Addiction can be challenging to treat, and some addictions are particularly so. For example, many individuals who enter a substance abuse treatment center for cocaine addiction and complete the treatment program soon return due to relapse. The tools acquired in treatment for dealing with cravings are sometimes not effective in patients who have a particularly challenging case of addiction to cocaine.
A new study indicates that there may be help for those who have a cocaine addiction that does not respond to traditional treatments. While there has been little success in treating cocaine addiction with medications, the study finds that this strategy may be effective in certain situations.
Disulfiram is a medication that has been approved for treatment in alcohol addiction for 50 years. Its effectiveness is rooted in the blocking of acetaldehyde metabolism, causing acetaldehyde to build up in the body. The result is an unpleasant mix of nausea, headache and vomiting, accompanied by an increased heart rate. Those who take Disulfiram may quickly learn to avoid drinking alcohol.
Based on previous studies at Yale University that linked a Disulfiram-related reduction in the use of cocaine when paired with alcohol or opiate dependence, researchers recently published new findings in the journal Biological Psychiatry that support the use of Disulfiram in treating cocaine addiction.
The study’s findings show that Disulfiram is able to inhibit dopamine ß-hydroxylase, or DßH, which is an enzyme responsible for the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine.
Led by Thomas Kosten, the researchers examined Disulfiram’s effectiveness among cocaine and opioid dependent participants who received either the medication or a placebo over a ten-week period.
The researchers also genotyped the DßH gene, which controls the levels of the enzyme to determine which variant of the gene was present in each patient. The researchers wanted to determine whether the variant impacted the success of the Disulfiram as a treatment for cocaine addiction.
The study results showed that Disulfiram was effective in reducing the use of cocaine among the participants according to the DßH gene variant they possessed. The data supported the researchers’ expectation that Disulfiram impacted cocaine consumption by blocking DßH.
The researchers note that there was a significantly greater effectiveness related to Disulfiram use among those participants that carried the genetic variant, and this accounts for perhaps about 60 percent of cocaine addicts. This supports the use of pharmacogenetic matching to establish the best strategy for treatment of cocaine addiction.
The findings are particularly promising, given the challenge that has been connected with treatment for cocaine addiction. While the medication may not effectively treat every individual with cocaine addiction, it may help close the gap for those who carry the necessary genetic variant.
There is little argument that America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, but health officials will argue about how to solve the problem.
Scientific articles published recently in the same journal represent ideas that conflict. The Annals of Internal Medicine, a publication established in 1927 by the American College of Physicians, published two articles on the subject of restriction prescription in hospital emergency departments. The issue revolves around the current guidelines for how much pain medication should be kept in the pharmaceutical areas of emergency departments. One side of the debate says that the current regulation of a three-day supply is not enough for the average emergency department. The other side of the debate says the limited supply will force doctors to make wiser choices in who gets what pain medicine.
Prescription Drug Abuse
New York City made headlines earlier this year when city officials announced that the most powerful and common painkillers on the market today would be restricted in the city’s 11 public hospitals. The move was in response to the abuse of painkillers that has gripped the city. These painkillers include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. Methadone and Fentanyl are no longer distributed in the public hospitals. Those in favor of the restrictions note that there has been a rapid increase in opioid analgesic consequences and that restricting the medications in question will help doctors provide safer care for their patients who are experiencing issues with pain.
Many Americans now have an expectation that a visit to the emergency room will result in acquiring pain medication. Some emergency department personnel agree that something has to be done about that perception, which is bolstered by doctors that could perhaps be less willing to doll out the drugs to patients in pain. Non-narcotic medications are now beginning to find their way into emergency departments, as are pain meds that are engineered to be less addictive.
11 Mar 2013
Substance withdrawal delirium is a mental health condition that occurs when diminishing levels of alcohol, drugs, or medications in the body lead to the onset of an incoherent, unbalanced state of mind. Along with a related condition called substance intoxication delirium, it belongs to a group of disorders that also includes various forms of dementia and amnesia. While a variety of substances can potentially produce delirium during the withdrawal process, alcohol has an especially well-deserved reputation for its delirium-inducing potential. Alcohol withdrawal-related delirium, known as delirium tremens, is a potentially fatal condition.
Although it’s classed as a Schedule I drug in the United States, with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” many American addicts go to underground clinics or other countries to receive ibogaine treatment for addiction. The substance is an alkaloid, extracted from the iboga root which grows in West Africa. The root has been used by the Bwiti believers for centuries, and has recently been used to combat addiction in high doses. Not only is ibogaine a psychoactive drug, there have also been 12 reported deaths of people using it for addiction. Despite this, several research projects are underway and people still seek it out as treatment.
Drug rehab is a process that helps to heal the body physically, mentally, and emotionally. In the acute stage of withdrawal, the body undergoes physical withdrawal symptoms. After a few intense weeks where the body physically readjusts, the mind then begins its long journey of healing. This post-acute withdrawal stage lasts much longer than the acute stage and requires patience and perseverance to heal without falling into relapse.
16 Feb 2012
Eliminating addictive behavior and not just the addiction is the key to holistic drug abuse therapy. More addicts are turning to holistic rehabilitation centers to treat their substance abuse problems, according to a recent news article.
07 Feb 2012
There are many different things that play a role in whether or not you succeed in recovering from a drug addiction – or any type of addiction for that matter. But one of the factors that plays a very important role in your drug addiction recovery is your attitude.
Let’s face it: the path to drug addiction recovery is certainly not all roses and sunshine. It can be a long, arduous one for most addicts. Not many approach it with the same excitement they might have for an upcoming trip to Hawaii. So, if your attitude is not one of “Hey, this will be a really fun adventure,” that’s okay – and expected.
What You May Have to Give Up to Recover from Drug Addiction
You may be focusing on everything you have to give up. Let’s see:
- All my friends who do drugs
- All my drugs – and the pleasure I get from using them
- All the places I used to go to use
- Time (spent in treatment) that I’d rather be using for something much more appealing
Yes. You will have to give up a lot. But you’ll also be gaining a lot. But more on that later.
It’s certainly understandable that starting a drug addiction recovery program is a huge step – and one that should never be taken lightly. It’s a very serious decision. That’s why going into it with the right attitude – the right mindset – can make a significant difference with regard to whether your drug treatment is successful – or whether it ends up being an expensive waste of time.
Personal Responsibility Needed to Recover from Addiction
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself before getting into treatment is, “Am I willing to take responsibility for my life?” (This, of course, includes taking responsibility for your drug addiction as well.)
It’s easy (and very common) for addicts to blame others for their problem – their parents, their friends, their ex, their abusive stepfather, their critical mother, and so on. Unfortunately, as long as you blame anyone but yourself you’re probably not going to be very successful in your drug addiction recovery.
You see, when you blame others, you always give yourself an easy “out” for failure. Blaming others keeps you mired in a victim mentality. Victims, unfortunately, stay stuck. Survivors (or winners), on the other hand, take action and change their situation for the better.
Maybe it’s not a person that you’re blaming. Maybe you’re blaming your unique genetic makeup, your “addictive” personality, your melancholy temperament, God, the cosmos, the really crummy hand you were dealt, or a physical or mental ailment. If you continue to blame some external factor rather than take responsibility, you’re setting yourself up to fail. After all, it’s really hard to put forth the effort to change if you believe you have some fatal flaw or impossible obstacle to overcome.
Necessary Changes You Need to Make to Recover
Another attitude shift that’s necessary for your drug addiction recovery is a willingness to make the necessary changes to ensure success. The road to recovery doesn’t end the day your treatment program does. It’s an ongoing process.
You didn’t become an addict overnight – nor did you become one in a vacuum. Even though blaming external factors isn’t the right approach, it is still important that you acknowledge the role they play in your addiction. Perhaps you had friends or a significant other who enabled you or who encouraged you to use. Or, perhaps you lived in a neighborhood where drugs were readily available and it seemed everyone was using.
For successful drug addiction recovery, those things need to change. Yes, you do have to give up your drug-using friends and you may need to move far away from your old neighborhood. This is the time for a fresh start – one that’s conducive to a clean lifestyle rather than going right back to your old environment, and your old ways.
Conquer Your Drug Addiction for YOU
Many people end up in drug rehab because someone else manipulated, forced, tricked, cajoled, or guilt-tripped them into it. And, while some of them may ultimately succeed, many will end up relapsing – either out of resentment or because they weren’t ready (or willing) to get clean.
Going through drug treatment really needs to be something you want for YOU, not for someone else. It’s kind of like losing weight: if you lose weight to please your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend or your nagging mother, you probably won’t keep the weight off – if you lose any at all. But, if you do it because you want to do it for yourself – because you’ll feel better and look better – then you’re much more likely to succeed. The same goes for drug addiction recovery.
Focus on the Gains of Being Drug-Free
We started out by discussing how easy it is to focus on everything you have to give up if you want to get clean and stay clean. But one of the most important shifts in your attitude – and one that may take the most time – is to begin to focus on everything you’ll gain in your drug addiction recovery.
Let’s look at just a few:
- Improved health
- Better relationships
- Ability to think more clearly
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved performance and functioning in all areas of your life
Granted, these aren’t going to happen all at once. Some may gradually occur over a lengthy period of time. But if you can keep your focus on the long-term gains, it’ll make the treatment process much more tolerable – and worthwhile.
You can have a very successful – and lasting – drug addiction recovery. Strive to make these shifts in your attitude to ensure that success!