Category Archives: NEWS

17 Times Fitspiration Was Wrong, So We Fixed It

Fitspo, fixed. Inspired by this post and this Tumblr.

1. That time fitspo made you think that you only had two choices.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

2. That time fitspo made you think that the only legit or meaningful workouts take an HOUR of your time.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

You don’t need to spend an hour working out to see health benefits from fitness! Check out these nine quick total-body workouts for some examples of how to fit workouts into a busy schedule. High-intensity circuit training, people! It’s a thing!

3. That time fitspo said that you can turn into someone else entirely.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

People are all different, bodies are all different!

4. That time fitspo told you not to listen to your body.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Eat when you’re hungry.

5. That time fitspo suggested that cellulite is something you can just get rid of with some leg exercises.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

PSA: Skinny people get cellulite too.

6. That time fitspo told you to compare yourself to someone else.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Fitspo doesn’t know your life!

7. That time fitspo made you think that “rules” are anything more than just suggestions.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

8. That time fitspo implied that you will transform into a nearly naked chick in one year’s time.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Lingerie not included!

9. That time fitspo made you feel bad about your food choices.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Eat that cupcake if you fucking want to, girl.

10. That time fitspo suggested that you need to physically burn off every single calorie you consume.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Healthy eating isn’t just about counting calories.

(Side note: What kind of monster only eats one Oreo?)

11. That time fitspo made you think that fitness is about accomplishing a specific goal at the expense of everything else.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Fitness has different meanings for different people. Living a fitter, healthier lifestyle and occasionally skipping workouts are not mutually exclusive! Do what you need to do.

12. That time fitspo forgot about torn ligaments, pulled muscles, broken bones…and rest days.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Also worth noting here that rest days are an important part of the process, and you really should not work out every single day. Your body sometimes needs time to heal.

13. That time fitspo suggested that one body type is more attractive than another.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

14. That time fitspo was like, hey, here’s something we made up for you to hate about yourself!

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Also, FYI: Spot-targeted weight loss is not a thing. So you can’t tone your “saddlebags” away, whether you take offense to the term “saddlebags” or not.

15. That time fitspo made you think that a juice cleanse was a great way to lose weight.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

For the truth, read Here Is What A Juice Cleanse Does To Your Body. (Hint: Not long-lasting weight loss, that’s for damn sure.)

16. That time fitspo made you think that losing X amount of weight in Y amount of time was a) realistic, and b) a goal worth fighting for.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

For more about this, see 9 Ways To Lose 10 Pounds In Less Than A Week — Or Faster!

17. That time fitspo confused weight loss with fitness.

Carolyn Kylstra for BuzzFeed / Via pinterest.com

Fitness is for everyone.

Read more: http://www.weightchoice.com.au

These Products Might Not Get You In Shape, But They Will Get You Some Strange Looks.

Want to lose weight? Badly enough to spend your hard-earned money on these ridiculous products? Apparently, some of us do.

Getting in shape isn’t easy, so I can’t say that I blame them for exploring their options, but why go down these bizarre paths? While I’m sure some of these products do work, albeit in an unorthodox manner, it seems like the most exercise you get from most of them is when you return them to the store.

Check them out!

1.) iGallop – Strengthen your core muscles while riding this horse-less horse. Yeehaw!

2.) Walkstation – Perfect for those who don’t feel enough like they’re going nowhere with their career.

3.) WiFi Body Scale – This device automatically tweets your daily weigh-ins, so don’t even think about unfollowing your diet.

4.) The Slimming and Toning System – Vacuum cellulite away! Or at least try to with this sucky product.

5.) Mandometer – This product lets you know if you’re eating too fast… so don’t swallow your food whole.

6.) Taizo the Robot – Because personal trainers who don’t understand human emotion are too hard to come by.

7.) Gamercize – Participants must keep moving or else the game they’re playing will shut off. I hope there’s a pause button.

8.) Hawaii Chair – Try this at work and hula your job away.

9.) The Dumbbell Phone – Sure your weight might go down, but you know that phone bill is going to go up.

10.) The ABhancer – Yeah, man, you GET those indentations!

