On the Brain: Depression, Drug Addiction & Suicide

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated August 2, 2017

July had to pack up and go this week, sort of in a shame spiral as usual about the mammoth rise in sunblock sales. But it left behind some fantastic work focusing on the brain’s role in depression, drug addiction and suicide.

Definitely didn’t go unnoticed at Northbound. The brain’s role in depression, drug addiction and suicide is so essential to the treatment for co-occuring disorders (substance abuse plus mental health disorders happening at the same time) that we specialize in.

At the University of Virginia, they publicly unveiled the new online program MindTrails to train people to comprehend better, positive outcomes to many different daily scenarios. The goal is to curb “mind-tangle,” which can generate forms of anxiety and depression.

“People will see a variety of brief stories that are missing an ending,” said Bethany Teachman, professor of psychology at Virginia and the director of MindTrails. “We think that peopl who are prone to anxiety, depression and negative mood tend to have a pattern of thinking that things will turn out badly, and that can have really serious, negative consequences.”

Program users can access MindTrails for free using a computer, smartphone or tablet, and they’re encouraged to be on it throughout the day as decision-making opportunities present themselves.

Down out on the beach city of Townsville, very close to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a fellowship totaling over $150,000 was launched amid concerns that young Rugby players might be susceptible to brain damage specific to symptoms of suicidal emotions.

The funding was raised through the Tropical Brain and Mind Foundation and will go to two local psychiatric professionals for research. The foundation’s web site cites a 2012 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that suicide was the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

“The rate of suicide in some groups is 80 to 100 per 100,000, that’s about eight to ten fold bigger than the national average,” foundation neuroscientist Max Bennett told the Townsville Bulletin.

In west Canada, John Horgan was sworn in as British Columbia’s new premier and formally installed a standalone ministry devoted to mental health and addiction –- the first of its kind in the 150-year history of Canadian government.

Plenty of critics are weary about Horgan’s initiative to add infrastructure to government in this time of harsh economic struggle. That’s a separate issue … Horgan should be commended for looking at the province’s drug abuse crisis, particularly the recent boom in opioid overdose deaths, and addressing it as a mental health problem.

“People need to know they only have to ask for help once to get help fast,” Horgan said in a press release earlier this year detailing plans for the new department.

About Northbound

Northbound is accredited by the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

Northbound is proud to offer a full continuum of care that spans from detox to aftercare for adults and families affected by addiction and co-occurring disorders. We provide a variety of evidence-based solutions and multiple levels of care for helping people break free from addiction and achieve long-term recovery following treatment.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.