Tag Archives: Addiction Treatment

Marijuana and Opioids—What’s the Link?

The Marijuana and Opioids Relationship

What’s the relationship between pot and opioids? According to a May article in the Poughkeepsie Journal in New York, part of the USA Today Network, smoking marijuana has the ability to decrease the use of opioids. Specifically, some states that allow the use of medical marijuana and recreational pot have seen declines in opioid prescribing. Medicaid patients are getting fewer prescriptions filled, and in the states where recreational pot is legal, the declines are even greater. The implication, of course, is that if you smoke pot, you don’t need pain relief at the level that opioids provide and don’t seek it.  

The author of the report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government that cited these numbers called marijuana “a potential tool for addressing the opioid crisis.” Additional studies in this area, such as an upcoming one by the National Institute of Health, are on the horizon.

 

Marijuana and Chronic Pain

This latest one will test “whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic pain, including those with HIV.”

There have also been negative reports about using marijuana for medical reasons, however, such as one in the American Journal of Psychiatry indicating that pot use “increases the risk of an opioid-use disorder.”

The Poughkeepsie Journal article raised also asked about the general harm, or potential risks, in smoking marijuana, and then attempted to answer it. For example, the National Academy of Sciences published a report in 2017 which found that for people who smoke while driving, the odds of being in a motor vehicle accident rose by 20 to 30 percent. (But you already knew about this; you read something similar in this blog about driving and smoking in a May post.)

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Marijuana and Mental Health

Heavy marijuana use also increases the risk of being diagnosed with a psychosis, and there’s a small risk of developing bipolar disorder. However, the author notes that it’s “hard to establish causality.” He asks, “Are people who smoke pot more likely to develop mental health problems or are people with mental health problems more likely to smoke pot?”

The author summed up by saying that the findings are of questionable significance because almost all risks cited are relative, and overall, the risks are quite low. We need more research, he said, and we may then find more harms. For now, he’s in the camp that points out (believes?) pot’s effects are less harmful than those associated with tobacco or alcohol.

With the legalization of medical marijuana, doctors have another option in providing pain relief besides opioids OR medical marijuana: prescribing a combination of the two. A 2015 article in Forbes reported that “using medical marijuana along with prescribed opioids does not increase the likelihood of a patient abusing alcohol or other drugs.” However, “subjects did report higher rates of alcohol and other drug use than the general population.”

 

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center

Not many addiction counselors seem to speak publicly about their personal feelings about marijuana for treating pain and other conditions, or about recreational marijuana, for that matter. Yet I’ve heard of one counselor who told the parents of a young man addicted to heroin that he didn’t have a problem with the man smoking pot if it helped him stay off heroin. You wonder if this view is widely held among addiction professionals when a number of them say that pot is still a drug, and it’s possible to become addicted to it. For example, a noted golfer once went to rehab because he couldn’t stop smoking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see results of a poll that questioned addiction professionals about their personal feelings? For more information contact our outpatient addiction treatment center at (866) 569-9391

 

Autism, Asperger’s and Addiction in the High-Tech Industry

 Illustration with word cloud on disease AutismIllustration with word cloud on disease AutismA February post postulated that substance abuse may be more prevalent in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley than is generally known. Anecdotal evidence from Silicon Valley addiction experts who treat a number of clients from the industry suggested that this is true. Why? The stress involved in working in such a competitive environment — trying to be the first to launch a product.

Those with normal and above-average intelligence are said to have high-functioning autism. Asperger’s syndrome is closely related.” The Autism Society explains that people with Asperger’s exhibit “less severe symptoms and the absence of language delays [in childhood]”. WebMD also holds that high-functioning autistic people as well as people with Asperger’s are “good fits for technically demanding jobs. Not only does the internet downplay autistic social deficits, but the language of computers also allows some people with autism to give full expression to their exceptional abilities.”

Perhaps you’ve known or seen someone on the spectrum who seems intensely interested in how things work. One of the experts WebMD quoted said that these people’s brains are wired differently. They “pick out patterns in information and to discern the logical rules that govern systems. That means people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism often have great talents for creating and analyzing mechanical systems, such as engines, or abstract systems, like mathematics and computer programs.” Gawker reported that “cases of Asperger’s and autism … exploded in Silicon Valley over the past 20 years, according to state-funded outreach workers — an assertion that will come as no shock to users familiar with pedantic, apathetic, tight-lipped and self-serving tech companies.”

