Why It’s Important to Clear the Air

Posted on October 17, 2014 By

Why It’s Important to Clear the Air

Clearing the air – getting rid of doubts or hard feelings – is necessary for being a healthy, well-adjusted adult. But, for those in recovery from the disease of addiction, it’s probably extra-important to be able to speak up when something someone says or does bothers us, or when we are the ones who have caused a miscommunication or hard feelings in others. In 12 step fellowships, this is what is addressed in Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

But, like I said, it’s also when we feel that someone else has done or said something that rubs us the wrong way. Of course, the first thing to do is to be willing to see what part, if any, you’ve played in the situation.

Now, clearing the air doesn’t mean brow-beating someone into submission – making them admit wrong-doing are getting them to agree when they simply don’t see it your way. If an argument or discussion clears the air and it gets rid of any hard or bad feelings between you and the other person, then consider it a success.

Clearing the Air vs. Letting It Go

First, as the saying goes, you have to pick your battles. Decide whether what’s happened really needs to be addressed or if you can resolve it on your own, within yourself. By that I mean, decide if it’s something you can let go of, perhaps after praying, meditating, or even talking about it with your sober supports and your sponsor. If we made a big deal over everything that happened in the course of a day, there’d be no time for anything else, like getting your work done. Also, I’m sure people would get sick and tired of you real quick.

However, if, after trying to resolve an issue through other means, as mentioned above, you still can’t let it go, then it’s time to consider clearing the air.

Be sure you know the difference between letting some ‘roll off your back’ and actually bottling it in. This is an important distinction. If you can let it go – and really let it go, then good. But, if you think you’ve let go of it but, in fact, it’s festering inside, this can lead to BIG trouble.

Why it’s important to clear the air

For anyone who bottles their feelings rather than talk about them – even if it means having to face potential conflict, resentments build. For those of us in recovery, allowing resentments to build spells Trouble – with a capital ‘T.’

You’ve probably heard it over and over again: resentments will take you back out (into active addition), in a word: relapse. This couldn’t be a more accurate statement. I know, for me, before I knew what recovery was and I was merely abstaining from alcohol and other drugs, whenever I would cop a resentment towards a coworker, my mom, a friend, or anyone else, my first thought was, “Well, I’ll just get f*cked up. That’ll show them!” As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s a pretty common mindset to those of us with the disease of addiction.  Hence the saying, “It’s like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die from it.”

As scary as it might seem to confront someone, it’s in your best interest in the long run. Remember this saying:

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” I take that to mean, in this situation, that, as scary as it might be to speak up and confront someone, it’s well worth it if it means I’ll be able to sleep at night and be resentment-free.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is available. Women have specific experiences and needs when it comes to treatment and rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. At the Orchid Recovery Center for Women, we recognize that recovery for women is unique from that of men. Please call toll-free to speak with an Addiction Specialist at 1-800-777-9588.

Food Engineering for Snack Addicts

Posted on October 16, 2014 By

Food Engineering for Snack Addicts

Craving, it doesn’t just happen to food addicts. Almost everyone experiences the impulse to seek out and consume a favorite snack food. The big food companies have done the research necessary to keep you coming back for the next snack. Thanks to an army of chemists, physicists and even neuroscientists, all working to make sure you want a second snack, these companies all strive to dominate your stomach. What most food companies don’t care to acknowledge is that the effort they’re putting into developing more crave-able food is helping to engineer a food addiction.

Detective Work with Michael Moss

Michael Moss is a New York Times investigative reporter who spent a lot of time and energy doing a degree of rigorous detective work into the subject of engineered food, and spend 4 years prying open the secrets of the food industry.

“Salt, sugar and fat are the three pillars of the processed food industry. And while the industry hates the world ‘addiction’ more than any other word, the fact of the matter is, their research has shown them that when they hit the very perfect amounts of each of those ingredients … they will have us buy more, eat more.”

