Inside the secret lives of functioning heroin addicts

They’re not slumped over in alleyways with used needles by their sides. Their dignity, at least from outside appearances, remains intact. They haven’t lost everything while chasing an insatiable high.

They are functioning heroin addicts — people who hold down jobs, pay the bills and fool their families.
For some, addiction is genetic; they’re wired this way. For others, chronic pain and lack of legal opioids landed them here. Or experimentation got them hooked and changed everything.
What addicts have in common, according to experts, is a disease that has more to do with their brains than the substances they use. About 85% of people can take a pain pill, for example, and never crave it again.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/health/functioning-heroin-addicts/index.html Continue reading

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There’s a surprisingly strong link between mental health and gun violence, but it probably isn’t what you think

If mentally ill people aren’t committing mass murder, who is?

People who study violent events say there is a well-established pattern among most mass shooters: They’re typically angry young men who feel they’ve been “wronged” and are looking for revenge.

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The Myth That Mental Illness Causes Mass Shootings

Perpetuating the myth that mental illness is the cause of mass shootings only serves to stigmatize the mentally ill even further. In addition, it distracts from the more difficult conversation that must be had over gun-control in America.

Still, it can be difficult to accept that only five percent of shooting deaths are attributable to diagnosable mental illness because it feels like someone would have to be ‘crazy’ in order to shoot 600 strangers at a country music concert from a pair of hotel windows. But even if you believe that someone must be mentally ill in order to perpetrate a mass shooting, the key question is in whether that mental illness is diagnosable prior to the violent act. Remember, Paddock had no history of mental illness and no criminal record. This was not a question of adequate access to mental healthcare either. Paddock was successful and had the means to access care if he chose to. Thus, even if the most comprehensive and strictest mental health reforms were put in place, Paddock would have been unaffected; 95 percent of shooters would be unaffected.

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Checking Facts and Falsehoods About Gun Violence and Mental Illness After Parkland Shooting

Nikolas Cruz, who has been linked to a history of mental illness, is believed to have used a legally obtained AR-15 in the shooting. The attack has led to widespread conversations about links between gun violence and mental illness, and how lawmakers and interest groups are debating potential policy responses. Below is a look at some facts and falsehoods uttered by Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin; Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont; and others in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting.

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So You Think Someone Might Be Mentally Ill

In the wake of mass shootings, some blame a failure to spot the signs of mental illness. But myriad obstacles stand in the way of getting someone good mental-health treatment.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/02/so-you-think-someone-might-be-mentally-ill/553487/

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Letter to a misguided pastor (from someone with bipolar disorder)

This letter is read by Katie Dale to her pastor whose preaching led her to discontinue taking medication for bipolar disorder, with very detrimental results.

 

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The million dollar sock entrepreneur with Down’s syndrome

Back in 2016, the 21-year-old told his dad, Mark, that he wanted them to start a business when he graduated from high school, but he wasn’t sure what kind.

“My first suggestion was a fun store, but we didn’t know what to sell,” says John, a native of New York’s Long Island.

In just over a year, the pair have shipped over 30,000 orders.

They donate 5% of all profits to the Special Olympics, which holds sports events for people with learning disabilities. John competes in the games in sports such as basketball, soccer and hockey.

He also designs “awareness socks” to raise money for charities including the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America.

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Neuroscientist Predicts ‘Much Better Treatment’ For Alzheimer’s Is 10 Years Away

We know that sleep has hugely beneficial effects for the brain. When you sleep your brain essentially cleans itself — it uses cerebral spinal fluid to pump away the plaques and tangles that we think cause the disease. And so lots of research is now looking into ways of using sleep to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and seeing if a certain level of sleep can somehow affect the symptoms or somehow slow the disease down.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/02/575055148/neuroscientist-predicts-much-better-treatment-for-alzheimers-is-10-years-away

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How To Deal With Stigmatizing Remarks About Mental Illness

Research shows that people living with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of a violent crime as opposed to the ones committing them. Yet a formulaic response tends to follow tragedies: Mental illness is bad and it’s what caused this to happen.

The mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday is no exception to the rule. A day after the tragedy, President Donald Trump said that mental illness, not the issue of gun control, was to blame for that massacre that killed 26 people.

“This isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said during his visit to Japan. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”

But experts say a drawing a simplistic connection between mental illness and severe violence not only sends the wrong message about psychological disorders, it stigmatizes the millions of people who live with mental health conditions.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mental-illness-stigma-remarks_us_5a007397e4b04cdbeb34e778

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The Family That Built an Empire of Pain

This is a lengthy article from The New Yorker that gives a background to the opioid epidemic and how doctors were wooed into prescribing OcyContin.

 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-family-that-built-an-empire-of-pain

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