Thursday, May 14, 2020

Multi-Generational Drug Abuse


Drug abuse is a most divisive force within a family unit. It causes people to lie to those that trust them, to use violence against those that love them and above all, to loathe themselves. In many cases the abuse of drugs goes on for many years, causing an ingrained type of damage that becomes a feature of daily life. Yet amidst the pain and suffering that is caused by drugs, there often remains an inability for individuals to fully heal themselves. In fact says that the incidence of drug abuse amongst children of drug addicts remains disproportionately high, in spite of first hand experience with the devastating disease. This fact clearly outlines the need for and the significance of expert rehabilitation programs that counters the disease to the same extent that drug abuse has negatively impacted the family.
There are a variety of methods and programs that exist with regard to drug rehab programs but the priorities of almost all drug rehab programs are defined by the level of abuse of the drug addict. The process of successful drug rehab programs is usually based upon a series of fundamental needs which are designed to:
-Allow the immediate effects of the drugs in your system to dissipate
-Safely detoxify the body and remove lasting traces of drugs from the body
-Avoid relapse by undergoing individual counseling
-Identify the things that may trigger a relapse
-Undergo family or marital counseling as appropriate
The last point which relates to family and marital counseling can be extremely significant for the purposes of breaking a lasting cycle of abuse. Most rehab programs are keen to point out the need for families to tackle drug abuse and agree that the role of family and friends as a means of support cannot be overstated. Hand in hand with this issue is the need for individual members of the family to be reconciled with the pain of their experiences. Family members simply cannot provide a supportive network for recovering addicts if they are continuing to harbor resentment or unresolved issues that stem from the drug user. Secondly, the chances of forming a multi-generational pattern of drug abuse are far greater if family reconciliation is not undertaken.
The author is a regular contributor to [] and permission to reproduce this article is given only on the basis that all links remain active and intact.

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Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse-Overdose Assistance