When Moss began his work investigating the science of food processing, he was sceptical of concept of food addiction, but once he spent some time with the top scientists in the U.S. that actually told him that it is a fact for some people, the most highly loaded salty, sugary, fatty foods are every bit as addictive as some narcotics.

“These companies rely on deep science and pure science to understand how we’re attracted to food and how they can make their foods attractive to us.”

He also ended up writing a new book, which was titled Salt, Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us. The title directly referenced the startling discoveries Moss made about how the food industry manipulates the manufacturing of foods in order to control the average consumer through cravings and drive production and profits. He said,

“This was like a detective story for me, getting inside the companies with thousands of pages of inside documents and getting their scientists and executives to reveal to me the secrets of how they go at this.”

After he had spent time with the top scientists at the largest companies in the country Moss was amazed how much math and science and regression analysis and energy that was put into finding the very perfect amount of salt, sugar and fat in their products that will lure the shopper back time and time again.

Behind the Scenes with Bruce Bradley

Bruce Bradley is a former food industry executive who spent 15 years working at General Mills, Pillsbury and Nabisco. Bradley made some major contributions to food brands including Honey Nut Cheerios and Hamburger Helper, but after a time he was too conflicted to continue. Now he writes a blog, critical of the food industry.

“There were certainly times that I felt uncomfortable or troubled by what I was doing. I think that’s ultimately one of the reasons why I left the industry. As you start to get glimpses of products and you understand better how consumers are using them, and then you see trends like obesity and health issues that are increasing, mainly driven by the food we eat, it was hard for me not to just take a more thorough assessment of what I was doing.”

Bradley decided to step out and ultimately speak out against these companies with hopes of bringing more awareness to the issue. The foods we eat and drink the majority of these big name companies according to Bradley is not that good for us. He went on to account from his experience that these products are designed to keep you coming back to eat more and more and more.

Bruce Bradley says all of that processing takes food to a different place.

“We’re not talking about food actually being real anymore. It’s synthetic, completely contrived and created, and there’s so many problems about that because our bodies are tricked and when our bodies are tricked repeatedly dramatic things can happen, like weight gain”

Along with weight gain there are plenty of other health risks associated with this kind of obesity which include:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

Strategies and Satiety

3 of the scientific strategies that food companies have developed are:

  • ‘Mouth feel’
  • ‘Maximum bite force’
  • ‘Sensory specific satiety’ (the rate at which a food product loses its appeal as it is being eaten)

Sensory specific satiety is a term that specifically expresses when food has one over-riding flavor and if it’s attractive, it will be really attractive to us initially. However then we will get tired of it really fast. So these companies make a concerted effort to make their foods not bland, but really well blended, so people don’t get too full too fast, and stop eating too soon.

Thorton Mustard was a food industry consultant who revealed some secrets of the food industry when we wrote a book called The Taste Signature Revealed back in 2002.

“If the taste builds too much, consumption will stop … and snacks need to be eaten non-stop until the packet is finished,”

He wrote that fullness or satiety. is “quite a serious enemy for a product.”

Mustard claimed he could help food companies design foods that were guaranteed to be “more-ish,” which he defined as a quality that made a consumer want to eat more. His strategy for “more-ish” included specific elements of blending the nature of food to be of maximum desirability, including things like:

  • Chew
  • Crunch

The importance of “crunch” was confirmed in a study funded by Unilever where the chips were perceived as being both crisper and fresher when the overall sound level was increased.

  • Dissolving

If the food dissolves quickly in the mouth, it tricks the brain into believing that no calories have been ingested. It’s called “vanishing caloric density.”

Biting the ‘Bliss Point’

The ultimate goal is the ‘bliss point’. The company’s researchers have learned to study their products, fiddle with the formulas until they hit that very perfect spot of just enough and not too much sugar to create what they call the ‘bliss point’. This ‘bliss point’ is exploited through several different strategies that also have to do with how a product fits in the mouth.

