Did You Know that Peer Groups can help in Speedy Recovery?

When an individual is trying to recover from substance abuse peer pressure is essential. People have a common desire to fit in with those around them. Research has shown when an individual trying to recover from addiction joins a social group supporting recovery; they have an increased chance for success. An addict will be strongly influenced by their experiences in such a peer group.


Peer Group

When someone describes another person as a peer, it is believed they are a person of equal standing in society. It can also represent individuals of the same economic class, career achievement level, age group and more. A peer group consists of individuals who have similar life experiences and spend time with one another. Peer pressure is the effect individuals have on one another in such a group. This could involve adaptive behaviors and more. There is always pressure to conform. Peer pressure can be an effective tool when it comes to creating intensive outpatient programs.

Positive Peer Pressure

There are situations when associating with a particular peer group can encourage bad behavior. It is something that can also encourage a person to make positive changes in their life. An addict can make good choices by developing self-efficacy. This happens when they believe they will be able to achieve their goals. The more self-efficacy an individual has, the greater their chance of success. When an addict sees those in their peer groups achieving a goal, they begin to believe they can achieve the same thing. A recovery network can provide an addict with examples of success and healthy living as part of intensive outpatient treatment.

Social Support

A number of studies have shown there are four kinds of support an addict can receive from a positive peer group. These are instrumental, emotional, informational and affiliation. They can be part of intensive outpatient treatment. Social support can help an addict meet their needs for everything from employment to relationship assistance and more. Emotional support can occur when others in a peer group show empathy, caring toward an addict. It will cause an addict to experience an increase in their confidence. Informational support may provide an addict with information about certain life skills. A recovering addict could need instrumental assistance in the form of child care, transportation and more. It’s also important for an addict to feel they are part of a community. This is known as affiliation support.


A Peer recovery support group will have a designated leader. They will provide necessary support for individuals in their group and help them maintain the recovery process. In this type of support group, the leader and group members receive the necessary support for success. The leader may have a title unique to the group such as mentor, peer recovery specialist and more. Their job is to make certain the group does not duplicate the services provided by other organizations in the community.

Peer Group Benefits

When an addict is involved in the recovery process, they find a positive peer group a safe place to socialize. They are able to be with others who are also going through the recovery experience. It provides a sense of community free from individual who encourage using addictive substances. Peer groups also provide a way for an addict to share their personal stories without judgment. It’s a place where they can get advice about solving different problems occurring in their life.


The impact of a positive peer group for a recovering addict is tangible as well as intangible. The experience will be different for each individual. Many people involved in recovery claim such groups are an essential part of overcoming addiction. It has been shown that positive peer group support is important for successful recovery.

Pharmaceuticals: The Next Frontier in America’s War on Drugs

America’s war on drugs, which has been fought in the opium
fields of Afghanistan and the cocaine plantations of
Columbia, will have to reinvent itself to combat what is set
to be America’s biggest drug abuse problem, pharmaceuticals.
One in five American’s, nearly 48 million, have used
prescription drugs for non-medical purposes at least once in
their lives. The current past month misuse rate among
Americans is 6. 2 million. According to a recent white paper
by Carnevale Associates, this rate of use is already higher
than the historical highs of both cocaine and heroin

For some, the road to illicit use of prescription
medications starts innocently. After a car accident, back
injury, or, even, a mental/emotional breakdown a physician
prescribes medication for a legitimate use. Over time,
tolerance builds up so that more and more of the drug is
needed until a state of dependence is reached. At this
point, there is no easy way to get off the drug, and
stopping can involve painful withdrawal symptoms. Some
doctors have been known to become afraid and cut their
patients off at this point. Patients have been known to
steal prescription pads, or visit numerous doctors to get
the drugs they have become addicted to.

However, contrary to popular belief, it is not older adults
or any adults who are most likely to abuse pharmaceuticals.
In the past decade, abuse of prescription meds among youth
has been growing at an alarming first-time use rate of more
than fifty percent each year. In 2002, the latest year for
which there are statistics, approximately 2. 5 million
American’s misused prescriptions for the first time and 44%
of them were under the age of 18.

Unfortunately, as the media fixes its gaze on the
methamphetamine problem; and the Office of National Drug
Control Policy spends much of its time focusing on Marijuana
the opportunity to address the pharmaceutical addiction and
abuse is being missed. While certain steps have been taken
they have been tentative. The ONDCP has drawn up a strategy
for addressing synthetic drugs, but no serious media
campaign to educate Americans about the problem has been
undertaken. Nor has any pharmaceutical company been brought
to heel for manufacturing drugs with high abuse potential
even when alternatives may exist.

The next battle in America’s war on drugs must draw a bead
on pharmaceuticals. The ONDCP must be willing to launch the
same type of hard hitting ad campaigns against prescription
drug abuse as it has against, marijuana, ecstasy and
cocaine. The FDA must not be afraid to sanction drug
manufacturers who continue to make unsafe drugs where safe
alternatives exist. Pharmaceutical manufactures must become
better citizens and spend the research and development
dollars to make safe and effective drugs, rather than taking
the easy way out.

This new phase of the war on drugs, without easily targeted
foreigners to blame for America’s drug abuse problems, will
take unwavering political resolve, corporate citizenship and
ingenuity. Even then it is likely to take years before the
trend of increases in prescription medicine abuse and
addiction can be reversed.

