Beware of the Benzos

May 23, 2014

USA Today recently ran a summary of a SAMHSA report about the dangers of Xanax use.  Xanax (alpazolam) is a benzodiazepine antianxiety medication that, frankly, works really well for a lot of people.  That’s a good thing.  The problem is that many primary care physicians are quick to write scripts for the seemingly benign quick fix and they don’t discuss the potential dangers.  Benzos are closely related to alcohol, so I always caution my patients who are using benzos to totally abstain from alcohol use on the day of any benzo use.  The combination of benzos and alcohol are typically exponential in effect rather than simply additive (in other words one drink plus one pill yields the equivalent of three to five drinks).  OK, so you think that might be a nice way to get drunk cheaply?  Don’t do it… both benzos and alcohol are central nervous system depressants which means that they lower your heart rate, they slow your reaction time but what is most scarey about their combined use is that they also can slow your breathing down to the point that you stop breathing.  Don’t drink and use benzos.

Michael Heitt invited to deliver the 6th annual Distinguished Workshop Series at APA

May 20, 2014

DWS Workshop Series 2014I was invited to deliver the 6th annual Distinguished Workshop Series presentation at the 2014 American Psychological Association’s convention in Washington DC on August 8, 2014.  I am incredibly honored (and humbled) to be associated with former DWS presenters including Drs. Judith Beck, Bruce Wampold and Bessel van der  Kolk.  I will be offering a repeat presentation, entitled, “Managing Risk in Everyday Practice: The Ethics of Being a Psychologist in the Real World,” a three-hour, interactive workshop that I’ve given at Maryland Psychological Association’s Ocean City Institute in 2013 and at a Clinician’s Corner continuing education webinar through APA earlier this year.  Come on out to the DC Convention Center, have some hors d’oeuvres and discuss some tough, real-world ethical issues that psychologists face.

 

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