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Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Statistics Pointing To The Need For The Right Experiential Therapy Program

If one ever needed statistical affirmation of how necessary the most appropriate drug and alcohol substance abuse treatment program remains, they would only need to consider the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The most recently available statistics relating to American substance using data from 2012, are instructive in showing the vital role of the right experiential and recreational therapy program.

The country is, for example, seeing a noticeable increase in illicit drug use, with 9.2 percent of the population - or around 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older - having used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication such as a pain reliever, tranquilizer or stimulant in the last month. This 2012 figure compares to the 8.3 percent recorded a decade earlier. This rise is mostly accounted for by a recent increase in the most commonly used illicit drug, marijuana. Indeed, in 2007, there were some 14.4 million current (past-month) marijuana users, which had reached 18.9 million by 2012.

One piece of good news for many of those helming or in need of a experiential therapy program is that there has been no appreciable change in use of most drugs other than marijuana over the last decade - indeed, a decline has been recorded in some instances. However, the statistics also leave no question about the need for programs tailored to the specific requirements of young adults, most people using drugs for the first time are in their teenage years. Of the just over 2.8 million new users (initiates) of illicit drugs in 2012, some 52 percent were under 18.

Furthermore, it was people in their late teens and 20s who showed the highest drug use, with 23.9 percent of 18 to 20-year olds reporting use of an illicit drug in the last month. On the positive side, however, the decade to 2012 saw a decline in the number of 12-20 year olds drinking alcohol, from 28.8 percent to 24.3 percent. Binge drinking also fell from 19.3 percent to 15.3 percent, and only 4.3 percent of those in this age group drunk heavily as of 2012, down from the 6.2 percent recorded in 2002.

Even teen smoking dropped rapidly during the period, with only 6.6 percent of 12 to 17-year olds involved in past-month use in 2012, compared to 2002's 13 percent figure. Nonetheless, the statistics also highlight a significant 'treatment gap' in the United States, the estimated 23.1 million Americans who required treatment for a drugs or alcohol-related problem in 2012 far dwarfing the around 2.5 million people who actually benefited from treatment at a specialty facility.

What such a latter fact shows is that, however favorable the current drug or alcohol use statistics may become, there remains a pressing need for the right treatment provision – often times an experiential therapy program.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Increasing Evidence Of Brain Harm From Marijuana Use

Although there are already many known ways in which marijuana harms the well-being and health of a young adult, new research - funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - has indicated the potential detrimental effects on the brain of the drug's heavy use.

For the purposes of this study, heavy marijuana use is defined as a minimum of four times per week over the previous six months, a frequency that has been linked to adverse changes in the function and structure of parts of the brain that deal with reward, decision-making and motivation.

The enhancement of some brain circuits that can also arise from heavy marijuana use may be means of compensation for reduced function in certain regions of the brain. This effect was especially pronounced in those who began using marijuana at a young age, which suggests a particular susceptibility to marijuana's effects in still-developing brains.

The research was conducted at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas, with its findings published in a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The researchers found that chronic marijuana use effect on the brain may depend on the age of first use as well as the duration of use.

Multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques were used to provide the first comprehensive description of existing brain function and structure abnormalities in those who used marijuana on a long-term basis. Smaller brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) - an area of the brain frequently linked to addiction - was found in chronic marijuana users, as well as higher brain connectivity.

Dr. Francesca Filbey, Associate Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth, commented: "We have seen a steady increase in the incidence of marijuana use since 2007. However, research on its long-term effects remains scarce despite the changes in legislation surrounding marijuana and the continuing conversation surrounding this relevant public health topic."

Indeed, additional long-term studies will be required to determine whether marijuana was the cause of the effects on the brain documented in this most recent research. Nonetheless, such scientific findings enhance the existing body of literature indicating the potentially harmful effects of heavy marijuana use on the brain - interesting news for anyone considering the services of a North Carolina rehabilitation facility.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Driving After Marijuana Use More Prevalent Than Drunk Driving Among High School Seniors

One recent study highlighting the need for a young adult treatment center in 2014 to be as well-equipped to cater for marijuana-addicted young adults as for those with other substance abuse issues came from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The 2011 survey found that almost 1 in 6 high school seniors reported that in the two weeks beforehand, they had driven a motor vehicle following heavy drinking or illicit drug usage. Nearly 1 in 4 said that they had recently accompanied such a person on a drive in a car.

28 percent of respondents in total had put themselves at risk in that short timeframe, by spending time in a vehicle driven by someone who had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or who had drunk a minimum of 5 alcoholic drinks. The last four years had seen these rates increase by 20 percent, almost entirely attributable to an increase in drinking after smoking marijuana.

These statistics were taken by Dr. Patrick M. O'Malley and Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston from how 22,000 12th graders responded to a questionnaire in the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. What also emerged from the students' answers was that driving after marijuana use has become more common among 12th graders than drinking and driving.

