News and Articles
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year. It aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
Overdose Awareness Day originated in Australia in 2001. After more than a decade, the observance has grown into a global campaign. Last year almost 500 events were held across the world and 2018 promises to break that record.
Many people go into recovery light-heartedly saying things like “It’s a piece of cake. I will never miss it. They couldn’t pay me to have a drink,” explains John McClanahan, Ph.D., who has been practicing in the addiction field for more than three decades.
In his presentation as part of the Williamsburg Place Lecture Series, Dr. McClanahan—who is a recovering alcoholic—compares the stages of recovery to the grief process. “As a society, we tend to think of loss as losing something positive. So how can you think of recovery as a loss?”
Misusing drugs and alcohol is dangerous and can lead to addiction. Abusing multiple substances concurrently can increase those dangers exponentially. Unfortunately, this is fairly common behavior for people with substance use disorders. Combined drug intoxication is a frequently encountered cause of emergency room visits and has claimed the lives of many people.
One of the harmful consequences of drug and alcohol abuse is neglecting physical fitness. By the time patients develop a substance use disorder (SUD) requiring treatment, they have almost always forsaken anything resembling a healthy lifestyle. Substance abuse often leads to irregular eating patterns and poor nutrition. Previously healthy individuals may begin to experience significant secondary health problems once an addiction has developed.
No two cases of addiction are completely alike. Ideally, recovery begins with a thorough assessment of the patient that allows the therapist to create an individualized treatment plan.
Living with a loved one in active addiction tends to put a family under intense pressure.
“Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family's unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics,” according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
How important is the role brain scans can play in treating substance use disorders? In a recent presentation as part of the Williamsburg Place Lecture Series, psychiatrist Lantie Elisabeth Jorandby gave an overview of how one type of brain scan— single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)—can support the diagnosis and treatment of addictions and co-occurring mental disorders.
One in ten physicians develops a problem with alcohol or drugs at some point during their career. As in other professional occupations, superior levels of responsibility, accountability, and performance are typically demanded from doctors. Frequently, they hold the lives, livelihood, and future of their patients in their hands.
Consequently, it is not uncommon for physicians to turn to drugs and alcohol to handle the pressures of high expectations and work-related stress. Great responsibilities and long working hours can lead to burnout, a recognized problem among doctors.
What is elderhood and how is it different from retirement? That is one of the questions explored by gerontologist Jennifer Inker in a recent presentation as part of the Williamsburg Place Lecture Series. Inker is an instructor in the Department of Gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University where she teaches psychology of aging, aging and human values, senior mentoring, and classes in the Assisted Living Administration track.