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sober influences - thriving in recovery

Sober Influences – Thriving in Recovery

Thriving in Recovery

If you are facing addiction to drugs or alcohol, you likely feel lost and don’t know where you can turn for answers. People with substance abuse issues often feel alone and as though nobody can relate to the problem they are facing, but that is not true. Many people have experienced and overcame addiction, and learning about their stories can give you the needed confidence to take the vital first steps toward recovery.

Many support groups exist that allow people to speak with others who are going through a similar problem, and those support groups can work wonders. However, looking to famous and successful people who have beaten addiction and maintained their success can offer much more inspiration. You will learn that unlikely people can fall into the trap, but you will also discover how they can recover no matter the severity of the addiction.

Kristen Johnston

Fans of “3rd Rock From the Sun” are no strangers to Kristen Johnston and the role she played in the hit show. What most people don’t know is that the actress went through a difficult battle with addiction that almost took her life. She realized the problem and decided to work toward a solution when her addiction caused her stomach to rip open, forcing her to think about the direction in which she was going.

She did not want to lose her life or watch her success vanish, so she made recovery a priority. Johnston now speaks about recovery and believes that society needs to remove the stigma from addiction so that we can make real progress.

Matthew Perry

Another example of someone who broke past the roadblock of addiction is Matthew Perry. The “Friends” star had once found himself on the wrong side of a painkiller and alcohol addiction, but his decision to seek treatment likely saved his life.

Now that he is sober, he voices his thoughts on addiction and why we should help addicts, not put them behind bars. The fact that he goes out of his way to assist others is the trait of which he is the proudest. According to Perry, helping others is the best way to overcome depression because it gets you out of your head.

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe’s role in the “Harry Potter” series was his claim to fame, and many fans are shocked to learn about his past battle with addiction. The star states that he had trouble adjusting to the fame that came with his role in the popular movie that earned international attention. When the pressure got to the worst point, he stayed inside and refused to interact with people, turning to alcohol to numb the pain. The good news, though, is that Radcliffe’s friends helped him see that he had a problem and encouraged him to change his path, and the star has been sober for many years.

David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff’s role in “Baywatch” allowed him to win the hearts of fans across the nation. Despite his best effort to hide the problem from the public eye, he could not conceal his addiction. One specialist said that Hasselhoff would have likely died if he had not gone through treatment for his problem. He finally sought help after his daughter was forced to call 911 when he drank a dangerous amount of alcohol.

Drew Barrymore

Actress Drew Barrymore became famous at the young age of 6 when she played a role in the movie “E.T.” Living the star lifestyle led to birthday parties at exclusive clubs throughout her childhood, giving her access to cocaine before her 13th birthday. The attention combined with her drug addiction led to her attempted suicide in her early teens. The actress blames an absent father and a troubled childhood for her addiction to cocaine and other substances.

Luckily, Barrymore has reportedly been sober since the end of her teen years, maintaining the path of sobriety. Although she faced several relapses along the way, her determination to recover and the help of treatment centers empowered Barrymore to move forward with her life. In addition to getting help from professionals, she also credits sober influences for her sobriety.

Getting Help for Addiction

Having sober influences is a great way for anyone to combat and defeat addiction to drugs or alcohol, but getting into a treatment center will complete the picture. A qualified treatment facility will learn about your past and the issues that led to your addiction. You will get in touch with peers who are facing the same battle, but you will also speak with experts who will point you down the right path. Getting sober will put you back in the driver’s seat of your life. Even though you will encounter many challenges along the way, you don’t have to face them alone.

If you’re ready to begin recovery, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today.

mixing alcohol with opiates

Mixing Alcohol and Opiates – A Dangerous Combination

Mixing Alcohol and Opiates

For more than 5000 years, humans have harnessed the medicinal properties of the opium poppy order to provide pain relief for myriad conditions. Centuries later, opioids have evolved to become more ubiquitous and versatile than ever before, commonly prescribed by doctors in the form of pills such as hydrocodone.

Unfortunately, the mainstream use of opioids, often by prescription, has essentially become an epidemic. Opiates are highly addictive, and misuse of the narcotic can be fatal.

Nationwide, more than 33,000 people fatally overdosed on opioids in 2015, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.

And when opiates are used in tandem with alcohol, the effects of the narcotic can be unpredictable, or even deadly. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of mixing alcohol and opiates.

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Widespread Availability of Opiates

While some forms of opiates, including heroin, are illegal across the U.S., others, such as morphine and oxycodone, are available by prescription. In fact, doctors wrote more than 259 million prescriptions for opioids in 2012, and today’s numbers are even higher.

Opiates affect the nervous system and brain, typically causing euphoric sensations. These sensations may be one of the reasons for the addictive nature of opiates.

