Some proven therapy interventions for substance abuse

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An addict’s friends and family are often the most affected when they see their loved ones in a tough predicament. The reality is that a person in the habit of substance abuse will not typically bring themselves out of their situation and seek help. For the information of friends and family, Dr. Curtis Cripe shares some proven therapy interventions for substance abuse.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to lessen problematic behavior related to substance abuse. It is quite common in CBT to have awareness exercises that help the dependent recognize and anticipate situations wherein they are most likely to give in to substance abuse. In this method, the patient is taught how to remove themselves from such situations by developing coping mechanisms characterized by avoidance or self-control.

2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is mostly applicable to patients who have a tough time handling their emotions and entertain thoughts of hurting themselves, says Dr. Curtis Cripe. In this method, patients are trained to handle negative feelings or thoughts by accepting them as a way to overcome them. DBT involves other exercises that channel a patient’s emotions towards an outlet. In DBT sessions, it is typical to see a patient taking up yoga or some other form of kinesthetic exercise.

3. The Matrix Model

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In the Matrix model, the emphasis is on recovery from stimulant addiction, wherein the patient develops a framework for effectively maintaining abstinence. Patients in Matrix sessions typically are the ones who are trying to recover from cocaine or crystal meth addiction. In this method, friends and family members of the patient are involved in the process of recovery. The patient is even encouraged to become a part of a support group. In this type of therapy, forming a sense of self-worth in a patient is of the highest importance, says Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., has a professional and academic background that spans a diverse array of disciplines, including aerospace engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. He is the director of research and development at the NTL Group, which develops diagnostic and treatment programs for neurological dysfunctions. Visit this page to find out more about his work,.

How addiction changes the brain

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Many films, books, and videos feature the issue of drug addiction and it’s impact on an individual’s social life. Although viewers and readers see how illegal drugs affect a person’s mental and physical health, there is not enough focus on what happens to the brain of the person battling a drug dependency, notes Dr. Curtis Cripe, neuroengineering expert.

First and foremost, one must understand how the brain works. Many experts compare the brain to a computer. Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that the brain is much larger than a single computer, it’s like the Internet where millions of computers link to and communicate with each other.

If you break the brain down to its most basic part, you’ll find a neuron, and the brain itself is composed of 86 billion of them. Neurons communicate with one another to manage and control many things like moods, memories, and bodily functions. The brain cells message each other through neurotransmitters.

Now, drugs like cocaine and marijuana can actually mimic neurotransmitters, and they may signal neurons to start feeling certain emotions like pleasure, excitement, heightened senses, etc. The “trip,” this crisscrossing of messages and mixing of signals, may sound innocent and fun, but it can release a host of negative effects.

First, it will affect the basal ganglia, which controls motivation. Continued use will short-circuit this part of the brain to make the person feel pleasure from the drugs they’re taking. The drugs will also effect change on the amygdala, where stress response controls lie, triggering fear and anxiety when not using substances. Dr. Curtis Cripe also notes that drug addiction will alter the prefrontal cortex, which helps people think and plan. When this happens, most choices a person will have will revolve around how to get a fix. These are the common ways drugs will change the brain, aside from also inducing dangerous symptoms when the patient stops the use of these substances.

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Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., heads the NTL Group as its chief of research and development. The NTL group specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. Dr. Curtis Cripe is also extensively studying addiction recovery. Find out more about his work here.

How people can contribute during a global health crisis

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With everything that is happening in the world brought about by the current global health crisis, Dr. Curtis Cripe and the NTL Group continue to do what they can to help everyone cope with the dire situation. Writing and releasing a series of informative and educational blogs is part of their way of helping.

For today’s blog, Dr. Cripe shares two very important messages, which he recommends people should take to heart. These two points can make a huge difference in the world today.

Be responsible for everyone else.

While this may sound preachy, if everyone does it, it means people have each other’s backs. With the effects of the pandemic reaching far beyond health, people everywhere will need help in some way, shape, or form. Being responsible for others can mean simply checking up on friends or on anyone in the community to see how they’re doing. That can go a long way in today’s world.

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Appreciate the effort of people who help.

Every day, healthcare professionals are at the frontlines, with their jobs becoming exponentially more dangerous over the past few months. Other workers in different sectors of society are exposing themselves to COVID-19 as well, just to make sure everyone keeps living as well as they can. Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that these people are under a lot of stress, and showing appreciation for their efforts can make a huge difference.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the development of brain-based technology for healing and repairing neurological dysfunctions. For similar updats, go to this page.

Stay mentally strong during these trying times

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NTL Group leader Curtis Cripe explains that with today’s global health crisis, staying mentally strong is as important as staying safe physically. With everything happening in the country and the world, it’s easy to see just how difficult it might be to keep one’s mental fortitude with all the things that cause stress, anxiety, depression, and other unnecessary emotional turmoil all around us.