Common Prescription Drugs of Abuse:

Opioids: these are synthetic versions of opium. Intended for
pain management opioids are the most commonly abused
prescription drugs. OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin
(hydrocodone) and Demerol (meperidine) are the most popular
for abuse. Short-term side effects can include pain relief,
euphoria, and drowsiness. Overdose can lead to death.
Long-term use can lead to dependence or addiction.

Depressants: These drugs are commonly prescribed to treat
anxiety; panic attacks, and sleep disorders. Nembutal
(pentobarbital sodium), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax
(alprazolam) are just three of the many drugs in this
category. Immediately slow down normal brain functioning and
can cause sleepiness Long-term use can lead to physical
dependence and addiction.

Drug Addiction Treatment Centers: A Fresh Start

Half a decade ago, I started working on a hotline to help
addicts and their families find drug addiction treatment
centers. Thousands of calls later, I still remember the
first time I picked up the line.

I could hardly make out
what the woman on the other end was saying to me. Shelly
(not her real name) was sobbing. She had just arrived at her
father’s apartment and had found him passed out cold on the
couch with a needle still sticking out of his arm. Why she
called our line instead of 9-1-1 was a mystery. I called for
an ambulance and waited on the phone with her until they
arrived. She told me how her father had been a construction
worker, though his dream was to play guitar in a band.
Shelly said her parents split up when she was thirteen
because of her dadâEUR(TM)s drinking. He moved away to live in
another state for a couple of years and they began to lose
touch. He would send the occasional card or make a call on
her birthday the first couple of years, but that eventually
ended. After college, Shelly decided to find her dad. It
turned out that he had moved back and was living just a
couple of miles from where she grew up.

Somewhere along the way, he had picked up a heroin habit. Shelly tried to talk him into going to treatment, but he always had an excuse for why he couldn’t. Shelly said she visited him weekly, helped him keep his apartment up, bought his groceries and kept after him to quit. She said she they had just talked the night before and that he had, for the first time, agreed to
try treatment. On my end, I could hear the ambulance
approaching and then a knock on the door. Shelly hung up and
I never heard from her again.

Today in America, there are 13 million people in need of
alcohol or drug addiction treatment. Fortunately, according
the government, there are just over 13, 000 drug addiction
treatment centers waiting to help these individuals. It may
have been too late for Shelly’s dad, I don’t know, but I do
know that it is not too late for anyone who is looking for a
drug addiction treatment center today.

Each year millions of people across America, enter treatment
centers. For many, this marks a fresh start, a rebirth. It
is an opportunity to rebuild broken relationships and broken
lives. Those who successfully complete rehab join a recovery
community that is already millions strong.

Understanding Aromatherapy

In the 1920’s, a French cosmetic chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, was one day making fragrances in his laboratory, when he accidentally burned his arm. He then thrust his badly burnt arm into the nearest cold liquid, which turned out to be a tub of lavender oil. To his surprise, the pain was decreased dramatically and left no usual burn results, such as, redness, heat, inflammation, and blisters. He also noticed that the wound healed quickly and left none of the usual scars associated with burns. It was at that point that Gattefosse dedicated his life to researching the medicinal properties of what we now call nature’s essential oils. Incidentally, he was the first to coin the term aromatherapy.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are aromatic liquid substances extracted from specific species of trees, roots, leaves, fruits, grasses and flowers. These concentrated oils are far more valuable to humankind, than just pleasing aromas. The healing properties of the essential oils, have long been known in ancient times. From Egypt to India to China and used accordingly. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin and leaves no toxins like their medical drug counterparts; this is an effective way to use them. They are excreted from the body through urine, feces, perspiration, and exhalation.

Medicinal And Healing

The essential oils have a proven history of healing and treating many ailments. Acne, burns, insomnia, depression, indigestion, dandruff, and cervical cancer to name a few. They may not necessarily cure all ailments, but do manage them effectively. The modern day medical system and drug industry have been using active ingredients found in the essential oils in their chemical drug making and treatment professions. However, because they’ve been chemically modified by science, they do leave toxins in the body after use, among other related problems. Essential oils in there natural form, are far more beneficial to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Cosmetic And Beauty

Apart from being able to heal and treat various ailments, essential oils have a varied and proven means of being great cosmetic alternatives. They can be used to make your own line of natural cosmetics that’s both healthy and none toxic in nature. Imagine making your own body lotion that treats your skin like a pampered king or queen. Cosmetics that wave goodbye to cellulite and rediscover the gorgeousness of your hands. The potential is limitless and very safe. Natural beauty with no high price to pay, just nature’s goldmine in your household.

Air Fresheners & Cleaners

Aromatherapy also provides a means to natural air fresheners and cleaners in the form of……. you guessed it, those wonder working essential oils. Create air fresheners with lemon, geranium, pettigraine and sandalwood blends to perform the music of a breathtaking musical dancing throughout your house in aromas that both paint your face with a smile and childlike awe. Create scents that is not only composed of sweet smelling aromas, but have natural bacteria fighting skills to them. Even soaps can be created, powerful enough to punch the ugliness of bacteria, yet mild enough to shower you with the grace of angels.

Cooking & Food Recipes

So we come to the culinary arts. Yes, using the essential oils in cooking, does open up new exciting paths for the taste of foods. Even the food industry uses these oil to enhance and create new taste treats. The only problem is, because they are produced on a larger scale, mush of the essential oils strengths are no longer present. However, you in your own kitchen, can make up for that little oversight. Herbs, spices, citrus, fruits, and flowers, are the essential main oils you will be using in the kitchen. Use them to elevate the taste of soups, breathe life into vegetables dishes, and addict the taste buds with cakes and desserts, among other dishes.

