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Telemedicine Uses – Teen Alcohol and Drug Treatment

by James Heller 30. August 2010 08:49
It’s difficult enough raising adolescent children, and then you discover the reason for their recent behavior issues is due to alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  You cringe at the thought of admitting them to alcohol and drug treatment because, beyond the shock you feel, it seems like yet another burden to tackle.  But it is important, and you know it, and telemedicine may be the solution for your hesitation.

Adolescent alcohol abuse and drug abuse can tear the closest families apart.  It starts with failing grades, behavior problems, and new friends who give parents that “bad feeling”.  A gradual increase of difficult situations explodes when parents discover substance abuse among their youth, and exhaustion generally follows.  So many parents will just want to give up.  Adolescent alcohol and drug treatment seems beyond the breaking point.

Although it is logical to make an attempt at solving a problem, procrastination takes over for most parents of substance abusers due to stigma.  “What will the extended family/friends/neighbors think?”  When they get past that hindering feeling and call an alcohol and drug treatment center, they learn about the time and emotion involved and put it off again.  All the while, their teens are going further down a road toward alcoholism or drug addiction, crime, injury, and possibly death.  Time is of the essence.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles offers telemedicine as an answer to both the stigma and time issues.  Teens can attend counseling sessions via video conference from home, using a computer with a webcam.  Parents can attend family meetings in the same manner.  We even have the technology to conduct group sessions over a secured internet connection.  This cuts the time and cost of travel to our locations, and saves you the need to explain the daily family trips to others.

Our providers use the TherapyLiveVisit application, powered by MDLiveCare, which works in any web browser.  If you have a computer with internet access and a webcam, you can use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or any other browser to access the application.  LiveVisit operates behind several layers of encryption, so you can be certain that your consultations will be completely confidential.  

The term “telemedicine” encompasses all forms of health care including mental health treatment and addiction treatment.  In many cases of youth alcohol abuse and drug abuse, there are co-occurring mental health disorders that had gone previously undetected.  Tarzana Treatment Centers is recognized as a leader in providing mental health treatment to adolescents.  Our telemedicine staff includes addiction counselors and mental health professionals, as well as medical professionals.

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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Senior Alcohol Abuse - Damaging Effects

by James Heller 12. May 2010 15:07
Senior alcohol abuse is often more difficult to correct than with any other group in America.  By age 60, most individuals are set in their ways and don’t feel the need to change anything.  In fact, many seniors are aware of the risks they face with heavy drinking and continue seemingly without care.  Loved ones may feel helpless, but solutions exist.

About 40% of those over 60 say they drink alcohol, with almost one-third of them admitting to binge drinking and heavy drinking, or alcohol dependence.  These statistics come from a 2007 report at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies website.  This means that about 1 in 10 seniors at least binge drink on occasion, which can be very dangerous to their health and that of others.  

Many external changes happen with individuals when they reach age 60.  Retirement is imminent if it has not already occurred, friends begin to move away or pass away, and family members may even suggest a change of residence.  Worst of all, the mind and body begin to show signs of aging, meaning that doctor visits become common and more medications need to be taken.  All of these can be terribly stressful on anyone when they are grouped into a few short years.

Boredom, loneliness, and a sense of powerlessness can each lead anyone to drink alcohol.  Whether it is a time-filler or an escape from negative feelings doesn’t matter.  The end result is that it works and leads to earlier drinking times and less time outside the home.  Senior alcohol abuse may even be a purposeful celebration of the golden years.  The daily party begins with joy, but can quickly turn to injury or a fatality.

This can all be very harmful for seniors due to interactions with medications, a higher risk of falling, and aging major organs.  If alcohol dependence sets in, the effects on the body and brain are more detrimental to seniors than anyone else.  The celebrators, in freedom, usually drive under the influence.  Yet most seniors who abuse alcohol either hide it or justify it, and accept the risks.

Family members who see the alcohol abuse will often accept the behavior as a rite of passage.  Considering the years they have lived, why would a loved one deny what seems well deserved? And if nobody gets hurt, all is okay.  That is, until somebody gets hurt or health problems develop.  Some seniors will stop the behavior at this point, but most will continue to drink heavily and probably more.

There are 2 things that loved ones can do at this point.  The first is to strongly suggest alcohol detox and alcohol treatment.  But most people in their 60’s today will see that as a sign of weakness and refuse, and family members generally won’t force the issue.  Doing so may get the elderly alcoholic into treatment, but he or she will only benefit if self-motivated.  So keep suggesting, with love, and let them make the decision.

