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Friday, September 28, 2012

Fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day - September 29, 2012

National Recovery Month

This month we have featured posts about National Recovery Month. It is important to remember what National Recovery Month is all about. Here is a very brief overview of this 23 year old tradition:
"Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use and mental disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover."
English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Admi...
English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Administration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A perfect way to celebrate National Recovery Month

Tomorrow, September 29, 2012, is the Fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. SAMHSA's National Recovery Month website page provides the following facts:

"As part of an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration will host its fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, September 29, at more than 5,000 collection sites across the United States. This is a great opportunity for those who have accumulated unwanted, unused, or unneeded prescription drugs to dispose of those medications in a safe and environmentally responsible way. On the most recent Take-Back Day, citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 Take-Back sites available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the four previous Take-Back Days are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed more than 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.

To find a collection site near you, visit the DEA's
site locator online. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration provides guidelines, available here, on how consumers can properly dispose of unused medicines on their own."

Are you sure you don't have some unused prescription drugs in your home?

This is not the first time that we've encouraged people to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but today we thought we might want to prompt you to really take a good look around your home and see if you don't have some drugs to take-back.

First of all, if you have never participated in a take back day, then chances are pretty good you still have some unused or expired prescription bottles lurking in your medicine cabinet or even in your kitchen cabinet.

Secondly, did you or a family member or roommate have reason to fill a prescription drug in the past year? What about the trip to the dentist, did you need a prescription for after pain? Did you need surgery in the past year for an injury or illness? Did you receive a prescription for any physical illness or injury, even a non-narcotic prescription? Check your prescriptions for expiration dates or to see if they might conflict with some new medication that you were recently prescribed.

Finally, it is important to remember that house guests, small children, or even contractors might have access to your prescription drugs. Keep them safe while you need them, but take this opportunity to dispose of them safely.

Celebrate your own recovery!

If you are in recovery, make every day a day to celebrate your own recovery! Be pro-active and take the time to find a location near you to dispose of any prescription drugs safely.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Are You Living With Depression? You Can Share Your Voice Via CNN iReports

September is winding down, but celebrations continue across the United States during this the 23rd Annual National Recovery Month. As their website says, it is a month to Join the Voices for Recovery - It's Worth It! Indeed, it is worth it! Recovery is worth it - recovery from addiction and all the co-occurring disorders that can and do accompany addiction. One co-occurring disorder is depression.

What is depression?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine depression is defined as:
"Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a longer period of time."
It is also important to understand that alcohol and drug abuse may play a role in depression and people who are depressed are more like to use alcohol or illegal substances.

World Mental Health Day is October 10, 2012

On October 10, 2012, World Mental Health Day will focus on depression. The World Health Organization estimates that 5% of the world's population suffers from depression. On March 12, 2012, the world's population exceeded 7 billion. If you do the math, then that means at any given time 350 million people are living with depression. People who suffer from depression, like many mental illnesses, often do not speak about it or seek treatment because they feel this diagnosis carries a stigma. Also, obtaining treatment can be limited by a person's resources regarding insurance, personal funds or even the scarcity of treatment availability in their local community. 

"Are you living with depression?"

This question: "Are you living with depression?" is being asked by CNN. Specifically, CNN iReport wants to hear from you if you are living with depression. Are you familiar with CNN iReport? If not, here is how CNN defines iReport:
iReport is an invitation for you to be a part of CNN's coverage of the stories you care about and an opportunity to be a part of a global community of men and women who are as passionate about the news as you are. At CNN we believe that looking at the news from different angles gives us a deeper understanding of what's going on. We also know that the world is an amazing place filled with interesting people doing fascinating things that don't always make the news.
That's why iReport is full of tools to help you tell your stories and discuss the issues that are important to you. Since everyone's interests are different, we've also built new tools to help you customize your iReport experience – if you're into politics, travel and sports, you'll see different stories than fans of tech, health and food stories. We've also created groups so you can hang out and even collaborate with iReporters with similar interests.
Everything you see on iReport starts with someone in the CNN audience. The stories here are not edited fact-checked or screened before they post. CNN's producers will check out some of the most compelling, important and urgent iReports and, once they're cleared for CNN, make them a part of CNN's news coverage. (Look for the red "CNN iReport" stamp to see which stories have been vetted for CNN.) More on how iReport works 

So on September 17, 2012, CNN iReport posted an assignment: "If you suffer from depression - or have suffered - we want to hear your story." CNN intends to use these iReports to create a series that profiles ordinary people living with depression. A series like this will help to provide a more complete picture of depression.

