Breaking Addiction – A 7 Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction by Lance Dodes, MD

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According to Dr. Lance Dodes, our current treatment model for addiction is ineffective.  In many cases, people are sent to programs that deal with addiction only and then sent to a different program to treat their mental health issues.  This fragmented treatment plan ignores the fact that addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Addiction persists, because it serves a purpose.  The addictive behavior is often intended to reverse a profound feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.  Addressing those feelings is key to treating addiction.

The drive behind addiction tends to be rage and feelings of being trapped.  This rage compounds the feelings of helplessness, so addiction becomes a displaced action.  Addiction is a symptom of deeper psychological problems.

The book lists seven steps for overcoming addiction.

Step 1 – Understand addiction as behavior driven by psychological/emotional distress

Step 2 – Addictions are compulsive behaviors and need to be treated through therapy which allows the person to gain a better understanding of themselves.

Step 3 – Recognize key moments in the addiction processes.  The thoughts and feelings that drive addictive behavior are clues to the cause and treatment options for the addictive behavior.

Step 4 – Recognize your defenses that hide the root cause of your addiction.  Look for the feelings and thoughts that are driving you.

Step 5 – Understand what is happening at the key moment, what’s the trigger.  What are the corresponding feelings that make you feel helpless or powerless?

Step 6 – Develop short-term strategies to deal with triggers and emotional distress.  Ask yourself why you are thinking about your addiction and look for alternative behaviors.  Restore feelings of power by finding a practical way out of the trap.  If you can’t change your circumstances, focus on the feelings and learn to deal with those feelings.

Step 7 – Eliminate or reduce feelings of powerlessness and helplessness by being an expert on yourself.  Also, learn to identify high risk situations.  Knowing the risks in advance allows you to prepare for it.

Treating Poison Ivy

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I was walking through thick brush and not paying attention to the foliage around me, until my legs became insnared by a thorn bush.  I looked down and noticed I was surrounded by poison ivy.

My legs had multiple welts and were extremely itchy.  A friend recommended washing my legs in rubbing alcohol, because it will dry up the welts and remove all the poison from my skin.

I was skeptical, but willing to give it a try.  To my amazement the rubbing alcohol did a fantastic job.  I can still see a few spots on my legs, but they do not itch at all.

If you ever end up with poison ivy, try rubbing alcohol.  It works wonders.

Ben – We Can’t Wait to See You Again

A few months ago, Ben was playing and hurt his knee.  I took him to the doctor several times.  They examined his leg and took numerous x-rays.

It looks like Ben damaged a ligament.  Luckily, it doesn’t appear to be completely torn.  The doctor also found evidence of a bone spur.

Ben was prescribed two rounds of anti-inflammatory medication and pain medications.  We tried various other treatments, but nothing worked.  Ben is still limping and in obvious pain.

The doctor recommended putting Ben on strict bed rest for 6 to 8 weeks.  If that doesn’t work, our only option will be surgery to fix his knee.

Enforcing strict bed rest at home is an imposable task, especially with four other dogs in the house.  We decided the best thing for Ben was to let him stay at the veterinarian’s office.

I packed a duffle bag for Ben, so he could have his own bed, blanket, and his favorite dog food.  It was sad to leave him, knowing he might not be coming home for two months.  I felt like crying, but managed to hold back the tears.

This is going to be hard for Ben, his doggy brothers, and his family.  However, it is the best thing for Ben.  I look forward to the day when Ben comes home.  I hope to watch him run and play with his brothers, without limping in pain.

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We love you Baby Ben and we can’t wait to see you again.

Rabid – A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

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This book is unique, because it takes an in-depth look at rabies and how the virus influenced human history and our culture.

There is a historical section that describes treatments used in the middle ages.  The infected person would have the wound cauterized and blood would be drained from their bodies.  Various herbs and spices were also used in an attempt to purify the body.

Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine that could save victims if administered before they showed signs of the disease.  However, some physicians of that time did not believe in germ theory and felt the vaccine was dangerous or would be ineffective.

There is another section that explains how the virus is transmitted and how it kills the victim.  It also talks about the viruses ability to spread quickly within a geographical region and which animals are most likely to be carriers of the virus.

The final section of the book discusses how rabies has influence our culture.  Victims of the rabies virus displayed shocking symptoms, which influenced the folklore and helped develop stories about werewolves, vampires, and zombies.

Rabies also played a role in popular literature and in movies, for example:  Cugo, The Rage, and Old Yellower.

I enjoyed the book, because it was informative and I learned a great deal about the rabies virus.  I was also impressed by how much this virus influenced culture, literature, folklore, and movies.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Today is Restless Legs Syndrome Awareness Day.  I know Restless Legs Syndrome sounds like some crazy made up disorder, but it is real.

My mother has dealt with Restless Legs Syndrome for over a decade and it does cause a great deal of pain and suffering.

I created this info-graph to explain the disorder and the treatment options.

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