According to the CDC, more than six thousand people are treated for drug misuse or abuse every day. That’s an incredibly high number and it makes us wonder: is the problem the drugs or is it the people? We set out to find the answer. Here is what we learned along the way.

Problem: The Drug Side

Most prescription drugs are created to dramatically alter the way the human body functions–at least for a while. They are designed to increase the body’s ability to form antibodies, to produce certain hormones, etc. The effects felt by the patient are nowhere near congruous with the amount of change that actually takes place within the body. It is the extreme nature of these changes that causes so many of the side effects that patients report when they first start taking a drug.

Doctors used to be hesitant to prescribe drugs like antibiotics or opioids to patients who were sick or injured. This has changed dramatically in the last few years as the perspective of doctors has shifted from “only as a last resort” to “better safe than sorry.”  In fact, according to a NIH study, in 2010, enough painkillers were prescribed to treat every American every four hours for a whole month.

That shift in perspective, along with the high rates of antibiotics injected into factory farmed livestock has inadvertently led to the evolution of “super” diseases. Remember, bacteria and viruses evolve just like humans do and as we eradicate one strain, the other strains all get stronger and more adept at thwarting medicine’s efforts to heal us.

Another consequence of drug prescriptions is the permanent altering of a brain’s functioning, particularly with regard to painkillers and hormone production. Once the brain gets used to the hormones it makes naturally being supplied via other means, it simply adapts to the supply and stops making the hormone itself. If the supply is artificial for too long, the brain will “forget” how to create that hormone at all, meaning that the person truly does need the drug to function properly.

This is also how a tolerance builds up, says Black Bear Lodge (a rehabilitation facility). Their prescription drug page mentions that a body will physically build up a tolerance for the drugs that have been prescribed, resulting in the patient needing more and stronger doses of the drug to achieve the same level of treatment for a condition, but also often leading to prescription drug abuse.

Conclusion: Doctors, for a variety of reasons, are more likely to prescribe drugs than they are to run tests or wait and see how a patient reacts to other types of treatments. The supply is steady and easily available even for drugs like opioids.

Problem: The People

Often, if the drug is taken exactly as prescribed and the patient follows the guidelines offered up by his doctor exactly, that patient can be safely weaned off of the prescribed drug with no effects. Unfortunately, not all people will follow the directions exactly. Some will simply forget, others will willfully ignore instructions. Human error must be factored in to the creation of an addiction.

Genetics do play a role: a research done by the Laboratory of Neurogenetics finds that addiction can be inherited. The degree of genetic predisposition, however, can vary depending on the drug in question. For example, cocaine has a higher genetic factor than most hallucinogens.

Environment is an important factor. People who are exposed to addiction behaviors at an early age are more likely to develop their own addictions later in life, particularly if they are close to the person exhibiting those behaviors.

Conclusion

Addictions do not spring up out of nowhere, but it is rarely the result of completely controllable factors like environment (and to a lesser extent, personality type). Genetics, human biology and the nature of how the drugs are made and (too) readily prescribed plays a much larger role in the rate of addiction within the United States.


Out of more than 26,000 car accidents reported in Dallas Texas in 2013, more than 3,000 resulted in serious injuries. Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be both physically and emotionally challenging. As thousands of people are injured each year, many of them don’t receive the compensation they need to care for their injuries. Most victims of accidents settle for a lesser amount as a method for putting it all behind them. However, what is not properly communicated to the victims is that many injuries caused by an accident can have lingering effects that need continual treatment and medical support.

Here are a few of the most common injuries caused by an auto accident:

  • Brain Injuries – A simple blow to the head can cause significant damage to the brain which is often referred to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). While a TBI can be something as mild as a concussion which heals over time, there can be serious affects. Brain injuries can impair bodily functions like the ability to remember, loss of emotional control, or the inability to talk or see clearly.
  • Neck and Back Injuries – Your neck and back are essentially connected by the spinal cord, as such; injuries to these areas can lead to long term pain, or nerve damage. One of the more common neck injuries caused by car accidents is known as Whiplash. While there are milder cases, severe cases of whiplash could result in damage to your vertebrae, spinal cord, or ligaments. This in turn can prevent the use of certain limbs.
  • Chest Injuries – The impact of a car accident could break your ribs. This is especially true for drivers who were not wearing a seatbelt or drive older cars which don’t have air bags and other forms of protection. A common result of blunt trauma to the chest region is known as a diaphragm rupture. This is the tear of muscles located along the bottom of your rib cage. These muscles are vital for respiration.
  • Pelvis/Abdominal Injuries – Hip fractures are very common in car accidents. Organs such as your spleen, liver, and kidneys are at risk for injury and can take a long time to heal if at all.
  • Other Fractures and Injuries – When your body smashes into various parts of the car, there is a chance for injuries. Leg, knee, and foot injuries are all very common. Bumping your body hard enough against a car could result in the inability to properly walk without the assistance of a medical tool such as crutches or a cane.

Rehabilitating After an Accident

Depending on the severity of your injuries from a car accident, you could be looking at an extensive amount of time rehabilitating. All the above described injuries could require you to visit various professionals for an extended period of time. Rehabilitation may mean learning how complete daily functions like walking or speaking. In some cases, there is ultimately no remedy for your injuries which can significantly change your quality of life.

Why It Might Benefit You to Consult an Attorney

When faced with some of the injuries described above as a result of a local accident, it may be best to consult specifically with Dallas auto accident attorneys. They are fully aware of Texas laws and can help you receive compensation that is appropriate for your injuries. The right attorney will first evaluate your injuries, how they affect your quality of living, and even determine an estimated cost of expenses for rehabilitation.

