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Vivitrol Aids Recovery from Addiction to All Drugs

by James Heller 26. October 2012 09:20
It’s very rare for addicts to be monogamous with their drug of choice.  They usually abuse alcohol as well.  Even if they don’t, alcohol use in early recovery could pave a path back to addiction with the same or another drug.  Especially when individuals have had multiple relapse issues, prevention of another could come in the form of alcohol craving reduction.
 
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol for alcohol and opiate craving reduction.  This monthly injection of Naltrexone has helped many who suffer from alcoholism and opiate addiction.  They have achieved long-term sobriety when they previously struggled with relapses.  Vivitrol works with brain chemistry to minimize the distraction and temptation of this major relapse trigger.

Alcohol is a drug, just like any other.  Most addicts abused alcohol before they tried the drug they eventually became addicted to, and either combined the two (or more) or cut back on alcohol.  In any of these cases, alcohol holds a psychological connection with dependence on the drug of choice.  

In recovery, the suggestion is to remain abstinent from all drugs, including those that were not a part of the problem.  This is to avoid the problem of cross addiction.  The disease of Addiction causes sufferers to seek an escape mechanism because they can’t cope with normal life occurrences.  So, cocaine addicts in recovery might think it is okay to have a glass of wine because alcohol was not a problem before drug rehab.  

The addicted mind works in such strange ways that alcohol might not be the biggest threat.  Methamphetaminemarijuana, and cocaine addicts may have a history of being prescribed opiate painkillers from a past injury.  This is a great temptation for someone who is desperately trying to remain abstinent.  The “pain” mysteriously reappears, quite often, and the addict requests another prescription.  Unfortunately, there are far too many doctors who are willing to accommodate.

Whether the hope is to avoid alcohol or opiate abuse, Vivitrol is the solution.  After the first 30 days without alcohol or other drugs, recovering addicts of any drug will see the benefits of total abstinence.  By eliminating the possibility of cross addiction with alcohol or opiates, and blocking that psychological path to their drug of choice, addicts to any drug have a better chance for long-term recovery.

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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

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 – Drug Addiction

by James Heller 17. September 2010 12:53
There are several reasons that individuals will delay or decline treatment for drug addiction, both legitimate and illegitimate.  Some want drug treatment and don’t have time, and others are simply resisting the urgings of family members with excuses.  Telemedicine could be the solution for many who want drug treatment for themselves or for loved ones.

The trouble starts with the first use of a drug, whether it is marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, or heroin.  Future drug addicts feel a sense of freedom at that time that leads them to further use.  Drug tolerance creates a need for larger doses, more often, to get that first feeling again.  When drug abuse leads to relationship, family, and employment problems, some individuals will seek treatment.  Others will continue use into addiction whether or not they think they need drug treatment.

For those who accept that they need treatment, life factors may inhibit their ability to attend individual and group sessions.  Time, travel, and the stigma of being discovered as a drug addict are the major issues.  The other group who doesn’t want or think they need treatment will make excuses of the same nature, but only to avoid the issue.  

The last couple of days in drug detox can be tense for individuals who want to continue treatment, but see obstacles as mentioned above.  They usually have no sick or vacation time accrued to take time off of work for residential treatment, so they will look into outpatient treatment.  Then family members often object to the time away from home to attend sessions.  After all, it is now time to stop neglecting the family.

Interestingly enough, the debaters on these issues switch sides when a drug addict is resisting drug treatment.  Family members tend to urge them to get intensive residential treatment and take all the time they need.  Employers may mandate drug treatment, and even pay for it depending on the importance of the employee to the company.  

With these time factors in mind, telemedicine is a good solution for the first group and for family members and employers of the second group.  Travel time is eliminated from regular weekly sessions, saving patients and family members several hours each week in many cases.  Sessions can be attended from work or home by video conference, using a computer with a webcam and internet connection.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides telemedicine for drug addiction.  Our online drug treatment is delivered using the LiveVisit application, powered by MDLiveCare, over any web browser.  This makes treatment convenient, accessible, and affordable.  Security is important in drug treatment, so LiveVisit runs behind several layers of encryption.

