Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Addict's Mom: Help Healing The Broken Spirits

How does the mother of an addict cope?

a mom's happy memories...
Are you startled by that question? Don't be. Mothers of addicts ask themselves every day..."How will I cope with this?" You are not sure who to talk to, who you can trust, who you should trust...admitting to anyone that your child suffers from the disease of addiction is, by the stigma attached to addiction, not the same as announcing to your family and social community that your child has been diagnosed with any other acute or chronic disease like leukemia or diabetes type I.

As one of our associates recounts after learning of her child's heroin addiction: "I moved through each day trying to dissect my every move for the last 20 years. How does one raise an addict? I know in my family addiction was present in my uncles, aunts, and cousins, but not my parents and not in my husband or myself. How did I not see the signs?"

She goes on to say that it wasn't until her child entered rehab and she had the opportunity to attend a family program  that, for the first time in a long time, she did not feel alone. And even though she was in a room with complete strangers she felt to talk and ask questions and to ask for help. A safe place to learn and begin her own recovery.

One mother decided she would not keep the secret anymore...

It was in 2007 when Barbara Theodosiou realized that not one, but both of her sons were addicts. It only took her a short amount of time to realize that addiction is a chronic disease. With treatment the disease can go into remission for weeks, months, years, decades...even a lifetime. But for sure your life will never be the same. In 2008, considering the loneliness she was experiencing as the mother of an addict, she decided to take a bold step and start a Facebook group called The Addict's Mom.

CNN's Kelly Wallace reports on Being an addict's mom...

Kelly Wallace is a journalist who reports for CNN covering the digital world and she serves as the editor-at-large reporting on family, career and life. This week she met and interviewed a number of mothers of addicts published this article and the video below.

If you are having trouble viewing the video you can see it here.

Take a few minutes and consider the addict's mom

There are a number of ways to get involved...or you can share this information with another addict's mom.
Their mission is clear...
United behind the credos of "Sharing Without Shame" and "Together We Really Are Stronger." Thousands of mothers have joined The Addict's Mom group fan pages on Facebook and on the Addict's Mom online community. The Addict's Mom helps create personal change and healing among the broken spirits of the Addict's Moms.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hydrocodone Combintation Products Rescheduling Will Save Llives

English: The seal of the United States Drug En...
English: The seal of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Although there is much more that must be done to curb prescription drug abuse, I am confident that rescheduling hydrocodone will undoubtedly begin saving hundreds of thousands of lives immediately." Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia

Hydrocodone combination products will become Schedule II class drugs

Last Friday August 22, 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made public its final ruling regarding the reclassification of hydrocodone.  Here is the summary:
With the issuance of this final rule, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration reschedules hydrocodone combination products from schedule III to schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. This scheduling action is pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act which requires that such actions be made on the record after opportunity for a hearing through formal rulemaking. This action imposes the regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions applicable to schedule II controlled substances on persons who handle (manufacture, distribute, dispense, import, export, engage in research, conduct instructional activities with, conduct chemical analysis with, or possess) or propose to handle hydrocodone combination products.

A ruling 10 years in the making...

If you subscribe to our blog, then you probably remember we published a post about this proposed reclassification of hydrocodone combination products on October 13, 2013. This process has taken 10 years of formal debate, after it was first suggested 15 years ago to reclassify the drug. This new ruling will take place on October 6, 2014.

What changes to expect

There are a number of related articles below; however, the Wall Street Journal published a video interview featuring WSJ's Louise Radnofsky joining the News Hub. Here Radnofsky explains what patients, physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists can expect in complying with the ruling.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some closing thoughts...

Prescription drug abuse is a serious epidemic in the United States. The statistics are staggering. And now more than 10 years since the Drug Enforcement Administration first recommended the reclassification for hydrocodone combination products the Food and Drug Administration has changed its position recognizing the epidemic which has caused tens of thousands of overdoses and deaths. Between 1999 and 2010 deaths linked to the drugs tripled, while the sales of these drugs increased by four times.

The conversation continues...

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Study: Treating Major Depressive Disorder With Medication And Cognitive Therapy

Logo of the United States National Institute o...
Logo of the United States National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Examining major depressive disorder (MDD)

When a discussion of depression is in the news most people tend to think that there is only one kind of depression. It is those who are diagnosed with depression by mental health experts, and their family members, who learn the difference between major depressive disorder and chronic depression or dysthymia.   

