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International Overdose Awareness Day: Get Involved

Pills spill out of bottle as we examine the toll of overdose in the US on International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day has been observed since it was founded in Australia in 2001. Overdose, both fatal and non-fatal, is one of the world’s worst and most baffling public health crises. It occurs when the body ingests more of a drug, including alcohol, than it can process, leading to an overload of its systems. If left untreated, it can lead to death. It is important to understand that any drug can cause an overdose, even over-the-counter medicine or drugs prescribed by your doctor. An overdose can also occur by taking the appropriate dose of a drug but mixing it with another incompatible drug.

Overdose Day (or IOAD), now led by the Penington Institute, has since grown to serve multiple purposes — to remember loved ones lost to overdose, drum up public awareness and understanding of fatal and non-fatal overdose, increase awareness of publicly available support resources, spread education and research amongst the public, generate productive discussion, enact policy change, remove the stigma, and campaign to end overdose deaths.

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How to Speak to Your Employer about Addiction

If you have recently returned to work after attending a rehabilitation program, or are beginning a new position, it is important that your employer understands the position you are currently in (if you feel comfortable speaking to them about it).

Not only will having a discussion with your employer about your addiction help you understand your employment rights, but it will help them understand you a bit better. Read on to learn a few helpful tips when speaking to your employer about your previous or ongoing addiction.

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The Evolution of Addiction and Treatment Through the Ages

The consumption of alcohol, opioids, cannabis and cocaine have roots in ancient history. The Bible references Noah’s drinking habits and intoxication, and the use of opium in Syria in the 7th century B.C. is well-documented in ancient medical texts. Ancient Incas living in the Andes three thousand years before Christ chewed coca leaves to counter the physical effects of thin mountain air, and the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung wrote about cannabis in 2727 B.C.

Addiction has a long, sordid history in the world and in our country. Tracing the history of addiction and treatment in America, it’s interesting to note the changing attitudes toward what is now considered to be a medical disease and the evolution of its treatment.

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When a Loved One Is Addicted: Helping vs. Enabling

Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are serious issues facing over 23 million people across the United States alone. Of these millions of people, just a small percentage actively seek help to overcome their substance addictions.

There are many reasons behind the resistance to get help. One of these reasons involves loved ones enabling someone’s drug or alcohol habit.

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Is Suboxone Addictive?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a combination of medication and behavioral therapy is the most effective way to treat addiction, and this is particularly true with opioid addictions.

The cravings and other withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction can be excruciating, and the cravings, in particular, can linger long after the physical dependence has been broken through medical detox. Maintenance medications like methadone and Suboxone stave off cravings and withdrawal symptoms so that those with opiate addiction can focus on restoring their lives while slowly being weaned from these medications over weeks, months or even years.

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Does Smoking Cause Depression?

New information released by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that cigarette smoking among U.S. adults—those 18 years and older—has dropped to approximately 14.9 percent.

Even with this encouraging trend in the decline of smoking among adults, it is sobering to consider that these statistics still mean there are over forty million adult smokers in America.

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Addiction and Sleep Deprivation: A Vicious Cycle

Insomnia and other sleep problems can be difficult for anyone to handle. When drug or alcohol abuse is added to the mix, the combination of conditions can create a vicious cycle that is hard to break on your own. Substance abuse and sleep deprivation make each other worse when they occur at the same time, and one condition often triggers the other. Not only is insomnia a common consequence of addiction, but it also affects people undergoing drug or alcohol treatment.

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Does Our Culture Glamorize Addiction?

There’s no doubt that drug addiction is stigmatized today, despite ongoing attempts by numerous agencies—including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—to demystify and de-stigmatize it.

At the same time, other cultural forces are pushing addiction farther into the realm of taboo. Reality TV shows turn drug and alcohol interventions and celebrity addiction treatment into sideshows, packed with drama and excitement, all of which are far from the reality of an actual, properly executed intervention or a high-quality, research-based addiction treatment program. These shows make it hard to take the grim realities of addiction and treatment seriously.

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The Consequences of Addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic brain disease that affects the circuitry of the brain and has social, psychological, biological, and spiritual consequences.

But many addicted people are seemingly apathetic towards these consequences. This is largely due to the impaired executive functioning of the brain caused by addiction, which skews perceptions, interferes with emotional responses, and causes problems with judgment, all of which reduce the ability to recognize destructive behaviors and identify significant problems with interpersonal relationships.

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Quitting Nicotine: What to Expect and How to Make it Easier

The World Health Organization defines withdrawal syndrome as a collection of symptoms of various types and with varying degrees of severity that occur when someone stops using a psychoactive substance that they’ve taken for a long period of time or in high doses. The WHO indicates that withdrawal syndrome for any given substance is the defining characteristic of dependence on that substance.

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