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What Science Can Tell Us About Beating Addiction

10 Sep

Gary Mendell, Jamison Monroe, Eric Nestler, Nora D. Volkow, Alan Weil, Moderator

 

Addiction has been scientifically established as a disease, not an absence of willpower. Neuroscientists are studying how drugs of abuse alter the brain, animal models are guiding us to new knowledge at the molecular level, and genetic tests are helping to distinguish many forms of addiction.

Source: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365518382/

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Culture is a primary force in the creation of a person’s identity. Counselors who are culturally competent are better able to understand and respect their clients’ identities and related cultural ways of life. This course proposes strategies to engage clients of diverse racial and ethnic groups (who can have very different life experiences, values, and traditions) in treatment. The major racial and ethnic groups in the United States covered in this course are African Americans, Asian Americans (including Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders), Latinos, Native Americans (i.e., Alaska Natives and American Indians), and White Americans. In addition to providing epidemiological data on each group, the course discusses salient aspects of treatment for these racial/ethnic groups, drawing on clinical and research literature. While the primary focus of this course is on substance abuse treatment, the information and strategies given are equally relevant to all types of health and mental health treatment.


Rebecca E. Williams, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, clinical supervisor, and award-winning author.  She specializes in recovery from mental illness, addictions, and life’s challenges.  Dr. Williams received her master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is currently a clinic director at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. 


Medication for chronic pain is addictive; therefore, the treatment of individuals with both substance abuse disorders and pain presents particular challenges. This course is based on a document from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Managing Chronic Pain in Adults With or in Recovery from Substances Use Disorders: A Treatment Improvement Protocol (SAMHSA Tip 54). Intended for all healthcare providers, this document explains the close connections between the neurobiology of pain and addiction, assessments for both pain and addiction, procedures for treatment of chronic pain management (both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical), side effects and symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal from pain medication, managing risk of addiction to pain medication and nonadherence to treatment protocols, maintaining patient relationships, documentation, and safety issues. Written by panel consensus, SAMHSA TIP 54 provides a good introduction to pain management issues and also a good review for experienced clinicians.


Prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Pharmaceuticals like OxyContin®, Adderall®, and Xanax® are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. For some prescription drug addicts, medication was originally taken as prescribed – until they started developing a tolerance for it. For others, members of their peer group began to abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive on the street. Prescription drug abuse also affects those who don’t use – through increased costs and the inconveniences of increased security at pharmacies. Treatment is comprised of a series of steps, including detoxification, inpatient/outpatient treatment, and maintenance. In some cases, patients must be closely monitored because of the potential for withdrawal effects. Once treatment is completed, there are various options for maintaining sobriety. Laws are being tightened, and some medications have become difficult to find due to the increased rate of prescription drug abuse. 


Data on alcohol use, abuse, and dependence show clear age-related patterns. Moreover, many of the effects that alcohol use has on the drinker, in both the short and long term, depend on the developmental timing of alcohol use or exposure. Many developmental connections have been observed in the risk and protective factors that predict the likelihood of problem alcohol use in young people. This course is based on four public-access journal articles published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the online journal Alcohol Research & Health. The issue of the journal in which these articles appeared was devoted to the topic: “A Developmental Perspective on Underage Alcohol Use.” This course is based on the first four articles, which focus on the impact of alcohol on the development of children and youth from birth through 20.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to offer home study continuing education for NCCs (#5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#BAP346) and Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).


 

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