By            Expert Author Stephen Murray

Please keep in mind your purpose for trying to find out if someone is doing alcohol and/or drugs- To Identify and Help rather than Catch and Punish.
General: General and specific guides to detection of alcohol and drug use, and definition of addiction.
Contents:I. General Guide to Detection
II. Definition of Addiction
III. Pupil Dilation
IV. Signs and Symptoms
V. Paraphernalia a) S/S Chart Version
VI. Drug Facts
VII. Articles and Other Resources
VIII. Drug Pictures/Resources
IX. Topics
X. Additional Articles (Alcoholism, Drugs, Teenage Addiction, Interventions)
XI. Overdose and Emergency Intervention Techniques
I. Specific: General Guide to Detection
Abrupt changes in work or school attendance, quality of work, work output, grades, discipline.
Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of temper. Withdrawal from responsibility. General changes in overall attitude. Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
Wearing of sunglasses at inappropriate times. Continual wearing of long-sleeved garments particularly in hot weather or reluctance to wear short sleeved attire when appropriate. Association with known substance abusers. Unusual borrowing of money from friends, co-workers or parents. Stealing small items from employer, home or school. Secretive behavior regarding actions and possessions; poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention and suspicion such as frequent trips to storage rooms, restroom, basement, etc.
II. Specific: DSM-IV Definition of Addiction
A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
(1) Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
a. A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
b. Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
(2) Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
a. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance
b. The same (or a closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms. (
3) The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended (loss of control).
(4) There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use (loss of control). (
5) A great deal of time is spent on activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects (preoccupation).
(6) Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use (continuation despite adverse consequences).
(7) The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (adverse consequences).
III. Specific: Pupil Dilation
Before you do anything, consider this. There are two trains of thought prior to detection and intervention. One thought is to catch and punish, and the other is to identify and help- remember why you are doing this, and the intervention will turn out much better.
Note: A 6mm, 7mm, or 8mm pupil size could indicate that a person is under the influence of cocaine, crack, and meth, hallucinogens, crystal, ecstasy, or other stimulant. A 1mm or 2mm pupil size could indicate a person under the influence of heroin, opiates, or other depressant. A pupil close to pinpoint could indicate use. A pupil completely dilated could indicate use. Blown out wide pupils are indicative of crack, methamphetamine, cocaine, and stimulant use. Pinpoint pupils are indicative of heroin, opiate, depressant use.
Other causes of pupil dilation
IV. Specific: Signs and Symptoms
Alcohol: Odor on the breath. Intoxication. Difficulty focusing: glazed appearance of the eyes. Uncharacteristically passive behavior; or combative and argumentative behavior. Gradual (or sudden in adolescents) deterioration in personal appearance and hygiene. Gradual development of dysfunction, especially in job performance or schoolwork. Absenteeism (particularly on Monday). Unexplained bruises and accidents. Irritability. Flushed skin. Loss of memory (blackouts). Availability and consumption of alcohol becomes the focus of social or professional activities. Changes in peer-group associations and friendships. Impaired interpersonal relationships (troubled marriage, unexplainable termination of deep relationships, alienation from close family members).
Marijuana/Pot: Rapid, loud talking and bursts of laughter linearly stages of intoxication. Sleepy or stupor in the later stages. Forgetfulness in conversation. Inflammation in whites of eyes; pupils unlikely to be dilated. Odor similar to burnt rope on clothing or breath. Tendency to drive slowly - below speed limit. Distorted sense of time passage - tendency to overestimate time intervals. Use or possession of paraphernalia including roach clip, packs of rolling papers, pipes or bongs. Marijuana users are difficult to recognize unless they are under the influence of the drug at the time of observation. Casual users may show none of the general symptoms. Marijuana does have a distinct odor and may be the same color or a bit greener than tobacco.
Cocaine/Crack/Methamphetamines/Stimulants: Extremely dilated pupils. Dry mouth and nose, bad breath, frequent lip licking. Excessive activity, difficulty sitting still, lack of interest in food or sleep. Irritable, argumentative, nervous. Talkative, but conversation often lacks continuity; changes subjects rapidly. Runny nose, cold or chronic sinus/nasal problems, nose bleeds. Use or possession of paraphernalia including small spoons, razor blades, mirror, little bottles of white powder and plastic, glass or metal straws.
Depressants: Symptoms of alcohol intoxication with no alcohol odor on breath (remember that depressants are frequently used with alcohol). Lack of facial expression or animation. Flat affect. Flaccid appearance. Slurred speech. Note: There are few readily apparent symptoms. Abuse may be indicated by activities such as frequent visits to different physicians for prescriptions to treat" nervousness", "anxiety"," stress", etc.
Narcotics/Prescription Drugs/Opium/Heroin/Codeine/Oxycontin: Lethargy, drowsiness. Constricted pupils fail to respond to light. Redness and raw nostrils from inhaling heroin in power form. Scars (tracks) on inner arms or other parts of body, from needle injections. Use or possession of paraphernalia, including syringes, bent spoons, bottle caps, eyedroppers, rubber tubing, cotton and needles. Slurred speech. While there may be no readily apparent symptoms of analgesic abuse, it may be indicated by frequent visits to different physicians or dentists for prescriptions to treat pain of non-specific origin. In cases where patient has chronic pain and abuse of medication is suspected, it may be indicated by amounts and frequency taken.
Inhalants: Substance odor on breath and clothes. Runny nose. Watering eyes. Drowsiness or unconsciousness. Poor muscle control. Prefers group activity to being alone. Presence of bags or rags containing dry plastic cement or other solvent at home, in locker at school or at work. Discarded whipped cream, spray paint or similar chargers (users of nitrous oxide). Small bottles labeled" incense" (users of butyl nitrite).
