Rewiring Your Brain

Have you ever watched a guitar player at the top of their game moving their fingers around on the fretboard so fast that you wonder how they can think that fast? The answer is, of course, they don’t really. It’s what we call muscle memory. 

Athletes, musicians, and doctors learn to practice some tasks so many times that they can respond so quickly that consciously thinking about it slows them down. Addiction and mental illness hijack this ability to reinforce negative behavior, but we can hack it for good as well. Keep reading to learn more about how to rewire your brain for the better. 

Rewiring Our Brains: How Does It Work?

Our brains don’t work the same way computers do, but in many ways, they are similar. As we go about our lives, our brains program themselves in response to surroundings, successes, and failures. If there is something our brain feels is important, it builds faster connections to the ability to perform that thought or action.

In a nutshell, the things we practice the most are the things that get faster connections. It may seem strange to think about it in this way, but when we are thinking negative thoughts, we are practicing negativity. The brain makes it easier for us to think negative thoughts because that’s what it thinks we want. 

The same goes for addictions. While there is a physical dependency on most drugs, there is also a psychological component. When we feel happy from a drug hit, the brain rewires itself to make it easier for us to do the things that caused it, even if it’s harmful.

Our Brains: The Science Behind Addiction

Many people seek drugs to escape to a happier place. Although it’s temporary, an addict may feel like that is their only way to get away from the pain they feel day-to-day. A brain on hard drugs is overcome with an abundance of chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, glutamate, and adrenaline. With a single drug hit, you can feel like you just won the lottery.

Reproducing this feeling in our daily lives is a little bit of a different story. Feeling happiness can be a tamer, more controlled feeling. It’s hard to replicate that kind of overflowing chemical excitement in our normal worlds. This is how chemical dependency often starts.

The more you light up the reward pathways, the more your brain demands that you do little else. You are no longer in the driver’s seat. The brain’s pleasure centers do the talking and give the orders.

Sigmund Freud states how “Anatomy is destiny.” The pleasure centers of the brain are areas many people aren’t too familiar with. Examples include the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex. These names may be new to you…However, they are major parts of your daily functioning. Especially when it comes to substance abuse. 

Here’s the upside. The brain also has a built-in override system, the frontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that makes a person moral and humane. The catch is that the frontal cortex needs regular maintenance. You can train this part of the brain to help you.

There are many solutions to overcoming addiction. It may help even to view this as a game of mental strength. Remember, it is you in control. You can choose to “beat your brain” and make it work for you. Building self-awareness, removing trigger environments and trigger friends, finding other healthy outlets, and having a mentor or support group – are all great strategies to help you rewire your brain.

Exercising Your Brain

So, if you’ve realized that your brain is quite good at feeling bad, don’t worry, the great part is that we can rewire our brains. It can take time, and it’s not easy, but if we start exercising our minds, we can create new pathways for good coping skills. 

There are several evidence-based techniques for this, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, mental health rehab, and meditation. Even simple things like giving certain feelings names or breathing in deep and slow when there’s a trigger can sound silly, but they do work.

Methods for Rewiring Your Brain

Rewiring your brain starts with four basic concepts. Recognizing these concepts can help you gain control back into your life.

“What fires together, wires together.”

Addictive behavior is our brain’s and body’s way of reacting to certain stimuli, whether external or internal. What we need to do is form a new reaction to replace the old one. Neural pathways are a way for our brain to form new habits/patterns.

If you consistently respond to stress or triggers the same way, a neural pathway forms in your brain. Then when the trigger becomes apparent again, the brain/body automatically goes to that response. “What fires together wires together” is the most prominent aspect of this philosophy. 

For example, if we become frustrated or experience depression and then decide to take a drink of alcohol or abuse a substance, the physiological changes that take place (i.e., sense of euphoria) reduce the unwanted feelings. Consequently, this causes the cells to wire together so that when we become used to this fixated pattern. The more often we do this, the stronger the synaptic connections become in the brain.