Telemedicine at Tarzana Treatment Centers is not limited to drug addiction treatment.  We also provide online mental health treatment and 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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Marijuana Smoke Causes Cancer

by James Heller 29. October 2009 10:46
Marijuana abuse is not as rare as some may think.  One does not need to be stoned all day to be abusing the drug.  While its affect on people can differ in degree of being high, the physical effects are detrimental across the board.  Some of these effects are not so obvious, or are shrouded in myth.

For example, marijuana users will actually argue that pot is safer than tobacco.  Even if the statement is true on some level, there is no argument that smoking marijuana is safe to the human body.  As we move toward a world where the drug is legal to use, we need to take its risks into account.

A carcinogen is a substance that is known to cause cancer. For years, research has proven that tobacco smoke contains 4000 chemicals including 43 carcinogenic chemicals that are linked to smoking-related cancer, especially lung cancer.  

In June 2009, the California's Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA) reported that marijuana smoke is as hazardous as tobacco smoke and that it may cause cancer, including neck and head cancers. Many of the same cancer-causing substances in tobacco smoke are present in marijuana smoke.

The more marijuana a person smokes, the greater the risk of developing cancer. This is particularly important since marijuana is the most regularly used illegal drug in the United States and many drug users perceive marijuana to be harmless and natural.

For more information:

Tips to Quit Smoking Marijuana.

Epidemiologic review of marijuana use and cancer r...[Alcohol. 2005] - PubMed Result

ACS : Smoking Marijuana May Increase Cancer Risk

www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2009/california-board-rules.html

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

Marijuana Addiction and Youth

by James Heller 28. August 2009 14:58
By Jocelyn Shorts, MPH, CHES, Health Educator I/ Youth Services

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug used by teens today.  More than 83 million Americans (37%) age 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once.  The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) has shown that since 1992, the rate of past month marijuana use among youth has more than doubled, going from 3.4 percent in 1991 to 7.1 percent in 1996.  In 2001, reports showed that 20 percent of 8th-graders had tried marijuana at least once, and by 10th grade, 20 percent were “current users” or had used within the past month.  Among 12th-graders, nearly 50 percent had tried marijuana at least once, and about 22 percent were current users (National Clearninghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information [NCADI], 2003).

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa.  Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other drugs made from the same plant and all forms are mind-altering (psychoactive) drugs.  They all contain THC (dela-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana.  The strength of the drug is determined by the amount of THC in the sample.

What Are The Health Effects Of Using Marijuana?

There are much stronger forms of marijuana available today than in the 1960s which lead to stronger effects.  Marijuana increases dopamine, and once that happens, a user may feel the urge to smoke again and again.  Repeated use could lead to drug addiction (a disease where people continue to do something, even when there are severe negative consequences involved).  In 2006, the majority of youth (age 17 or younger) entering alcohol and drug abuse treatment reported marijuana as their primary drug abused

Research has shown both immediate harmful effects and long-term damage to health over time.  Short-term effects include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, and touch), trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination and increased heart rate. Long-term effects could include cancer, breathing problems, coughing and wheezing, immune deficiency and reduced mental functions.  (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], 2008).

Why Do Youth Use Marijuana?

There are many reasons why some adolescents use marijuana.  Most adolescents use marijuana as a “recreational drug” and roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a joint or a nail.  Another method is to slice open a cigar and replace the tobacco with marijuana, making it into a blunt.  Lately, marijuana cigarettes or blunts often include crack cocaine or PCP (Phencyclidine).    

Many youth start smoking marijuana because they see their family members and friends using it while others may start because of curiosity, peer pressure, lack of supervision, and/or trying to “fit in” to a certain social group.  Some teens may think smoking marijuana is “cool” because they see it on television and in movies.

Marijuana use can affect many aspects of the youth’s life including school, sports, work and other activities.  Marijuana use has also been linked to the use of other illicit drugs.  Long-term studies of high school students show that few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana.  

