Tag Archives: Bay Area Treatment Center

When Will We Overcome the Stigma of Addiction?

Addiction Treatment Center

Not far from New York City, there’s a little fishing town that oozes quaintness, like so many on our coasts. Historic lighthouse atop a mountain, boats dotting the water below, seagulls diving for fish….you know the ones. Recently a former drug addict (or person in recovery from a substance use disorder) announced his hope to open a short-term treatment center (in a church, no less)  in one of these towns on the East Coast to allow people to detox “before transitioning to their next phase of recovery.”

 

Not surprisingly, some residents are against it, saying that such a facility would “be out of character” for the town and “imperil local residents.”  Not in my back yard—NIMBY—is nothing we haven’t heard before when it comes to facilities related to addiction treatment in suburbs. The irony is that this particular town has had more than its share of addiction problems. You’d think, by the way some of the residents talk, that it’s been immune to drug problems, or shut off from world.

 

Yet several months earlier, on the other side of the country, quite a different event than speaking out against a place for treating substance abuse took place. A former self-described “alcoholic who dabbled in heroin, Ecstacy and cocaine,” was feted with ice cream with a candle in it after announcing in a restaurant that she was 10 years sober. The woman said she had felt a huge amount of shame and a problem with telling her family that she was in recovery. It took her “three years … to speak up among friends and another three for her to do so publicly.”

But that day, she spoke openly about her recovery to the waitress when she turned down wine with dinner, which is the reason the woman brought her the ice cream and candle. And today, as executive director of the Center for the Open Recovery in the Bay Area, she promotes the idea that people in recovery “be open and even celebrated for managing the disease that is plaguing our nation.”

 

Bay Area rehab

 

Addiction Recovery Programs

The writer of the opinion article that this anecdote appeared in points to a recommendation in the 2017 report from Trump’s opioid commission that suggests the government battle stigma…”by partnering with private and nonprofit groups on a national media and educational campaign similar to those launched during the AIDS public health crisis.”

 

She acknowledges that there a risk in speaking up, especially in sensitive occupations like medicine and flying, but the irony is that you can best remove stigma by being open. Yes, AA and other 12-step programs advocate anonymity, she says, but people in these groups can share their stories and still honor the group’s traditions if they just say “I’m in recovery.”

 

The woman refers to the AIDS epidemic and how initially gay men were blamed for “bringing the fatal disease upon themselves,” and compares that to those who see addiction as a moral failing and thus blame people who abuse drugs for their addiction. But the AIDS support community did eventually make a difference and gain support for more program funding through efforts like Act Up marches, the AIDS quilt, and posters.

 

Funding for research and treatment programs is sorely lacking when it comes to addiction, and the country needs to step up, stop the denial, and do more, she says. One way to do that and remove the stigma is to be open and speak up. She quotes Jim Hod, the co-founder and CEO of Facing Addiction, as saying addiction “is an illness that nobody is every going to get, nobody ever has and nobody has ever had.”

 

There are other organizations who join Center for Open Recovery in promoting openness: Faces & Voices of Recovery, Shatterproof, and Facing Addiction.

“Our Voices Have Power” says Faces & Voices. Is there a chance, if enough people speak up, that the stigma can be eradicated?

 

For more information please contact our Bay Area rehab & addiction treatment center by calling (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.

Choosing a Bay Area Rehabilitation Center

For those that are struggling with addiction or have a loved one caught up in drug abuse or alcohol abuse, finding a rehab center to turn to for help can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. Selecting the right rehab center can be the difference for you between a long and successful recovery or falling back and deeper into addiction and abuse. It is worth the time and effort to consider facilities that provide the best care possible, and when you are choosing a Bay Area rehabilitation center, there are important factors to consider that can help you make the best choice.

Look at the Staff at the Center

An important factor in selecting a center for treatment is to know something about the staff available at the center. Many centers today find themselves understaffed, with a very high client to staff ratio. You want a location that offers a lower ratio so that you know you or your loved one is going to get the attention and support that is needed. Look to see what the staff is like, the type of professionals that are available to provide medical care, therapy and the like so you can determine if they can offer you the level of care needed.

Choosing a Bay Area Rehabilitation Center

Look at the Treatment Plans of the Center

When choosing any Bay area rehabilitation center, you want to take a close look to see what type of treatment plans are available to clients. You want to select a location that offers varied and personalized treatment plans so you can be sure you or your loved one get the best help possible. Different facilities offer different treatments, with some only offering outpatient or inpatient programs, while others offer a selection.

The Bay Area Center to Consider

If you are seeking a Bay Area rehabilitation center to help with addiction, consider contacting us here at Summit Estate Recovery Center. We offer one of the finest facilities in Northern California and have the experienced, caring staff and the treatment programs that can provide the specialized care that clients need. You can find out more about us by reading about our facilities and programs here on our website, or you can give us a call at 866-569-9391 and speak with a team member who can answer your questions and provide you with the assistance you need to get you started.

