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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Support Addiction Recovery With Amino Acids

amino acid addiction recovery
Food should do more than just taste good. Choosing a diet rich in amino acids gives your body the nourishment it needs to repair damage caused by drug or alcohol abuse. Think of proper nutrition as a key part of your recovery toolbox: working in tandem with counseling and other treatments to help you begin a life free from the burden of substance abuse.  

What Are Amino Acids? 

 Amino acids are used as a source of energy by the body. Foods referred to as complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids recommended for optimal human health. Eggs, milk, fish, poultry, and meats are generally classified as complete proteins, but vegetarians can get complete proteins by combining beans, lentils, and nuts with grains such as rice, corn, or wheat. For example, a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread is a complete protein offering ample amounts of all the essential amino acids.  

Benefits of Amino Acids for Substance Misuse 

Intravenous amino acid supplements are becoming more common as a therapeutic aid for recovering addicts. The logic behind this approach is simple. Since amino acids help balance chemistry in the brain, supplements address the deficiencies created by addiction. However, studies show that including essential amino acids in every healthy, prepared meal is an excellent way to help your body heal—physically and mentally—after its battle with substance misuse.  

Request NC Substance Abuse Recovery 

At Red Oak Recovery®, nutritional therapy is a key part of the recovery process. Situated on a North Carolina property tended by staff and clients, Red Oak produces a wide range of delicious farm-to-table fruits and vegetables, while chickens provide eggs that are rich in amino acids. Fill out our confidential contact form to speak with an admissions counselor about taking the first step towards recovery, or to request more information about our young adult facility for dual diagnoses and chemical dependencies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Study Links Marijuana Use With Money Problems

link between marijuana and money
A new study* published in the March 2016 issue of the journal Clinical Psychological Science found statistically significant links between heavy marijuana use and reduced socioeconomic status. The study, carried out at the University of California-Davis, with partial funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), tracked subjects born in New Zealand in 1971 and 1972 who became chronic marijuana users. The study's main conclusion: heavy marijuana use carries a heightened risk of economic and social problems during midlife.

UC Davis Chronic Marijuana Use Study: Controls and Conclusions

Specifically, the study tracked subjects who indulged in heavy long-term marijuana use, defined as using the drug at least four times per week over many years. It found:

  1. Heavy marijuana users are likely to earn less money than their parents at the same age
  2. Chronic pot smokers tend to end up in lower social classes than the ones into which they were born 
  3. Long-term, heavy marijuana users have frequent difficulties meeting basic living expenses, such as rent and food 
  4. These trends exist even among cannabis users with no criminal record 
This UC Davis study is not the first to find links between marijuana use and economic disadvantage. A 2005 research project, carried out by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), also found that people who consume marijuana during their teen years are likely to earn less money than their peers once they enter the working world.

Marijuana often proves to be anything but the benign, harmless substance many users claim it is. At Red Oak Recovery®, we recognize the dangers of marijuana abuse and we work diligently, using a proven therapeutic model, to steer patients back to productive paths in life. To learn more about our programs, or to make a confidential connection with an admissions counselor, please contact us.

*Cerda, Magdalena et. al. "Persistent Cannabis Dependence and Alcohol Dependence Represent Risks for Midlife Economic and Social Problems." Clinical Psychological Science 2167702616630958, first published on March 22, 2016 as DOI: 10.1177/2167702616630958.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Addiction & Disordered Eating: Links & Treatments

addiction and disordered eating
Statistically significant relationships have been found between substance abuse and disordered eating since food addictions work through the same neurological pleasure centers as alcohol and drugs. Clients struggling with conditions like anorexia may turn to narcotics to self-medicate co-morbid psychological symptoms like anxiety or depression. In these dual-diagnosis cases, recovery professionals stress the need for a carefully designed treatment protocol that addresses the interrelated nature of disordered eating and substance misuse.   

Research Perspectives on Substance Abuse & Disordered Eating 

According to some estimates, as many as half of all patients with an eating disorder also have a co-occurring alcohol or drug abuse issue—a substance abuse rate five times higher than that of the general population. Researchers believe these links can often be attributed to one or both of the following factors:

  1. Process addictions such as binge eating flood the brain with dopamine, the same feel-good chemical released in large measures by illicit drug use. Over time, abusive habits lead to changes in brain chemistry, making users dependent on addictive behaviors to activate these neurological pleasure centers. 
  2. As reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), controlled studies have found that disordered eating frequently co-occurs with psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Cluster C personality disorders. Men and women with these conditions are at higher risk of developing a substance abuse issue stemming from self-medication of underlying symptoms.  

Treating Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders 

At Red Oak Recovery®, we use a progressive and holistic treatment model to help patients with co-occurring eating disorders and substance misuse issues heal holistically: body, mind, and soul. We grow our own farm-fresh food and emphasize the importance of nutrition education in our recovery programs.

Red Oak Recovery® participants also take cooking classes where they learn more about the regenerative benefits of healthy eating. Along with supplementary individual and group counseling, these strategies generate high treatment success rates and promote a permanent move toward wellness.

