New LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention Plan for Utah

Data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance shows that nationally, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. A new prevention plan by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition says, “Utah consistently ranks in the top ten in the United States for suicide deaths. LGBTQ+ adults and youth experience…

The Dangers of Unprocessed Trauma and Compassion Fatigue in First Responders

“Society has long recognized the physical demands of first responders; however, what is less formally acknowledged are the negative psychological outcomes,” wrote Bowers, Beidel, and Marks in Mental Health Intervention and Treatment of First Responders and Emergency Workers (2019). “Most notable among these negative mental health consequences is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The hallmark of…

MTV 16 and Recovering

“16 and Recovering”—A Different Way to Portray Addiction and Recovery

“The major media outlets have long been chastised for the content and style of their coverage of alcohol- and drug-related problems. Such criticisms include the glamorization of drug use, the demonization of drug users, and charges that the media is complicit in ineffective drug policies. Few have raised parallel concerns that popular media coverage of addiction recovery is rare,…

Neuroplasticity and Conditioning in Addiction

“The human brain is the most complex organ in our body and is characterized by a unique ability called neuroplasticity,” writes Maria Mavrikaki, Ph.D., on the Harvard Health Blog. “Neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change and adapt in its structural and functional levels in response to experience. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for us…

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…

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…

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…

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…

dr pham staff member at recovery ways

How Comprehensive Mental Health Interventions Reduce the Risk of Relapse

The National  Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes addiction as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, [with] continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.” “The chronic nature of addiction means that relapsing to drug use is not only possible but also likely,” explains NIDA. “Relapse rates are similar…