7 Deadliest Drug Combinations

Despite warning labels on prescription pill bottles and frequent news reports of celebrity overdoses, people are not taking the risks of fatal drug combinations seriously. Prescription drugs and alcohol are legal, so they must be safe, right? Few people even consider them “drugs,” yet together they are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths each year.

While alcohol and prescription drugs are among the most common and dangerous, other types of interactions also can be life-threatening, including interactions between herbal or dietary supplements, illegal drugs, over-the-counter medications, and even some foods.  Read 7 Deadliest Drug Combinations on Psych Central >

Lifting The Cloud Of Early Recovery: How To Stop Being Confused And Start Thinking Straight

Early recovery is a confusing time, not only because returning to “normal” life outside rehab can be jarring but also because the brain takes time to heal from the cognitive impairments caused by prolonged drug use. With the aid of neuroimaging, we can see the physical changes that take place in the brain as a result of addiction, and we know that in most cases, it can repair itself over time.

Continue reading on PsychCentral >

Let’s Call Alcohol Poisoning What It Really Is: Drug Overdose

It’s that time of year when tropical locations and the smell of alcohol beckon to teens and college kids looking to shed their inhibitions and bring home wild stories for their friends. Spring is also a great time to get real about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Last year at this time, reports came in about the heartbreaking deaths of unsuspecting spring breakers, including a 19-year-old University of Florida freshman whose blood alcohol concentration was five times the legal limit. Her friends took her to bed because she was having a hard time walking, and she was found dead in a friend’s condominium the next morning. Later that year, alcohol poisoning took the lives of 27-year-old Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse and Warrant singer Jani Lane. (more…)

Why Do Doctors Prescribe Addictive Drugs to Known Addicts?

In 2011 a group of physicians descended on Capitol Hill to ask congress to help them fight prescription drug abuse. How? Finally require all health care professionals get real training in prescribing addictive drugs, recognizing signs of addiction, and identifying problematic patterns of use.

Most physicians receive little or no training regarding substance abuse and the use of controlled substances that have the potential for addiction. While there are many doctors who prescribe these powerful drugs responsibly, and these drugs are often critically important when used as intended (usually very short-term use or on an as-needed basis), better education will help them recognize drug-seeking behavior and train them to evaluate and refer these patients to treatment the same way they do when they see high blood sugar or blood pressure.

Continue Reading Why Do Doctors Prescribe Addictive Drugs to Known Addicts on Psych Central >

The Prescription Drug Epidemic Sparks Blame Game

Call it human nature. When something goes wrong, we look for someone to blame. When a child gets in trouble, they are quick to point the finger at a sibling. When a product malfunctions, we sue the manufacturer. So it isn’t surprising that “Pharmageddon” would spark its own type of blame game.

Even though the U.S. government’s War on Drugs started more than 40 years ago, in many ways it has been reborn in new formats. Just as the problem of illegal drug abuse has been met by law enforcement with punitive penalties for nonviolent drug offenders, the prescription drug epidemic has provoked its own type of witch hunt. Who is responsible? Who can be punished for allowing the nonmedical use of painkillers to take second place as the most prevalent form of drug use in America, even as the War on Drugs rages on?

Continue reading on Psych Central >

New Definition of Recovery Leaves Questions Unanswered

By David Sack, M.D.

Last month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) set forth a working definition of recovery. After consulting the behavioral health community and soliciting comments, SAMHSA declared that recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

According to SAMHSA, the four dimensions that support recovery are health, home, purpose and community.

Continue Reading Dr. Sack’s article on Recovery Definition on PsychCentral.com >

Do Anti-Anxiety Drugs Make You More Anxious?

By David Sack, M.D.

I have seen first-hand how prescription drugs can improve the lives of people with mental illness. I have also seen how their use can backfire. In fact, sometimes drugs do the opposite of the intended effect. Even when prescribed correctly anti-depressants may intensify the symptoms of depression and increase suicide risk.

Anti-anxiety medications pose a special problem. While approved by the FDA for the short-term management of anxiety, many physicians prescribe drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium) for months or years. Prolonged use, typically more than one month, can actually increase anxiety, leading to increased use and abuse. Ironically, the longer the patient uses anti-anxiety medication, the more they need it to experience relief. This sets into motion a cycle of addiction and withdrawal that does little to address the original problem.

 Read more from Dr. Sack on the downsides of anti-anxiety medication on Self-Growth.com >

How the New Definition of Addiction Corrects Long-Standing Misconceptions

By David Sack, M.D.

For decades, many people have gotten the wrong idea about addiction. Even as scientific research piled up supporting the theory that addiction is a brain disease, misunderstandings about addiction have persisted.

In August 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) took an important step toward refuting some of these long-held misconceptions, redefining addiction as a chronic brain disease. After four years of research and 80 expert opinions, ASAM’s definition responds to some of the most widespread misunderstandings about addiction.

Misconception #1: Addiction is a choice.

According to ASAM, addiction is a chronic disease, similar to diabetes or heart disease, caused by abnormalities in the reward system in the brain. What is originally experienced as a euphoric high over time becomes less rewarding as the brain adapts to changes in neurochemistry. This is followed by deep emotional lows, reinforcing the addictive behavior.

ASAM clarifies that just as a person cannot choose to be addicted, they cannot choose not to be addicted. The reward system of the brain responds to external cues, triggering a compulsion to use drugs and alcohol and engage in compulsive behaviors such as gambling, food and sex. (more…)

© 2019 Dr. David Sack. All rights reserved. Photo Disclaimer. Sitemap. Site Admin · Entries RSS