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Addiction Treatment

What Are Five Effects Of Drug Abuse?

effects-of-drug-abuse

Drugs are explained as chemicals or substances that change the way one’s body works by affecting a person’s mental or physical state. The effects of drug abuse will depend on a combination of factors, such as the type of substance abused, one’s personal health history, one’s metabolism, a family history of substance abuse, the presence of any mental health disorders, one’s age, and more. Rather than addressing the possible short- and long-term effects of drug abuse, consider the following five parts of the body are most affected by drug abuse, in no sequential order:

  • Endocrine system: made up of a complex network of organs and glands, the endocrine system uses hormones to coordinate and control the body’s metabolism, reproduction, energy levels, growth, and development, as well as response to injury stress and/ or mood. Alcohol and drug abuse can impair the production and secretion of these hormones.
  • Circulatory system: the circulatory system is comprised of three independent systems (cardiovascular, pulmonary, and systemic) that work together and are responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and other gases, to and from cells. It helps the body maintain a normal body temperature and fight off disease. The ingestion of harmful substances, particularly drugs and alcohol, is associated with cardiovascular disease, or the deterioration in the health of the heart and/ or blood vessels. Changes in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure are common side effects of substance abuse.
  • Nervous system: the nervous system is the center of all mental activity including memory, thought, and learning, as it is the major controlling, regulatory, and communicating system in the body. Drug and alcohol abuse interfere with the nervous system’s ability to regulate mood, thinking, and coordination of bodily functions.
  • Muscular system: the muscular system is an organ system consisting of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles. It permits movement of the body, maintains posture, and circulates blood throughout the body. Substance abuse can lead to slow muscle movement, impair muscle coordination, and over a prolonged period can reduce muscle mass. 
  • Respiratory system: the respiratory system’s primary function is to deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Substance abuse interferes with this process by reducing one’s rate of breathing. When breathing is depressed, it can lead to respiratory failure depriving the lungs of essential oxygen.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are 5 Effects Of Alcohol Addiction?

Effects-of-alcohol-addiction

Alcohol is a psychoactive, central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Harvard Health explains that “alcohol directly influences the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin in the blood, as well as inflammation and coagulation. It also alters mood, concentration, and coordination.” A person that is addicted to alcohol is colloquially known as an alcoholic. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic neurological disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcoholism is characterized by a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.” Alcohol use disorder is a complex disease involving physical and psychological changes that directly increase one’s risk for developing an array of adverse short- and long-term effects. Five of the most common effects of alcohol addiction include the following:

  • Increases risk of certain cancers: Approximately 50% of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx in America are associated with heavy drinking. Further, according to a study in the July 13 edition of Lancet Oncology, at least 4% of the world’s newly diagnosed cases of esophageal, mouth, larynx, colon, rectum, liver, and breast cancers in 2020, can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
  • Impairs sleep: A 2014 University of Missouri-Columbia study found that drinking alcohol as a method of getting to sleep disrupts the body’s sleep homeostasis, or sleep regulator, and adversely affects one’s natural sleep cycles. The disruption in sleep patterns caused by alcohol can affect one’s energy levels and mood. 
  • Shifts hormone levels: Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in men, and can increase testosterone and estradiol levels in women. Increased hormone levels can stimulate oil glands, and increased oil can lead to clogged pores and acne.
  • Prompts weight gain: Alcohol contains calories, and although they are metabolized differently than food, they must be accounted for. Drinking alcohol can suppress the hormone leptin, which controls appetite. Research has found that the presence of alcohol can impede the release of glucose, elevating one’s blood sugar levels, which in turn can increase the risk for developing cardiovascular complications and metabolic problems (e.g., diabetes).  
  • Exacerbates anxiety: While drinking alcohol can result in fleeting feelings of relaxation, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience increased feelings of anxiety after the initial effects of alcohol wear off. Alcohol reduces the amount of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) in the brain, and low levels of serotonin are associated with increased anxiety.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Is The Best Treatment System For Addiction?

addiction-treatment

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a chronic brain disease, and is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Substance use disorder is defined as a “complex condition in which there is uncontrolled use of substance despite harmful consequence.” The development of substance use disorder does not occur immediately, nor will recovering from addiction be achieved instantaneously. The general treatment process for substance use disorder is typically comprised of the following three stages in sequential order: detox, formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program, and aftercare. 