Solvents, Aerosols, Glue, Petrol: Nitrous Oxide - laughing gas, whippits, nitrous. Amyl Nitrate - snappers, poppers, pearlers, rushamie, .Butyl Nitrate - locker room, bolt, bullet, rush, climax, red gold. Slurred speech, impaired coordination, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing. Brain damage, pains in the chest, muscles, joints, heart trouble, severe depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, bronchial spasm, sores on nose or mouth, nosebleeds, diarrhea, bizarre or reckless behavior, sudden death, suffocation.
LSD/Hallucinogens: Extremely dilated pupils, (see note below). Warm skin, excessive perspiration and body odor. Distorted sense of sight, hearing, touches; distorted image of self and time perception. Mood and behavior changes, the extent depending on emotional state of the user and environmental conditions Unpredictable flashback episodes even long after withdrawal (although these are rare). Hallucinogenic drugs, which occur both naturally and in synthetic form, distort or disturb sensory input, sometimes to a great degree. Hallucinogens occur naturally in primarily two forms, (peyote) cactus and psilocybin mushrooms.
Several chemical varieties have been synthesized, most notably, MDA , STP, and PCP. Hallucinogen usage reached a peaking the United States in the late 1960's, but declined shortly thereafter due to a broader awareness of the detrimental effects of usage. However, a disturbing trend indicating resurgence in hallucinogen usage by high school and college age persons nationwide has been acknowledged by law enforcement. With the exception of PCP, all hallucinogens seem to share common effects of use. Any portion of sensory perceptions may be altered to varying degrees. Synesthesia, or the "seeing" of sounds, and the "hearing" of colors, is a common side effect of hallucinogen use. Depersonalization, acute anxiety, and acute depression resulting in suicide have also been noted as a result of hallucinogen use. Note: there are some forms of hallucinogens that are considered downers and constrict pupil diameters.
PCP: Unpredictable behavior; mood may swing from passiveness to violence for no apparent reason. Symptoms of intoxication. Disorientation; agitation and violence if exposed to excessive sensory stimulation. Fear, terror. Rigid muscles. Strange gait. Deadened sensory perception (may experience severe injuries while appearing not to notice). Pupils may appear dilated. Mask like facial appearance. Floating pupils, appear to follow a moving object. Comatose (unresponsive) if large amount consumed. Eyes may be open or closed.
Ecstasy: Confusion, depression, headaches, dizziness (from hangover/after effects), muscle tension, panic attacks, paranoia, possession of pacifiers (used to stop jaw clenching), lollipops, candy necklaces, mentholated vapor rub, severe anxiety, sore jaw (from clenching teeth after effects), vomiting or nausea (from hangover/after effects)
Signs that your teen could be high on Ecstasy: Blurred vision, rapid eye movement, pupil dilation, chills or sweating, high body temperature, sweating profusely, dehydrated, confusion, faintness, paranoia or severe anxiety, trance-like state, transfixed on sites and sounds, unconscious clenching of the jaw, grinding teeth, very affectionate.
Stimulants (Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth., Crystal)
Depressants (Heroin, Marijuana, Downers)
Hallucinogens (LSD)
Narcotics (Rx. Medications)
Inhalants (Paint, Gasoline, White Out)
Note: Paraphernalia- Keep in mind, that you may not find drugs, if you are searching for them, but you can usually find the paraphernalia associated with use.
VI. Specific: Drug Facts
Includes identifiers, definitions, language of users and dealers. Drug Terms Slang and Street Terms
VII. Specific: Articles and Other Resources
This the additional information for brain chemistry and the drug user)
VIII. Specific: Drug Pictures/Resources from the DEA
NARCOTICS Narcotics of Natural Origin
Opium, Morphine, Codeine, Thebaine
Semi-Synthetic Narcotics
Heroin Hydromorphone Oxycodone Hydrododone
Synthetic Narcotics
Narcotics Treatment Drugs
Methadone Dextroproxyphene Fentanyl Pentazocine Butorphanol
DEPRESSANTS Barbiturates
Controlled Substances Uses and Effects (Chart) Benzodiazepines Gamma
Hydroxybutric AcidParaldehyde, Chloral HydrateGlutethimide 7
Newly Marketed Drugs
STIMULANTS Cocaine Amphetamines
Methcathinone, Methylphenidate
CANNABIS Marijuana Hashish Hashish Oil
HALLUCINOGENS LSD Psilocybin & Psiocyn and Other Tryptamines Peyote & Mescaline MDMA (Ecstasy) & Other Phenethylamines Phencyclidine (PCP) & Related Drugs Ketamine
IX. Specific: NICD Topics
Do you have questions relating to addiction /addictions / substance abuse? Contact us...Health Info and Videos Medical issues updated weekly. Family Resources for the family, intervention information, support, and counseling. Medical information, doctor and specialists directory, terminology and dictionary of terms. Treatment.
The Villa at Scottsdale- Providing a full continuum of care for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Survival Kit
General: A series, for the individual, family, friends, employers, educators, professionals, etc. on prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, relapse prevention, support, and other issues relating to alcoholism and drug addiction.
1. Prevention- Includes tips on how to talk to your kids about alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
2. Detection of Signs and Symptoms- A guide to detection of alcohol and various drug usage.
3. Definition of Addiction- A DSM-IV definition of exactly what constitutes alcoholism and drug addiction.
4. Intervention- Interventions can and do work. We will show you how to do it effectively.
5. Treatment & Housing- A treatment center and halfway house locator.
6. Support- Some guides to how to support someone while they are in treatment.
7. After Care- What to do prior to and after release from treatment.
8. Recovery / Relapse Prevention- Addiction can surface again, in the form of relapse.
9. Other Issues- Issues to think about regarding those affected by substance abuse, as well as those around them.
10. References- A list of those who contributed to this series of articles.
Articles Medical Today Dr. William Gallagher takes us through his use of DNFT with his patients. Psychotherapy Today Psychologist Jim Maclaine keeps us up to date with his articles of insight, therapy, and healing. Counseling Today Therapist Thom Rutledge gives a creative approach to dealing with life on life's terms via his unique counseling sessions. Big Book Bytes Author Shelly Marshall shares via the Big Book on issues of concern to those in recovery. All pages are set-up to copy, for use by counselors, professionals, sponsors, and others.