But many ingredients in processed food have nothing to do with taste, but instead are to reproduce a certain texture to control the moisture level, and keep the various ingredients from separating and spoiling during the months that they will sit on the shelves. To mask the bitterness or sourness that the formulations can cause, the food industry uses flavor enhancers; tricking the brain of the consumer into tasting something that isn’t there, and hiding the taste of something that is there.

Changing the Cravings

Bruce Bradley says he believes food companies are trying to make some changes, and that he thinks there’s an element of it that’s sincere. Through his investigations he worked on several products where there was a sincere effort to reduce the amount of sodium or sugar in that product. But he says there is only so much tampering that can happen with the three basic building blocks of processed food while maintaining taste.

Some companies promise healthier snack foods. However many believe the food industry has simply identified a new marketing opportunity, and that these companies will only chase down the ‘healthy alternatives’ angle as long as it is making them money, but will not hold the trend if it begins to cost more than it makes.

So while some still question whether food addiction should be taken seriously, researchers and experts on the subject attest to the fact that food addiction is VERY real, and that in todays society the food industry is focusing a majority of its efforts on exploiting the fact. While they still try and steer clear of the word ‘addiction’ that is what they are creating, in the most roundabout way possible. They are doing everything in their power, not necessarily to make food bad for you, but to design the food based on ingredients, taste, and even the shape and texture of the food to make it more attractive to consumers and more ‘addictive’ to the appetite.

Addiction is a powerful and dangerous affliction that can have a hazardous effect on every aspect of an individual’s life, and food addiction is especially harmful to an individual’s health. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Amanda Bynes is facing mental health troubles yet again

Posted on October 15, 2014 By
Amanda Bynes is facing mental health troubles yet again

via wikipedia.com

The 28-year-old actress is in the news again – for much of the same bizarre behavior as in the past – and people are having a field day over her misfortunes, making fun of a young woman who, despite her relative fame and fortune, is obviously not well and in some kind of distress.

A Twitter observer poignantly observed a striking difference on social media.

The Tweet was originally posted by TheSmallestWaffle @SmallestWaffle:

“If you cried about Robin Williams and you’re laughing about Amanda Bynes, check yourself. Mental illness isn’t a spectator sport.”

When we think back to the recent tragedy of the loss of one of comedy’s greats, Robin Williams, there seems a general consensus of compassion. One doesn’t have to go too far to see all of the outcries of love and loss at the news of Williams’ passing. Perhaps because Mr. Williams isn’t alive to be held up to ridicule is why there isn’t the same sentiment that you’ll find towards Bynes.

And, when we harken back to the very public meltdown of Brittany Spears, we see a similar trend. Personally, I was never a fan of Spears but, when she was doing all of those ‘crazy’ things and everyone was making light of her situation, it occurred to me that that wasn’t right. As much as I despise pop music and culture, I realized that Spears’ pain was very real and felt compassion towards her. You see, I am a person with mental illness. I can only imagine what that would be like, being in the public’s eye and having every painful and embarrassing aspect of my illness unfold for all to see – and make fun of.

So, why is it that we relish so much to see someone – especially a celebrity – fall from grace?

There’s an actual term for this social phenomenon: schadenfreude, which describes taking pleasure in someone else’s failure, especially when theirs is an exceptionally big fall from grace, such as that of a public figure, i.e. celebrity.

Amanda Bynes: A Timeline

In the past, Amanda Bynes had been spiraling out of control with a series of drug-related arrests and accounts of seriously bizarre behavior.

First, there were several cases of driving under the influence, one during which she had actually struck a Los Angeles County sheriff’s patrol car in 2012. Then, last year, Bynes had received psychiatric treatment after authorities said she set a small fire in the driveway of a California home.

Bynes later entered a rehab facility and was released after a long stay in treatment. Once out of rehab, Bynes deleted her controversial tweets from last year, which included some vulgar messages and nearly nude pictures. In 2013, after months of rehab and therapy Bynes appeared to be on her way to recovery. Since then her parents have been caring for her, and she has been spotted taking fashion design courses at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

We can only guess that Bynes has stopped taking her psychiatric medication and is suffering another psychotic break.

