PTSD and the Pandemic

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be redefined in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,  says Varun Choudhary, M.D., in a recent post for Addiction Professional. “One of the biggest concerns keeping behavioral health specialists up at night is the emotional weight of the coronavirus outbreak.”  The number of Americans reporting symptoms of anxiety has tripled…

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…

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…

Addiction is a Family Disease

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because addiction not only impacts the person who is misusing drugs and/or alcohol, it impacts the entire family. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 46 percent of American adults have experienced substance misuse problems in their family. Active addiction typically prompts families to make slow, incremental…

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…

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…