Recovery Today Interviews of people in recovery, about alcoholism, drug abuse, addictions, recovery, sobriety, spirituality, wisdom, experience, strength, and hope. Tune in monthly for new articles!
A.A. History Author Dick B. will take you back to a time when the recovery rates were as high as 93%.
Journaling Today A series of informative articles by Author Doreene Clementon how, why, and what to write about.
Spirituality Today Author Carol Tuttle takes us to new heights on our spiritual journey.
Articles of God and Faith Features 100's of topics relating to God, faith, spirituality, and more.
Life Today Everyday life experiences from people all over the world. Life, Addictions, Recovery, Hope, Inspiration, Wisdom, Advice, and so much more. Tune in on a regular basis to see what others have and are going through. Find hope from the experiences of others.
Steps Today Recovery Peer and Advisory Board Member Dean G. gives creative approach to dealing with life on life's terms via his unique recovery sessions.
Step Work / Relapse Prevention This service is designed to assist with step work, with quotes and pages from the Big Book, with forms ready to copy and utilize. There is a section devoted to relapse prevention as well.
X. Specific: Additional Articles
Health and Medical News, videos, text from the world of medicine, health, and medical.
Ecstasy information.
How Do I Talk With My Kids About Alcohol?
How Do I talk to my kids about drugs?
How Do I talk with my teenager about drugs and alcohol?
What does a crack pipe look like?
Family assistance for substance abuse.
Addiction treatment for my teenager.
Overdose or OD Information
XI. Specific: Overdose & Emergency Intervention Techniques
Drug Overdose- Drug overdoses can be accidental or on purpose. The amount of a drug needed to cause an overdose varies with the type of drug and the person taking it. Overdoses from prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, "street" drugs, and/or alcohol can be life threatening. Know, too, that mixing certain medications or "street" drugs with alcohol can also kill.
Physical symptoms of a drug overdose vary with the type of drug(s) taken. They include: Abnormal breathing Slurred speech Lack of coordination Slow or rapid pulse Low or elevated body temperature Enlarged or small eye pupils Reddish face Heavy sweating Drowsiness Violent outbursts Delusions and/or hallucinations Unconsciousness which may lead to coma (Note: A diabetic who takes insulin may show some of the above symptoms if he or she is having an insulin reaction.)
Parents need to watch for signs of illegal drug and alcohol use in their children. Morning hangovers, the odor of alcohol, and red streaks in the whites of the eyes are obvious signs of alcohol use. Items such as pipes, rolling papers, eye droppers and butane lighters may be the first telling clues that someone is abusing drugs. Another clue is behavior changes such as: Lack of appetite Insomnia Hostility Mental confusion Depression Mood swings Secretive behavior Social isolation Deep sleep Hallucinations.
Prevention- Accidental prescription and over-the-counter medication overdoses may be prevented by asking your doctor or pharmacist: What is the medication and why is it being prescribed? How and when should the medication be taken and for how long? (Follow the instructions exactly as given.) Can the medication be taken with other medicines or alcohol or not? Are there any foods to avoid while taking this medication? What are the possible side effects? What are the symptoms of an overdose and what should be done if it occurs? Should any activities be avoided such as sitting in the sun, operating heavy machinery, driving? Should the medicine still be taken if there is a pre-existing medical condition?
To avoid medication overdoses: Never take a medicine prescribed for someone else. Never give or take medication in the dark. Before each dose, always read the label on the bottle to be certain it is the correct medication. Always tell the doctor of any previous side effects or adverse reactions to medication as well as new and unusual symptoms that occur after taking the medicine. Always store medications in bottles with childproof lids and place those bottles on high shelves, out of a child's reach, or in locked cabinets. Take the prescribed dose, not more. Keep medications in their original containers to discourage illicit drug use among children: Set a good example for your children by not using drugs yourself. Teach your child to say "NO" to drugs and alcohol. Explain the dangers of drug use, including the risk of AIDS. Get to know your children's friends and their parents. Know where your children are and whom they are with. Listen to your children and help them to express their feelings and fears. Encourage your children to engage in healthy activities such as sports, scouting, community-based youth programs and volunteer work. Learn to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse.
Questions to Ask:
Is the person not breathing and has no pulse? FIRST AID Perform Cyprinids the person not breathing, but has a pulse? FIRST AID Perform Rescue Breathing AND is the person unconscious? FIRST AID lay the victim down on his or her left side and check airway, breathing and pulse often before emergency care. Do CPR or Rescue Breathing as needed. ANDdoes the person have any of these signs? Hallucinations Confusion Convulsions Breathing slow and shallow and/or slurring their words
Do you suspect the person has taken an overdose of drugs? FIRST AID Call Poison Control Center. Follow the Poison Control Center's instructions. Approach the victim calmly and carefully. Walk the person around to keep him or her awake and to help the syrup of ipecac work faster, if you were told to give this to the victim. Also, see "Poisoning". AND is the person's personality suddenly hostile, violent and aggressive? FIRST AID Use caution. Protect yourself. Do not turn your back to the victim or move suddenly in front of him or her. If you can, see that the victim does not harm you, himself or herself. Remember, the victim is under the influence of a drug. Call the police to assist you if you cannot handle the situation. Leave and find a safe place to stay until the police arrive. AND Have you or someone else accidentally taken more than the prescribed dose of a prescription or over-the-counter medication? DO NOT perform any technique unless it is a matter of life and death! If you are unsure of what you are doing, please follow the instructions given by a 911 operator.
Note: If doctor is not available, call Poison Control Center. Follow instructions given.
Dr. Stephen J. Murray, NICD Director, (National Institute on Chemical Dependency.)