The Perception of Ourselves

We all have the special ability to be able to step outside of our world and observe what’s going on. We can recognize the good and bad decisions we make. In other words, we are not our thoughts; we are not our behaviors or our feelings. We have thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. This allows us to not only recognize negative thoughts or behavioral patterns but to alter them for the better.

This requires us to understand the importance of our thoughts. We have the power to change our toxic habits if we recognize that it starts with reframing what we’ve become so used to.

We recommend doing a series of exercises, such as taking a moment to sit down and talk through some positive affirmations. 

These affirmations can be something along the lines of, “I have the power to change.” “I am full of potential.” “I am mentally strong.” Doing this throughout the day consistently can have immensely powerful benefits. 

Another great exercise is to name the behavior. When you get an urge to use a substance or partake in a bad habit, stop for a moment, and identify the urge. This will help show you that the urge itself is not a part of you. Let’s say you have an urge to take a pill.

Say to yourself, “This is my urge to take opioids.” Once you have stopped to look at it, you can ask some questions that might be helpful, such as “What just triggered this urge?” “What happened just before I had this thought?” 

Total Behavior

Addiction is made up of four components. It is easy to get caught up on the doing component of our bad habit. When we take the time to understand the other three, we allow ourselves to rewire our brain. 

The four components of every behavior are:  

  1. Doing (or active behavior): This is the behavior or action we do use our body. This can be driving to the liquor store, opening up a bottle of pills, or taking a hit of a joint.
  2. Thinking: These are the thoughts we have before or after the behavior. These are often negative thoughts centered around self-loathing.
  3. Feeling: These are the emotions we feel as a result of the thoughts we think or the behaviors we do. This can include feelings such as depression or guilt.
  4. Physiology: The brain releases neurochemicals and hormones that cause a physiological response in the body when we partake in an action. This response typically feels good in the moment when the drug is being consumed. However, this body response can then drive more of the behavior as the body builds up a tolerance.  

The next time you have an urge to do an addictive behavior, notice the urge, name the urge, and replace it with a different behavior first. For example, let’s say you have an urge to grab a drink. 

After you recognize and name the urge that you want to drink, replace it with a more positive behavior. For example, go outside and take a 10-minute walk. Maybe, you can do a mindfulness exercise and do a quick meditation. There are many different options.

Using your Mental Power for Good

What we want is to replace old neural pathways with new ones that supplement the kind of life we want to live. The more we fire the neurons on the new pathway, the weaker the old ones will become. It is important to understand that this can’t be a nonchalant choice. We must become aware of our thoughts. 

Brain research has shown that there is a split-second of time between a thought or urge and the resulting action. This is referred to as “free won’t.” This concludes that before we participate in something that’s damaging towards ourselves, we have the power to take a step back. Within this split second, we can ask ourselves the question, “What positive behavior can I replace this action with?” 

Rewiring your brain is all about replacing toxic patterns. 

Call Us Today

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, don’t shy away from getting help. Many people are in the same boat. No matter what struggle you’re going through, the right treatment can help propel you forward. Rewiring your brain is possible, and we’d be honored to help you.

Our doors are open for you! Our mission is to help you live the life you deserve. We’ll help you get the treatment you need. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here for more information about available programs.

Fighting Addiction: Worse Than Pulling Teeth

If you are considering entering a Pompano drug rehab program or know someone who could benefit from substance abuse treatment in Florida, you are probably all too aware that it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to convince them they should seek help. If you’re the one making a decision for yourself, you probably have tons of concerns and fears about how others will look at you and treat you but also the fear of what will happen if you try to go it alone and fail in curbing your substance use. If you’re seeing someone you love go down the road of substance abuse, no doubt you’ve already had a talk or ten about trying to get them to seek treatment for their condition and issues and no matter how much you urge them, they seem to not want to go in.

It’s worse than one of the things that has been found as a contributing factor to increased opioid addiction: pull wisdom teeth.

