Psychiatric Comorbidities May Increase Risk for Polysubstance Use Disorder.

Every day, almost 200 Americans die of a drug overdose, often involving opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “more than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia.” Benzodiazepines (also called “benzos”) include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam…

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Heroes Health Initiative

“Healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are being called heroes, and we can all see why”, wrote Matthew Lewis, et al. on Statnews in May. “They have been asked to treat huge numbers of very sick people in a shifting landscape without sufficient personal protective equipment or coordination. Some have seen…

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How Opioid Litigation Complicates the Response to COVID-19

For years, the focus of one of the most pressing public health debates in America was the drug overdose epidemic. This epidemic killed almost 200 people each day last year alone.  In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. The novel coronavirus is currently killing about 1,000 people per day in the…

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Increased Addiction and Suicide Risk for Those Diagnosed With Schizophrenia

There is a strong correlation between mental illness and substance misuse.   According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.” Schizophrenia is a severe and debilitating…

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Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Linked to Elevated Risk of Autism

In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital, BORN Ontario, and the University of Ottawa found “an association between maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring” and “the incidence of intellectual disability and learning disorders was higher among offspring of mothers…

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Repetitive Head Trauma Associated with Depressive Symptoms, Worsening Cognitive Function, and Suicide 

Adults over forty who reported a history of repetitive head trauma through contact sports, physical abuse, or military service had increased symptoms of depression and difficulty with cognitive functioning, as compared to those without such a history, according to a study published online in the journal, Neurology.    Scientists from the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease and…

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Impaired Impulse Control and Addiction

Impaired impulse control is a hallmark of substance use disorder (SUD). The first nine of the 11 criteria for SUD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)—the diagnostic manual American clinicians use to classify mental disorders— describe various clinical aspects of compromised impulse control.  Compulsive behavior is included in the new definition of…

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LGBTQ Patients and Specialized Addiction Treatment

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth are more likely to experience poor health than their heterosexual (straight/cisgender) peers. As a webpage by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about LGBTQ health explains, “LGBTQ youth are part of every community, come from all walks of life, and are present in every racial,…

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