Michael Phelps: Olympian Ready for Rehab

Posted on October 7, 2014 By
Michael Phelps: Olympian Ready for Rehab

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Earlier last week I wrote an article about how Michael Phelps was again finding himself under fire for another one of his exploits related to substance abuse, which has gotten him a lot of media attention over the past several days. After being charged with his second DUI in 10 years the American swimmer and 18 time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has decided it’s time to check himself into rehab. Phelps made a public statement expressing his desire to seek help for his substance abuse in a series of tweets this past Sunday.

“I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself,” he wrote. “I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.”

Late Tuesday morning of last week, September 30th 2014 Phelps was pulled over after being clocked doing 84 mph in a 45 mph zone in Baltimore, Maryland. He was pulled over in his white Land Rover around 1:40 am and the officer on the scene noticed right away that he was “under the influence,” according to the police report when he was arrested for drunk driving. It was stated in some of the earliest media reports that he supposedly bombed his field sobriety test, and was in no shape to be behind the wheel at all.

A few days later is was publicly confirmed that Phelps had blew a .14 on a breathalyzer, which is almost twice the legal limit. According to recent reports, Michael Phelps had been on an eight-hour gambling binge the night of the incident. Obviously poker was not the only binge he went on that day, joining the list of stars to recklessly drive under the influence.

Given the nature of Phelp’s situation and the fact that he has been in trouble before for drunk driving, as well as earned plenty of media attention for the ‘water pipe’ pictures of him holding a bong typically used for smoking marijuana or tobacco after getting noticed for his Olympic accomplishments, we can only hope that he takes his time in rehab seriously. Hopefully Phelps does what is necessary for his future, and takes into account the lives at risk driving drunk. If he truly wants his recovery, he undoubtedly has the determination to get it based on his award winner track record.

Recovery from drugs and alcohol doesn’t take an Olympic athlete life-style, but sobriety is far beyond any gold medal for most addicts and alcoholics who know the reality of active addiction, and the impact it can have on the things you love most. If you or someone you loves is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

New Drug to Treat Marijuana Addiction?

Posted on October 6, 2014 By

New Drug to Treat Marijuana Addiction?

Many people still question whether or not marijuana addiction is a real problem. Some people with a substance abuse problem with marijuana are falsely under the impression that going to a drug treatment program such as rehab, you have to be using so-called hard drugs, like opiates (painkillers, heroin), cocaine, crack, or other such drugs.

But that’s not the case. Marijuana use, also called cannabis and various street names, is becoming more and more commonly seen in people seeking help in the form of drug treatment. In fact, in the U.S., more people seek treatment for marijuana use than for cocaine or heroin use, surveys show. Yet there are no medications approved for treating marijuana addiction.

That might change soon. A new study suggests that boosting levels of a naturally-occurring brain compound could prevent relapse in people who abuse marijuana but are trying to quit.

Findings in Animals Studies

Researchers are studying drug-addicted rats and monkeys and found that a substance called kynurenic acid diminished the rewarding effects of the active ingredient in marijuana (THC). Kynurenic acid works by blocking the receptors that increase levels of the brain chemical dopamine, which is known as the feel-good chemical.

“Any drug of abuse has to do with dopamine,” said study researcher Robert Schwarcz, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland, in College Park. “We found out few years ago that kynurenic acid controls dopamine. All we had to do was put those things together,” Schwarcz said.

Cannabis’ THC works by activating dopamine neurons in the region of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which then causes the cells to release the feel-good chemical from nerves in the nucleus accumbens, another area of the brain known as the reward center. There already have been previous attempts to find a treatment for marijuana addiction, which also found that blocking receptors in the VTA and the nucleus accumbens could prevent the surge in dopamine but, those treatments caused unwanted side effects.

The researchers wondered whether kynurenic acid, the product of the breaking down of the chemical tryptophan, found in bananas and turkey, could have fewer side effects, since it naturally controls dopamine levels in the brain.

In order to find out whether kynurenic acid could treat marijuana dependence, Schwarcz and his colleagues gave rats and squirrel monkeys a drug that boosted their levels of kynurenic acid, while the animals were in control of administering themselves the drug THC or a similar synthetic version of the drug by pushing a lever.

