For The Influence, addiction expert Stanton Peele criticizes our current genetic and biological “brain disease” approaches to addiction and mental health.
In the Room for Debate section of this weekend's New York Times, specialists in ethics, psychiatry, social work, addiction, and human rights hash out their opinions on the state of inpatient psychiatric treatment.
A new LA Times investigation finds that Purdue Pharma’s claims that OxyContin, a chemical cousin of heroin, could relieve pain for twelve hours led some patients to experience excruciating withdrawal, including intense craving for the drug. “Purdue has known about the problem for decades,” the investigators write. “Even before OxyContin went on the market, clinical trials showed many patients weren’t getting 12 hours of relief.”
"During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military plied its servicemen with speed, steroids, and painkillers to help them handle extended combat,” Lukasz Kamienski writes for The Atlantic. Vietnam was the first “pharmacological war” and the level of consumption of psychoactive substances by soldiers was unprecedented in American history.
A new study published in the journal Neuroscience finds that rats given regular doses of amphetamines during adolescence have brain and behavioral changes in adulthood. When translated into humans, this study suggests that young people using amphetamines may have changes in memory and attention well into their thirties.
New research published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that transgender women have more than double the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses than the general US population. The study found that the women, who had been assigned male at birth and now identified as female, had a high prevalence of suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder.
For AlterNet, Evelyn Pringle and Martha Rosenberg reveal how addiction psychiatry is becoming big business. Addiction is thought of “like often-cited diabetes and hypertensive heart disease, with the following logic: chronic conditions need chronic care and we have drugs that can treat those conditions.”
This week, the National Institute of Health (NIH) released a summary of new research on the effects of early childhood on substance abuse and unhealthy behaviors. “Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life’s inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years.”
A study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that addictions to mobile devices are linked to anxiety and depression in college students. "People who self-described as having really addictive style behaviors toward the Internet and cellphones scored much higher on depression and anxiety scales," according to the researchers.
Last year the British Medical Association (BMA) released a report on dependence and withdrawal from prescription drugs including benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioids, and antidepressants. Now, in light of their findings, the BMA is commiting to changes to medical practice, policy, and research.
A woman in Texas attempted suicide while in the active group of a clinical trial for smoking-cassation drugs Chantix and Zyban, both known to exacerbate depression. An appeals court ruled Thursday that she is able to sue the University that admitted her into the study.
Mad In America contributor and prescription drug addiction reformer Barry Haslam has “taken his fight to the world stage by helping create an international awareness day.” The Oldham Evening Chronicle announces the founding of World Benzo Day, which “aims to highlight the plight of all patients worldwide who have become prescribed drug dependent addicts through no fault of their own, who are denied right of access to dedicated withdrawal clinics and after care, who are left to struggle off these drugs without support.”
Writing for Huffpost, medical doctor Lawrence Diller looks at the effects of the ever increasing diagnoses for ADHD and the addiction and abuse issues associated with Adderall. "I have had some dark times on this stuff," a student tells Dr. Diller. "Laying in my bed coming down every night, crying to myself, feeling more alone than ever. Pushing people away in my life. Severe depression. The list goes on. Never in my life would I have thought that I'd become addicted to this awful stuff, let alone any kind of drug. I've never been that kind of person - until now."
Plaintiffs allege that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical failed to warn doctors and patients about the risk for compulsive behaviors when taking the atypical antipsychotic Abilify.
Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), authored an editorial for BMJ this month warning that the opioid abuse epidemic could have dangerous consequences for pregnant women. While the effects of opioid exposure on the developing brain are yet unknown, research suggests that infants may suffer from withdrawal syndrome, nervous system defects, and impaired attachment with the mother.
“The rising death rates for those young white adults, ages 25 to 34, make them the first generation since the Vietnam War years of the mid-1960s to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation that preceded it,” the ‘Times reports.
Watch: “CBS News went to West Virginia, a state that is attempting a drastic solution: allowing addicts to sue the doctors who got them hooked.”
Popular addiction news outlet, the fix, interviews Dr. Gabor Maté on addiction, the holocaust, the "disease-prone personality" and the pathology of positive thinking. “Until people manage to change society so society takes a different approach, suffering is going to happen,” said Maté. “What people need is a lot of awareness, a lot of consciousness so they can identify stressors and eliminate them when they are capable of doing so and find ways of living with them when they can’t.”
Felice J. Freyer for the Boston Globe reports on a new study of chronic pain treatment. “More than 90 percent of people who survived a prescription opioid overdose were able to obtain another prescription for the very drugs that nearly killed them.”
“In 2014, the number of people who died from drug overdoses in the United States reached 47,055 — an all-time high, according to a disturbing report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” but “the effort to get physicians to curb their prescribing of these drugs may be faltering amid stiff resistance from drugmakers, industry-funded groups and, now, even other public health officials.”
"What was going on inside Turning Point was an experiment: a community-based treatment center designed to serve low-income African-Americans. After a few bumpy early years, the program began to take off, and Hayden worked to expand Turning Point’s services, moving beyond a singular focus on addiction treatment to a more expansive approach that addresses the varied needs of the program’s clientele."
A former pharma executive has broken ranks with the industry in a new book by reporting how multiple psychiatrists, schools, and his desperate hopes pressed him to allow higher and higher doses of antipsychotic medications. The result: his 15-year-old son’s death from Seroquel.
Critical psychiatry researcher, anthropologist and NYU professor Helena Hansen writes: “Opioid maintenance acts as a kind of pharmaceutical prosthesis which promises to return white ‘addicts’ to regaining their status as full human persons and middle-class consumers. Meanwhile, black and brown users are not deemed as persons to be rescued, but rather dangerous subjects to be pharmaceutically contained within the public discipline of the state.”
A four-part series from Canada Free Press on Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug Chantix and its connection to violence and suicide. “The 26 case reports included three actual suicides. In every case, the acts or thoughts of violence towards others appeared to be both unprovoked and inexplicable. Most of the perpetrators had no previous history of violence, and most of them were middle-aged women—not a group known for its propensity towards violent behavior.”
A new poll, published in the Washington Post, explores the public’s connection to prescription pain killer abuse. “A surprising 56 percent of the public say they have some personal connection to the issue — either because they say they know someone who has taken a prescription that wasn't prescribed to them, know someone who has been addicted or know someone who has died from a prescription painkiller overdose."
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