Entries in Rehabilitation (9)


Cory Monteith's Death Shows Rehab Alone Won't Cure Addiction

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Cory Monteith's death less than three months after finishing a 30-day rehab program has some scratching their heads: Shouldn't rehab have cured the actor of his problem, preventing him from overdosing?

That's not how it works, addiction specialists say.

"People have the impression that treatment is complete when the person is sober. They're not using the drug anymore, so they're all better," said Dr. Stuart Gitlow, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. "In chronic lifelong disease, treatment is never complete. It's not at the point where we can cure it."

Gitlow said addiction is much like any other chronic disease, such as like diabetes, in that it requires lifelong care. But to their detriment, recovering addicts and the people around them don't always realize that.

Even if an addict isn't actively using drugs, that person still has the discomfort associated with addictive disease, Gitlow said. This can be the result of genetic predisposition, but in many cases, drug use permanently damages the brain.

For example, crystal meth causes a surge of dopamine, the chemical responsible for pleasure, but it permanently damages the brain's dopamine receptors. So someone who uses or used meth can't feel pleasure normally.

Cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin alter brain physiology the most, causing addicts to crave them even years into recovery, said psychiatrist Raymond Isackila, who works at University Hospitals in Cleveland. There are anti-craving medications for drugs like heroin, but not for cocaine or meth.

Dr. Paul Rinaldi, who directs the Addiction Institute of New York at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, said people tend to view rehab as the "gold standard" in drug addiction care, but because of that, they don't think much about what should happen afterward.

"It's a lot easier to be in rehab and be clean," he said. "You come home and you're in an environment with triggers that trigger you to use."

Triggers can be internal or external, said Isackila. Internal triggers include feelings of anxiety and depression, while external triggers can simply involve being in the same place or with the same people that an addict used to use drugs with.

Even though time after rehab is important toward recovery, many people never get help at all, doctors said.

Of everyone in the United States with an addiction problem, only 5 percent get professional help, said Dr. Westley Clark, who directs the substance abuse treatment center at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This is, in part, because treatment is expensive and not covered by all insurance plans. He said he hopes that the Affordable Care Act will make drug treatment more accessible.

The failure of addicts to get treatment also may be the result of stigmas associated with drug use and people's unwillingness to talk about it, Clark said, adding that the secrecy can be like how cancer patients used to hide their illness.

Isackila said the public doesn't always recognize that addiction is a health problem. Gitlow agreed.

"The public still feels addiction is a choice and not an illness," Isackila said. "So there's not a lot of politicians standing up, saying, 'You know what we need?' ... I've never heard it."

"Public expectation seems to be, 'I can get better on my own or I can get better without seeing a physician,'" Gitlow said. "We would never think twice about someone with diabetes having ongoing care from an endocrinologist. ... That's the kind of treatment necessary for someone with chronic life-threatening disease. If you have addictive disease, that's the kind of treatment that's necessary."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Aimee Copeland’s Rehab Workout: 200 Crunches, 400 Leg Lifts

ABC News(ATLANTA) -- Aimee Copeland is getting stronger, one crunch at a time.

Copeland is the 24-year-old Georgia graduate student whose body was ravaged by a flesh-eating bacteria she contracted in early May. The bacteria has taken her left leg, right foot and both of her hands.

According to a blog post by her father, Andy Copeland, Aimee is attacking her rehab routine with a vengeance.

“During each of her physical therapy sessions, Aimee does two hundred crunches in seven minutes,” Andy Copeland writes. “Aimee also has to do four hundred leg lifts in seven minutes, an untold number of pushups and something else that she calls ‘planks’ and ‘sideplanks.’”

Andy Copeland said the purpose of the grueling exercise regimen is for Aimee to strengthen her body enough to enable her to use a wheelchair and, eventually, prosthetics.

Nearly three months have passed since Copeland, of Snellville, Ga., suffered the cut on her leg in a fall from a homemade zip line near the Little Tallapoosa River that led to the infection.

Infection with flesh-eating bacteria is quite rare, but more often than not it is deadly. Mortality rates for the type of bacterial infection that Aimee Copeland contracted are higher than 60 percent, according to a 2010 report published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews.

