How to Recognize Addiction in a Loved One (And to Seek Help)

No one wants to face the possibility that a spouse, a friend, or a family member they love is struggling with an addiction, but the truth is many people in our society are. The fear of stigma and our ability to look away is actually causing much more harm than good in the United States, as the number of people who die from alcohol poisonings or opioid overdoses increases every year.
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If you believe someone you love may be affected by substance abuse, now is the time to consider how serious the issue really is and to seek help. [the_ad id=”1065″]

Recognizing Addiction in a Loved One

The signs of addiction can seem difficult to pinpoint at first, but mostly, they revolve around a change in behavior, physical appearance, and attitude, most of which is caused by the individual’s drug use becoming more important to them than anything else. Over time, drugs change the way a person’s brain works so they can no longer decide when they should and shouldn’t use. They will instead want to do it all the time and will put everything second to this uncontrollable need.

Someone who has become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol may start to

  • Shirk their responsibilities in favor of using more
  • Perform worse at school, work, etc.
  • Use money meant for other things on drugs and/or alcohol
  • Spend more time alone in order to use
  • Act secretively, not wanting to tell you where they’ve been or with whom
  • Spend time with different people, often those with whom they can use
  • Become disinterested in activities that once mattered to them

They may also develop strange patterns of eating, sleeping all day or not at all, and failing to take care of themselves. In many cases, they will experience physical issues and illnesses related to their substance abuse. If all these problems begin to occur and the individual refuses to put an end to their substance abuse, they are probably already addicted.

What Can I Do?

One of the ways a loved one of a suspected addict can help is to stage an intervention. Interventions are group meetings of several people who care about the addict and want to see them get better. Interventions can provide these individuals the chance to tell the addict how they really feel about their substance abuse and to urge them to seek treatment. Remember, though, if you do choose to stage an intervention, it’s best to seek a treatment program out beforehand so the individual won’t be able to promise to get help and then not follow through.

Addiction is a disease that can be treated. Accepting that someone you care about has been affected by this problem can be difficult, even devastating, but the important thing to remember is that recovery is possible. With the proper professional care, your loved one can put an end to their substance abuse and start living a healthier, happier life again.

General Health: How Do I Talk to a Loved One About Their Substance Use Disorder—And How Do I Get Them to Seek Help?

Getting a loved one to seek help for their substance use disorder can be hard. You may feel alone and that you have no one who can help you, but this isn’t true. Your loved one can recover with the help of professional treatment, and you can get them to seek this help by talking to them one-on-one or by staging an intervention.

Talking to Your Loved One

According to Healthline, some individuals will find talking to a person one-on-one less intimidating than having to deal with an intervention. When you talk to your loved one, here are some points you can utilize:

  • Make sure to use “I” statements, such as “I feel…” or “I am worried because…” This will prevent you from using accusatory language that might upset your loved one.
  • Always stay calm. If you think you’re going to get upset, you may need to walk away and revisit the conversation at a later time.
  • Tell your loved one that you will support them if they decide to seek treatment and that you will help them in whatever way you can.


Some individuals feel that they would not be safe or comfortable bringing up the issue of substance abuse one-on-one, and in other cases, such a conversation is not successful. If this is your situation, you may want to consider staging an intervention.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a meeting with multiple people who discuss their concern about an addicted individual they all care about and who try to convince the individual to seek treatment. Interventions can often be a highly successful way of getting an addicted person to realize the severity of their substance abuse and to get them to find help.

How Do I Stage an Intervention?

There are several steps you should follow when staging an intervention.

  • Think about whom you should invite to participate in the intervention. It is best to choose about 6 people and to make sure they will all be able to stay calm during the meeting. If someone wants to be involved but does not believe they will be able to stay calm, they can write a letter that can be read by someone else at the meeting.
  • Make sure everyone writes down what they want to say and that they only say what is written when they talk to the addict. This will minimize the possibility that people will say negative things or things they don’t really mean.
  • According to Intervention Support, many people meet with a professional interventionist and receive tips from them. The interventionist can also attend the intervention itself in order to keep everyone involved on track and to also show the addict the severity of the situation.
  • Meet before the actual intervention so everyone knows what everyone else is going to say. You can even practice the intervention beforehand in order to be as prepared as possible.


If Your Loved One Says Yes to Treatment…

Make sure you have a treatment program set up for them before you even have the conversation or stage the intervention. This way, if your loved one agrees to seeking help, they will be able to start treatment right away, rather than to make up another excuse between this time and the time in which you are able to find a treatment program.

Then, you must always show your support to the individual in any way you are able: by visiting them in treatment, talking to them about their recovery, etc. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, having the support of family members and friends during rehab highly benefits recovering addicts and extends treatment benefits.

If Your Loved One Refuses Treatment…

It is important to let them know there will be consequences. If you are currently giving them money or letting them live with you, you may decide to stop doing so. You may also promise to no longer drink or use with them or any number of other consequences. This is meant to show them they will not have your support if they don’t seek help. And you can always try again at a time when you think they will be more willing to listen.

