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Friday, August 26, 2016

Musicians Battle With Addiction

Great fame is often times accompanied by great stress, especially for those in the music industry. Musicians are constantly on the road, even more so today than ever because it is a lot harder to make money from album sales. Pressure comes down on them from record producers to meet deadlines. It is no secret that musicians, when they are not playing music, are at wild parties where drugs and alcohol are in abundance. Those who are struggling to cope with the stress of the music world may turn to substances to ease their troubled mind.

We have lost a number of beloved musicians over the years to substance abuse, i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Townes Van Zandt, etc. All of whom had so much more too offer the world. A few years back we lost Michael Jackson and the world lost Prince this year to an overdose on the powerful opioid analgesic fentanyl.

It is important to point out that many world renowned musicians who have struggled with substance abuse have managed to find recovery and put their life back together. Sometimes they even write or share about their experience during interviews. Recently, James Taylor was interviewed in conjunction with the release of 16th album. He shared with The Telegraph:

‘A big part of my story is recovery from addiction... One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop, you don’t learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says this feels good over and over again. So you can wake up, as I did, at the age of 36, feeling like you’re still 17. One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same.’

Taylor was not alone in his struggle to break free from alcohol and drug use, Phil Collins battled with alcohol after he retired from music making. The former lead singer for Genesis and solo artist, actually didn’t have a problem with alcohol until after he retired in 2011, The New York Times reports. Like many other powerhouse musicians, Collins’ retirement did not last, as is evident by the fact he will be the musical guest at the opening ceremony for the United States Open which begins next week, August 29, 2016. In an interview with the Times, he talked about his upcoming memoir "Not Dead Yet" and he shared a little about his alcohol use, he says:

'There’s a chapter in it about the drinking, which escalated when my third marriage broke up, and I retired. I was left with this huge void. I didn’t want to work because I wanted to be with the kids, but the kids weren’t there anymore, because they moved to Miami, and I was still in Switzerland. You start drinking, and then you start drinking too much. Then it physically hurts you. I came very close to dying at that point. I’m being honest about that. The book is honest, it’s self-deprecating. I’m not shirking my responsibilities. I apologize when I need to.'

Friday, August 19, 2016

Treating Cocaine Addiction

Despite the fact that the main focus regarding addiction these days is centered upon opioid use disorder, a form of addiction involving prescription painkillers and heroin, many Americans continue to regularly abuse cocaine. It is often the case that both opioids and cocaine are used in conjunction, as addicts attempt to maintain a delicate balance between the downing effects of opioids and the upper effects of cocaine. A practice commonly referred to as “speedballing.” You may be aware of the fact that a number of notable celebrities have lost their lives due to speedballs, such as John Belushi.

When cocaine is used on its own, the chances of an overdose are significantly less than that of opioids. Drugs in the opioid family cause severe respiratory depression which can easily lead to death. Part the reason that opioid addiction has garnered the attention of mainstream media to the degree that it has is the result of how deadly that form of drug can be. But rest assured, cocaine addiction can severely impact the course of one’s life, and without treatment it can be extremely difficult to find recovery.

Unlike opioid addiction, there are currently no accepted drugs to help people get off, and stay off, of cocaine. There isn’t a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug to treat cocaine addiction. However, new research suggests that blocking certain brain-cell receptors, specifically a receptor referred to as the TrkB, could reverse signs of cocaine dependency, ScienceDaily reports. The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"I think this study could help revive the idea of targeting TrkB signaling to treat addiction," said The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) biologist Candice Contet, senior author of the study. 

While blocking the TrkB has not been tested on humans, the technique showed great promise in rat models, according to the article. The researchers found that rats that learned to self-administer cocaine infusions, reduced their use of cocaine markedly when the TrkB blocker was given to them—exhibiting decreased signs of dependence. The findings are extremely important, especially when you consider that over 2 million Americans abuse cocaine.

