Coping with an Eating Disorder and Substance Abuse

Eating disorders (ED) such as bulimia, anorexia and compulsive overeating are about as widespread as substance use disorders (SUD). In fact, about 24 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, which is about the same number of individuals who need treatment for alcohol and drug abuse problems. If you are suffering from either one of these illnesses, there is a chance that you also may be dealing with both. Recent research shows that people with an eating disorder are four times more likely to also have an alcohol and drug abuse problem than the population at large.

As it is, only 10% of those who need treatment for either illness seek it or receive care. If you or someone you know suffers from both an ED and SUD, treatment can be more complicated and recovery more challenging, but it is critical that you seek and get the help you need. You may already know that mortality rates are higher among drug abusers, but you may not be aware that the morality rates are very high among those with eating disorders–higher than any other mental illness. As a result addiction specialists are addressing treatment methods so both conditions can be successfully managed.
Understanding Eating Disorders
Although eating disorders are more common among young women, the disease affects people from all walks of life no matter what their age, ethnicity or gender. Eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) Although people who have AN are underweight, they fear being fat. An uncontrollable compulsion to be thin leads them into a cycle of self starvation. They severely restrict their food intake and sometimes engage in a cycle of binging and purging.
Bulimia Nervosa (BN) People with BN engage in recurring […]

High Rates of Drug Abuse Among Those with Mental Illness

A Call for a Dual Treatment Approach
Higher rates of substance abuse are found among those who suffer from mild to severe mental disorders, calling for more emphasis on dual treatment options and the availability of care for these vulnerable individuals. If you are one of an estimated 8.4 million people in the US who suffer from both substance abuse and a mental disorder you certainly are not alone. But unfortunately, the number of people who get help for both conditions is less than ten percent and over fifty percent do not get any treatment at all, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Learn the important facts about why these disorders co-occur and the effective treatment options available for you or your loved one.
Why Do Drug Abuse and Mental Disorders Frequently Occur Together?
The rates of drug abuse among those who suffer from mental disorders are concerning. Recent studies show that those who have a mental illness are three and a half times more likely to use marijuana and four times more likely to abuse alcohol.

Despite these numbers, it is difficult to establish causality in the relationship between drug abuse and mental illness. In other words we can’t say that drug abuse caused a mental disorder and visa versa. However, certain circumstances show how one condition may trigger the other. For instance, people who are dealing with mental disorders will sometimes turn to drugs as a form of self-medication. It is not uncommon for those with an anxiety disorder to drink alcohol in excess to relieve their symptoms. In addition, underlying factors such as genetic vulnerabilities can contribute to both substance abuse and mental disorders. And finally, drug […]

Counseling Is Important To Overcome An Addiction

If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, individual counseling is a very important factor for treatment. Substance abuse professionals understand the nature of addiction and can help you learn more about it as well. Whether you are in a rehab or not, a commitment to counseling will do you a world of good while you’re on your journey of recovery.
The therapeutic value of talking
You might not be the talkative type when it comes to your emotions, but it will suit you well to open up and discuss your feelings and life situation with a counselor. Letting your guard down and being open and honest will allow you to breathe deep and relax for a moment. Most addicts have spent years and years running from negative emotions and pain, so when they finally do hit rock bottom or reach out for help, they usually have a lot of pent up negative emotions yearning to get released and processed.

Substance abuse counselors can let you get it all out and then help you to process it all. Chances are you’re dealing with some anxiety, depression, anger, and a host of other emotions that do not suit you well. In counseling sessions you can get to the root of such feelings and learn ways to overcome them, so you can begin to experience the happy emotions.
Counselors support and motivate
Having someone to support you no matter what you’ve been through and motivate you to keep progressing in your recovery is priceless. Counselors allow you to be who you are. You can take your mask off and just feel free to be right where you are in life, character defects and all. This unconditional support is quite […]

Are Drug Abusers Really Searching for Euphoric Highs?

Traditional views suggest that illicit drug users are pleasure seekers who abuse drugs to get a euphoric high. And over time their pleasure seeking pattern of behavior can trigger the onset of addiction.