Second, you can set boundaries and stick to them.  If they refuse to quit drinking or cut down, suggest accompanying them to the doctor so you can discuss medication interactions.  Let them know you understand that they are not concerned with their own health, but you are concerned with the health of others including yourself and younger members of the family.  It may be hard, but you must be firm, with love, and continue to suggest alcohol treatment.

To the younger generations, seniors who refuse to change these behaviors seem stubborn.  However, like any other individual who engages in alcohol abuse, the bottom line is that they are escaping from emotions.  Instead of arguing and treating them like children, it is best to discuss feelings as much as possible.  Avoid forcing the issue of senior alcohol treatment, and use gentle, loving nudges.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment for seniors in a culturally sensitive manner.  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.

Holiday Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

by James Heller 9. December 2009 14:11
The holidays are a happy time for most.  But for those suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction this time can be challenging, stressful, and downright depressing.  Thus it is important for loved ones to be aware of how the holidays affect those who suffer, but to enjoy the celebrations and family gatherings just the same.

Parties and gatherings can be a challenge for individuals in recovery.  Alcohol seems to be everywhere in the eyes of an alcoholic, from television to the glass in the hand of those that don’t normally drink.  Fond memories can overshadow the misery alcohol brought to their lives, and open the door to relapse.

It is also a time of year when distant friends and relatives are reunited.  This can bring stress in several ways.  An old drinking or drug using friend may call for a visit.  Since the damage of alcoholism and addiction has a wide reach, someone who has been harmed in the past may show up at a gathering.  Recovering individuals may find a reason to drink or use, and those not in recovery might go on a heavy binge.    

Holiday festivities, movies, and music can conjure up memories of lost friends and better times for alcoholics and drug addicts.  It is common for them to dwell on these memories rather than just move on, causing a feeling of “if only…” and a form of self-loathing.  Using the tools of recovery when these feelings arise will often help.

Some degree of depression, from “the blahs” to major depression, is bound to set in for those who believe they are bad people due to the feeling of self-loathing.  This is a common reason for relapse, increased alcohol or drug abuse, or for some folks in recovery to simply stay away from social situations.

Loved ones may become angry with alcoholics and drug addicts, join them in their misery, or even offer them a drink, drug, or tobacco to feel better.  The healthy response is in fact to let them be and enjoy the festive holiday season.  Loved ones have no control in dealing with the sufferer’s state of mind.  It may not be easy, so attending a support group like Al-Anon can help.

There are many resources on the internet for dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction during the holidays.  The excerpt below is from a discussion transcript posted on The Washington Post website.  The full Q & A session contains a wide variety of good advice for those who suffer and their loved ones.

-- Begin external content --

Arlington, Va.: My dad is an alcoholic, sober for about about five years now. Prior to this, we had thought he was still on the wagon, but he was hiding alcohol all around the house in flavored water bottles. Both my brother (28) and I (26) live away from home, and during the holidays, when we get together, it's tough because we always wonder if he has fallen off the wagon again, and we snoop the house inconspicuously. Will there ever be a time when we trust him again? We feel guilty traipsing around the house. My mom is at home, and she wonders/snoops too. FWIW, he was sober from basically my birth until I was 14/15, and that's when he fell off the wagon unbeknownst to us until five years ago.

Dr. Harris Stratyner: Alcoholism is a disease. It's primary, progressive, chronic and, if untreated, fatal. It makes liars of those people who fall victim to the disease unless they actively work on staying sober -- treatment, 12-step programs, etc. Instead of going behind your dad's back, realize that relapse is often part of this disease and speak to your dad about your concerns.

-- Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/12/05/DI2008120502603.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides family services as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol dependence 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.

What Is An Intervention?

by James Heller 24. August 2009 09:49
Undeniably, alcoholism and drug addiction not only affects the suffering individual; but it also seriously damages those people closest to them, particularly their family members and friends. Addiction is a serious chronic disease. More often than not it is the family members that are left trying to desperately stop the downward spiral of a dependence on alcohol or drugs. Family members have often decided to make a plea for help and appeal for change in what commonly referred to as an intervention.
 
The word “intervention” in an alcohol and drug treatment context is used to describe a meeting in which a person with an alcohol dependence or drug addiction problem is confronted by friends and family members in a final plea for help with their addiction. The intervention is an organized meeting coordinated by family members in conjunction with friends, significant others, mental health professionals, pastors, or a drug treatment provider.

The participants gather to discuss their loved one and the impact of the disease in what is also known as a pre-intervention meeting. The purpose of the intervention gathering is not only to develop a plan for obtaining help for alcoholism or drug addiction, but also to offer support to the addict.  Participants go around the room and share statements of the numerous ways in which family alcoholism or drug addiction has affected their lives.

