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Quit Smoking and Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction to nicotine is a difficult dependence to give up, and many smokers find themselves trying to quit smoking and kick the habit over and over again. Working with a knowledgeable mental health professional who can prescribe medication to not only help you quit, but help you manage withdrawal symptoms may be the only way you can finally succeed and break the hold nicotine has on your life.

Quit Smoking Statistics

If you are a smoker who wants desperately to quit smoking but have been unable to succeed on your own, you are not alone:

  • 70% of smokers want to quit
  • 40% of smokers will try to quit this year
  • 7% of those who try to quit will actually succeed on their first try; 93% will not
  • 50% of those who quit will relapse after drinking alcohol
  • 5% of smokers are able to quit cold turkey

If you are one of the 93% who are unable to quit the first time, second time, or successive times, it is time to seek the professional help you need in order to become an ex-smoker.

  • 90% of those who quit smoking before the age of 30 reduce their rate of death related to smoking
  • 50% of those who quit before the age of 50 reduce their rate of death from smoking

Signs of Severe Smoking Dependence

Smokers who are seriously dependent on nicotine may exhibit one or more of the following signs:

  • Smoking more than 1 pack of cigarettes a day
  • Smoking within 5 minutes of waking up in morning or from a nap
  • Continuing to smoke even when sick
  • Waking up at night to have a smoke
  • Smoking to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal

If you have even a couple of these signs of smoking dependence enlisting the aid of an addiction psychiatrist is thebest plan for success in smoking cessation.

Prescription Medications to Stop Smoking

Your psychiatrist has numerous medications available to prescribe and can provide referrals to support and adjunct services when developing your treatment plan to stop smoking, end nicotine addiction, and reduce any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Chantix (varenicline) – this medication not only lessens the pleasure one gets from smoking by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain; it also reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Chantix helps you lose your craving for smoking and nicotine.
  • Zyban, Wellbutrin or Aplenzin (bupropion) – the medication bupropion is known under three different brand names. It is an extended release anti-depressant that helps reduce cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Nortriptyline – this is an older anti-depressant drug that helps reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonidine – this medication, used to treat high blood pressure has also been shown to help people quit smoking. When used as part of a smoking cessation plan it is often given in pill or skin patch form.
  • Other medications and even anti-smoking vaccines are being tested in Europe and the United States but are not yet FDA approved. Your psychiatrist has access to the most effective medications and strategies for a successful program to quit smoking with the least interference from withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

If you want to successfully quit smoking call Dr. Hege for a convenient evening or weekend appointment and begin a new life as an ex-smoker.

Opioid Addiction: Will You Become Hooked?

In the United States, approximately 2.5 million people are addicted to opioids. Opioid addiction has become a national concern with states already using a tracking system to enable physicians to check which patient is getting narcotics and if they are “doctor shopping” for medications. In addition, over half of the states in the U.S. are now also limiting the number of days an opioid can be prescribed in an attempt to decrease the numbers of those becoming addicted to, and over-dosing from opioids.

Recent Study on Opioid Addiction 

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in March of 2017 provided data regarding measurable clues that indicate what your chances of becoming addicted to opioid are. The clues involve the duration of a narcotic prescription and the type of narcotic prescribed. These two clues combined give a measurable indicator of one’s chance of becoming addicted.

Duration of Narcotic Prescription Clue to Addiction

In the study by the CDC reported in their Weekly Report, the duration of a prescription gave clues on how long a person may end up using a narcotic painkiller. Results show that if an opioid is used for only one day, there is a 6% chance of still using that drug a year later. Using that medication for a period of 31 days increases the chance of developing long term opioid use to 29.9%.

Type of Opioid Prescribed Indicator of Addiction Odds

Use of long-acting or extended release opioids were an indicator of developing issues with long term use. People who received a prescription for extended release narcotics had a 27.3% chance to still be using that painkiller a year later, and a 20.5% chance of using it three years later. Comparatively, those adults who were started on a prescription using a short-acting opioid only had a 8.9% chance of addiction one year later and a 5.3% chance three years later.

