Monday, March 27, 2017

This Research May Pave the Way for New Cocaine Addiction Treatments

Women scientists working in an addiction treatment lab
Hypocretin. It’s a neuropeptide that usually doesn’t get a lot of press, but it plays a pivotal role in regulating essential physiological functions like sleep, wakefulness and appetite.

But, what else is impacted by hypocretin? Does it affect our health in other ways? Recently, a team of scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wanted to answer those same questions to better understand how hypocretin influences other aspects of health, specifically addiction.

Their findings were published in Biological Psychiatry and the research suggests that blocking hypocretin signaling may reduce cravings for cocaine and this could possibly pave the way for new treatment therapies.

To conduct the study, the lead author, Dr. Brooke Schmeichel, and his team set up an experiment that enabled rats to self-administer cocaine by pressing a simple lever. One group was given short-term access (1 hour) and another was given more access (6 hours) to the drug. The team of scientists also injected the rats with a hypocretin antagonist, a compound that blocked the brain’s ability to use the neuropeptide.

As a result, the rats who could access cocaine for longer durations exhibited a substantial decline in self-administered drug use. These findings suggest that the hypocretin/orexin (HCRT) system of the brain may play an important role in cocaine abuse and addiction.

"The more that we learn about the brain, the more that we learn that brain signaling mechanisms that play a particular defined function, such as a role in wakefulness or appetite, often play important roles in other functions, such as addiction," said professor John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Given that cocaine addiction is a pervasive condition that directly affects thousands of Americans (and their friends, family and loved ones), it’s important to continue to invest in research exploring new treatment methodologies and therapies.

Post Relapse Care Designed to Meet the Needs of Women

If you’ve walked the path of addiction recovery and experienced a relapse, we can help you regain your footing. With our Boost Up Program at Rising Roads Recovery, you’ll be surrounded with a team of caring and supportive addiction recovery specialists who can help you learn new skills to avoid falling back into old, destructive patterns.

Don’t let a history of drug use and abuse hold you back any further. Embrace life and invest in a transformative journey of long-term sobriety. To learn more about our post relapse care including holistic therapies, call today: (866) 746-1558.


Monday, March 20, 2017

3 Strategies for Building Stronger Relationships with Compassion

Three Women Friends Talking Over Coffee
If you’ve made the courageous decision to pursue a sober lifestyle, you know that developing new life skills is an important component of a sustainable recovery. And, learning how to become more empathetic and compassionate towards others is certainly one of the most valuable life skills that can help you thrive socially and professionally.

It can help you build stronger and more resilient personal relationships with others and develop a solid social support system. Demonstrating that you care about those around you is a powerful skill that can help you become closer with your friends and loved ones.

3 Ways to Become a More Compassionate Friend

(1) First, seek to understand. 
If someone close to you is having a bad day, your first instinct might be to jump into the discussion with your suggestions. But, sometimes the act of listening is really all that they need at that time. Sit down with them to hear them out in a distraction-free environment. Give them time to talk things out. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions to help clarify how they are feeling and why. They’ll likely appreciate that you took the time to better understand their perspective.

(2) Consider the bigger picture and try not to take things personally. 
While your first instinct may be to react to the situation at hand, that may just escalate their emotions. The next time you encounter a less than positive interaction with a coworker or a friend, take a deep breath and press pause. They may be dealing with a stressful situation in their personal life that is spilling over into their interactions with others. If someone you know starts to act in a way that is out of the ordinary, consider the possibility that they are working through a challenging season in their life.

(3) Show compassion to yourself. 
One good rule of thumb is to be as kind to yourself as you would treat a good friend. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes from time to time. Remind yourself that you are a work in progress and have already come a long way. Don’t focus on your mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Instead, concentrate on your goals and continue to use that positive momentum to fuel your recovery!

Learn Healthy Life Skills During Transitional Residential Care

At Rising Roads Recovery, we are committed to helping women find lasting sobriety and start to heal from the burdens of addiction. Using a comprehensive approach, clients participate in 12-step programming in addition to holistic therapies including mindfulness training, experiential therapy and workshops designed to help build healthy relationships. If you’d like to learn more about our gender-specific treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, please call us today at (866) 746-1558.

