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Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson's Drug Abuse and Anorexia

Michael Jackson's drug abuse and anorexia are believed to be the causes behind his cardiac arrest. It has been reported that the late Michael Jackson barely had any food in his stomach when he died last Thursday of suspected cardiac arrest. Jackson, who was 5ft 10in tall, we are told weighed 112lbs when he died and that there were traces of undissolved pills in his stomach. Only 50 years old and access to the best doctors in our nation, we have to ask the question: "What is going on in America with prescription drugs and our desire to weigh as little as possible?"

An autopsy was performed on Jackson in Los Angeles last Friday where some say they discovered that Jackson's body was covered in needle wounds from his alleged dependence on painkilling medication. News reports claimed Dr. Conrad Murray (Jackson's private physician) had injected the singer with Demerol, a drug similar to morphine, just before he suffered cardiac arrest. But Dr. Murray’s lawyer, Edward Chernoff, said to the Los Angeles Times that these claims were “absolutely false”. Regardless of when Jackson had his last injection, the autopsy does not lie; if it is factual that Jackson had track marks, then there is a clear indicator that he was spiraling out of control fast. Drug abuse combined with anorexia is the perfect mixture for a quick and untimely demise no matter how great your doctor.

The LA Coroner's office said there was no sign of foul play or indications of external trauma, but Jackson's family has called for a second and independent autopsy. No matter what they find in the second autopsy, the fact remains that America has lost one of its greatest stars. Jackson's death has opened the door for everyone to take a look at heath care in the U.S. and the way doctors prescribe addictive and potentially lethal medications to anyone. At what point would it have been clear that Jackson, 50 years old and 112 pounds, had serious issues that needed to be addressed. It is easy to see that the star needed to be hospitalized and required extensive dual diagnosis treatment for his illness.

My heart goes out to Jackson's family for their unnecessary loss, I am also saddened knowing that all of this could have been avoided. His death makes it very clear that there needs to be drastic reform in our heath system on a grand scale. Please share your thoughts about this American problem.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction or a dual diagnosis, call Hope By The Sea today.

"Overmedication: Not just a celebrity problem
June 29: The late Michael Jackson had numerous health issues, including a reported dependency on pain killers. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, join Dylan Ratigan and Nancy Snyderman. Is overmedication a celebrity problem or a symptom of a “sick” health care system?"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jesse James Hollywood Testified Tuesday

jesse james hollywood alpha dog

Jesse James Hollywood testified on Tuesday, claiming that he did not order the murder of Woodland Hills' teen Nicholas Markowitz who he and two friends kidnapped off the street nine years ago. Hollywood stated that the decision to snatch Nicholas Markowitz was an impulsive one that he regretted.

If you are tuning in for the first time, Hollywood is accused in the murder of Nicholas Markowitz, who was found shot and buried in a shallow ditch in Goleta, California. Markowitz is believed to have been kidnapped because his older brother, Ben Markowitz owed Hollywood drug money. This case was the inspiration for the 2007 movie "Alpha Dog", where Emile Hirsch played a character based on Jesse James Hollywood. The movie also hosted an all-star cast: Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin, along with Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.

"I just feel terrible about everything that happened," Hollywood said under examination by his attorney James Blatt. "I feel terrible for the Markowitz family. I feel terrible that anyone would think I could do something like that." Hollywood, now 29, said he was scared of Ben Markowitz, who he claims left him threatening messages, poisoned his dog and broke a window. Hollywood stated that there was "no purpose or plan" when he took Nicholas Markowitz, he just wanted to find Ben Markowitz to settle the debt.

Over a two day period, Nicholas was taken to various locations in California and introduced to people before he was shot by gunman Ryan Hoyt, now on Death Row. Nicholas' body was found by hikers in Goleta. Hollywood testified that he smoked marijuana and played video games with Nicholas while they held him captive.

