Category Archives: Mental Health

The Addictive Attributes of the Opioid Fentanyl

 

 Opioid Fentanyl pic
Opioid Fentanyl
Image: wired.com

Dr. Carol Lynn Childers is a Chicago-based psychiatrist who focuses on treating patients with serious mental health issues. An addictions medicine specialist, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers serves as consulting psychiatrist at Healthcare Alternative Systems, a 28-day residential substance abuse treatment center that offers bilingual care.

Opioid addiction has emerged as a serious issue in recent years, and the schedule 2 pain medication and anesthesia fentanyl constitutes one of the strongest opiates available. Similar to morphine, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than that drug and typically used in a clinical setting to treat severe pain.

A key danger of fentanyl in recreational settings is that there is an extremely small difference between a deadly and a therapeutic dose. The drug took a prominent place in the opioid crisis due to its use in cutting heroin, often with fatal effect. With symptoms of fentanyl, such as lethargy and euphoria, similar to those of many other opiates, another major risk factor is that users rapidly build a tolerance to high doses.

The path to rehabilitation is complex and requires a combination of proper nutrition and strategies for eliminating toxicity from the body, as well as psychological support from a qualified mental health practitioner.

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Strategies for Controlling Hallucinations

 

Scientists Identify Potential Cocaine Addiction Protein

 

Cocaine Addictionpic
Cocaine Addiction
Image: medicaldaily.com

Dr. Carol Lynn Childers serves as a consulting psychiatrist with Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and Healthcare Alternative Systems (HAS), both of Chicago. Dr. Carol Lynn Childers, board certified in Addiction Medicine, comes to these roles following her work as a hospitalist in psychiatry and addiction medicine at the Methodist Hospital of Chicago, and years in private practice.

In January of 2018, researchers from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City announced the identification of a protein that may cause patients to become addicted to cocaine. The protein, known as granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), affects the brain’s reward centers and is present at increased levels in the brain and blood of individuals with cocaine addictions.

To further investigate the role of G-CSF in the addiction process, scientists injected G-CSF into a reward center in the brains of mouse specimens. Results showed that mice treated with G-CSF took more cocaine but did not appear motivated to increase their intake of sugar water. Additionally, when the researchers injected a G-CSF neutralizing antibody into the same reward center of the mouse brain, the subjects’ desire for cocaine appeared reduced.

The research team notes that these findings may serve as support for the development of addiction treatment programs that specifically target the G-CSF protein. According to senior author Dr. Drew Kiraly, this is particularly important as there is no currently available medication-assisted therapy for the treatment of addiction to cocaine.

Mental Health and the Latino Community

 

National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health pic
National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health
Image: nrchmh.org

Experienced psychiatrist Dr. Carol Lynn Childers serves as a consulting physician to Chicago organizations Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and Healthcare Alternative Systems. Working through the latter organization, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers provides mental health care to the city’s Latino community.

When providing mental health services to diverse populations, a professional must understand cultural variations in attitudes toward treatment, as well as disparities in receiving that treatment. Statistics show that although persons of Latino heritage are no more or less susceptible to mental illness than non-Latinos, only 20 percent express their concerns to a physician. Ten percent or fewer reach out to a mental health professional. In fact, the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health identifies the Hispanic community as possessing a higher-than-average risk of substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

Some members of the Latino community feel that his disparity stems largely from cultural tendencies not to discuss mental health. Instead, members of the community reach out to family, friends, or faith leaders. This often results in a lack of informed input and a subsequent interpretation of mental illness and its symptoms as a temporary emotional or physical state.

Many believe that this misinformation contributes to the stigma associated with mental illness in the Latino community. This stigma may discourage Latinos from seeking treatment, which may seem more culturally irrelevant when one realizes that fewer than 25 percent of mental health professionals come from minority backgrounds.

Many believe that improved representation should be the long-term key to reducing care disparities, though awareness of cultural norms and the struggles of acculturation can help non-Latino providers to provide more relevant care.