11.) Talking Hand Exerciser – If this thing says anything other than “I don’t respect you,” it’s a liar.

12.) Sit Fit Exercise Device – The only thing this exercises is your coworkers’ patience.

13.) The Europlate Vibraslim – You’ll probably burn some calories trying to figure out what this does.

14.) The Rock and Go Exerciser – For those about to rock, we shake our heads at you.

15.) The Peddler – Biking without any of the fun.

16.) The Gazelle Freestyle – Ponytail not included.

17.) The Neckline Slimmer – I don’t know if it will make your neckline any slimmer, but it will certainly thin out that wallet.

18.) The Bounce Back Chair – I’m for any exercise that involves sitting, even if it doesn’t work.

19.) The Shakeweight – I know you want to get jacked, but maybe tone it down a bit.

20.) The Free Flexor – Gross. Get a workout room, you two!

21.) Treadmill Bike – I’m all for getting rid of a bike’s pedals, but bring back the pegs!

22.) 2-Step Under-Desk Dancercise for Feet – Silently shuffle those pounds away.

23.) The Slendertone Bottom Toner – Call me when it’s The Slendertone Bottom Embiggener.

24.) Toning Shoes – Just because Kim Kardashian does something doesn’t mean you should.

25.) The Face Trainer – The only way to make that mug of yours unbreakable.

(via Distractify, Huffington Post)

If you’re going to spend money on this crud, you might as well just get a gym membership or pay people to tell you how great you look. Getting results is never easy, so if it sounds too good to be true? It probably is.

Share this post using the buttons below. Don’t let other people fall for these insane products.

Want to lose weight without even trying, with no weird products, and no dieting? Check out WeightChoice.

My Weight-Loss Surgery Didn’t Fix My Disordered Eating

Two years ago, I had bariatric surgery. I still can’t stop bingeing.

Jenny Chang/BuzzFeed

It was January 2013, I was a couple of weeks shy of my 25th birthday, and my BMI was over 40, the result of a lifelong addiction to food and a history of binge-eating. And after months, if not years, of dilly-dallying, I’d finally decided to seriously look into bariatric surgery. So I met with a doctor in a cold hospital room in Lebanon, where I live, to discuss my options. For an hour, he poked and prodded and checked for medical soundness as I stood self-consciously in my underwear.

His verdict was definitive: I was a good candidate. Knowing I would most likely change my mind if given enough time, I asked for the surgery to be scheduled the following week. But before I could go under the knife, I had to meet with a “hospital-mandated” therapist so she could assess my psychological state and whether or not I could withstand the procedure. She had me fill out a form, asked me a couple of questions in a laconic monotone, and concluded the session by informing me I was depressed. (Needless to say, this was not a surprising diagnosis.) Still, I was cleared for surgery, and so they sliced me open, stitched me back up, and sent me home.

Two years later, it’s 7 p.m. after a stressful day at work and I’m gorging on peanut butter ice cream in a supermarket parking lot, scooping it with my fingers with feverish haste like a savage who has no use for utensils. I stop after a few minutes, suddenly aware that people can see me and feeling like my reduced stomach is about ready to implode. I wipe the ice cream off my hands, my face, my shirt, my seatbelt. It’s everywhere. This is my crime scene, and I’m frenetically wiping off the blood, wondering what in God’s name I have done. As soon as I get home, I scour my kitchen for more unhealthy food to stuff down my throat. Unhappy with what I find, I take another trip to the nearest grocery store and load up on all sorts of carbonated, refined, artificial, and processed junk.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident. But despite getting the operation, my binge-eating disorder is still going strong. On any given bingeing day, once the valves are open, it takes tremendous efforts to close them back up again, and not even the nausea and stomach cramps can quell the flood. Today, I don’t regret my decision to opt for surgery, but I can’t help but feel like I should never have been allowed to have it. The crux of the matter is, I may have been qualified for it physically, but I was far from ready psychologically.