To be fair, Silicon Valley isn’t the only area cited as having a high incidence of these conditions. There’s Redmond, Washington, where Microsoft is located, and the northwest Rochester, where IBM is located, is also mentioned as a possibility. Gawker also noted that there are no statistics surrounding the number of programmers and engineers, for example, that are on the spectrum, but “popular belief holds that places like NASA and Silicon Valley are havens for them.” Even Computerworld, one of the industry bibles, has weighed in, with an article titled “Asperger’s: the IT industry’s dark secret,” in which several techies on the spectrum commented. Temple Grandin, who has Asperger’s, says we wouldn’t even have computers without techies with Asperger’s. So where does substance abuse and recovery come in, you might ask. Do people on the spectrum have substance abuse problems like others?

Maia Szalivitz, a “neuroscience journalist” who often writes about addiction, details her thoughts in an article in The Atlantic (which originally appeared in a publication called Spectrum). It opens with the story of a man addicted to heroin who finally got clean. Afterward he was diagnosed with autism, although the signs were there all along. Szalivitz says that for years, the commonly held belief was that addiction among people with autism is rare, since they follow rules and are usually isolated from their peers, for example. But a study in Sweden found the opposite to be true — people on the higher end of the spectrum are “more than twice as likely to become addicted,” and it’s worse if they also have ADHA. Experts in the article say that people on the spectrum find that alcohol eases social anxiety, and they may become addicted. The same holds true of marijuana. Impulsive behaviors in this population are also a problem and can lead to gambling or internet shopping addiction. An article about autism and addiction in Psychology Today by a person who runs a California treatment center included research from the Washington University School of Medicine, where experts studied Australian twins. The findings were that “people with autistic traits were no more likely to drink or use marijuana than people without these traits, but that people with autistic traits who drank or smoked pot were more likely to become addicted to or otherwise abuse these substances.” The writer noted the difference between a person exhibiting autistic symptoms and actually having a diagnosis, however. He posits that “a diagnosis is likely to accompany a more extreme form of the disorder. And it seems from this research as if a more extreme form of the disorder may keep autistic people from even experimenting with substances.” A psychiatrist he interviewed said “it could be that some traits related to autism are protective, while others elevate the risk for alcohol and substance-abuse problems.” If anything, the information in these articles shows a need for more study between autism and addiction.

Summit Estate’s Dr. Kenneth Blum Publishes Important New Addiction Study In Medical Journal

Summit Estate’s very own clinical consultant Dr. Kenneth Blum, M.Sc, DHL, was the lead author of an article recently published in Current Pharmaceutical Design medical journal. Dr. Blum and his collaborators believe they may be onto the “hatching of the addiction egg” with their research.

Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes in-depth reviews that involve modern research on rational drug design. Each issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design is focused on a single therapeutic area, covering subjects important to modern drug design such as:

  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Disease Mechanism
  • Drug Targets

Solving America’s Addiction Epidemic

The new Dr. Blum-led article is titled, “Neuronutrient Amino-Acid Therapy Protects Against Reward Deficiency Syndrome: Dopaminergic Key to Homeostasis and Neuroplasticity.” Ultimately, the article aims to further the understanding of common mechanisms of all types of addiction in order to foster better diagnoses, treatment and prevention of relapse.

The authors raise a number of questions before delving further into the research, such as:

  • Why are medical professionals failing at reducing the incidence of “bad behaviors”?
  • Are we aiming at the wrong targets for the treatment of behavioral disorders?

Quick Background On ‘Reward Deficiency Syndrome’

In 1996, Dr. Blum and his research team coined the term “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” (RDS) to explain the neurochemical and genetic mechanisms involved in addictive behaviors, including substance and process addictions. A few years prior, Dr. Blum was involved in identifying the connection between the dopamine D2 receptor and severe alcoholism.

In his new article, Dr. Blum points to a past study which observed that habitual cocaine use was connected with a reduction in dopamine D2 and D3 receptors. He and his team also maintain that medication-assisted treatment with an emphasis on anti-dopamine (or dopamine antagonist) medications, such as those involving clozapine, fails in the long run when it comes to RDS behaviors.

Homeostasis Over Antagonist Therapy

When it comes to treating addiction, Dr. Blum and his fellow researchers propose using dopamine antagonist therapy in the short term, and dopamine agonist therapy in long term recovery. Put simply, it’s better to try to keep the recovering addict’s dopamine levels fairly stable over the long term than to stunt the neurotransmitter altogether.

“The neuro-mechanisms involving ‘dopamine homeostasis’ are key to understanding recovery from drug and non-drug addictive behaviors,” Dr. Blum writes.

Amino Acid Therapy Could Be Key

In the article, Dr. Blum and his team identify a particular allele for which neuronutrient-amino acid therapy would be beneficial if the host is suffering from addiction. Amino acids help balance brain chemicals and other parts of human physiology. The article also points out a number of gene polymorphisms that lead to a heightened risk of all RDS behaviors.

The Importance Of Dr. Blum’s New Addiction Study

Dr. Kenneth Blum, M.Sc, PhD, DHLDr. Blum and his fellow researchers conclude that paying attention to addicts’ dopamine levels is essential to better understanding the science of addiction. They encourage medical professionals to look for a certain allele in their patients that indicates a high risk for addiction, as amino acid therapy appears to be an effective treatment for people who carry this particular gene variant.

The authors finish with a call for more genetic and neuroimaging studies as they pertain to drug addiction. If that were to happen, Dr. Blum and his colleagues believe that neuroscientists will actually hatch “the addiction egg.”

To learn more about Dr. Kenneth Blum, see our Staff Page.

Summit Estate’s Neuroscience Advisor, Dr. Blum: Pioneers Important Advancement To Treat Reward Deficiency Syndrome To Prevent Relapse

For millions of people in recovery, relapse is a frightening word. Though there are many reasons that individuals suffer relapse, one of the more interesting discoveries is that certain people are prewired genetically to have insufficient numbers of D2 receptors in their brains, which can lead to a lack of dopamine, a chemical in the brain, which in turn can increase the chance of addiction.

Summit Estate’s Dr. Kenneth Blum’s Advancement To Treat Reward Deficiency Syndrome

Dr. Kenneth Blum

Dr. Kenneth Blum, Chief Neuroscience Advisor

Summit Estate’s very own neuroscience advisor and pioneer in Reward Deficiency Syndrome, Dr. Kenneth Blum, PhD, has published an article on preventing relapse to reward deficiency behaviors titled “Hypothesizing Balancing Endorphinergic and Glutaminergic Systems to Treat and Prevent Relapse to Reward Deficiency Behaviors: Coupling D-Phenylalanine and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) as a Novel Therapeutic Modality.”

In the article, Dr. Blum hypothesizes that a novel combination of D-Phenylalanine (DPA), an inhibitor of the enzyme known to breakdown endorphins, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), an amino acid-derived compound, will have synergistic attributes to induce dopamine release, as well as dopamine stabilization at the brain reward circuitry via different mechanisms. The hypothesis is that this combination will provide a safe and effective natural way to induce stable and relatively constant levels of dopamine for the millions of sufferers of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS).

Read Dr. Blum’s Full Article Here

The Importance Of Dr. Blum’s Hypothesis In Preventing Relapse

A relapse after recovery treatment can occur because addiction is a chronic disorder. There is no complete cure that eliminates the chance of a relapse. Rather, addiction must be managed. The rate of relapse depends on the addictive substance. For example, opiate addiction has a greater than 80 percent rate of relapse. Alcohol relapse can range from 30 to 70 percent.

The chance of a relapse can also depend on certain factors and varies from person to person. Those who have RDS have a higher rate of relapse. As well, this is the case for individuals who suffer from mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. External psychological and social stressors can also contribute to a relapse. Even happy occasions such as holidays, weddings and celebrations can put someone at risk.

Summit Estate Is A Leader In Relapse Prevention

Watch our Relapse Prevention Counseling Training with Roland Williams:

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If you or a loved one is tempted to drink or use drugs again, time is of the essence. Treatment is required now to help better manage triggers and emotions that can lead to a relapse. Don’t wait for a relapse to happen or get worse. Obtain help and guidance from an addiction treatment specialist by calling us now.

Summit Estate specializes in relapse prevention as well as dual diagnosis treatment for those suffering from both mental illness and addiction. Our relapse prevention counseling and real-world tools can help your or a loved one today. Call us now to learn more.

Why Is Heroin Addiction So Hard To Treat?

The image of an addict shooting up heroin on the street is not a pretty picture. While not everyone who abuses heroin winds up desperate and homeless, the reality is that the drug is extremely dangerous, and a high percentage of people who uses it will develop a life-threatening dependence on it.

How Heroin Works On The Brain And Hooks The User

No Matter-Why Is Heroin Addiction So Hard To Treat-SummitEstate.comAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin/opioid receptors are found in portions of the brain that are responsible for both reward and the perception of pain. Because of this, individuals who take heroin do not typically feel pain, and their brains record this sensation. This leads to intense cravings for the drug when it is not taken.