Fortunately, Dr. Cripe mentions that there are ways to stay strong mentally, which he shares in today’s blog.

People should keep themselves busy.

The most basic step in maintaining a strong mind is to keep it busy. An idle mind often wanders off. There are several ways to keep the brain active. Work for adults and studies for children are the main avenues of the mind. However, engaging in hobbies and games can also provide much-needed mental exercise for people.

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People can learn new things.

From the aforementioned hobbies and games to physical exercises and sports, to writing new blogs, Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that learning new things keeps the mind working and fortified. Some of the new activities people can pick up may also benefit the brain in biological terms, as they promote the effective flow of blood and oxygen.

People may try mindful meditation.

While not for everybody, the benefits of mindful meditation are well-documented, making the activity worth people’s time. Dr. Cripe mentions that meditation calms the mind, regulates breathing and heart rates, and is good for overall health.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., specializes in the creation of neuroengineering programs that diagnose and treat various neurological disorders. Visit this blog for similar reads.

How telemedicine is helping the fight against COVID-19

When people talk about the resources we have in fighting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy for us to forget that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are also part of these resources. We can replace surgical masks, we can throw away medical gowns. But once a doctor or any healthcare personnel is infected, they are out of the picture. This is why Curtis Cripe believes that telemedicine is such a powerful tool when it comes to fighting the pandemic. Dr. Cripe was asked to participate in a NASA-White House initiative putting together protocols for a national program in telehealth and telemedicine.

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Telemedicine is a way for doctors to connect with their patients over the internet. It allows doctors to see their patients via monitors from devices like computer monitors, tablets, or even camera phones. While this technology has already been used by other industries like online education, telemedicine is hardly groundbreaking. However, it does address two of the biggest problems when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients.

Firstly, it allows doctors to see (and see to) their patients safely. Even with all the protective equipment, coming into contact with COVID-19 patients puts healthcare workers at risk. At the end of May, close to 300 healthcare workers have already died after contracting the virus from people who are infected. Telemedicine allows doctors to see their patients, even if the patients are under strict quarantine.

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Secondly, telemedicine allows doctors to see more patients than physically going from one bed to another. In hard-hit states like New York, healthcare workers are overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 cases. According to Curtis Cripe, telemedicine can connect physicians to more patients regardless if they have COVID-19 or not. This ensures that people who do not have symptoms receive treatment as well.

Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and written two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. Dr. Curtis Cripe was asked to participate in a White House – NASA committee for TeleHealth/TeleMedicine during the COVID-19. His committee has been asked to spear head long term and on-going TeleHealth and TeleMedicine protocols and procedures that can be followed during the current and future Pandemics as well as TeleMedicine and TeleHealth even after the COVID-19 diminishes. Follow thisTwitter pagefor more posts and updates related to neurology.

Why do people get cabin fever?

Cabin fever is a popular term describing a feeling of isolation from the outside world. Imagine a movie where people are stuck in a cabin in the middle of the woods with no means of communicating with the outside world. Overtime, the characters in the cabin feel all sorts of emotions and things hardly ever go well. Medically speaking, Curtis Cripe describes cabin fever as having real medical conditions brought about by isolation. You may even have it with local governments calling for self-isolation and social distancing.

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The onset of the novel coronavirus didn’t give is much time to prepare. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. And the extended feeling of isolation it has brought has given many people cabin fever along with its symptoms. Its symptoms include restlessness, a sudden drop in motivation, irritability, problems when concentrating, sleeplessness or irregular sleeping patterns, lethargy, as well as persistent sadness and depression. As the lockdown and the situation persists, it is possible for these symptoms to get worse.

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Medically speaking, there is no recognizable treatment for cabin fever. However, healthcare professionals like Curtis Cripe believe that managing the symptoms is something we can deal with. Stepping outside can do you a lot of good, provided you follow strict social distancing and avoid touching objects. Doing mental health exercises is also a good way to keep your mind at ease. And, lastly, keeping in touch with your friends and family can help you feel less isolated.

Dr. Curtis Cripe was asked to participate in a White House-NASA committee for TeleHealth/TeleMedicine during the COVID-19. The committee has been asked to spearhead long-term and on-going TeleHealth and TeleMedicine protocols and procedures that can be followed during the current and future Pandemics, as well as TeleMedicine and TeleHealth even after the COVID-19 diminishes. The committee proposals have been accepted and is now moving forward Internationally with UN participation. For more reads on health, visit thisblog.

