One of the biggest topics getting any attention these days is the reforms and discussions that revolve around legalization of marijuana. Last November the supporters of medical and legalized marijuana showed up in full force to vote in the Midterm elections in some states. Several states have passed legislation to allow marijuana to become available to the public in one capacity or another, and other state politicians are gearing up to push for similar reforms.
While many are skeptical as to whether their state will be one of the next to pass a bill for weed to be legal for medical or recreational purposes, there is one senator in New York who is pretty sure the proposed policy will fail, but she intends to give it a shot anyway. Talk about dedication.
Senator Krueger Speaks Up
New York State Senator Liz Krueger took to the airwaves this past Wednesday to promote her proposal, which is designed to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use. Senator Krueger argued during her segment that the legislation will provoke invaluable discussion, despite the fact she acknowledges the bill itself stands very little chance of really passing in the Republican-dominated State Senate.
The interview was broadcast by Brian Lehrer on WNYC, and Senator Krueger spoken openly about her position, and said she has modified the proposal from the original draft she had proposed last session in an attempt to imitate the more effective and constructive aspects of legalization measures in that have been placed in other states such as Colorado and Washington. New York already has medical marijuana, but now she is pushing for a more liberal policy.
The legislation as it stands now would levy a $50-an-ounce tax on sales of marijuana in the state, and require that all products be subjected to childproofing regulations similar to those in place for tobacco and alcohol products. As a liberal Democrat from the city of Manhattan, Krueger is very dedicated to pushing this conversation forward, even if it means this bill will not make it, it still won’t be considered a wasted effort. In regards to the childproofing regulations, she pointed out that both tobacco and alcohol have so far been proven to be more dangerous substances than marijuana. She said,
“We don’t outlaw those, we put regulations on them and we tax them. That is a failed model after 80 years of the drug wars against marijuana.”
Senator Krueger further argued that legalization is a common sense measure that enjoys the support of the majority of New York residents.
Surprisingly there is a fair amount of opposition. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the State Senate Republican leaders, even a majority of Democratic legislators do not support legalization.
Krueger, live most supporters, believe that it is about more than just boosting the economy with pot shops and tie-dye t-shirts. She also spoke about the idea that marijuana arrests disproportionately impact nonwhite youth, and put people on a path of incarceration that typically results in repeated offences.
“We would save an enormous amount of money in our criminal justice system being wasted. We would not be destroying the lives of young people, particularly of color,”
She even admitted that along with most Americans, she has used marijuana at some point, but thinks that the system supports stigma instead of change.
Losing the Battle or Winning the Weed War?
The New York state Senator still confessed the bill is unlikely going to gain any real foothold in Albany at the moment. However she is confident that presenting the idea, no matter if it succeeds right now or not, will help spark more conversation for the future. The previous bill preceded the passage of medical marijuana legalization in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo made New York the 23rd state in the nation to allow marijuana for medical use earlier this year, so Krueger hopes recreational use will be next.
“I believe putting out the bill I did then helped move the dialogue and discussion to move forward to at least pass medical marijuana. I see this as an education process, a building process of public support.”
She said many constituents have contacted her with notes of their own for the evolution of her old bill, and she said she is hoping for the possibility that her party might take over the State Senate for the Democratic Party in 2016. While there has yet to be a definite answer, Krueger seems sure that the ends will justify the means.
Marijuana is getting a lot of attention in the area of reform, and whether it is intended for recreational or medical use, addicts have to be aware that a drug is a drug, and any one of them can destroy your quality of life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588
For people who struggle with substance abuse or addiction and who experience anxiety, life can become miserable. There is a very strong relationship among these disorders and, in order to discuss this, let’s first take a look at what anxiety is. People often use the terms “anxiety” or “anxious” but they may not truly understand what it means to experience this often-debilitating mental illness.
Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety: Anxiety and Panic Disorder
Anxiety is part of a medical condition called panic disorder, a condition that is more common than you might think. According to Psychology Today, one in 75 people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 64 experience a panic disorder at least once during their lifetime.
Panic disorder is described as attacks that last for about 10 minutes and averaging at least one attack per week for four weeks or more. Panic attacks are not fatal but, to the person who is suffering the attack, it can feel like they are dying. People with anxiety and panic disorder live in fear of having future attacks and losing control in public places.
Anxiety is a very uncomfortable and scary experience to live with. Someone who experiences anxiety lives in fear of the onset of an anxiety attack at any moment. Often times, this fear is what brings on the anxiety and so, it is a rather vicious circle for those who have anxiety. People with anxiety problems usually structure their lives around their condition and are guided by fear: they will avoid public and social situations, have a hard time maintaining personal relationships, as well as find it difficult to hold down a job because of these overwhelming fears.
Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety: Self-Medication
People with anxiety and panic disorder will often turn to alcohol and other drugs as a means of numbing their fears or as a way to calm themselves down. Just like for people with other mental health issues, people with anxiety use substance abuse as an escape, and all of this describes what is known as the behavior of self-medicating.
Oftentimes, this propensity to self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs then develops into an addiction.
Behaviour Research and Therapy published a study that found that alcoholism occurs in 10% to 40% of people who have panic disorder and that 10% to 20% of people with panic disorder also struggle addiction and anxiety. As with other mental illness and substance abuse, there is a chicken-or-the-egg debate but, the study also found that the symptoms of anxiety often began before the alcoholism or drug addiction developed – confirming that substance abuse (and later, addiction) is often used as a way to self-medicate. In spite of the harmful consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, many people with both addiction and anxiety issues believe that drinking or using drugs are effective ways to alleviate their panic symptoms.
Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety: Synergy
Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may seem to temporarily relieve anxiety but, ultimately drugs will only make matters worse. Unfortunately, because alcohol and drugs can trigger panic attacks, this attempt at self-medication often makes the disorder worse. This is the synergetic effect.
There are dual diagnosis treatment facilities that specialize in handling the challenges of co-occurring disorders, such as addiction and anxiety, to help people in getting the benefits of recovery in a comfortable and safe environment.
Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety: Dual Diagnosis
Dual Diagnosis treatment is specialized treatment for people with both mental health and substance abuse issues, such as those with addiction and anxiety. It is important to seek out this type of treatment because it can be difficult to treat – people with anxiety tend to be unstable emotionally which is only exacerbated by their use of substances.
For people with addiction and anxiety issues, the recovery process involves learning healthy ways to cope with their anxiety symptoms without the use of habit-forming medications. Treatment goals include acquiring a state of inner calm and balance so that they can then focus on their drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse issues or addiction and anxiety issues, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. The Orchid Recovery Center is an all-women’s treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment for women with substance abuse disorders and mental illness.
Researchers describe binge eating as eating a large amount of food in a short period of time (without a harmful purging episode). A recent study has found new evidence that suggests binge eaters are likely to experience more episodes of compulsive eating while watching television.
The study was published in the January 2014 issue of Eating Behaviors, and the data presented by the researchers notes that people who make an attempt to lose weight are often let down by a series of binge eating, and there is some patterns that link that to binge-watching television.
More on Binge Eating
Binge eating is also described in more detail as repeated periods of excessive overeating, which are then followed by the individual feeling ashamed and guilty. The study also shows that their television viewing patterns may be used to predict such behaviors.
The disorder can also be connected to a variety of factors that have some impact on a person’s unhealthy eating habits, such as:
- Internalized weight stigma
- Decreased body satisfaction
But beyond these elements, the study pointed out that the amount of television viewed per week was actually a significant predictor for binge eating among the participants in the program.
The data was collected from a group of all adults in group-based weight loss programs. The whole experiment was implemented to try and answer one question in particular: how much television can bring on a binge eating episode?
Change the Channel and the Focus
According to the National Weight Loss Control Registry, the majority of people who are able to not only make some headway with losing the weight, but also have the ability to keep from gaining it back watch less than 10 hours of television per week. If you were to hold that statistic up to the average American, who is cited as watching nearly 39 hours of television each week, that’s an impressive difference.
Health and fitness experts had advised individuals experiencing binge eating disorder one basic truth: remove all distractions, including television, while eating.
Television is a distraction, out of many, that helps to make binge eaters ‘disinhibited’ while eating their meals. What they mean by ‘disinhibited’ is that they stop thinking about the amount of food they are consuming, how it makes them feel, or how it will make them feel later. It removes the conscious effort to control their consumption.
When an individual is focused solely on the meal itself while their eating instead of external distractions like what is on TV (or often now-a-days sometimes what is on their smartphone) they often become aware of how much food they are actually consuming, in turn this provides greater awareness of binge eating patterns and they are able to make a conscious effort to disrupt that unhealthy pattern.
Dangers of Food Addiction
John Menzies, Ph.D., a University of Edinburgh researcher who studies the neuroscience of hyper-palatable foods commended about the meaning of food addiction,
“’Food addiction’ has been implicated as a potential contributor to the obesity epidemic. However, there is no association between diagnoses of addictive-like eating and body weight.”