Addiction Treatment Plans

There is no universal treatment method that proves successful for every person struggling with addiction. The path of recovery from substance use disorder is entirely personal, and will be directly informed by one’s personality, mental health, and emotional needs. Hence, each person will require a customized treatment plan when it comes to recovering from addiction. Depending on one’s needs, the most effective treatment plans could consist of one or more of the following interventions: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this can help correct irrational, inaccurate, and/ or distorted thoughts as well as help an individual develop skills and healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress while remaining sober. 
  • Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the recovery process.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to abusing drugs and/ or alcohol.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): is based on the principals of CBT, but places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of treatment. Through DBT individuals can learn healthy coping mechanisms and useful techniques for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships with others. 
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT): the core of REBT is the notion that rational thinking comes from within, and that positive and negative feelings do not manifest because of external stimuli, but rather are derived from one’s internal thoughts. REBT helps teach individuals how to understand their own thoughts and subsequently develop rational thinking habits that promote positivity. 
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health. Through interpersonal therapy an individual will learn to resolve and adjust unhealthy interpersonal problems, resulting in a symptomatic recovery.

Treatment plans may also include refining one’s daily habits (e.g., practicing mindfulness techniques, exercising regularly, developing healthy sleeping habits, eating nutritiously, etc.) to further improve one’s overall health and wellbeing. The best treatment for addiction will depend on a variety of contributing factors and will yield the most successful long-term results when expressly designed around the distinct and nuanced needs of the client.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Do Psychologists Do With Addiction?

Psychologists

Clinically referred to as substance use disorder (SUD), addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex, chronic brain disorder. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her cravings (e.g., drugs, sex, gambling, etc.) above all else, which can wreak havoc in every facet of one’s life. Substance use disorder is not developed instantaneously, nor does one’s recovery from addiction occur immediately. In many cases, it is advantageous for individuals struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction to obtain guidance from a mental health professional.

A psychologist, as explained by the Cleveland Clinic “is a mental health professional who uses psychological evaluations and talk therapy to help people learn to better cope with life and relationship issues and mental health conditions.” There are many different areas in which a psychologist might specialize. Clinical psychologists are qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals experiencing psychological distress and mental illness. When a psychologist is presented with an individual struggling with addiction, it is common practice to develop a customized treatment plan that incorporates one or more therapeutic strategies. Psychologists may perform any combination of the following psychotherapeutic modalities when treating a client with addiction:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): utilizes four main strategies (e.g., core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation) for teaching individual’s skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to abusing drugs and/ or alcohol.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): is a counseling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior.
  • Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process, and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the recovery process.

To provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful, long-term recovery, a psychologist will consider all treatment options, and incorporate the best possible therapeutic modalities, that are expressly geared to each client’s personal needs.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are The Six Major Characteristics Of Addictive Behavior?

Addictive Behavior

Addictive behavior is defined by “compulsive drug use despite negative physical and social consequences and the craving for effects other than pain relief.” Addiction, clinically referred to as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. It is defined as a complex condition in which there is an uncontrolled need for a habit-forming substance resulting in harmful physical, psychological, or social effects. An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her cravings above all else, and as drugs or alcohol become the central focus of one’s life, he or she will demonstrate a preference for these substances over relationships, school, work, and even life itself. Although there are many common characteristics among the various addictive behaviors, the six most prevalent include the following, provided by Medical News Today:

    1. Preoccupation with substance of choice: An individual will become obsessed with and spend increasingly more time and energy thinking of ways to procure more of their substance of choice, other ways they can use it, etc.
    2. Lack of impulse control: An individual will exhibit an inability to delay gratification or to avoid abusing substances despite potential consequences.
    3. Engages in risky behavior: An individual may take risks to obtain the substance (e.g., trading sex for drugs, stealing to pay for illicit drugs, etc.). While under the influence of certain substances, a person may engage in risky activities (e.g., violence, reckless driving, etc.).
    4. Withdrawal: When a substance that one’s body has become accustomed to functioning with is absent or has less of the substance in his or her system, it will be unable to function optimally, and withdrawal symptoms will ensue. Withdrawal is defined as “a negative reaction to the cessation of a substance, thing, or behavior an individual has become dependent upon.” Symptoms of withdrawal can range from emotional to physical and based on a variety of factors, will differ in severity and duration.
    5. Inability to stop: Despite a person’s serious attempts to give up their addiction, they are unable to stop abusing drugs.
  • Secrecy and denial: A person may become disinterested in spending time with others, as they prefer using substances alone, in secret. They may choose to give up and no longer participate in previously enjoyed pastimes with family and/ or friends. Though an individual may be aware of the presence of a physical dependence, they will often deny or refuse to accept the need for treatment, maintaining they are fully capable of stopping use on their own, anytime they wish.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

The Most Serious Eating Disorder

eating disorder

Eating disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “behavioral conditions characterized by severe and persistent disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.” There are several different types and each are recognized as chronic psychological conditions listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life. Still, anorexia, formerly known as anorexia nervosa, is recognized as the most dangerous type of eating disorder because of its high mortality rate. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health assert that twenty percent of people suffering from anorexia will die prematurely due to complications related to their eating disorder.

Anorexia

Anorexia is characterized by “an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.” Though anorexia can manifest at any age, experts suggests it most commonly develops during adolescence. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) point to specific risk factors that can increase one’s propensity for developing anorexia, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Dieting and starvation: habitual dieting to the point of starvation can increase a one’s potential for developing anorexia. Studies have shown that starvation impacts one’s brain functioning and one’s ability to make rational decisions. In turn, restrictive eating behaviors are perpetuated and returning to healthy/ normal eating habits become increasingly difficult.
  • Genetics: Individuals with familial history of anorexia and/ or other eating disorders put certain people at higher risk of developing anorexia.
  • Transitions: emotional stress resulting from various life transitions (e.g., new school, move, death of a loved one, etc.) can increase the risk of anorexia.
  • Peer influence: teens going through puberty and adolescence face hormonal changes, increased peer pressure, and often internalize criticisms about appearance, which can put teenagers at a higher risk for anorexia. 

Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. Further, it is considered one of the most lethal psychiatric disorders, carrying a sixfold increased risk of death. 

Signs and Symptoms

Everyone is unique, and as such, an individual struggling with anorexia will present with a distinct set of signs and symptoms. The Mayo Clinic does, however, provide examples of common signs and symptoms associated with anorexia, some of which may include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following:

  • Thin appearance
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme weight loss
  • In adolescents: not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Dizziness and/ or fainting
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dry and/ or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration

Certain behavioral warning signs may be exhibited by an individual struggling with anorexia such as skipping meals, over-exercising, obsessively reading nutritional information, constantly weighing themselves, regularly making excuses not to eat, denial of a problem despite excessive weight loss, and more. Individuals diagnosed with anorexia engage in a cycle of self-starvation that often results in severe malnutrition including a lack of essential minerals and nutrients. When an individual with anorexia becomes severely malnourished, every organ in his or her body can suffer irreparable damage, and without proper treatment anorexia can be life-threatening. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Do?

dbt

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach that is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and blends Eastern mindfulness techniques (e.g., awareness, mindfulness and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences) to encourage acceptance and change. In was developed by Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s, as a means to better treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), suffering from pervasive suicidal ideation. Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD, and has also become recognized as an effective therapeutic method of treatment for a wide range of other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder (SUD), eating disorders, and more. Dialectical behavior therapy helps individuals foster healthy coping mechanisms and useful techniques for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships with others.