The researchers observed that both the monkeys and rodents were less likely to self-administer the THC or synthetic drug when they were being given the dopamine-blocking drug. These findings were reported online in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers conducted a different experiment in which they withheld the THC or other drug from the animals for a period of time and then increased their kynurenic acid levels while either giving them a small dose of THC or a cue that they had learned to associate with taking the drug.

Again, their findings were that, by boosting kynurenic acid, it prevented the animals from returning to their previous drug abuse patterns. “We found that you can reduce dopamine levels and the animals behave differently — they don’t have relapse, and don’t abuse marijuana,” Schwarcz told LiveScience.

As promising as these findings are, there has yet to be any trials with humans. This research is important in other, far-reaching ways; it’s possible that the drug used to treat marijuana addiction could act on other parts of the brain, not only those involved in marijuana addiction, and therefore might prove of benefit to people struggling with addictions to other drugs, and perhaps even behavioral addictions such as eating addition, food addiction, gambling addiction, and sex/love addiction.

Marijuana addiction is real. If you find that you want to stop smoking marijuana or using it in any other form, help is available. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available to take your call 24/7 and can discuss resources as well as treatment options with you. You are not alone.

How the Law Re-Victimizes Domestic Violence Victims

Posted on October 3, 2014 By

How the Law Re-Victimizes Domestic Violence Victims

Being fortunate that I have never been a victim of domestic violence, I can’t say I ever really understood why battered women don’t just leave their abuser. And in the case of children being abused, too, I especially wanted to vilify the mothers who failed to protect the most innocent.

But, it’s not a matter of “just leaving the abuse.” It’s much more complicated than that.

First of all, ‘Battered Wife Syndrome” is now a documented condition, in which victims of domestic violence “often suffer ongoing trauma, meaning that the brain does not have time to recover the way it does from a one-off traumatic event,” said Amy Bonomi, chair of the Human Development and Family Studies Department at Michigan State University.

And, even though Battered Wife Syndrome has been around since the 1970s, legally speaking, it is still severely misunderstood, especially when it comes to cases that involve child victims. In the eyes of many prosecutors, if a battered women ‘fails’ to protect her child from the abuser, she is also considered to be criminally responsible.

In fact, prosecutors tend to use the violence a mother endures at the hands of her abusive partner as evidence against her. The argument: because she was being battered, she should have left the relationship, in order to make both herself and her child safe. Some prosecutors point out that the mother’s failed attempts to leave her abusive partner are proof that the she wasn’t completely committed to leaving and that she surely could have done more to protect her child. Others will cite their attempts to contact police or social service workers prior to the child’s injury or death as missed opportunities to disclose pertinent information about the exact danger of the situation. In fact, many will present the man’s violence as a testament to the mother’s poor decision-making.

However, domestic violence researchers and advocates view these same circumstances of abuse as evidence of just how victimized the women have become. They say the women’s decisions follow the logic of fear: Battered mothers are focused on managing their partners’ rage to avoid a more severe attack on both themselves and on their children.

So, just how the law re-victimizes domestic violence victims?

There are at least 29 states that have laws explicitly criminalizing parents’ (read: mothers) failure to protect their children from abuse. In Texas, for example, the crime is known as injury to a child “by omission.” Other states use language like, “permitting child abuse” or “enabling child abuse.” However, in addition, in at least 19 states, prosecutors can use other, more general laws of criminal negligence pertaining to the care of a child, or else placing a child in a dangerous situation.

These laws serve to hold parents responsible for what they did not do. To put this into perspective, consider this: in general, someone can’t be prosecuted for failing to stop a murder; in order to be found criminally responsible in some way, they had to have actually helped carry it out.

But child abuse is an exception to this, and the reason behind these laws is simple: Parents and caregivers bear a solemn duty to protect their children.

Both woman and child suffer beatings yet, in all but a handful of states, laws allow for one of the victims — the battered mother — to be treated as a perpetrator, guilty not of committing abuse herself but of failing to protect her children from the violence of her partner.

Said Stephanie Avalon, resource specialist for the federally funded Battered Women’s Justice Project, “It’s the ultimate blaming of the victim.”