Opioid Addiction Psychiatrist

Prescription and illegal opioids are commonly abused because they are so addictive. Recovery is often impossible without a good support system and medications that assist with the withdrawal symptoms.

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment and start the journey back to a full life without the gnawing cravings of opioid addiction.

Withdrawal Drug Antabuse Effective for Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal is a difficult feat to accomplish with the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can torment a person for weeks and weeks. The odds for beating cocaine addiction dramatically increase with proper psychiatric care and cocaine withdrawal medication management. Working with an experienced psychiatrist trained in addiction and recovery can help you reach and maintain recovery from a life controlled by cocaine cravings.

Cocaine Withdrawal Medication Antabuse Effective

Working with a specialist with decades of experience treating patients with primary and secondary substance abuse and addiction issues is paramount to a recovery plan that is successful. One of the medications that may be prescribed to help manage cocaine addiction withdrawal symptoms is:

  • Antabuse / Disulfiram: This medication will help to minimize cocaine cravings and has been shown to improve abstinence and the recovery rates during the first three months of recovery. While Antabuse is generally used in the treatment of alcohol abuse it has shown positive results in the treatment of cocaine addiction as well.

Antabuse Effects on Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine primarily affects the neurotransmitter dopamine which directly affects the reward center of the brain – cocaine dramatically increases the level of dopamine in the brain which in turn causes feelings of euphoria that is commonly associated with the drug. In addition to increasing dopamine levels, cocaine increases norepinephrine which makes one feel they are full of energy. Euphoria combined with high energy makes cocaine addiction doubly difficult to recover from.

Use of Antabuse / Disulfiram blocks a specific form of dopamine which is an essential component in the body’s production of norepinephrine; Antabuse has a dual effect on the effects of cocaine use attacking the two main effects it has one the brain and body. Use of Antabuse makes using cocaine an unpleasant experience. While research data is bringing better understanding to the use of Antabuse with cocaine withdrawal, use of this medication is proving to be an effective part of a cocaine recovery treatment plan.

Cocaine Withdrawal Treatment Locally

Dr. Hege, a specialist in addiction and recovery, is a psychiatrist with over 25 years of successful treatment experience. The time has come to start on the road to your recovery. Call the office for a confidential appointment and comprehensive evaluation.

Myth and Misconception Behind Psychiatric Sessions

Many people who have never seen a psychiatrist or mental health professional often have misguided perceptions or believe a myth about what to expect. If your idea of what goes on in a psychiatrist’s office comes from what you have seen on soap operas or in the movies you may have a set of expectations that could actually limit the ability of the therapist to do their best for you.

Pre-Appointment Mind Set

While it is important to make that appointment for help with any emotional, psychological or behavioral issues you or a loved one may be having, it is equally important to have an accurate idea of what to expect during your psychiatric session times. Having accurate perceptions in place will allow you to get the most out of each session and facilitate an active one-on-one working relationship where your therapist can develop and implement a successful individualized plan of treatment.

Common Myths about Therapy

Understanding what reality versus a myth is can let you take full benefit from your mental health services. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  • “Therapy is supposed to make me happy.” While you may feel that you are happier with life and more comfortable overall, the intent of therapy is to assist you in becoming fully functional and connected with family, friends, work situations, school.
  • “I want to be cured in one session.” The entire process of therapy takes time with no quick fixes. Each person is unique with their own needs, perceptions, and motivation for change. The therapist needs to develop an individualized plan, making changes as progress evolves. Many people have more than one issue or concern which may require a higher level of coordination of services, or use of more than one type of medication.
  • “I want to be told what I need to do.” Many people go into a therapy session expecting to be told what to do to change their life or solve their problems. While a mental health professional will explore options, outcomes, or may refer for adjunct or group services, a therapist will guide rather than tell you what you need to do.
  • “Talking to friends and family is just as good as seeing a psychiatrist.” Having a good support base is important when you are going through a rough time, but mental health professionals have the training and experience to understand and treat basic to complex problems. A therapeutic relationship is also confidential, where you can feel free to discuss things you have never been able to talk about before.
  • “Only people that are crazy go see a psychiatrist.” Life is often stressful and full of challenging events and changes. In today’s world, getting help for psychological or behavioral issues is seen as part of keeping oneself healthy in both mind and body.
  • “If I try harder I should be able to get better on my own.” Sometimes people struggle for months and years before seeing psychological help. A medical, biological or behavioral component to some disorders require more than just trying harder to get better.

