Drug overdose deaths in the United States declined in 2018 for the first time in decades, according to the latest data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 4.1 percent fewer deaths than in 2017 (70,237). That’s good news considering the relentless escalation of America’s addiction crisis in recent years but we have to be cautious, it is much too early for victory speeches.
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Methamphetamine misuse is on the rise in the United States, yet its impact on the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) has not been studied widely.
Judith Tsui is a clinician specializing in addiction treatment at the University of Washington. She was seeing more and more OUD patients in treatment who were misusing methamphetamines—powerful, highly addictive stimulants.
Staff burnout is increasingly viewed with serious concern in the mental health field. Morse, Salyers, et al. reported in 2012 that “across several studies, it appears that 21–67 percent of mental health workers may be experiencing high levels of burnout.
The fundamental attribution error is the tendency of human beings to overrate personal characteristics and ignore situational factors when judging other people’s behavior. Because of this error—also known as correspondence bias—we tend to believe that others do bad things because they are bad people and we are inclined to ignore situational factors that might have played a role.
Substance use disorder (SUD) is frequently described as a brain disease with many patients returning to substance misuse at high rates after treatment. “Substance use disorders are chronic, relapsing conditions,” writes Lloyd Sederer in The Addiction Solution. “We have to expect relapse.”
Although we have to expect it, we should not accept it as unavoidable, of course, because any relapse can be life-threatening. That is why so many addiction professionals put so much effort into enabling clients to recognize the warning signs early on before the relapse becomes dangerous.
Last year, something called “the new sobriety” took off in a big way and that trend shows no signs of abating. “No longer do you have to feel left out or uncool for being sober,” declared Alex Williams in the New York Times.
The holidays are a notoriously stressful time for everyone, and especially so for people in early recovery from addiction. Many people relapse during or immediately before the holiday season—so it’s important to be extra cautious and friends and family should give them as much support as they can.
Physical or sexual abuse by a parent or close relative. Watching a family member shoot up heroin. The anxiety of worrying about mom or dad in prison. The danger of gun violence. Too many American children are confronted with these kinds of traumatizing experiences every day. They can have a devastating impact on their long-term health.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is defined as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.”