In one case, the mother got a longer sentence than the man who raped her son. In yet another, where a father fractured an infant girl’s toe, femur, and seven ribs, he was sentenced to only two years but the mother – for failing to intervene – received 30 years.

Domestic violence advocates point out that these cases are an indication of a deeply-ingrained misunderstanding of what it means for a woman to be trapped in an abusive relationship. Many of these battered women are fearful of contacting authorities, because to do so would provoke their partners to extreme violence. And once you consider that, often times, authorities fail to protect battered women and their children, therefore, leaving them at risk of further violence and retribution. Advocates say that, by imprisoning these women, it only serves to deprive any surviving children of their mother.

What about men who fail to protect their children at the hands of a female abuser?

Even though the laws against failing to prevent child abuse are written to cover both fathers and mothers, interviews and BuzzFeed News’ analysis of cases reveal that fathers rarely face prosecution for failing to intervene when their female partners are causing harm to their children (Women make up 34% of perpetrators). Overwhelmingly, women bear the weight of laws such as these.

Mothers are held to a very different standard,” said Kris McDaniel-Miccio, a law professor at the University of Denver whose expertise is domestic violence. She added that these laws are applied unequally when it comes to gender and this is a reflection of deeply ingrained social norms: that women are naturally the caregivers and protectors of children and should sacrifice themselves – at any cost – for their children.

 If you or someone you love is struggling with trauma, abuse, and substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588. The Orchid Recovery Center is a safe place that exclusively treats women for addiction and any underlying, unresolved trauma. You are not alone. Help is available.

13 Self-Affirmations Every Woman Should Know

Posted on October 1, 2014 By

13 Self-Affirmations Every Woman Should Know

“When sleeping women wake, mountains will move.”

Chinese Proverb

It’s no secret that women, especially alcoholics and addicts – whether in their active addiction or in recovery from it – tend to suffer with low self-esteem. This is a result of societal messages, passed down through community and family members as well as being a part of the disease of addiction.

The good news is that there are ways to not only cope but, actually build self-esteem and begin to actually like and even love yourself. When that happens, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Not only that, a life of sobriety will be that much easier to build. Having self-worth and self-love are awesome weapons to have in your arsenal against addiction.

One major way to build self-esteem is to practice daily affirmations. Here are 13 self-affirmations every woman should know (and say to herself):

1. I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.

Remember: You now take charge of your life and accept the responsibility for it. Yes, addiction is life-long but so is recovery. You might not have control over having the disease, but you DO have control over what you to do keep it at bay.

2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

Your first conscious act must be to remove negativity from your life. This is a deliberate act that you choose to do. If there is gossip and negativity around you, you should remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t – say your co-workers are negative people – then you need to protect yourself energetically, by reminding yourself to be compassionate to others and be positive. Also, simply don’t join in with their gossip or complaining.

3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.

Happiness is created, not waited for. A major part of the disease of addiction is that we constantly look for happiness outside of ourselves, whether it’s alcohol and other drugs or sex, or shopping, or relationships and so on. But that’s wrong. Happiness has to come from within and it’s up to us to decide to be happy.

4. Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.

Having self-awareness allows us to better understand our problems so that we don’t allow them to overwhelm us.

5. I am what I think.

Tell yourself: I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman. We all have that inner-critic and it’s time we told it to shut-up. Change your inner dialogue to positive thoughts and affirmations. Soon enough, you’ll believe these things (just as you had believed all the negative stuff you used to tell yourself).

6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

Being sober doesn’t mean settling for an OK life – as long as you’re not using or drinking. You can achieve greatness by a conscious effort.

7. Love can change the course of my world.

Come from compassion and love – as trying as it can be at times – and you will see your world transform immensely. Change your perspective on dealing with the “difficult people” in life by seeing them as a challenge and learning experience, instead.

8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Check in with yourself on a daily basis to make sure you are putting your priorities first and that you are living your values. In our addiction, we lived and acted out of integrity, doing things that were against our true values, and that made life that much more unbearable. In sobriety, we get to live by our morals and values.