Whereas 1 in 8 (12.4 percent) of the students said that during the last two weeks, they had driven following marijuana use, only 1 in 11 (8.7 percent) had driven after consuming alcohol. Compared to the 2008 version of the survey, there was a sharp increase in the percentage of high school seniors driving after using marijuana, from 10.4 percent. Drinking and driving, meanwhile, had declined from a 16 percent peak in 2002.

These changes are in keeping with general trends in students' use of marijuana and alcohol. However, while it is widely known how detrimental an effect alcohol can have on road safety, the similarly dangerous effects of marijuana have not been so commonly acknowledged.

The study found, for example, that there was a similar likelihood of an accident for high school seniors who drove after marijuana use as for those who drank heavily - 26.9 percent and 30.2 percent respectively - 12 months prior to taking the survey. They were also similarly likely to have been given traffic tickets or warnings, at 42.1 percent and 43.2 percent respectively.

Recommended measures to reduce both drunk and drugged driving among American youth, as outlined in a recent Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH) report prepared at the request of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), include the evaluation and improvement of drugged-driving laws, educational programs and data collection. They also included the development and standardization of drug testing methods in drivers.

However, there can be little doubt that the right young adult treatment center - such as Red Oak Recovery® - can also play an integral role.

Monday, November 10, 2014

High Degree Of Compatability Between Smoking Cessation And Recovery

It should certainly interest those seeking the best North Carolina treatment for their young adult loved one to read that according to a new study, it does not look likely that substance use recovery is adversely affected by smoking cessation. Indeed, recovery from substance use disorders, as well as from mood and anxiety (M/AD) disorders, may even be helped by smoking cessation.

The recent findings should lessen concerns that urging patients to quit smoking might make it more difficult for them to recover when also participating in a substance abuse treatment program. Almost 5,000 daily smokers were asked to complete the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) in 2001-2002, as well as a follow-up interview three years later.

Their responses were examined by Dr. Patricia Cavazos-Rehg at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The researchers discovered during the first interview that around 24 percent of the respondents had a current or past history of a drug use disorder (DUD), 50 percent of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 30 percent of an M/AD.

Quitters reported 69 percent fewer or recurrent DUDs at the follow-up than those who continued to smoke at or near their initial intensity, in addition to 36 percent fewer AUDs and 30 percent fewer M/ADs. Even when the researchers' estimates were adjusted to account for factors that might promote or trigger the disorders, the associations between smoking cessation and a reduced AUD or M/AD risk remained statistically significant.

Additional analysis indicated that stopping smoking reduced the risk for persistent or recurrent DUD in part through an impact on concurrent AUD. Similarly, compared to steady smoking, quitting smoking reduced the likelihood of the development of new-onset DUDs (68 percent less likely), AUDs (21 percent) or M/ADs (24 percent) during the survey period. After other potentially influential factors were taken into account, quitting remained significantly associated with a lower risk for a new-onset DUD.

The Missouri researchers concluded that the findings showed a high degree of compatibility between smoking cessation and recovery from mental disorders - news that should be instructive to anyone benefiting from treatment, their family members and loved ones.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Benefits Of Acupuncture In The Recovery Process

At Red Oak Recovery®, we offer weekly acupuncture to our clients. Lying comfortably in a group setting, they relax to music and other sound therapy while receiving acupuncture treatments specifically designed to assist them in their recovery process. Acupuncture is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been practiced for over 2000 years, and is continually evolving as a component of contemporary healthcare.  Over the past 35 years, a system has been developed to specifically address the symptoms of addiction recovery. Coined the ‘NADA detox treatment’, it involves the insertion of needles in five points on each ear, known as auricular acupuncture.

Research has shown that regular treatments with this protocol assist in the reduction of cravings, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, headache and insomnia. In addition, studies have shown that the incorporation of acupuncture into a recovery program reduces the rate of relapse thus providing long term support for the client. Programs using the NADA detox treatment have been established worldwide, and the prevalence and appropriateness of acupuncture for addictions is well established. The US federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment , the United Nations, as well as the US Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affairs  have each published best practice guidelines that address the value of acupuncture for chemical dependency.

Our acupuncture sessions are done in a group setting, and typically last about an hour.  At Red Oak Recovery®, we incorporate the NADA detox treatment along with other acupuncture points on the body to enhance the effects of the protocol and really tailor the treatments to the individual. Additionally, clients are provided with sound healing therapy, encouraged to focus on breathing techniques and guided with other meditative tools during their treatment. At the end of the sessions, clients are amazed at how relaxed and refreshed they feel, and many comment how much they forward to their weekly acupuncture therapy.

For more information on NADA detoxification treatments visit the NADA website.