25 Incredible Statistics and Facts About Marijuana

Marijuana is the most widely used mainstream drug in America, and it is increasingly becoming a legal option for people regarding their medical treatments and recreational use across the nation. Throughout the years, many people have been taught different things regarding the real truth behind marijuana. There are many misconceptions, as well as lack of knowledge regarding the growing industry. Read on to learn 25 incredible marijuana statistics and facts.

  1. Marijuana sends the body’s metabolism into overdrive, causing cravings but also acting as a digestive aid. While the plant causes hunger, it helps the body to use the food better.
  2. The ACLU has reported black people are arrested for the same charges concerning marijuana, and the risk actually increases by eight times in some states; specifically name was Minnesota, DC, and Iowa.
  3. The same reporting from the ACLU found that blacks and white consume cannabis average the same consumption rates of marijuana.
  4. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association released an article in 2013 sharing information regarding how pet owners are helping their suffering dogs and cats with medical marijuana. (In large quantities, weed may be deadly to animals.)
  5. According to studies, using cannabis decreases the risk of obesity by about 33%.
  6. Legal marijuana projected revenue from US sales are expected to grow $20.2 billion by the year 2021.
  7. Recreational ‘weed’ is legal now in 8 states and the District of Columbia.
  8. 27% of US beer drinkers say they would trade their daily drinking in for cannabis if it was legal in the state they reside.
  9. Over 160 million people around the globe use cannabis, translating to about 5% of the world population.
  10. It is now legal to smoke marijuana without a prescription for one in five Americans.
  11. In 2014, the recreational cannabis market grew 74%. This number represents the fastest growing industry in the US; cannabis. The same year, the medical industry came in next with $1.2 billion in revenue. (Source: Arcview Market Research)
  12. If marijuana gets legalized across the entire United States of America, more than 2 billion is expected to be lost by the beer industry.
  13. More than 163,638 pounds of cannabis was seized by the DEA
  14. Harvard University released study findings in 2010 estimating over $17 billion is spent by state and federal governments annually for marijuana prohibition.
  15. A report was released at the beginning of 2017 showing that marijuana sales are expected to triple in four years.
  16. Nearly 10 million Americans had used cannabis within one month of being surveyed about whether they had ever used marijuana.
  17. The US National Institute on Drug Abuse funded a $2 million four-year study in 2013 to determine if marijuana use results in cognitive, affective, or behavioral effects that are consistent with domestic abuse and partner aggression. Their study found that the couples most likely to experience episodes of domestic violence smoked pot together.
  18. January first through the end of February in 2014 brought over $6 million in collected tax revenue on legal marijuana sales in Colorado.
  19. Someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States every minute of the day.
  20. The police arrest people in the US for drug crimes more than any other type of crime. Drugs are the number one reason Americans are arrested, with approximately 45% of them being marijuana arrests. About 85% of those numbers represent possession charges alone.
  21. 12,411,877 pounds of marijuana was seized by the DEA from 2000-2013.
  22. The legal possession and use of medical marijuana is legal in 21 states.
  23. Cannabis was a normal and common ingredient used in medicinal tinctures, and didn’t even require a label mention from the seller. This was prior to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act in the United States.
  24. Hemp fibers were used by the ancient Taiwanese approximately 10,000 years ago to decorate pottery.
  25. Medicinal marijuana is used in children and adults to reduce the number of seizures they get from epilepsy that’s hard to control with mediations, and it’s also used to help ease vomiting and nausea suffered by AIDS or chemo-bound cancer patients.
Treating Depression with Light Therapy

Research reveals bright light treatment is more than just a way to beat the winter blues.

Depression is a disease that touches many lives. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 6.4 percent of Americans suffer from some type of depression. It’s the leading cause of disability in the United States. Antidepressant medications are widely prescribed to help patients deal with the symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, they’re effective in only 55-60 percent of cases, leaving many depression sufferers searching for a viable alternative.

Light therapy has long been used to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s linked to the changing of the seasons. But what about depression that has nothing to do with the seasons? According to Dr. Barbara Parry, MD, a professor of psychiatry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, exposure to bright light is an effective treatment for other types of depressive disorders too.

“Light therapy initially was used to treat seasonal affective disorder (or winter depression), but more recently has been found to be even more efficacious than antidepressants for non-seasonal depression,” says Parry.

New Evidence in Favor of Light Therapy

Recent research confirms the efficacy of treating non-seasonal depression with bright light. Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) studied the effects of light therapy on the disease, both as a standalone treatment and in combination with the antidepressant fluoxetine. The study, led by UBC professor and psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Lam, MD, involved 122 patients who were exposed to a fluorescent light box for 30 minutes upon waking every day for eight weeks.

The results of the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed that many patients benefited from light therapy and experienced positive effects on their mood. Light therapy helped both the patients taking fluoxetine and those who took none.

Another recent study examined the effects of light therapy on depressed cancer survivors. Patients who were exposed to a bright white light box 30 minutes each morning for four weeks experienced an improvement in their depressive symptoms. Other patients who followed the same routine with a dim red light box reported no change in symptoms.