Prosecutors argue that Hollywood, after learning he could face life in prison for kidnapping, chose to get rid of the teen. We will see over the next couple weeks how the trial plays out. It is important to remember that when this crime was committed Nicholas Markowitz was 15, Ben Markowitz was 22, and Jesse James Hollywood was 20 -- three young lives radically impacted by the world of illegal drugs and addiction.

I encourage you to leave a comment about your thoughts on the trial of Jesse James Hollywood.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jesse James Hollywood the Alpha Dog

Jesse James Hollywood Alpha Dog

Jesse James Hollywood the Alpha Dog, is a former drug dealer and fugitive, currently on trial for kidnapping and ordering the murder of Nicholas Markowitz. The movie Alpha Dog chronicled the events leading up to the kidnapping and murder of 15 year old Nicholas Markowitz; Alpha Dog quickly became a hit having an all-star cast including: Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin, along with Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.

Alpha Dog hit home with Southern Californian residents and especially parents for its real life portrayal of the drug world and where it leads people. Prosecutors have finally rested their case against Jesse James Hollywood (born January 28, 1980), also known as Michael Costa Giroux and Sean Michaels, who is accused of ordering the murder of Nicholas Markowitz who he allegedly kidnapped to force payment of a drug debt. Prosecutors contend that Hollywood and others kidnapped the boy in 2000 in the San Fernando Valley to force his half brother, Ben Markowitz, to pay the $1,200 he owed Hollywood for drugs.

Hollywood disappeared after the killing and was finally arrested in 2005 on a Brazilian beach by FBI Agents. The trial was slowed down by the making of Alpha Dog, because during the filming Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ronald J. Zonen provided copies of many documents on the case and served as an unpaid consultant to the film, citing his desire to have Hollywood captured. Zonen prosecuted Hollywood’s co-defendants and was poised to prosecute Hollywood. Hollywood's defense claimed there was a conflict of interest, and the California Court of Appeals for the Second District ruled on October 5, 2006, that based on Zonen's disclosure of the files and consultant service—he should be recused from further involvement in prosecuting Hollywood.

After four years Prosecutors have rested their case against Jesse James Hollywood, the defense will begin calling witnesses today and a jury could begin deliberations on June 26 or June 29. Hollywood, now 29, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted. Defense witnesses could include Alpha Dog director Nick Cassavetes, who interviewed some of the witnesses, and Ron Zonen.

I will be following this case as the defense begins their case and I will keep you posted. The story of Jesse James Hollywood and the untimely death of Nicholas Markowitz is an extreme example of how the disease of addiction can impact one's life and one's family. Remember to call Hope by the Sea if you need help with your recovery, untreated addiction is always a matter of life and death.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Social Networking and Addiction Recovery

social networking

Social networking and addiction recovery are working together to help recovering alcoholics and drug addicts stay connected. The key to a strong and successful recovery has always been contingent upon staying plugged into the recovery community. Now, with Web 2.0 and our ability to network with people all around the world, it does not matter where you are; a person in recovery is capable of staying connected as long as they can find a computer.

Working the steps, going to meetings, and surrounding oneself with a sober community are three suggestions for success. Unfortunately, people can't always be close to their immediate support network; whether it is work related or family related, traveling is an inevitable part of life. Cell phones do not work everywhere you go, but, in the 21st century there is Internet everywhere. Just about all local businesses cater to the public by providing WiFi for their patrons. This allows anyone in the recovery community to maintain communication with their local network from thousands of miles away.

The Internet may be one of your strongest allies in the fight to stay sober and taking advantage of it could be what stands between you and your next drink or drug. Here is a list of some social networking websites that may interest you and your support network. They are available for you to sign up for:


At these websites anonymity is just as important as it is in the program of recovery. They offer different types of memberships, so you can choose what suits you. They host online group meetings where you can talk about what's going on with you. The ability to share (if you choose) your blogs, messages, and videos is available as well. Find what will work for you and give it a chance, who knows what you might find?