DBT Skills

Dialectical behavior therapy is carried out in three distinct therapeutic settings, including weekly individual psychotherapy (one-on-one therapy) sessions; weekly DBT skills training group sessions, and access to twenty-four-hour support between sessions via phone coaching. DBT focuses on teaching skills in four primary areas, or four modules, which are:

  • Core mindfulness: focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in any given moment. The skills in this module help individuals learn the importance and value of slowing down and taking pause instead of succumbing to intense emotions and acting in destructive ways. 
  • Distress tolerance: focuses on increasing an individual’s tolerance of negative emotion as opposed to attempting to avoid or escape from it. The skills in this module help individuals learn various techniques for handling crisis (e.g., distraction, self-soothing, improving the moment, etc.). 
  • Emotion regulation: focuses on helping an individual identify, name, understand the function of, and regulate their emotions. The skills taught in this module are intended to help an individual learn to decrease the intensity of their emotions, sit with and experience strong emotions that are causing problems in one’s life, without impulsively acting on them. 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: focuses on increasing an individual’s communication strategies. The skills taught in this module help an individual learn to identify what their own needs are in a relationship and develop assertive and effective communication methods to ensure those needs are met in a healthy, nondestructive way. 

Behavioral Tech explains that “DBT works because it successfully increases clients’ ability to use effective

coping skills, particularly strategies for expressing, experiencing, and regulating intense emotions.” Studies have found that certain improvements, can be fully or partially attributed to learning and implementing DBT skills (e.g., improvements in emotion regulation, reduced experiential avoidance, minimized assertive anger, etc.). The DBT process is heavily influenced by the philosophical perspective of dialectics, or the balancing of opposites. DBT encourages an inclusive worldview and perspective (both- and) instead of an exclusive (either- or) outlook on life. It essentially shifts one’s perspective on life by helping individuals learn to identify ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives simultaneously. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Drugs Are Commonly Prescribed For Depression?

What Drugs Are Commonly Prescribed For Depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression, is listed as a medical illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is recognized as a serious mood disorder. Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine “is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.” The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that severe depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects nearly ten percent of the general population in America.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants are medications prescribed to help treat moderate to severe depression. Treatment for depression typically includes integrating a combination of both psychotherapy and medication into one’s treatment plan. Every individual is different and not all antidepressant medications will work for everyone. The treatment plan for depression must consider the nuanced mental health needs of the individual and be customized accordingly. The two most common types of antidepressant medications prescribed for the treatment of depression include: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs work by slowing the re-absorption of and altering the brain’s chemical balance of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical in one’s body that is directly related to one’s moods. Common examples of SSRIs that may be used to treat depression include, but are not limited to:
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs work to elevate one’s mood by interacting with both the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in one’s brain. They can be prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and some chronic pain conditions. Common examples of SNRIs that may be used to treat MDD include:

As is true with taking any type of medication there are associated risks. The specific risks will vary from person to person, as they will depend on several contributing factors (e.g., the individual’s health history, the presence of any additional mental health ailments, substance abuse issues, genetics, etc.). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires antidepressant medications to clearly display a black box warning label indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25. An individual that experiences adverse side effects is encouraged to consult his or her healthcare provider immediately. If left untreated, the symptoms of depression can lead to severe short and long-term effects and in some cases could be life-threatening. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

 

What Is The Most Popular Drug For Depression?

What Is The Most Popular Drug For Depression?