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Drug Abuse Treatments


As treatment of drug abuse should suit the specific needs of the individual concerned, there is no one treatment that can be used in all cases. The choice of treatment also depends on which drug is being abused. Psychological therapies, such as behavior therapy, and medication to help the individual with withdrawal symptoms are components of the treatment program. The areas that may deserve special attention during treatment include detoxification, i.e., the process of stopping the drug while coping with physical addiction, relapse prevention and long-term rehabilitation.
Behavior therapies generally include counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, or family therapy. Medications assist in suppressing the withdrawal symptoms and drug craving, and in blocking the effects of drugs.
Moreover, studies reveal that treatment for heroin addiction using methadone at an adequate dosage level combined with behavior therapy successfully reduces death rates and many health problems arising out of heroin abuse. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in treating the cravings that accompany cocaine withdrawal. The procedure is now being applied on pregnant drug abusers to improve the health of their babies.
Nonresidential programs serve the largest number of drug abusers. Among residential facilities are hospitals, group homes, halfway houses, and therapeutic communities, such as Phoenix House and Daytop Village, where most of the daily activities are treatment-related. Programs like Al-Anon, CoAnon, and Alateen, 12-step programs for family and friends of drug abusers, help them to break out of codependent cycles.
For every person undergoing drug treatment there are an estimated three or four people in dire need of it. There are many who try to get treatment, especially from public facilities, but are put off by waits of over a month to get in. Assessment of the effectiveness of treatment is difficult because of the chronic nature of drug abuse and alcoholism. And more so because the disease is generally made more complicated by personal, social, and legal factors.
Drug Abuse [] provides detailed information on Drug Abuse, Drug Abuse Treatments, Drug Abuse Treatment Centers, Teen Drug Abuse and more. Drug Abuse is affiliated with Drug Abuse Treatment Programs [].

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Trivial Way to Hack and Reprogram Your Unconscious

By           Expert Author William T Batten      

Your unconscious is outside your awareness, but it's not outside your control. It's a strange quirk of psychology that most of our minds are invisible to us. Even stranger is how easy it is to influence our inner black boxes.
But it's not as simple as thinking thoughts and hoping they'll stick. We've all had moments when we've consciously decided to do something - hit the gym, eat a vegetable, be more present - only for it to not happen.
In other words, not all conscious thoughts influence your unconscious.
If you want to lead a different life, the art of unconscious reprogramming is worth knowing. Change comes quickly and easily when it reaches your unconscious mind.
In fact, think about how you were ten or 20 years ago. Most of the problems that plagued you are nothing to you now.
You've grown, changed and become stronger since then.
And most of those changes happened outside your awareness. You simply woke up one day and realised you'd been free of the problem for a while.
Or maybe you're just realising it now...
Some of those changes, though, you were consciously aware of. You wanted them, so you thought about them. Maybe you took steps to fix things and, to your delight, these steps worked.
You have already reprogrammed your unconscious. It's simply a question of how.
Focus on your hands. Now focus on the sounds around you.
One of the things that you can consciously control is where you place your attention. Where you place it (and the quality of your attention) becomes a simple way to create change deep within you.
It's no surprise that it all comes down to focus.
But don't worry - even if you're distractible, there's something simple and powerful you can do.
It only takes a few minutes a day. And you can even do it while driving, cooking or doing other tasks.
Each morning, think about your day and what you want to happen. Take a moment to imagine what it would be like if everything went perfectly.
Then, right before bed, reflect on what went well, what you learned and what you could do better.
Time spent: about three minutes.
Difficulty level: super-duper easy.
Power level: extreme.
Most people won't bother doing this. They'll read it and decide it's too simple to work. You should know that the simplicity is a feature. It's easy to get this right, so you have no excuses.
And what does it do? Like a good hypnotic induction, it trains your attention towards things that you want. Early and late each day, you can't be bothered consciously interfering. You focus on what you want and your mind acts as if it's a self-hypnosis suggestion.
Because it is.
Not everything has to be fancy. This only works with discipline, though. Each day adds a little bit, creating massive changes over time. Sticking with it is what's going to separate your amazing results from everyone else's.
You can no longer say that you don't know self-hypnosis. Sorry about that. Many people like to assume you can't hypnotise yourself or that it's too hard. I've ruined that for you, forever.
So you might as well take the plunge. The updated version of Unlock the Vault has other self-hypnosis techniques just as easy as this one. Why stop now? Instead, keep ruining things by leapfrogging your self-hypnosis skills:

