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Friday, April 29, 2016

Benefits of Exercise for Methamphetamine Addiction Recovery

benefits of exercise for methamphetamine addiction recoveryIn a recently published online study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found that adding exercise to methamphetamine abuse counseling led to an increase in dopamine receptors in the brain’s striatum region, which reduced meth cravings and made recovery easier.

The use of drugs like methamphetamine causes a rise in dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that provides pleasure sensations and leads users to experience a high that can last about six hours. Over time, however, dopamine receptors are lost as users build a tolerance to the drug.

Dopamine receptors can recover if given the chance, but people who have used methamphetamine for extended periods may suffer from issues of self-control and poor judgment—which leads them to continue using.

“We know that deficits in the striatal dopamine system are hallmark features of substance-abuse disorders and are caused by molecular adaptations to repeated drug exposure and likely, also reflect a genetic predisposition,” said UCLA professor of psychiatry and molecular and medical pharmacology, Dr. Edythe London.

Dopamine & Methamphetamine Study Findings 
Dr. London and fellow researchers studied 19 people in their methamphetamine project. Ten of the 19 were asked to exercise three times a week by jogging or walking on a treadmill for one hour and participating in a weight-training program. The other nine participants were asked not to exercise but did receive training in health education.

Before beginning their regimen and again after eight weeks, study participants underwent PET scans to evaluate changes in the number of dopamine receptors in the brain’s striatum. Receptor numbers were similar in all participants before the study began, but exercisers had 15 percent more receptors after research was complete. The non-exercisers’ dopamine receptors increased by only four percent.

“Although this is a small study, it’s a very encouraging finding,” London said in a UCLA press release. “The results demonstrate that methamphetamine-associated damages to the dopamine system of the brain are reversible in human subjects, and that recovery of the dopamine system after chronic drug use can be facilitated with exercise training.”

Additional research is required to find out how addiction specialists can best utilize this research with clients recovering from substance abuse, but the study indicates that fitness may have a positive effect on neuropsychiatric healing.

Begin Your Holistic Healing Journey
Clients recovering from a dual diagnosis or substance misuse problem can find nonjudgmental guidance at Coast to Coast Recovery. Call 800.210.8229 to learn more about holistic and 12-step options for methamphetamine treatment, alcohol recovery, and treatment for co-occurring disorders. Many of our programs help clients implement exercise and nutrition plans that combat cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and fill newly sober hours with a healthy activity. Learn more; submit a confidential inquiry now.

*Source: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/adding-exercise-to-health-education-helps-treat-addiction-say-ucla-researchers

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Are You Becoming a Below-the-Radar Addict?

trading sugar and substance abuse addictionWhen you're struggling to kick a drug or alcohol addiction, sugary sweets and comfort foods can seem like a harmless substitute. Sadly, using treats to help you get through a rough patch can lead to an entirely different problem that psychologists like to refer to as addiction transfer.

For most of us, addiction develops when we find that a substance produces feelings of euphoria. As we work toward kicking the habit, we begin to search for replacements that create the same rush. The New York Times describes how a 21-year-old heroin and cocaine addict gained 115 pounds after developing a sugar addiction in rehab. Similar stories caution that using food as an emotional balm can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and other weight-related health problems.

Not surprisingly, addiction transfer also occurs the other way around.

The Mechanisms Behind Addiction Transfer
The Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management outlines the results of a study on post-bariatric surgery substance disorders, stating there is a marked increase in drug use and problem drinking by the second post-surgery year. Two-thirds of these formerly obese patients have no history of drug or alcohol addiction, suggesting a strong human impulse to seek out a way to cope with everyday stressors or unresolved psychological problems.

Regardless of the particular circumstances, addiction transfer creates a “below-the-radar addict.” When you're focused on overcoming one addiction, it's easy to overlook the development of a new compulsion. Unfortunately, addiction is the ultimate shape-shifter.

Someone with a brain that's hard-wired toward addictive behavior must remain vigilant about breaking the cycle. Often, the best way to do this is with medical detox followed by therapy to address the depression, anxiety, or other underlying mental health issues that are contributing to your addictive impulses.

Get Help for Addiction at Coast to Coast 
Coast to Coast Recovery Centers offers both 30-day and long-term rehabs, as well as specialty facilities for teens, young adults, seniors, older adults, and those in search of a faith-based Christian experience. At Coast to Coast, we work with you every step of the way to build a foundation for recovery. For details, submit a confidential online request or dial 800.210.8229 now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Practice of Stillness in Sobriety

stillness in sobrietyIt’s intuitive that once you pursue sobriety you must to say “no” to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other substances. But the practice of saying “no” should extend to many areas of your life, including your schedule, your commitments, and your relationships.

Leave Time for Self-Care
Once you have made it through detox and the early stages of recovery, you may find yourself trying to fill every gap in your schedule with an activity, volunteer opportunity, or social engagement. “After all,” you argue, “If I don’t leave time to drink or use, I am better off.”