Remember, this is all taking place in Lebanon, a small and conservative country known to outsiders for its beaches, its food, its indomitable will to party its way through troubled times. But to locals, it’s not’s an easy place to live in. There’s the volatile political context, the perpetual economic slump, the propensity for sectarian strife, the lack of social justice. And then there’s the fact that here in Lebanon, where looks and appearances are paramount, plastic surgery qualifies as a routine procedure. Imagine conventional standards of beauty on speed. Fall short of these standards and you’ll feel left out, ostracized.

Lebanese society is only part of the problem. Unscrupulous Lebanese bariatric surgeons who operate on patients with only 20 or 30 pounds to shed are also part of the problem. The media is part of the problem, so is my country’s defective health care system. Pattern-repeating parents are part of the problem. Admittedly, I’m part of the problem too. I could easily gripe at length about body image, about fat shaming, about the fat acceptance movement, about the assumption that happiness is not possible unless you wear a size 12 or under, about the way some people feel entitled to comment on women’s bodies. I could argue that it’s all very subliminal and insidious, and that once it takes hold of you, you feel unbelievably foolish for letting it define you, but at the same time, you feel so incredibly worthless that you forget how to function properly.

But over the years, I grew tired of pointing fingers. Personal responsibility, societal pressure, social construct — I no longer cared. The “why” of my dysphoria did not matter. I’ve tried to rationalize it too many times, going as far as standing in front of my bathroom mirror and sermonizing out loud as I scrutinized my bloated face: “I am not defined by my weight. It’s not me, it’s society. There is more to me than a number on a scale.”

It didn’t work. I had the surgery on the very day I turned 25.

There are different types of bariatric surgery procedures. Some can seem pretty scary. There’s the band, the sleeve, and the gastric bypass, among others. I settled on a procedure known as “gastric plication,” which entails creating a sleeve by suturing rather than removing stomach tissue. To my highly skeptical mind, it was the option that sounded less radical, and less invasive since it would be done laparoscopically. All I’d be left with, besides a significantly smaller stomach, were five small scars scattered across my belly. No foreign object inserted, no part of my stomach taken out, no organ rerouted.

The operation went well, but in the weeks that followed, I could barely eat anything. I’d only manage to get two or three bites in before I was overcome with the urge to regurgitate them. Going cold turkey from eating, let alone bingeing, was really tough. I keep one very vivid memory of my recovery, in the weeks following my return from the hospital: standing at 2 in the morning in front of my fridge, longingly sniffing every possible food item I could get my hands on. Ketchup, a can of tuna, I even once took a big whiff of a tub of butter. The compulsion was as irrepressible as it was indiscriminate. All the same, I lost a considerable amount of weight in the first six months alone.

Two years on, I’ve more or less managed to keep part of the weight off, although the numbers on the scale still tend to fluctuate greatly and I have yet to confront my eating disorder head-on. Food is still at the forefront of my mind every second of every day, and my struggle with addiction is not made easy by the ubiquity of junk food that I so frequently crave. I live in constant dread that I might one day lose my grip, and that my bingeing habits will resurface and plunge me back into an unstoppable maelstrom of weight gain and self-loathing. Some days, it feels like it’s only a matter of time. Think peanut butter ice cream, an entire tub of it, every day for 10 days straight (my personal best).

I don’t mean to discredit weight-loss surgery altogether. After years spent shrugging it off as a last resort, a cop-out, I now realize that it can also serve as an effective way to jump-start the process, and one particularly appealing to people faced with the dispiriting prospect of having 100, 150, 300 pounds to lose. But here’s the big “but”: There’s also something fundamentally wrong with bariatric surgery, in that it only serves to “fix” the body and not the mind. I can’t help but notice that it’s being increasingly touted as the panacea for our modern, busy, hyperactive times. But it is not to be treated lightly. Tremendous psychological work has to be done first or at least in parallel but it’s often overlooked in favor of the contemporary truism that weight loss is all about diet and exercise.

By the time I had my surgery, I had 10 years of bad habits under my belt, and the resigned understanding that I was wasting my life away for the most frivolous and shallow of reasons. To me, that was enough. I’d put myself through so much isolation, self-loathing, self-indulgence, phony excuses, missed opportunities, a succession of last straws that never quite decisively snapped me out of my funk and spurred me into action. I thought I was ready for my life to start, and that all these years of misery had helped prepare me for the transition.