Having the courage to know you need professional assistance and seek out a psychiatrist to help you lead a full functional life is a sign of strength. Take the first step toward feeling better and making a positive change in your life – call the office for an appointment.

Stop Smoking: Anxiety, Craving Areas of Brain Activated

The American Cancer Society reports that 20%, or over 40 million American adults currently smoke. With public education efforts it is well known that smoking has a multitude of damaging effects on the body including heart disease, stroke, oral cancer, colon cancer, or emphysema. In addition 90% of lung cancers can be linked to smoking. The difficulty with quitting is that smoking is both a physical and mental process; the addictive qualities of nicotine compare to heroin addiction.

Quitting Without Medication

Research data show that only 4 to 6 percent of adults who try to quit by themselves succeed. Use of nicotine replacement therapy, support groups or quit-smoking aids brings the success rate up to 16 to 24 percent. That number increases to between 25 and 33 percent when medications like Zyban or Chantix are added into a medically monitored treatment plan. Being able to quit smoking is a difficult task best tackled with a physician or psychiatrist who understands the addiction and the medications that work.

The Addiction of Nicotine

Two recent prominent studies have reported results that pinpoint specific regions of the brain that make it difficult for some people to be successful at quitting smoking. The one region, interpeduncular nucleus, is packed with nicotine receptors, with this area triggering anxiety responses during nicotine withdrawal. The other region of the brain, the insula, a large region that is viewed as the seat of addictive urges and cravings.  The insula becomes active when a smoker not only craves a cigarette, but when they are just thinking about smoking — a double-edged sword of anxiety and cravings to face when trying to quit smoking.

Quit Smoking with Nicotine Withdrawal Doctor

Call Dr. Darvin Hege to break the physical and psychological addiction that nicotine has on you. He may prescribe medications, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological support adjunct groups or other individualized treatment options to help you succeed and break the nicotine habit. Call the office today.

Opioid Addiction: Power Beyond Death

Opioid addiction has a powerful pull on those who use them, whether legally through prescription drug use or through illegal drugs such as heroin. Once addicted to opioids, a person typically requires professional intervention with medications such as Suboxone, as well as family and community support systems to beat the addiction. While the general public may not understand the intense addictive qualities of opioids, new research documentation may lead to greater awareness of the growing problem of opioid addiction in our society.

Addictive Cravings Detectable After Death

The Medical University of Vienna, Department of Forensic Medicine, published results in December 2016 that demonstrated addictive craving for opioid stimulation continues to exist up to nine days after a person has died. A protein in the brain’s reward center is altered with opioid use, making it more stable and able to react to an opioid stimulus in a type of memory function – this addictive craving can still be detected after death, indicating not only the power opioid addiction has, but the difficulty an addict has in trying to withdrawal from and quit opioids.

Post-Mortem Dependence Memory

The Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy reports on a study showing that the effects of chronic opioid stimulus can be identified post-mortem. The brain protein FosB that has been altered by opioid use, turns into DeltaFosB which becomes increasingly stimulated with chronic use and opioid addiction. DeltaFosB is found in the region where memory is formed which may make addiction and withdrawal all the more harder to achieve. DeltaFosB shows stimulation continues to exist nine days after the person has died – researchers believe that in living addicts the effect may last for months, making professional help all the more critical.