Domestic Pet Care

Still in awe of the many benefits and uses of aromatherapy? Essential oils help keep ticks, fleas and other diminutive creatures, off your dog for less than there commercial chemical counterparts. Watch as you help your dogs’ coughs, colds and flu become more manageable and disappear with the essential oils niaouli, eucalyptus and tea tree. It’s not just dogs than can benefit from aromatherapy, but cats, rabbits, hamsters and horses. Essential oils offer many remedies and solutions for taking care of your domesticated little friends and companions, saving you a dreaded and expensive trip to the vet.

Garden Guards

Using essential oils in your garden, can prove to be one of the wisest decisions you’ll ever make. Many commercial garden products like pesticides, fungicides or wood preservatives, can wreck havoc in the form of dangerous poisoning, not just on pest and bugs, but in the inevitable foods you’re growing that will end up in your stomach. The beautiful flowers and plants, you’ll be sniffing and touching will definitely have some sort of toxic effect on you, because of the chemicals sprayed on them. This is where using the essential oils as a natural alternative, will not endanger your health. The functions of certain essential oils in the plants before they were extracted, shows that they were able to protect against bacteria and viruses. The strong antibacterial and antiviral properties in the essential oils, are also known for effectively dealing with fungi and mold. Essential oils also deter and prevent pest and insects from harming your garden.

Ancient Miracle

Aromatherapy offers you a choice between toxic chemicals and natural ones that will enhance and beautify your existence on the planet. In addition, it presents to you the gift of acquiring inexpensive solutions to your expensive ones. A chance to naturally take care of your pets as they take care of your happiness and self-esteem. Beautify your self safely without the harmful monsters of chemical cosmetics and live like royalty with the taste of foods fit for the gods. Furthermore, aromatherapy offers the miracle of effective healing and treatment that do more good than there chemical brothers.

Are You A Hopium Addict?

If the question alone was enough to make you recoil in horror, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the term couldn’t possibly apply to you. You may not have heard the term before, but your reaction may be because you are a closet hopium addict.

What is the definition of a hopium addict? ‘A hopium addict is someone who puts their own emotional needs on hold, while they wait for their partner to kick their addiction – be it to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or emotionally and physically abusive behaviour – despite all the evidence to the contrary’.

Addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling are easy enough to identify. The addiction to emotionally and physically abusive behaviour is generally far less readily identifiable, at least to the woman who is on the receiving end of it.

You see, women don’t intentionally fall in love with a bully. They’ll fall in love with someone who’s strong, masterful, in control, masculine, powerful, resourceful, confident; in short, someone who’ll complete them, someone who appears to embody all the old fashioned stereotypes of what a man is. (Or, at least, what a man was before the feminists started to challenge the stereotype. )#)

Now, the man who appears to embody all these stereotypes, behaves in a particular way that allows his conquest to slip into: ‘I’m-a-princess-and-I’ve-finally-been-rescued-by-my-prince’ mode. Suddenly, all the burdens of coping on her own have been lifted from her shoulders. Suddenly, she’ll never have to ‘do’ life alone again…

By rights, these couples should just walk off into the sunset happily together, the man chivalrously keeping his sword slung over his right hip to protect his lady from danger…. Except that it’s not really like that.

Abusive men start out very charming and chivalrous and in control. They tend to be fast wooers – because the veneer of confident masculinity is actually rather thin and brittle. Underpinning the veneer there is a profound sense of personal inadequacy and a fundamental dislike of women. (If you listen to them long enough they’ll tell you that key female figures in their life have wronged them. At bottom, they mistrust all women. )#)

Once the fog of hormones, pheromones and straight lust starts to lift, things play out rather differently. Abusive men seek commitment yet loathe the demands it imposes on them. They encourage their partner to depend on them, then become acutely resentful of the dependency they see.

This resentment, increasingly, reveals itself in reproaches, fault finding, withdrawal of intimacy and escalating outbursts of anger. Whether or not physical violence is used, the nature of these outbursts is violent, inasmuch as it shatters trust and undermines the woman’s feelings of self-worth.

The man may, or may not, threaten to leave. Almost certainly, he will point out to his partner how fundamentally flawed and unworthy she is. The woman is likely to have difficulty in reconciling this stranger, who is incandescent with self-righteous fury, with the prince who wooed her.

An attack of this kind is devastating and, at least in the early days, the woman is likely to reveal the depth of her distress. When she does so, the man’s fury will subside and he will revert to being her loving cavalier… for a while at least.

The point is: an abusive man restores his own feelings of self-worth by cutting ‘the little woman’ down to size – irrespective of whatever it is that occurred to make him feel small in the first place.

But there’s also a calculation involved: whether or not he loves her, he desperately needs her, because he uses her to shore up his feelings about himself. So, he has to do his best not to drive her away; which is why he reverts back to loving mode… until the next time. And there always will be a next time – which will always be worse than before – because in order to get his payoff, he has to ‘up the ante’.

Over time, as he keeps knocking her down (psychologically and perhaps physically also), he becomes more confident that she won’t leave. With all the conflict she loses the energy and the sense of an independent self that she needs to leave. So the loving interludes become less necessary, for him, and less frequent.

And that’s where the hopium addiction comes in. He may still ‘mainline’ her just enough love to keep her locked in; or else she may be so starved that she stays, when she should have left long ago, still trying to get the ‘fix’ she needs; the fix, that she misguidedly believes, only he can provide.