Prescription painkillers are the biggest culprit when it comes to opioid abuse. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that, as of 2014, more than four million Americans illegally use prescription painkillers every month. The demand for opiate-based painkillers has created a vast black market that encompasses illegally obtained pain pills, along with heroin and fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid.

The Silent Epidemic

Alcohol has also been used for pain relief worldwide for millennia. Like opiates, alcohol dulls the senses so that pain, both physical and mental, is more tolerable. Unlike opiate-based narcotics, however, alcohol is legal to all adults over the age of 21.

But that doesn’t make it safer – The sobering truth is that alcohol is the primary cause of more than 88,000 annual deaths. These include fatal long-term health conditions, such as liver cirrhosis, as well as alcohol poisoning and deaths caused by drunk drivers.

Alcohol Plus Opiates: A Dangerous Partnership

While much has been made of the opioid crisis in recent years, few news sources have tackled the tricky subject of mixing medications, which can be even more hazardous than opiate use alone.

Both opiates and alcohol act as sedatives, making the drugs a potentially lethal combination when mixed. Those who use either substance may find it difficult to focus or perform simple tasks. And when the two are combined, the negative effects can compound drastically.

Effects of opiates plus alcohol include:

  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Breathing that is shallow
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced motor skills

Those who use alcohol and/or opiates may also notice an increased tolerance to pain medication; doses that were once enough to relieve pain are no longer sufficient. As users change their prescription to a larger dose or rely on self-medication, the potential for overdose increases exponentially.

It’s important to note that those addicted to opiates and/or alcohol shouldn’t try to quit on their own. Withdrawal from these substances can be harmful or even fatal if not done properly, so medical supervision during detox is recommended.

Those going through the withdrawal process may experience unpleasant symptoms as their body expels the poisons. The initial effects of withdrawal typically occur within 12 hours and can include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and stomach cramps
  • Irritability and anxiousness
  • Nausea and vomiting

 The Unpredictable Nature of Alcohol and Opiates

There is no test to determine how one’s body will react to different medications. Factors include heredity, overall tolerance to drugs, weight, metabolism, and more.

Even individuals with a long history of opioid misuse can succumb to the unpredictability of the narcotic, especially when obtained on the black market. The purity of an opiate can vary widely when the drug is obtained via illegal channels, making it even more deadly whether mixed with alcohol or used on its own.

If you or a loved one wants to escape from the clutches of alcohol or opioid addiction, there is hope. Call Ocean Hills Recovery today to discuss your options and start on the path toward a life of freedom from drugs and alcohol.


MDMA for PTSD Treatment

MDMA for PTSD Treatment

Using MDMA for PTSD Treatment

The drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as MDMA or ecstasy, has been a target in the war against drugs for many years. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made it illegal in 1985. Since then, researchers have studied the potential therapeutic benefits of legal MDMA. In August 2017, the Food and Drug Administration gave ecstasy the breakthrough therapy designation for treating PTSD.

What Is the Breakthrough Therapy Designation?

The FDA gives treatments a breakthrough therapy designation when they meet two requirements. First, their purpose must be to treat life-threatening or serious conditions or diseases either alone or in combination with other drugs. Second, preliminary clinical evidence must show that they can greatly improve existing therapies in at least one treatment area.

The agency has used this designation since 2012 to speed up the development and review process for treatments. About 200 drugs have been labeled breakthrough therapies already.

Current Methods for Treating PTSD

Rehab centers can provide treatment for people who suffer from PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common form of treatment that they use because it’s the most effective. However, other methods can be effective too.

For PTSD, CBT focuses on the trauma and changing behaviors and thought patterns. Individuals engage in treatment during and outside of weekly sessions to learn skills and apply them to their symptoms. The treatment period is usually 12 to 16 weeks.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a type of CBT that helps people process trauma-related emotions, memories and thoughts. This treatment method involves recalling the trauma while the therapist uses a motion or sound. It takes eight steps, some of which are repeated until negative feelings about the memory are dampened and positive feelings are strengthened.

How MDMA Could Help Peoplw with PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder is a serious, life-threatening condition when people don’t receive treatment for it. About 7 percent of the American population develops PTSD at some point in their lives.

As a stress-related disorder, PTSD causes reduced psychosocial and cognitive function. Those who suffer could relive traumatic events through flashbacks and nightmares. They often have trouble sleeping and feel detached from normal life. Many people also can’t keep their jobs, struggle in relationships and abuse substances that mask their symptoms. PTSD is a factor in 27 percent of suicides as well.

Research indicates that combining legal MDMA with therapy can significantly reduce PTSD symptoms. By dampening the emotional response to memories, the drug allows people to recall traumatic experiences so that they can work through them.

Promising Results From Phase II Studies

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit group, funded a small study that was published in 2011. The results suggested that ecstasy may help treat PTSD. Larger, Phase II clinical trials also funded by the group have good results as well, says MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin.

