DID YOU KNOW?


• By the age of 13, most teens have drank to excess (drunkenness) at least once

• When drugs enter the brain, they can interrupt the work and actually change how the brain performs its jobs. These changes are what lead to compulsive drug use, the hallmark of addiction

Drugs of abuse affect three primary areas of the brain:

1. The brain stem is in charge of all of the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, circulating blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord, which runs down the back and is responsible for moving muscles and limbs as well as letting the brain know what’s happening to the body

2. The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate. The good feelings motivate us to repeat the behavior, which is good because eating is critical to our lives

3. The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-like outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. It’s divided into four areas, called lobes, which control specific functions. Some areas process information from our senses, enabling us to see, feel, hear, and taste. The front part of the cortex, known as the frontal cortex or forebrain, is the thinking center. It powers our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions

• Drugs are chemicals. They work in the brain by tapping into its communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently. In fact, some drugs can change the brain in ways that last long after the person has stopped taking drugs, maybe even permanently. This is more likely when a drug is taken repeatedly

• Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter. In fact, these drugs can “fool” receptors, can lock onto them, and can activate the nerve cells. The problem is, they don’t work the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, so the neurons wind up sending abnormal messages through the brain

• Other drugs, such as amphetamine, cause nerve cells to release excessive amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals (cocaine and amphetamine). This leads to an exaggerated message in the brain, ultimately wreaking havoc on the communication channels. The difference in effect is like the difference between someone whispering in your ear versus someone shouting in a microphone

• All drugs of abuse — nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and others, affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. Normally, the reward circuit responds to pleasurable experiences by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which creates feelings of pleasure, and tells the brain that this is something important—pay attention and remember it. Drugs hijack this system, causing unusually large amounts of dopamine to flood the system. Sometimes, this lasts for a long time compared to what happens when a natural reward stimulates dopamine. This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or euphoria associated with drug abuse

For more information regarding the dynamics of addiction and its treatment, contact My New Life today at (818)-609-9989.

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DID YOU KNOW?

• Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release

abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) or to prevent

the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signaling

between neurons. The result is a brain awash in dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in

brain regions that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure.

•As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in

dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors

in the reward circuit

• This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring

the dopamine function back to normal, but now larger amounts of the drug are required to

achieve the same dopamine high—an effect known as tolerance

Doctors make a diagnosis of addiction if three or more of the following features are present:

• A strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance.

• Difficulties controlling the substance-taking behavior in terms of when it occurs,

and or

consumed once started.

• A physically unpleasant withdrawal state when not consuming the substance.

Further substance use to relieve or avoid the withdrawal state.

•Evidence of increased tolerance (increased doses are required in order to achieve

effects

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Did you know?

- Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients

- Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug/alcohol abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug/alcohol abuse

- Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug or alcohol abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained

recovery and a life without drug or alcohol abuse

- Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully

- Relapse, however, does not signal treatment failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated or adjusted or that an alternative treatment is needed to help the

individual regain control and recover

- Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information

- There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by over stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain

- Some drugs (e.g., marijuana and heroin) have a similar structure to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages

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Family Statistics

Did you know?

• When addiction is present, families can be very traumatizing.
• Broad swings, from one end of the emotional, psychological and behavioral spectrum to the other, all too often characterize the addicted family system
• What is being said often doesn’t match up with what family members sense or feel beneath the surface or see right in front of their eyes
• The drug/alcohol user as well as family members may bend, manipulate and deny reality in their attempt to maintain a family order that they experience as gradually slipping away
• Children and adults in this family may lose their sense of whom and what they can depend upon
• Because the disease is progressive, family members seamlessly slip into patterns of relating that become increasingly more dysfunctional
• Children are often left to fend for themselves and anyone bold enough to confront the obvious disease may be branded as a family traitor
• Family members may withdraw into their own private worlds or compete for the little love and attention that is available