But said transition turned out to be excruciatingly long and grueling, in a way I could never have expected. I’m still trudging through, making every possible mistake in the book. One recent snag comes to mind, after a boundary-pushing, stomach-stretching binge: me sitting on the edge of my tub, pressing my thumbs hard against my temples, trying to rationalize what I was about to do, soliloquizing that this would never happen again, that Monday was only two days away, a fresh start, a way to get back on track with a clean slate. Feeling nauseated, my stomach about ready to implode, trying to muster the courage to go through with my plan. Then finally sticking a finger down my throat. Gagging, but only for a couple of seconds, and taking my finger out immediately. That was my first ever attempt at bulimia, and it ended in abject failure.

I doubt there will be ever a second attempt. But I have to stop evading the issue. At some point, I’ll have to learn how to have a healthy outlook on food. Losing weight alone will not miraculously solve everything, and I can’t keep putting my life on hold with that quixotic prospect in mind. Sometimes, it feels like only yesterday I was 15 and just beginning to turn to food for comfort, putting down the foundations for the wall I’d spend years erecting around myself, growing increasingly quiet, withdrawn, painfully avoidant in the process. Then I come to and I’m 27 and feeling like I’m at a standstill, fumbling blindly for the play button on my life, the wall still very much intact albeit carved with scratch marks from my unfruitful attempts to climb my way out. The way things stand, I’m either staring at the slippery slope of self-destruction or looking up at a towering mountain toward salvation. All I need now is to figure out how to start climbing.

 

Notes:

Willpower is not enough. Overweight people should NEVER  be blamed for their overweight because NO-ONE is overweight by choice.

There is one answer and only one answer to overweight, and that is to actually change the person’s deep-down food preferences so they no longer want to eat inappropriate food, or too much food.

And it turns out that’s quite easy to achieve.

Stop Buying Into the Superfood Hype. The Stuff You’re Eating Isn’t THAT Great.

A new “study” comes out of the blue every week, spouting the health benefits of the world’s newest superfood. We then see continuous news coverage for months on why this expensive, rare food is the cure to our ailments and how we won’t imagine life now without it.

What if we told you that what these so-called “experts” deemed a “superfood” is really a super fraud? It’s true. Except the story doesn’t end there. There are actual superfoods in the world if you know where to look! The people at Evoke.ie have put together some superfood facts that may surprise you…

Too long for you to read? No worries. These are the kitchen table factoids you need to throw in the face of that know-it-all Crossfit buddy of yours the next time they won’t shut up:

1. Quinoa contains a bunch of gut-irritating material that’s far from great for your digestion and, in fact, can be pretty disgusting.

2. Few studies have actually tested/proven that Acai Berries have any weight loss benefits.

3. Wheatgrass contains virtually no nutrients, and could never be called “healthy” for a person.

4. The world’s closest “superfood” is actually watercress. Not kale.

5. Bee pollen is actually one of the healthiest things you can eat.

(via Evoke.ie)

Now I need to make my emergency run to Whole Foods before they close. After all, where else am I going to get my daily dose of sacha inci seed?

Read more: http://www.weightchoice.com.au

11 Reasons Why You Should Start Losing Weight Right Now. Like, Right Now.

Looking good and losing weight is one of those topics that are always on people’s minds. We all want to lose weight, but it’s difficult to find the time and motivation. If you’re looking for that extra push to get you over the hump and to start losing weight, here are facts about being overweight that may shock you into living a healthier life.

1.) In 2011, Australian research found that, among diabetic obese men, losing 5 to 10 percent of bodyweight led to improvements in erectile function and libido. Health.com reports that this is likely due to the strain obesity puts on the heart and blood vessels.

2.) When you’re overweight, your entire system is out of balance, including the hormones that impact your mood. As a result, losing weight increases your well-being and decreases the severity of depression.

3.) Being overweight puts a burden on the adrenal glands, which manage asthma and allergies. Being overweight is also a strain on the respiratory system and can exacerbate asthma symptoms.

4.) A recent study on people who lost an average of 90 pounds after bariatric surgery found their complaints of foot pain dropped by 83 percent. Pestered by foot pain? Getting foot pain relief is great weight-loss motivation.