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Thursday, March 5, 2020

Treatment Resistant Depression: What It Is And How To Master It

By                Expert Author Charles Meusburger

My space is dark; my darkness is all over. What's next? What's now? Why all this? Did I deserve this somehow? Why doesn't anything or anyone help me? I don't want to feel like this anymore. An ashen haze envelops me all day, every day with lengthy periods of blackness interspersed so much so that I even welcome gray anymore. I get so frightened that it will never even return to gray-then what? I'm out of control in my head and in my heart; my emotions are so overwhelming and my thoughts so confused that it's a free fall in an abyss with no limits-just pain and fear; too much indecision, too much distraction without purpose; endless streams of helpless, hopeless banter in an echo-laden head.
I've read and been told to "not go gently into that goodnight." I have fought this-hard, but it hasn't mattered. There is nothing gentle about any of this. It's unrelenting pain with no compassion and no identity--it's invisible. There is no fairness or reason-it just stops and engulfs me-why?! What more can I do? What more can be done? What is this plague?
Depression, especially treatment resistant depression is an insidiously pernicious illness. It can be subtle at first but then it demonstrates that it's like a parasite-a parasite that steals everything and wants to kill the host.
Depression is a treatable disorder. Most of the time, standardized modalities are very effective in the amelioration or even the alleviation of the disorder. Sometimes however, not as readily--this form is called Treatment Resistant or Refractory Depression [TRD]. There are very minor differences in the definition of TRD, but it is generally defined as: an inadequate response to one, [or at least two or more], antidepressant trials of adequate doses and duration. Unfortunately, this is a relatively common occurrence (See Diagnosis and Definition of Treatment Resistant Depression, M. Fava; March 8, 2017).
In clinical practice this is seen up to 50 to 60% of the time. Subsequently, it is recommended that a diagnostic reassessment of these patients be performed in an effort to achieve better outcomes. There are many potential contributing and confusing factors that may be involved and not initially obvious. Examples of medical conditions include Parkinson's disease, thyroid disease, stroke, COPD, cardiac issues, unrevealed substance abuse, and significant personality disorders can be culprits. Other potential contributors include comorbid psychiatric disorders like anxiety, psychosis, early dementia, bipolar depression diagnosed as unipolar, trauma or abuse not determined initially, chronic pain, other medication interactions and/or patient noncompliance. Ascertaining all of these potential variables is both essential and challenging for the clinician as well as the patient. Collaborative historians are very valuable to assist in shedding light on the problem, i.e. family, coworkers, teachers, etc. All of these individuals or groups would, of course, require the patient's permission because of privacy laws. Reliable psychosomatic rating scales can be useful to detect, and in some cases, begin to quantify the severity of the issue. There are varying degrees of resistance. Some readily responsive to minor adjustments in treatment and others are much more tenacious.
Treatment options can include many different modalities. Usually the first level of alternative care is achieved by increasing the dose, changing or adding (augmentation) antidepressants or other non-antidepressant medications such as Lithium, several atypical antipsychotics, stimulants or thyroid hormone for example. Again, adequate doses and duration are required. Patients must first be able to tolerate the medications or combinations due to the potential side effects or adverse reactions that always pose a potential risk.
The risks and benefits for all medications recommended should be discussed with the patients before they are tried. The discussion should also include any alternative therapies, and/or the possible outcomes if a patient choses to forgo the recommended treatment. The patient must understand and then agree, or not, to the treatment plan being suggested before it is begun. This is the process of informed consent.
In addition to other modalities of treatment, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) can be safely utilized for severe refractory depression or in patients with serious depression who cannot tolerate standard antidepressant medications.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and other newly emerging methods of direct and select brain stimulation have been shown to produce efficacious results as well. The arsenal of successful treatment also includes Ketamine IV infusion for resistant depression.
Psychotherapies of varying types have been assessed as effective and often necessary methods to assist with medication therapies in the fight against refractory depression; i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interactive-Interpersonal, Dialectical Behavioral and yes, even Analytical in some cases, have all been proven to be potentially effective. Treatment to remission, meaning no remaining symptoms, needs to be the goal or recurrence is likely.
Outcomes for patients with TRD can be very varied. Relapse rates tend to be greater and swifter in patients with TRD. It is essential that these patients be assessed and treated only by well-trained and experienced behavioral health specialists. This form of depression is certainly treatable. Hope and trust must be inherent in the treatment plan.
Charles E Meusburger, MD is a licensed, board certified diplomat of Psychiatry & Neurology and board certified in Addiction Medicine- specializing in Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Effective Talking Therapies, and Medication Evaluation Management, practicing for over 25 Years with experience helping people to make their lives better and happier. To schedule an appointment contact us 609-484-0770 so we can help you with life's demands.

