Author Archives: kentang123

Four Successful Therapies for Long-term Drug Rehab

Drug rehab is a long-term endeavor which requires dedicated efforts from both patients and their addiction counselors. The short detoxification period is necessary for addressing the immediate physical concerns of addiction, but maintaining sobriety takes months of therapy. Thankfully, medical professionals have developed a variety of highly-effective treatments for helping people stay clean.

Unfortunately, most laypeople still think of detox as the main component of rehab. In order to better help those in need, communities must gain greater understandings of the therapies offered at addiction treatment facilities. The following are four of the most successful therapies for long-term drug rehab.

1. Evidence-Based Treatments

Evidence-based therapies are the most successful treatments for effecting long-term sobriety. These therapies have been repeatedly tested in controlled conditions, statistically verified, and government-mandated across the United States. The three most common forms are individual counseling, group discussions, and family therapy.

Individual counseling is the most critical component in most patients’ rehabilitations. Addicts work with counselors to uncover the deep-rooted personal issues responsible for their continued drug use. They also explore the specific life circumstances which make it difficult to avoid or deal with cravings. Ultimately, addicts and their counselors use these personal breakthroughs to develop coping and avoidance strategies for dealing with cravings for years to come.

2. Biofeedback Therapy

People who become addicted to heroin, meth, and other physically harmful drugs often sever their mind-body connections. They become unable to associate certain physical feelings with impending drug cravings, and this inability makes it nearly impossible to stay sober. To address this issue, medical professionals use cutting-edge biofeedback machines to help patients understand the physical warning signs of future drug use.

For example, doctors may monitor addicts’ heart rates and induce mental stress through a battery of personal or emotional questions. As patients’ stress levels elevate, so do their heart rates. They experience strong urges to use drugs to alleviate their stress, and they can thus associate those cravings with their rapid heartbeats. In the future, these addicts can recognize these warnings signs and take appropriate steps to mitigate their cravings.

3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches addicts that their emotions are products of their thoughts. By controlling their minds and thinking rationally, they can stay calm during emotionally stressful situations and suppress drug cravings.

This kind of therapy is particularly useful for addicts with control issues. People often use drugs and develop addictions when they feel a lack of control over particular aspects of their lives. By mastering their emotions through rational thought, addicts gain the ability to overcome the stressors which used to trigger their addictive behaviors.

4. Reality Methods

Reality therapy is also designed to address certain control issues. Rehab clinicians who use these therapies teach addicts how to recognize the differences between situations they can and cannot control. With this understanding, rehab patients can properly apply the coping and avoidance strategies they learn during individual counseling. When they are in control of their environments, they can take steps to avoid their addiction triggers. If they encounter uncontrollable situations, however, they can apply their techniques for handling stress and suppressing cravings.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, there is no time to lose. Click the links below to find a clinical drug rehab program that’s right for you. Addiction is a serious neurological disease, but you can build a better future by acting now.

Developing Effective Techniques for Managing Diabetes

The management of diabetes must follow a rather strict plan of action. In fact, truly managing the condition begins before an official diagnosis is ever received. Men and women who live the majority of their lives obese and inactive will be at a much higher risk for the disease. Smoking can also present problems later on. If people notice that they match up with several of the risk factors that can lead to diabetes, then they should work to get their lives under control as soon as possible. Through support from both physical and psychological specialists, they will certainly have a good chance at feeling better.

Diabetes management begins by gearing one’s attention toward the foods that are powerhouses of nutrition. Men and women may want to first concentrate on those foods that can be eaten without worrying about calories. Many different kinds of vegetables, including carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower, can essentially be eaten in any amount. Because many of these vegetables also help to regulate blood sugar, the circulatory system as a whole should appreciate the effort.

Unhealthy foods, on the other hand, should be avoided like the plague. People who want to keep their diabetes under control will have to avoid sugary sweet sodas as much as possible. Simple sugars tend to cause the blood sugar level to spike and then rapidly fall off, which generally exacerbates any already present diabetic symptoms. Likewise, fatty foods, including deep-fried meats, are not worth the price to the body as a whole. Because diabetes can lead to quite severe symptoms, it must be managed as effectively as possible.

