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Amazing Health Benefits of Mangos Explored


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Mango is an amazing fruit that is packed with many essential vitamins and minerals. The fruit belongs to the drupe family—a type of fruit in which the shell surrounds the fleshy part with seeds inside. It is the most widely consumed fruit all over the world and one that you should simply not avoid.

This fruit is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C. It also contains a healthy amount of probiotic fiber, copper, potassium, and magnesium. A cup of mangos contain only about 105 calories making it a perfect fruit for maintaining a healthy weight.  

You should consider adding mango in your daily diet. Consuming the fruit has been linked to reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Here we will explore the various health benefits of including the fruit in your diet.  

1. Improve Immune System

Mango can fulfill about 76 percent of vitamin C and 25 percent of vitamin A requirements. Plus the fruit contains carotenoids. These minerals and vitamins help in keeping the immune system strong and healthy.  

2. Prevent Cancer

Studies have highlighted that mangoes can reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant compounds present in mango has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate, breast, and colon cancer. The fruit is abundant in enzymes and compounds that help in fighting cancer.  

3. Cleanses Skin

Mangos can also help clear clogged pores. This will prevent pimples to appear on the face. You can obtain the benefits both when you eat the fruit and also when you apply mango paste on the face.

4. Decrease Cholesterol Levels  

The presence of vitamin C, pectin, and fiber in mango help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. The enzymes and compounds are particularly helpful in reducing Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels in the body. This results in improved cardiovascular health.  

5. Boost Eye Health

Mangos contain ample amount of vitamin A. This vitamin helps maintain good eyesight. It prevents dry eyes and night blindness. Consuming only a cup of sliced mangoes a day will have beneficial effects on your eyes.  

6. Promotes Digestion

Mangos contain enzymes that help in synthesis of food. They break down protein and other vital elements in the food items. Eating a mango a day can improve your metabolism providing important nutrients from food to the body.

7. Prevents Heat Stroke

Consuming mangos is particularly recommended during hot summer months. Drinking mango juice helps in cooling down the body. Additionally, the fruit is said to help remove harmful toxins from the body that prevents overheating.  

In conclusion, mangos can serve as a great addition to fruit salads. It will provide you with a number of essential vitamins and enzymes that promotes body health. They contain an impressive amount of vitamin A, C and flavonoids including beta-cryptoxanthin, alphacarotene and betacarotene.

Consuming a mango a day can reduce the likelihood of a number of deadly diseases including cancers and cardiovascular problems. Just avoid eating excessive amounts of the fruit as it contains fructose that can be harmful to the body in large amounts.  

Can You Replace Healthy Food with Supplements


Can Vitamins replace food for good health?
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Most  Americans have a busy schedule and don’t have time to eat a well-balanced diet. In scenarios like this, popping a multivitamin can seem to be an easy way out to meet the nutrition requirements.  

Statistics show that around 68 percent of US adults take dietary supplements. What’s more, around 84 percent of the consumers show confidence in the effectiveness and safety of the supplements. Vitamin supplements seem to be the perfect solution to get the required nutrients and continue with the daily routine or are they?

However, the fact is that supplements can never compare to wholesome food.

According to a spokesperson for American Dietetic Association, D. Milton Stokes, a supplement cannot provide all the benefits of consuming food items. They simply are not food substitutes.  

Dangers of Relying on Supplements

Supplements can’t replace whole food. You should not replace meals by taking vitamin supplements. While supplements can be taken to meet vitamin deficiency, they should not be considered an alternative to whole food.  

Furthermore, contrary to what some people believe, supplements are not 100 percent natural. Side effects can occur if you try to meet the daily vitamins and minerals requirement by taking the pills. They are particularly harmful to children who can experience dangerous side effects.  

In order to fulfill the vitamin and nutrition requirements, it is important that you implement a well-balanced diet plan. Consider following these five simple tips to stay healthy:

  1. Include lots of vegetables and fruits in the diet.
  2. Consume rice, bread, and other food items high in starch. Prefer bread made of whole grain flour instead of white bread.
  3. Avoid or limit intake of refined starch foods. Also, limit intake of food items high in sugar and fat.
  4. Eat dairy food items such as yogurt and milk.
  5. Include fish, beans, and eggs, in your daily diet.