The research involved 107 people who had chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD for 17.8 years on average. Those who weren’t in the control groups received a dose of MDMA and participated in therapy sessions. Each occurrence was spaced three to five weeks apart and held in a clinic. The participants also received integration and preparatory sessions.

Two months after the treatment, 61 percent of the individuals didn’t have PTSD anymore. At the follow-up one year later, 68 percent had overcome the disorder. These results demonstrate that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can reduce defensiveness and fear while enhancing communication, compassion, empathy and introspection. These neurological effects improve the therapeutic process.

In addition, the MAPS study found that serious adverse effects from MDMA were non-life-threatening and uncommon. It recorded increased blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate in a dose-dependent manner that wasn’t an issue for healthy people. These effects quickly wore off.

Approval for Phase III Clinical Trials

Alongside the breakthrough therapy designation, the FDA gave MAPS approval in July 2017 to fund two Phase III studies. The studies will assess the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted therapy.

MAPS will accept 200 to 300 people who are 18 and older and have PTSD. The trials will be held at sites in the United States, Canada and Israel. The researchers will choose participants at random to receive three, day-long therapy sessions while taking MDMA. The other individuals will receive a placebo with therapy. The trial will last for 12 weeks and include 12, non-drug integration and preparatory sessions for 90 minutes each.

In 2017, the group started an open-label, lead-in training study and plans to begin enrollment for the first trial in the summer of 2018. It hopes to complete the study by 2021 and is seeking donations for an estimated cost of $26 million.

Get PTSD Treatment Now

Don’t wait for a scientific breakthrough to get help for PTSD. You deserve to live a normal life without fear, anxiety or depression from past experiences. If you struggle with addiction and PTSD, call us today to learn more about our services.

alcohol use and motherhood

The Increase of Alcohol Use and Motherhood

Moms and Alcohol Use

Alcohol abuse among mothers is rising at an alarming rate. According to a study from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, women whose behavior meets the criteria for alcohol use disorders rose by a mind-boggling 84 percent between 2002 and 2013. During that same time period, the number of women drinking four or more drinks per day rose by 60 percent. A majority of these women are mothers, and many of them are affluent housewives.

The rise of alcohol use in motherhood is linked to a variety of social and environmental factors. Part of the problem is that alcohol use has been culturally normalized among motherhood circles, which can hide deeper problems. Another issue is that the social and psychological pressures of modern motherhood can be isolating and difficult to deal with. These factors combine to create a powerful and dangerous dynamic where addiction can flourish.

The Normalization of Alcohol Among Mothers

A growing trend among motherhood groups, especially in online spaces, is the normalization and even glorification of alcohol. Wine in particular has gained special pop culture prominence among women. Wine companies have cashed in on the trend. Some wines are now marketed directly to women with brand names like Mommy Juice or Mommy’s Time Out. This marketing strategy has accompanied a 25 percent increase in sales and serves to further illustrate the normalization of drinking.

The message that drinking wine is a normal or even necessary part of managing the stress of motherhood has become pervasive. Against this backdrop, many women who struggle with alcohol dependency may not realize that they have a problem. Additionally, the expectation of alcohol at mom-related gatherings can add additional pressure to individuals trying to quit.

Because alcohol is legal, problematic drinking behavior may often go ignored or be written off as less of a problem than it really is. Affluent housewives do not fit the stereotypical image that many people have of an alcoholic, which can lead to the real and serious problem of addiction not being taken seriously. Simply stated, some degree of alcohol dependency has become an accepted part of motherhood in our culture, but it does not have to be this way.

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alcohol use and motherhood

Identifying Alcohol Abuse in Motherhood Circles

The risks of alcohol abuse and dependency are serious. Lapses in judgment can create dangerous circumstances for a mother and the children she is watching. Drunk driving and inattentiveness are big concerns for women struggling with substance abuse problems. Difficulties with work, personal life and relationships can all arise as a result of alcohol use.

Even women whose personal lives remain largely unaffected by their problematic drinking may experience health problems as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Liver damage, heart disease and an increased risk of breast cancer are just some of the problems associated with heavy drinking.

Because drinking has become such an accepted and even expected part of motherhood, it can be difficult to identify the signs of problematic behavior before they become severe. Ask yourself the following questions about your relationship with alcohol:

  • Have you ever thought that you should cut down on your drinking or tried and failed to cut down?
  • Do you feel the need to hide your drinking or lie about it to people in your life?
  • Does drinking create feelings of shame or guilt?
  • Has alcohol or an argument about alcohol use caused conflict within your marriage or other relationships?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning?