People of what’s considered to be ‘normal weight’ seem to have signs of a food addiction, while there are some obese people who have normal, healthy relationships with food. It’s those relationships, not the food itself, that should be the focus of analysis and intervention.
Here are some signs of food addiction:
- End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
- Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
- Eat to the point of feeling ill
- Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
- When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
However, Menzies argues that there is currently not enough evidence to ensure a certain food can be considered an addictive substance like cigarettes or alcohol.
Menzies explained that it is more suitable to consider chronic overeating as an ‘eating addiction’ instead, based on his review of almost all the studies on the subject published recently. He also states:
“‘Eating addiction‘ shifts the focus away from the food itself to the behavior. It emphasises that we need to look carefully at people’s relationship with food and understand how people make their food choices.”
So should the binge eating habits brought on by an individual sitting in front of the television for hours on end, letting their focus be else-where while they consume excessive amounts of food should be leaning more toward an ‘eating addiction’ than a ‘food addiction’… if anything?
I’m sure we have all been there at some point of another. Started a movie with a bowl of popcorn, and before the previews are even done the popcorn is gone? Yup, that’s what we’re talking about. Next time you go nuts on Netflix, try and refrain from the extra snacks.
Binging on food, entertainment, and especially drugs and/or alcohol can be extremely harmful to your health, and most of these can actually take your life in one way or another. Be aware of the obsessions and compulsions you develop, because you never know which one could take everything you have. But where there is danger, there is always help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, addiction or compulsive behavioral disorders please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588
Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has officially spoken for the first time publicly since it was in the news that he tested positive for cocaine in a recent drug test. Jones took responsibility for using cocaine late last year, but said he has never been more than a recreational user and insists that he does not have a drug problem.
In an interview that aired recently Monday night, Jones stated:
“I had done it quite a few times in college, I had experimented with it, but that’s really it. It has never been an issue”
Jones tested positive for a metabolite found in cocaine during a random urine test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission back on December 4th 2013 prior to his title defense on January 3rd of this year. He claims that he did not continue to use cocaine between the time of the positive test and UFC 182. However, Jones did not discuss whether he had used any other illicit drugs, simply admitting he had done his share of partying. Still Jones was adamant that he does not have a drug problem.
“The whole situation has been embarrassing. … Cocaine is such a dirty drug. … I’ve had to explain to so many people that I’m not a cocaine addict — I’m not even a frequent user. I just made a really dumb decision. I really got caught with my pants down in this whole situation, and there’s no excuse for it.”
Jones seems confident in his statements to the press that his is not an addict, and that his family and friends are aware that his life is simply to busy to have a cocaine addiction. He went on to say,
“I knew that I had done something wrong, and I knew that the test would show that. … I knew the test would come out positive. But I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I was stressed out about it, but I thought I’d focus on what I could control, which was the fight.”
He was worried he might be suspended at one point prior to the fight. When Jones was asked why he would use cocaine so close to the fight during the interview, Jones said he simply made a poor decision. While he does not admit to being an addict, what he did do was a pretty good job of NOT trying to misdirect the blame onto someone else.
“I definitely don’t have an excuse. I’m not here to make excuses for what happened. I did it. I had a party. But I think a coward would sit here and try to come up with this elaborate reason or try to blame something. And I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to blame my friends or pressure or stress. I’m not going to blame anything. But what I will say is I messed up. It wasn’t a mistake because I consciously did it.”
Beyond the actual testing is the controversy. The big question some are asking is why the Nevada State Athletic Commission made the results of the tests public. Cocaine is an illegal illicit drug, but cocaine is not listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list during out of competition periods.
Jones also maintained that he has never taken any performance-enhancing drugs despite test results showing lower-than-normal epitestosterone levels for both Jones and opponent Daniel Cormier.
The Fight Through Rehab
After the initial controversy of Jones’ drug test hit the media, he said he voluntarily entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, during which he was evaluated, and doctors determined he needed only to attend outpatient counseling.
Jones will continue to be tested for drugs on a weekly basis and have a counselor visit at least twice a week, along with a $25,000 fine by the UFC for violating its athlete code of conduct. UFC officials said the fine would be donated to a substance-abuse prevention program, so at least that money will be going to a good cause in light of the nature of his situation.
However, it does seem that Jones does believe he is not an addict or alcoholic, and that in the future he will drink successfully. He said in the interview,
“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m not ever going to have a drink or enjoy life,”
So does Jones believe that the only way to enjoy life is with a few drinks? Or is the phrase ‘enjoy life’ suggesting that he does not intend to be completely abstinent from recreational drug use?