Like the other sites listed above, our Hope by the Sea blog is made available as a tool for our alumni and the recovering community in general to stay connected and informed. Let us hear your thoughts about social networking and recovery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Literally, "Red Bull Gives You Wings"

red bull cocaine
Literally, "Red Bull Gives You Wings"! Officials at the Center for Food Safety said a laboratory analysis found tiny amounts of the illegal drug Cocaine in samples of "Red Bull Cola", "Red Bull Sugar-free" and "Red Bull Energy Drink", a spokesman said. The traces were between 0.1 and 0.3 micrograms of the illegal drug per liter.

Energy drinks have always raised a lot of controversy in the Drug and Alcohol recovery field. People attempting to better their lives and recover from years of addiction have been cautioned by doctors about drinking energy drinks for some time now. Red Bull, whose advertising slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings", was founded by an Austrian toothpaste salesman Dietrich Mateschitz in the 1980s. Energy drinks affect many of the same receptors in the brain as cocaine and methamphetamine. It makes sense for people in recovery to stay as far away from things like energy drinks that have the ability to trick your brain into thinking it is getting high.

Hong Kong Officials found traces of cocaine in cans of Red Bull, a few days after Taiwanese authorities confiscated close to 18,000 cases of the popular energy drink. The drink has now been taken off the shelves of major supermarkets, the spokesman said in a statement issued late Monday. He added the amount of cocaine found in the drinks posed little health danger. This may not matter to people who have never struggled with addiction, but to those who have, this should raise a lot of concerns and should be all you need to know; just because Red Bull does not contain enough cocaine to get you high, doesn't mean that it will not stimulate your brain in negative ways. The question then, is drinking Red Bull or energy drinks of any kind worth it?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brain Health - Depression

I Found this Article in My Save Section of my computer on Brain health and Depression I present this for your information 
Ernie orange county Calif

Twenty people out of 100 experience some form of depression during their lifetime.  With this high prevalence, we need to better understand this often misunderstood disease.  We have reviewed the chemical imbalance occurring in the brain of depressed people.  Low levels of essential chemicals necessary for brain cell function, such as serotonin, can result in depression.  In addition to chemical imbalance, the brains of depressed people demonstrate decreased blood flow through the frontal lobe, further impairing normal brain activity. 

Several lifestyle factors can worsen or improve the illness of depression.  Nutrition is one factor.  However, diet is not the only way to increase serotonin in the brain.  Exercise raises brain serotonin and increases blood flow through the brain.  Multiple research studies show exercise helps to reduce mild to moderate depression.  Muscle movement (motor activity) increases the stimulation rate of serotonin neurons, increasing the release and synthesis of serotonin.  Also, Remember the brain cannot produce serotonin unless the protein tryptophan is available.  Exercise increases the presence of tryptophan in the brain.  The increased presence of tryptophan persists even after exercise is completed.r
The most consistent effect of increased serotonin and increased blood flow through the brain is seen when regular exercise includes aerobic exercise.  Aerobic exercise requires the use of large muscle groups in a rhythmic motion, such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling.  The recommended minimum length is 30 minutes at least three times a week.

Exposure to bright light is a second possible approach to increasing serotonin without drugs.  Abundant evidence exists on the beneficial effect of bright light exposure in healthy individuals.  There is an interaction between bright light and the serotonin system.  A positive correlation exists between serotonin synthesis and the hours of sunlight.  Since outdoor light is more intense than normal indoor light, 30 minutes being outdoors in the sunlight is recommended.  Maybe you are concerned about the damage of the sun to the skin.  However, to reap the benefits of sunlight, the only body part that needs to be exposed is the eyes.  For example, you could sit on a patio or take a hike using protective clothing and still receive the benefits from sunlight.

Increasing evidence demonstrates what we choose to think about can also alter brain biochemistry.  Numerous studies have shown that alterations in though – such as self-induced mood changes, therapeutic counseling and meditation – can increase blood flow through the frontal lobe of the brain.

Happiness and well-being are important factors in protecting against mental and physical disorders.  Recent studies have shown negative emotions were associated with increased incidence of depression.  Positive emotions protected against depression.