These are just a few common signs that can point to problematic drinking behavior and possible alcohol dependency. If you have these issues or have any other reason to believe that your drinking has become a problem, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. Contact us today to learn more about our available services and support. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you to understand how you can have a healthier relationship with alcohol.


mandatory drug testing in california

Mandatory Drug Testing in California – A New Standard Suggested by One Physician

Doctor Calls for Mandatory Drug Testing in California by Primary Care Doctors

Dr. Robert DuPont has recently proposed that all doctors test patients for drugs during routine visits and checkups. When a doctor finds that a patient has been using illegal substances, he wants the doctor to force patients to attend an addiction treatment facility. This move is not DuPont’s first attempt to regulate drug use and impose mandatory drug testing.

In 2010, he introduced a bill mandating law enforcement officers to test DUI suspects for all controlled substances that could impair their ability to operate a vehicle. Current laws require suspects to be in possession of a controlled substance before law enforcement can press charges. The proposed bill, however, aimed to criminalize internal possession of any controlled substance. In simple terms, the police could arrest and prosecute anyone who had detectable levels of a controlled substance in their blood.

Possible Consequences of a Failed Test

If DuPont can influence the way doctors and police address possible issues with addiction, doctors could force people to seek treatment, but that is only the start. After the treatment process, former drug users could face up to five years of monitoring. They would need to submit to random drug tests anytime during the monitoring period, and failed tests could have harsh legal consequences.

DuPont’s Reasoning

If you want to get a clear picture of why DuPont wants to mandate drug testing, looking at the reason behind his decision can point you in the right direction. Whether or not you agree with his motives, you will gain a better understanding of his perspective and what he hopes to gain.

From his point of view, mandatory drug testing and substantial treatment would combat the drug abuse problem by discouraging people from going back to old habits. He views drug abuse as an issue that impacts society, not just addicts. Because he believes the choices of drug addicts can affect everyone else, he wants to hold them to strict standards and make them take accountability for their actions.

Possible Bias

Opponents of DuPont’s views often cite a possible bias as his main motivation to impose forced drug testing. DuPont is the co-founder of an organization that provides drug testing services to major companies across the nation, so he has a financial incentive to introduce bills requiring health care experts to test patients. Some people say that it would be hard for DuPont to maintain a neutral stance on the issue when he has a lot to gain by pushing his agenda.

Getting Help

No matter where you stand on mandatory drug testing in California, most people can agree that addiction is a threat that society must address if it does not want the problem to get any worse than it already is. Getting into a treatment center is the best way to defeat addiction and to get your life moving in the right direction. When you go to a treatment center that cares about your future, you will have access to doctors, support groups, supervised detox programs and other tools that will keep you on track.

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and want to get your life under control, you are not alone. Many people battle addiction and don’t know what to do about it. Although facing the truth is not always easy, admitting that you have a problem and that you can’t solve it alone is a huge step toward recovery, and you will know that you have done the right thing. Facing addiction can make your situation seem hopeless, but you always have a way to escape from the trap when you use a proven plan and enlist the help of a rehabilitation facility.

marijuana cause illness

Marijuana is Legal in California; But Can Marijuana Cause Illness?

The Argument to Legalize Marijuana is Filled with Medical Uses, But Does Marijuana Cause Illness?

Marijuana is legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia, but this is largely for medicinal purposes. However, 13 of these states are currently allowing users to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes. On January 1, recreational marijuana was legalized in California, and the same thing will occur in Massachusetts in July.

Some states have had laws such as these on their books for some time. One example is Maine where voters agreed to the legalization of marijuana in 2016. This seems to have been a bit premature because the state still has not written the rules that would govern those who wish to grow and sell marijuana. The state has not even accepted any licenses from prospective growers and sellers. The legislature tried to pass a framework for selling marijuana, but Governor LePage vetoed the bill.

Most states that are allowing legal use of marijuana are only permitting people to use it to treat a medical condition, and the medical conditions that may be treated with cannabis are different for every state. Residents of West Virginia and Louisiana can only ingest marijuana if it is contained within oil or a pill. In other states, a person must be suffering from a short list of rare diseases before he can possess marijuana.

Several states may not have legalized marijuana, but they have decriminalized the possession of this substance as long as it is in small doses.

The Negatives of Legalization

The legalization of marijuana does have some benefits, but there are also some negatives that need to be considered. The most important is whether or not marijuana cause illness, and research shows that it does. We have all heard that cigarettes cause lung cancer, but the same can be said of marijuana. Marijuana also contains carcinogens, but receiving those carcinogens in marijuana smoke is deadlier than obtaining them through cigarette smoke.

When a person inhales marijuana, he inhales much more deeply than he does when he is smoking a cigarette. This deep inhaling causes the smoke and its carcinogens to remain within the lungs for a much longer period of time, and during this time, the carcinogens have a greater chance of damaging the lungs. In addition to that, there are twice as many carcinogens in a single inhalation of marijuana than there are in the same amount of cigarette smoke.