References

http://www.celebratingfamilies.net/PDF/TianDayton_article.pdf

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FACTS

• Drugs & alcohol work on the concept of tricking the brain into thinking that it has received a “reward.” This “reward” is serotonin. A chemical that brings with it a sense of joy, or relief.
• Co-occurring psychiatric disorders occur commonly among men
• Men’s attitudes toward alcohol and drugs tend to be generally less negative than women’s attitudes
• Low levels of serotonin – a brain chemical – appear to be an important cause of addiction in men
• The fact that drugs and alcohol are rewarding does not explain why some people become addicted but not others, but it does lend weight to the argument that addiction is an illness or disease.
• Families where addiction is present are oftentimes painful to live in, which is why those who live with addiction may become traumatized to varying degrees by the experience

My New Life Treatment Center in Tarzana, CA

The My New Life Outpatient Treatment Center is a place that uses many different therapies in varying roles so as to give the most help to the greatest effect. We are here to help you get through this difficult portion of your life. With today’s new modalities of therapy, we are able to tailor your treatment specifically to you. Call us today to get started (818)-609-9989

References

http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mens-health.htm

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/alcoholism/

http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/isyourdrinkingpatternrisky/whatslowriskdrinking.asp

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DID YOU KNOW?

• 75% of men make up the substance abuse community
• 25% of women make up the substance abuse community
• Alcohol is the most abused and costs the Federal Government an approximate $148 Billion in the year 2000. That adds up to $683 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. in 2000
• Women tend to become addicted faster than men because of smaller size
• Men tend to use drugs more often than women
• Women tend to choose pills over other forms of drugs

Sources

http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mens-health.htm

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/alcoholism/

http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/isyourdrinkingpatternrisky/whatslowriskdrinking.asp

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Women & Substance Abuse

Statistically, men are more prone to being addicted to some kind of substance than women. That being said, women seem to be closing the gap with a vengeance. Where in the 1970s women made up less than one fourth of the addicts and alcoholics in the nation, they are closing this gap, slowly but surely. While most women can and will get clean/sober for a pregnancy, it’s sad to say that the vast majority will relapse soon after giving birth. In fact, most women will go see a psychiatrist or family physician before seeking the help of an addiction specialist.The good news is that while it takes a lot for a woman to get into treatment, once she starts, she is just as able to stay as clean/sober as any man. Furthermore, the statistics show that a woman generally stays sober for longer. Approximately one half of the women that do get clean/sober, get that way by way of a 12 step program. The other half either got sober by themselves, by other programs, or in many cases, relapse.Low self esteem is prevalent throughout the female substance abuse population.

Many women have had their abuse linked to domestic violence. Women have lower levels of two enzymes — alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase — that break alcohol down in the stomach and liver. As a result, women absorb more alcohol into the bloodstream. Several other biological factors make women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. First, women tend to weigh less than men, and — pound for pound — a woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue than a man’s. Because fat retains alcohol while water dilutes it, a woman’s organs sustain greater exposure.
Women tend to abuse drugs/alcohol while they are alone, so they can hide their problem, and develop medical or social consequences of addiction faster than men.Women constitute half of all new patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the next decade. Finally, Women, like the rest of the population, need to work on learning prevention techniques to remain clean/sober so the relapse never happens.

References

 Harvard School of Medicine January 2010 (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2010/January/addiction-in-women)
 Information from Ohio State University studies from November 13, 2010
 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025712505705599

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Newest Findings On Addiction

Treatments are available to help people counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse. This is the good news; unfortunately the rest of the news is not as good.

Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal treatment failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated or adjusted or that an alternative treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.

Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by over stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain.
Some drugs (e.g., marijuana and heroin) have a similar structure to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages.

Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) or to prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signaling between neurons. The result is a brain awash in dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in brain regions that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure.

As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. The result is a lessening of dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit, which reduces the abuser’s ability to enjoy not only the drugs but also other events in life that previously brought pleasure. This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring the dopamine function back to normal, but now larger amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same dopamine high—an effect known as tolerance.

References

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction

National Drug Intelligence Center (2011). The Economic Impact of Il-licit Drug Use on American Society. Washington D.C.: United States De-partment of Justice
Rehm, J., Mathers, C., Popova, S., Thavorncharoensap, M., Teerawattananon Y., Patra, J. Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders (2011).

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