Why many in recovery are dying of addiction

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How many recovering people smoke cigarettes? In Scotland, just over a fifth of the population smoke, but in treatment populations the rate is between 60-90%. Travellers looking for mutual aid meetings will often be guided by the group of smokers outside the church hall. Some of those people in long term recovery are dying of […]

Spirituality and recovery

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Spirituality and recovery – do they go together? Hang on a second; what is spirituality and why are scientific articles on the place of spirituality in recovery falling into my inbox on a regular basis? Yes, I’m calling them scientific articles because they appear in peer-reviewed journals. I was at a graduate art show last […]

Reducing relapse – five things that help

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Reducing relapse rates is an important aim of treatment and support services.  Relapse happens, but it doesn’t need to happen. It’s often a part of a recovery journey, but it doesn’t need to be. Why go there when there are ways to reduce the risk? Here are five things that research tells us can reduce […]

Recovery aggro – will we ever agree?

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What is recovery and how do you measure it? It’s contentious; that’s for sure. Recovery aggro is a reality. We could take off our coats and go outside to settle it or we can try to get some sort of consensus. Abstinence or maintenance If you align recovery solely with abstinence, you risk losing out on […]

Stop kicking people out of addiction treatment

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You are in rehab. You drink. You get kicked out. Fair do. Right? Wrong! Bill White asks the question  What’s the big problem that takes alcoholics and addicts into treatment? Drinking and using. Why then would you kick them out of treatment for the very thing that brought them into treatment? He says that in 2002, […]

Doctors and Nurses with Addictions

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As I’ve said before, doctors get addicted to alcohol and other drugs. They also get different treatment and outcomes from their patients. But what about nurses? If you are a nurse or a doctor with a substance problem and it comes to the attention of your employer, then what happens to you in the UK […]

Is addiction a brain disease? Does it matter?

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Is addiction a brain disease? It’s an interesting question. Researchers asked over 1,200 members of the public in Australia what their views were. Their paper, published in Drug & Alcohol Review, starts by laying out the challenges of finding consensus: In the USA, directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have argued that addiction is a […]

Faith in pharmacology

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Holy grails are few and far between. Pharmaceutical holy grails are no different. They are as rare as a moderate position in the Scottish independence debate. We have a few prescription drugs licensed to treat addiction and some make things significantly better, some have modest impacts, and some appear to have little impact. Regardless of […]

Methadone improves mental health; what’s next?

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Good to see some research from Aberdeen focusing on mental health in patients on methadone and other opiate replacement therapy. Academics in Primary Care conducted a systematic review looking at twenty-two studies where mental health had been assessed at baseline and again at follow up. What did they find? “Mental health significantly improved for all groups receiving […]

Suboxone or Methadone – what do patients want?

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NHS North Lanarkshire asked 90 of their patients to give their viewpoints on what they thought of Suboxone vs. methadone for opioid replacement therapy (ORT). They found that ‘in comparison to methadone, patients receiving buprenorphine–naloxone were highly positive about their treatment experiences and its advantages over methadone, including the “clear-headed response”, improved well-being and concentration, possibility of […]