The heart does not fare well when people are smoking marijuana either. Smoking marijuana leads to heart palpitations, heart attack and arrhythmia. That is because when someone smokes marijuana, his normal 20 percent heart rate increases to a 100 percent heart rate. If the person smoking is elderly or already has a heart condition, smoking marijuana increases the chances that she will damage her heart even more.

The brain also suffers from deleterious effects from smoking marijuana. We have all heard jokes about the fact that marijuana smokers have horrible memories in the movies, and this is the reality for a lot of people. The brain’s blood vessels are also touched negatively by marijuana. It actually restricts the amount of blood that can flow through the brain’s vessels, and this effect can be present for one month after the person stops smoking marijuana.

A Real Life Example

In case the above has not moved you, there is a real life example that may help convince you that marijuana cause illness. San Diego native Chalfonte LeNee Queen recently discovered that the reason for a mysterious illness that she has been suffering from for years may have been caused by marijuana.

Chalfonte would suffer from severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting spells. When these attacks presented themselves, it would take several days for her to be able to get out of bed. The situation was so bad that Chalfonte wished that she was dead. She often cried out for her mother because she was unaware at these times that her mother had passed away.

In the past 20 years, Chalfonte visited the hospital three times a year, but she never received a diagnosis for her ailment. By the time the year 2016 came around, she was certain that she was dying of cancer. Finally, she received a diagnosis, and it was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.

A very narrow segment of the population suffers from this syndrome, and they are those who smoke marijuana several times each day. It can affect people who smoke this much marijuana after several decades have passed, but others can come down with the malady after smoking for several years. Some have even been diagnosed with the disorder after smoking for several months.

This syndrome doesn’t have a treatment. All physicians can do is advise their patients to stop smoking marijuana, but this isn’t always easy to do. It turns out that the legalization of marijuana may not be such a good thing after all.

young rappers addiction and mental illness

Live Fast, Live Long: Young Rappers Speaking Out About Addiction And Depression

Live Fast, Live Long: Young Rappers Speaking Out About Addiction And Depression

If you call the phone number (800)273-8255, you’ll get access to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a confidential support organization to help people who are in distress. The number is also the title of one of rapper Logic’s newest songs. Huffington Post reported that after the musician performed the song at the Grammy Awards in January 2018, the number of calls to the hotline tripled. While this is helping to dissolve the stigma associated with mental health issues such as addiction and depression, it also demonstrates the magnitude of the problem.

Logic’s message was that you’re not alone if you’re struggling with addiction and depression. He is right. More than 350 million people across the globe suffer from the mental illness. Many young rappers are now opening up about the disease to help spread the word about the need for adequate support.

Depression Doesn’t Discriminate

No one is immune to the devastating effects of depression. Money can’t buy happiness, and even the rich and famous have battled mental illness.

The Grammys weren’t the first public performance during which a star has openly supported this cause. In 2016, Lupe Fiasco, Chance the Rapper and DMX prayed for Kanye West, who was hospitalized for severe depression and paranoia, according to Vibe. Although reports claimed that Kanye’s troubled psychological state was brought on by dehydration and fatigue, he has battled mental ailments for a long time.


Fiasco explained that the rigorous demands of the rapper lifestyle can take a toll on anyone. When they’re not performing, musicians are often recovering from a show or preparing for the next performance. There isn’t always time for self-care. Many performers certainly don’t get mental health days.

During the same speech, Fiasco urged fans to be patient. After all, artists spend much of their time trying to make other people happy. This desire to please can take over, preventing stars from taking care of their own needs.


About a year before West was hospitalized for his condition, Kendrick Lamar opened up about his own struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies. In an MTV interview, Lamar discussed the lack of balance that young rappers have to deal with. Many of these stars were thrown into the limelight after coming out of humble roots. This can lead to guilt and feelings of helplessness when it comes to raising up their families and communities.

Feeling Guilt in the Face of Success

Rappers may also have to deal with the aftermath of deaths from violence and drugs. In 2006, Eminem became depressed after the murder of his friend Proof. The musician has always been open about his background and mental health issues.


Eminem came from a tumultuous broken household with little stability. As a child, he witnessed his own uncle’s suicide. As an adult, he tried to cope with the internalization of the trauma by taking drugs and resorting to violence.

Everyone has demons. Just one negative experience can leave you reeling. If you don’t know how to cope with stress and trauma in a healthy way, you can spiral into a cycle of out-of-control emotions. NPR says that most people with depression don’t get the treatment that they need.

Sometimes, they avoid seeking help because they perceive depression as a personal weakness. Others don’t think that they can be helped. Lack of knowledge and education about psychological illnesses keeps many people in a dark place.

Hiding mental health conditions doesn’t make them go away. In fact, it can make the problem worse. Many people use drugs to escape from their destructive thought patterns. Failing to get care for a dual diagnosis can lead to less-than-happy endings.

