After just three 25-minute sessions of mindfulness meditation, young adults faced with a high-pressure task reported feeling less stressed than their peers, according to a study in the June issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, tested the effectiveness of a brief mindfulness meditation intervention using 66 healthy volunteers ages 18 to 30. Study participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a group that practiced mindfulness meditation for 25 minutes over the course of three consecutive days, or a group that instead participated in a cognitive training program that enhanced problem-solving skills by analyzing poetry.
After the third session, participants were required to complete speech and math stress challenges in front of stern evaluators. Participants who were assigned to the mindfulness medication group reported lower perceptions of stress than participants from the cognitive training group, researchers found.
Interestingly, however, saliva samples showed that mindfulness meditation participants had greater cortisol reactivity than participants assigned to the cognitive training group. Researchers speculated that the intervention’s brevity could have been a factor in failing to reduce levels of the stress hormone.
"When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it—especially during a stressful task," said J. David Creswell, PhD, associate professor of psychology. "And these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production."
—Jolynn Tumolo writing for Psych Congress Network
1. Creswell JD, Pacilio LE, Lindsay EK, Brown KW. Brief mindfulness meditation training alters psychological and neuroendocrine responses to social evaluative stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014; 44:1-12.
2. Only 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation alleviates stress [press release]. EurekAlert!: Washington, DC; July 2, 2014.
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Written by David Heitz
Published on April 5, 2014
More Americans than ever will have help abstaining from cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, has provisions that are supposed to make it easier for Americans to quit smoking, get help battling drug and alcohol addictions, and access mental health treatment. But to what extent? A distressed soldier at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, killed three people this week before turning the gun on himself. The incident has since gotten people talking about the state of mental healthcare in America. While the ACA now requires insurers selling plans on the online exchanges to offer substance abuse treatment and “mental health parity,” these changes may not translate into effective or immediate help for everyone. But the experts interviewed for this story believe that the law is a good first step.
The law considers mental health and substance abuse treatment one of the 10 essential elements of a health insurance plan. That means that providers on the exchanges, as well as the states that are expanding Medicaid coverage, must offer these services.
What About 'Parity?'
While mental health “parity” in theory means offering the same coverage a person could get for medical or surgical care, it does not require that any specific treatments be covered. It simply requires that the services that are offered for mental health conditions and substance abuse have the same co-pays and out-of-pocket costs as non-mental health services. And the ACA only requires that this parity apply to individual and small group plans, so its reach is limited. So far, its impact is unknown and will vary nationwide depending on each state's standards. But with 26 states and the District of Columbia offering expanded Medicaid services this year, substance abuse treatment has reached 62 million people, a policy analyst with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) told Healthline.
The extent of services varies from state to state, said David Shillcutt, a public health analyst at SAMHSA. But the result is going to be millions of Americans who were previously unable to receive these services gaining access for the first time. “Access to coverage may be limited due to a shortage of providers,” Shillcutt said. So SAMHSA is working with mental health providers to make it easier for them to get reimbursed. This means offering assistance on updating information systems required for billing insurers, for example.
Mental Health Is
Joel Dvoskin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona who has consulted with state and local governments nationwide about providing mental health services. He told Healthline that he is “very hopeful” that the ACA and the Medicaid expansions are “going to matter a lot” when it comes to getting people help. “Improving mental health care should lower the risk of violence for the whole world a little bit, not just for those with mental illness, but for those who have an emotional crisis because they're losing their job, in the middle of a divorce, or drinking too much,” he said.
Andrew Sperling is director of federal legislative advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He told Healthline that expanded access to insurance through the ACA provides “a huge step forward,” particularly when it comes to individual and small group plans. The ACA also attempts to boost public health and shave dollars off of American health care expenses by making smoking cessation required and available without a co-pay through plans sold on the exchange. That's great news, an official with the American Lung Association (ALA) told Healthline, though not all smoking cessation medications are covered.
“Quitting is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the ALA. “Policymakers need to be making it easier to quit smoking rather than harder.” She added that she is disappointed most state Medicaid programs do not offer smoking cessation treatments.