Besides the rightly deserved attention to a healthy diet, men and women with diabetes may also want to join a local exercise club. As long as they work out even moderately, they will improve their overall bodily strength and ameliorate some of the symptoms. Those who have not exercised for the better part of their lives may want to hire a physical therapist to help them through the first days and weeks.

Testing for insulin is also important. There are test kits that can be had for a reasonable price. In some cases, insurance policies will cover these. Men and women may want to check with an insurance agent to determine how much of the testing cost they will be expected to cover.

In the end, diabetes can certainly be managed with some attention to detail. Once people have gotten into a routine, they should be able to develop some habits that they can continue through the years ahead.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not, nor is it ever intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice or professional recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician(s) or other qualified healthcare provider(s).

Preventative Medicine and Sports Therapy for Performing Arts

theatre is a wonderful form of entertainment and depends on performing artists who are highly dedicated to their craft to create the magic so often found there. The industry, however, is highly competitive and extremely demanding of performers. When people think of athletes they may picture football, tennis or basketball players or long distance runners. But like other athletes, dancers and musicians also experience injury and develop conditions as a result of their trade.

Professional musicians and dancers face common injuries like tendinitis, sprains, muscle strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, and other orthopedic, neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.

Think about the repetitive nature of practice and performance for string musicians, pianists and wind instrument players. It’s little wonder they often suffer from conditions related to overuse of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. Neck and shoulder pain is very common. So is pain in the hands. Dancers tend to face musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions involving the feet, ankles, hips and knees and are also more prone to injury regarding bones and ligaments such as the ACL.

For these reasons preventative medicine and sports therapy for performing artists are growing.

Occasionally chronic injuries and/or conditions develop as a result of incorrect posture, stress, insufficient rest and excessive force placed upon the bones, ligaments, joints, muscles or tendons. Passion that drives performing artists also tends to produce people so committed to the craft they often tend to accept a lifestyle of injury as easily as they’ve embraced the physical demands placed upon them. But the two are not the same, and injury left untreated can jeopardize a performer’s career. Performing artists who ignore early symptoms of an injury or condition and continue working, without allowing conditions or injuries to heal, aren’t thinking of the long term consequences to their body and their ability to work. Ignoring a small problem now can lead to a larger one later.

Preventative medicine and sports therapy for performing artists can teach them how to avoid injury and reduce the likelihood of a developing an unwanted condition. Performers can learn techniques for reducing force on joints by selectively strengthening and balancing the muscles needed to perform. Musicians can learn about how different postures reduce muscle tension produced while playing their instruments. Dancers who struggle with osteoarthritis in their hips and knees may receive Durolane injections directly into the joints to lubricate them, relieving pain and inflammation. Can you imagine how much relief this brings to a dancer otherwise forcing him or herself to continue dancing in pain?

Techniques that both dancers and musicians can adopt include warm up and cool down exercises, stretches, short breaks, adjustments in technique, use of devices and modified foot gear, massage therapy and more. Sports therapy professionals can work with performing artists to stretch and loosen tight areas and strengthen weak ones. Combination treatment options like injections in correlation with procedures for reducing inflammation and blood flow to a targeted region are essential restorative therapies which often remove the need for surgery.

It is not uncommon to see medical personnel from sports therapy clinics present at rehearsals and performances. These behind the scenes professionals can do wonders to support and enhance performing artists, helping them avoid injury and also mitigating injuries to avoid further damage. Sports medicine is a quickly evolving industry and medical advances are constant. Performing artists stand to increase their rate of long-term success by establishing and building a relationship with a good sports therapy clinic that understands and specializes in treatment of people in their industry.

Sound care now becomes an investment enabling performing artists to increase their level of pain-free comfort, physical strength, enjoyment and longevity within the field they are passionate about — and that many hope to continue well into their senior years.