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Placebo Healing Effects of DIY Scenarios

By                 Expert Author Erik Sean McGiven

Disclaimer: I base the theories and techniques offered in this article on anecdotal experiences. While I am not a medical practitioner, I have found placebo scenarios act as a counterbalance to my precarious mental state. I grew up in a family where mistakes carry more weight than achievements. And misdeeds of judgment were most detrimental. Thus, from an early age, I had to prop up my self-esteem by making up stories where I triumphed. Little did I know I was using the placebo effect to deflect the negativity and treat my depression.
Another warning: do not operate vehicles or heavy machinery while using this technique as one shuts our reality and the outside world. It is best to apply it in a safe environment devoid of any physical or mental hazards and unwelcome distractions.
Additional warning: if you are under a doctor's care or taking pain or psychotic medications, advise your physician before beginning this program as conflicts in treatment can occur.
What is the placebo effect? It's a phenomenon whereby suffering people get better from treatments that have no discernible reason to work. While strange and misunderstood, it can be almost as effective as drugs that have been on the market for years. Studies also show that symptoms often improve when given fake medication.
Some call it a trick rather than something real. But recent research studies show a connection between brain chemistry and placebo use. Another study, a functional MRI one, detected small blood flow changes triggered by placebo use. Like pharmaceuticals, placebos trigger neurochemicals such as endorphins and dopamine and create a numbing or unawareness of pain.
So, my conjecture is that if people get better by taking a placebo pill, then why wouldn't they get better when self-administering a deflecting and positive scenario. Studies validate this theory showing patient's conditions improve even when they knew they were taking a placebo. I repeat that again; they knew they were getting fake medication and still improved.
What is the reason for this? Maybe it's the survival mechanism in all of us that seeks ways to stay happy and alive. We have this hope and desire to believe our choices will lead to a better life. Believing is the crucial part of these diagnoses, for without that faith it dooms the treatment.
So, what makes the placebo effect work? Maybe our emotions and intentions do not start in the conscious mind but instead, are triggered in the subconscious mind. These could be innate choices, learned or imposed choices from childhood to the present. Whatever is programmed into our brains, both good and bad premises, that's pretty much what leads us through life. However, they can be reprogramed. There's a strange little quirk about the human subconscious mind, it can't tell the difference between something imagined vs something remembered. They both have similar effects on our brain chemistry. Thus, by imagining positive and rehabilitating scenarios, a healing process can begin.
What kinds of scenarios work best? For me, the stories remote from my daily life and problems are the most proficient. If you get too close to your personal life, you'll keep regurgitating old problems instead of deflecting them away. Likewise, you want to create stories that replace your suffering with positive and uplifting thoughts and emotions. This is a rehabilitation process, replacing the bad with the good, and not seeking quick answers. A better analogy is to allow the body to heal so you can return to battle your demons.
Scenarios that center on accomplishments and receiving acknowledgment can be beneficial to one's psyche. They not only displace negative feelings; they start pathways to positive activities. Joyful scenarios can likewise help reduce stress. That is because positive emotions such as feeling grateful or elated reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Problem-solving scenarios work well even when the results are not productive. Think of them as exercises for the brain. When you think positive thoughts, negative thoughts and feelings have few opportunities to creep in. Likewise, problem-solving demands a much more concentrated focus making the displacement more effective. However, such scenarios should be disconnected and distant from your present-day conflicts.
Become the hero of your story, the rescuer, the innovator, the savior, the loyal sidekick, the enabler, or the good soldier. Whatever takes you away from your troubles, the misery, the pain, that's the placebo scenario you want to imagine and create. Feel good scenarios are like meditation in they allow the body and mind to rest while they generate positive hormones that foster healing.
In structuring your stories, you find that when all goes smoothly without conflicts or problems, the results lack satisfaction. To triumph, you need obstacles that test your strength and courage; people, things, or ideas that stand in your way. The higher the difficulty, the more satisfying will be your winning resolution. So, insert villains, natural disasters, and daunting problems that challenge your skills so when you overcome them, it's a worthwhile achievement.
When using this placebo regiment, one should be cautious about telling others. This is because your scenarios and dreams are not made for public scrutiny. First. your mental state, whether it is depressed or optimistic, your attempts to improve it may face disbelief and opposition, especially when they try to dissect your scenarios and dreams. Only you will know if they are working or if they are not.
If you convey your placebo efforts to others, they are no longer yours should you wish to revisit, extend them, or wallow in their glory. When they become public, they lose their strength and become conversational banter rather than useful therapy.
Another caveat to watch out for is when scenarios become commitments that must be fulfilled, obligations beyond your capabilities. This reality can lead to thoughts of failure and depression. It is best to keep these two worlds separated.
Addiction to placebo scenarios could be a problem where the rush of overcoming dangers and being triumphant creates fantastic highs. Such obsessions, especially when harming your work and social life, should be dealt with by awareness. It's as if the treatment has taken over and become an overdosing problem. In such situations, one must weigh a healthy reality against rejuvenating scenarios and balance them for the best life possible.
There is a side benefit to placebo scenarios. I remember a study that said employees who daydream at work are more innovative than other employees. In the business world, innovations are the most effective way of increasing productivity and profits. By daydreaming, you think outside the box and discover solutions overlooked by linear thinkers.
While I warn against sharing scenarios, the following stories have become depleted from overuse and will give you some idea of how my imagination works. Using similar scenarios can lead to a healthy psyche.
Designed a valueless car engine that won the Indy 500. This was a problem-solving scenario that demanded a lot of structural visualization and sequential conceptualization. It took over a year to resolve and visualize the design.
As an Air Force crewmember was shot down in WWII Germany and met up with the French underground. Helped to uncover turncoat resistance members working with the Nazis plus discovery of a mole operating in the London Ally Command Center. Learned French and some German and remained undercover for the duration of the war.
Helped design a cinema screening system requiring no special glasses that uses ultra-high frequency light waves projected on a crystal embedded screen to produce vivid 3-D images. The embedded crystals were formulated from compounds extracted from large meteorites falling in Russia in 2013. Scientist found these crystals exhibit unique properties that reflect varying perspectives depending on the frequency of the ultra-high light waves hitting them. Computer programs take data from standard 3-D digital cameras and convert them to data which works with this new system. Observers to test screenings said it's like looking out a large open window, so lifelike the images.
Studies have shown that positive thoughts supplanting negative ones increase the subject's outlook. However, thinking happy thoughts aren't enough to take us into another world. Made up scenarios can and have the added feature of being under the subject's control and when intense shut out the real world. They also give the subject choices whether to seek rehabilitation or fester in one's misery. By choosing correctly, the patient becomes the doctor and heals thy self.
Placebo scenario therapy takes time. What got you into this mess took time and getting healthy takes time too. Don't look for instant success; for like physical wounds, they take time to heal.
The placebo effect of reading this article signifies a belief there's something here that could help you feel better. It also signifies an awareness you are searching for answers and solutions; that's a step in the right direction. Welcome to the placebo scenario world.
Erik Sean McGiven is a freelance author living in the Los Angeles area. He writes on several topics, including acting, movies, books, and sports. Having worked as a producer, screenwriter, and director he knows well of problems associated with stress and pressure causing deadlines. His website contains links to his wealth of writings, mostly on the entertainment industry where he works as a producer, writer, and production designer.

