Category Archives: Mental Health

The Importance of Secure Social Connections in Overcoming Addiction

 

Overcoming Addiction pic
Overcoming Addiction
Image: psychologytoday.com

Serving patients throughout Greater Chicago, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers works with Healthcare Alternative Systems in providing support to underserved patients living with issues such as substance abuse and chronic mental illness. Among her areas of expertise, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers has extensive experience in addictions medicine.

One important facet of leading a balanced, addiction-free life involves interacting with others socially in ways that are meaningful, supportive, and positive. Increasingly, experts point to the idea that addiction centers not on the pleasure derived from substances, but on an inability to connect with other people in meaningful ways.

Much of this has to do with the levels of connection and trust experienced by individuals in childhood. Those who lack secure and safe early-life attachments often have major issues as adults and are susceptible to addiction, as they find the social aspects of life challenging and struggle with loneliness.

Fortunately, insecure attachment styles can be recognized and changed with conscious effort. When individuals fighting addiction are connected with people who are reliable, empathetic, and supportive, they can begin to feel secure in their social interactions. Often, this support comes from others who are themselves in recovery programs.

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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.

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.