Really at the end of the day, many believe an addict or alcoholic should typically diagnose themselves. We each have to decide what our level of powerlessness is, and when we are ready for change. Jones may not be an addict, but hopefully he will learn through his experience the benefits of sobriety.
Addiction is a very serious illness, and it can touch the lives of even the strongest athletes or the rich and famous in the same way it can destroy the lives of any average human being. But addiction is not an end in itself, unless the individual never seeks the help they need in which case it can be fatal. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, get the help before it is too late. Please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588
For anyone out there who has experienced a night of binge drinking, or even just had a few drinks too many before going to bed, and woke up the next morning feeling all kinds of dead, the term ‘hangover’ is familiar. Sometimes even that seems like an understatement with how absolutely demolished you feel by the time you get out of bed the next day.
Some Science and Stuff
The truth is there is a real risk you run with that kind of drinking whether you notice or not, and there is a real reason hangovers hurt so much. According to PhD George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), these symptoms are pretty easy to explain because they’re basically like a mini-alcohol-withdrawal-syndrome. Whenever we take intoxicants into our body, our brain changes. The brain essentially adapts to that change, so when the drug is removed the opposite reaction takes place.
So it makes sense when you really think about it that the symptoms of a hangover feel like the polar opposite of the affects we experience when drinking alcohol. For example: When drinking you may have felt ecstatic, uninhibited and pain-free. However upon waking up you’re feeling depressed, anxious, weak and beat down. There are so many real affects on the body you can feel the morning after a bad bout of drinking. These are 7 ways hangovers hurt your body.
1. Pain and Inflammation
Alcohol can cause a rebound affect that makes you feel physical pain when hung-over. Alcohol is an analgesic, meaning it can dull physical or emotional pain. Alcohol also wears off, and then the pain can come back worse than ever. Even if you didn’t have injuries before drinking, we often tend to pick some up along the way. Inflammation or the release of pro-inflammatory compounds called cytokines can also contribute to this physical pain.
Being drunk typically makes you dizzy, and a hangover can keep that going. One reason is orthostatic hypotension, similar to a faint feeling people get from standing up too fast.
Hangovers can also disrupt the reflexes that control balance in the body, or it could be residual effects in your cerebellum, which is the part of your brain that controls fine motor movement.
Drinking excessively burns a lot of dopamine, and your brain has to do its best to catch up with the body, so concentration can go right out the window.
Brain changes commonly associated with a hangover can interfere with cognitive function in your frontal cortex, which is responsible for some important stuff, such as:
- Decision making
- Executive function
- Thinking about the future
4. Endorphin Deficit
Often times that same over-use of dopamine we experience during an evening of drinking can result in waking up the next day and feeling overly-depressed. When we wake up with a hangover and we feel especially emotional and sad the next day, it’s because we pretty much released all of our endorphins and there’s this deficit state in our minds where we lack the capacity to be as happy as we were the capacity to be as happy as we were the night before.
5. Alcoholic Anxiety Attacks
Alcohol has a tendency to subdue our nerves, and so the next day our anxiety symptoms or increase in heart rate are referred to as sympathetic reactions. That is due to the fact that while intoxicated, those effects are blocked.
When alcohol is removed, our anxiety and insecurities tend to manifest. This kind of reaction doesn’t typically happen when you have just one or two drinks, but if you binge drink you’re more likely to experience episodes of anxiety.
6. Sleeping Problems
A hangover can actually start long before you even get the chance to wake up!Alcohol actually disrupts sleep patterns, and even worse is that this disruption can last more than a day or two.
Even beyond that, because alcohol can keep you up, it can increase REM sleep when you finally do get to sleep, and since nightmares are more likely to occur during REM sleep you are more than likely to scare yourself awake!
Alcohol intolerance can actually cause nasal congestion and sinus pain, which the Mayo Clinic describes as a condition where you’re unable to break down alcohol, or the ingredients in alcohol to be specific. Some call it an alcohol allergy, since the reaction is usually to a specific ingredient in the drink such as grains or preservatives.
If congestion comes hand-in-hand with a hangover, look out for:
- Worsening of existing asthma
This may be an indication you should see an allergist about.
In all reality, hangovers are just the worst. So many times you will hear someone with a miracle hangover cure, but in my personal experience a lot of it is pure speculation and shenanigans! And I have had some horrid hangovers in my day and tried many a remedy. At the end of the day, drinking alcohol excessively did a lot more harm than good in my life.
Alcoholism is a dangerous and deadly disease, and most people don’t realize that drinking habits like binge drinking and black-out drunks are signs of a much more serious addiction. You don’t have to keep waking up feeling like you’re dead, or even wishing you were. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.