9. The past is gone forever.

Remind yourself: No longer will I be victimized by the past, I am a new person. Our past serves to give us experience and teach us the lessons we needed to learn. But, our past is our past. It’s time to move on. Think of your previous trials and tribulations as the building blocks that made you the awesome, strong woman you are today.

10. All love given returns.

Giving and receiving are one-in-the-same. Give your love freely to others and trust that you are loved, in return.

11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

Remember to stay in the moment, feeling gratitude for all the “little things” in life. Treasure each and every moment of your new life.

12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life.

This one really doesn’t need any more explanation.

13. I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

All too often, we want to find fault with others, take other people’s inventory, and place blame every else but on ourselves. Being empowered means that you accept that you are accountable for your mind, your thoughts, and your life.

The idea behind these 13 self-affirmations every woman should know is that they encourage self-empowerment, self-acceptance, and an increase in self-esteem. And these qualities can be attained by repeating affirmations to yourself, on a daily basis, the best time being when you first wake up, you know, to get your day started off on the right foot.

If you are a woman struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction, and/or an eating disorder, you also probably suffer from low self-esteem. But help is available. The Orchid Recovery Center is a holistic treatment center that specializes in the healing and rehabilitation of women who are just like you. Call an Addiction Specialist today for more information. It could save your life. 1-800-777-9588.

Amanda Bynes Back in Trouble

Posted on September 30, 2014 By

Amanda Bynes Back in Trouble

The childhood star and Hairspray actress Amanda Bynes has had quite the history as of lately with struggles related to substance abuse. Amanda Bynes had a very public breakdown in the past few years, but after a period in treatment and continued therapy she had been doing much better with the help of her parents. Just when it appeared as though she had her act together, she has found herself in trouble once again after she was arrested this past Sunday in Los Angeles for driving under the influence. With some of the details still unclear at this point, hopefully this does not put too much of a strain on her attempts at recovery.

New DUI Details

According to the celebrity new tabloid TMZ, 28 year old Bynes was driving her Mercedes in the San Fernando Valley the day of the arrest when she suddenly stopped in the middle of an intersection on Van Nuys Boulevard. A law enforcement official reported to TMZ that Amanda Bynes was stopped by a California State Patrol officer and that she was allegedly under the influence of stimulants and possibly marijuana, which would not seem too out of character given her infamous bong-throwing incident in 2013. The CHP spokesperson Leland Tang who had spoken to New York Daily News issued a statement.

“She ran a red light and stopped in the middle of a T-shaped intersection. Our officer observed her, and she appeared under the influence. She was unable to complete field sobriety tests, at which point she was taken to our station.”

The press release states that Bynes was cooperative when she was taken into custody, but had a “disheveled” appearance, according to the incident report. Police determined that she was under the influence of a controlled substance, but declined to publicly disclose what substance in particular she was on at the time of the incident. Amanda Bynes later posted a $15,000 bail after being booked for DUI.

Recent Recovery and Relapse

The actress has appeared at least outwardly to be on her way to recovery in late 2013 after months of rehab and therapy. Prior to her stay in rehab and the continued counseling, Amanda Bynes has been spiraling out of control with a series of drug-related arrests and bizarre behavior.

Bynes had received psychiatric treatment last year after authorities said she set a small fire in the driveway of a home in Thousand Oaks, California. This incident had followed several other cases of driving under the influence, one during which she had actually struck a Los Angeles County sheriff’s patrol car in 2012. Bynes is still on probation in regards to this accident specifically.

She later entered a rehab facility and was released after a long time in treatment. Once out of rehab, Bynes deleted her controversial tweets from last year, which included some vulgar messages and nearly nude pictures. 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.

With the child star having stated publicly that she is retired from acting, and her last theatrical performance being her role in the film Easy A starring Emma Stone, Amanda has had quite an amount of time to turn things around, which it had finally appeared she was doing so. Although this recent report may be contrary to that belief, hopefully as this specific case unfolds more will be revealed as to the circumstances, and hopefully Bynes is ready and able to bounce back from this recent alleged relapse and continue with her recovery successfully.

Sometimes relapse happens, and even celebrities can fall victim to the disease of addiction and the pain of relapse. No one in recovery is perfect, and there is always hope for people who seek help. If you or someone you love are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588