Getting Insurance To Pay For Preventive Health Under The Aca

he Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that health insurance companies pay for preventive health visits. However, that term is somewhat deceptive, as consumers may feel they can visit the doctor for just a general checkup, talk about anything, and the visit will be paid 100% with no copay. In fact, some, and perhaps most, health insurance companies only cover the A and B recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These recommendations cover such topics as providing counseling on smoking cessation, alcohol abuse, obesity, and tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes (for at risk patients), and some cancer screening physical exams. BUT if a patient mentions casually that he or she is feeling generally fatigued, the doctor could write down a diagnosis related to that fatigue and effectively transform the “wellness visit” into a “sick visit.” The same is true if the patient mentions occasional sleeplessness, upset stomach, stress, headaches, or any other medical condition. In order to get the “free preventive health” visit paid for 100%, the visit needs to be confined to a very narrow group of topics that most people will find vert constrained.

Similarly, the ACA calls for insurance companies to pay for preventive colonoscopy screenings for colon cancer. However, once again there is a catch. If the doctor finds any kind of problem during the colonoscopy and writes down a diagnosis code other than “routine preventive health screening,” the insurance company may not, and probably will not, pay for the colonoscopy directly. Instead, the costs would be applied to the annual deductible, which means most patients would get stuck paying for the cost of the screening.

This latter possibility frustrates the intention of the ACA. The law was written to encourage everyone – those at risk as well as those facing no known risk – to get checked. But if people go into the procedure expecting insurance to pay the cost, and then a week later receive a surprise letter indicating they are responsible for the $2,000 – $2,500 cost, it will give people a strong financial disincentive to getting tested.

As an attorney, I wonder how the law could get twisted around to this extent. The purpose of a colonoscopy is determined at the moment an appointment is made, not ex post facto during or after the colonoscopy. If the patient has no symptoms and is simply getting a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer because the patient has reached age 45 or 50 or 55, then that purpose or intent cannot be negated by subsequent findings of any condition. What if the doctor finds a minor noncancerous infection and notes that on the claim form? Will that diagnosis void the 100% payment for preventive service? If so, it gives patients a strong incentive to tell their GI doctors that they are only to note on the claim form “yes or no” in response to colon cancer and nothing else. Normally, we would want to encourage doctors to share all information with patients, and the patients would want that as well. But securing payment for preventive services requires the doctor code up the entire procedure as routine preventive screening.

The question is how do consumers inform the government of the need for a special coding or otherwise provide guidance on preventive screening based on intent at time of service, not on subsequent findings? I could write my local congressman, but he is a newly elected conservative Republican who opposes health care and everything else proposed by Obama. If I wrote him on the need for clarification of preventive health visits, he would interpret that as a letter advising him to vote against health care reform at every opportunity. I doubt my two conservative Republican senators would be any different. They have stand pat reply letters on health care reform that they send to all constituents who write in regarding health care matters.

To my knowledge, there is no way to make effective suggestions to the Obama administration. Perhaps the only solution is to publicize the problem in articles and raise these issues in discussion forums

There is a clear and absolute need for government to get involved in the health care sector. You seem to forget how upset people were with the non-government, pure private sector-based health care system that left 49 million Americans uninsured. When those facts are mentioned to people abroad, they think of America as having a Third World type health care system. Few Japanese, Canadians, or Europeans would trade their existing health care coverage for what they perceive as the gross inequities in the US Health Care System.

The Affordable Care Act, I agree, completely fails to address the fundamental cost driver of health care. For example, it perpetuates and even exacerbates the tendency of consumers to purchase health services without any regard to price. Efficiency in private markets requires cost-conscious consumers; we don’t have that in health care.

I am glad the ACA was passed. It is a step in the right direction. As noted, there are problems with the ACA including the “preventive health visits” to the doctor, which are supposed to be covered 100% by insurance but may not be if any diagnostic code is entered on the claim form.

Congress is so polarized on health care that the only way to get changes is with a groundswell of popular support. I don’t think a letter writing campaign is the correct way to reform payment for the “preventive health visits.” If enough consumers advise their doctors that this particular visit is to be treated solely as a preventive health visit, and they will not pay for any service in the event the doctor’s office miscodes the visit with anything else, then the medical establishment will take notice and use its lobbying arm to make Congress aware of the problem.

