heroin addiction

Can These Brain Scans Pinpoint Relapse Risk?

Penn State ResearchersIn his landmark report issued late last year, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, made it clear that addiction should be treated like any other clinical, chronic condition. In his 400-page report, Facing Addiction in America, Murthy urged the American public to view the disease of addiction with more compassionate optics. “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion and with urgency.”

Taking that same clinical approach, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine are working to develop a new test that may possibly help doctors predict individuals who are most at risk of relapse.

For the past few years, Scott Bunce has been studying the brain activity of those in recovery from an addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers. To conduct the study, Bunce and his team showed images of drugs and drug paraphernalia to the study participants.

His team then asked the research to participants to state if the images induced cravings for the drug or triggered positive feelings or emotions as a result.

Bunce and his team found that those who reported feeling no temptation as a result of seeing the images yet also exhibited increased brain activity as a result were more likely to experience a relapse.

While additional research still needs to be conducted, the scientists hypothesize that this provides further support that addiction is truly a disease of the brain. Individuals may not intentionally express a desire to use and abuse drugs though their brain chemistry may be prompting them to do just that.

“It’s very important that people understand this is a brain disease,” said Sue Grigson, a professor at Penn State College of Medicine who is involved in the research.

One positive takeaway is that while the brain is indeed altered by the exposure to drugs, it can still recover and heal over time and with the right addiction treatment therapies.

Holistic Drug Rehab in South Florida

At Synergy Group Services, our team of addiction recovery team specializes in helping individuals with a chemical dependency on prescription opioids and heroin. We firmly believe in the power of holistic medicine and leverage a variety of healing therapies including acupuncture, biofeedback and individual counseling. If you are working through a challenging period of your life and want to finally address your addiction to drugs or alcohol, please let us help you. We are standing by at (888) 267-8070 and your call is confidential.

The Wire and Inner-City Heroin Use

heroinIf you were watching programs on HBO between 2002 and 2008, you may have come across a show called “The Wire.” It is often considered to be one of the greatest television dramas of all time. If you have never seen it, you may be wondering what the show has to do with addiction recovery. The show centers around the City of Baltimore’s fight against the heroin trade, covering the many facets of inner-city drug problems. The highly acclaimed show won several awards season after season.

One the main characters of the show is Reginald Cousins (played by actor Andre Royo), affectionately called “Bubbles” by those who knew him. Bubbles was heroin addict, who like most addicts, would do whatever it took to support his addiction. Throughout the course of the show you are given a firsthand look at the life of an addict, the daily struggle that countless people deal with every day of the year. What’s more, you can watch Bubble’s transformation, as he begins the road to recovery. With the help of his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor named Waylon (played by musician Steve Earle), Bubbles manages to acquire over a year of clean time before the series ends.

“The Wire,” and many of the shows characters was inspired by a real drug kingpin named Nathan Barksdale, who went by the nickname “Bodie.” Barksdale passed away this week at the age of 54 while serving a four-year sentence in federal prison, The Baltimore Sun reports. In the 1980’s, Barksdale ran a notorious heroin dealing operation in the Murphy Homes public housing complex.

“In real life he was one of the most notorious and resilient gangster drug kingpins Baltimore has ever seen,” says Wood Harris, who played the character Avon Barksdale in “The Wire”. “He was a magnet for violence.”

While there isn’t any debate about the harm Barksdale caused, his life opened up the conversation about heroin addiction before the nation was even aware that we were at the beginning of an opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives. Every day, 44 people lose their life because of an opioid overdose.

The journey of recovery can begin in many ways. Recovery can start with a simple conversation with a stranger, happening upon a book about someone’s story of recovery, taking a seat in a movie theater, viewing a classic movie on television or even becoming engaged with an ongoing television series. The magic can be ignited with the smallest spark. If you have questions about addiction and recovery, feel free to contact Synergy Group Services. “We’ve been there as a family, now let us help yours.”

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