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

3 Ways to Beat the Blues This Season for Winter Health

By                     Expert Author Debbie A. Johnson

Do you feel depressed and low-energy during winter's dark days? What you have is most likely not S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is literally a medical condition similar to clinical depression. You likely just have a milder condition: seasonal depression. And that's good news because? Because it's easy to beat with three simple steps:
1. Light, light, light! Use full-spectrum light-bulbs in your home and at work, wherever possible, then add a "happy light' - You can't afford not to. What is your good mood worth to you? You can read or make phone calls or do whatever you wish near the light box or put it at your work desk. Also, once a month, try the new UV safe tanning beds. Not to tan, just to get the light your body needs.
Take a mini-vacation and close your eyes each day for a minute by your light box and imagine you are in Hawaii or another sunny destination... you may just find yourself there on a quick vacation! But in the meantime, you'll feel better. Imagine yourself immersed in joy... that will help, too!
2. Stay active. You may think winter is for hibernating, but if you do, hibernate actively! I do Zumba at home by my sunny window and alternates with swimming at an indoor pool that has lots of light coming in during the morning hours. Exercise is a magic-pill you have to earn by sweat! Also, be sure to get enough good sleep in order to have the energy you need to work out.
Are you doing the kind of exercise you love? If you are, then you're motivated to exercise more. Do you love to exercise alone or in a group? Do you need others to push you along or sweat with you? Do you need a firmly scheduled class? If so, you know what to do... join one!
Don't have time? Just imagine exercising and you'll find yourself having time! Do this visualization as you wake up in the morning or just as you are falling asleep at night, and whenever you feel guilty about not exercising! People have actually toned up just by imagining it, but you will likely find yourself at the gym, walking at lunchtime, or wherever/whenever you can best get your workout. The subconscious is a powerful tool to help you in your daily life. Just keep speaking its language-images!
3. Vitamin D-3 helps a lot - If you can't get enough real sunlight, and even if you can, take D-3 in a form that is easy to absorb and utilize by your body. If you could only take one supplement with you on a long journey, I've heard that vitamin D-3 is the one to take with you. Yes, even over vitamin C.
Debbie Johnson is the Best-Selling Author of the original Think Yourself Thin. Think Yourself There is bonus with purchase of Think Yourself Thin at, or separately on other platforms. She is also an international speaker and small business, personal and health consultant

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