Monday, March 13, 2017

[Depression Research] Can “Good Bacteria” in Yogurt Help?

A yogurt smoothie with fruit
Depression is one of the most common behavioral health issues. It affects nearly seven percent of the adult population and women have a much greater risk of being diagnosed with the condition. Regardless of socioeconomic status or race, women are twice as likely to experience a serious episode of depression at least once in their lifetime.

While it is relatively common, it is highly treatable using a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, prescription medications and lifestyle modifications.

And, researchers may have discovered yet another treatment for depression. Yogurt.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine explored the link between the microbiome of the gut and depression to better understand how your diet can impact your mental health.

To conduct this study, the scientists observed mice who were exhibiting symptoms of stress and depression.

"When you're stressed, you increase your chance of being depressed, and that's been known for a long, long time," said lead researcher, Alban Gaultier, PhD. "So the question that we wanted to ask is, does the microbiome participate in depression?"

They found that their exposure to a stressful environment actually changed the landscape of “good bacteria” in their intestinal tracts – resulting in lower levels of Lactobacillus.

To correct this imbalance, the researchers fed the mice a diet rich in the probiotic which is commonly found in live cultures of yogurt. The results were astounding.

After the levels of Lactobacillus returned to normal, the researchers were able to reverse their symptoms of depression.

"The big hope for this kind of research is that we won't need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome," explained Gaultier." It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health - and your mood."

As a next step, Gaultier and his team plan to study the effects of probiotic therapies as part of a clinical trial with patients experiencing the symptoms of depression.

While many more studies are needed to confirm these results, the initial findings from this study are certainly very promising.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Women

Given that individuals struggling with addiction are twice as likely to suffer from mood disorders (commonly referred to as a dual-diagnosis), we firmly believe in the value of treating the whole woman. That's why many women who participate in our transitional residential care program benefit from receiving a psychiatric consultation as part of the recovery process.

If you are dealing with a substance abuse issue and a behavioral health issue, like depression, please give us a call at (866) 746-1558. At Rising Roads Recovery, we’re here to help you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

3 Strategies to Reduce the Stress in Your Life

Woman checking her phone
If you’re in recovery, you know that getting sober is more than giving up drugs and alcohol. A big part of sobriety is actually all about creating a new life and a new routine. As part of your plan of care, your recovery team has also probably worked with you to help you learn healthy coping mechanisms to handle stress since that is one of the most common triggers for relapse.

But, why not take that one step further and try to prevent stressful situations from even happening? While you can’t guarantee a stress-free life, you can take steps to prevent issues before they even arise.

As part of your new sober lifestyle, consider adopting some of the following strategies that can help mitigate stressful situations.

(1) Plan your meals a week in advance.
Do you ever look up from your desk at work and realize that lunchtime has suddenly arrived and all you have are some Tic Tacs and bottled water? Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an incredibly important part of your recovery plan. It can help you stay energized and replenish your system. To avoid making last minute choices at lunch, consider spending some time in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons to prep your lunches for the week. And, you can portion them out into individual servings in advance. You’ll feel more confident about meeting your nutritional goals and avoid scrambling to find something to eat at the last minute.

(2) Streamline your schedule. 
One way to reduce the amount of stress in your life is to cut back on your professional and personal obligations. If you’re constantly running from one event to the next, it can create stress and anxiety if you’re worried about maintaining your social obligations. While it is a good idea to adhere to a regular sober routine, consider focusing on the quality of activities rather than the quantity. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to constantly rush around.

(3) Switch to cash for daily expenditures. 
Do you ever stress about your finances? If sticking to your budget sometimes gives you anxiety, try only using cash for daily purchases like food and gas. Studies have shown that individuals are more mindful and cautious about making purchases with cash in comparison to plastic. Based on your personal budget, think about withdrawing the amount of money you need each week for out-of-pocket expenditures and use that instead of a credit or debit card.

Customized Addiction Recovery Treatment

At Rising Roads Recovery, we understand the unique needs of each client. Working together, our team of experienced addiction recovery specialists can work with you to create a personalized plan of care to help address substance abuse issues and co-occurring disorders. As part of that approach, our team can also help you learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and other addiction triggers. To learn more about our offerings, contact us today at (866) 746-1558.