Since leaving the hospital earlier this month, Copeland has been continuing her recovery at a rehabilitation facility. Her parents chose not to reveal the location of the facility for privacy reasons, but it is thought to be close to her home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Boasts Benefits of Yoga for Stroke Survivors

Goodshot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) - Enthusiasts have long extolled yoga's benefits, particularly when it comes to mental health and exercise.  Now a new study, published in the journal Stroke, claims the popular discipline might also improve your quality of life.
Stroke is among the most common diagnoses among patients treated by rehabilitation therapists. These patients often suffer serious post-stroke impairments, including motor problems and difficulty with balance.  Up to 83 percent of stroke victims will struggle with balance and 73 percent will actually fall down. In fact, the fear of falling has a direct correlation on a patient's quality of life.
But researchers at Indiana University suggest that introducing yoga as part of rehab significantly improves balance and lessens a patient's fear of falling.  As a result, their study showed yoga intervention significantly improved quality of life and could prove a cost-effective benefit for stroke survivors.
The study was small, with only 47 patients participating, but the positive results warrant further research.
Interestingly, during post-study interviews, subjects said that because of improved balance, they were more likely to attempt new activities in different and more challenging environments. Though they were aware of potential fall risk, they'd grown more confident they could maintain their balance.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Top Rehab Facilities: The Coziest, Most Expensive Clinics

Eric Thayer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With A-list celebrities in and out of rehab, it's becoming hard to keep track of the nation's top recovery facilities -- and of course, what kind of luxurious amenities they offer. Here's a look at the country's coziest and most expensive clinics for the rich and famous.

Promises Treatment Center
With centers in Malibu, Calif., and Los Angeles, Promises could be considered the most A-list rehab facility in the United States. They offer clients residential and extended-care treatment that includes life coaching, anger management and even equine and art therapy. Promises uses the "Malibu Model," which allows clients more freedom, allowing them to leave the facility, compared to other rehab clinics where clients can't leave the grounds and visitors are limited.
Famous alumni: Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Britney Spears

The Betty Ford Center
The famed center, which was founded in 1982 by the late U.S. first lady, offers inpatient, outpatient and day treatment. The Rancho Mirage-based center has 100 beds available for patients. In addition to a detox program and an intensive outpatient program, the center offers programs for children of alcoholics and for young adults. The center is largely funded by private donations, the Betty Ford Center Foundation, and alumni of the program.
Famous alumni: Robert Downey Jr., Kelsey Grammer, Stevie Nicks, Elizabeth Taylor

Cirque Lodge
Founded in 1999 in Sundance, Utah, Cirque Lodge holds a maximum of 56 patients between two facilities. Another center is based in Orem, Utah. Based on Alcoholics Anonymous' (AA) traditional 12-step program, Cirque will cost patients $1,595 a day, with a 30-day minimum stay. The Sundance facility sits in the shadow of Utah's 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos and is in the same neighborhood as Robert Redford's estate. Rooms at the Lodge reportedly boast marble bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, while the facility also owns a seven-seater helicopter that can take guests up to view the mountains. Still, it's not all fun and games: clients are under strict rules while residing at Cirque. Prohibited items include cellphones, laptops and expensive jewelry.
Famous alumni: Kirsten Dunst, Eva Mendes, Mary-Kate Olsen

Passages Rehab Facility
Co-founded by father and son team Chris and Pax Prentiss, Passages Rehab Facility is popular with the celebrity set because of its Malibu location, luxurious accommodations and 3-to-1 staff-to-client ratio. The philosophy of the center differs from others in that it does not view addiction as a disease, but treats "addiction for what it truly is; a symptom of a deeper underlying issue," such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, among others.
Famous alumni: Andy Dick, David Hasselhoff and Stephen Baldwin

Pasadena Recovery Center
Famous for being featured on VH1's reality-based series Celebrity Rehab, Pasadena Recovery Center boasts that it offers "compassionate, comprehensive, and affordable treatment." Taking a holistic approach, the center looks to treat clients with mental, physical and spiritual recovery.
Famous alumni: Janice Dickinson, Eric Roberts and Rachel Uchitel

Caron Foundation

Although Caron has nine centers across the U.S. and even one in Bermuda, the Wernersville, Pennsylvania-based facility is probably its best-known. Caron offers medical detoxification, residential assessment programs, gender-separate rehabilitation, and relapse treatment. The center also uses the "Minnesota Model" of treatment, which states that addiction is a lifelong disease and abstinence, via AA's 12-step program, is the ideal route to a drug and alcohol-free life.
Famous clientele: beauty queen Tara Conner, Liza Minnelli and Steven Tyler

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman to Marry One Year After Being Paralyzed at Bachelorette Party

Ciaran Griffin/Thinkstock(PITTSBORO, N.C.) -- Rachelle Friedman is finally getting her day in white.