Taking Threats Seriously
Sperling and Dvoskin stressed that mentally ill people are no more likely to commit violence than anyone else. But Sperling said that mental problems can be exacerbated by substance abuse and other factors. He said it is important to identify “first break” psychosis, or factors that reveal the onset of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. These can include hallucinations, agitation, or delusions, and generally occur between late adolescence and early adulthood. NAMI is studying ways to treat schizophrenia earlier and more effectively. The project is called Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode, or RAISE. One of its goals is to reduce the staggering financial impact of the disease on government. Dvoskin said that the most important thing to remember is to always take a troubled person's threats seriously.
“A lot of people who commit acts [of violence] tell people they are going to do it and it's not taken seriously. That's the single most important lesson to be learned [from the Fort Hood shooting]," he said. "It's easy to identify people in crisis and get them help. Doing that may prevent a mass homicide, but we will never know it.”
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Date: 6/10/2014 12:30 AM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Report reveals millions of young adults use illicit substances every day
According to SAMHSA’s data, on an average day, 3.2 million young adults used marijuana, 57,304 used heroin, 51,319 used cocaine, 46,179 used hallucinogens, and 17,868 used inhalants. Drinking was also prevalent among this age group. In the past year, 27 million young adults consumed alcohol. Even more concerning, this number includes 9 million underage drinkers aged 18 to 20. Underage drinkers drank on average 5.7 days per month and consumed an average of 4.8 drinks per day on the days they drank.
SAMHSA’s data also reveals that, every day, thousands of young adults use illicit substances for the first time. This includes 2,470 first uses of marijuana, 1,754 first time non-medical uses of prescription pain relievers, 1,561 first uses of hallucinogens, 1,200 first uses of cocaine, 850 first uses of stimulants, 566 first uses of inhalants, 258 first uses of heroin, and 174 first uses of methamphetamines.
"This data shows how prevalent substance use is in the lives of many young adults," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. Far too many young adults allow substance use to jeopardize their health, well-being and futures. We must all do more to ensure that effective prevention and treatment programs are available to help young adults make the right choices."
The report also uses data from SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set to reveal that there were 403,756 admissions of young adults in the past year to substance use treatment programs.
Data drawn from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network reveals that in 2011 there were 488,937 hospital emergency department visits by young adults that involved illicit drug use, alcohol in combination with other substances, or the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals.
There are many resources that young adults and others with substance use problems can turn to for help. SAMHSA's National Helpline is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service that people – including adolescents and their family members – can contact when facing substance abuse and mental health issues. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information in print on substance abuse and mental health issues. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.
The report, A Day in the Life of Young Adults: Substance Use Facts, contains many other facts about the scope and nature of adolescent substance abuse, treatment, and treatment admissions patterns and is available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2K14/CBHSQ168/sr168-young-adults-2014.pdf. It was drawn from analyses of SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Treatment Episode Data Set, and National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and Drug Abuse Warning Network.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities
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The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The article, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, is authored by scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The review describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.
The authors review literature showing that marijuana impairs driving, increasing the risk of being involved in a car accident and that these risks are further enhanced when combining marijuana with alcohol. The authors also discuss the implications of rising marijuana potencies and note that, because older studies are based on the effects of lower-potency (less THC) marijuana, stronger adverse health effects may occur with today’s more potent marijuana. (THC is the psychoactive or mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana.)
The reviewers consider areas in which little research has been conducted. This includes possible health consequences of secondhand marijuana smoke; the long-term impact of prenatal marijuana exposure; the therapeutic potential of the individual chemicals found in the marijuana plant; and effects of marijuana legalization policies on public health.
The scientists focus on marijuana’s harmful effects on teens, an age group in which the brain rapidly develops, which is one factor that could help explain increased risks from marijuana use in this population. Research suggests that marijuana impairs critical thinking and memory functions during use and that these deficits persist for days after using. In addition, a long-term study showed that regular marijuana use in the early teen years lowers IQ into adulthood, even if users stopped smoking marijuana as adults.
The NIDA-supported 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey says that 6.5 percent of 12th graders report daily or near-daily marijuana use, with 60 percent not perceiving that regular marijuana use can be harmful. “It is important to alert the public that using marijuana in the teen years brings health, social, and academic risk,” said lead author and NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “Physicians in particular can play a role in conveying to families that early marijuana use can interfere with crucial social and developmental milestones and can impair cognitive development.”