The results of these studies should provide hope to people suffering from depression who find no relief from the current crop of treatments. “More and more people are seeking help because there is less stigma about having depression,” Lam said in a news release from UBC. “It’s important to find new treatments because our current therapies don’t work for everyone. Our findings should help to improve the lives of people with depression.”

The Advantages of Light Therapy

Light therapy for non-seasonal depressive disorder isn’t necessarily faster-acting than antidepressants. According to Parry, patients using light therapy for SAD tend to see results quickly, in as little as three to four days. However, for those suffering from non-seasonal depression, the effects of light exposure take longer to kick in – about five to six weeks.

That’s approximately the same amount of time it takes to experience relief with antidepressant medications (four to six weeks). However, the positive effects of antidepressants come at a cost. Users report a variety of side effects, including insomnia, lethargy, migraines, weight gain, decreased sex drive, and even suicide.

Light therapy generally results in fewer side effects, making it an excellent alternative for people who wish to avoid the unpleasant and possibly harmful effects of antidepressants. “It is a viable alternative treatment for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding who are concerned about the small, but potentially adverse, effects of antidepressant medication on their child,” says Parry.

Those who avoid medication due to cost or lack of availability are also good candidates for light therapy. The initial investment in a fluorescent light box ranges from $40 to $300. The treatment itself is as simple as plugging in the box at home and basking in its glow for 30 minutes each morning. There’s no need to disrupt the morning routine either – reading, eating, drinking coffee, checking email, shaving, and putting on makeup are all acceptable activities during a light therapy session.

Combining Treatments for Maximum Effect

 While light therapy alone is an effective treatment for depression, its impact improves when combined with other treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication, or sleep therapy. The UBC researchers found that the patients who reported the most improvement in depressive symptoms were those who also took an antidepressant. Parry is currently researching the impact of combining light therapy with shifts in sleeping schedules. According to her, “Light treatment can work faster and its effects can be enhanced by combining it with sleep therapy.”


Article sources:

Barbara Parry, MD, professor of psychiatry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Lam, Raymond W., MD. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016; 73(1): pp 56-63.

National Institute of Mental Health: “Antidepressants: A Complicated Picture”

News release, Mount Sinai Hospital/Mount Sinai School of Medicine

News release, University of British Columbia




Gentler Cancer Treatment is on the Horizon


Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen have made considerable inroads in the search for a treatment that attacks cancer cells on the cellular level. This new type of treatment would target and destroy cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed. It would provide a gentler alternative to the more invasive cancer treatments currently used.

Chemotherapy and radiation are the most common forms of cancer treatment today. Each of these treatments is effective at killing cancerous cells, but unfortunately harms and destroys healthy cells at the same time. This results in many side effects, some of which are debilitating. In addition, the efficacy of these treatments is limited in cases where cancer has spread from the primary tumor site to other parts of the body.

In response to these issues with current cancer treatments, the researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have been working towards finding a treatment that specifically targets malignant cells. The scientists have attempted to deceive cancer cells into absorbing a cytotoxin that ultimately destroys them, while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Physicist Murillo Longo Martins, a post-doc in X-Ray and Neutron Science at the Niels Bohr Institute, hypothesized that there must be a way to create a microscopic vehicle that could move through the bloodstream and carry the cytotoxin directly to the cancer cells. This vehicle would then incite the cell to allow the cytotoxin in, which would ultimately lead to the destruction of the cell by the cytotoxin.

Martins used tiny magnetic beads to act as the vehicle. After the beads were injected into the bloodstream, a magnet was placed at the site of the tumor. The tiny beads, attracted by the pull of the magnet, traveled towards the tumor.

Once the vehicle was created, the researchers moved on to creating the load that the vehicle would carry. They encased the cytotoxin surrounding the magnetic beads in a ring-shaped sac, essentially creating a cytotoxic parcel.

Now that they had the vehicle and the parcel, the next step was to figure out how to get the cell to accept the parcel. Every cell has a protective membrane that guards against harmful substances and allows helpful substances to enter through receptors, or doorways. Each of these helpful substances must have a key that fits a specific doorway in the cell membrane. The researchers needed to figure out a helpful substance that would provide the key to allow the vehicle and its cytotoxic load to enter the cancer cell.

“I thought, why do breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer so often spread to the bones? Bones are composed of minerals like calcium phosphates. Do cancer cells need these substances to grow? Can these substances be used as doorways to the cell? I decided to investigate this,” explained Martins in a news release from the Niels Bohr Institute. He ultimately decided to coat the cytotoxic parcel with calcium phosphate.

The researchers conducted experiments using breast, lung and colon cancer cells, as well as healthy cells. The results were just what Martins had imagined.

“We could see that the nanoparticles with the cytotoxin were absorbed by the cancer cells. This caused the metabolism of the cancer cells to change and the cells showed signs that they were about to die. The healthy cells, meanwhile, do not show any evidences of absorbing the packages with the cytotoxin. This suggests that the method can be used to send cytotoxin around the body with reduced toxicity and could therefore be potentially safer for healthy cells,” explains Heloisa Bordallo, Associate Professor in X-Ray and Neutron Science at the Niels Bohr Institute.

Findings from the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Article sources:

News release, Niels Bohr Institute – University of Copenhagen