But is this widely held belief, in fact, true? That may be one motivational factor, but perhaps not the most important one, according to a study at Rutgers University that analyzed cocaine’s euphoric effects on laboratory rats. The researchers are now challenging traditional thought and suggesting an alternative motive behind drug abusing behavior — relief from negative emotions or lows that are caused by the drug itself.
Pure Pleasure as a Motive for Drug Seeking Behavior
Based on previous research we have learned a lot about what drives people to abuse drugs, including the role drugs play on the brain’s pleasure and reward system. Drugs contain chemicals that alter the way the brain works. Some, such as cocaine overstimulate the brains “reward circuit”. In other words, cocaine causes nerve cells to release unusually large amounts of dopamine. This neurotransmitter produces feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Additionally, the brain has a way of remembering this pleasure and wants to do it again, so to speak.

After repeated drug use, the brain responds to the large surges of dopamine by reducing dopamine activity. This in turn reduces the abuser’s ability to feel pleasure requiring larger and larger amounts of a drug like cocaine to get high. However, new findings suggest that while pleasure seeking motives may dominate at the onset of drug use, they are quickly replaced by negative motivations.
Alternative Negative Reasons for Drug Abusing Behavior
Unbearable Emotional Lows Bolsters Cocaine Abuse
In a study at Rutgers, published by Psychopharmacology in November 2013, laboratory rats were given the opportunity […]

Assessing the Efficacy of Drug Rehabs

Drug rehab is the medical or psychological process of treating dependency on substances like street drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol. The main objective of this treatment regimen is to help the patient stop abusing the substance they are addicted to. This is done to avoid the financial, legal, social, physical and psychological implications caused by repeated abuse. This regimen includes counseling, sharing of experiences and medication if necessary.

Some treatments also involves meditation and spiritual intervention in the recovery process. Rehab can be inpatient, where the patient stays at the rehab center throughout the recovery process and outpatient where the patient receives therapy at the center but stays at their own homes.

To answer the question of whether drug rehabs really work, several factors have to be taken into consideration. These include the length and type of the addiction, the long term support offered to the addict and the duration of the rehab process. Not enough studies have been done in controlled settings to see the efficacy of these programs. However, it is a widely accepted fact that many addicts rarely complete the process without relapsing. Even with this, most addicts still have the potential to fully recover. It is agreed that the more the time an addict spends in a treatment process, the higher the chances of success the treatment has.

Most people seeking to join a rehab program want to be convinced that process is going to work. They normally want solid proof that the program will help them cease abusing drugs for as long as they live. Rehab works for thousands of individuals each year. Rather than think of rehab as an overnight fix with a miraculous formula, it should be viewed as a […]

Dubbed the Smart Drug:

Does Adderall Abuse Really Give Students an Academic Advantage?
Over 50 million prescriptions for the ADHD medication Adderall are dispensed each year, making it one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. But instead of being used to treat attention disorders, an alarming number of these pills are misused to enhance academic and work performance, as well as to get high.

Approximately 7.5% of high school seniors have reported abusing Adderall in 2013. Overall, it is the third most popular drug of choice after marijuana and synthetic marijuana among seniors. Based on a variety of surveys, 8 to 35 percent of college and university students report using the stimulant to enhance academic performance.

Many teens, college students and young professionals swear by its effects, claiming the substance helps them to write term papers in a matter of a few hours, cram for exams the night before while improving test results the next day and more. But is it smart to take Adderall as a study aid or a “smart drug” as referred to by students and young professionals?
What is Adderall and Why All the Attention?
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The drug is prescribed to children, adolescents and adults to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), because of its calming or “focusing” effects.

Apart from its medical benefits, Adderall is abused for a couple of reasons. People use it as a party drug to get high. When Adderall is taken in high quantities or in ways not intended such as chewing and swallowing, as well as crushing or opening an extended release capsule to snort for rapid delivery, the dopamine levels in the brain increase significantly, causing euphoric feelings.

But perhaps […]