5.) Weight loss and arthritis have a strong connection to inflammation in the body. Some studies note that weight loss improves arthritis pain.

6.) A father’s diet before conception plays a crucial role in a child’s health.

7.) Excess weight may be associated with a wide variety of changes to the body’s largest organ. More studies are needed to understand how obesity plays a role in blemishes and infections of the skin. However, existing research suggests losing weight can improve psoriasis.

8.) If morbidly obese people are too big for conventional MRI machines, they are sent to Sea World to use their machines.

9.) Mental weight loss benefits extend even further, boosting memory. One study compared 109 people who underwent bariatric surgery to 41 people in a control group who lost no weight. After 12 weeks, the researchers discovered that those who’d had the surgery had improved memory, compared with the control group.

10.) The bigger you are, the more likely you are to suffer a heart attack earlier in life—12 years sooner for the most obese people.

11.) Overweight women have four times the endometrial cancer risk. This is likely for the same reason they’re at increased risk for breast cancer: Body fat produces estrogen, a hormone linked to both diseases.

Being overweight can be cured. You need to have the motivation to do it. Now get out there and conquer the world!

Read more: http://www.weightchoice.com.au

My Mother, Parkinson’s, And Our Struggle To Understand Disease

The doctors prescribe pills that cause uncontrolled muscle movements, mania, and hallucinations. Our family clings to storytelling in order to survive.

My father is always listening. He has baby monitors set up in every room, so that he can hear my mother when she needs help. Help to go to the bathroom, to dispense her medicine, to massage her spasming muscles, to bring her something to drink, to arrange her pillows, to turn the heating pads off and on.

I imagine my parents when my sister and I were babies: They listen, sleep-deprived, from the other bedroom. They know that eventually, we will grow up and take care of ourselves. Parkinson’s also has stages of development. Each year my mother’s body is more dependent on others for care.

I am home for Christmas having a beer with my father, a retired forester. My mother is sleeping. It is best not to disturb her rest. Dad asks about my new job. I tell him that I often fall asleep answering work emails from my bed. He tells me that he used to go to sleep listening for forest fires on radio headphones, so as not to wake my mother.

Now my mother calls through the baby monitor and he goes to check on her. I sit on the stone fireplace in the living room and leaf through a binder of monthly reports written by district foresters dating back to the 1950s, a collection of narratives that my father kept over the years. These days, my father keeps meticulous records on my mother, which he emails to her doctors at the end of the day. They are conducting a scientific experiment with multiple variables. Sometimes my father forwards the reports to my sister and me. They are detailed and thorough, but they are more than objective observations; they are a narrative about my mother.

People with Parkinson’s stop producing dopamine, a necessary neurotransmitter that, among other things, contributes to successful physical movement. My mother takes medication, which is converted into dopamine in the brain, but like most drugs, you have to take more and more to achieve the same effectiveness over time, and the side effects can include uncontrolled muscle movements, mania, and hallucinations. Most people associate the uncontrolled muscle movements of Parkinson’s patients with the disease, but this is actually a side effect of their medication. The effect is called dyskinesia. Without the medication, she might not be able to move at all.

Two years ago, when she was 58, my mother had deep brain stimulation (DBS); the doctors drilled two holes into her skull and implanted electronic leads. Before the surgery, I was curious: How would the doctors know to stop drilling before they hit my mother’s brain? My father said they would hear a popping sound when the drill got to the other side of the skull. The surgery left two knobs on top of my mother’s head like antlers. The electronic leads run from her brain, down the back of her neck, under her skin to a battery pack in her chest.

Parkinson’s manifests differently from person to person, but even within my mother, I have a hard time keeping up. Before Christmas, I stood in front of a display of sweaters, trying to decide if my mother would wear a small or an extra-large. The constantly changing variables of electricity and medication make her weight fluctuate.