People struggling with addiction may not be able to admit their need for help. If your cocaine problem is affecting your marriage, parenting, employment, friendships, finances, and spirituality, it’s time to call Celebrate Hope’s Christian addiction treatment center.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Genetic Underpinnings of Alcoholism

Addiction is a complex disease that few understand, and one that no one may ever understand completely. What is well understood is what can happen if the disease of addiction is left untreated—jails, institutions and death. Alcohol continues to be the most commonly abused mind altering substance, and is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

People often muse over why do some people become addicted to alcohol, while others do not? Naturally, the answer to that question involves a number of different factors, from genetics, brain chemistry and environment.

The science behind addiction is complicated, but research teams around the globe continue to shed light on the disease—a disorder which affects tens of millions of people. In fact, researchers at Purdue and Indiana University have identified 930 genes associated with alcoholism, as well as neurological pathways which could potentially serve as targets for treating the disorder, according to a Purdue University press release. The findings of the study were published in PLOS: Genetics.

The research teams compared the genomes of rats, that exhibited compulsive drinking behavior, to rats that abstained from alcohol use, according to the report. The researchers point out that it took decades to breed rats to consume alcohol. Scientifically, it was important to do so when you consider that rats are mammals that humans share a majority of genes. While the research is promising, the scope of factors at play may make it hard for pharmaceutical treatments to be created.

"It's not one gene, one problem," said William Muir, a professor of genetics. "This trait is controlled by vast numbers of genes and networks. This probably dashes water on the idea of treating alcoholism with a single pill."

Research will continue and at Celebrate Hope our Christian alcohol rehab program continues to be  offered in conjunction with advanced medical treatments from Hope by the Sea. This allows clients to have access to fellowship, physical fitness, and faith-building activities. Each program empowers addicts to reconcile with God and loved ones. In treating alcohol abuse, our counselors recognize that every addict’s struggle is unique.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Celebrate Recovery 25th Anniversary

Celebrate Recovery
Between August 10-12, 2016, many of those working a Christian based program of recovery will be attending the Celebrate Recovery Summit West. The event is meant to celebrate the program’s 25th Anniversary. Our Celebrate Hope clients participate in Celebrate Recovery on a weekly basis, an experience which allows them to work through the program to experience profound life changes and freedom from their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

Many of our Christian Tract clients currently at Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea will be attending the 25th Anniversary event which is being held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. While the event is sold out, you can follow what is happening on Facebook or Twitter. There are several keynote speakers and special guests taking part in the event, including:

Dr. Cloud: A clinical psychologist and bestselling author. He is a leadership expert who draws on his experience in business and consulting psychologist background to help others strengthen their leadership skills, personal relationships and business performances.

Dr. Townsend: A bestselling author with a background in clinical psychology and marriage/family therapy. Townsend has sold over eight million copies of his books. He is the founder of John Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling.

Skit Guys:

Hosanna Poetry:

Also in attendance will be the founder of Celebrate Recovery, John Baker. The program had its origin at Saddleback Church where the summit is being held. According to Celebrate Recovery, nearly 27,000 individuals have gone through this Christ-centered recovery program at Saddleback Church. Thousands of churches nationwide also offer Celebrate Recovery.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Elephant Sedative Mixed With Heroin

There has been a lot of discussion lately about mixing fentanyl with heroin, or overdosing on fentanyl that they thought was heroin. Fentanyl is a powerful analgesic, between 80 and 100 times more potent than morphine and as much as 50 times stronger than pharmaceutical grade heroin. The drug causes severe respiratory depression that makes it extremely deadly, which is why we have seen an uptick in fentanyl overdoses in recent years.

Fentanyl was never intended to be used without close medical supervision, yet Mexican cartels are manufacturing the drug in scores to be sold in the United States. The growing demand for heroin in the wake of prescription drug prescribing crackdowns has lead illegal drug manufacturers and dealers to come up with novel ways of making it. This has led to the sale of mock OxyContin (oxycodone) pills that are actually comprised of fentanyl. A pill that is significantly more deadly than your typical oxycodone medication.