The hopium addict is the woman who thinks that her partner loves her really, he just has difficulty showing it because he’s had a hard time. She believes that somehow it will all work out alright, they’ll find a way to live happily together ever after, the kids won’t be affected.

Unfortunately, hopium addiction is degenerative; like any other addiction, unless you get treatment, it will destroy you.

Annie Kaszina Specialist Women’s Empowerment Coach and NLP Practitioner. Author of the ebook “The Woman You Want To Be”

Examining Drugs for ADHD, Particularly ‘Strattera’

In memory of 14 year old Matthew Smith; 11 year old Stephanie Hall; and 10 year old Shaina Dunkle and other children who have died from the use of psychotropic drugs for “ADHD”.

The Eli Lilly company has been marketing a new drug for those who are labeled as ADHD known as Strattera. This drug is purported to be a non-stimulant medication, however the side effects are similar. Rather than effecting the dopamine system as do the stimulants such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine, it works upon the norepinephrine neurotransmitter. Strattera is considered a Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Norepinephrine is the brain’s adrenalin. Norephinephrine is involved in the increased rate and force of the heart muscle, constriction of heart muscles, pulmonary function (Hedaya, 1999).

If these functions are increased, it would be evident that Strattera could produce possible untoward effects on the cardiovascular system. It is interesting to note that in the safety information that Eli Lilly provides on its website, it refers to possible hazards to those who have heart disease or high blood pressure. Information provided by Eli Lilly accompanying prescriptions of this drug note the possibility of tachycardia, and increased blood pressure. Tourette’s disorder, though the etiology is not fully known is being examined as difficulties arising in the metabolism of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. it is known that stimulant drugs can produce Tourette’s like behavior in some children (Breggin, 1998).

If Strattera affects the norepinephrine system, then it would seem evident that the possibility of such Tourette’s like behavior could also become manifest in some children using Strattera. Therefore, though Strattera is being marketed in the fashion of being a non-stimulant drug, its ill effects are quite similar to that manifested by the stimulant medications. Eli Lilly’s website notes that growth suppression is a common side effect and needs to be monitored in children making use of this drug. Loss of appetitite and weight loss is also seen. The most common side effects as listed by Lilly are upset stomach, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, and mood swings. These are not unlike that associated with the stimulant medications.

Lilly states in its press release in regards to Strattera’s introduction: “It’s not known precisely how Strattera reduces ADHD symptoms. Scientists believe it works by blocking or slowing reabsorption of norepinephrine, a brain chemical considered important in regulating attention, impulsivity and activity levels. This keeps more norepinephrine at work in the tiny spaces between neurons in the brain. ” If we examine this statement carefully, we see it states ‘it is not precisely known’, therefore once again a drug is being prescribed whose effects are not fully known for a’disorder’ whose psychopathology is not yet delineated. Clinical trials for Strattera have been limited and any information on long term effects has only been studied by Lilly itself. It is interesting to note that before Strattera was actually placed on the market and had just received FDA approval that the stocks for Eli Lilly rose 6% at the announcement (CBS Marketwatch, November 27, 2002). Lilly is aware that it will profit highly by being able to market a drug as a non-stimulant (though its ill effects are similar), that is not a Schedule II drug thus less subject to scrutiny and regulation. Hemant K. Shah, an independent analyst qouted in an AP Health News Report (August 15, 2002) states that Strattera’s market potential is large at a time when Eli Lilly is seeking to offset recent setbacks., “Parents who have refused stimulant dangers because of their knowledge of the hazards involved will now be coerced to utilize Strattera being led to believe it is somehow safer because it does not fall into the category of a stimulant/ Schedule II drug.

Overcome the Top 10 Causes of Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is on the rise and it’s costing corporate America a fortune. Some estimate that 80% of health care costs are stress related, and these expenses go right to the bottom line.

According to CNN-Money.com, Americans spent more than $17 billion for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs in 2002, up 10% from the year before and nearly 30% over a two year period.

The Institute for Management Excellence reports that American industry spends more than $26 billion each year for medical bills and disability payments with another $10 billion for executive’s lost workdays, hospitalization, and early death.

In addition to these staggering figures, stress takes its toll through the added costs of quality control, legal challenges, lost opportunities, poor performance, bad attitudes, and training.

We cannot do much about the skyrocketing costs of medical care and prescription drugs, but we can take immediate action to control the top ten causes of stress as identified by The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.

The countdown is:

10. “Workload” – Employees report that they are often stressed when they have too little or too much to do. Managers need to divide responsibilities and help employees prioritize work that must be done. Make sure you understand the impact before shifting responsibilities. Take into account the cost of stress before you increase anyone’s workload or hire more people.

9. “Random interruptions” – Telephones, pagers, walk-in visits, and spontaneous demands from supervisors all contribute to increased stress. Time management, delegation of responsibilities, and clarification of expectations can reduce these stressors. 8. “Pervasive uncertainty” – Stress levels increase rapidly when people are confronted by new requirements and procedures. Keeping people informed controls stress and increases productivity. Put details in a memo so they can review the facts following your explanations.

8. “Pervasive uncertainty” – Stress levels increase rapidly when we are confronted by new requirements and procedures. Finding out what’s going on and keeping staff informed helps control stress and increases productivity. Write out the information in a memo so you can review the facts. Staff members will appreciate the written analysis.

