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Archive for December, 2007

Advice from the addiction doc

Posted by Roberta Jewell
Categories: Medications and research

Dr. Linda Garcia, Medical Director, My Way OutDr. Linda Garcia, MD, Medical Director of My Way Out, specializes in addiction medicine and has provided treatment to hundreds of alcohol dependent patients. As we move into New Year’s weekend she offers specific tips about how to prevent relapse in the face of holiday triggers.

Look here for her five minute audio interview and associated article.

Consider this when depression hits

Posted by Roberta Jewell
Categories: Diet, nutrition and exercise

Treatment for dual diagnosis is often necessary when someone is affected by both chemical dependency and an emotional illness. We see a lot of this within our drinking population because so many people suffer from both depression and alcohol dependence. In fact, the question often arises: which came first?

Regardless of the answer, we find many alcoholics are prescribed anti-depressants or mood stabilizing medication.

Our blended program of nutritional supplementation, dietary changes, exercise, hypnotherapy–and medication, if appropriate–addresses chemical imbalances in the brain. Patients who adopt our therapy are often surprised at how quickly their depression lifts. One of advantages of our approach is that it is highly customizable and allows individuals to focus on problem areas. Some people look to renew their bodies (e.g. liver health or brain function) while others wish to improve their mental and emotional well being. The body’s entire system, both mental and physical, is compromised by excessive drinking and we find a multi-faceted approach is most effective when tackling an action plan for long term sobriety.

Sometimes a simple supplement can make a world of difference. Take Omega-3 fatty acid oils. They are often overlooked as a mood enhancer, but we’ve gotten some really great feedback about how well they work. Clinical trials are now underway to follow up previous studies and determine more precisely their mechanism of action. You’ll find info here.

We also have some excellent links in our Health Store regarding the many benefits of omega oil supplementation (it’s excellent for heart health) including the following overview:

“A now famous Harvard study (Stoll et al., 1999) determined that individuals suffering from manic and mood disorders collectively exhibit low levels of EPA and DHA. During this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, nearly 75% of the subjects treated with omega-3 experienced relief from their symptoms. According to Dr. Stoll, “Our study results indicate that fish oil does possess the elements needed to stabilize mood.”
Source: Now Foods Health Professor

Omega-3 supplements are generally easy to find, inexpensive and safe. However, consumers must be diligent about purchasing a high quality brand that’s been tested for contaminants such as peroxide, mercury, PBCs and dioxins. Best also to select one that meets or exceed FDA safety standards.

Six Ways to Avoid Holiday Booze Blunders

Posted by Roberta Jewell
Categories: This 'n that

Newsweek reporter Temma Ehrendfeld shares tips about how to make it through the holidays. We’re proud that My Way Out was mentioned as a resource to help those in need of support. They’ll find it in our anonymous online forum.

Six Ways to Avoid Holiday Booze Blunders

‘Tis the season for uncomfortable moments if you don’t drink alcohol or are hosting someone who doesn’t. Here are our tips on teetotaler etiquette.

You’ve made a resolution and you’re starting now. Or maybe you or one of your guests made a no-alcohol pledge years ago. Either way, you plan to be merry with the best of them—but without the mulled wine, spiked eggnog or champagne punch. Happily, in these health-conscious times toasting the New Year with a fizzy cider or an alcohol-free wine is more acceptable than ever before, abstainers say. Still, the rules of festive sobriety aren’t always obvious. READ MORE…

Baclofen a promising and safe anti-craving medication

Posted by Roberta Jewell
Categories: Medications and research

We’ve been following the drug Baclofen with some interest. The research reported below is very promising, especially for anyone who’s concerned about taking an anti-craving medication like Naltrexone, which is contraindicated for those with impaired liver function. You may remember reading earlier research about an MD who self prescribed baclofen and went on to publish his findings. That article is here.

Baclofen Aids Abstinence in Alcoholics With Cirrhosis
Study finds drug’s anti-craving action, safety could play role in liver treatment

Posted 12/7/07 FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — The drug baclofen promotes alcohol abstinence in alcoholics with cirrhosis of the liver, says an Italian study in this week’s issue of The Lancet.The study included 84 alcohol-dependent patients with liver cirrhosis who received either oral baclofen (42 patients) or a placebo (42 patients). Total alcohol abstinence and duration of this abstinence were assessed during outpatient visits. Relapse was defined as alcohol intake of more than four standard drinks per day (a standard drink defined as equal to 12 grams of absolute alcohol) or overall consumption of 14 or more standard drinks per week over a period of at least four weeks. Among those taking baclofen, 71 percent (30 of 42 patients) achieved and maintained alcohol abstinence, compared to 29 percent (12 of 42) of those who took the placebo. The study also found that patients taking baclofen abstained from alcohol for more than twice as long as those taking the placebo — 62.8 days vs. 30.8 days. More…