If emergency departments weren't busy enough with opioid overdoses, it turns out that a drug used to sedate elephants is being mixed with or sold as heroin, NBC News reports. The drug, carfentanil (which is used to tranquilize elephants), is 100 times as potent as fentanyl and has led to a number of overdoses in several states recently.

This week, an Ohio man was indicted on 20 counts, after selling carfentanil which led to nine overdoses and one overdose death, according to the article. The overdose death brought the man a murder charge. Everyone thought they were buying heroin, but lab tests showed the contrary. It is likely that we will see many more deaths in the future related to carfentanil.

"It certainly is a very disturbing trend," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. 

If you or a loved one is battling with opioid addiction please reach out to Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. Celebrate Hope is the Christian residential drug rehab and alcohol treatment program.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Pain of Opioid Withdrawal

prescription opioids
It is easy to blame the American opioid epidemic on doctors, pharmaceutical companies and our over reliance on prescription drugs. While all of those played a huge role in the issue becoming a full blown national crisis, the fact remains that opioid narcotics are extremely difficult to stop using for many people—especially those who experience legitimate chronic pain. Those of you in recovery for an opioid use disorder, whether prescription painkillers or heroin, know all too well just how difficult it was to break the cycle of opioid addiction.

It often takes people suffering from opioid addiction a number of attempts at abstinence to finally succeed. And those who do manage to find recovery from such drugs typically need assistance via medical detox, inpatient treatment and regular attendance at 12-Step recovery meetings.

Those who have known alcoholics who managed to sober up using Alcoholics Anonymous, may find themselves asking why opioid addicts are unable to do the same? The answer to that question usually lies in the nature of opioid withdrawal. The early days of abstinence from opioids is by all accounts an extremely painful, uncomfortable experience. Typically characterized by:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Restlessness
While it is true that opioid withdrawal is painful, those who actually have a chronic pain condition which led to the use of opioids in the first place, are met with even more pain as the drugs leave their system. What’s more, it can take some time for the brain to start producing painkilling endorphins after being idle for extended periods of time. Those who cannot tolerate the pain experienced during that interim period are at great risk of relapse, HealthDay reports. Kelly Dunn, an addiction specialist who researches opioids at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, points out that:

"When you stop taking opioids it takes time for your body to regenerate its own 'painkiller' system," she explained. "Generally, four to five days. The severity varies per patient, and it's not predictable who will react how -- but withdrawal is real." 

It for the reasons mentioned above that many prescription opioid addicts require inpatient treatment. Being in a monitored environment, closed off from the medicine cabinet at home and aided by addiction withdrawal medicines are vital to the success of recovery.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Quitting Smoking With Varenicline

smoking cessation
Abstaining from all mind altering substances is of vital importance for those working a program of recovery. Even using a chemical other than one’s drug of choice can be risky. A large number of people in recovery smoke cigarettes, and it is like those who are smoking were also smoking before they found recovery. That being said, we know now that people working a program who smoke are at greater risk of relapse, compared to those who do not.

Those who find recovery in a treatment center are often advised to give smoking cessation a try. Tobacco is both addictive and can cause serious harm to one’s health, illness that is often times deadly. Recovery is not just about abstaining from drugs or alcohol, it is also about living a healthy and productive life. Cigarettes, naturally, are not conducive to such a goal.

It is well understood that quitting cigarettes for good is no easy task, and most smokers attempt to quit as many as thirty time before accomplishing the feat, according to research published in BMJ Open. With that in mind, anything that can be done to assist you quit should be taken advantage of, but many of those resources are often times ineffective, i.e. gums, patches and inhalers.

There are medicines available that have shown some promise, such as Chantix (varenicline) or Wellbutrin (bupropion). However, new research suggests that varenicline is more effective for women than any other form of smoking cessation treatment, ScienceDaily reports. There were no differences seen with men. The findings were published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

"Before our study, research had shown that among the choices for medications for smokers who wanted to quit, varenicline was the clear winner when it came to promoting quitting," said Assistant Medical Professor Philip Smith of The City College of New York's Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine. "Our study shows this is clearly the case for women. The story seems less clear among men, who showed less of a difference when taking any of the three medications."
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