7. “Mistrust and unfairness” – These situations keep everyone on edge, create bad attitudes, and lower productivity. It is important to keep an open line of communication to avoid misunderstanding and know what people are thinking about your decisions. Managers must consistently build trust and give equal treatment – just do the right thing.

6. “Unclear policies and no sense of direction” -Lack of focus causes uncertainty and undermines confidence in management. You need more than a well-written policy manual. Enforcement of policies and clear communications are essential.

To make sure everyone gets the message, you can repeat your explanation in a variety of ways -repetition and feedback are important. Reinforce policies through memos, articles, bulletin board postings, personal meetings, and small group discussions.

5. “Career and job ambiguity” – If people are uncertain about their jobs and careers, there is a feeling of helplessness and of being out of control. In addition to the trusted job descriptions and annual personnel reviews, people need to understand a broad range of issues that affect the company.

News of mergers, consolidations, plant closings, and restructuring contribute to a feeling of helplessness. Management must keep people informed about situations that will affect their jobs, or the rumor mill will add to an already stressful situation.

4. “No feedback – good or bad” – People want to know whether they are meeting expectations. Consistent, written and verbal, personalized feedback is required. Some people need more attention than others, but everyone’s performance is enhanced if leaders frequently affirm individual efforts.

3. “No appreciation” – Failure to show appreciation generates stress that endangers productivity throughout the company. There are many ways to demonstrate appreciation, but the most effective is a sincere comment about how much the person means to you and the company.

2. “Lack of communications” – Poor communication leads to decreased performance and increased stress. Management memos and announcements work well for distributing information, but two-way conversation improves communication and solicits ideas and suggestions while reducing stress and complaints.

1. “Lack of control” – Workplace stress is at its greatest when employees have no say regarding things that affect them. You can decrease sensitivity to all the other stressors and give a sense of being in control by involving employees in operating and administrative decisions and acting on their input. Frontline employees know what they are talking about. Listening to what they have to say reduces stress and increases productivity.

Effective managers understand that stress control is a leadership responsibility and give it just as much attention as any other management function.

Grasping the concepts and reducing stress one step at a time can have an amazing impact on your bottom line –and on the lives of those who do the heavy work.

Meeting the True Needs of Children Diagnosed as ‘ADHD’

How should one look upon Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and what is the effective way to aid those who are given this diagnosis? There has been considerable debate as to whether or not ADHD is a genuine disorder. Psychiatrist and professor Robert Hedaya (1996, pg. 140) mentions that an examination by Hartmann in 1993 felt that ADHD is actually normal variant of human behavior that doesn’t fit into cultural norms.

In addition, there is no objective test for this disorder. Hedaya (1996, pg. 140) mentions that a commonly used test is the TOVA (test of variables of attention), a test where the client must use a computer and hit a target at various points. This test is designed to measure the person’s response time and distractibility. However, Hedaya (1996, pg. 140) notes, this tool cannot be relied upon to make or exclude the diagnosis in and of itself. Hedaya (1996, pg. 268) notes that there has been controversy in the use of stimulants for the treatment of ADHD, he states, medications alone do not provide adequate or full treatment in this disorder.

Hedaya (1996, pg. 269) notes that the most serious risk in the use of methylphenidate (Ritalin) for ADHD is that about 1% of these children will develop tics and or Tourette’s Syndrome. Hedaya asks the question, “One might wonder-, why use methylphenidate at all? ” Hedaya argues that the side effects involved in the use of methylphenidate are mild. However, he notes that side effects include nervousness, increased vulnerability to seizures, insomnia, loss of appetite, headache, stomachache, and irritability. Hedaya (1996, pg. 271) argues that the causation of ADHD lies in problems in dopamine regulation in the brain and states that stimulants work by stimulating dopamine in the brain and thus the symptoms of ADHD are lessened.

However, previously Hedaya states that Zametkin (1995) noted that stimulants have the same effect in both those diagnosed as ADHD and those who are not (Hedaya, 1996, pg. 139). Dr. William Carey of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia commented at the National Institutes of Mental Health Consensus Conference in 1998 that the behaviors exhibited by those considered ADHD were normal behavioral variations. A Multimodal Treatment Study was conducted by the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1999 in regards to ADHD. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin and the members of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology challenged the outcomes of this study because it was not a placebo controlled double blind study. Breggin also argues that that the analysis conducted of behaviors in the classroom of those children studied showed no significant differences between those children receiving stimulant medications versus those who only were utilizing a behavioral management program (MTA Cooperative Group, 1999a, pg. 1074). Breggin notes that there was no control group in the study of untreated children and that 32% of the children involved in the study were already receiving one or more medications prior to the onset of the study. Of those in the study who were the medication management group, they numbered only 144 of which Breggin finds to be enormously small.

Breggin states that in the ratings of the children themselves that they noted increased anxiety and depression however this was not found to be a significant factor by the investigators. Breggin also believes that the study was flawed in that drug treatment continued for 14 months whereas behavioral management was utilized for a much shorter duration. Breggin argues that the behavioral management strategies, which involved mainly a token economy system, were ineffective as well and did not take into consideration family dynamics but regardless, the study still showed that there was no difference between the populations treated with drugs versus those undergoing behavioral management solely. Breggin notes that many of the children receiving medications had adverse drug reactions, which consisted of depression, irritability, and anxiety. 11. 4% reported moderate reactions and 2. 9% had severe reactions. However, Breggin also states that those reporting the adverse drug reactions were not properly trained, but were rather only teachers and/or parents.

