How Hugh Hefner Is Helping Break the Addiction CycleFamily Health
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
In an apparent attempt to protect his heirs from the ravages of substance abuse, the late Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, reportedly stipulated in his trust that if the beneficiaries to his estate frequently use illegal substances or become dependent upon alcohol or any illegal drugs, their rights will be suspended. And if an heir is suspected of abuse, he or she may be required to take a blood test.
If a trustee has been suspended, their rights to the trust may be restored when “in the case of use or consumption of an illegal substance, examinations indicate no such use for 12 months and, in all cases, when the Trustees in their discretion determine that the beneficiary is able to care for himself or herself and is able to manage his or her financial affairs,” according to documents regarding the trust.
Hefner’s intention behind this trust provision is, indeed, laudable.
Drug addiction continues to be a huge problem for Americans, and preventing drug abuse is critical to the health of our country. Peer and family pressure to not abuse substances is one way to reduce abuse. And creating an incentive not to abuse drugs or to get treatment as a condition of receiving an inheritance is one way to be proactive about drug abuse.
Other proactive steps that may be taken to combat drug abuse are being able to identify the factors that may lead to addiction and address them early. These factors include:
- A person’s living environment, including friends, social outlets and activities
- Family neglect
- Depression - either clinical or temporary
- Feeling isolated or lonely
- Peer pressure from family and friends to use
- Viewing substance abuse as not a “big deal” or being in denial about it
- Believing that illegal substance use or abuse of legal substances is “cool”
- A family history of substance use, abuse or addiction
- A family history of mental illness or disorders
None of these factors either alone or in combination guarantee that someone will move along the spectrum from first-use to abuse, but they do increase the risk.
It is also important to recognize the signs of abuse or addiction. Some of these include:
- Overuse of the substance
- Regular cravings for the substance
- Inability to stop using the substance
- Relationship problems stemming from substance use
- Slacking on daily responsibilities as a result of substance use
- Reducing participation in favorite activities in favor of substance use
- Spending an excess of time using or looking for more of the substance
- Continued use of the substance despite its negative impact on health
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit using the substance
- Using the substance in risky situations (i.e. while driving, operating machinery, at work, etc.)
- Developing a strong tolerance for the substance
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. It is considered a brain disease, because studies have shown that drugs and alcohol physically change the structure of the brain and how the brain works.
Notwithstanding, good nutrition plays a critical role in improving the brain and resulting behavior and cravings. The brain needs a consistent supply of nutrients from the diet on a day-to-day basis in order to continue to make neurotransmitters and perform optimal transmission.
Research suggests that changes in diet can alter brain structure, both chemically and physiologically, and influence the behavior of recovering addicts. If nutrient levels are not maintained and/or the wrong types of food are consumed, then neurotransmitter levels will decline and disruption of mood, thought and behavior and the inevitable cravings for alcohol or the substance of choice may return.
Vitamin, mineral and other nutrient deficiencies generally occur secondary to alcohol or drug abuse. As a result, comprehensive nutrient testing is always a necessary component of recovery. Testing ensures that the body is absorbing the right amount of nutrients from food.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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