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Dear Dr. Toni
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A Name Changed, a Stronger Voice
The National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), which until this month was called the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), came into existence in February, 1983, and has been the continuous voice for the children across the addiction treatment and recovery fields, faith communities, the medical and mental health fields, and fields of social work and education, since its inception.
Mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) diagnoses may appear more forthright than they actually are. In contrast to many physical health problems, there is no way to directly and precisely measure a substance use or mental health condition to arrive at a given diagnosis.
Addiction, regardless of the form it takes, is often a distraction from anger and the underlying pain that triggers it. While some individuals with addictions impulsively act out their anger, others avoid and deny it.
Stories of men’s anger and the ways it wreaks havoc in families and communities are legendary. Turn on the TV and see anger and violence, usually perpetrated by men, glorified from the gridiron to the silver screen.
As counselors and therapists, we need to be knowledgeable about anger and how it can best be addressed in the therapeutic process. This requires an understanding of the psychological, social, and cultural context for this powerful emotion as it manifests in male behavior.
People with mental health or substance use disorders (MH/SUDs) have a higher risk of death when compared to the general population, with the highest rates of mortality being among people with co-occurring MH/SUDs (Dickey, Dembling, Azeni, & Normand, 2004; Muhuri & Gfroerer, 2011; Roerecke & Rehm, 2013; Rosen, Kuhn, Greenbaum, & Drescher, 2008; Walker, McGee, & Druss, 2015).
People often start addiction treatment with a bias for or against the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). As health care providers, it is our job to expose these biases and convince our patients of the utility of support groups.
Just about every week we hear or read about another celebrity who got into serious legal trouble for stealing. Whether they are film or TV stars, celebrity offenders must quickly figure out why they steal, or face jail time.
Over the past few years, the federal government has made a noticeable investment in fighting opioid abuse. Traditionally this subject was the purview of federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or even the Veteran’s Administration (VA).
Researchers and treatment professionals have explored the intersection between trauma and substance abuse for years, as the majority of clients entering addiction treatment have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. But what is often overlooked is how trauma manifests differently and specifically in men and women.
When theologians and philosophers postulate the concept of God, it is important to understand that God is not writing about Himself; he is not explicitly saying, “This is how I created the world” or “This is how I interact with the world.” God is not clearly or demonstrably declaring Himself.
I wrote in a previous column that “another epidemic” not receiving sufficient attention is the impact of opioid and other substance misuse and addiction on families and children.
Change is rarely easy. In fact, it is often a messy business. While great benefits oftentimes result from the altering of our lives or paths, change can be difficult while it is happening.
A study published last week in JAMA Psychiatry found that the number of Americans engaging in risky drinking behavior has increased considerably—approximately thirty million people binge drink once per week (De la Cretaz, 2017; Grant et al., 2017).
On July 31, 2017, the Trump administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released their interim report, which urged the administration to “declare a national emergency” regarding the addiction problems in the country (Kim, 2017; ONDCP, 2017).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced their goal to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes for the first time in its history in an attempt to curb addiction (Chappell, 2017).
In an effort to curb the opioid epidemic’s effects on Virginia, which declared opioid use a public health emergency last year, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a law allowing syringe access programs in the state.
On July 1, 2017, Florida passed a law that would better regulate “services provided to substance use patients” and enforce “tighter penalties for companies scamming addicts” (Danford, 2017).
Treatment providers from four different American Indian tribes in North Dakota recently met with the state’s Department of Human Services to discuss various issues regarding addiction and its treatment.
U.S. Journal Training
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