In general, the mortality rate in the United States has been steadily declining. This means that more people are living longer than ever before, which is often attributed to the wonders of modern medicine. However, middle-aged Caucasian males are not among the groups who are increasing their lifespan. This is likely due to the increased drug and alcohol use among this group as well as more reported suicides. A new study by a Nobel prize-winning researcher was published by the National Academy of Sciences.
According to a recent article, “Death rates for other races have continued to fall, as they have for whites 65 and older. But death rates for whites 35 to 44 have been level recently, they’re beginning to turn up for whites 55 to 64, and – most strikingly – death rates for whites ages 45 to 54 have risen by half a percent per year since 1998.” The research team was headed by Angus Deaton and Anne Case from Princeton University.
This information is important because it seems to correlate with the time that painkillers started becoming more widely prescribed and abused. The late nineties was when doctors starting prescribing pills like OxyContin and Vicodin to patients with varying levels of pain.
There has also been a higher incidence rate in self reported problems among the same age group such as various types of pain, other liver and other physical health problems as well as many mental health issues.
It is slightly ironic that modern medicine, specifically the pharmaceutical component, can be credited with helping to sustain life for some people and end it for others.
Researchers have found that there is a link between marijuana use and prediabetes. Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar is chronically high but has not reached levels where type 2 diabetes is caused. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if this condition goes unchecked.
One of the biggest problems with the legalization of marijuana is that there is not enough information about how long-term drug use affects users. This is one study that indicates that marijuana’s medical properties may not be as beneficial as previously assumed.
In the past, physicians theorized that an increase of diabetes cases among marijuana users could be due to the tendency to eat more after consuming marijuana, with the extra calories leading to elevated blood sugar levels. However, researchers are beginning to think that there is a component within the actual drug that may be putting users at risk for prediabetes. In order to determine what the causes are, researchers agree that more studies need to be performed.
Coming to the conclusion that prolonged marijuana use can cause prediabetes required a significant amount of work. Researchers gathered information from an ongoing study called CARDIA, or Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults. This study gathers medical information from participants in four cities throughout the country over a period of 25 years. The initial data was taken when most of the participants were around the age of 30. After answering a questionnaire, the researchers were able to determine that 625 of the participants had never smoked marijuana, while 1014 participants were considered heavy marijuana smokers, using the drug at least 100 times in their life. Generally, those who abused marijuana in this age bracket were healthy and even more fit than those that were not abusing the drug.
Next, researchers looked at the smoking and physical habits of the participants 18 years later. Interestingly, even though previous examinations showed that the heavy marijuana users were healthy, by the time they reached the age of 50 they were 40% more likely to have prediabetes.
More research needs to be done as to why this occurs, however, it is clear that medical complications from long-term use of marijuana are serious problems that more people are likely to encounter.
There’s a lot of information to sift through when evaluating addiction treatment. Individuals wonder if they should try to do it alone. Do they really have an addiction? How will they pay for treatment? What about the conditions that led to addiction in the first place?
Addiction Treatment Services works with treatment prospects and their families to identify their particular needs and seek a lasting solution.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a serious health issue that requires professional help to treat both the addiction and underlying health conditions. It’s a chronic disease.
People facing addiction seek out the substance they abuse over and over, despite negative consequences. They often try to quit but feel unable to resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol again and again. Relapse is the return to substance use after trying to stop. Relapse is common and indicates a need for treatment.
Addiction Alters the Brain
Addiction changes the way the brain works. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that communicates feelings of pleasure in response to stimulus. Success, good food and positive personal interactions cause the brain to release dopamine and reinforce the behavior that led to the stimulus.
Drugs and alcohol flood the brain with dopamine. Users associate substance use with rewards, so they repeat the behavior. Over time, the brain reduces the amount of dopamine produced, so the individual uses more of the substance in an attempt to recreate the original feelings of pleasure.
Long-term drug use changes other processes in the brain, such as those related to:
Risk Factors for Addiction
Many factors affect who becomes addicted and who doesn’t. Some people are born with genes that make them more likely to experience addiction. Biology might cause other mental health disorders that increase the likelihood of substance abuse.
External factors also influence addiction. A person’s family and environment may contribute to whether they use drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure, sexual abuse and early drug exposure can make some individuals predisposed to addiction.
Individuals might be more vulnerable to addiction at certain developmental stages. Adolescent brains are still developing, so teens are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.
Addiction is a disease and can be treated. Professionals develop successful treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.
Insurance Covers Some Forms of Addiction Treatment
Families and individuals may know they need help, but are concerned about the cost of treatment. Health insurance may help pay for rehabilitation.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), approximately 45.2 million Americans younger than 65 had no health insurance, and 20.9 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured. Some people relied on private insurance and others were enrolled in a public health plan.
Since the ACA, any American can go to government health care websites to find an insurance plan or apply for Medicaid benefits. If substance abuse renders an individual unable to apply for insurance, in some situations loved ones can apply for services on their behalf.
One ACA component involves substance abuse treatment. It views treatment as an essential service. It requires health plans to treat all phases of substance abuse, even the early ones.
Medicaid and Medicare cover evaluation, screening, medication, alcohol and drug testing, family counseling and other services. Private insurance companies often develop coverage based on the federal system, so many of them provide coverage for substance abuse treatment.
Private health plan benefits vary by state and insurance provider. Group health plans, such as those provided by most employers, often cover mental and behavioral health services, and substance abuse treatment usually falls under that category.
A national review of admissions to treatment centers showed 60 percent of rehab patients didn’t have any health insurance. They deemed the cost of not getting treatment to be higher than the price they paid for receiving help in escaping addiction.
Addiction Is Often Connected to Underlying Physical and Mental Health Issues
People with substance abuse addiction often have mental health conditions. This is called dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders or comorbid disorders.
Patients might struggle with alcohol and experience depression. Or they might be addicted to opioids and dealing with an anxiety disorder.
In many situations, the mental disorder came first. Someone with a mental illness may use drugs or alcohol to lessen the symptoms of mental illness. For a time, the substance helps them cope, but before long, it makes their situation worse.
Consequences of addiction increase the symptoms of their mental illness, and the individual often responds by using more of the substance.
In the past, health care providers viewed mental illness and substance abuse as two separate issues and treated each in isolation. People with dual diagnosis disorders need to have both treated simultaneously to successfully remain in recovery.
Quitting Some Types of Substances Can Be Deadly Without Medical Supervision
When individuals decide to quit drugs or alcohol, they often experience withdrawal. General withdrawal symptoms depend on the substance from which the person is detoxing.
With some substances, withdrawal can cause death. There’s an increased risk of withdrawal when one has been abusing alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines. Detox from multiple addictions is even more dangerous.
Alcohol withdrawal can cause:
All of the above symptoms can result in death if they progress to a severe state.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal increases the risk of grand mal seizures and other symptoms that can kill. Meanwhile, some patients trying to go through rapid opioid detox die during the process.
Patients should enroll in a medically assisted detox program to manage withdrawal. Medical professionals will monitor a patient’s condition and offer treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms.
Planning Addiction Treatment with the Help of a Professional Yields Successful Results
There’s a lot involved in finding safe, successful treatment for addiction. Navigating the waters of the drug rehab industry can be overwhelming for families and individuals. Finding and paying for the best treatment also isn’t easy.
The professionals at Addiction Treatment Services can direct your family to a number of programs that are trustworthy and offer the best chance of successful recovery. We’ll also help you figure out which treatment programs are compatible with your insurance. Reach out to us today when you’re ready for assistance in your treatment search.
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All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Behavioral Health Centers. If Behavioral Health Centers is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.