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…

Illicit Drugs Laced with Fentanyl Sold in Northern Utah

Fentanyl is the drug most responsible for the increase in overdose deaths in recent years. It is “a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally.” Illicit fentanyl is…

Dangerous Misuse of Anxiety Drug Phenibut on the Rise

A dangerous substance from the 1960s is making a comeback in the United States. Phenibut, a central nervous system depressant with anxiolytic effects, used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions was developed in the Soviet Union for medical use in the 1960s. It is still used in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia to treat…

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…

FDA Announces Stronger Warning for Benzodiazepines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in September 2020 that it would require a new warning label for a class of psychiatric drugs called benzodiazepines in order to better inform the public and health professionals about the serious risks of misuse and addiction. Benzodiazepines—sometimes referred to as “benzos”—are commonly prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures,…

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…

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…

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…