The WebMD® website offers a discussion of the types of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. There are times you may feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a few days. But major depression -- clinical depression -- lasts longer and is disabling. It can prevent you from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime. More often, though, it recurs throughout a person's life. In addition, with major depression, one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest. The symptoms should be present daily or for most of the day or nearly daily for at least two weeks. Also, the depressive symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. The symptoms cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance -- drug abuse, medications -- or a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, nor occur within two months of the loss of a loved one.
Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is characterized by a long-term (two years or more) depressed mood. There are also symptoms present that are associated with major depression but not enough for a diagnosis of major depression. Chronic depression is less severe than major depression and typically does not disable the person. If you have dysthymia or chronic depression, you may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during your lifetime.

New study examines the rate of recovery for MDD

This week the results of a new study were published online JAMA Psychiatry: Effect of Cognitive Therapy With Antidepressant Medications vs Antidepressants Alone on the Rate of Recovery in Major Depressive Disorder. 

Researchers were from Vanderbilt University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of New Mexico, the University of Alabama, Rush University and West Chester University. The lead author is Vanderbilt University's Steven D. Hollon, PhD and the study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The team set out to examine if there is a difference in outcome when treating MDD with only antidepressant medication (ADM) vs a treatment that combines medication with cognitive therapy (CT).

Study's parameters

  • The study was a randomized clinical trial conducted at three US university medical centers
  • 452 adults participated in the study
  • Each adult was an outpatient with chronic depression or recurrent major depressive disorder
  • Each adult was assigned to receive either treatment with antidepressants or treatment with  antidepressants combined with cognitive therapy
  • The patients were studied until they reached remission through recovery (defined as six months without symptoms)
  • Some patients were studied for over three years

Study's findings

According to a Medscape article:
  • Results showed that combining CT and ADM significantly improved rates of recovery vs ADM alone, at 72.6% vs 62.5%, respectively.
  • However, the investigators note that the advantage of combined treatment was limited to patients with severe, nonchronic MDD;
  • little benefit was observed for patients with less severe or chronic depression.
  • In addition, the dropout rate in the combined treatment group was lower than in the group that received ADM alone (18.9% vs 26.8%).
  • Further, those receiving combination therapy experienced fewer adverse events than those who received ADMs alone, mainly because they experienced less time in an MDD episode, the investigators note.

Some closing thoughts...

Cottonwood Tucson's staff  provides a multifaceted approach, treating the whole person. Our board certified psychiatrists are skilled at treating clinical depression using non-habit forming medications to gently re-regulate the depressed person’s brain functioning. Individual and group therapy is helpful in identifying behavioral and attitudinal components of clinical depression and can help patients lighten and stabilize their mood and develop more adaptive ways of managing thoughts and feelings that may act as triggers to depressive episodes. We also incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that allows our therapists to help patients identify and challenge unhealthy or irrational beliefs that can cause emotional pain. Grief groups, trauma therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help lessen the emotional resonance of painful memories help patients to explore and process the root causes of their depression.

Research indicates that individuals who continue therapy following inpatient treatment have a higher likelihood of maintaining recovery behavior. Understanding the value of aftercare, Cottonwood treatment places a strong emphasis on developing a comprehensive aftercare plan reflective of each patient's individual needs.

Each discharging patient is provided with continuing care referrals responsive to their needs. These might include: continuing residential care, psychiatric follow-up and medication management services, individual and/or group therapy and psychological services if necessary. Dates and times of first appointments are routinely set before the patient leaves Cottonwood.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pat O'Brien Pens A Memoir And Reminds His Son: "This Is Who Your Daddy Is..."

Hearing a voice from your past...

It's interesting how you can be awakened by the sound of a certain voice. It might be that of your spouse, your partner, your child, maybe your parent or roommate...or even that of a television personality. Our associate shared that yesterday she awoke to a familiar voice that brought memories to mind of Olympic Games, Super Bowls, NBA Finals, and even preparing dinner with the television on in the background tuned to   Access Hollywood or The Insider. The voice belonged to Pat O'Brien. Only he wasn't discussing sports or celebrities...he was discussing his own life and the disease of addiction.

O'Brien's book tour takes him to the TODAY show

Pat O'Brien was being interviewed by Matt Lauer of NBC's TODAY show. Yesterday, August 19th, Pat O'Brien's book, I'll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir hit the bookstore shelves. Take a few minutes and listen as Pat shares his insights with Matt.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Alcoholism is a family disease...

The fact that Pat O'Brien shares that his father was an alcoholic underscores how important it is for people to understand alcoholism is a disease and it is passed from one generation to another. Pat dedicates his book to his son Sean; and he reminds Sean of a story of how Pat's father used to take him to the local bar and they would sit at the far end of the bar. One day Pat's dad looked at him and said: "This is who your daddy is."