The paralyzed bride-to-be who was left wheelchair bound last year after a freak accident at her bachelorette party will be married this weekend to her fiance, Chris Chapman, in North Carolina.

"It was my dream and it is my dream to marry Chris," Friedman, 25, told ABC News Monday. "This is the one thing I wasn't able to have for so long and now I can have it."

"It's a huge deal. It was so close and then it just fell out of my grasp," said Friedman.

In August 2010, Friedman was left unable to walk and unable to feel sensation beneath her collarbone after she was pushed into a pool by one of her bridesmaids, a joke the group of girls frequently played on one another.

She hit her head on the bottom of the pool and doctors later confirmed that she had suffered a C6 spinal cord injury.

Friedman, who never revealed the identity of the bridesmaid responsible for her injury, said that the young woman will be in her wedding this Friday.

"A lot of people think, 'poor Rachelle,' or 'This happened to Rachelle,'" said Friedman. "Yes it sucks, but this also happened to her and in some ways I don't know what I would do if I were her.

"It's a situation where she was hurt emotionally and mentally and I was hurt physically, but I really think I would at least have a harder time emotionally," she said. "It's really, really hard to heal emotionally, even maybe than to learn to live in my physical situation."

Friedman says that since her story went international, she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from perfect strangers. Her wedding, which she says wasn't exactly a priority while facing mounting medical bills, is being paid for by 1-800 Registry, as is her honeymoon to Fiji.

And rehab therapy -- coveted treatment that is too expensive at the moment for Friedman -- is being donated to the bride by Project Walk in California, a center she says is "known for getting people out of wheelchairs."

"I'm completely flabbergasted and excited," said Friedman of the support. "I knew it would all happen, but not like this."

The wedding, set for Pittsboro, N.C., will feature Friedman's favorite flowers -- sunflowers -- and a country theme.

Albeit a bit untraditionally, Friedman says she and her groom will have a first dance.

"Yes, I'm sad we won't be dancing 'normally,' I wont be prancing around the floor, but we are going to dance," she said. "We are going to have our first dance."

Larry Friedman, Friedman's father, will accompany his daughter down the aisle, although they won't be walking side by side.

As for the emotion going into her wedding weekend, Friedman says she can't stop smiling, but knows that her family and friends will probably be unable to hold back tears.

"I think everyone in the crowd will be crying, but I am just so happy," said Friedman.

"I'm going to be all smiles. It will be emotional, but it will be happy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Army Vet Struggles to Receive Brain Treatment as Private Contractor

Courtesy Jennifer Barcklay(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- Jennifer Barcklay, a civilian contractor who was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan, will finally receive therapy for a traumatic brain injury after a nearly two-year fight to get treatment.

While Barcklay, an Army veteran, needed specialized medical treatment after serving her country, she faced two problems: she is a private contractor and not eligible for treatment active duty soldiers can receive, and she lives in Spokane, Washington miles away from hospitals offering that treatment.

On Wednesday, almost two years after she survived a mortar blast in Afghanistan and one year after doctors first recommended cognitive rehabilitation therapy, her insurer agreed to pay for this expensive treatment.  She and her attorney, David Linker, received approval in the form of a letter dated June 15, approving travel arrangements and treatment at a specific facility in California.

After the long waiting period, Barcklay said she has mixed feelings.

"I'm happy that they're finally doing what they're supposed to do, but I'm not sure about the whole process," she said.  "What it put me and my family through was horrible."

Barcklay, 40, worked for defense contractors starting from 2006 after being honorably discharged from the Army in 1996 for a knee injury.  But her insurer, Chartis Insurance, a division of AIG, wouldn't cover her cognitive rehabilitation therapy, as first reported by the Spokesman-Review.

The therapy is an expensive treatment that thousands of U.S. soldiers are receiving.  Those soldiers can usually obtain treatment from Department of Veterans Affairs facilities because they obtained the injuries while on active duty.

