body. The liver is an important organ in the body; you only have one and cannot survive without it.  And with alcohol’s effects on the body, liver problems could just be the beginning.

Alcohol abuse is not the only way to damage your liver. Unprotected sex, sharing needles, prescription drug abuse and addiction, and getting tattoos or piercings from places that do not properly sterilize the needles also can put you at risk of liver disease and damage.

There are many forms of liver disease; the conditions listed below are most common among alcohol and other drug abusers.

Cirrhosis – scarring of the liver that is caused by having another liver disease (like Hepatitis), or by many years of heavy alcohol drinking. Cirrhosis is not curable, but there are treatments that can help slow the scarring.

Hepatitis C – a disease that is passed through blood-to-blood contact. It is caused by a virus that attacks the liver, causing the liver to become inflamed. There is a cure, but it takes months to complete treatment, has severe side effects, and does not work for everyone.

Hepatitis A – a disease that is similar to the flu.  You get Hepatitis A by eating food containing human waste. People rarely die from it, and there is a vaccine to prevent you from getting it.

Hepatitis B – a disease that is passed through body fluids during sex, through the breast milk of infected mothers, and through contact with contaminated blood. People can die from it, but there is a vaccine to prevent it.

The best way to prevent liver disease is to not abuse alcohol or use illegal drugs.  Only use drugs as prescribed by your doctor, or as indicated on over-the-counter packaging.  Never engage in unprotected sex (unless you and your partner are completely monogamous and have tested negative for all STI’s recently).

If you have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, talk with your doctor to see if it is right for you. There are treatments and some liver disease is reversible, so talk to your doctor about the choices that are out there.

For most information, check out the American Liver Foundation website: http://www.yourliver.org/learn.html.

If you or a loved one need help for alcoholism or drug addiction, and also suffer from liver disease, Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles can help.  As part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare, our alcohol and drug treatment program includes primary medical care.  Please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Effects on Oral Health

by James Heller 24. August 2009 14:01

We know that drug and alcohol abuse has many negative health effects, but something that is not frequently discussed are the harmful effects that drugs and alcohol can have on the health of our teeth, gums, and mouth in general.  Good oral health is not just about having pearly white and straight teeth.  

Having strong teeth and healthy gums/mouth helps you eat and digest food, and helps you speak and pronounce words clearly. Left untreated, decay on the teeth leads to the formation of cavities which can become infected and spread throughout your whole body making you sick

While all drugs can have negative effects on your teeth, gums, and mouth, methamphetamine (meth) and tobacco (both in cigarettes and smokeless) are the worst offenders.

Methamphetamine: The use of meth has been linked to rapid formation of cavities. Dentists think this could be due to teeth grinding and clenching, dry mouth, or poor oral hygiene all of which are linked to meth use. When left untreated, the only treatment is to pull out all the teeth and wear dentures.

For more information about meth and oral health go here: http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/methmouth.asp#additional

Tobacco: Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco have harmful effects on the health of the mouth. Cigarettes can lead to dry mouth and gum disease. Dry mouth negatively affects oral health because without saliva to rinse off the teeth, bacteria grows on teeth and near the gums which can quickly become decay which then leads to cavities. Smokeless tobacco seriously damages gums and increases the risk of oral cancer.

For more information about tobacco and oral health go here:
http://www.hooah4health.com/prevention/disease/dentaldisease/oralfitresources/TobaccoAndOralHealth.pdf

If you are concerned about the health of your teeth/gums there are a few easy steps to take:

  1. Make an appointment with your dentist; current guidelines recommend seeing your dentist every six months.
  2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride keeps teeth strong and may stop or slow down the formation of decay.
  3. Floss your teeth daily. You must floss in order to remove food from in between teeth and near the gum line – your toothbrush does not reach everywhere in your mouth.
  4. Drink water – Sugary drinks (including alcohol) coat your teeth in sugar, which is the basis for tooth decay. By drinking water you are removing food and sugar from your teeth.


Visit this site for basic information about keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy:
http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html


Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment that includes nutritional education as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  For more information, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.