When it comes to your health you should never compromise. While negotiating for a lesser amount than you deserve might seem like the immediate solution to an ongoing problem that is not always best. Typically, consulting with an attorney is free of charge and will provide you with insight on the road to recovery ahead of you. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Dallas car accident, contact a reputable attorney’s office for assistance.

 


There is a time to hit the books, and then there is a time to hit the open road. Universities offering the in-demand master’s in health informatics (MIH) degree occupy some picturesque areas of the U.S., making these higher-ed locales unique places to live while studying for your MIH degree. Here are four schools with MIH programs in areas of the country you may not have ever traveled to.

1. Dakota State University

Nestled in scenic Madison, South Dakota, Dakota State University’s MIH program attracts students from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. The program aims to prepare students for executive-level health informatics positions upon graduation, such as chief information officers and data mining specialists.

When you’ve closed your books for the weekend, get out and explore this Great Plains state. Mount Rushmore and Badlands are must-see national park destinations in the state.

2. Adelphi University

Adelphi University’s master’s in health informatics program is geared toward established healthcare professionals and those in careers such as IT or business who wish to switch careers. While the program is an online-based course of study, the university’s Garden City location, on Long Island, is perfect for students who want easy access to Manhattan, where internship opportunities and health informatics jobs are obtainable.

A town of a little more than 20,000 residents, Garden City is home to quaint shops, museums, and dining establishments.

3. The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Masters in health informatics
Image via Flickr by Ron Cogswell

Located in Jackson, Mississippi, The University of Mississippi Medical Center hosts a thriving Master of Health Informatics and Information Management degree program in the southern U.S. The online-based program provides students two separate career tracks based on their career goals: health informatics or health information management.

Jackson, the “City with Soul,” blends history, arts, and culture inside the largest city in the state. Whether it’s shopping, dining, or doing you’re interested in, Jackson certainly doesn’t lack things to do throughout the year.

4. American Sentinel University

Aurora, Colorado, is home to American Sentinel University and its Master of Healthcare Informatics program. The online-based program’s 36-credit hour course of study covers topics ranging from interpreting health data analytics to using data to enhance the quality of patient care across the healthcare continuum. The program aims to arm students with the data analytics knowledge necessary for success in today’s environment and tomorrow’s challenges in healthcare.

Aurora is ranked among the top ten cities for healthcare in the country, with its cornerstone Anschutz Medical Campus serving as a major hub. Sports lovers will appreciate the diverse activities Aurora offers, including breathtaking golf courses and a massive sports park boasting 23 full-size soccer fields and a dozen baseball and softball fields.

Why Is an MIH Degree In Such Demand Anyway?

Digitizing patient care data is happening at a rapid rate, and the healthcare field is in great need of information specialists to set up, operate, and manage health information technology (HIT) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems. Colleges and universities have responded by creating MIH programs to keep up with current demand.

 


Stress has very real negative effects on our bodies. As we stress, our bodies tense up, especially our backs and shoulders. This can even happen in our sleep. Working out is a great way to relieve stress, but it too can cause our muscles to tighten and our bodies to be sore. Toxins can build up in our bodies and stress can actually make us sick. Many aliments are brought on by stress, like shingles, or fibromyalgia. Stress drains our immune system down making us susceptible to other viruses and infections. Blogs offer tips on avoiding stress, but what if we are feeling those body aliments already?

Regular massages can help us combat all of these problems. According to the Huffington Post and Mayo Clinic, it actually affects your body’s chemistry. Your serotonin and dopamine levels increase, helping reduce depression and anxiety and studies show it can actually lower stress hormones like cortisol, a hormone that increases blood pressure and blood sugar while suppressing your immune system.

Your options for a massage are endless. From a pampering day at your local spa, a quick pop-in to your local massage therapist’s home to relax in massage chair, or even a wellness trip to the African Safari–which is very trendy according to CNN–the end result can be the same: peace, restfulness, and relief. After your massage, toxins will be released out of your body. So not only do your muscles feel better, but you will experience an overall improvement in health.

Your options for what type of massage you receive are also endless. Swedish massages are the typical and are gentle, kneading massages, while deep tissue focuses on the deeper muscles of the body and is more vigorous. It can help those with injuries to the body. Thai, Japanese (Shiatsu), and Hawaiian massage (Lomilomi) are also common styles of massage. Many massage therapists are also trained in the art of Rieki, the Japanese art of healing by passing good energy to the client by the laying on of hands. There are massage practices designed for pregnant women, sports massage, hot stone therapy, and reflexology, which focuses on the hands and feet. There are even techniques to help with various ailments like infertility, arthritis, migraine, digestive problems, and breathing difficulties.

Massage therapists are trained to expertly knead your tight and knotted muscles into submission in a way that somehow feels heavenly. As they work your body, you can lie there and listen to the typical restful music and feel good about taking a brief moment out of your day for yourself. Massages usually involves aromatherapy oils and flavored antioxidant-rich teas or water as well offering a complete sensory experience through touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. If you’re getting a massage from a friend who doesn’t have these accessories, you can always purchase them yourself from an online vendor. It may also be a good idea to have a portable massage chair yourself, in case a friend or loved one can provide therapy. Earthlite lists a variety of portable, stationary and electric massage tables, if you want to take a look at what’s on the market.

You can expect to develop a connection to your massage therapists as your massages become more frequent. Their power to heal you and their touch actually releases a trust hormone. This connection and healing power is what entices many people to seek a career in massage therapy. The idea of working from home is also a great benefit for many people, especially mothers with small children. For those who work out of the home, what better place to work than a serene spa environment with calming sounds and lighting rather than a noisy office with fluorescents? Massage therapy programs can be completed in as little time as one year. Many credible schools are found throughout all of the US and offer many different programs.