Military contractors are often in dangerous war zones but denied medical benefits despite statutory protections.  The Defense Base Act of 1941, in fact, requires defense contractors to provide medical and disability insurance for their employees in war zones.

Barcklay was a civilian helicopter mechanic when she obtained her injuries.  In September 2009, an enemy mortar exploded 10 yards away from her at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan.  The blast, which severely injured two other people, slammed her into the ground, causing ear trauma, joint pain and, she says, it continues to cause frequent seizures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Reveals the Importance of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Comstock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- Patients with heart disease and especially those who survive a heart attack can reduce their risk of death by undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.

Now a study in the journal Circulation says this also applies to those who have had an angioplasty, a procedure that restores blood flow by widening blood vessels that have become narrowed or blocked.

The Mayo Clinic study looked at more than 2,000 patients who underwent angioplasties over a 15-year period.  It found that those who participated in cardiac rehabilitation were almost 50 percent less likely to die within six years than those who did not have the rehab.

Rehab programs include patient education, supervised exercise training, nutrition counseling and help to quit smoking.

Medicare and most health insurance plans cover cardiac rehabilitation, yet it's estimated that only one in four eligible patients actually get it.

The authors say that if all eligible patients had cardiac rehabilitation, the gains in long-term survival would be substantial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Music Therapy Helps Gabrielle Giffords Find Voice After Shooting

Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- It has been two months since the Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and injured 12, including Arizona Rep.Gabrielle Giffords.  Now Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the left hemisphere of her brain, is finding her voice through song.

"Gabby responds to music because she knows a lot of songs," said Maegan Morrow, Giffords' music therapist and a certified brain injury specialist at TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston.

Since Giffords was transferred to TIRR on Jan. 21, reports of her singing "Happy Birthday" for husband Mark Kelly and Don McLean's "American Pie" have signaled what some have called a miraculous recovery.

"The brain can heal itself if you do the right protocol," Morrow said.  "It just needs lots of repetition, lots of consistency."

Protocols like music speech stimulation and melodic intonation therapy can help patients with damage to the brain's communication center, like Giffords, learn to speak again.

"It's creating new pathways in the brain," Morrow said.  "Language isn't going to work anymore, so we have to go to another area and start singing and create a new pathway for speech."

Music therapy was first recognized as a tool to aid soldiers returning from World War II with brain injuries.

"It was discovered that music was more than a diversion or recreational activity -- it could be incorporated into the overall treatment of an individual," said Al Bumanis, director of communications for the American Music Therapy Association.  "It could address non-musical goals in a very unique way -- sometimes coming in through the backdoor where some therapies can't."

Indeed, a person who has suffered an injury due to stroke or trauma may have difficulty speaking but be able to sing.

"Patients can be essentially mute, unable to utter a single word but put on the Beatles' "All You Need is Love" and suddenly patients can sing.  Substitute some of the words and now patients are speaking again," said Dr. Michael De Georgia, director of the Centers for Neurocritical Care and Music and Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.  "Music is very powerful."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Giffords Requests Toast, Some Experts 'Encouraged' by Sign

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HOUSTON) - Experts are encouraged by the sign that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was able to request toast with her breakfast, yet another advancement in her rehabilitation.

The congresswoman, who was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store on Jan. 8, made the request to hospital workers who delivered her meal on Monday at TIRR Memorial Hermann, the Houston rehab center where she is receiving occupational therapy.

"This shows processing and communication of a want or need,” said David W. Lacey, M.D., medical director of neurorehabilitation at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “That is a remarkable advance if this is the first time she has done this. That type of functional gain is important for long-term outcome if it did not exist before."

“If she is asking for toast and is allowed to have that texture, it represents not only self-directed behavior, higher level communication skills but also the ability to probably start to meet her nutritional needs on her own”, said Roger Knackal, medical director of rehabilitation at the University of Vermont. "Her recovery appears to be at an accelerated pace and ahead of the anticipated recovery curve given the limited knowledge we are given about her case.”
Others, however, say it is to early to determine what this may mean for her long-term development.

“It is impossible to interpret what this means regarding her recovery," said Steve Flangan, chairman of the Rusk Institute at NYU.

Giffords was transferred to the Houston rehabilitation facility on Jan. 21.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio