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Disparities in Behavioral Health – An Analysis of a recent SAMHSA Report

August 31, 2015

To mark National Minority Health month in July, SAMHSA released a report on the disparities of behavioral health between ethnic groups in the United States. Using statistics from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an analysis was conducted to see the influence of various factors including ethnicity, income levels, location and health insurance status.

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Jail Diversion Programs – The Future of Criminal Justice?

August 25, 2015


Court ordered addiction treatment programs that serve to divert non-violent criminals with mental illness and substance abuse issues have gained in popularity in recent years. Florida, and Broward County in particular, has been at the forefront of this trend. A Broward County Court Judge, Ginger Lerner-Wren, is noted for creating the first Mental Health Court in the United States. She continues to fight for the decriminalization of mental illness and advocates for an alternative to the status quo. Partly through her efforts, more states and municipalities around the country are starting to understand that while criminality must be punished, special care must be taken to represent the best interests of and treat those with debilitating behavioral disorders.

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Marriage Reduces Heavy Drinking in Young Adults

August 19, 2015


A collaborative study between the University of Missouri and Arizona State University showed strong evidence that young adults significantly curbed their heavy drinking after getting married. This was especially apparent in those who had a severe drinking problem before they got married.

The working theory behind this phenomenon is Role Incompatibility. It is the idea that if a person changes roles in their life – i.e. going from unmarried to married – and their behaviors do not fit into their new role, they are likely to change their behaviors to suit the new role. The more severe their problem before marriage, the more they had to change to fit into their role once they were married.

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Eminem – A Cautionary Tale of Addiction Replacement

August 12, 2015

Addiction affects the brain in profound ways – many of which we don’t fully understand. A mix of genetic and environmental influences create the perfect storm for the millions of Americans that succumb to addiction and relapse. It is no secret that even with appropriate healthcare and addiction treatment, addicts are likely to relapse – sometimes several times or more. Ultimately, the goal is to “raise the bottom,” getting ever closer to long-term and permanent sobriety.

Addiction often leaves what can only be described as a void, upon a successful course of treatment. Once an addicted individual has left the treatment program and no longer uses their drug of choice, they often look for a replacement to fill this void. With proper support and follow-up care, the replacement can develop into a healthy passion or hobby and can ultimately be a very positive development. However, not all cases of addiction replacement (even when the replacement is healthy), work out well.

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Important New Degree Requirements for CAP students

July 20, 2015

As of July 1, 2015, the Florida Certification Board modified one of their main qualification criteria for the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) certification. Prior to July 1, applicants needed to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field. The requirement has been narrowed, now requiring a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Check out a list of what is considered a degree in a related field.

Applicants who submitted their information before the July 1 effective date are grandfathered into the prior requirements.

Of course, those who do not have a bachelor’s degree or who do not qualify for the new requirements can still obtain the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) certification if they qualify.

Please contact us if you have any questions at all about these new requirements or to learn more about the other qualification criteria required to achieve Certified Addiction Professional status through the FCB.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

July 6, 2015


Many recovering addicts continue to smoke tobacco long after they have eliminated drugs and alcohol from their bodies. There is of course a psychological comfort or crutch-like component to smoking. However the physical traits of nicotine make smoking a natural candidate for addiction substitution.

A good proportion of addiction counselors would likely leave it at that – smoking is just fine as long as the drugs are long gone.

We have to look at the recovery process more holistically, however. Recovery and the elimination of substances of abuse ultimately should lead to a cleansing of the mind and body. However, smoking can impede that process and leave those in recovery with lingering physical problems. Setting aside the most dangerous long-term issues, such as lung cancer, smoking wreaks havoc on the body in the short term too in the form of:

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Palcohol – A New Plague or More Of The Same?

June 22, 2015


A fresh round of outrage is being leveled at government regulators and alcohol manufacturers alike for a relatively new phenomenon known as Palcohol. Palcohol is the brand name of a powdered alcohol product that promises to give users the ability to have a mixed alcoholic drink on the go. No more carrying heavy bottles full of liquid and mixers – just add water. Further, the makers of Palcohol tout its potential as an on-the-go antiseptic and even fuel source.

On the other side of the side of the argument, anti-substance abuse advocates see the potential of powdered alcohol being abused, especially by those who are underage. The concern is that powdered alcohol is not only more potent (in its dehydrated form), but it can be concealed rather easily. Further, it can be nebulized, snorted and concentrated (using less water or more powder) for faster effect. Ultimately, parents, teachers and law enforcement will have a harder time identifying powdered alcohol than its reconstituted sibling.

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Managing Eating Disorders with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

May 5, 2015

Like Substance Use Disorders, eating disorders are often a function of deeply ingrained maladaptive core beliefs and assumptions, that not only prescribe the lens through which a client views the world, but also limits his/her reactions to a very distinct pattern of behaviors. These behaviors serve as the primary method through which the client interacts with and attempts to control his/her environment.   In other words, these highly specific assumptions permeate every facet of life and serve to measure success through a very slim range of evaluative factors. These factors are manifested through a dichotomy of judgment – good or bad, black or white, success or failure, skinny or fat. A treatment that attempts to shake the foundation of these core beliefs, expose them as maladaptive and changeable, and then provide the client with the tools needed to effect change, seems the most logical choice.

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The Scourge of Synthetic Marijuana

February 10, 2015


Of the 1.2 million Emergency Room visits related to illicit drugs in 2011, only 28,531 were related to synthetic marijuana or cannabinoids. It may not seem like a big number, but consider that in 2010 there were only 11,406. This dramatic increase has cast a spotlight on the scourge of synthetic marijuana. For now, most of these ER visits are a result of younger boys and men, who are abusing the drugs (about 79%), however during the same period, female use of these drugs increased three-fold.

Many have posited that marijuana does not cause significant adverse effects, which has been one of the foundations behind its legalization, either medically or recreationally, in several states. This is hotly debated by many of those in the addiction treatment realm. However synthetic marijuana has clear medical effects including vomiting, elevated heartbeat and blood pressure, seizures, paranoid behavior and in some cases death. There is little doubt that these synthetic compounds should be outlawed for distribution and use. 

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Families – And The Roles They Play

February 4, 2015


“The stones thrown from close-up hurt more than those thrown from afar”

“You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” ~ Harper Lee

There’s no shortage of quotes about families, their issues and dysfunction. And, in many cases, those family dynamics have shaped our environments from birth. It is therefore no wonder that families often contribute to both the problem and the solution in addiction and mental health.

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The Academy for Addiction Professionals is a leading addiction professional training center and an approved education provider for both the Florida Certification Board (FCB) and NAADAC. We offer interactive in-class (South Florida Location) and online training courses for the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC), Certified Behavioral Health Technician (CBHT) and Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) levels of certification as well as Continuing Education and Professional Development programs.