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that severe depression, clinically referred to in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as major depressive disorder (MDD), is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. Harvard Medical School explains that the most prominent symptoms of MDD include a severe and persistent low mood, profound sadness, or a sense of despair. Major depressive disorder is recognized as the leading cause of disability in America for individuals ages fifteen to forty-four. Findings from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate that 8.4% of all U.S. adults, which is equal to nearly 21 million people, had at least one major depressive episode. Major depressive disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning. If left untreated, MDD can adversely affect one’s overall health and lead to short and long-term physiological complications.

Treatment

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis (concluded with results from a medical exam with blood work, and psychological evaluation) is essential to the recovery process for any mental health illness, including depression. There is no single treatment plan that is entirely effective for everyone that struggles with depression, as each person is unique. Hence, treatment for depression requires a customized treatment plan that is inclusive of a multidisciplinary approach. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) underscores common components that may make up one’s treatment plan for MDD, which typically include a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and more. Some people diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder may also benefit from medication. Although there are several types of antidepressant medications used to treat MDD, the first line-treatment for depression is either of the following: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): work by slowing the re-absorption of serotonin (the neurotransmitter known to help with mood regulation and anxiety) in one’s the brain. Common examples of SSRIs that may be used to treat depression include, but are not limited to:
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): work by reducing the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in one’s brain. They can be prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and some chronic pain conditions. Common examples of SNRIs that may be used treat MDD include:

As is true with taking any type of medication there are associated risks. The specific risks will vary from person to person, as they will depend on several contributing factors (e.g., the individual’s health history, the presence of any additional mental health ailments, substance abuse issues, genetics, etc.). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires antidepressant medications to clearly display a black box warning label indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25. In most cases integrating a combination of both psychotherapy and medication into one’s treatment plan yields the most successful long-term results.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Does A Certified Addiction Professional Do?

What Does A Certified Addiction Professional Do?

The purpose of a certified addiction professional is to provide treatment and guidance to individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Certifications are earned through programs or services that may be based within or associated with a healthcare organization. According to the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), “the purpose of credentialing is to standardize the quality of addiction prevention, intervention, treatment, and continuing care services…[and] to set a benchmark for professionals and monitor the abilities of those who treat addictions.” Certified addiction professionals are employed in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Drug treatment centers
  • K-12 schools
  • College and university systems
  • Mental health centers
  • Hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Insurance and managed care organizations
  • Probation and parole agencies
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Private practice (e.g., therapist)
  • Human services (e.g., social services worker)

There are different levels of certifications available for addiction specialists, each enabling the accredited individual to provide additional services. For example, the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals offers three different types of addiction counselor certifications:

Addiction counseling certifications must be renewed through the NAADAC every two years. There are also continuing education requirements (40 hours of continuing education every two years) that addiction counselors must complete as a component of the renewal process, as well as submitting one’s two-year work history. 

What Do They Do?

The purpose of certified addiction professionals is to help individuals overcome addiction and related mental health issues. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, they are clinical practitioners who “follow evidence-based practices to provide treatment for people with substance used disorders.” Common responsibilities of certified addiction specialists that are also licensed counselors could include:

  • Identify an individual’s addictive behaviors
  • Assign a diagnosis
  • Schedule intake assessments
  • Develop strategies that overcome destructive, maladaptive, negative, and unhealthy behaviors
  • Perform urinalysis to determine if individuals are remaining drug-free
  • Maintain records
  • Assist with insurance billings
  • Work with and provide support to family members and loved ones, who are affected by the individual’s addiction
  • Assist individuals with making new housing arrangements when needed
  • Educate the public on the dangers of substance abuse and addiction
  • Provide counseling services (e.g., one-on-one therapy, group sessions, workshops, other activities, etc.) and support to individuals struggling with substance use disorder

Certified addiction specialists collaborate with other healthcare providers and work with individuals struggling with substance use disorder to develop a customized treatment plan that is specifically informed by his or her nuanced recovery needs to help them maintain their sobriety. It is important to bear in mind that the duties of a certified addiction specialist vary widely based on their place of employment and the role they fill. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.