One out of eight Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Of those with a substance abuse problem, at least 40 percent have a contemporaneous mental disorder of some type. While the root of addictive behavior varies from person to person, studies show correlations between an inability to process emotions and cope with stress in a healthy manner, and subsequent misuse of alcohol and drugs.
The estimated cost to our country in direct relation to alcoholics and drug addicts is over 250 billion dollars annually. With 70 percent of illegal drug users that are employed, the expense of substance abuse caused accidents, absenteeism and decreased productivity is on the rise. Health care costs are 300 percent higher for untreated alcoholics versus non-alcoholics.
Addiction treatment centers and agendas such as Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step Program aim to minimize a person’s drive to drink alcohol or use drugs by addressing psychological and mental health issues. Using therapy techniques to calm, soothe and diminish anxiety, these programs are deemed helpful for those needing assistance.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who depend heavily on your laptop or cell phone to get you through the day? Do you come home from work and instead of spending quality time with friends, exercising or doing chores you find yourself logging on to your Facebook or Twitter account? Do you incessantly check your email, the weather report or the news hoping something exciting will snap you out of feeling bored with your life? Do you feel lost without some sort of digital device that can dole out information in less than a few seconds when you have a burning curiosity about something?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a digital detox plan might be the best gift you can give yourself this year.
Read these steps, tips and guidelines designed to help you dismiss digital depression. When you are finished reading, shut down your computer, turn off your Smartphone, completely unplug, and give yourself a well-deserved break.
There’s a chart that has been floating around the Internet for a while comparing various health effects of soda and marijuana. The agenda doesn’t appear to be pro-pot as much as it is pointing out societal hypocrisy and the serious dangers associated with foods most of us have no moral issue with.
I would be the first to get in line with people who think the demonizing of marijuana in Western culture has always been taken to an extreme level. However, if you think it somehow comes without any serious health risks, you need to consider putting the bong down for a moment and read on. Let’s take a look at how soda and marijuana really compare:
Carcinogens – Let’s start with the biggest hole in the chart’s argument: that there are no carcinogens in marijuana. According to Donald Tashkin, MD, a researcher at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes. Inhaling carcinogens for a long period of time can’t be harmless, can it? (more…)
People often say they are “addicted” to a food without much thought. But real food addiction is not something that should be taken lightly.
While it may be difficult to ever imagine comparing food and drugs, the difference in how people interact and react to each is not so different after all. People who suffer from food addiction exhibit some of the same behaviors and chemical reactions in their body as a drug addict.
Scientists are finding that food addiction begins in the brain. Here, there are chemical surges that affect a person’s response to food. These surges are very similar to those that occur with substance abuse. (more…)
Be sure to tune in to today, Monday, September 19’s episode of The Doctors to catch Jillian Michaels on her newest TV gig.
Famous former Biggest Loser fitness trainer Jillian Michaels will be speaking up and sharing her thoughts on the American obesity epidemic. Michaels has just officially joined the cast for the new season and will also be continuing with her segment called “Wake-Up Call.” In these segments, Michaels is addressing the personal struggles of individuals.
On today’s show, Michaels will be confronting the subject of addiction. Michaels deals with three couples and three different types of addictions.
Renowned Princeton physiological psychologist and researcher Bart Hoebel has died at the age of 76. He was a leader in research on eating behaviors and the addictive qualities of food. He seems to have been a professor that invested in his students, and we hope that some of them will continue his research in his absence.
Below are just some highlights of what Dr. Hoebel’s research has taught us.
Sugar is addictive and affects brain functions the same way as cocaine and heroin.
High-fructose corn syrup leads to more weight gain than ingesting the same amount of calories via traditional sugar. It also causes abnormal increases in body fat, particularly in the belly, and triglycerides.
There is a new theory about the cause of the childhood obesity epidemic. Seattle-based pediatrician Robert A. Pretlow M.D.’s 10-year research was recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, “Eating Disorders,” under the title “Addiction to Highly-Pleasurable Food as a Cause of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: A Qualitative Internet Study.” He has also released his full findings in book format in “Overweight: What Kids Say: What’s Really Behind the Childhood Obesity Epidemic.” The study suggests that children are displaying symptoms of addiction to salty, sugary, and/or fatty foods causing over-eating behaviors initially and obesity eventually.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual requires that at least three of the seven following symptoms are demonstrated for a diagnosis of dependence, which is more commonly understood as “addiction”:
- Tolerance – the need for more of a substance to obtain the same effect
- Withdrawal – physical or psychological symptoms accompanying decreased use
- Increased use over time
- Unsuccessful attempts and/or desire to decrease intake
- Time spent obtaining, using, and recovering from substance
- Neglecting other activities for substance
- Continued use despite adverse consequences
There are intense cravings for things like chocolate, French fries, or even bread. And then there is a line that crosses and those cravings consume the individual to a point of addiction. That’s the eating disorder that interventionist Brad Lamm is working to reverse on OWN’s Addicted to Food, a program he co-created.
The program takes place at Shades of Hope, a treatment facility in Texas that Lamm calls “powerful, special, and unlike any other.” Contrary to any other weight loss show on television, this one doesn’t have participants competing, weighing in, or even get too caught up in calories. Instead, they’re working from the inside out. In fact, they may not even see any weight loss until after they go home.
The individuals you see on Addicted to Food spend hours in therapy each week, about 12-15 hours of mental and emotional work each day! “They are busting down the beliefs of this unhealthy loop they have with food,” Lamm told us.
He says that Shades of Hope is “not a fat farm,” but that it is more like an emotional bootcamp. It’s a safe place for those battling a food addiction to understand themselves, the addiction, and learn how to heal every aspect. It’s then that they’re able to go home and put what they’ve learned in to practice. While some may lose a little weight during their stay, most begin the physical changes and transformations at home. The internal baggage they leave with, while it can’t be weighed or measured, is greatly diminished. (more…)
I’ve long thought that there is a finer line between food and drugs than people may think. Now, studies are starting to prove that food cravings are a little more complicated than just being in a weak moment.
Researchers are now saying that the reaction to those guilty culinary pleasures is basically the same as how a drug addict reacts when they need a fix.
When experts looked at the brain activity in their subjects when presented with a chocolate milkshake, they found that simply seeing the sweet dessert activated the same parts of the brain as a drug addict who sees cocaine.
If this turns out to be accepted dogma in the scientific community, it could be a complete game-changer in the nutrition world.
“If food cues take on enhanced motivational properties in a manner analogous to drug cues, efforts to change the current food environment may be critical to successful weight loss and prevention efforts,” says a written statement by study experts. “Ubiquitous food advertising and the availability of inexpensive palatable foods may make it extremely difficult to adhere to healthier food choices because the omnipresent food cues trigger the reward system.” (more…)
Tune into OWN tonight to catch the premier episode of Addicted to Food, a new docu-series that follows the stories of eight patients with eating disorders. They will undergo treatment for 42 days at Shades of Hope Treatment Center near Abilene, Texas. The patients suffer from a variety of food-related problems, including bulimia, compulsive eating and binge eating.
Shades of Hope will dig deep to get at the underlying problems these people face, and the facility also specializes in treating patients with multiple addictions. Their therapist, Tennie McCarty, will work to help them understand the underlying causes of their eating disorders, whether drug-related, physical, emotional or sexual. She takes a tough-love approach that some may find unconventional. Confronting these issues may be difficult and painful, but it can also help them break free of devastating cycles of addiction.