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Stop the Stigma: Why Do We Look at Addictions Differently?

We have all done it. We see someone battling addiction and we ignore them, shake our heads, or maybe even glare with disgust. We judge. It can be easy to do, especially when the addiction is so severe, it can be hard to see the person inside of the “junkie” — or any number of any names we call them — drunk, druggie, pothead, burnout, stoner, crackhead, etc. These terms are proof that addiction stigma exists, as none of them convey compassion or empathy. Yet, compassion and empathy are precisely what those living with addiction need and deserve. Read More

How Much Is Too Much: OTC Meds?

Over-the-counter medications are so commonplace in our lives, using them seems as natural as wearing socks or brushing teeth. But each one requires responsible, informed consumption to avoid serious health risks.  Read More

Drugs of Choice: What Are People Using Now?

Though the title for most widely used drug in the United States may theoretically vary through the years, several drugs remain prevalent in America today. And they’re continuing to make an impact on our health, communities, and culture at-large. Throw in new drug trends like Kratom, Delta-8, and dab bars, and the presence of drugs (and their consequences) is even more widespread. So, what are the United States’ most-used drugs right now, and how are they affecting us? Read More

Gas Station Heroin Tianeptine

A new drug with opioid-like effects has been drawing attention and concern due to its high potential for abuse. Tianeptine, also called  “gas station heroin" is not yet a controlled substance, but some states have already passed laws to ban it due to its addictive qualities. What is tianeptine? Though it is used in some countries as an ingredient in antidepressant drugs, tianeptine is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical use, and it has been responsible for a growing number of overdoses and fatalities. Read More

The Return of Psychedelics

Are psychedelics getting more popular? What are the pros and cons of incorporating psychedelics into mental health treatment? Are psychedelics safe? While psychedelics have provided breakthroughs for tough-to-treat cases of trauma and other conditions, they still have drawbacks, and their efficacy remains difficult to understand. Read More

How Much Shopping is Too Much?

If shopping gets to a point where it starts taking over your life, it can evolve into an actual condition called oniomania, more commonly known as shopping addiction or compulsive shopping disorder. This behavioral addiction causes an uncontrollable urge to buy things as a way to feel good and manage (or avoid) negative emotions. If this sounds like your experience, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and take steps to overcome this consequential addiction so that it doesn’t get worse.  Read More

Death by Detox: How “Just Stopping” Can Be Fatal, Part Two

Following the passing of my sister in August 2022, I struggled to wrap my mind around how Pip actually died. How did my sweet, hilarious sister become a statistic? How did she die from alcohol withdrawal? I knew it was possible, but as I mentioned previously, I never fathomed it could happen to me. One of my main forms of coping was researching. I had to learn more about alcohol withdrawal, detox death, and delirium tremens (DT). I needed to learn more about why you should detox from alcohol in a safe environment. DT is most common in people who have alcohol dependence. Dependence on alcohol occurs over time. Dependence means you are physically dependent on the alcohol; your brain has slowly compensated for the way alcohol serves as a depressant. If someone stops their daily drinking cold turkey, the brain then panics in its own way. Your central nervous system becomes overexcited, which can be dangerous. Read More

Death by Detox: How “Just Stopping” Can Be Fatal, Part One

We all know those things that happen in the real world, that we believe could never happen to us. As a licensed counselor and educator, I am well-versed in how complex it is to detox safely and why you should detox from alcohol in a safe environment. But my professional experience and insight never prepared me for what happened to my younger sister. Though detox death is rare, rare still happens. Most of us simply never think it could happen to us. But it can. And for me, it did. Read More

How Veterans Can Get Addiction Treatment with TRICARE

For anyone who doesn’t have a family member, colleague, or close friend who has served in the military, sometimes the only window into the unique challenges of a soldier’s life is from a big-budget blockbuster like 1917, Saving Private Ryan, or Platoon — or more detailed accounts found on the small screen, such as the miniseries Band of Brothers or The Pacific. The common thread in all these stories? Deployments are stressful and, not surprisingly, they take a serious toll on your body, mind, and the relationships that matter most. As a result, many service members develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, depression, and alcohol misuse, which can follow them into retirement and provide a new set of challenges. Read More