Over time, heroin greatly stresses brain cells. More and more heroin is needed to produce the desired pain relief. Unlike most other substances that enter the body gradually, heroin users employ fast delivery systems such as injection and snorting. This creates an intensely powerful feeling that overpowers users and makes it far more addictive than drugs that are taken through oral delivery systems. Those who inject heroin have the highest rates of dependence. There’s no denying the overwhelming impact of heroin’s effects on the mind and body.

The Challenge Of Heroin Withdrawal

Along with the high rate of addiction, heroin abuse is difficult to stop because of the challenge of detoxification. The detox process is often overwhelming with painful, debilitating symptoms that frequently require medical intervention. Ceasing heroin use is not something to try and attempt on your own. The risk of serious complications requires intensive treatment that addresses both the chemical and emotional challenges of addiction.

Don’t Wait To Get Help For Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is not something to ignore. It is potentially fatal, but there is hope with effective detoxification and addiction treatment.

At Summit Estate, we strongly believe that each individual and their situation is unique. This is why we do not offer a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to our safe and more comfortable medically supervised detox and individualized treatment program.

At our drug addiction treatment center in the Bay Area, we give clients the best chance of lifelong recovery from heroin addiction. Want to learn more?

Call Us Now For Help – 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week

Who Is Inpatient Treatment Best For?

There are many types of treatment for substance abuse. When you’re trying to find the best option for yourself or a loved one, there are a variety of considerations to explore. For some, outpatient treatment is sufficient for starting on the road to recovery. However, inpatient programs offer some distinct advantages that make it particularly beneficial for a large number of individuals who are struggling with addiction issues.

Saratoga Barn-Who Is Inpatient Treatment Best For-Summit Estate

When Is Inpatient Treatment The Right Choice?

Inpatient treatment offers 24/7 care away from many of the triggers and temptations that contribute to addiction. This makes it the best choice for individuals with severe addictions, as well as for those who have already tried rehab but have relapsed.

There are other reasons, as well, when it makes sense to consider inpatient treatment. For some, there is the complication of co-occurring mental illness such as depression or anxiety. An inpatient treatment program can treat any underlying mental health issue, in conjunction with the substance abuse. This provides the greatest chance for long-term recovery.

Other individuals, who are struggling with addiction, do not have stable home environments and can benefit from being in inpatient facility accommodations that enable them to focus more completely on their recovery.

The Benefits Of An Individualized Inpatient Addiction Treatment Program

The best inpatient treatment programs are those that are personalized and offer treatment that is designed to address the specific causes of addiction to help facilitate long-term sobriety.

At Summit Estate, we are able to offer a high level of personalized care with a staff-to-client ratio of 3 to 1. Our inpatient substance abuse treatment in Los Gatos CA addresses physical, spiritual and mental health to help patients successfully take their first steps on their recovery journey.

Our treatment programs are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to target root cases of addiction and co-existing mental issues. Over time, CBT can help clients overcome detrimental thought patterns to provide them with a greater ability to manage both behaviors and cravings.

Along with CBT, we offer a whole host of inpatient holistic therapies including yoga, massage, nutrition counseling, personal training, outdoor activities and much more.

Why Wait Another Day To Get Help For Addiction? Call Us Today For Help!

What Are Dissociative Drugs And How Does Treatment Work?

Dissociative drugs, such as PCP (Phencyclidine), DXM (Dextromethorphan), Ketamine and LSD, are a class of hallucinogenic drugs that alter user’s perceptions of sight and sound. They also produce feelings of detachment or dissociation from one’s environment or self. Some types of dissociative drugs can be found in over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, others are prescribed to sedate patients who are experiencing severe pain or to sustain general anesthesia during surgery and still others are found as street drugs.

Side Effects Of Dissociative Drugs

Dissociative drugs block signals to the conscious mind and produce hallucinations and even dream-like trances. Side effects of taking drugs in this classification include:

  • Memory loss
  • Feelings of panic or aggression
  • Changes in blood pressure, respiration, or heart rate
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tremors
  • Appetite loss

Treating Dissociative Drug Addiction

It Takes Nothing To Join The Crowd-Dissociative Drugs-SummitEstate.comLike with other types of drugs, users can develop a tolerance to dissociative drugs that can lead to cravings and addiction. Over time, there is also a risk of acquiring a condition called hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD) that is a result of the negative impact of flashbacks caused by the drug. If not treated, an addiction to dissociative drugs can be fatal.

In many individuals, long-term side effects can last long after they stop using a dissociative drug. These include speech difficulties, memory loss, depression, and social withdrawal. For some, these side effects will last for a year or even longer.