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young rappers addiction and mental illness

For example, Lil Peep allegedly died from a drug overdose when he was 21. Opioids and benzodiazepines were only some of the substances that were found in his system.

He claimed that he did not take medication for his depression, although he was open about his struggles with suicidal thoughts. He understood that he had a chemical imbalance in his brain and claimed to take drugs because of the pleasurable effects that they delivered.

Other rappers glorify drug use and partying in their lyrics. Still, many talk about how they use substance abuse as an escape from problematic patterns and ways of thinking.

This Los Angeles Times article discusses rapper Vic Mensa’s contributions to the conversation. In his album “The Autobiography,” Mensa is forthright about his decline into the grip of addiction.

He even says that although many of his friends deal with similar psychological issues, they don’t openly discuss them. Mensa is sober now, and he talks about wishing that he had had access to addiction education and treatment programs earlier. He used 12-step programs, therapy and medication to launch his recovery, and he believes that at-risk youth should have access to therapists and psychological support in schools.

Credit: (Steve Russell/Getty Images)

Jay-Z has said the same thing. In a CNN interview, the rapper mentioned how strong the stigma of seeking therapy is in the black community.

The music scene has perpetuated the myth that rockers should “live fast and die young.” However, many of today’s musicians are speaking out instead of glamorizing self-destructive behaviors. The messages resonate with many people who buy the albums, watch the videos and listen to the music.

Sharing their hurt and offering hope to others who are dealing with similar issues is one way that young rappers are helping to normalize mental health issues. At the very least, they’re putting their emotions into words, which is one step in the journey of self-discovery and healing. Continuing that path with the right blend of detox, therapy, healing and support is crucial for people who have a dual diagnosis of addiction and depression.


Medication to Stop Alcohol Abuse

Using Medication to Stop Alcohol Abuse

Medication to Stop Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol addiction is a disease that can take over your life. Unfortunately, having a strong desire to quit won’t always help you stop successfully. Withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings can be so intense that it seems impossible to combat your addiction. Some types of medication for alcohol abuse have been approved by the FDA to help you manage cravings and stabilize your body so that you don’t need alcohol to function normally.

Why Use Medication for Alcohol Abuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people died of causes related to alcohol use than drug overdoses or breast cancer between 2006 and 2010. Evidence-based treatments and 12-step programs have been shown to help people stop drinking for good. Medications can be used in conjunction with other types of treatment to improve your chances of recovery.

Advocates for using medication for alcoholism say that medications can:

  • Diminish the desire to drink
  • Reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms
  • Weaken the pleasurable effects of alcohol
  • Decrease alcohol consumption
  • Make you feel sick if you drink alcohol

What Types Of Medication Are Used For Alcoholism?

Disulfiram, which goes by the brand name Antabuse, is the oldest drug available for treating alcohol addiction. It prevents the body from absorbing alcohol by blocking an enzyme that processes a compound in the drug. That ingredient, acetaldehyde, accumulates in the body, producing undesirable side effects.

When you drink while taking Antabuse, you might get nausea, hot flashes and heart palpitations. However, the medication doesn’t curb your cravings. The Washington Post reports that many people stop taking the drug because of its ill effects. Research shows that disulfiram may be effective as a short-term treatment, but long-term treatment is necessary for lasting recovery.

Naltrexone can diminish cravings for alcohol as well as the buzz that you get from drinking. It interferes with the pleasure centers of the brain, making them less receptive to the high that alcohol produces. Since drinking is no longer rewarding, you won’t get positive feedback from doing it anymore. Although the medication is also used for opiate addiction, studies show that Naltrexone can reduce relapse and episodes of heavy drinking.

Acamprosate has also been found to lower the incidence of alcohol abuse. It can reduce the intensity of side effects that are caused by long-term abstinence. When some people stop using alcohol, they experience insomnia, irritability and mood changes that can lead them to start drinking again. Acamprosate has helped people get through the detox period without craving alcohol to diminish these symptoms.

How Long Should You Take Medication For Alcohol Abuse?

Some medications are administered to mediate the withdrawal period when someone quits drinking. Many of them deliver the best results when they’re continued even after the acute detoxification stage.

It is most commonly recommended that people take Naltrexone for at least 12 weeks. Acamprosate only prevents alcohol consumption while you’re taking it. Even if you don’t feel like you want to drink anymore, talk to your doctor before you stop taking it. Antabuse has been shown to deliver positive results with long-term use. It remains in your system for a few weeks after you stop taking it. Therefore, if you have a drink a few days after you’ve stopped using the medication, you’ll still feel the negative effects.

The best treatment for long-term recovery is multifaceted, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Medications are not magic pills. Even though they can work on brain chemicals that make you want to drink, you still need to address your emotional, psychological and social triggers for drinking.

A well-rounded approach to alcohol abuse treatment usually includes support groups, individual and group therapy and counseling. Holistic treatments, such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, arts therapy and experiential therapy can also help you stay sober for good. Adding medication to the mix may improve your chances of avoiding relapse but you will need to discuss everything with your physician to make sure that it is the right decision for you.

Many people must continue some form of therapy or support for the rest of their lives. Addiction is a complex disease that alters the way that your brain functions. Relapse is always a possibility. Having information on different ways to combat addiction is the best way to choose the path for you in recovery.



alternative addiction treatment

Alternative Addiction Treatment Methods

Alternative and Often Controversial Addiction Treatment Methods

At one time, addiction was seen as a problem that afflicted the weak. It was thought that anyone could stop using drugs if he or she had enough willpower. More recently, doctors have learned that addiction is a complex disease changes the brain in ways that completely negate your willpower. Most people have no control over their addiction, and one type of treatment may not work for everyone. Still, some types of alternative addiction treatment for substance abuse disorders are so controversial that you might wonder whether they’re worth it.

Aversion Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Most drugs interact with the reward centers of the brain. When you do something that brings you pleasure, your brain wants more of the positive feelings that are associated with that behavior. This also happens when you chat with a good friend, go shopping or eat a delicious meal. The reward circuit tells you to do the activity again.

The more you do it, the more it gets solidified into your neural pathways. Even if substance abuse brings about negative side effects, the strong association with pleasure keeps you seeking it out.

Aversion therapy disassociates substance abuse and good feelings. It conditions you to associate negative consequences with taking drugs.

One type of aversion therapy involves administering a medication like Antabuse to people who use alcohol. Antabuse makes you feel sick if you drink while you’re taking it. Eventually, you might feel sick just thinking about alcohol.

This is what happens when many people get food poisoning, for example. If you throw up after eating your favorite food, you might never be able to eat it again.

Some critics say that it isn’t moral to intentionally make someone feel terrible. Aversion therapy doesn’t ease cravings or withdrawal symptoms. It doesn’t address the motivation behind the addiction. To be effective, aversion therapy should be combined with treatments that provide positive reinforcement.

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alternative addiction treatment methods

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

According to the Mayo Clinic, transcranial magnetic stimulation was developed to treat depression. However, some doctors are using it to help people with addiction.

Addiction reorganizes your brain at a cellular level. New pathways and communication signals are created. Electrical activity in some areas of the brain, such as the regions that inhibit you from engaging in destructive behaviors, is diminished. Stimulating these areas of the brain can make you forget about your voracious desire to get high.

When performing transcranial magnetic stimulation, a medical professional holds a wand near the patient’s head. An electric current moves through a coil in the wand, creating a magnetic pulse. This changes the electrical activity in the brain. National Geographic tells the story of a cocaine user who stopped having cravings and abusing the substance after undergoing treatment.

This non-invasive procedure doesn’t require sedation and is generally considered safe. However, patients may experience side effects such as headaches, lightheadedness and spasms in their facial muscles.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is one of the most controversial types of alternative addiction treatment. During this treatment, electrodes deliver a mild shock to a patient’s brain. The electricity causes a mild seizure.

The side effects of ECT can be intense. They include memory loss, confusion, emotional damage and cognitive decline, according to STAT. The long-term safety of ECT has not been established.

Although the treatment has come a long way in the past several decades, it is still controversial. For patients that are at a high risk of overdose or suicide and haven’t responded to any other treatments, ECT has been found to be effective.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is one of the most invasive procedures. It involves surgery to place a small device in your brain. The device delivers electrical signals to interfere with the activity in that area.

Psych Central says that there is no proof that this treatment works. Moreover, there are no specific guidelines for doctors who want to use deep brain stimulation. Side effects include depression, hallucinations, infection and brain hemorrhage.

Psychedelic Drugs

Studies that are more than three decades old found that giving a small dose of LSD to people who were being treated for alcohol abuse was effective for reducing alcohol consumption and preventing relapse, according to Scientific American. Experts were surprised that just one dose could be effective. They thought that the chemical might provide the clarity that patients needed to turn their lives around.

Many researchers agree that psychedelic drugs have undiscovered potential. However, the effects of these substances can be unpredictable. That’s why it’s best to use them only under the supervision of a medical professional. Dropping acid at home is not the answer to addiction.

It can be devastating to relapse after going through treatment for substance abuse. Addiction is a complex disease, and there is not one way to cure it. The best rehab centers offer a variety of therapies and customize a treatment plan for each patient. Taking a multi-faceted approach that involves withdrawal management, psychotherapy, emotional support, life skills training and stress-reduction techniques is the most effective way to combat addiction.

Addiction Treatment that Lasts

For the best and strongest foundation in recovery, professionals agree that inpatient addiction treatment carries the highest success rates. By choosing inpatient treatment vs outpatient treatment, you are taking the first step towards a new life.