An intervention can set the stage for awareness about the seriousness of alcoholism or drug addiction and the negative impact on everyone involved. It is important to realize that alcoholics and addicts may be defensive and resistant to help. For this reason, mental health professionals and treatment providers can assist in counseling the individual. An intervention can also provide the much needed structure and resources for getting help.

You are not alone we can help! If you or a loved one needs help we urge you to please call Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles now 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 Major Depression

by James Heller 6. August 2009 07:12
It’s quite normal for someone entering alcohol treatment to show signs of depression.  The sad and hopeless feelings that are associated with alcohol dependence tend to be a driving force behind the disease.  Major depression can also be a co-occurring disorder with alcoholism, which adds a need for mental health treatment.

In these cases, the problem with providing effective treatment is discovering which disorder is primary in each new patient.  It’s much like the chicken-and-egg syndrome of which came first.  It is important to know if the mental health disorder brought on alcohol dependence, or if drinking behaviors led to a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair.

Psychological assessments are taken on patients in alcohol treatment at Tarzana Treatment Centers as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  In many cases, this is completed before the patient discharges from alcohol detox.  This gives our counselors and mental health professionals the ability to prepare treatment plans that target both disorders, with emphasis on the primary one.

The excerpt below is from an article posted on the Addiction Technology Transfer Network website.  The full article reviews the latest studies on major depression and alcohol dependence along with information from previous studies.  It includes some information that may be of interest to those with alcoholism in the family.

If you or a loved one is in need of alcohol treatment, please call us at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

-- Begin external content --

Major depression (MD) and alcohol dependence (AD) co-occur in individuals and within families at higher rates than expected by chance. This study looked at how mood-related drinking motives may explain the overlapping familial risk for MD and AD. Findings suggest that individuals with strong mood-related drinking motives, especially those based on negative feelings, may be vulnerable to developing both MD and AD.

Results will be published in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Although the frequent co-occurrence of AD and MD is widely recognized, the association between the disorders works differently for different people,” explained Kelly Young-Wolff, whose master’s thesis provided the stimulus for the study. “There are likely multiple mechanisms that result in the disorders co-occurring, for example, having MD increases the risk to develop AD, having AD increases the risk to develop MD; and causal factors – such as genetic risk or social circumstances – also contribute to developing both disorders.”

-- Source: http://www.attcnetwork.org/explore/priorityareas/science/tools/asmeDetails.asp?ID=615 --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

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

Family Alcoholism and Adolescents

by James Heller 17. April 2009 09:24
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

When children grow up in a household with alcoholism or addiction, they are at higher risk of abusing alcohol or drugs in adolescence.  This can be due to genetic or environmental factors.

The abuse suffered by children of alcoholics is at least emotional, and at worst can include physical or sexual abuse.  Growing up in this environment, by the time the child reaches adolescence alcohol or drugs can be seen as a “normal” escape from reality.  Alcohol or drug abuse may become a habit used to temporarily forget the pain of child abuse, or even as a tool of revenge.

A family history of alcoholism or addiction may be passed on to a child through genes.  If that child drinks or uses drugs, just one experience could trigger the disease.  Any parent that engages in heavy drinking or drug use, or is aware of a family history, needs to seriously consider this fact.  These parents should attend alcohol and drug education for the family to prevent teen alcohol and drug abuse.

The following is from a brochure by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  It offers important information for families with alcoholism or drug addiction.

-- Begin external content --

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hurts Everyone in the Family

Dependence on alcohol and drugs is our most serious national public health problem. It is prevalent among rich and poor, in all regions of the country, and all ethnic and social groups.

Millions of Americans misuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs.  Most of them have families who suffer the consequences, often serious, of living with this illness. If there is alcohol or drug dependence in your family, remember you are not alone.

Most individuals who abuse alcohol or drugs have jobs and are productive members of society creating a false hope in the family that “it’s not that bad.”

The problem is that addiction tends to worsen over time, hurting both the addicted person and all the family members. It is especially damaging to young children and adolescents.

People with this illness really may believe that they drink normally or that “everyone” takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial; this denial is a part of the illness.

It Doesn’t Have to be That Way

Drug or alcohol dependence disorders are medical conditions that can be effectively treated. Millions of Americans and their families are in healthy recovery from this disease.

If someone close to you misuses alcohol or drugs, the first step is to be honest about the problem and to seek help for yourself, your family, and your loved one.

Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, in many different forms, and for different lengths of time. Stopping the alcohol or drug use is the first step to recovery, and most people need help to stop. Often a person with alcohol or drug dependence will need treatment provided by professionals just as with other diseases. Your doctor may be able to guide you.

-- Source: http://www.csat.samhsa.gov/NACOA/families.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.