Over the weekend, she was placed under an involuntary psychiatric hold shortly after landing at Los Angeles International Airport; a series of erratic tweets and questionable behavior in New York City prompted her parents and friends to be concerned for her safety. It’s the second hospitalization in the past two years for Bynes.

Dual diagnosis treatment is available to women who struggle with both mental illness and a substance abuse disorder such as addiction. The Orchid Recovery Center is a top-rated treatment facility that specializes in combining therapies for women in this situation for the best treatment outcomes. Call an Addiction Specialist today at 1-800-777-9588.

Heroin Overdose on a Rapid Rise

Posted on October 14, 2014 By

Heroin Overdose on a Rapid Rise

Nationally rates from heroin overdoses increased by over 50% in a decade, and recent polls suggest that this trend is still on the rise. While the overdose rates do vary from state to state, there is still a great amount of concern because the problem does not seem to be solving itself anytime soon. With a lot of reform being considered concerning drug policies in the United States, and more programs being put into effects to address the overdose epidemic, there is a lot of information that insists we keep on working to change this trend.

Heroin Overdose

The rapid rise in heroin overdose deaths follows nearly 2 decades of increasing drug overdose deaths in the United States, primarily driven by OPR drug overdoses. In this author’s home state of Ohio, the number of heroin deaths increased approximately 300% from 2007 to 2012! Mortality data for the entire United States shows a 45% increase in heroin deaths from 2010 to 2011, the largest annual percentage increase since 1999.

According to a review done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin overdose death rates in the United States are currently on a drastic rise. Rates were taken from a review of 28 states that showed statistically significant increases for both males and females, all age groups, all census regions, and all but one ethnic group. Showing that the increase exists in several different environments and areas, not discriminate to one or the other.

While the distribution of the study closely matches the U.S. population by age, sex, and race or ethnicity, the findings are not necessarily nationally representative. So they do not necessarily cover the U.S. in its entirety. However, all the available data shows that heroin deaths rose nationally from 2010-2011. The review found that the death rate from heroin overdoses doubled during that time frame, from 1 to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

The increasing death rate from heroin also is consistent with the 74% increase in the number of current heroin users among people who are as young as 12 years old and up in the United States during 2009–2012.

Contributions of Opiate Abuse

Death rates from overdosing on prescription opioid pain relievers (OPR) fell from 6 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 from 2010 to 2012, after quadrupling from 1999 to 2010. This includes the medications that contain:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone

But despite this slight drop, the CDC said years of over-prescription of painkillers has led to the recent surge in street heroin deaths. Nationally OPR death rates from 2010 to 2011 were stable (5.4 per 100,000), and there was even a recent small decline in OPR overdose mortality, which is encouraging given its steep increase during 1999–2010. But that does not mean efforts should not be made to further improve.

The rapid rise in heroin overdose deaths follows nearly two decades of increasing drug overdose deaths in the United States, primarily driven by prescription painkiller drug overdoses.

In a sample survey of heroin users in drug addiction treatment programs, 75% who started using heroin after the year 2000 stated that they first abused prescription opiates, as powerful painkillers that produce a similar effect on the user. These addicts who were surveyed said heroin was easier to get, it was a cheaper alternative, and that it is actually a more potent and similar high compared to prescription narcotics.

The study concluded through this statistic another notable distinction in the growing and evolving heroin issue. When looking at this number in comparison with the numbers among the individuals who began use heroin back in the 1960’s there can be a lot of credit to the growing overdose rate to OPR drugs. Well over 80% of the addicts who started using heroin in the 1960’s indicated that they initiated their abuse with heroin. So it is likely that many addicts who now use heroin may have not ever gotten that far without prescription painkillers.

Continuous efforts to prevent a further increase of the number of OPR users who might use heroin when it is available should be kept alive and striving to make an impact on this trend, because the more people who are exposed to opiate abuse, the more that number of average heroin users will rise, which of course will have an impact on the overdose rates.