It is just a simple statement of fact. Your dad is an alcoholic.

An important component of recovery is acknowledging your family. You might do this in family therapy as an outpatient, or while joining Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggesting Al-Anon to your family members. Here at Cottonwood Tucson, each patient is encouraged to participate in our Family Program, along with their parents, spouse, partner, children, or siblings.

Often, families come into family week fearful, angry, distraught and obsessed. Their interactional pattern is focused around the illness or chaos of a single member, and their ability to care for themselves emotionally, and sometimes physically, can be seriously compromised. In these families, the interactional patterns are stuck and unhealthy behaviors have become logical.

The goal of Family Program is to help families relearn behavioral interaction so that healthy behaviors become logical. Interpersonal change that can be sustained after treatment requires a movement from following direction (first order change) to internalizing new ways of interacting (second order change). Families shift from obsessive worry and controlling behaviors to acknowledging that which is outside of their control and learn to focus on their own personal needs and boundaries. They learn to detach from the pain, and not from the person.

Looking forward...

Pat O'Brien is quick to acknowledge that he spent a good deal of his time in the broadcasting world "helping to destroy people." By writing this book, Pat is hopeful his story will help people to understand there is a way out. Dr. Drew Pinksy offers this observation about Pat's memoir:
  "A courageous unflinching journey through the crucible of fame and public approbation to the depths of the consequences of addiction. Pat has done it all right before our very eyes, only to find his way to an inspirational recovery. A must read textbook on the rewards of recovery."

Friday, August 15, 2014

BOYHOOD: Time Is The Story

English: Richard Linklater at the 2007 premier...
Richard Linklater at the 2007 premiere of The Hottest State in Austin, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"Where did the time go?"

This proverbial question is one that you hear a lot. It is the question asked when we are a guest at a wedding, high school graduation, family reunion or funeral...we look around and maybe the only other question that comes to mind is "Remember the time when...?" 

This past weekend Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD opened more widely in theaters across the country. After glancing at the Metacritic average score of 100 based on 49 professional reviews, it was easy enough to carve out 2 hours and 42 minutes from a Saturday afternoon. Even Rotten Tomatoes' data was certified fresh.  

Before you go, what you want to know about BOYHOOD...

The story of Mason, Jr, is not unusual; in fact it is pretty ordinary. He has one sister, his parents divorced when he was about five years old...and he spends his childhood (his boyhood) taking the journey from kindergarten to high school graduation treading lightly, but with a certain boldness and pensive honesty.

Today's post isn't about spoiling the story line for you, it is about underscoring the most interesting approach that Linklater took in writing, directing and producing BOYHOOD. According to Wikipedia:

In May 2002, film director and screenwriter Richard Linklater announced that he would begin shooting the then unnamed film in his home city of Houston, in the summer of 2002. At that time, Linklater planned to assemble the cast and crew a few weeks out of every year to shoot the story over a 12-year period, reasoning that "I've long wanted to tell the story of a parent–child relationship that follows a boy from the first through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college. But the dilemma is that kids change so much that it is impossible to cover that much ground. And I am totally ready to adapt the story to whatever he is going through." Linklater hired the then seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the boy as the centerpiece of the story and to continue portraying the role through the film's 12-year shooting period.

Imagine watching a film (not unlike a spliced home movie or YouTube video) where the main characters actually age in front of your eyes. They are not aging with make-up and costumery...they are all really maturing, growing taller, gaining weight, losing weight, changing is incredible to witness. Realizing at the same time you are being drawn into Mason's life, not unlike a next door neighbor. 

CBS Sunday Morning's David Edelstein talks about BOYHOOD

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some closing thoughts...

Again, our goal today is not to spoil the movie for our readers. Be assured that this trip through time will resonate. You will think back to your own days growing up, as well as your days of making hard decisions about your life and down the road how those decisions impacted you and perhaps your children. You might recall your own divorce, your rush to find a new spouse who will make your family whole again!

BOYHOOD is really about the whole family, sometimes the family is functional and at other times dysfunctional.  Earlier this year we wrote about the movie NEBRASKA and zeroed in on the life of an adult child of an alcoholic...with BOYHOOD one gets a quick glimpse into the drama of younger children watching stepfather(s) who are battling alcoholism.

BOYHOOD is about time, those long 12 years between kindergarten and high school graduation. When we are living it, each year seems an day at a time. And then you find yourself reviewing those day to day choices you made and how you were able to walk through those step at a time.

Enjoy the movie...