Vitamin supplements should be treated as nothing more than supplements. They should complement your diet instead of replacing wholesome food items. For instance, vitamin D supplement should be taken by all breastfeeding and pregnant women, senior individuals, and children. Also, taking folic acid supplement is recommended for pregnant women in order to prevent issues with the neural tube.  

Conclusion

You should adopt healthy eating habits to remain in good mental and physical shape. The diet should include healthy whole food items. A healthy diet and exercise are essential for a healthy body and mind. You should always cut down on salt, sugar and saturated fat. In addition, drinking about 8 glasses a day is essential. Other than that, you should take vitamins and minerals supplement only to meet the deficiency that is not fulfilled with the daily diet. Relying on the supplements alone is not a wise choice.  

Daily Walking Can Lift Your Mood


Woman Walking
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The simple exercise of putting one foot in front of the other can have a miraculous effect on the mood.  According to researchers at the Iowa State University, the activity of walking in itself, regardless of where or how much you walk, can have a tremendous impact on the mood. Here are some interesting facts about walking and how it helps in boosting your mood and mental well-being.

1. Walking Helps Reduce stress

A study that was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) had found that walking outdoors can help reduce stress. The researchers had measured stress levels before and after walking. The study findings suggest that people who walk daily are better able to handle stress and frustrations in life.

2. Calms the Mind

The brain is basically a muscle. Similar to other body parts, it gets fatigued in case of heavy mental work. A study conducted by researchers in Scotland found that a leisurely walk can relax the brain. The researchers had used devices strapped on the heads of participants to measure their brain activity levels.  The findings of the study show that mental fatigue results in irritation and frustration. When the individuals take a walk, their brain becomes calm and meditative.   

3. Promotes Creative Thoughts

Nietzsche had once told that all great thoughts are conceived by walking. Also, Henry Thoreau had once remarked that the moment that his legs begin to move, his thoughts also begin to flow. Walking has been shown to boost the ability to concentrate, shift between thoughts, recover from mental fatigue, and improve memory. All of this results in a person thinking more creatively. Due to a calm mind, a person is able to make the connection and conceive new ideas.  

4. Boosts Happy Hormones

Studies have also shown that any exercise including walking can result in the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. It also blocks the release of stressful hormones in the body. Walking will uplift your mood and make you feel happy, excited, and less irritable.  

5. Walking Can Treat Depression

Daily walking can also cure depression. A study conducted by the researchers at the University of Stirling had found that a brisk walk was found to be an effective intervention against depression. The findings show that walking had similar effects as compared to more vigorous forms of exercise.  

Walking is great for your heart and body. Consider walking a mile a day. You should start by walking for 20 minutes every day and then gradually increase the time span. In a matter of days, you will begin feeling a new you who is more contented, happy, and less concerned with the problems in life.  

The Dangerous Health Effects of Physical Inactivity

Our bodies have been engineered to perform at their peak when physically active. Lack of physical activity has been shown by studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular and many other diseases. A study of healthy and young adults by researchers at the University of Liverpool had found that as little as two weeks of being physically inactive can result in increased risk of chronic diseases.

Being physically inactive can reduce the years in your life. Here are some of the dangerous effects of not being physically active.

1. Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Being physically inactive for just a few days can increase the risk of heart complications. The blood cholesterol level will increase when a person is physically inactive. This will result in inefficient blood flow leading to a possible heart attack or other heart ailment.  

2. Increased Risk of Hypertension

Another dangerous health effect of inactivity is hypertension. People who tend to spend most of their time on the couch watching TV can suffer from hypertension, which refers to high blood pressure and mental and physical strain. This medical condition can damage the arterial wall. This can result in increased chances of a stroke. Also, hypertension can cause damage to kidney, resulting in kidney diseases.  

3. Bone Diseases are Likely to Occur

When it comes to bones in the body, the appropriate term is ‘use it or lose it’. The bones of persons who don’t engage in physical activities become weak. This can increase the risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. The bones will fracture easily causing a lot of physical and financial pain. Senior individuals are more likely to develop bone diseases due to remaining physically inactive.

4. Increased Risk of Cancer

Lack of physical activity can contribute to increased risk of developing breast and colon cancer.  Inactivity directly affects the bowel movement. As a result, the food moves slowly through the digestive system. This results in the waste from digested food spending more time in the colon. As a result, the colon might be exposed to possible cancer-causing chemicals.  

Also, physically inactive women can develop breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute has stated that hormone levels in women who don’t exercise are lower. This contributes to increased risk of developing tumors in the breast.   

5. Higher Risk of Gallstones

Gallstones develop due to hard deposits of bile in the gallbladder. The condition can result in nausea, fever, and abdominal pain. The waste takes more time to go through the intestines due to being physically inactive. This in addition to higher level of triglycerides can increase the likelihood of developing gallstones.   

Physical inactivity has many other dangerous health effects apart from those listed above. It’s important that you engage in moderate exercise every day. Also, avoid prolonged periods of sedentary actions. Simply by walking half an hour every day can have beneficial effects on the body.

How a Pregnant Mother’s Diet Affects the Baby’s Health

What a mother eats during pregnancy directly affects the child’s immune system. According to the findings of scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) the diet of the mother during of pregnancy can permanently change the gene function of the child. The mother’s’ nutrition can affect the child’s cancer risks and immunity against other diseases.

Various other studies have proved that the food that the mother eats during the nine months of pregnancy will impact the baby’s health. This raises the question: what should expectant mothers eat during pregnancy?

Here are five nutrition tips that can have a beneficial effect on the child’s health.

1. Get Adequate Amount of Folic Acid

Studies have shown that getting enough amount of folic acid during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of premature delivery. Also, an adequate amount of folic acid, particularly during the first few months of the gestation period, will decrease the risk of neural-tube defects by up to 70 percents. You should consider eating about 600 mg of folic acid daily when the pregnancy is confirmed. After delivery, the amount of folic acid should be reduced to 400 mg.  

2. Eat Seafood

Seafood contains ample amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Eating seafood can have an extremely beneficial effect on the health of the child. DHA is omega-3 fatty acid that can boost mental development of the child. It can also lead to improved memory, vision, motor skills, and comprehension of the language during early childhood.  Consider eating about 12 ounces of seafood in a week. If this is not possible, you should consider taking DHA supplement after consulting with your general physician.  

3. Avoid Intake of Alcohol

Alcohol is poison for a pregnant mother and her baby. Consuming the drink during pregnancy can negatively affect the baby’s health. No amount is safe for the pregnant mother. Consuming even small amount of alcohol during the pregnancy can result in causing cognitive dysfunctions, such as learning problems, behavior problem, attention deficit disorder, aggressive behavior, and hyperactivity in children.

4. Adequate Intake of Iron

Iron is essential for every woman. The mineral is particularly important for pregnant women as it plays a crucial role in healthy blood and transport of oxygen throughout the body. The baby will benefit from the extra amount of iron in the blood. You should intake about 30 mg of iron every day during pregnancy. After conception, the daily dose should be reduced to 15 mg.

5. Avoid Eating Unpasteurized Milk and Cheese

Unpasteurized milk and cheese harbor bacteria. The food items can contain Salmonella, Listeria, and E.Coli . Consuming them during pregnancy can result in premature delivery or miscarriage. So, in order to be on the safe side, you should avoid eating this food item during pregnancy. Other food items that you should avoid eating include poultry, undercooked meat, and eggs. Also, dump leftover food that is left on the table for more than two hours.   

The above food items when consumed during pregnancy can have a beneficial effect on the child. An important thing to keep in mind is that you should not eat too much. Some women ‘eat for two’ and gain a lot of weight. However, overeating won’t help in ensuring a healthy child delivery. Instead, it could increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and delivery of a premature baby. So keep the above five tips in mind and eat healthy!  

 

How AI Can Help in Improving Senior Health Care


Artificial Intelligence Technology
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The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health care brings about visions of robots diagnosing and treating patients. While advancements are being made in the field of robotics, and development of intelligent robots for elderly care is in the works, this technology is not affordable or practical at the current time.

Far from a glamorous vision of a robot taking care of a patient, AI today involves a lot of nerdy and geeky coding that can help analyze data and recommend treatment options. According to Joseph Ferro – CTO of a health care tech company Mavens, AI has the potential to help senior individuals that live alone to better take care of themselves, and live longer.

AI Technologies Promoting Better Senior Health Care

The number of senior individuals is projected to double from nearly 50 million today to about 100 million in the next five decades. While the population of elderly individuals is increasing, the amount of senior health care centers remains stagnant. This is where AI can help as it can ensure that seniors who live home alone are able to look after themselves without the need for a third (human) party.  

Artificial intelligence algorithms can be used to help people make the necessary changes required to reduce the risk and treat obesity, diabetes and hypertension, to mention a few. It can ‘coach’ the individual to adopt healthy habits that reduce the risk of developing diseases, or lower the severity of the symptoms of existing diseases.

What’s more, smart sensors controlled by AI algorithms can monitor vital health statistics. In case any aberration is detected in the person’s vital signs, the system can be programmed to automatically call the nearest health care professional.

Experts say that AI can perform manual tasks that are carried on by health care nurses. It can analyze the patient data and take appropriate actions. The companies that develop AI algorithms capture inputs of various health care experts. This results in a holistic health care treatment at an affordable cost of the individual.  

The traditional health care costs amount to thousands of dollars for the individuals. Also, many senior individuals have to travel to clinics or the doctor’s office for getting treatment which can be a great inconvenience to them, but new technologies are making it easier to communicate with their medical professional and with an AI program, seniors will be provided the required health care in their own home and also at a fraction of a cost. The cost savings of the AI will greatly help in reducing the overall costs of senior health care services.  

Bottom Line

When it comes to radical health care, AI is certainly an important technology. It has the potential to greatly reduce senior health care costs and make elderly care more convenient.  

In the near future, great advancements are expected in the real of artificial intelligence and a lot of it is related to elder care. Whether it’s keeping senior individuals healthy through preventive care, mobile communication or informing medical personnel about emergencies, the impact of AI technology will be far reaching.    

Genomics and the Future of Health Care

Medical Technology
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Genomics is an emerging field of genetics that deals with analysis and sequencing of the individual’s’ genome. A genome contains the entire genetic coding in the form of DNA. Professionals in genomics perform genetic mapping to find out the complete DNA sequences and better understand the diseases.

The genomic information can help in providing improved clinical care. Better understanding of the disease through genetic mapping can also lead to improved health outcomes and therapeutic decision making capabilities.  

While genomics is a relatively new field to the public, innovations in the field had started to make waves  over two decades ago when scientists developed and improved genetic sequencing techniques. The human genome project was first started in 1990 with the aim of mapping all the genes (about 25,000) in a human genome.

Genomics: Today and Beyond

Today, the field of genomics has advanced to a great degree. Complete genomes of a number of deadly diseases including cancer have been sequenced. The genomic data can help in finding improved treatment of the different diseases including malignant tumor, lung cancer and influenza.

Access to Personalized Genomics

Today, anyone that wants to gain better understanding to one’s health can gain access to the personal genomic data. The cost of personalized genomics is affordable that is likely to fall in the future due to development of more advanced sequencing technologies such as the Whole genome sequencing (WGS).  

Recently, a company named Veritas has launched the My Genome project that allows individuals to sequence the entire genome for just $999. Access to the personal genome can pave way for more improved personalized health care. It will help in the treatment of diseases that are not treated using conventional drugs.

Advanced Genomic AI Algorithms

Data provided by genomics is nothing unless they are used for deep learning of the diseases. A number of new companies are pushing the boundaries with AI genomic technologies such as iCarbon X and Deep Genomics. These programs make use of complex AI coding for better knowledge of the human genetic sequence. While it may take some time for this type of analysis to become mainstream in clinical research, the fusion of AI and genomics provide great opportunities for breakthrough medical advancements.

Cloud Based Genome Sequencing Service

Advancements are also being made in cloud based genome sequencing technology that can help research firms located in different parts of the world collaborate in bioinformatic genomics. Some of the companies that are developing cloud genomic application based on software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform include Intel, Cloudera, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.  

Using the knowledge of a person’s genome to diagnose and treat health problems is a revolutionary medical practice that is making waves in the field. The breakthroughs in the field will continue to open up a large number of opportunities for treatment of untreatable diseases.  A tidal wave of genomic testing and sequencing information will continue to both answer questions about medical conditions, and raise new ones.  

Contributing to the Jewish Pride at Port Washington

Every man for himself. That is the mantra of the fast-paced American life. However, for some Jewish people, finding a relatable community and living as a part of a group is probably ingrained in our DNA. 

When the Chabad of Port Washington opened its doors to the local community, there was much enthusiasm. The two-acre campus has quickly become home away from home for many of the Port Washington inhabitants. It is open to everyone, but its primary focus is learning about Jewish identity and culture. The Chabad of Port Washington is a buzzing center with a huge variety of activities and programs for attendees of all ages.

Happiness: A Work In Progress

With the motto “Everything Jewish for Every Jew”, the Chabad is ambitiously expanding the current campus by 13,000 sq. ft. And to achieve their goals, they need all the help they can get.

The founders, board of directors, trustees and staff of the Chabad are actively involved in creating a beautiful, fun, family-friendly environment that invites everyone in wholeheartedly.

To help achieve the Chabad’s aims, Howard Fensterman, a member of its Board of Directors, carries out significant philanthropic and fundraising activities. He has managed to contribute considerably to the goals of Chabad, in financial and other more intrinsic ways.

In his professional life, Howard Fensterman works as the Managing Partner of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP, based in Long Island.

He represents corporations, partnerships, LLCs and LLPs, as well as other business entities. Howard is often the first choice for individuals looking for help with asset-based lending, litigation cases, settlement negotiations, shareholder and partnership agreements, purchase and sale of business entities and a whole range of real estate matters.

A Little Bit of Kindness Goes a Long Way

Mr. Fensterman is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Long Island Chapter. To learn more about his many charitable ventures, click here.

Working with his son, Jordan Fensterman, Howard has primarily contributed to the Chabad Shul, Preschool, Day school, Hebrew School, Camp, Mikvah as well as the Adult Education programs prevalent at the Chabad.

The spiritual leader of Chabad of Port Washington Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel, describes the duo as “A father and son team for the ages!”

Under the guidance and philanthropic leadership of Howard Fensterman and other directors, the Chabad continues to achieve its aims of strengthening the local Jewish community. And we hope other synagogues will follow suit.

You can learn more about Howard Fensterman and other members of the BoD here on the Chabad website.

Top Challenges in the Addiction Recovery Process

Do you know that more than 100,000 people lose their lives every year because of alcohol dependence and drug addiction?

Drug addiction has become a serious issue in the United States. The alarming rise in the number of people, including both youngsters and adults, who are becoming drug dependent, especially with opioids, calls for immediate, widespread and effective measures to be taken across the country in order to overcome this issue before it gets out of control.

But, as they say, there is always a little ray of sunshine even in the darkest night. The good news is that addiction is not incurable. Thanks to medical science, there are multiple treatment options available to help drug addicts overcome their disease.

Yes, addiction is a disease, in fact a chronic one!

As per the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.

This explanation has noted that addiction is a chronic disease due to which a person could not hold himself away from substance abuse. The disease causes a lack of control in the patient due to which he/she could not stop drug usage.

Like all other chronic diseases, addiction also affects a person in various ways. Not only does it negatively affects a patient’s physical health, but also leads to various emotional, biological, social and behavioral issues. Thus, recovering from addiction is a long and difficult process that needs a lot of determination, commitment, motivation, support and professional help.

Denial – The Greatest Hindrance in Addiction Recovery

The first and the greatest obstruction in the process of addiction recovery is the State of Denial.  

Since the majority of addicts do not consider addiction as a problem, they do not look for solutions. What makes this situation even worse is the fact that when others try to convince them to abandon their drug habit or to seek help, they contrarily look for ways to justify their dependency.  
Anxiety

Even after addiction patients realize that they have a problem that needs to be properly addressed, there is an uneasiness that can hold them back from getting medical help. These include:

Fear of Abandonment

A lot of people refrain from openly accepting their addiction problem because they have a fear of being rejected by their loved ones and by society at large. This also highlights one of biggest problems of the society we live in. Rather than encouraging addicts to face their problem and supporting them, a majority of people abandon them. This apprehension of abandonment and rejection is one of the greatest challenges in addiction recovery.  

Fear of Failure

Not only addicts, but many of us experience a fear of failure at some point in our lives. Whether it be in the workplace, within the family unit or under pressure to be successful in a sport, it is normal for us to be apprehensive at some point in our lives, particularly when a situation demands us to leave our comfort zone. The problem begins when we allow this trepidation to overpower our decision making ability, which subsequently prevents us from pursuing a constructive effort to achieve our goals. This fear then leads to self-doubt.

How do you overcome this fear? Be cognizant of how our emotions may override our reasoning.

Fear of the New Life

The fear of new life starts dominating a patient of addiction when he/ she is being told (or realizes himself/ herself) that in successful recovery demands them to make some tough decisions in their lives. These may include cutting off relationship with their close friends, some family members, neighbors (in case they are also addict or in any way negatively affects their recovery process), quitting an old job, relocation etc.

How to Overcome Fears?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

– Nelson Mandela

The success lies in facing your fears rather than running from them. This applies to the fears that hinder the addiction recovery process. A great way to gain the strength to face your fears is to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who not only help you in realizing your problem, but also push and support you to seek help to overcome the problem. Once you realize that you have a problem of substance abuse or drug addiction, do not be afraid of accepting it. After acceptance, comes the phase of searching for the solutions. Find out the treatment options available to you and seek professional help as soon as possible. The earlier you start the treatment, the easier and shorter recovery process would be for you.

Preventing Relapse and Staying Sober

This is another huge challenge that drug addicts face during the later stage of recovery process. While it is true that a lot of people do relapse after coming out of a rehabilitation center, it is also an undeniable reality that a large number do completely recover from addiction disease.

According to a survey conducted in 2012, around 23.5 million adults were seeking treatment and hence, recovering from addiction and substance abuse. Keeping in view the increase in governments’ efforts (both at federal and state level) to counter drug addiction, advancements in medical science that have provided us with several new ways to deal with the problem, increase in the numbers of treatment facilities, easy accessibility, and efforts to increase awareness among the population, it can be easily said that the figure must have significantly increased.

According to research studies, 60% of people who struggle with substance abuse and 90% of people who are trying to overcome alcohol addiction relapse after coming out of treatment facilities.

While completing the treatment program at a rehabilitation centre is a great achievement on its own, it is only a phase in the long process of addiction recovery. Therefore, efforts need to be continued during the transitioning phase i.e. returning to normal life after coming out of a treatment facility.

While the post-rehab phase proves to be much more difficult than the rehab phase for most of the people because of the absence of support system and the presence of various triggers, complete recovery is not impossible.

Take following measures to make sure you do not lose the gains made at the rehab and to eliminate the chances of relapse:

  • Consider living at a half-way house
  • Continue attending counseling sessions or take regular refresher courses
  • Join support groups to avoid depression and anxiety, to express and to learn from others’ experiences
  • Cut off all negative energy from your life
  • Adopt positive and healthy habits, and surround yourself with supportive people to stay motivated and focused
  • Do not reverse the lifestyle changes you brought during the rehab period
  • Avoid emotional triggers by ensuring that you prevent yourself from experiencing the feelings of Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness; called HALT by the professionals.

Conclusion

A lot of people assume that there is no need to continue the efforts for staying away from drugs and for preventing relapse once they come out of the treatment facility. However, according to both professionals and statistics, they are wrong.

National Institute of Drug Abuse stated that out of every 3 people, 2 relapse during the 6 months in post-rehab period. This tells us how long a patient needs to continue the efforts for staying sober. Addiction recovery is a really long journey.

Remember the old adage  – slow and steady wins the race?

While addiction recovery is not a race, this adage applies here as well. One needs to be slow but, steady to reach his/her destination.

 

Opioid Epidemic Update: The Gravest Threat Looming Over Today’s Society

Opioids
Much is being done about opioid abuse. Photo by Raeky 

Do you know that drug overdoses have become the leading cause of deaths in the United States?

How is the Government Responding to the Opioid Crisis?

In response to the rapid increase in opioid misuse, addiction and deaths, in children, teens and adults alike, the US government has been taking several measures to limit the prescription of these drugs.

This April, President Trump, via executive order has appointed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead an opioid commission to combat this public health crisis.

