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Gudrun Zomerland, MFT, CCPS
Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist
MFC #27617
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-575-8468
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Addiction and
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shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
internet pornography addiction The Dangers of
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teen drug alcohol addiction Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
teen drug alcohol additction Teen Addiction:
An Open Letter
prescription drug abuse Prescription Drug Abuse
windsor alcohol and chemical dependency treatment The Core of Co-Dependency
santa rosa counselor for depression and anxiety Co-Dependent Characteristics
childhood trauma and post traumatic stress support H.A.L.T.: A Self-Care Tool
family and couples counseling in sonoma county The Family Member in Denial
 

Relationships:

treatment for trauma from domestic violence and spousal abuse Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
attachment disorders in adult relationships Attachment in Adult Relationships
healthy communication skills in adult relationships and marriage Getting to Know Your Emotions
sonoma county marriage counselor Communication Skills for Couples - 101
treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction in marin county Differentiation, or What Makes Relationships Work
santa rosa psychotherapist treating depression and anxiety John Gottman's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
 

General Topics:

narcissism Rapunzel, Daughter of a
Closet Narcissist
psychotherapy for trauma Trauma: The Shaking Of A Soul
shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
narcissistic parents and conarcissistic children Narcissism and Co-Narcissism
counseling for sexual abuse trauma in northern california Sexual Abuse Guidelines
rohnert park PTSD post traumatic stress disorder therapy Book Review:
"Stop Gaining Weight"
The Body Never Lies by Alice Miller and Hidden in Plain Sight by Barry Grosskopf Is Forgiving Our Parents Necessary for Mental Health?
overcoming fear and phobia through psychotherapy Fear of Fear
counseling for gay and lesbian couples in sonoma and marin county Living with the Light and Dark Sides of Life

 

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Prescription Drug Abuse

by Gudrun Zomerland, MFT

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, especially among the elderly and teenagers. A lot of people have experienced illness or have had accidents that require drastic pain management at some point in their lives. In addition, an increasing number of people have experienced such severe states of anxiety or panic attacks that they have opted for medication treatment. Any of us can be in this position and therefore vulnerable.

Pain Medication Abuse on the Rise Among Teenagers:

Teenagers, even when not requiring medication treatment, have figured out that they can acquire whatever high or mellow state they desire by rummaging in their parents' bathroom cabinet. Once the supply runs out or fear of discovery takes over, the next possibility of acquisition is the internet. A 2004 study (quoted in a National Institute of Drug Abuse newsletter--web link below) found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin and 5.0 percent OxyContin, making these painkillers the most commonly abused prescription drugs among adolescents. Because of the easy availability of these drugs through the World Wide Web, the problem has been on the rise and continues to be so.

Pain Medication and Quality of Life Questions Among the Elderly:

The elderly are in danger of becoming dependent on these addictive drugs because they suffer in general from more chronic ailments requiring continued use of pain medication. Often the patient, his or her family and physician decide that the side effects of an addiction to these drugs are worth the relief that it brings the patient from pain and suffering. There is no question that this is a valid choice.

Addiction to Pain Medication is Self-Reinforcing:

However, for people who likely still have a substantial life span ahead of them it can be tough to wean themselves from the drugs. Once the brain has gotten used to the artificial interruption of certain chemical reactions, the pull for the medication sets in. Right on the heel of the pull for medication follows increasing shame because the person knows that a part of them has given up and given in to an addictive cycle. They have lost control.

Medical Establishment Playing Catch-Up with Addiction:

For those people who are unable--because of lack of skills--to use the internet another option to get more drugs is to have affiliations with several medical offices. Unfortunately, many physicians are either so overloaded with work or have not been educated enough about the potential for abuse or dependency on various drugs that they do not monitor the patient enough. A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at Columbia University indicated that approximately 50% of primary care physicians have difficulty speaking with their patients about substance abuse (FDA Consumer Magazine, Sept-Oct 2001--quoted from www.prescription-drug-abuse.org.)

Where and How to Get Help:

If you have the suspicion that a loved one may be abusing prescription drugs, inform yourself (see list of web links below) and start takings care of yourself. The fear of losing someone to an addiction is too much for most people and the support of others who are going through or have gone through a similar experience is invaluable. Al-Anon, even though for family and friends of alcoholics, would welcome you and so would Nar-Anon, for family and friends of drug addicts. The main thing is that you find people with whom you feel comfortable talking about what is going on for you. Individual counseling can be very helpful on this difficult path as well, especially at the beginning.

If you are the one who has gotten hooked on prescription drugs and don't know what to do, please give me a call and together we can explore your options. Couples counseling can help clarify concerns and options.

Gudrun Zomerland, MFT at 707-575-8468 or 415-446-5532.

Meetings for family members:
General information:
Useful for helping professionals since these sites list various medications and substances by categories:
 
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sonoma county psychotherapist Gudrun Zomerland counsels for addiction