For some time, before the DBS, my mother was on so much medication that the result was mania. She wanted to blast music, she wanted to dance, she wanted to talk, she wanted to experience everything, and her body was constantly moving. Visiting during this phase involved a lot of clean-up. Once, I left her alone in the living room for a few minutes, and when I came back, she was sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth with sheet music spread all around her. “We’ll pick it up later,” she said as she moved onto another activity. The only way to get her to stop talking and moving long enough to eat was to read to her. During this phase, my father read aloud during dinner.

Now my mother can barely move. She is in bed most of the day. Even going to the bathroom can be difficult. Not just getting into the room, but the actual process.

She is painfully aware of her condition and tries to keep her mind active, but it is difficult when you cannot leave your bed. Earlier this year, my sister and I took turns reading to her over Skype. I felt guilty interacting with my mother’s mind, leaving the dirty work of the body to my father.

I leave my father’s binder on the fireplace mantel and walk back to my mother’s bedroom. She is lying in bed underneath her hands-free reading contraption. She looks like a mechanic lying underneath a car. She looks like she’s fixing something. She is getting tired. It is too difficult to read. She asks me to take over.

I read aloud from the book: a memoir about lesbian sheep farmers. This is her second time reading it.

“Just a little quieter,” she says. The same goes for touch: She feels everything more than she should. A massage consists of running your fingers gently down her back. I feel like I’m tickling her.

My mother’s doctors say she is the most sensitive patient they have ever had. They have had a difficult time turning up her programming, because her body is much more sensitive than their other patients’. I can’t help but wonder if this has anything to do with our extremely sensitive emotional constitution — a hyper awareness running through my mother, my sister, and me. My sister, Rachel, almost died in a fire when she was 4. She was having a tea party with the neighbor next door and the tea was gasoline. I imagine the spare gas can in the garage resembled a teapot. My parents heard an explosion and thought I had fallen out of my crib. Rachel still thinks about my mother’s face looking down at her, bathing her later that week in the sink, like if she had died, my mother would have died too. These are the kinds of things we turn over in our minds.

Rachel comes home while we are reading. She says hello and asks if it is all right if she plays the piano. My mother thinks this will be fine. Rachel is a pianist; she is practicing for doctoral auditions. She does not play long before my mother says the music is too loud.

People often inquire if my sister, a musician, and I, a writer, come from artists. I usually just say no, but the longer answer is maybe. We come from people who listen and people who believe in stories, because stories are the only thing getting them from one moment to the next.

When I was 10 — long before my mother was diagnosed, and she was still allowed to drive — we got stuck behind an accident on the way home from school. My mother got out of the car to survey the scene. There was someone trapped inside a car. My mother was going to call for help, and she asked if I would feel comfortable talking to the man in the car while he waited. “But what would I say?” I asked her. “Anything,” she said. I told my mother that I was too scared and that I’d rather wait in the car. I don’t know what came of the man in the accident, but if I could change one thing that I have done in my life, I would have told him a story.

But it is Christmas and I am 29, cooking a pot of soup in my parents’ kitchen. I hear my mother’s voice calling on the baby monitor. Sometimes I think of my mother’s mind and my mother’s body as two different people. I forget, momentarily, that she has Parkinson’s.

I go to her bedroom, where she tells me that she is in pain and that she is not building toward anything. “As humans we need to build toward things,” she says. I think about what makes me happy: writing stories, working toward goals, learning, cultivating relationships. I think about the progressive nature of these endeavors. I think that my mother is right. I wonder how many weeks it’s been since she has been outside or days since she has showered. She has been hiding lethal doses of pills around the house. She’s on that ledge of not caring about building, but I will not truly be worried until she stops asking for stories.

My mother is underneath the covers and I am reading to her from the lesbian sheep-farming book to calm her down, but her medicine is wearing off and she starts experiencing “going off dyskinesia.” She throws the covers off of her body. Her arms cut through the air with fierce, uncontrolled movements. There is nothing to hold onto.

Pain Pill Use Drops While Heroin Overdoses Shoot Up

There is no longer any doubt that not only do opioid medications become less effective over time, they also heighten pain sensitivity, making the pain worse instead of better. However, as doctors crack down on the misuse of prescription painkillers, more people are turning to heroin — and dying because of it.