The study, as Breggin concludes, showed no improvement in the children treated with medications in the areas of academic performance or social skill development. Breggin feels that the study was improper in that all of the investigators were known to be pro-medication advocates prior to and after the study. Breggin states that Ritalin and other amphetamines have almost identical adverse reactions and have the potential for creating behavioral issues as well as psychosis and mania in some individuals. Breggin argues that these medications often cause the very behaviors they are intended to treat. He notes that children treated with these medications often become robotic and lethargic and that permanent neurological tics can result.

In his textbook, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Russell Barkley, an advocate for the use of methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD, notes that there is little improvement in academic performance with the short-term use of psychostimulant medication. Barkley also acknowledges that the stimulant medications can affect growth hormone but at present there is not any knowledge of the long-term effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary growth hormones. Barkley (1995, pg. 122) also states, at present there are no lab tests or measures that are of value in making a diagnosis of ADHD.

Dr. Sidney Walker, III, (1998, pg. 25) a late board-certified neuropsychiatrist comments that a large number of children do not respond to Ritalin treatment, or they respond by becoming sick, depressed, or worse. Some children actually become psychotic – the fact that many hyperactive children respond to Ritalin by becoming calmer doesn’t mean that the drug is treating a disease. Most people respond to cocaine by becoming more alert and focused, but that doesn’t mean they are suffering from a disease treated by cocaine. It is interesting to note Walker’s analogy of Ritalin to cocaine. Volkow and his colleagues (1997) observed in their study, EMP (methylphenidate, like cocaine, increases synaptic dopamine by inhibiting dopamine reuptake, it has equivalent reinforcing effects to those of cocaine, and its intravenous administration produces a high similar to that of cocaine. Walker (1998, pg. 14-15) that in addition to emotional struggles of children leading to ADHD-like behavior, that high lead levels, high mercury levels, anemia, manganese toxicity, B-vitamin deficiencies, hyperthyroidism, Tourette’s syndrome, temporal lobe seizures, fluctuating blood sugar levels, cardiac conditions, and illicit drug use would all produce behaviors that could appear as what would be considered ADHDEhowever Walker feels that these issues are most often overlooked and the person is considered to be ADHD.

F. Xavier Castellanos states at the 1998 Consensus Conference that those children with ADHD had smaller brain size than those of children who were considered to be normal. However, Castellanos reported as well that 93% of those children considered ADHD in the study were being treated long term with psychostimulants and stated that the issue of brain atrophy could be related to the use of psychopharmacological agents. Dr. Henry Nasrallah from Ohio State University (1986) found that atrophy occurred in about half of the 24 young adults diagnosed with ADHD since childhood that participated in his study. All of these individuals had been treated with stimulants as children and Nasrallah and colleagues concludes that cortical atrophy may be a long term adverse effect of this treatment. Physician Warren Weinberg and colleagues stated, a large number of biologic studies have been undertaken to characterize ADHD as a disease entity, but results have been inconsistent and not reproducible because the symptoms of ADHD are merely the symptoms of a variety of disorders. The Food and Drug Administration has noted (Walker, 1998, pg. 27) that ee acknowledge that as of yet no distinct pathophysiology (for ADHD) has been delineated.

There has been concern as well about the addictive component of psychostimulants. The Drug Enforcement Administration (1995c) reports that it was found that methylphenidate’s pharmacological effects are essentially the same as those of amphetamine and methamphetamine and that it shares the same abuse potential as these Schedule II stimulants.

Breggin states that psychiatrist Arthur Green in the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry published in 1989 reported that all commonly diagnosed disorders of childhood can be linked to abuse and/or neglect. Abuse and neglect produces difficulties in school, such as cognitive impairment, particularly in the areas of speech and development, combined with limited attention span and hyperactivity. (Breggin, 1991, pg. 274)

Being that ADHD is a subjective diagnosis and that stimulant treatment has been shown to have risk as detailed above, what is the effective alternative to aiding those who have been diagnosed ADHD and what actually is underlying the difficulties that these individuals may be manifesting? Psychologist and educator Michael Valentine (1988) suggests that it is necessary to love your children, care about them, do as much as possible to have them grow and develop, teach them social skills, and teach them how to identify and express their feelings and to become uniquely human; but at the same time, care about them and love them enough to give them guidance, structure, limits, and control as they need it.

Valentine advocates a psychosocial approach to aiding children and adolescents who would be considered to be ADHD. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin also advocates this approach and feels that it is necessary for parents to feel empowered and for their to be a compassionate therapeutic adult in the lives of these children. Breggin (1998, pg. 308-310) feels it is necessary to examine the effects of institutionalization and placement on children as well as the effects of psychiatric stigmatization (that is, the effects on esteem of receiving the label of ADHD itself). It is necessary to examine the experience of the child and if they have suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from adults, or have experienced peer abuse. It needs to be examined if they have an appropriate educational setting and if any conflicts exist with instructors or if the educational environment is stressful to them.

Psychiatrist William Glasser (2003, pg. 31-32) comments in this regard, Epediatricians are being called in to diagnose schoolchildren who do not cooperate in school because they don’t like it as having attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Treating them with a narcotic drug is only confirming what many psychiatrists and pediatricians already believe: that it’s better to use drugs than to try to apply their prestige and clout in the community to the real problem: improving our school s so that students find them enjoyable enough to pay attention and learn in an environment where drugs are not needed. This misguided psychiatric effort has created an epidemic of drug treated mental illnessEin the schools.

Breggin continues that it is also necessary to examine the environment the child lives in and the stressors around them. It is necessary to build relationship and collaboratively design structure and limits with the child or adolescent (Breggin, 1998, pg. 318) Breggin feels it is necessary to train parents in relationship building with their children and in working through situations of conflict. He states, parent management training has consistently proven successful in improving parent self-esteem, in reducing parent stress, and in ameliorating ADHD-like symptoms, especially negative attitudes toward parental authority and aggression.

Dr. David Stein (2001, pg. 236-238) has detailed a drug free approach to aiding children who are diagnosed as ADHD who Stein prefers to call highly misbehaving children. In this program, known as the Caregiver’s Skills program, Stein states it is necessary to treat your child as normal and not diseased. He states that the children should not be taking any medications, as they are risky for the child’s health and merely blunt behaviors. Stein argues, if the behaviors don’t occur, we can’t help (them) learn new habits.

The program encourages social reinforcement rather than material reinforcement, encouraging parents to refrain from excessive prompting and coaxing. The program encourages development of target behaviors and consistent encouragement and social reinforcement as well as consistent consequences for misbehavior. The program encourages the self-assessment and evaluation of the child of their own behaviors.


Stress Causing People to “Super Size”

It is currently reported that two out of three adults is either overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to climb. As a result, statistics demonstrate that a significant portion of our population is being diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Even more shocking is that we are experiencing these conditions at earlier ages than previously reported. It is not unusual today, to hear about a young person in their 20’s diagnosed with mature onset diabetes, normally developed during middle-age.

On May 7, 2004, a controversial and award-winning movie aimed at exploring the obesity epidemic hit theatres. In “Super Size Me”, a tongue-in-cheek look at the legal, financial and physical costs of our hunger for fast food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the horrors of school lunch programs, declining health education and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight. As a centerpiece of the film, Spurlock puts his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days following three rules:

1) Eat only what is available over the counter
2) No supersizing unless offered
3) Consume every item on the menu at least once

In the end, Spurlock has a weight gain of 24 pounds and experiences harrowing visits to the doctor. The issues that are explored in “Super Size Me” beg the question, what has changed in our environment to cause this obesity problem to reach epidemic proportions? Furthermore, what is causing people to overeat as we do?

A groundbreaking study, reported in 2003 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants. In particular, portion sizes for salty and sugary foods, essentially, “comfort foods” experienced the most dramatic portion size increases. For example, the USDA’s recommended serving size for a cookie is half an ounce, while the average cookie sold in restaurants was found to be 700% larger.

The by-products of our affluent American society, envied by many around the world, have a definite dark side, our obesity rate, for starters. In a culture where more is better and disposable income is abundant, when it comes to eating we have developed a “more food, more conveniently and more often” attitude.

Stress: A Pre-Cursor to Obesity

Certainly, no one forces us to eat more than our body needs, so what is driving this “hunger” for more? Over the last two decades, almost proportionally to the dramatic increase of food consumed and chronic disease diagnoses, the amount of stress in our society and on each of us individually has increased significantly. Stress is the term medical researcher Hans Selye, M. D., PhD, gave to the experience our bodies go through when we have to adjust or adapt to the various changes our bodies experience during the course of the day. While many of us think of stress in relationship to emotional states, many other factors can exert an equally detrimental effect on our bodies as well. When we do not get enough sleep or rest, work or exercise too much, nutritional status, have an infection, have allergies, injuries or trauma, undergo dental or surgical procedures, have emotional upsets, or deal with any aspect of reproductive function such a pregnancy, menopause, etc., our bodies must chemically and neurologically adapt in order to survive. Part of this adaptation process relies heavily on the nutrition that is available for the kidney’s adrenal glands to produce the adaptive hormones. It is often this aspect of stress that can lead to overeating, and what’s more, overeating the types of foods that cause unhealthy weight gain.

How it works

Thanks to the work of M. I. T. Professor Judith Wurtman, Ph. D. and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or “chemical messenger” called Serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain. Serotonin along with other neurotransmitters, are produced by our bodies as “feel good” hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to “self-sooth” by behaviors that lead to the increase of Serotonin. Overeating of carbohydrate and fatty-rich foods or “comfort foods” such as cookies, ice cream, etc. significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are also attempts to self-sooth and increase Serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially acceptable and as easily available as over eating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating.

In addition, our bodies need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and minerals, skyrocket when we are “adapting” under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or do not appropriately supplement these nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body’s demands for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing.

For a period of time, foods that comfort, sooth or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of Serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves, yet again. Then, we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrate and fatty rich foods until we feel better. This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload.

As a result, it is no wonder that within the last year, low-carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans or 20 million people are currently on a low-carb diet. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over consumption of carbohydrates, therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. The real issue, however, is how long can we reduce are carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place?

Causes of Stress

Prior to the early 1970’s, the majority of family units were structured as a one wage earner household where the male worked and the female stayed at home, taking care of the house and family. Driven largely by social and socio-economic factors, all of that has changed. Now, the overwhelming majority of families include both parents working and we find ourselves on a treadmill of more work, more responsibilities, more demands and non-stop scheduling that has many of us in a state of physical and, at times, emotional exhaustion.

Added to the mix is our competitive culture, which often leads to isolation or a “them against us” thinking. Isolation of this nature causes additional “hidden” stress. A Hindu Vendata truth is that “the whole world is one family”. It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness; separating oneself from the awareness that as members of the human family, we are one living organism. The drama created by a “one-up” or “one-down” dynamic, that we find in competitive societies, can lead to the exhaustion and the psychosocial behavioral issues which can contribute to overeating.

