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Remembering Glee’s Cory Monteith

Cory-Monteith-196x300In a tear-filled episode last night, Glee said goodbye to one of its beloved characters, Finn. It was a farewell episode and tribute to actor Cory Monteith, who died of a lethal heroin and alcohol combination in July 2013. It’s such a tragedy to watch someone, such as the talented and loving Cory Monteith, be committed to recovery, to go through recovery, and yet face repeated relapse or overdose. The question that many of us are left with is: what can be done to try and avoid this? What is missing in treatment regimes that leaves a person more at risk for this outcome?

Cory Monteith’s accidental overdose occurred months after he entered rehab, during a risky time for those new to recovery. An extremely dangerous period exists for those who have been in recovery but relapse. Without realizing that their tolerance levels have lowered, they often return to using the same amount they were before becoming sober. This can result in an overdose. Deadly mixes of drugs and alcohol can also lead to overdose.

And while the call to action to spread awareness about the dangers of overdose during recovery are important, we also have to take a closer look at recovery programs. A study published in 2000 by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that as many as 60 percent of people who undergo abstinence-only, 12-step programs, relapse within a year. Traditional programs offer the psychological, behavioral and spiritual support necessary for sobriety, but they fail to address the physiological aspect of addiction. In response there is growing support for drug replacement therapy or drug maintenance programs, such as Methadone. But the use of these drugs is complicated as they are addictive and difficult to detox from.

Withdrawal symptoms, cravings, depression, anxiety, foggy thinking, inability to handle stress, are all symptoms of a brain in early recovery. And it’s difficult to reach desired recovery outcomes with a brain that can take weeks, months or even years to repair itself. This is why addressing the brain’s neuroreceptor systems is important in any recovery program. Drug-free NTR immediately begins to repair damage done to the brain as a result of chronic use, leaving a patient with:

  • Minimal withdrawal symptoms
  • Eliminated cravings
  • Renewed optimism
  • Restored mental clarity and sense of well-being
  • Improved memory and overall cognitive function
  • Reduction in chronic or acute stress, anxiety and depression

Protocols such as NTR can work in conjunction with almost any recovery program. By addressing the physiological component of addiction first, we enhance a patient’s ability to tackle their larger recovery program and reduce their risk of relapse.

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