Opioid Use in the United States

The use of opioids is widespread and common in many first-world countries and is only globally second to cancer medicines in the rate of usage. Hundreds of millions of pain prescriptions are written each year, for various reasons, and the market for opioids is around $24 billion, an astronomical amount. While you would think that this number would be distributed throughout the world, it’s unfortunately mostly concentrated in the United States. This number works out to around 80 percent of opioids being used in the United States.

Lack of limitations

One of the reasons that the United States leads with the amount of opioids prescribed and used is likely the past lack of limitations on the drug. Previously, people who used opioids for pain relief were easily able to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors or have prescriptions renewed before they should be in an effort to take more medications. Another difference between the United States and other countries in opioid prescription is medical culture.  American doctors were much more willing to prescribe the pills for people suffering from acute and chronic pain. In other countries, opioids are only prescribed in extreme trauma cases, like childbirth, severe burns, and end-of-life care. Studying in Europe it was rather rare to see patients ask or receive the various potent opioids inappropriately.  Conversely, when I started my training nearly ten years ago the culture was to liberally give out opioids at the slightest whimper.  Since U.S. doctors were more willing to prescribe opioids, less serious medical conditions were and sometimes are treated with opioids.  Only now is the pendulum swinging the other way and there have been new regulations limiting opioid prescribing.  

Amount of prescriptions

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), a number of opioids prescribed has quadrupled, with close to 300 million prescriptions written in 2012, “which is enough to provide every American adult with a bottle of opioid pills”. Not every American adult has a bottle of opioids, which is even more concerning because it means that others have lots of different opioids they’re constantly taking. While it may be still fairly easy to acquire a prescription from a doctor, many people also receive their opioids from family members or friends who have their own prescription.

High risk of addiction

Opioids whether legal or illegal can be extremely addicting, which is why it’s so concerning at the rate they’re being used in the United States.  In this document, ASAM breaks down a lot of the numbers associated with opioid use and addiction. People are willing to share pain medication, especially when they receive it for less serious medical conditions and then end up having pills or prescriptions left over that they can give to loved ones suffering from chronic pain, or to sell. Unfortunately, opioids are also a gateway to heroin usage. Many people initially start taking opioids and then work their way up to heroin, because they’ve become addicted to their prescription pills and need to get that high. It’s important to limit, or at least carefully monitor, the amount of opioids being consumed in the United States.

Creative Treatments for Anxiety Patients

To be clear, every now and then everyone experiences anxiety and stress; that is normal. Examples of anxiety are worries or fears we have about facing an examination or an interview with a potential employer. These emotions are normal; however, when anxiety interferes with your sleep or work, then it becomes a problem. To state anxiety more clearly, anxiety happens when a reaction of ours is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.

Besides accepted and well-used ways to treat anxiety, there are other more creative ways that can help such as with Yoga or acupuncture. Yoga works for some because it combines breathing techniques, meditation and stretching; all of which can help you relax and lessen your feelings of anxiety. Acupuncture has long been used to help with depression and other health concerns. Acupuncture also treats anxiety. Many think that acupuncture works by stimulating natural painkilling chemicals in the brain. In addition, it is also helpful in reducing or eliminating anxiety.

There are also nutritional supplements that lessen anxiety such as B-12, Chamomile in tea and the Passionflower supplement. Most importantly, creative arts therapies are an effective way to treat anxiety. Creative arts therapies can be given individually or in a group therapy setting. For example, music therapy for children lets children use musical play to express and regulate emotions, listen to relaxation music to lessen their stress and allow them to communicate their feelings to others.

Another creative way to treat anxiety is with dance/movement therapy. With dance/movement therapy, those suffering from anxiety can develop a deeper awareness of themselves, their emotions and how to manage their body and mind responses to situations that are anxiety provoking. For example, a dance movement therapy session will sometimes bring in role-play often throughout the activities.

Then, there is art therapy. Art therapy works for some because it provides opportunities in self-expression, improved self-regulation and development of coping strategies. Most importantly, art therapy enhances deeper communication into anxiety producing situations by encouraging creativity and then verbally describing how it feels to the therapist.

Other ways to lower anxiety are to exercise, avoid smoking and alcohol, eat a balanced diet, drink more water, get plenty of sleep and massage your muscles.

To conclude, everyone experiences anxiety now and then; however, when it becomes chronic, seek out ways to calm the anxiety, such as those listed above and find relief from anxiety!

References: https://www.cnnh.org/addressing-anxiety-in-creative-arts-therapies/

Understanding Mind Mastery for Complete Mental Health

Today’s society focuses so much on success and material possessions that we often lose sight of our initial goals and aspirations. As a medical professional, I am used to working long hours, rarely taking breaks and pushing myself to extremes.

I’m the first to know the stresses that a busy work life can have on your mental health and overall well-being. This is why I would like to take some time and share with you the importance of re-calibrating your mind and balancing out your life for the better.

What is Mind Mastery?

Mind Mastery is a concept based on tools set in place to help you gain control of your mental state and to achieve personal well-being. This form of elevation stems from our brain and the power that it possesses throughout day-to-day activities. Ferris Jabr of Scientific American talks about the importance of the brain when trying to achieve mind mastery and the importance of slowing down when working in a high paced work environment.

For clarification, mind mastery is not about intelligence or “getting smarter”. It is more about using your brain in a way that brings you peace and tranquility. Those who practice mind mastery learn how to stay both physically and mentally relaxed under pressure while taking on the forces of the world.

An Etymological Map of the Brain

An Etymological Map of the Brain

 

What Can Mind Mastery Do For You?

Whether you are a top executive or serial entrepreneur, mind mastery has many things to offer you. Tania Kotsos author of The Adventure of I talks about the advantages of achieving mind mastery, specifically how to become aware of your “real self”. This idea allows you to re-claim the immeasurable power of your mind, under the direction of your will, which then enables you to say ‘I THINK therefore I AM therefore I WILL’.

In a hectic work environment, this skill is important to obtain because you are the controller of your own thoughts, feelings, and consciousness. We’ve all had moments where we wanted to blow up at work, but the purpose of mind mastery is utilizing the abilities of your mind to get through the day.

By utilizing your mind power at higher degrees of awareness, you wake up from the auto-piloted mode that is behind what appears to be the randomness of your life. In turn, you get to direct your life in ways you’ve never thought was possible.

Philosophy of Yoga

Philosophy of Yoga

Mind Mastery Techniques

Understanding the importance of mind mastery can make or break your success as a business professional. Learning ways to properly align your mind at the end of each work week will relieve stress, promote productivity, and get you back in touch with your passions. Try some of these simple techniques that’ll have you ready to start the work week.

(the following techniques will help you come up with new ideas and charge your mind with natural energy boosters)

  • Frequent meditation
  • Visualizing your goals
  • Yoga
  • 20-minute breaks of physical movement or productive meditation which increase creativity which fosters new ideas
  • Physical Movement
  • Good posture and body language, specifically power posing
  • Going outside for fresh air, and taking deep breaths, specifically 4-8 breathing techniques