What Are Possible Signs of Marijuana Use?

Some possible signs to look for in a teen suspected of using marijuana are:
  • Dilated (large) pupils
  • Smell on clothing, in room, or in car
  • Fatigue
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Reduced motivation
  • Dizziness and trouble walking
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Cigarette rolling papers, bongs, homemade smoking devices

Source: Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base (2007); http://www.adolescent-substance-abuse.com/signs-marijuana.html

What if My Teen Is Using Marijuana?

Marijuana is a powerful drug which can lead to an addiction that requires intervention and treatment.  Although not every teen that smokes marijuana will become addicted, many heavy users will show patterns of marijuana dependence such as withdrawal symptoms when they do not use the drug, increase tolerance, decrease in social life, performing poorly in school, and physical or psychological problems.  There are many adolescents who need help with their drug use even though they deny marijuana dependence.  

Currently, no medications exist for treating marijuana addiction.  Treatment programs focus on behavioral therapies and a number of programs are designed specifically to help teens who are abusers.



Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides comprehensive education on alcohol and drugs to adolescents, adults and families in adolescent drug treatment and in the community at large with emphasis on understanding the addictive process, utilizing new found strategies, improving functioning and facilitating sobriety.

If you or your teen need alcohol and drug treatment, please call us 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.



The likelihood of marijuana use by teens is significantly lower when parents learn the facts and risks about drugs, have frequent conversations with their teen about them, and are actively involved in their teen’s life.  Remember to discuss with teens what is happening in their world and the importance of making the right choices.  The most successful conversations should focus on information that is most important to the teen.  


References

Blackburn, Claudia (2009). Marijuana in Today’s Youth. Retrieved August 18, 2009 from http://www.caron.org/marijuana-in-today-s-youth/

Greenblatt, J.C. (2002). Adolescent Self-Reported Behaviors and Their Assocation with Marijuana Use. Retrieved on August 14, 2009 from http://www.tgorski.com/Adolescents/adolescent_marijuana_problems_SAMHSA.htm

Marijuana Addiction (2008). National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], Retrieved on August 17, 2009 from http://www.drug-rehab.com/marijuana-addiction.htm

Marijuana: Facts Parents Need To Know (2003). National Clearninghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information [NCADI]. Retrieved August 17, 2009 from
http://www.athealth.com/consumer/disorders/marijuana.html

Drug Addiction

by James Heller 12. May 2009 11:32
Drug addiction affects all socio-economic classes and ethnicities.  With all we know about the disease, it is unfortunate that this fact continues to be ignored by the majority of the general population.  It is ignored because drug addiction has a stigma and unfortunate because good people get locked into a destructive cycle.

The faces of drug addiction are easily seen in the classic frame of “Skid Rows” in every major city.  The general term leads people to think of heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, and other illegal drugs.  While these are all indeed a part of the problem, they should no longer be considered the major problem.  The effort to help these individuals needs to continue while more attention is paid elsewhere.

Prescription drug addiction has become a common issue at the workplace.  But two things keep it hidden from public view.  First, the drug addict is very secretive about needing a drug because it is considered a sign of weakness.  Second, if co-workers are aware of the drug use, they avoid confronting the addict because they don’t want to pry.

On the other side of stigma is marijuana addiction.  This drug has become more accepted in society, and therefore has lost much of the stigma attached to its use.  But it must be understood that social acceptance does not eliminate the fact that some individuals are addicted to marijuana, and more will addict to it.

As more people educate themselves about drug addiction, more addicts can get into drug detox and treatment and lives can be saved.  Drug addiction has the power to destroy the lives of those it affects and their loved ones.  

The following is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.  The full article, linked below, includes basic information about drug addiction.  

-- Begin external content --

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the individual who is addicted and to those around them. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain. Although it is true that for most people the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person’s self control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs.

It is because of these changes in the brain that it is so challenging for a person who is addicted to stop abusing drugs. Fortunately, there are treatments that help people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects and regain control. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications, if available, with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse.

Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And, as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated, adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.

-- http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/understand.html --

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.