This review emphasizes that marijuana use is likely to increase as state and local policies move toward legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. As use increases, so might the number of people likely to suffer negative health consequences, the review says.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or fax or email requests to 240-645-0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Online ordering is available at http://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at http://drugabuse.gov/mediaguide, and its new easy-to-read website can be found at http://www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®
For more information on marijuana and its health consequences, go to: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana.
Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use, by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Ruben D. Baler, Ph.D., Wilson M. Compton, M.D., and Susan R.B. Weiss, Ph.D., published online June 4, 2014 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
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CBT is a versatile type of therapy that is effective at treating many types of mental disorders. It’s characterized by structured, problem-focused approach with goals in mind. Therapy is usually conducted on a weekly basis, with sessions beginning with a review of the agenda and a review of any homework. Treatment can range from four to 20 sessions, but additional mental disorders may mean additional sessions. Common tools used in CBT include: psychoeducation, which helps the teen gain an understanding of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how they are connected; and mood monitoring, in which a mood diary might be used to detect patterns of emotions and thoughts.
IPT focuses on the various relationships and social contacts in a teen’s life, viewing problems through an interpersonal filter. The therapy examines the symptoms of depression as they impact the relationships the teen experiences. IPT is used to teach new skills related to communication and problem-solving in order to improve interpersonal effectiveness. During the patient’s adolescence, relationships with peers and dating partners become increasingly important, and focusing on developing these relationships can significantly improve depressive symptoms. Treating a patient with IPT generally involves sessions occurring over 12 to 16 weeks, in 60-minute periods.
Dialectical behavior therapy
DPT is a relatively new treatment for depression among teens. It was developed in the early 1990s as a treatment option for women with chronically suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s generally used as a way to address chronically suicidal teens, but those with multiple depressive symptoms, such as eating disorders, risky sexual behaviors, substance abuse and self-harm, may qualify for this type of treatment. DBT incorporates zen mindfulness principles to encourage patients to accept themselves and work towards goals to change and improve their lives. Five functions dominate the theory behind this treatment: enhancing patient capabilities; increasing motivation; structuring the environment to increase the likelihood of success; promoting generalization from therapy to real life; and enhancing therapists’ ability to effectively treat the patients.
While medications are still a common choice for treatment, many patients find the side effects to be too great a barrier. In addition, many patients find that the first prescription they try is not effective. With some meds taking up to two weeks to impact symptoms, finding the right medication is a time-consuming process.
Early intervention for teen patients is critical, given the likelihood of developing recurrent depressive symptoms. As an alternative or additional strategy for recovery, the three types of therapy discussed here may provide significant relief for depression patients.
- See more at: http://www.rightstep.com/teens/teen-depression-teens/three-types-therapy-treating-teen-depression/#sthash.cUlFVIxy.dpuf
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Dana Conley will facilitate Meditation and Guided Imagery Group sessions beginning Thursday July 3, 2014. Dana is an wellness expert with 20 years’ experience and a master’s degree in counseling. Meditation Groups will be 0830 at Extended Care and 1000 at inpatient.
How meditation is used in drug treatment
For the beginner, the cleansing of the mind through focus on a single thought can be very challenging, and as students learn the art of meditation, there will be a continual effort needed to recognize when focus has been lost, and to bring focus back to the singular object of attention. With practice, greater proficiency and focus is attained, and eventually students learn to slip quickly into a free and meditative state.
Meditation allows for a greater self awareness, a greater connection with internal spirituality and a greater internal peace in life.
When a truly blank and meditative state of mind is achieved, memories, emotions and behaviors can be examined introspectively and objectively. Through meditative introspection, recovering addicts often come to a better understanding of the things in life that cause them to abuse drugs or alcohol, and to better understand what they need to do to maintain an avoidance of substance use and abuse. Meditative awareness also illustrates the true destruction of substance use and abuse, and does not allow for any denial of self inflicted harms.
Many people report that through meditation they have achieved, or reawakened, a greater sense of spiritual connection. Although meditation as performed in most drug treatment environments in inherently non religious, the process often awakens spiritual sensations and beliefs.