Known risk factors that may lead to dementia

Firstly, while getting older is the single, biggest risk factor for developing dementia, there are many ways to prevent the onset of this debilitating disease. The idea is to keep the brain in good health as we age, says neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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When a person hits the age of 65, the chances of brain cell degeneration, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, get doubled every five years thereafter, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is certainly an alarming thought and one that people should all be wary of over time. It is important to avoid extra stress on the brain should and to continue supplying it with both oxygen and glucose. Below are the top risk factors outside aging that people can do something about to fight the onset of dementia:

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Cardiovascular disease: Experts in brain science says that having heart and blood vessel diseases may accelerate the brain cell degeneration and cause Alzheimer’s.

Depression: Keep in mind that dementia and depression are often interlinked. In fact, having depression is considered by doctors as an early warning sign of dementia.

Diabetes: Studies have shown that decreased mental function is seen more in middle-aged individuals who are suffering from diabetes. This is because a decline in the blood-sugar control equates to a sharp drop in mental capacity.

Head injury: This is a given dementia risk factor. Even as parents protect their kids from hitting their heads when engaging in sports by making sure they wear helmets, adults should be more careful as the risk of head injury, and brain damage is much higher, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D. is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. More neurology-related reads here.

Beyond medicine: Therapeutic activities for people with depression that don’t involve medication

According to a national consensus, nearly nine percent of women and five percent of men in the U.S. are suffering from depression. And this is not something to be taken lightly. Depression is a major illness that affects almost every facet of people’s lives. Thankfully, modern medicine has found ways to treat people with depression. In addition to that, researchers and mental health professionals have developed various therapeutic methods that don’t use medication yet complement medicated treatment.

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Curtis Cripe shares some of these therapeutic practices below.

 

Reading and music

It has been found that reading and music can help lift the mood of a person. It has also been found that many patients suffering from depression have reported an alleviation of mood. There are, of course, a number of books and musical pieces recommended for this, as numerous studies have shown.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a more formal type of therapy wherein the therapist and patient talk in a controlled setting such as a clinic. This form of psychotherapy is often combined with counseling and goes through a number of steps, from identifying negative thoughts to coming up with a plan on how to change the things in one’s life to combat depression.

Do you know any effective therapies for patients with depression? Feel free to share them with Curtis Cripe in the comments section below.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., founded the Crossroads Institute, which developed telemedicine brain training delivery systems for children with learning disabilities and other developmental delays. He is the current head of research and development for the NTL Group. More neurology-related reads here.

What to do when someone is suffering a panic attack

A panic attack may not be as severe as a heart attack or an asthma attack, but the condition still deserves our full attention. A lot of people might think that a panic attack is just something one can easily brush off. Unfortunately, the condition is a lot more complex than what many perceive it to be. According to neuroengineering expert Curtis Cripe, a person suffering from a panic attack may show signs of excessive sweating, palpitations, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, shortness of breath, chest pains, or even a choking sensation. Here is what you need to do when someone is suffering from a panic attack.

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First and foremost, do not panic yourself. Panicking could make their panic attack worse. Speak to them in short, understandable phrases and try to calm them down. Ask if they are taking medication and if they have one on their person. If they are having problems with breathing, help them regain their regular rhythm by breathing with them and counting 1 to 10 slowly.

If you are not sure if they are having a panic attack, ask them. If they confirm your suspicion, try to move them slowly to a safe space, like an area away from crowds. Panic attacks may also be caused by an external stimuli like stress. If this occurs during a tense situation, do everything to forego all your current activities and focus on the person.

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Curtis Cripe also reminds people to be mindful of their words when talking to someone suffering from a panic attack. If possible, use positive messaging such as “we can get through this,” “tell me what I need to do,” and “it’s going to be fine.”

Dr. Curtis Cripeheads research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and written two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. For more reads on neurological disorders, visit this website.

Are outdoor games helpful tools in the battle against teenage depression?

Teenage depression is a serious problem. Over the years, studies have shown an increasing number of teens in the U.S. undergoing treatment for a number of mental disorders, with many of them being depression. And while Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group still urges parents to take their teenagers to specialists if they notice signs and symptoms of depression in their children, he also believes that for their part, parents can help improve the situation.

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Researchers have found a significant link between the prolonged use of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets to teenage depression. Several explanations arise from this such as withdrawal from the real world and the recognition of the virtual space as the real world’s replacement to cyberbullying and more. Dr. Curtis Cripe suggests that parents encourage their kids to go out and do sports and play games.

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While there are a plethora of amazing benefits outdoor games and sports may have on the physical well-being of teens, taking up sports or other outdoor activities as a passion also provides invaluable advantages for their mental health. What Dr. Curtis Cripe suggests is that parents introduce their teens to activities meant for groups. For sports, there’s soccer or Ultimate Frisbee or maybe even tag football. For other activities, there’s hiking and camping.

And the best part about it? Parents can get in on the action as well, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds – for their own physical and mental benefit.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group. The group specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. To know more about Dr. Cripe, click on this link.