If you would like to join the voices of recovery and tell your personal story about depression you can visit 
CNN iReport to add your story and read stories posted by others.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Study: We Can Prepare To Prevent PTSD

English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Contr...
Logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is simply defined as: "a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death." PTSD experts caution that people who suffer from PTSD may also have problems with alcohol or other substance abuse, depression and related medical conditions.

Accurately diagnosing and developing treatment modalities for PTSD can be a very involved challenge. Many researchers are studying PTSD in great detail. 

Study on PTSD prevention...

It was reported this week that researchers at Emory University now want to understand if PTSD can be prevented.  Most of us read about PTSD and our veterans; however, we often forget that PTSD is not only experienced by veterans, but also by non-military citizens who experience a traumatic event in their life. These events can include rape, spousal abuse, child abuse, horrific accidents, natural disasters, and terrorist events. According to Dr. Barbara Rothbaum of Emory University, as reported by KPLCtv.com (NBC): "About 70 percent of us will be exposed to a traumatic event that could result in PTSD."

We can look to recent events here in the United States like the mass shooting in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, Hurricane Isaac, and numerous forest fires. In order to learn if PTSD can be prevented, Rothbaum and her colleagues recruited patients who had been admitted to the trauma center at Grady Memorial Hospital located in Atlanta, GA. Here is how they gathered data:
  • Patients were selected who had experienced being shot, assaulted or critically injured in a car accident.
  • Within hours of entering the emergency room, therapists recorded the patients' accounts of their traumatic experience.
  • Patients were then asked to listen to their own recording every day for several weeks. 
  • Patients were also taught techniques for relaxation and breathing. 
The results of this research experience indicate that those patients who were provided this treatment experience half the rate of PTSD and significantly less depression.  Rothbaum also concludes that this type of prevention therapy is easy to implement, is cost effective, and potentially can have a positive impact on literally thousands of citizens.

Here is a video report provided by KPLCtv.com:

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

September is a month for recovery, prevention and preparedness...

As children and as we mature we often think of September as a time for new beginnings. A new school year starts, we celebrate Labor Day, we celebrate Grandparents' Day...September is traditionally a time of harvesting what we have sowed.

Perhaps it is this idea of new beginnings that inspires organizations to declare September as a time to focus on recovery, prevention and preparedness.  For example in the United States:
One last thought: PTSD is often associated with alcoholism and substance abuse, as well as suicide. There are many resources available to assist one suffering from PTSD and preparedness in our daily lives can help prevent PTSD as well as new ways to treat and prevent PTSD.

We must also remember that if someone is already suffering from PTSD they may need a family member or a close friend to reach out to them to assist them in finding the care and treatment they need so desperately.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

How Heavy Drinking Affects The Brain and Judgment

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions del...
Sagittal human brain with cortical regions delineated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyone who works in the field of addiction recovery knows from listening to their clients' life stories that drinking heavily "can affect your judgment, your family, your work life and your health."  We learn about how people have miraculously survived horrific auto accidents, we witness the after affects of loss of employment and when we work with families during our family program we see the aftermaths of familial disruption including domestic violence. And even with all the visual evidence many still search to know empirically what is it about an alcoholic that ultimately brings on this life destroying behavior.

New research zeroes in on the brain...

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism teamed up with the University of North Carolina's Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies to examine the link between alcoholism and anxiety disorders. Most scientific research starts with studying animals and their reaction to stimuli. And this new study is no exception. These researchers studied mice seeking to explain the link between alcoholism and anxiety disorders including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specifically the researchers examined the affects of chronic alcohol consumption on the brain.

The research process...

The scientists studied two groups of mice: over a period of one month one group of mice was given alcohol doses equal to double the legal driving limit humans while the control group was given no alcohol.

The mice were given a cue (a tone) followed by a shock. The mice soon learn that the tone will be followed by a shock. In the beginning the shock brings on fear in both groups. Gradually the researchers only gave the tone cue and ceased following the cue with a shock. As the study progressed the mice who were given the alcohol doses continued to display fear response (even though the shock was eliminated), while the control group (non-alcohol) stopped displaying fear after the tone.

According to WRAL's report on the study:
"...researchers traced the effect to differences in the nerve cells in the brain's prefrontal cortex. The key receptor, called NDMA, was suppressed in the mice that received alcohol."

Watch WRAL's news video covering this new research...

If you are having trouble viewing the video you can see it here.

How to learn more about this research...

This study, "Chronic alcohol remodels prefrontal neurons and disrupts NMDAR-mediated fear extinction encoding" is published online on the journal Nature Neuroscience.
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