Psychiatric Opioid Addiction Treatment

When addictive cravings persist in the brain for months during and following withdrawal it is imperative to seek psychiatric opioid addiction treatment options. Call the office for a confidential appointment and expert care.

Opioid Abuse of Those 26 to 34 Has Doubled

Research published this September in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors shows that young adults, those 26 to 34 years old, are twice as likely to have prescription opioid abuse and opioid disorder as that same age group from one decade ago. In addition to young adults, data show that emerging adults, those 18 to 25 years of age, have shown an even larger alarming increase in use of the prescription opioids for non-medical purposes.

Opioid Abuse Wide-Reaching

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has released data that also highlight the increasing trend of opioid abuse. The data show alarming and wide-reaching numbers for both the young adults and emerging adult groups. During the past decade, young adults have doubled their odds from 11% to 24%; emerging adults show a 37% increase in developing prescription opioid use disorder.

Opioid Abuse Leading To Heroin Use

The problem of opioid abuse and addiction often does not end there. Research has shown a 4x to 9x increase in movement on to heroin use for both young adults and emerging adults who have been using opioids without an appropriate prescription. Data show that over the past decade that heroin use post opioid use has risen from 2% to 7% for 18 to 25-year-olds, and from 2% to 12% for 26-to 34-year-olds.

Urgent Psychiatric Intervention Needed

With concrete data showing the alarming increases of prescription opioid use disorders as well as increased odds of moving on to heroin use, it is a critical time for public education, changes in the attitude of the medical community, and in development of new health policies. Opioid addiction is treatable – qualified medical professionals are waiting to develop a treatment plan.

Opioid Abuse Treatment

Dr. Hege has decades of experience in successfully treating opioid abuse and addiction. Give his office a call for a confidential appointment and begin to break the bonds addiction has over you.

 

Mental Health: Do You Have a Common Disorder?

There are many different mental health disorders and conditions that can be diagnosed and successfully treated by qualified mental health professionals. It may be found during a comprehensive evaluation that a person may have a primary disorder or illness with other psychiatric disorders present that require treatment as well.

Qualified Mental Health Evaluation Critical

Diagnosis of multiple mental illness in a person is not uncommon. In addition some mental illness disorders have components of others in them. Some examples: someone with PTSD who also presents with a depression component or a person who may be diagnosed with depression but who also has suicidal tendencies. Working with an experienced psychiatrist provides you with the skills needed to determine your individual issues and needs.

Common Mental Illness Diagnoses

The more common types of mental illness or mental disorders follow.

  • Anxiety Disorders: An anxiety disorder is typically diagnosed when a person’s response is not appropriate to the event or situation — if a person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety is interfering with normal daily life. Anxiety disorders usually come with feelings of fear and dread, physical signs of panic such as sweating and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders do include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and other specific phobias.
  • Mood Disorders: These disorders involve chronic long lasting feelings of sadness, periods of feeling overly happy, or feelings that fluctuate from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. This category includes the most common mood disorders of bipolar disorder, depression and cyclothymic disorder (low and high mood swings not as severe as those seen in bipolar disorder). 
  • Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders: With a diagnosis or diagnoses of this type of mental illness comes the inability to resist urges or impulses as well as performing acts that may to harmful to themselves or others. Some examples of impulse control and addiction disorders are compulsive gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, pyromania or kleptomania. It is not uncommon for the person to become so involved with their addiction that they start to ignore their work, home and social responsibilities and relationships.
  • Personality Disorders: Those people with personality disorders generally have extreme and inflexible personality traits that cause distress and problems not only to the person with this mental health illness, but also cause disruption at work, school or in social relationships. With personality disorders the pattern of thinking and behavior are often so rigid that they interfere with normal daily living skills. Some examples of this disorder are antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This mental illness usually develops after a traumatic or terrifying event. People who are diagnosed with PTSD typically have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and often find themselves emotionally numb.