If you decide to commit to residential drug treatment, finding a safe, ethical and caring drug rehab is most important. Looking for certain qualities in a rehab will help to weed out other the options that may not have your best interests at hand. Quality and ethical addiction treatment will offer the following:

If you or a loved one are ready for addiction treatment, or if you’d like more information, contact an addiction counselor at Ocean Hills Recovery today for help.

how to prevent relapse

How to Prevent Relapse

How to Prevent Relapse

If you or someone you know is trying to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction, you are likely wondering how to prevent relapse. Unless you understand the process and keep your eye on your goal, relapsing is unfortunately more common than you might think.

Relapsing is a natural part of recovery and should not discourage you, but finding ways to reduce your odds of relapsing is vital if you don’t want to fall into the same trap. Learning the top reasons that people have moments of weakness is a significant step forward when you would like to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Genes and Relapse

You probably think that combating addiction is about willpower and environmental factors, and you are correct in most cases. Scientists, however, have recently discovered that your genes could play a role in your likelihood of relapsing. They have experimented with lab mice and discovered that mice lacking a certain enzyme were much more likely to relapse. Finding a way to control that gene could be the key for which we have been looking, giving us a way to reduce addiction and help as many people as possible.

Stress and Relapse

Stress can affect your ability to remain sober, and not knowing about the threat puts you at an even greater risk. Staying sober is much easier when everything else in your life is going as you had planned, but it gets a lot harder when things fall out of place. The stress in your life could influence you to turn to old habits as a way to escape from issues that seem beyond your control. When the pressure of life overwhelms you, your willpower won’t be at its best, and this is a dangerous time as far as relapsing is concerned.

Bad Influences in Addiction Recovery

Having bad influences is often the No. 1 problem for those trying to combat addiction for good. Depending on the substance to which you were addicted, your addiction can stay with you for your entire life. While you can learn to manage and control it, bad influences will make your job much more challenging. Seeing people use your drug of choice can create an overwhelming amount of temptation that would put the most determined people to the test. If your friends pressure you to return to your old habits, relapse is likely.
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Overconfidence in Recovery

If you have overcome addiction and got your life back on the correct path, it’s easy to forget your past struggle. You might not remember how far you have come over the past weeks, months or years. This situation can cause you to become overconfident in your ability to control your addiction, and you might not see the harm in using or drinking one more time.

How to Prevent Relapse

Now that you have an idea of what causes people to relapse, you need to explore the ways you can prevent the problem from occurring. Arming yourself with the right tips and information will give you strength and keep you moving toward your goals. Although no plan can eliminate the risk of relapsing completely, it can give you the best possible results for long-term recovery.

Develop a Support Network in Recovery

Having a strong support network is a critical piece of the puzzle when you want to avoid a relapse. You can speak to your family and close friends about your problem and ask them to help you stay focused on your future. Speaking with your support network when you feel the need to use can go a long way to stop you from giving in to temptation.

Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

Since stress can cause you to relapse when you least expect it, finding ways to control and manage your stress is important. Do your best to keep up with your daily and monthly obligations, and you will know you have done the right thing. In addition to keeping your life on track, meditation is another way for you to keep your stress under control so that you won’t relapse. Working out, starting a new hobby and listening to music reduces stress and gives you peace of mind.

Avoid Bad Influences

No matter how much you might want to deny it, your friends impact the way you behave and view the world. If you have friends who try to get you to drink or use drugs, staying sober will be harder than needed, and you can’t afford to take the risk. Without waiting, sit down to speak with your friends about your goals and your problem with addiction.

True friends who care about you and your well-being will respect your request and refrain from using drugs when you are around. If you have friends or family members who don’t respect your wish, cut them out of your life right away. Although it might seem harsh, you must do what it takes to prevent yourself from letting addiction take control.

Remind Yourself of What’s at Stake

The urge to return to past habits can consume you unless you take steps to protect yourself from the problem. When you crave drugs or alcohol but want to remain sober, remind yourself of what’s at stake. If you give in to the cravings and allow them to assume control, you risk letting your life fall apart again, and getting back to where you are now will be an uphill battle. Also, list your goals and ambitions to stay focused on the reasons you want to remain sober, and it will help.

Getting Addiction Treatment

Although you can take many steps to stop yourself from experiencing a relapse, at-home solutions can’t compare to the touch of a trained expert. Seeking treatment at a proven rehabilitation center will skyrocket your odds of success so that you won’t need to worry about facing the battle alone. You will have access to support groups, therapists and supervised detox programs.

The team at Ocean Hills Recovery will stand in your corner and guide you at each step. Getting proper treatment will put you in control of your life and let you break the chains that have been holding you back for too long, and you will be happy with the direction in which we can move when we work together.