Understanding Exhaustion and its’ Effect on Obesity

The tipping point at which our bodies can no longer compensate or adapt from the stress it is under, is based in large part on the threshold of nutritional competency and the state of integrity of our nervous system. When our central nervous system, which governs every cell in our body and makes life possible, is not working efficiently, we have a decrease in bodily function and the ability to adapt to the world we live in. Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, CFS, are rampant in our culture today and growing at an alarming rate because of the over stimulation and increased demands placed on our nervous systems. Add to this inadequate nutrition and a decreased ability of our bodies to digest and absorb properly because of the stress, and we see the foundation of the epidemic of chronic diseases being currently reported.

What is so shocking for us, as Americans, is that while we live in one of the most affluent societies ever to exist on earth and have one of the most technologically advanced medical systems we are raked at approximately twenty-sixth in the world health Olympics. This is not the failure of our medical system, but in fact, the failure to live in our bodies mindfully and respectfully, taking time for rest, proper nutrition, reflection, intimacy with self and others and serving the common good of society. It is this imbalance that leads us to chronic stress, which leads to physical and, if you will, spiritual exhaustion that is producing the levels of chronic diseases and the rampant obesity we see today.

Self-Esteem and Health

We have an innate understanding of how we need to choose to live to be healthy.

Yet, adages about health i. e., “early to be, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise”, are often ignored in place of our instant gratification or immediate comfort.

Physical labor has taken a back seat to “mind work”, and today we work harder than ever before to have the money to buy a membership to a gym or spa so we can do the physical exercise we need to be healthy and attractive. However, rarely do we actually have the time to go to the gym we pay membership fees to. Statistically, the average gym membership is used for the first 4 – 6 weeks after signing up and then falls off dramatically. Workout facilities count on this phenomenon when planning their recruitment and enrollment numbers. Likewise, diet plans and weight loss centers know that 90% or more of their customers will continue to have body weight issues, in spite of their best efforts to re-direct to a different way of eating. Why?

The Oprah Syndrome

One of the most powerful, successful people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a brilliant example of the “super size” syndrome in our culture. With every possible service, care and expert available to her, Oprah has continued to struggle with significant weight gain and loss for many years. In 2001, a chart published in a popular magazine, documents her weight gain and loss over the previous 20 years. Even during the height of her popularity and professional success, her body weight rose to dangerously elevated levels. The reasons most of us give for not taking care of ourselves include; not having enough time to shop for or cook the right foods; not being sure what’s best for our body type; not enough money for domestic help so we can exercise, meditate or relax; stress over money and achieving success. Oprah is an individual who has more than enough money and success to eliminate all those concerns, yet in spite of that she still does not consistently maintain a proper body weight.

Driven by personal history and ambition, Oprah offers a perfect example of the potential outcome of Serotonin driven self-soothing, which invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem and the serotonin connection, it becomes quite clear that what is at the core of our “super sizing” is not solved by the “diet of the month” or the next “how to” bestseller. Rather, an examination of our personal worldview, our ego state, our treatment and regard for nature and for others, what we value, what we believe in, how much we consume and how much we accumulate. When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produce balance rather than extremes, that debunk the thinking that “more is better”, we then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from the fast food menu.

In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world’s resources, we have come to accept excess as a way of life and a standard to subscribe to. In the 1980’s, Robin Leach’s television show, “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous”, tainted our appetites for a standard of over consumption that has brought us to where we are today – obese and chronically diseased.

Take a Tip from the Gurus

Eastern philosophies offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Quite opposite from our “in your face” attitude of self-manifestation, Eastern wisdom invites us to ponder, “how much do I really need; to do; to have; to eat; to own; to control; to be content with my life; and what is the role of gratitude in my life? ” Shouldn’t having a calm, well functioning nervous system, the source of all life in the body, be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what we want with the latest diet craze or vitamin pills available?

Change the Question

It may be time to change the questions we not only ask ourselves, but the questions we are asked as consumers. Maybe, if when making his fast food purchases, Morgan Spurlock was asked the question “super size or down size, sir? ” the choices he might have made could have resulted in significant weight loss rather than weight gain, but then Spurlock would not have a movie to make, or the millions that will be realized from it.

Adderall and Its Side-Effects

Adderall is a stimulant medication used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in both children and adults. It is made from a combination of four amphetamine compounds. Adderall is useful because it covers a broader range of ADHD symptoms than a single compound medication such as Ritalin, and because it is a “one a day” dosing.

A child with attention deficit disorder usually has to take only one dose of adderall per day to get through school and get his homework done. Adderall is also often used instead of Ritalin because it is less “harsh, ” having less of a reported “rebound effect” in children and teens than Ritalin. Adderall Side Effects All stimulants have side effects, and the side effects from Adderall can be serious. Any amphetamine can be over used and result in drug addiction.

Because Adderall is made from amphetamine, it can cause your child’s heart to race, elevate heart rate to dangerous levels, and raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. Adderall side effects include overstimulation of the central nervous system, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, tremors, headaches, hyperactivity, and tics or Tourettes Syndrome. A common Adderall side effect is a dry mouth, a bad taste in the mouth, diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach, and loss of appetite. Children often lose weight when taking stimulants. Stimulants may reduce growth rates in children. Sexual dysfunction is a common problem in adults using stimulants. For more information about Adderall, and other treatment options for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, visit the ADHD Information Library.