One of the standardized part of the wisdom tooth pulling process is prescribe painkillers for a couple of days for the patient to use while the effects of the oral surgery heal. For a vast majority of people, non-habit forming ibuprofen works just fine. However, a study revealed that fifteen percent of all opioid-based painkiller prescriptions are coming from dentists whose expertise isn’t in medicines but in, of course, dental hygiene. This includes prescribing them to teenagers, who are just as susceptible to forming an addiction to drugs like Vicodin as Oxycodone as anyone else.

A lot of parents (nor dentists) aren’t even aware that the drugs, which come under many brand names, are potentially habit-forming or even part of the ‘opioid crisis’ they’ve likely heard about. They also have a high likelihood of having internalized false beliefs about the nature of drug addiction being something that only happens to ‘bad people making bad choices’, making this blind spot a easily passable barrier an addiction can find their child.

It’s important to research all drugs your doctor prescribes from the point of view on what’s known about its ability to become addictive. If your family has a history of addiction or trauma, it’s worth being extra cautious and ask for alternatives for medications that could be addictive. As noted earlier, it’s often times more effective to use ibuprofen for wisdom tooth removal aftercare than the go-to painkillers which are often responsible for being a ‘gateway drug’ to illegal substances like heroin and methamphetamine (crystal meth).  What typically happens for severe addictions to prescription pills is that once the access runs out, the only solution becomes heroin and likely the person has already bought illegal prescription pills and can probably find someone with heroin and be taught how to use it. The methamphetamines are often taken with heroin as a ‘pick me up’.

Either way, being an informed consumer will help keep you safe until the multitude of class action lawsuits happening all over the country as a result of these kinds of prescriptions not coming with full disclosure of their dangers.

If you or someone you know has had oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, they may have an addiction and need professional services of specialists like those at First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 to find out more.

How Trauma Factors In

One of the reasons why seeking South Florida drug rehab centers over just attending a 12-Step program is that often times a person suffering from substance use disorder has more than just the use of the substance to work through. The National Institute on Drug Abuse surveyed just under 200 people within an inpatient treatment program and found that fifty-five percent had suffered some sort of childhood trauma. Through the years, they developed symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is more commonly associated with soldiers coming back from a war zone. The traumas experienced were physical abuse, sexual abuse or both.

Trauma itself is defined as something that causes emotional, mental or physical harm and often times when witnessed or experienced can affect emotional and mental development. People that go through these events, no matter the age, often become compelled to self medicate to deal with their emotions internally, often finding it difficult to relate to others even close to them. It’s one of the main reasons why substance abuse treatment in Florida focuses on a holistic approach to treatment methods, focusing not only on the substance abuse itself, but also the underlying causes which are often contributing factors. Without healing the emotional scars and creating a social support system for a person who has experienced trauma will not effectively treat addiction in any permanent way.

Trauma can also happen to people later in life as well. Many veterans who experienced traumatic events from their service have a high risk of substance use disorders as well as suicidal tendencies, even going so far as to using their substance of preference to attempt to carry out the suicide itself through intentional overdose.

For modern treatment of substance use disorder, trauma is heavily tested for along with general mental health. Chemical dependencies are only part of the equation, even for highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. With the statistical probability of trauma, along with other mental illnesses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic depression and acute anxiety disorders frequently coming along with addiction, it’s necessary to address the total health of a patient seeking treatment in Pompano drug rehab or elsewhere.

Over the years, the American healthcare system has been heavily criticized for its lack of mental health care availability. While some people who go undiagnosed have become tragic bearers of the need for this service when they become infamous mass shooters in movie theaters and other public places, most direct their damage inward through self medication. It’s believed that a large portion of the increase in addiction across America is tied to lack of mental health care and, unfortunately, some may never receive it until they’ve developed a severe substance use disorder, making the preventability of these outcomes even more tragic when they happen.

If you are suffering from substance use disorder, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Avoiding Addiction

A lot of times, the travel of information is simultaneously fast as a Google search and as slow as chronically poor Google search results. In greater media, there is a very heated battle between misinformation and verified accurate information, in addition to biases of media sources. As the old saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’ and in some ways, having bad information is worse than having no information at all. When it comes to south Florida rehab centers, the entire situation can be confusing.

Consider the belief many people have of addiction being something that only happens to ‘bad people’ who make ‘bad choices’. For this person, their worldview says they’re immune to developing any kind of addiction, even the one that currently chews up the headlines, opioid addiction. This person who goes around believing that only criminals and morally bankrupt scum can become ‘junkies’ may, for instance, get into a car accident on their way to work, finding themselves in a situation in which they require painkillers…the very painkillers they believe they cannot be addicted to by their very fact they believe they are not a criminal.

In this way, bad information has put this person more at risk, giving them a false sense of security and arrogance around what should always be treated with care and caution; prescription drugs. The actual way addiction works has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a person is super nice and holds the door open for their peers at a store, attends church or donates to charity. Most importantly, it also does not require any specific age, gender or income level to take hold of a person, making it no different than someone being prone to a car accident itself. Even the most cautious of drivers may find themselves on the phone with an insurance agent.

Avoid addiction requires understanding addiction prior to being put into situations where it’s more likely to happen. How do you avoid an accident if you don’t understand how certain accidents happen? Even if the accident-prone activities or tendencies are known, there’s not any guarantee of avoiding the situation.

For this reason, it’s highly important to be cognizant not only of things like prescription drugs, and whether they have addictive properties, but also things like alcohol use patterns. Also highly important is to maintain a connection to your own mental wellness. Depression and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are two common connections found in substance use disorders. For ADHD people especially, it often happens that a person doesn’t even know they have ADHD because they’ve never been diagnosed. With depression, often this will go undiagnosed as well or manifest in conjunction with substance abuse.

Unfortunately, healthcare in the United States involves walking a minefield of misinformation and maybe more importantly underfunding at the federal level. As a consumer product, healthcare and knowing your own condition is required to be a personal responsibility and considered part of being an ‘informed consumer’.

Until this changes, do what you can now to avoid conditions which may put you at risk as well as understanding how to identify possible signs of addiction after they may have already developed.

If you’re in Pompano seeking drug rehab with options for residential detox, give First Step Behavioral Health a call at (866) 319-6126.

Specialist Supply & Demand

Substance abuse treatment in Florida, especially in Pompano drug rehab centers, rely on specialists, experts and certified practitioners to ensure patients seeking help have the best possible chance at recovery. Addiction treatment has come a long way since the early days where the only option was to either try (and often fail) to get well alone or to submit to generally ineffective faith-based programs that usually did more to make people attending feel terrible about themselves rather than treat the causes of addiction itself. Even as recently as the 1960’s, addiction was clinically seen by psychologists to be a form of psychosis and psychotic behavior.

As the medical, scientific and psychology fields have continued to advance and accumulate information which paints a more complete picture of how addiction works to change the neurobiology of a person’s brain and the mechanics which surround the forming of a substance use disorder, treatment itself has become more effective. There are, though, still problems that are occurring within the treatment options that have two problems that must be overcome; training and information.

For some kinds of treatment, such as the use of some medication assisted treatments for opioid use disorder, a physician is required to attend special seminars, typically on their own time and their own dime, to be approved to prescribe the helpful medication. Some of these drugs will also be highly limited in terms of the maximum amount of prescriptions they can give out and often require ‘refreshers’ to keep their privileges or to expand how many patients they’re allowed to prescribe to. For this reason, treating addiction with clinically proven drugs that inhibit cravings is relatively rare, and contributes to the other issue of training.

Many hospitals will see patients coming in who have overdosed on a drug and along with the lack of medications that can help with preventing the worst effects of the overdose, many will not know that such drugs exist. Compounding the problem is that if a patient comes in exhibiting the early signs of addiction, doctors aren’t typically trained to recognize the symptoms. Worse yet, doctors themselves may still hold on to the outdated beliefs of morality as part of addiction and even harm a person’s chances of seeking treatment by the way they interact with a patient they suspect may have an addiction.

Overall, this has created a very terrible situation in which finding a quality south Florida rehab centers largely the job of the person addicted rather than health officials and practitioners who are expected to do whatever is necessary to improve overall public health, which itself presents a lot of problems as well. With the demand for quality treatment centers going up, there’s a high probability that centers without quality staff may fill the ‘market need’ which could be worse than doctors simply not knowing how to handle patients that come through their office or the ER and their substance abuse problems.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, treatment options are available from First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 for more info.

Cocaine: Serotonin vs. Dopamine

Most people are very aware of long term physical and psychological damages that ravage a person suffering from substance use disorder with cocaine as their preferred drug; heart and vascular issues, nasal problems that include collapsed septum in severe cases, unstable mood and sometimes violent behaviors are well known. The mechanics of the addiction side of the equations are only just now being uncovered by research, but still have many hurdles to fully explain how the drug affects the behavior of people who become addicted to it.

Recently, the Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute in association with Vanderbilt University and the Research Triangle Institute, ran a study with mice standing in as an analogue for humans that suggests serotonin might be playing a role in addiction to cocaine in addition to what has already been identified to be contributing factors involving dopamine. The neurobiologists conducting the study deployed the use of genetically engineered mice which were given a a serotonin inhibition trait. This inhibitor blocked the receptors and transmitters of serotonin in their brains.

When these mice were given cocaine, the results, when compared to the mice without this specially engineered trait, did not behave as if they were experiencing the ‘high’. Normally, when cocaine is administered to normal mice, they tend to become hyperactive and run around haphazardly a lot more. However, the mice which had their serotonin levels minimized did not exhibit this behavior in comparison.

The catch to the study, though, shows that despite not exhibiting the immediate ‘high’ effects of cocaine, they were still shown to want to obtain more of the drug with very little difference in this behavior between the engineered mice and the unaltered control mice. It was believed, until this experiment showed otherwise, that dopamine release itself was highly responsible for the high that people experience on cocaine. The experiment, which is the beginning of a new direction for researchers to follow, may be highly important in developing medication assisted treatments (MAT) in combating cocaine addiction, similar to drugs like naloxone which has been shown to be effective as a medication to treat opioid addiction. The resulting drug from this line of research is not likely to have the same approach to the neurobiology due to the findings of research thus far.

The gene in the engineered mice that was altered is also one that is known to be in part responsible for patients diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and bipolar disorder. According to the study’s lead author, Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D., the research was primarily interested in ADHD research but, “we think there may be some very important lessons here that could help those dealing with substance use disorder.”

Our Broward County drug rehab center in Pompano is equipped to handle not only cocaine use disorders but also handle withdrawal from oxycodone and other drugs. Call First Step Behavioral Health for more information at (866) 319-6126.

The Next Step of Opioid Addiction Research

The primary function of Forensic anthropology is to help identify not only the cause of a person’s death, but also who that person was, assisting with identification and primarily relies on studying bone structure and bone tissue. There are other aspects of a person that can be revealed by bones including diseases they may have had, injuries, age and more, painting a fuller picture of a deceased person than their mere appearance can.

The rate of opioid deaths continues to increase year to year and is the reason why a grant from the National Institute of Justice is being given to research the effects of the drug on bone characteristics for forensic anthropology. Janna M. Andronowski, Ph.D., a forensic anthropologist interested in the study of bone adaptation through aging and disease, explains why it is important:

“The effects of disease on human bones can impact age-at-death estimates, and prolonged drug use is no exception,” says Dr. Andronowski.

Drug use over a long period can cause adverse effects on the perceived age of bones, making someone who dies in their 20’s appear to the forensic examiner as if they are in their 60’s, for instance. “Current evidence suggests that opioids upset the balance of bone remodeling towards more destruction and less formation of bone, thus current microscopic methods developed on healthy cases may not be useful in the assessment of such individuals, resulting in severely compromised age-at-death estimates.”

Considering that many who die of overdoses come from marginalized communities, identifying the person becomes difficult if one of the only clues to identify them has been altered by drug use. The research aims to create more accurate identification of individuals after death, but there are other considerations and implications of the information that may be uncovered by the studies under the financial grant.

Opioid use has very little in the way of long-term known effects on a user other than the addiction and withdrawal symptoms themselves. Cocaine, for instance, is well known to cause many kinds of physical damage throughout the body. Opioid use is simply seen as dangerous because it is addictive and an overdose can be fatal. By learning more about the effects of opioids in the long term on post-mortem users, these side-effects can be distributed to potential users especially those who are offered painkillers like oxycontin by professional physicians.

The study will use cutting edge 3D X-ray imaging technology which can examine microscopic bone structures typically used to examine age-at-death estimations in forensics. The process where bone structures change, bone modelling, is already known to happen with long term opioid addiction, but the study will has the possibility of determining the exact effects and nature of that change.

“The ultimate goal of this work is to discover the true impact of opioid abuse on bone microstructure and prepare new guidelines for routine microscopic analysis,” added Andronowski.

Substance use disorder is a chronic illness that claims over 70,000 lives a year. If you or someone you know might be in need of drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale or Pompano drug rehab, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126. South Florida drug rehab offers treatment to regain control over substance use.

Drug Use In Teens And What Parents Can Do To Prevent It

The teenage years are a vulnerable time for adolescents. Studies have shown that the brain does not completely develop until the age of 25. That is one of the reasons teens often use drugs. Studies have shown that teens who start using drugs are more likely to develop an addiction later in life. 

Negative Effects of Teen Drug Use 

Drug use has to be taken seriously because there are a number of negative consequences that can result. While some teens are able to overcome drug use, others have to deal with serious consequences. The following is a list of possible consequences. 

  • Anxiety, depression and other mental health problems
  • Strained relationships with friends and family
  • Physical health problems
  • Academic problems and suspensions
  • Juvenile delinquency

Teens Who are at Risk 

Anybody can end up with a drug problem. However, there are some people who are at a greater risk for it than others. Identifying people who may be at risk is one of the keys to preventing drug abuse. 

People who are in Transition 

Teens who go to a new school are often introduced to new pressures. They want to fit in with everyone. They may be introduced to social circles that are using drugs. 

People Who Suffer From Mental Illness 

Depression and anxiety can develop early in life. People who have mental problems are more likely to develop an addiction. 

No Positive Influences 

Teens who come from an abusive or broken home are more likely to develop an addiction. They may not even understand the consequences of their addiction. Furthermore, teens who have a family member who uses drugs are more likely to have a drug problem. 

What Parents can Do 

Monitor Your Teens 

You will need to be aware of what your child is doing and who they are hanging out with. You can do the following to monitor your child. 

  • Come home earlier than expected.
  • Check in with them regularly.
  • Have your neighbors watch your home when you are away.
  • Monitor the prescription drugs in your home.
  • Look for changes in your child’s behavior.

Talk to Your Teen About Drug Use 

Many teens do things without thinking about the consequences of their actions. That is why it is important to talk to them about the consequences of being a drug user. The more you talk to your child about the risks, the less likely they are to use drugs. 

Keep the Lines of Communication Open 

Teens who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to use drugs. Many teens feel like they cannot talk to their parents about issues. That is why you will need to let your teen know that they can talk to you about what is bothering them. Teens will be more likely to talk to you if they know that they can be honest with you. Communication is one of the keys to prevention. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug addiction, then you can contact our Pompano drug rehab center. We can help people break their addiction.

The Future of Addiction Treatment?

There has been more and more research compiled that suggests a genetic link to addiction risk. This link, if proven, makes it far more likely for someone with this genetic makeup to form strong addictions to various substances including cocaine and alcohol. In testing mice, the possibly identified gene responsible for this effect in drug and alcohol use is known as tyrosine phosphatase D, or PTPRD. Mice have a single copy of the gene while humans have two.

A recent report on research into this link involved giving mice a compound an opaquely named 7-BIA, a gummy substance that, even were FDA approved, isn’t suitable for going into normal solutions. The project involved mice who were coerced into cocaine addiction. The mice that were administered 7-BIA before exposure to levers that dispense them cocaine exhibited lowered desire to self medicate on the coca plant extract than the control group which didn’t get the pre-treatment of the experimental drug. The research showed a possible direct link between tyrosine phosphatase as well as a possibility of minimizing the gene’s influence over the use of known addictive substances.


Addiction Research and Experimentation

The research project, led by Neurologist and pharmacologist Dr. George Uhl at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System is among the leading edge of addiction research and synthesizing of possible medication that can help those at risk or already affected by strong addiction to controlled substances. One of the concerns about such an approach to addiction is the possibility of side effects, another point of testing administered during the research. The mice who had been administered the 7-BIA experimental drug and resisted the cocaine had also displayed no negative side effects or damage as a result of the medication. The tests also compared their behavior after the medication was removed from their diet, which resulted in the mice returning to near similar behavior as if they had never had it.

The results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America early November. Dr. Uhl noted that the medication was far from being suitable from human trials. He ‘optimistically’ noted that the soonest a human trial could be performed, which is a mandatory part of FDA approval for prescribing to patients, would be five years. The research team is just one of many at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in New Mexico which sees 600,000 veterans yearly addicted to drugs and alcohol. The last fiscal year saw their expenditures into treatments like this at approximately $60 million.


Finding Help for Addiction in South Florida

Addiction is far reaching problem with many side effects that aren’t seemingly related but can affect everything from economic strength, health care costs, generational mental health and other macro concerns on society. If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, call 1st Step Behavioral Health, serving southern Florida in helping individuals recover from the effects of addiction and regain control over their lives and health.  (866) 319-6126

The Proliferation of Alcohol Abuse in Florida and Throughout The United States of America

In the modern day, the United States has adopted drinking as the normative after work activity. It has also become the typical way to meet up with a friend. If it is someone’s birthday we might buy them a drink. Alcohol has become a completely mundane part of everyday life for those who live in the United States, and across the globe. Florida, like the rest of the country, offers copious culturally acceptable ways to get wasted on a regular basis. As if the everyday office brew or after hours happy hour wasn’t enough, when holidays come many families end up binge drinking together without even thinking about who may or may not be struggling with a drinking problem, because the practice has become so second nature in our society. At Christmas there’s mulled wine, hot buttered rum, eggnog and more, thanksgiving is much of the same. Sporting events are just as focused on intoxicating beverages. Many people believe that a ball game isn’t complete without a beer and hotdog in their hands.


Why Is Alcohol Our Go-to

When people go out to meet friends and chat, they often meet at a bar, or a restaurant where everyone can get a drink. After work drinks are meant to help co-workers get together and destress from a day’s work. Those holiday drinks with family help to smooth the way through the family get together so that less fights, less social, political, or economic tension runs through conversations. The reason we so often reach for intoxicants during social gathers is because it helps us tear down our walls. It allows us to feel looser, to be ourselves. It briefly removes the shame, the guilt and the anxiety that so many of us walk around with, allowing us to finally interact on an honest level with our co-workers, to enjoy a civil holiday meal with our loving family, and to calm our fears and anxieties. But, it only does those things so briefly. The big hidden consequence of drinking is that when it is abused, the substance causes more strife in families, creates more anxiety and fear in the user. It engenders a strong sense of guilt and a deep sort of shame that almost always accompanies the chronic disease of addiction.


South Florida Alcohol Treatment at 1st Step Behavioral Health

At 1st Step Behavioral Health we offer an alcohol abuse treatment program that considers each individual patient and their personal needs and unique challenges in the modeling of each personal treatment plan.

It is vital that the person behind the alcohol addiction be a present in the consideration of treatment so that the treatment can ultimately be effective at helping the patient deal with any sort of co-existing conditions the patient may suffer from, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, among others. 1st Step employs a dedicated staff of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists at each of our facilities to support and keep safe the patients attending our programs. Call today to learn more about how 1st Step can help you or the person you love.