COMMENT: Should there not be an agreement up front between both parties on what actions that will be taken if said item is found or said event should be seen or occur? Should their be a box on the pre-surgical form giving the patient the right to denying the doctor to take proper action (deemed by whom?) if they see a need to? Checking this box would save the patient the cost of the procedure, and give them time for a consult. If there is not a box to check, why isn’t there one?

There are two separate questions posed by the checkbox election for procedures. First, does a patient have a legal right to check such a box or instruct a physician/surgeon orally or in writing that he does not give consent for that procedure to be performed? The answer to that question is yes.

The second question is does it serve the economic interest of the patient to check that box? For the colonoscopy, in theory the patient would get his or her free preventive screening, but then be told the patient needs to schedule a second colonoscopy for removal of a suspicious polyp. In that case, the patient would eventually have to pay for a colonoscopy out of pocket (unless he had already met his yearly deductible), so there is no clear economic rationale for denying the physician the right to remove the polyp during the screening colonoscopy.

But we are using the much less common colonoscopy example. Instead, let’s return to preventive care with a primary care doctor. Should a patient have the right to check a box and say “I want this visit to cover routine preventive care and nothing more”? Certainly. There is way too much discretion afforded physicians to code up whatever they want on claim forms such that two physicians seeing the exact same patient might code up different procedures and diagnostics for the exact same preventive health screening visit.

When I expect to receive a “zero cost to me” preventive screening, I do not imply that I am willing to accept a “bait and switch” change of procedure and payment due to the doctor from me. The “zero cost to me” induces consumers to go to the office visit; it is actually paid for out of the profits earned by the health insurance firms to whom consumers pay monthly premiums. Consumers need to hold doctors financially accountable for their claim billing practices. If you are quoted a “zero price” for a visit, the doctor’s office better honor that price, or it amounts to fraud.

It is all too easy to find any little old thing to justify billing a patient for a sick visit instead of a wellness visit. However, it is up to the patient to prevent that kind of profiteering at his or her expense.

It would be wonderful if HHS would give carriers the proper code or specify that other diagnostic codes cannot negate the preventive screening code used for a wellness visit. That is not happening now. DHS has been bombarded with so many questions and suggestions for health care reform that the department has a fortress like mentality. So realistically, consumers cannot expect DHS to address the coding issue for preventive health screenings any time soon. That leaves the full burden to fall on each consumer to ensure the doctor’s billing practices match the patient’s expectations for a free preventive health office visit.

I investigated the web site http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/preventive-services-list.html and discovered some inconsistencies. For example, the site purports to list the services covered under the “preventive health” coverage benefit, yet it omits the annual physical exam. Also, the site states that colorectal cancer screening are provided for people age 50 or older. However, I have been advised in writing that United Healthcare will cover preventive screening colonoscopies for people under age 50. In essence, that government web page is a good start to learn about preventive health care benefits, but a better source would be each consumer’s own health insurance carrier. For those with temporary insurance or who are without any insurance coverage, unfortunately, the preventive health benefit of the ACA will not have any practical consequence.

Where will the money come from for the preventive health screening visit to a primary care doctor as well as the screening colonoscopy? We have to look at different scenarios. If the patient indeed has preventive health screenings with no other medical diagnoses, then the patient will be charged $0 for these services, and they will be paid for by the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will pay these costs out of its operating income or profits. There is simply no other source for payment. The government has not offered to pay the insurance companies for these services.

If the patient is hit with various medical diagnostic codes during these preventive health screenings, then he or she will pay his customary charge for the primary care doctor’s office visit and the contract-negotiated price for the diagnostic colonoscopy. In that scenario, the consumer will be paying most of these costs, although the visit to the primary doc may be limited up to any applicable copay amount.

It is not a big shock or surprise to say preventive health care is going to be borne by health insurance carriers. The extent to which these carriers can pass along costs to consumers through higher rates depends on the degree of competition in their markets. Ehealthinsurance.com advises me that for the vast majority of states, the insurance carriers have NOT been able to shift these costs onto consumers through higher rates. That may change in 2013 or 2014. However, the trend is clearly moving in the direction of more power for consumers, more options and carriers available to supply health insurance in their states, which means greater competition and lower prices.