 

Inpatient and Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs in the Bay Area

Alcohol is something socially accepted and available everywhere. Maybe for this reason, it’s one of the most abused substances in the U.S. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s even glamorized or encouraged through media. For this reason, many people don’t fully understand the danger that comes along with alcohol abuse.

Summit Estate Recovery Center offers inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs in the Bay Area. Their highly trained experts use tried and true methods in the treatment of alcoholism. The institution offers luxurious locations in order to provide their patients a comfortable, private environment. Such beautiful locations, along with the proper treatment, gives them enough encouragement and stimulation to finally beat the bottle.

inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs in the Bay Area

Different kind of alcohol abuse treatments

People looking for inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs in the Bay Area can find the proper aid at Summit Estate Recovery Center. After admission, the residential alcoholism treatment program starts with a full evaluation. In this evaluation, doctors try to find any co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression. In those cases, a dual diagnosis treatment is recommended.

After this evaluation, patients receive a medically supervised detoxification. The comfort and safety of Summit Estate Recovery Center’s facilities are very helpful on this matter. Afterwards, patient meet with the clinical staff to create an individualized plan that best suits them. They can also assist to additional, helpful activities like yoga, massage, acupuncture, among others. Inpatient programs might last up to 90 days.

Summit Estate Recovery Center also offers outpatient treatments to fit your schedule. This facility is located in Saratoga, California. In this place, patients can participate in discussion dinners specially coked by an onsite chef. Saratoga’s location also offers one-on-one, family and couples therapy sessions or groups.

Some patients that already went through the inpatient treatment are encouraged to follow outpatient treatment after their 30 or 60 days of therapy. In these cases, it’s necessary the authorization of Summit Estate Recovery Center’s medical staff and substance abuse counselors.

The help you need is a phone call away

Either if you or a beloved one is going through an alcohol addiction, you can receive the help you need at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Its luxurious facilities and expert staff provide the right environment and inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs in the Bay Area. Call at 866-569-9391 to receive more information and talk more about what you’re going through.

Non-Opioid Pain Management

back painThe Human-Opioid Connection

The relationship between humans and opioids goes back thousands of years. From the time we first cultivated Papaver somniferum over 5,000 years ago to the present day, the properties of the opium poppy have been a blessing and a curse. Opioids contain the most powerful pain-relieving molecules known to medical science, but they also carry a heavy, destructive, and deadly potential for addiction and abuse. Blessing and curse dovetail in a quirk of human physiology: the endogenous opioid system present in the human nervous system. Opioids relieve pain by leveraging this naturally occurring system; opioids lead to abuse by hijacking this naturally occurring system. Opioids become problematic because this internal pain-relief network is linked, at the cellular level, to how humans experience feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and reward. Humans wrestle with this de facto paradox daily. It’s a cruel irony of nature that the most effective pain medication on earth is also the most dangerous; it’s a test of our ingenuity and scientific responsibility to find ways to use opioids without becoming victims to them – and if we can’t, to find alternative methods of managing pain without exposing ourselves to the risks inherent in opioid use. No population has a greater stake in the search for alternative pain management than those who are in recovery from substance abuse disorders. People in recovery work for years to free themselves from cycles of addiction and abuse. Yet when they’re faced with injuries, surgeries minor and major, or develop medical conditions characterized by chronic pain, their options are limited, and they’re often presented with a false dilemma: live with the pain, or risk sabotaging the hard work and progress gained in recovery by ingesting substances that increase risk of relapse or lead to a new substance abuse disorder.

The Problem(s) With Opioids

Long-Term Effectiveness

Setting aside issues related to individuals with a history of addiction and abuse, opioid pain medications have a significant set of limitations and complications that are neither widely known nor publicized. While they’re incredibly effective at relieving acute pain and there are many situations for which opioids are the logical and appropriate choice for pain management, the effectiveness of long term use of opioids for chronic pain management is not supported by medical research. That may come as a surprise to most people, but it’s true. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, a comprehensive and systematic review of existing scientific evidence “to identify the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain.” The study defines long-term as use of opioids for over three months. The conclusion as to the effectiveness and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain management is concise and unequivocal:

“…no study of opioid therapy versus placebo…evaluated long-term (≥ 1 year) outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life. Most placebo-controlled randomized studies were ≤ 6 weeks in duration. The body of evidence…is rated as insufficient.”