Expert Mental Illness Help Available

If you see yourself in one or more of the multiple descriptions above and are having difficulty with daily life functioning it may be time to take a proactive step; call for an appointment with a qualified mental health psychiatrist for evaluation.

10 Behaviors that Indicate a Mental Health Problem

People with quirky or eccentric personalities may be more interesting or fun to be around, but when their behaviors become too extreme or negatively impact their lives, there may be something else at play, including the possibility of a mental health disorder. In the U.S., about one in five adults, or almost 44 million people exhibit the occurrence of a mental illness every year.

Signs and Behaviors of Mental Health Issues

You may feel that you are unique and different, or even having a personality that is often misunderstood – when do those thoughts change over to questioning if you need to see a psychiatrist? There are certain behaviors and signs that do signal a need to see a mental health practitioner – if you recognize any of the following in yourself it does not mean you are disturbed or crazy, but rather that your life may be able to benefit from an aspect of mental health guidance and treatment.

  • Difficulty coping with life on a day to day basis, having irrational fears
  • Intense anxiety where every worry is “super-sized” and worst case scenario is expected
  • Feeling overcome with sadness, or feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis that affects your ability to function
  • Unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a rundown immune system
  • Using a substance to cope with daily life; use of alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or other illicit activities to numb emotional pain
  • Have impulsive or obvious mood swings
  • Cannot shake the impact of recent or past traumatic events
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting one self
  • Serious anger issues, significant irritability, hostility, rage and frequent outbursts of anger
  • Distorted body image along with a highly troubled relationship with food and eating

Help is a Phone Call Away

While the list above does not cover all the mental health issues or concerns a person may have, it does highlight some of the most common behaviors and signs that a comprehensive evaluation by a skilled psychiatrist may provide a diagnosis for. Mental health disorders are treatable. Call for an appointment.

E-Cigarettes Bring New Nicotine Addiction

For more than 1 billion people around the world, nicotine has now become available, through the advances of technology, to provide “clean” access for one’s nicotine craving and addiction.  The “clean” image of e-cigarettes is that you can smoke, exhale only water vapor, avoid the tar and thousands of chemicals found in regular tobacco smoke while satisfying your nicotine cravings.

Vaping vs. Smoking

With tobacco killing about 6 million people a year, e-cigarettes, introduced in 2006, have provided a new alternative that provides the “fix” without the adverse health effects. Over the past 10 years this industry has grown to $2.7 billion dollars in revenue worldwide. With “e” or electronic cigarettes, the nicotine, added flavors and other chemicals are delivered through vapor instead of smoke, thus the term “vaping.” With e-cigarettes delivering nicotine without burning tobacco they appear to be a cleaner, safer, less toxic alternative to conventional cigarettes. Not necessarily.

Dangers in E-Cigarette Vapors

E-cigarettes do not produce any smoke, yet the vapor released still contains nicotine, known carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The vapor also contains toxic metal nano-particles from the vaporizing mechanism which pose their own health consequences over repeated exposure. Nicotine is highly addictive and recent research points to nicotine exposure as priming the brain to become addicted to other substances – the e-cigarette nicotine cartridges are refillable and could easily be filled with other substances to serve as a new and potentially dangerous method to deliver other drugs.

Type and Level of Nicotine in E-Cigs Pose Risk

In a multi-country research study it was found that there are three types of nicotine used in e-cigarettes. In testing, it was found that all brands of e-liquid were of the strongest form, free base nicotine that the body easily absorbs. Overdosing with nicotine whether through vaping high levels or through skin contact in refilling e-cigarette cartridges is a reality. In addition the study found that the level of nicotine contained in the e-liquids often did not match the label, leaving users risking health and life.

Break the Nicotine Habit Once and For All

Whether you switched to e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking or are still smoking conventional cigarettes and want to break the habit, today is always a great time to make the decision to stop smoking. Dr. Hege, an esteemed local psychiatrist is ready to work with you from the first step to the final step to free yourself from nicotine addiction. Call the office today.