Crashing Down on Drug Dealers

Law enforcement agencies have been increasingly tightening the grip on drug dealers. Just recently, a large ‘pill mill’ was busted by law enforcement. This organization was responsible for producing over six million pills of opioid related drugs.

The government is also undertaking several measures to protect people from opioid abuse and help them recover from their addition. The courts have been giving severe punishments to the arrested drug dealers. If it is proved in court that someone has died by using the drug supplied by the dealer, he/she could be sentenced to an imprisonment of 20 years or more.

Restricting Fentanyl Usage

The Drug Enforcement Administration has labeled certain drugs as “Schedule I drugs” because they not only have the potential for abuse, but also because they do not have any acceptable uses in the field of medical science. The list is comprised of different forms and types of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a type of synthetic opioid painkillers that is 50 times stronger than heroin.

This step was much-needed because of the huge threat fentanyl has been posing to US citizens recently. Between the years 2013 and 2015, a 600% increase was seen in death cases due to fentanyl overdoses.

Prescription Limitations

Additionally, various states have revised their laws with regard to prescribing opioid medicines and have put restrictions upon doctors to only prescribe, if necessary and only for a short period i.e. 5 or 7 days. Also, the government has advised doctors to not prescribe narcotics during the earlier stage of treatments for pain relief.

Synthetic drugs are the most commonly misused opioids and heroin is gaining popularity because of the restrictions the government is putting on medical perscriptions, such as the prescription monitoring program know as I-STOP in New York State.

Immunity Laws

In response to the several research studies that reported that a lot of people do not call for help, even when someone from their family, friends and/or acquaintances end up overdosing because they fear that it will create problems for them as well. This fear of getting arrested prevents a large number of people from obtaining immediate help due to drug mishandling.

To overcome this problem, many states introduced immunity laws to protect the people who report such cases from getting arrested.

Ensuring Easy Access to Treatment Programs and Facilities

Both federal and state governments have also been taking efficient measures to ensure people can easily access rehabilitation or treatment centers to get help. The fact that only 11.2% of those drug abusers who need professional help actually go to a treatment facility is alarming and has pushed the governments to increase the efforts to make sure people do reach out for help.

While governments have been increasingly implementing opioid specific treatment programs in many states, affordable access is still lacking in areas where they are needed the most, particularly in the Southeast region of the United States, research studies found out. More steps need to be taken to make opioid treatment affordable for low-income Americans.

Halfway Houses

In addition to treatment facilities, Halfway houses also greatly help addicts in completely recovering from the addiction and also prevent the chances of relapse. Halfway houses help addicts to not succumb to the post-rehab struggles and help them to not return to the drug usage after returning into normal life.

Development of Newer Techniques

Healthcare professionals have also been researching about ways to deal with drug addiction in a better way and are coming up with newer techniques and methods. The approval of Probuphine implant by the FDA is a step in this direction.

Probuphine implant gets attached to the same nerve cells receptors as opioids drugs and slowly releases buprenorphine medicine into the patient’s body. The drug provides patient protection against the drug’s withdrawal symptoms for a period of six months, at least.

Training programs have been initiated for doctors to effectively use the lien of treatment to help addicts from relapsing after coming out of the rehabilitation center.

Latest Opioid Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 23.5 million of 12 years or older Americans are involved in drug abuse to such an extent that they need proper medical treatment for that.

Within the category of drugs, opioid addiction and overdose have become the most prevalent problem and the gravest threat looming over the US. A report recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that cases of opioid overdoses and deaths as a result have greatly increased between the years 2010 and 2015.

In 2010, opioids were the cause of 57% of all drug overdose deaths, but the percentage reached to 73% in 2015. According to CDC statistics, 91 Americans lose their lives every day as a result of opioids overdose.

Prescription drugs also contribute greatly to the opioid overdose; they have caused four times increase in numbers of deaths between 1999 and 2016.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has recently issued an alert that tells us how worse this problem of the opioid epidemic has become, in the country. It stated “the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. If you or your loved ones need help, know that treatment is available and it can help saving lives”.

Since now we know how widespread and grave the problem has become, it is highly important that we look into it and try to identify and understand the factors contributing towards the issue in any way.

Final Word

Although the opioid epidemic is severe and poses great threats to the citizens, the government has been efficiently responding to the issue and increasingly taking measures to overcome it.