Risks and Harms

The absence of clinical support for long-term opioid therapy in chronic pain management may come as a shock, but the complications of long-term opioid use are well-known and broadly publicized in online, print, and television media. The statistics reveal a pattern which, taken at face value, should cause a complete re-evaluation of the long-term use of opioids for chronic pain:

Profit Motive 

Prescription opioids are big business. Experts estimate the value of the North American opioid market at $12.4 billion for 2015, a figure which quadrupled between 1999 – 2014, and is projected to grow to over $17 billion by the year 2024. This enormous increase occurred even though the amount of pain reported by Americans during the same period did not change. In the January 2017 study “What are the advantages of non-opioid analgesic techniques in the management of acute and chronic pain?” published in Expert Opinion on Pharmacology, Dr. Paul F. White, MD, identifies potential explanations for this counter-intuitive phenomenon:

  • Aggressive marketing tactics of the pharmaceutical industry
  • Overstated risks of non-opioid analgesics
  • Reimbursement issues related to alternative pain-management therapies
  • $880 million spent lobbying politicians to block legislation aimed at curtailing the use of opioids.

Rather than collaborate with patients to discover pain-management methods that carry less risk of harm than opioid medications, pharmaceutical companies and groups of vocal physicians did the opposite. White cites an article published in 2007 in which an international group of pain experts advocated for an increase in opioid prescription with this remarkable assertion: “If only we [physicians and nurses] could overcome our ‘opiophobia’, we would improve pain management.” When correlated with CDC data indicating a dramatic surge in opioid prescribing between 2007 – 2012, and the steady increase in abuse, overdose, and opioid-related fatalities since 1999, a clear picture of the past decade and a half emerges. Profit, expediency, and our cultural tendency to trust physicians and the prescriptions they write combined to create a perfect storm in which medication developed to alleviate suffering has arguably done more harm than good, and likely caused more pain than it has relieved.

Chronic Pain Management: Alternatives to Opioids

The Biopsychosocial Model

We’re in the midst of an opioid epidemic – that’s common knowledge. What’s not common knowledge is the existence of safe and effective alternatives for chronic pain management. To date, the most complete and effective approach to the management of chronic pain is the biopsychosocial approach, which entails understanding illness and disease as a result of the active interplay of physiological, psychological, and social factors. In their 2007 article “The Biopsychosocial Approach to Chronic Pain: Scientific Advances and Future Directions”, Gatchel, Peng, et al. conclude “the emergence of the biopsychosocial model of chronic pain has led to the development of the most heuristic approach to chronic pain—the interdisciplinary pain management approach.”  The interdisciplinary approach suggests that in order to treat chronic pain effectively, physicians and patients must work together to see the big picture. Since people who suffer from chronic pain show increased risk for a wide range of additional emotional and physical pathologies, treating one symptom in isolation from the others is ineffective. It’s imperative to adopt a multi-modal approach that includes – in addition to physical symptoms – strategies that consider behavior, emotion, cognition, and environment. Viewing chronic pain as more than a physical condition is the first step in managing symptoms without the use of opioids. The second step is the use of non-opioid medications.

Alternative Medications for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is often the result of poorly managed acute pain, and opioid abuse is often the result of the over-prescription of opioid medications after minor or major surgery. Mounting evidence shows that two widely used oral analgesics, when administered intravenously, are effective for managing acute pain:

  • Intravenous (IV) Acetaminophen decreases post-operative pain scores and post-operative opioid usage.
  • Intravenous (IV) Ibuprofen also decreases post-operative pain scores and post-operative opioid usage.

In addition, several non-opioid pain medications are effective in treating chronic pain, and thus decrease the risks associated with opioids:

  • Anti-convulsant medications such as Gabapentin and pregablin are considered effective, first-line treatments for managing chronic neuropathic (nerve) pain.
  • Antidepressant medications (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic neuropathic conditions such as diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants can help manage general nerve pain, diabetic nerve pain, and post-stroke pain. Note: because of the side effects of these drugs, they are not typically advised for elderly patients.
  • Topical NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are an effective treatment for chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis.

After a change in mindset from a strictly material point of view (diagnose-prescribe-take pill) to a holistic one (biopsychosocial), and a shift from opioid medications to non-opioid medications, the third step in managing chronic pain without opioids is the pursuit of complementary and alternative medical therapies.