While it’s true that you need to discover new interests, pursue new hobbies, and make new friends, it is also critical to leave time in your schedule to be still. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10), but stillness is just as important when you are pursuing a secular recovery.

Stillness looks different for everyone, and may include time to:

• Sit (alone) at a coffee shop & people watch.
• Process what you are learning in recovery.
• Journal or blog about your feelings.
• Pray or meditate.
• Get a massage or take a yoga class.
• Stay home and watch a movie.
• Enjoy a much-needed midday nap.

Evaluate Your Relationships
A second part of saying “no” during recovery is determining which relationships are healthy and which relationships contribute to negative feelings or potential relapse. Work with your counselor to dissect past relationships—and keep only the ones that support your sobriety. Sometimes you need a break from healthy relationships, too—to give yourself time to heal and reprioritize your life. A good friend or valued family member will understand when you step back from social engagements to pour yourself into addiction treatment.

“No” Is Not a Bad Word 
One of the best things you can do for yourself during addiction rehab is manage your stress levels and feed your spirit. Cramming dozens of activities into your week is likely to leave you feeling more fatigued than energized, so be intentional about your commitments and do not feel guilty turning down an invitation. Lasting recovery begins by getting to know the real you and learning what brings you joy and what drains your reserves.

Get Off the Commitment Treadmill
Your overscheduled life could be driving an addiction that is tearing you apart. When it’s time to get off the treadmill, make a call to Coast to Coast Recovery: 800.210.8229. Walking with you every step of the way, we help you achieve balance in your life—without resorting to drugs and alcohol to get through your day, week, or month.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Executive Suite Crowd May Be Wired for Addiction

executives wired for addictionWhile it’s widely recognized that those in the “C-suite” are ambitious and strong-minded, it’s also no surprise when they suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Mental illness and chemical dependency are often thought to be triggered by intense, work-related stress. But David Linden, Ph.D. and neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine, argues that the traits responsible for making a CEO good at his or her job (dedication, risk-taking, obsession, appetite for success) are the same traits shared by those with compulsive substance use tendencies.

“When you wonder what would make someone an addict, you might think, ‘if a person gets above-average pleasure from smoking or gambling, then they’d do it more.’ This is completely reasonable,” says Linden in a Forbes Magazine article. “But it’s completely, explicitly, 180 degrees wrong. The genetic variations that predispose a person to be an addict seem to be mutations that dampen the dopamine system.”

This means that while a “normal person” can go to a bar and enjoy a couple of drinks to relax, those with a higher addiction risk may need five times as many drinks to achieve the same effect. The high-risk individual might actually get less pleasure from drinking, but he or she is too driven to stop. “My strong, strong suspicion,” Linden says, “is that what makes some people more likely to rise to the top is the same thing that makes them more likely to be addicts.”

Beyond Genetics to Personal History
Genetics do play a major role in addiction risk, but other factors are also significant. Addiction researcher Constance Scharff, Ph.D. and her colleagues have found what they term a twin pathway in high achievers. “What makes someone achieve at that level – the top executives – is often a stress or trauma that happened early on,” says Scarf.

According to Linden, this trauma may occur in early childhood or before birth. “If you’re abused and neglected as a child, you’re more likely to become an addict… Even if your mother has the flu while in utero, you’re more likely to become an addict.” Linden says this is due to a proliferation of stress hormones and their impact on the brain’s pathways and reward system.

If genetics and early life stress increase the potential for substance misuse among ambitious executives, it makes sense that C-suite members need specialized care to bring about personal, family, and career healing.

Help for C-Suite Addiction Clients at Coast to Coast
Coast to Coast Recovery Center's programs for executives and licensed professionals help clients and families navigate the rigors of rehab while retaining their professional licensing and meeting occupational responsibilities. Our 5-star facilities offer drug intervention, comfortable drug and alcohol detox, and dual-diagnosis treatment programs that are customized to the high-pressure career path. Discerning clients: Begin the admissions process by dialing 800.210.8229 now or by inquiring online with our confidential form.

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Our goal is to help you get it right the first time, so you or your loved one can achieve lasting sobriety. This is largely dependent on selecting the best match for you and your circumstances.

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While we specialize matching you with the right program, it is critical that you own your decision to get help. To ensure that this happens, we (1) present our recommendations, (2) give you the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns, and (3) give you time to weigh the options. Why? Because choosing a program that suits your lifestyle and personal values increases the chances that you’ll achieve sustained sobriety.

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As your program comes to an end, Coast to Coast addiction professionals help you take the next step into aftercare and beyond. Stressful lifestyles, co-occurring conditions, and dysfunctional family situations act as relapse triggers, so it’s critical that you develop a detailed plan for life after rehab.

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