But there is hope…

Holistic and personalized, ongoing addiction treatment is focused first on overcoming the initial symptoms of withdrawal such as drug cravings, headaches, heart palpitations, and profuse sweating. Once the initial detox has been completed, the focus shifts to ongoing care, encouragement and relapse prevention tools to live healthy and drug-free.

Personalized Addiction Treatment

At Summit Estate, we offer both an inpatient program as well as an outpatient rehab in Saratoga to provide our clients with the right level of care. We assess each individual, taking into account their background and specific addiction, as well as their mental and emotional needs. With this background information, we are able to create a personalized treatment program that can includes group, individual, family, or couples therapy, as well as holistic therapies and more to offer the best chance of long-term recovery.

Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to a dissociative drug or any other substance?

We Encourage You To Begin Your Recovery Journey By Calling Us Now!

Where is the Best Drug Rehab in Bay Area CA?

Drug addiction affects all aspects of the user’s life.  There are real professional, personal and legal issues that arise when addiction takes over.  While the first step to recovery is to decide to make a life change, it is nearly impossible to become clean without professional help.  Because of this, selecting the right drug rehab is extremely important.  For those looking for inpatient rehab in the Bay Area understanding the available options can make choosing a drug rehab bay area CA easier.

Top Rehab In The Bay Area

hollistic-approach-rehabsA top drug rehab Bay Area CA will provide personalized treatment to their clients in a setting that lends itself to stepping away from everyday life and focusing on recovery.  A top center will have an industry leading staff to client ratio and a history of successfully treating those with a drug addiction.

Located in the Bay Area, Summit Estate provides luxury drug addiction treatment with a focus on the individual.  Understanding the each client has unique needs, goals and objectives, Summit Estate involves each client in the development of their treatment care plan.  By involving clients in the creation of treatment plans, Summit Estate ensures clients are engaged in the process and will receive the specific care that they need to be successful during and after treatment.

Inpatient treatment at Summit Estate includes:

  • A personalized detoxification protocol that allows for detox in a comfortable and controlled manner.
  • Establishing a treatment plan that will identify the root cause of the addictive behavior and provide the support necessary to address and overcome the addiction.
  • Participation in a thorough treatment program including personal and family therapy and individual counseling.
  • Treatment for the entire person including their body by nutritional counseling, yoga therapy and personal training.

For additional information on the drug rehab Bay Area CA programs available at Summit Estate, contact them today.  Admissions counselors can answer questions, coordinate entry into the program and work with each client’s insurance company to determine their specific out of pocket costs for treatment.  Please complete the form on this site and a Summit Estate team member will contact you or call 800-701-6997 now.  Thank you.

Long Term Inpatient Drug Rehab in the Malibu Area

Drug addictions can be nearly impossible to beat without expert help.  Many addictions are the result of both a physical and mental component, both of which need to be fully treated in order to have lifelong sobriety.  In order to successfully recover from drug addiction, a long term inpatient drug rehab program is ideal.

find-an-addiction-counselorA luxury intensive inpatient rehab program will focus on:

  • Detoxification in a controlled and comfortable manner using a protocol that is customized for each individual client
  • Creation of a treatment plan using the input of the client to ensure their specific goals are met during recovery
  • Intensive therapy sessions to uncover the root cause of the addictive behavior and to come up with a solution for addressing these issues
  • Participation in group and individual counseling
  • Establishing healthy habits and interests that are appealing while sober
  • Creation of coping tools for dealing with fear, hurt, and stress
  • Addressing the personal, professional, and legal issues that were caused as a result of the addiction

Summit Estate Recovery Center is located near Malibu and offers a long term rehab program that focuses on the unique needs of each individual client.  Our six bed facility offers private and semi-private luxuriously appointed bedrooms so that clients feel comfortable while they recover from their addiction.  Our team of 30 addiction experts provides a number of services including gourmet meals, personal training, and counseling to equip clients to be able to live sober lives after treatment.  We offer intensive long term inpatient recovery as well as a thorough after care program to support clients after they leave treatment.

For clients who need a more gradual transition, Summit Estate offers an outpatient treatment program.  During the outpatient phase of treatment, clients attend Summit Estate during working hours and continue to work on their recovery.  After hours they are able to return home, making their transition back into everyday life more gradual and allowing for additional support from their recovery team.

Find out more about the inpatient drug rehab programs offered at Summit Estate by contacting us today.  Please complete the form on this site and we’ll reach out to you.

Or give us a call now!