 

The number of people dying from heroin overdoses in the United States nearly tripled from 2010 to 2013, according to a study published Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In contrast, the number of deaths from painkillers over the same period leveled out, the study found.

“The fact that it tripled is clearly a big change,” Holly Hedegaard, an injury epidemiologist at the NCHS and lead author of the study, told BuzzFeed News. “Most things don’t triple in only three years — that is obviously a big concern.”

Though the rate of heroin deaths has risen sharply, the raw number of deaths due to heroin is still less than that of opioid analgesics, drugs commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain. In 2013, 8,257 people died as a result of heroin overdoses and 16,235 died from painkillers.

Between 2002 and 2011, an estimated 25 million people started using painkillers recreationally.

 

By 2010, roughly 12 million of these users had no prescription for the drug, but somehow obtained it illegally, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Others got prescriptions from so-called “pill mills,” clinics where corrupt doctors hand out prescriptions with little discretion. The biggest culprit was OxyContin, or oxycodone hydrochloride, a drug that is highly addictive.

In Florida — home to 93 of the top 100 oxycodone-dispensing doctors in the country — doctors doled out more than 650 million pills in 2010.

The numbers began to shift in 2010, when OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, reformulated the drug to make the pills more difficult to crush and snort. The Food and Drug Administration reclassified the drug as “Schedule 2,” making it harder to prescribe, and law enforcement got more serious about shutting down pill mills.

But these changes came with an unintended side effect: a rise in heroin use as drug users searched elsewhere for opiates.

“It’s a whack-a-mole sort of thing,” Andrew Gurman, speaker in the House of Delegates for the American Medical Association, told BuzzFeed News. “In response to this tightening supply, people have started to look to heroin for a cheaper and more available alternative.”

 

In 2003, there were about 314,000 heroin users in the United States. A decade later there were 681,000.

 

While an 80-milligram OxyContin pill can cost between $60 and $100 on the street, heroin runs for about $9 a dose, according to the Office of Drug Control Policy in Kentucky, which has seen a sharp rise in heroin use.

The drop in pill availability has meant that the demographics of heroin users have shifted as well.

In 2000, black people between the ages of 45 and 64 had the highest rate of deaths as a result of heroin overdose. By 2013, the group dying most was white men aged 18 to 44.

“Back in the 1960s and 1970s, typically heroin was the first opioid these drug users ever used,” Hedegaard said. “Whereas more recently, people using heroin have more likely started using opioid analgesics first.”

Even so, heroin is an equal-opportunity drug.

“What people need to realize is that this is a phenomenon that cuts across all socioeconomic demographics,” Gurman said. “Right-wing Republicans, tea party people, left-wing people are dying from heroin — white, black, Latino, everything.”

Addressing the current surge in heroin use will be far from straightforward, Gurman said. It will take a multifaceted public health approach that continues to target patients and physicians, offers sufficient resources for treatment and counseling, and raises awareness about safe ways to store medications.

“A lot of people might have drugs being stolen from unlocked medicine cabinets and not even know about it,” Gurman said.

Law enforcement will also be involved, but that shouldn’t be where most of our energy is focused, Gurman said. “We can’t just arrest our way out of this problem.”

Pain Management Specialist Perth

Pain Management Specialist PerthGood News and Bad News for Chronic Pain Sufferers

First the bad news. It is well recognised that some 80% of chronic pain patients get no or insufficient relief from their chronic pain treatment. When you read the article below you’ll see exactly why this is happening.

However there is good news also, because a new approach to treating non-malignant chronic pain is getting outstanding results, and you can read about that below also.

Pain Management Specialist Perth

New Chronic Pain Clinic Opens in Joondalup

Chronic Pain Clinic JoondalupNEW CLINIC USING EASIER, FASTER METHODS TO SWITCH OFF PAIN SIGNALLLING

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The Resolve Pain Clinic, based in Joondalup, Western Australia, has announced that a second pilot study and recent in-clinic testing suggests a new, inexpensive neurological treatment method can actually switch off chronic pain signalling, often in just minutes. This new chronic pain strategy has been found to be useful for a broad range of chronic pain types, from back and neck pain to arthritis pain, and even fibromyalgia.

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