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Each week, Inside Addiction summarizes the biggest news stories from the past week in the world of addiction and mental health. For the month of October, the top stories include: a new movie starring Steve Carell that shows the impact that youth addiction often has on a family; how some video games can be as addictive as a deadly opioid; a new DC Comic series tackling mental illness; and whether an illicit drug can help people who struggle with certain mental health disorders.
Steve Carell Stars in Movie About a Family’s Struggles With Youth Addiction
The movie “Beautiful Boy,” which debuted Oct. 12 on a limited release run but will be widely released Nov. 9, features Steve Carell as a father trying to help his son who is struggling with addiction. The movie is based on David Sheff’s best-selling non-fiction book, which details the family struggles that arise when a family member suffers from a substance use disorder.
Carell’s character tries to help Nic Sheff, the child who suffers from addiction and shows the journey that the family makes as Nic initially becomes dependent on drugs, enters rehab, relapses and continues to suffer from the illness. Nic’s character is played by Timothée Chalamet and the movie includes flashbacks to heartwarming father-son moments when Nic was a child, revealing the bond between Chalamet’s and Carell’s characters.
Teenage Substance Use Linked to Sleep Habits
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers who do not get an adequate amount of sleep are more susceptible to using drugs and alcohol or attempting suicide than teenagers who do get enough sleep. The CDC reported that a recent survey revealed that only 30 percent of high school students report getting eight to 10 hours of sleep each night.
The teenagers who averaged less than six hours a night were twice as likely than people who achieved eight hours a night to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use marijuana or other illicit drugs. They also were three times as likely to suffer from a mental illness and consider attempting suicide. [HealthDay]
Are Certain Video Games as Addictive as Heroin?
Some medical experts have called certain video games, such as “Fortnite”, as addictive as heroin. According to the researchers, regularly playing specific games can cause the body to release the feel-good chemical dopamine and can create a chemical imbalance similar to that which forms from drug use.
The results of the study, which included mostly teenage boys, showed that playing some games causes cravings. One child said he continued to play Fortnite even while a tornado came through his neighborhood. [WRIC]
Ecstasy Could Effectively Treat PTSD
Medical research reveals that ecstasy, which is referred to medically as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA, could be a psychotherapeutic medication and help people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medical experts tested 28 people who have PTSD and compared different doses of ecstasy administered during eight-hour psychotherapy sessions. The results indicate that ecstasy could be a supplemental aspect of a comprehensive psychotherapy treatment program to reduce the effects of PTSD.
This revelation is not the first time medical experts have linked ecstasy and treating a mental health disorder. Another study suggests that limited doses of ecstasy could help reduce the effects of social anxiety in adults who live with autism. According to a report by Newsweek, the results of a recent clinical trial show that MDMA-assisted therapy can be used to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety. [Sage Journals]
Maryland Addiction Services Begin Using Buprenorphine for Treatment
The emergency departments in some Maryland hospitals have started buprenorphine to patients affected by drug addiction. The substance is an anti-addiction medication and partial opioid agonist, which means buprenorphine can block the effects of opioids and reduce cravings.
Treating patients with buprenorphine during an emergency situation is a new trend in the medical industry. At most other hospitals, patients with drug-related medical conditions will receive a referral to local treatment centers. The Orlando Recovery Center, which is part of the network of rehabilitation facilities that also includes The Recovery Village, recently started offering monthly buprenorphine subcutaneous injections as a form of medication-assisted treatment. [The Washington Post]
Generation Z Attributes Poor Mental Health to Gun Violence, Political Climate
According to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey, the age demographic known as Generation Z — people between ages 15 and 21 — reported the most mental health problems of any age group surveyed. The Generation Z respondents attributed their stress levels to gun violence and politics, specifically regarding immigration.
Around 75 percent of Generation Z respondents said that mass shootings are a significant source of stress. Around 57 percent of the same respondents believe that separation and deportation of immigrant families in the United States is a significant cause of their stress. [CNN]
Many Insurance Companies Deny Americans Mental Health Coverage
A federal law passed in 2008 requires insurance companies to cover mental health care at the same level as other medical conditions. However, a report reveals that many Americans struggle to receive the coverage they need due to difficulties with insurers.
Many people have faced a strenuous process trying to get their insurance company to approve a claim that relates to mental health treatment. If one claim is denied, the patient can file an appeal. However, these appeals are often reviewed internally by the insurance company and then denied. The next step is to either pay the bill out of pocket or appeal to the state agency that regulates insurance companies. [Side Effects Public Media]
New DC Comics Series Tackles PTSD
In a new comic series from DC Comics, popular superheroes are not only fighting crime but also receiving treatment for a well-known mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder. The series, titled “Heroes in Crisis”, will include nine issues and feature Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as the main protagonists.
The comics will touch on the emotional toll that comes with being a superhero. The stories will take place at the Sanctuary rehabilitation center, which specializes in PTSD treatment. A mass shooting at the Sanctuary center kicks off the murder-mystery series with Harley Quinn and Booster Gold as the main antagonists. [The Daily Californian]
Does the NBA Have a Social Media Crisis?
The National Basketball Association has embraced social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram arguably better than every other major American professional sports league. Almost every star player has a presence on these platforms to interact with fans, media members and fellow players. However, Bleacher Report’s Tom Haberstroh dove into whether or not the use of social media has become an addiction for the NBA’s stars.
The article starts with Philadelphia 76ers veteran J.J. Reddick and his decision to eliminate his entire social media presence. “It’s a dark place,” Reddick says of these mediums. “It’s not a healthy place.” Haberstroh details how much of a priority social media is for the NBA as a league and for the individual players.
“You’re banging your head against the wall if you’re going to try to get them to put their phones down,” long-time NBA coach Stan Van Gundy said. “They’re not on their phones when we’re in a pregame meeting, they’re not on their phones when we’re in meetings, they’re not on their phones when they’re out there playing. But every other time, as soon as I walk out of the postgame meeting.” [Bleacher Report]
Why People Should Take the Scenic Route to Work
According to a recent study, people who commute to and from work through natural areas scored better on mental health tests than people who traveled through highways and developed areas.
The survey of 3,599 workers from four European countries reveals that how people travel to and from work could be important. The results suggest that people should take scenic routes, such as winding roads through forests or bridges over isolated ponds and rivers, on their morning and evening commutes. [Ladders]