• Helping Your Troubled Teen Without Making Things Worse

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Recent revelations of scams and manipulations on Wall Street have opened our eyes as to just how greedy and dishonest some individuals can be. It should be no surprise that there are individuals who prey on the desperation of parents whose teens have become involved in alcohol and other drugs, gangs, crime and violence. Considering the many forms of trouble that seem to attract teens, and our seemingly limitless willingness to sacrifice for our kids, parents of troubled teens are appallingly at risk for exploitation. This sad truth is grippingly revealed in Maia Szalavitz’s appropriately titled Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead Books, 2006). Even professionals in human services are often not aware of what can be done for teens tha...
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  • Substance Abuse Evaluations in Child Custody Cases

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP I make a number of assumptions when conducting a substance use evaluation as part of a litigation process: The individual’s use is usually not less than the individual reports, but it might often be more (or much more). Inaccurate accusations of substance abuse are common because there is usually little negative consequence for inaccurate accusations. The parties to the litigation, and those connected with them, may provide biased and inaccurate information. Therefore outside corroboration of their reports is essential for determining the extent and consequences of substance use. Getting outside corroboration: As a practical matter, getting outside corroboration (information from sources not connected with the litigation) is difficult because suc...
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  • School-level substance use and addiction treatment and prevention in middle school

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Antismoking campaigns and prevention programs in middle schools may be beneficial in teaching adolescents about the harms of smoking and drinking. Students who have been smoking and drinking in middle school may continue to smoke and drink throughout high school and even be at a higher risk for alcohol abuse in their lifetime. Thus, using evidence based approaches to inform adolescents about addiction treatment may be helpful in reducing the number of students who try drinking and smoking. Parenting style is another key indicator of drinking and smoking by adolescents where subprime parenting may lead to an increased risk of tobacco use by middle school students. Individualized drug and alcohol treatment programs can help to reduce the risk of substance abuse in adolescents and possi...
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  • The effect of MDMA (Ecstasy) on cognitive performance in drug recovery

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    According to previous research, MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), popularly known as Ecstasy, may negatively affect cognition among heavy users. Golding et. al. set out to investigate whether light users and ex-users of MDMA in drug recovery also exhibit deficits in cognitive performance (2007). MDMA has an interesting history. It was first synthesized by a Merck chemist in 1912 and largely forgotten for the next 60 years. MDMA appeared as a street drug in the 1970s after its analogue MDA (3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine), known as “the love drug” or “the hug drug” in the 1960s, was criminalized. Andrew Shulgin, a researcher at the University of California, become interested in MDMA after hearing about its unusual effects from students. Shulgin developed a new way to synthesize...
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  • External rewards promote initial but not longer term drug recovery

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center found that, for regular (dependent) users of marijuana, long-term abstinence was more likely to occur for patients who actively used recovery coping skills. Abstaining patients developed more confidence in the effectiveness of the coping skills and their ability to use these skills. Rewarding abstinence by paying the patients (an approach called “contingency management”) was successful in the early days and weeks of drug recovery. However, unless the patients also developed new insights and actively changed recovery-related behaviors (including actively taking steps to prevent relapse), the initial benefits of rewards wore off over time. This study offers valuable insights for addiction treatment and drug rehab programs. Rewa...
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  • Drug treatment and drug rehab for individuals with disabilities

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Research shows that substance abuse is a significant problem for individuals with physical, mental, or psychological disabilities. In fact, as a whole, individuals with disabilities use alcohol and other drugs as much or more than the general population, and they are at greater risk for problems associated with substance abuse (Moore, 1991). However, little research has examined substance abuse, drug treatment and drug rehab for individuals with disabilities. When treating a primary disability, healthcare practitioners may fail to recognize secondary substance abuse. Substance abuse disorders often reduce the already-scant resources of a disabled individual. For example, many disabled people have limited social resources and low socioeconomic status; these problems are often exacerba...
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  • Melancholia and stimulant drug recovery

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Major depressive disorder (MDD), or clinical depression, is characterized by low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure. The DSM-IV recognizes five subtypes of MDD. Could different subtypes of MDD affect drug recovery for different substances? If so, a drug rehab would need to consider these subtypes when treatment plans are formulated. To begin, let’s review the subtypes of MDD. The five subtypes are as follows: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically occurs during the autumn or winter months and resolves in the spring. The diagnosis of SAD can be made if at least two depressive episodes have occurred in colder months with none at other times, over a time frame of at least two years. Postpartum depression refers to an intense depression experienced by wome...
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  • How personality disorders might affect drug rehab and addiction recovery

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Cluster B personality disorders (e.g., borderline personality disorder) and substance use disorders (SUD) are both marked by impulsivity and poor behavioral control. Previous studies (e.g., Taylor, 2005) have found evidence that symptoms of cluster B personality disorder and SUD are significantly and positively correlated. Because of accumulating evidence which suggests that personality disorders are prevalent in opioid dependent populations, along with evidence linking cluster B personality disorder characteristics and SUD severity, Murray et. al. hypothesized that opioid dependent patients with cluster B personality characteristics would have elevated methadone dose prescriptions (2008). Such a finding would have immediate implications for the doses of methadone, and possibly other me...
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  • Modafinil with CBT may improve drug rehab for gay men with HIV

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Methamphetamine use has been linked to increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among gay men. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that may lower inhibitions, increase sexual arousal, and lead to risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex. Further, methamphetamine may be injected, and needle-sharing is also a risk factor for HIV.  These two epidemics have spread concurrently among gay men. There is a need for specialized approaches for addiction treatment and drug rehab for gay men with HIV, if such approaches could be developed. Researchers from the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University evaluated the efficacy of modafinil plus cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for methamphetamine dependence among gay men with HIV (McElhiney...
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  • Drug rehab may soon include pharmacogenetics

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Pharmacogenetics looks at genetic variation to predict individual differences in response to medications. Individuals may metabolize the same medication in different ways, and their genotype may indicate some of these differences in drug metabolism. Proponents of pharmacogenetics hope that this relatively new field of study will lead to increased efficacy and safety for a wide array of drugs, including those used for addiction treatment. The addiction medicine aspects of drug rehab may be substantially improved if pharmacogenetics lives up to its promise. Haile, Kosten, and Kosten researched how genetic variation might affect responses to cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine and how genetic differences might guide pharmacotherapy. They performed a cross-referenced literature sea...
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