Complementary Therapies for Chronic Pain Management           

Complementary therapies are defined as treatments that exist outside mainstream medical science but can be effective when used either in place of or in conjunction with traditional therapies. Complementary therapies attract patients struggling with chronic pain who don’t want to use opioid medication for a variety of reasons. Some may avoid opioids because of pre-existing substance abuse disorders; some may have developed substance abuse disorders as a result of prescription opioid use; some may have been unsuccessful managing chronic pain with opioids; some may be averse to physicians and traditional medical science altogether. This list details complementary approaches supported by scientific research for the management of chronic pain:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy which helps a patient make connections between emotions, thoughts, and actions. While CBT itself does not relieve pain, it’s considered effective in improving mood and decreasing catastrophizing. Pain management experts recommend CBT to address the psychological component of pain within the biopsychosocial model of chronic pain management.
  • Physical Exercise improves overall quality of life, mood, physical functioning, and reduces risk of developing co-occurring chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Low, moderate, and high-intensity aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training all have positive impacts on the management of chronic pain. Any exercise plan should be tailored to accommodate individual needs and capabilities.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong are low-intensity movement-based physical activities that have positive impacts on chronic pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Evidence shows these activities also improve strength, balance, flexibility, cognitive function, and help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique used to treat a wide range of disease and illness. Research verifies acupuncture as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, neck pain, back pain, chronic headache, and shoulder pain.
  • Massage is proven effective in reducing chronic musculoskeletal pain and mitigating associated symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • Chiropractic therapy – the direct manipulation of the spine – is proven effective for the treatment of chronic spinal pain syndromes.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation practices serve as an effective complement to CBT in managing chronic pain, decreasing stress, and treating opioid misuse. Pain researchers assert that these techniques operate by increasing emotional awareness and intelligence, skills which lead to greater self-efficacy and a subsequent decrease in the subjective experience of pain.

Managing Chronic Pain Without Opioids

The relationship between humans and opioids goes back thousands of years – but that’s not the whole story. While it’s true that our relationship with exogenous opioids goes back thousands of years, our relationship with endogenous opioids is deeper. It goes back millions of years, to the very origin of our species, because our opioid system evolved as an integral part of our nervous system. We can neither avoid nor ignore its presence and power in our lives. We can, however, identify when this system works against our overall health and well-being, as in the case of opioid medications used for chronic pain. We can mitigate the negative effects of exogenous opioids by pursuing evidence-based therapies which are equally effective, and in some cases, superior to opioids for chronic pain management. Individuals in recovery and treatment for substance abuse disorders can find comfort in the fact that opioids are not their only option and sidestep the potential for relapse and misuse. They no longer have to fear the effect of injuries or surgeries on the recovery process, or operate under the false notion that living a sober life means they don’t have access to effective pain management strategies or medication that works. Holistic, interdisciplinary approaches, paired with non-opioid medications and the right combination of complementary therapies, empower patients – including those in recovery – to take control of their pain experience and improve quality of life without exposure to the preponderance of risks associated with opioids.

Grey’s Story – A Road of Hope and Recovery at Summit Estate

Grey’s Story – A Road to Hope and Recovery “Alcohol was my primary demon,” says Grey. At 59 years old, Grey looks back on his long struggle with alcoholism and is able to reflect back on a life that was almost cut short because of his addiction. For decades, Grey’s life was unmanageable and was causing his family pain as they bear witness to his slow path of self-destruction. Over the years he had unsuccessfully tried several times to quit. “I tried different things to quit, I tried Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, harm reduction programs – it just wasn’t enough,” he says. His addiction affected his self-esteem and his business as well. He also had to confront underlying issues of anger, which made it difficult for Grey to seek or receive help. His wife and two teenage daughters experienced the agony and pain of Grey’s blackouts and hospital visits. Grey’s addiction was tearing his family apart as he continued down the path of self-destruction. At one point, Greys wife threaten to leave and file for divorce. It was one of the lowest points in Grey’s life. “I felt ‘broken,” he says. “My addiction made me lose sight of everything around me,” says Grey. His therapist suggested he go to rehab. “It was obvious and clear, but denial was in the room,” says Grey. The breakthrough and willingness to get the help he needed was the change of attitude that saved Grey’s life. “I looked at recovery facilities state wide,” Grey says. “When I walked through Summit Estate’s doors, the atmosphere was excellent, very open and informal, well-staffed,” he says. Grey took the first step and entered Summit Estate’s 5-week residential treatment program. “It was nerve racking to take time off of work to take care of myself – it was either that or go down the drain, but I was stepping away from danger and into helpful hands,” says Grey. “My father was an alcoholic and I didn’t have a concept of modern recovery,” he says. This compounded the issue of starting recovery difficult. The road to recovery is seldom an upward trajectory, as in life it can be filled with the occasional setbacks and disappointments. “Looking back it was the best decision I made, although reluctantly at first. My experience at Summit Estate was very positive and I couldn’t have imagined doing what I do now – living life sober and happy” says Grey. Grey is on a solid road to recovery and is facing the daily challenges of staying sober with a new mindset and recovery tools learned at Summit Estate. “The road to recovery has been rocky at times, but Summit Estate is one of the healthiest places to get your head together – they have their client’s best interest in mind,” says Grey. “Summit Estate is a safe place, where I was taken care of, given a chance to relax, to think, to reflect. Sacrifice a little to gain recovery, it’s only a few weeks,” says Grey.

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.

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!