Nursing best care for clients with addictions starts with self-care


The notion of self-care is no longer an exotic or optional practice for healthcare workers. However, the way in which it is effectively incorporated into the life of a nurse working in a mental health setting is not routine by any means. Given my experience as a nurse for over a quarter century in the addiction treatment field, I have reflected on what it means to effectively integrate self-care into practice. In the “caring professions,” burnout is becoming more and more common. This unfortunate outcome may be intensified, given that individuals seeking help for addiction or other healthcare services are presenting with very complex problems. Therefore, self-care becomes imperative to ensure there isn’t a “cost of caring” for those providing the care.

For 15 years I worked at a women’s addiction treatment program and it was there the issue of self-care for staff became apparent. Read more

How Sugar Affects the Brain: Video Highlights Similar Effects Between Drugs & Sugar

How Sugar Affects The Brain

Food is one of our primary sources of pleasure, and critical to our survival. In a healthy reward pathway of the brain, food is a natural stimulus that produces feelings of pleasure from the release of dopamine. This gratifying feeling makes this activity worthy of repeating, as we want to experience it again.  However, not all foods have the same effect on the brains’ reward system. So why do certain foods activate the brains’ reward system more than others? Sugar, salt and fat are three substances that ‘hijack’ the brains’ reward system, by releasing a burst of dopamine, similar to the effects of drugs and alcohol. As more research emerges, we gain knowledge about how a diet of large portions of refined and processed foods affect the way our brain responds to food. Some individuals develop a dependence on these foods to feel happy and satisfied, and eventually develop a tolerance by needing more of these ‘addictive’ foods to experience feelings of pleasure. Read more

The 12-Steps De-coded


The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Religion

Our clients come from all walks of life and while some people identify with a particular religion, others describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, humanists or freethinkers. One question we are frequently asked by clients relates to the 12-steps aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous. People often wonder: “Do I need to believe in God or religion to benefit from the 12-Step process?’ or “I am not religious, is AA right for me?”.

While it is true that six of the original 12-Steps refer to ‘God’ or a ‘Higher Power, it also true that Alcoholics Anonymous is the most common self-help source for individuals dealing with alcohol addiction in North America.

Although it is an undeniable fact that the original 12-Steps were based on Christian teachings, today, AA has grown into a spiritual program. Spirituality being much broader and more encompassing can be defined as “that which gives people meaning and purpose in life” (Puchalski, Dorff, & Hendi, 2004). Read more

How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Centre?
[ Infographic ]

Right Addiction Treatment Centre

We know it is not always easy to find the right addiction treatment centre. It can be confusing in deciding what questions to ask to understand the quality of treatment you will receive, or the track-record of different treatment providers.

As a follow-up to our blog ‘The Most Important Questions to Ask a Treatment Provider’, we developed this smart infographic to help you find the right addiction treatment centre for yourself or a loved one.

Always ask the rights questions and understand all the facts before you choose. Addiction treatment is an investment in your health and future. Be well everyone!

CLICK HERE to view an enlarged version of the infographic

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WHO Report Declares Alcohol Kills 1 Person Every 10 Seconds

Alcohol Addiction

Addiction has become one of the most critical health problems facing our species.

A new study released last month from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that alcohol kills 1 person every 10 seconds. The study states that alcohol was the reason that 3.3 million deaths occurred in the world in 2012 and that 16% of people who drink alcohol alcohol binge drink. In addition, not only does risky alcohol consumption lead to addiction, it also puts people at a higher risk for developing more than 200 different disorders. Shekhar Saxena, head of the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, has stated that these numbers actually translate into 1 death every 10 seconds.

Several people who work in the addictions field were probably thinking the same thing I was. Well, that’s no surprise. What was alarming to me was the number of deaths that were accounted for alcohol only! Read more

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