These findings indicate a serious need for a step up in all prevention efforts intended for reducing overdose deaths from all types of opiates, while simultaneously recognizing the demographic differences between the heroin and OPR-using populations, and actively pursuing means of treatment and raising awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and the stigma that imprisons most addicts. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

13 Things Unemotional Women Understand

Posted on October 13, 2014 By

13 Things Unemotional Women Understand

Have you ever felt weird, different, terminally unique? I, for one, have – and do on more than one occasion. In fact, I used to be convinced that I was an alien from another planet and sometimes I’d stand out in the back yard, looking up towards the night sky and imagine the Mother Ship coming back for me to take me home.

Now, admittedly, this was something I’d do in the days of my active addiction, when I began to feel completely broken, desperate, and miserable.  But, even when I was growing up – and before the drugs and alcohol – I felt somehow different.

Female stereotypes – that we’re supposed to be emotional and full of all the feels – definitely contributed a great deal to my perceptions that something was wrong with me. I seriously thought I was emotionally broken.

If you’re like me, these 13 things unemotional women understand will probably be something with which you can identify.

1. You’ve been accused of being heartless

Just because your first instinct to something serious or life changing an extreme outpouring of emotions. Tears, of sadness or joy, are a rare thing for you. You probably internalize things so that you can properly process and understand them.

2. People (usually other women) accuse you of ‘trying to be one of the guys’

This is based on the assumption that your lack of sensitivity is an attempt at trying to appeal and seem more attractive to the opposite sex (if that’s what you’re into).

3. Proclamations of love and displays of affection are your personal hell

Ugh…there’s nothing worse, or more awkward, than romantic gestures hurled in your direction. Amirite, ladies of my kind? You’ve never been very eloquent when it comes to expressing how you feel, and emotional, heartfelt compliments kind of make you cringe.

4. You feel like you suck at comforting others…

And it makes you silently hate yourself. You often wish you knew the perfect thing to say in order to make your friends and loved ones feel better but you usually feel like you fall short of the mark.

5. Despite being unemotional, you’re actually good at talking to people

You’re not shy or antisocial. It’s just that you tend to keep your social interactions on a superficial level. You like people but, only at arms’ distance.

6. When you are feeling certain emotions, you distance yourself from others

It’s usually when you feel upset, sad, or hurt. Although most people find comfort being around others when they are experiencing these emotions, (and although part of you thinks you probably would too) you find it difficult to open up and therefore make yourself vulnerable.

7. People think you lack a filter

You tend to be blunt and to the point. When you care about someone, you believe it’s a sign of respect to be perfectly honest with them.

9. You’re probably a creative

Because you have a hard time verbally expressing yourself to others, you probably find other, creative outlets, such as writing, drawing, painting, or physical activities. These outlets allow you to release the internal energies you’re struggling with.

10. If/when you finally do open up to others, you feel super-fragile

There are few things in life that terrify you as much as allowing someone in – to see your vulnerability – and desperately hoping they’ll still care about you.

11. You’re a ‘mama bear’

You’re usually the emotional protector of your friends, and even your own mother. Although you don’t let the opinions of others bother you, when it comes to someone saying something hurtful about your loved one, you are ready to attack; you’ll be damned if you let other people hurt the people you care about.

12. When you do care about someone or something, you’re all in

You’re ‘over the moon,’ as they say, and maybe a little irrational. For you, there isn’t a middle ground, which isn’t very healthy.

13. Secretly, you’re a hopeless romantic

You might not cry when movies tug at the heartstrings but, they actually do hit you right in the feels and, even though you claim to despise romantic comedies (aka ‘chick flicks’), you secretly love them for their stupid, completely unrealistic way they portray love.

IMPORTANT: Eventually, you will accept that you just aren’t the emotional type and that that’s perfectly OK. You can appreciate that everyone is just a little bit different and it has nothing to do with gender. Like everyone else out there, you’re a work in progress, but you’re not broken.

Struggling with substance abuse, addiction, and unresolved trauma? Orchid Recovery Center is a top-rated women’s treatment center that can help. Please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.