A person’s mood also influences social relationships.  Positive emotions and agreeableness nurture social relationships with others, resulting in higher levels of social support.  Low social support is associated with higher levels of stress and depression, as well as increased illnesses and death from many medical illnesses.
Let’s end this discussion on depression by putting all the lifestyle factors together into a spiritual package.  Research has demonstrated an inner religious experience effective in recovery from depression.  However, an external religious activity was not as effective.

Spiritual food for the brain through Scripture study, meditation and prayer should be taken on a regular basis with the inner convicted purpose of knowing God better. These daily spiritual exercises need to be done with a true inner desire, rather than just going through the forms of religion.  Being exposed to the Light of the World will increase our self-worth and our sense of mission to others.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Take #10 What is GroupTherapy?

Group therapy is geared toward understanding and finding a resolution to the faulty belief systems and root causes of substance abuse within the context of a group of peer. Some of the groups are gender specific to meet the specific needs of the client. Generally, individuals believe that they are the only one that has been abused, neglected or mistreated.  When they talk about the issues among peers and with trained therapists, they are able to see and hear how others in the “same program” are resolving issues.  This allows the client to give and receive peer support while simultaneously knowing that they are not alone, thereby helping to alleviate feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Group  sessions are facilitated by a licensed personnel.

My Take #8 What is the best way to begin to normalize the dysregulated brain function and allow the person to regain some behavioral control over the use of the addicting substances?My Take #8

The best way to provide a successful result is a residential treatment program. The program begins with a medical assessment before the detoxification begins. The purpose of the detoxification to remove the drugs that are acting on the mesolimbic dopamine system (MLS). Slowly there is fleeting control changes giving back the power to the fore brain (thus the decision make become more normal). 
 Many treatment options are available, and are individualized to fit your recovery needs.  Stopping active addiction is just the beginning.  Recovery is a process of healing the mind, body and spirit.  Our program covers a wide variety of therapeutic areas and techniques designed to get you back into living a happy, clean, and sober lifestyle. For instance gym workouts and groups at the beach in the sunshine allow the nature body chemicals to begin to help take back the brain. Time is the great restorer. Slowly the forebrain gains mental clarity and the loving descent law abiding person returns. This is the beginning stages of getting “CHOICE” back into the equation relating to substance abuse. We use multiple disciplines to help the individual complete the process of early recovery. The process is healing the mind, body and spirit.
Our Goal is to resolve the core psychological problems that trigger the use of the substances. Thus, we provide psychological counseling in one-on-one and group settings through the utilization of the latest advances in Addiction Medicine, individual and group counseling, immersion in 12-Step recovery principles, long term continuing care planning, patients find that full recovery is more than just a possibility.
We teach an understanding of how and why the midbrain Hi-jacks the person away from “the seat of all that we are” in the fore brain. Teach techniques to control the ‘Cravings” that every addicted person has when they are becoming clean and sober. Time and good recovery tools leads to a less intense craving
Ernie @ Hope By The Sea

A Balanced Fulfilling Life After Addiction


Hope By The Sea has developed one of the most powerful methods of helping clients learn how to make choices that create an effective, balanced and fulfilling life. We will help you clarify and authenticate you, so that you will have a loving, wise and passionate life.  Hope By The Sea is a place to heal from Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other symptoms that have taken over your life, affected your relationships, interfered with your ability to work efficiently, created distance and turmoil with the people you love, in general, caused you grief.  There is HOPE.  You can resolve these issues, as all these symptoms are treatable.                                                              
We understand the disease of addiction’s neurobiology and that the pathology is reversible. Our Program addresses the mid-brain (the survival brain) neurochemistry as well as restoring the dominance of the fore brain (the loving descent law abiding brain).   Various techniques are used to restore the fore brain dominance and to provide tool for the client to deal with the physical and psychological stresses that life brings. 
Ernie Co-Founder of Hope By The Sea

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