Read more: The Benefits of Meditation in Drug Addiction Treatment
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“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
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Bad news party people. Doing coke in New York City just got even seedier.
According to ABC News, cocaine found in New York City and Los Angeles has been cut with the veterinary drug, levamisole. The drug is used to deworm cattle, pigs and sheep, and can cause the skin on the nose, ears and cheeks to rot off. It's reported that over 80 percent of the country's coke supply contains it.
The drug can cause the skin on the nose, ears and cheeks to rot off. It's reported that over 80 percent of the country's coke supply contains it.
Dr. Noah Craft, a dermatologist with the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, says, "It's probably quite a Big problem, and we just don't know yet how big a problem it really is."
In a case study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Craft describes six cocaine users who have recently developed dark purple patches of dying flesh. While all the cases occurred on the coasts, Craft insists that it's a national problem.
"It's important for people to know it's not just in New York and L.A. It's in the cocaine supply of the entire U.S, " Craft said.
The wounds are caused by an immune reaction to the drug, which attacks the blood vessels supplying the skin. Without blood, the skin starves, suffocates and eventually rots off.
Dr. Lindy Fox, the University of California San Francisco dermatologist that first detected the link between the cocaine users lesions and the levamisole, says, "We don't know who is this is going to happen to."
It appears that some individuals are at greater risk of developing the potential symptoms caused by levamisole than others. But the drug doesn't discriminate demographic to demographic.
Craft added, "Rich or poor, black or white," anyone who uses cocaine is at risk.
Levamisole also prevents the bone marrow from producing infection-fighting white blood cells.
Craft says, "It's a little bit like HIV. About 10 percent of those patients will die from severe infections. They may be walking around like a time bomb."
According to Craft, without medical attention, the condition can be fatal.
Read more at (Here)
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Reported by: Ashley Claster
Published: 4/04 9:11 pm
It has been called synthetic marijuana, fake pot, spice or potpourri. But it is known to users simply as "legal." Nikki House is now seeing the damage of her two year addiction.
"From your first bag until your last one, all you can think of is, 'I need more legal. I need more, I need more.' Because if you don't have more, you can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't function as a human being," Nikki said.
Nikki started smoking legal when she was a junior in high school to replace the real stuff, because it did not show up on a drug tests. She said she spent every dollar she had to get her next fix, not worrying about eating or being healthy.
"I made about $60 every week. I'd go buy two watermelons, and I'd spend the rest on legal," Nikki said. "It was a six month period that I was on it hardcore. Everyday I had to smoke it. And if I didn't smoke it, I was shaking or throwing up."
"She was getting violent, she was throwing fits, she was breaking things in the house," Nikki's mother Katherine House said. "She didn't care what anybody said. The only thing she could tell me was, 'well, it's legal weed.'"
Katherine, a former addict herself, kicked Nikki out of the house when she realized how bad it got.
"Nothing like that is allowed in my house. Going on nine years clean and sober, I'm not doing it. All I was doing was enabling this child to do it, Katherine said. "And the sleepless nights I had not knowing if I'd get a phone call that she was dead was the hardest thing."
George Comiskey with the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery said it is imperative for parents to step in the minute they think something is amiss with their kids.
"I think what we do is we have good relationships with the people in our lives," Comiskey said. "So if you're a parent out there, if you're a school person, if you see somebody that seems to be under the effect of a chemical like this, you gotta pull them in. You have to say I love you and I want your life to be different. This isn't where I want you."
And that is exactly what Katherine did. Nikki has been off legal for a year and a half now.
"I feel 10 times better. I have energy to do stuff," Nikki said. "Whenever I was on legal, I didn't have energy to do anything. I didn't care about anything. But now, I have friends. I have relationships I want to keep up with. I'm thinking about going to college."
"Our relationship has gotten a whole lot better. I love my child. I would do anything in this world for her," Katherine said.
Now Nikki is hoping her story will inspire other users to quit, to get help, and to be free from legal forever.
"The only warning I can give people is that it will kill you," Nikki said. "It will take your life and it will not look back. It won't care. It's a monster."
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