Drug addiction: Why it needs to be treated as a health issue

Drug addiction is a major malaise in the US, reaching the proportions of a national crisis. Billions of dollars are spent on law enforcement, incarceration, and prevention campaigns. But in terms of rehabilitation, education, and prevention, the United States lags behind other countries, especially those who treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than a crime.

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According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, head of research and development at the NTL Group, criminal options for drug addicts are wrongheaded responses.

Incarcerating people with drug problems does not solve the issue of drug addiction. It is extremely difficult for them to cope with problems like withdrawal and drug dependency, let alone undergo proper rehabilitation. Prison time is useless when the government neglects funding for rehabilitation in favor of incarceration centers.

Other developed European countries such as Spain tackle drug addiction in a completely different manner. Spain treats drug addiction as a health issue. Drug abuse is taken as a symptom of bigger underling problems such as poverty, depression, mania, and even violent fantasies. Needless to say, creating a law that punishes drug users has long been discredited as a viable solution.

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According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, by addressing all these underlying problems alongside dependencies on substances illegal or legal, the likelihood of relapse among former drug users could be significantly reduced. And with lowered demand, the supply for these illegal drugs is sure to fall.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment, among other disciplines. He is also the head of the Research and Development Department of the NTL Group. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, follow this Facebook page.

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Understanding autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is considered a neurological or developmental disorder because its symptoms generally manifest during early childhood. The American Psychiatric Association created a guide for diagnosis of mental disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), listing the symptoms of ASD. It is important to note that those with ASD exhibit a varying range of symptoms, which is why Dr. Curtis Cripe, a neuroengineer, has developed programs of diagnoses and treatment.

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The symptoms that are present in ASD cases, according to the DSM-5 are the following:

• Problems in communicating and interacting with other people
• Restricted, repetitive patterns of interests, behaviors, and activities
• Symptoms that affect the ability to function well in school, work, and other areas of a person’s life

 

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Scientists and researchers have tried to determine the cause of the disorder, but so far, none has been established. There are, however, some risk factors, such as having a sibling diagnosed with the disorder, having parents at an advanced age when the child was conceived and born, and having genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome, and more.

There is no standard treatment for ASD. Dr. Curtis Cripe recommends a program that begins with brain map, neurocognitive, and neurodevelopment assessments identifying the affected areas of the brain. Upon determining the specific parts of the brain that are out of balance or underdeveloped, an individualized, integrated procedure can be planned and implemented.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has engineered cognitive rehabilitation and neurodevelopment programs helping patients with developmental disorders, such as autism, ADD/ADHD, and others. Learn more about him and his work through this website.

Telemedicine is aiding in the treatment of sports-related concussions

Technology is now playing a bigger role in treating sports concussions, as a recent study in which concussion specialists shows the employment of telemedicine in determining if athletes should be taken out of a game in real time. This is an important step forward in medical sports science as, alarming as it may sound, between 1.6 and 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries or TBIs happen annually, and over 75 percent of these are sports-related.

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Modern science has proven that telemedicine is both an effective and safe way to evaluate and treat various neurological conditions. More physicians are seeing how this can be used in managing concussions in most major professional sports in the U.S. Now, specialists are keen on bringing this novel way of handling concussions and TBIs in general to the country’s youth and collegiate programs, where generally, there is a dearth of adequate and trained medical personnel.

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Again, the idea is to address these types of injuries in real time, on the sidelines. Neurologist and concussion expert Dr. Amaal Starling and concussion program director Dr. Bert Vargas of the UT Southwestern Medical Center recently led a study that evaluated male football players in the collegiate level who’ve suffered from concussion over two consecutive seasons. Both doctors evaluated the affected athletes using a telemedicine robot, following various standardized concussion tests and assessment tools.

The doctors agreed that the results were conclusive in that removal from play was the best recourse. And this opinion was seconded by the team’s athletic trainer. This study is particularly groundbreaking in that it makes a good case for using telemedicine as a neurologist’ tool in athletics, particularly in the crucial moments immediately after the incurrence of a possible concussion and the necessity for quick medical response.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

Is drug addiction a disease?

Drug addiction is one of the biggest health problems in the world today. Governments around the world are spending billions of dollars in their fight against illegal substances, even penalizing those who have grown dependent on prohibited drugs But should drug addiction be treated as a criminal offense or as a disease?

Each country has its own way of tackling its problem on drug addiction. Governments that criminalize and penalize drug addicts often do not fix the underlying condition that leads to addiction. However, there are countries where drug consumption is not a crime but is considered a disease. And in these countries, it is the drug traffickers who are penalized.

Substance abuse should be considered and treated as a chronic disease as it can change the way the brain functions long after the person stops taking illegal drugs. And chronic diseases cannot simply be cured, but it can be controlled through intensive treatments, aftercare, monitoring, and support from loved ones throughout the recovery stage.

While people choose to take substances, how their brain responds is beyond their control. Regardless if they took illegal substances or prescription drugs, people with addiction should seek treatment as soon as possible to increase their chances of safely recovering from this disease.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more reads like this, visit this page.

Cognitive disorders: How disruptive are they?

Cognitive disorders are defined as mental health disorders that affect a person’s cognitive abilities. These include reading, learning, memory, perception, and problem-solving skills. Depending on the type and severity of one’s cognitive disorder, they could find coping with their condition rather difficult. Just how disruptive are cognitive disorders?

There are two classifications of cognitive disorders namely delirium and mild and major neurocognitive disorders. Delirium can develop rapidly in a short span of time and manifests itself in the form of confusion, excitement, disorientation, and impairment of one’s consciousness. Mild and major neurocognitive disorders, on the other hand, develop over time and are usually associated with age. But not every neurocognitive disorder manifests with old age.

Alzheimer’s is the leading and most known mild cognitive impairment with symptoms ranging from memory loss, confusion, problems speaking, and difficulty completing simple tasks. It’s most known to develop in older patients.

However, cognitive disorders like Huntington’s disease may be diagnosed at an earlier age. It has physically disruptive symptoms such as involuntary jerking, rigidity or muscle contractions, slow eye movement. Huntington’s disease is considered lethal in its final stage 15 to 20 years after being diagnosed. Usual causes of death include heart failure, pneumonia, lung failure, or infection.

It is very difficult to cope with cognitive disorders as they make the simplest tasks challenging. Depending on the disease, one could have difficulty moving their bodies or comprehending the world around them.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment, among other disciplines. He is also the head of the Research and Development Department of the NTL Group. For more information on Dr. Cripe and his work, visit this blog.

Important breakthroughs in treating addiction.

2018-09-12_0204Scientists and healthcare providers have made much headway in treating addiction and substance abuse disorders, developing research-based methods to help people stop using those drugs and lead productive lives in full recovery. Here are some advances and breakthroughs made in this important area of healthcare.

Individualized care
This critical aspect of long-term addiction recovery has had fairly high success rates. The old ways dictate putting patients through the same treatment protocol to manage time and costs, but individualized care aims to get better at the root cause of the addiction through various therapies using a personalized treatment plan.

Predisposition to drug addiction
Scientists have studied certain changes in brain chemistry that have been tied to drug addiction. Cambridge researchers, for instance, demonstrated that changes in a neurotransmitter reception in a specific part of the brain actually pre-dates drug use. Changes in dopamine receptors and impulsivit

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y have been shown to pre-date drug use, not emerging as a result of prolonged addiction.

Medication and detoxification
Medication is usually the first line of treatment in combination with behavioral therapy or counseling. This is used to help patients detoxify from drugs, although detoxification alone without subsequent treatment isn’t enough and is likely to lead to relapse. These are tailored to address every person’s drug use patterns and drug-related medical, social, and mental issues.

One-on-one psychotherapy
This typically occurs at least three days a week in residential treatment and twice a week for the initial year of sobriety. The goal is to analyze and overcome the psychological causes of addiction, examining the trigger for drug or alcohol use.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with diverse multidisciplinary background. He currently heads the Research and Development Division of NTL Group, for advanced technology for brain and cognitive repair. Read more about addiction treatment on this page.

How sleep benefits the brain

It’s astounding how many adults take sleep for granted. For whatever reason, a lot of people seem to allot minimal amount of time for getting those much-needed z’s. And this is a huge mistake. Physicians and scientists have time and again pressed on the significance of sleep. Sleep is when the body heals itself. And it has been found that the quality and time spent in peaceful slumber has a positive effect on the brain.

Sleep-Comfortably
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Probably one of the most significant effects of getting a good night’s rest is the delay of the onset of brain dysfunctions and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s. In a study done by researchers at Harvard Medical School, sleep problems such as insomnia are no longer simple symptoms of psychiatric disorders, rather, they are believed to be serious risk factors in the emergence of mental disorders.

Researchers have also used neuroimagery and neurochemistry to observe just how sleep strengthens the brain itself. Scientists compare the brain to human muscles that work out almost nonstop the entire day, with sleep as its ultimate period of relaxation. It has also been observed that the likelihood of the appearance of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein in the brain, increases in sleep-deprived individuals. This protein has been known to contribute to mental disorders and decreased brain function.

Getting enough sleep helps the brain retain memories longer and facilitates long-term learning. The amygdala is another part of the brain that benefits from sleep. It is the part that oversees decision-making and emotions.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse background in neuroengineering, aerospace engineering, psychology, psychophysiology, software development and programming, addiction recovery, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. Learn more about neurological diseases here.