If you or a young adult you care about suffers from disordered eating and chemical dependency, we invite you to learn more about our clinically dynamic treatment model. To connect with an admissions specialist, inquire about insurance coverage, or enroll in our dual-diagnosis disordered eating program, contact the Red Oak Recovery® team today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Addiction Risk of ADHD Medication

adderall addiction treatment young adults
Required multi-tasking can be a harsh reality when students head to college, and they may resort to taking prescription drugs like Adderall (an ADHD medication) to manage the lifestyle change. While some students abuse Adderall because they want to get high, misuse is also rising on college campuses due to the belief that it will:

  1. Improve focus & concentration. 
  2. Help students stay alert for long hours of studying, working, or partying. 
  3. Curb appetite and prevent the feared “freshman 15” weight gain. 
  4. Enhance learning & improve grades. 

Adderall and similar drugs are generally prescribed for students with an ADHD diagnosis (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). People suffering from ADHD may have trouble paying attention. In some cases, they are antsy, struggle to sit still, or daydream frequently. Unfortunately, there are a growing number of young adults using ADHD stimulants without a prescription or a diagnosis. When ADHD medications are misused, they can lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate, and inflated sense of confidence, academic struggles, and even stroke. Over time, stimulant use may bring feelings of anger or paranoia, and may cause students to strike out against friends, parents, or teachers.

An article in ADDitude Magazine sheds more light on stimulant use on college campuses. “Students are constantly told they have to excel,” says Kelly Burch-Ragan, Ph.D., president of the International Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors. “They come from high school to an environment with a lot more academic and social demands, and these drugs represent an instantaneous fix.”

A 2015 study indicated that up to 17% of college students misuse ADHD medications, often because they believe it improves their ability to learn. Unfortunately—and not surprisingly—students are also combining the medication with alcohol, which can have dire and life-threatening consequences. “It makes it possible to drink beyond the normal limit,” said study author Kari Benson from the University of South Carolina (USC). “So instead of passing out drunk, you might end up in the hospital having to get your stomach pumped.”

Treatment for ADHD Stimulant Addiction

If you or someone you love is misusing stimulant drugs, Red Oak Recovery® offers evidence-based recovery therapies. Providing gender-specific alcohol and substance abuse treatment for young adults 18 and older, our program is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. To learn more or begin the insurance approval process for Adderall addiction, call 866-831-9107 today.

PRESS RELEASE: New Program Director, Maureen MacConnell



Maureen MacConnell - Program Director Leicester, North Carolina, March 31, 2016: Maureen MacConnell, MSN, PMHNP-BC, APRN, MA Red Oak Recovery®, a clinically intensive, adventure-based, drug and alcohol-treatment program for young adults, ages 18 – 30, to serve as the Program Director of The Willows at Red Oak Recovery℠, a women’s recovery program that is a trauma-intensive, addiction, and mental health treatment center.

MacConnell, a specialist in clinical psychology, psychiatric mental health, family psychiatry, and women’s issues, was drawn to Red Oak Recovery’s authentically rooted individualized and comprehensive care for clients and families on the journey of recovery. She was also drawn to the team of recovery professionals who help sustain and consistently revitalize the Red Oak Recovery® environment. MacConnell noted that, “seeing dedication in action allows us to recharge, to focus our intentions in a place that benefits each other and the people we serve.”

Her vision for The Willows at Red Oak Recovery℠ is holistic and dynamic, a place where her many skills can flourish. Maureen is enthusiastic about this program, which “provides choices for women in recovery; not only choices within a therapeutic model, but how to make informed decisions about their inner growth.”  She understands that, “the most impactful way to set this standard of care is through an environment that is as supportive as it is consistent; providing education, safety and empowerment.”  MacConnell believes that ascribing to principles in recovery, making it personal, “is what makes a woman responsible for its cultivation and accountable for its sustainability.”

In addition to clinical treatment, service projects and experiential wilderness therapies like backpacking, white water rafting, and rock climbing, Red Oak clients receive a minimum of 20 hours of clinician-led sessions (which include 3-4 individual sessions), as well as psycho-educational, topic focused, 12-Step group and individual sessions.

“Maureen is a tremendous talent, and we couldn’t be happier that she has joined the team,” said Red Oak Recovery® Chief Executive Officer, Jack Kline, MS, LPCS, LCAS, CCS. “She brings a sophisticated clinical perspective that enhances the trauma intensive, integrated care model that we utilize.”

MacConnell received her Master of Science in Nursing, with a specialization in Family Psychiatric-Mental Health degree from Yale University School of Nursing and is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Her experiences in the fields of psychiatric nursing, substance abuse counseling, community and family health contribute to her abilities in directing a dynamic and holistically-based recovery program for young women. To MacConnell, holistic recovery “is the capacity for a person to be seen as an individual.  There are so many components that make people who they are; and that is why recovery is so unique to each person.  There may be commonalities to how we heal, but the process itself is a personal journey in self-discovery.  You begin to understand your strengths and limitations, and the balance between the two.”

MacConnell moved to Western North Carolina because she was searching for balance. “There is nothing more powerful for me than helping others, but I’ve realized that restorative balance resides in nature,” said Maureen. “I use it to recharge, to remind myself that there is always something larger than my thoughts.  There are so many things that fill my soul.  Learning, family, and maintaining my health ground me so that I’m able to put into practice the knowledge that I impart to others.”

Red Oak Recovery® is located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Asheville, NC, and is the result of extensive experience and research for developing highly effective programming to create a foundation of long-term recovery for young adults. The program uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure therapy, experiential therapy, 12-step work and social skills development to create positive, lasting change. For more information, visit