WHDD Radio, With Janina Kean, July 28, 2015


I read recently in an article in the New York Times that referenced the American Journal of Medicine, it recently claimed that people with eyes of a lighter color were more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives. I was just curious on your thoughts on that.



Marshall:         All right now it is time to bring in Janina Kean from Higher Watch Recovery Center in Kent Connecticut with sober spotlight. We open up our telephone lines 1-855-747-9433 and locally at 860-364-5441. Good morning, Janina

Janina:             Good morning, Marshall. Good morning, Jill. How are you both?

Jill:                   We are muddling right along.

Janina:             Just ducky, right?

Jill:                   No. We don’t say just ducky when we’re not.

Marshall:         We’re muddling.

Jill:                   We’re muddling.

Janina:             Muddling. Muddling doesn’t sound good.

Marshall:         No, it’s not bad.

Jill:                   It’s not bad. It’s not as clear out there as one would like it to be.

Janina:             Yes

Jill:                   There’s just not the info you need to do what you need to do …

Janina:             To take the next step.

Jill:                   Rather than blundering

Marshall:         You muddle. You make progress, but you don’t know how much progress you’re making.

Jill:                   Which is an improvement over blundering.

Marshall:         Or plundering.

Jill:                   That too.

Marshall:         We do have somebody who has been very patiently waiting on the line. Hi, do you have a question for Janina?

Brandon:         Yes, thank you. Hi, my name’s Brandon I’m calling from Canton Connecticut.

Janina:             And, your name is again? I didn’t get your name.

Brandon:         Brandon.

Janina:             Hi, Brandon. How are you?

Brandon:         I’m good. How are you today?

Janina:             I’m good dear.

Brandon:         I had a question. I read recently in an article in the New York Times that referenced the American Journal of Medicine, it recently claimed that people with eyes of a lighter color were more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives. I was just curious on your thoughts on that.

Janina:             Well, my first thought is I didn’t read it, so let’s start with that. My second thought is I have no thoughts on that because I’m not sure that one has a correlation with the other. I don’t eye color which is determined whether someone is a risk factor to addictive disorder. I think that the risk factors are seeing in families if there is histories of any kind of genetic loading and that’s about the genes that are involved and the alleles involved in addiction. The genetic loading of risk factors are … I don’t know … I do know actually. It’s somewhere between about sixty to seventy percent is the risk factor in determining whether someone would be predisposed to addiction or not which is very very high. I don’t think eye coloring really has anything to do with it. Again, I didn’t read the article so I’m sure how they made the … I don’t think even if there is … It’s not cause and effect. Maybe some sort of correlation. I’m not sure.

Brandon:         Yeah, that’s what I was hoping. It seems like a skewed study, but in a big article in the news.

Janina:             Where was it published?

Brandon:         The New York Times

Janina:             Okay, where was it published in terms of scholarly publishing?

Brandon:         The American Journal of Medicine

Janina:             Oh, okay, okay.

Brandon:         Yeah, so I just thought it was interesting but like I didn’t necessarily see what they were getting at there.

Janina:             I was going to ask you if they made some sort of correlation, cause and effect, what was it that the article said maybe you could educate us.

Brandon:         Oh, well, I mean what I think they were trying to get it is maybe there’s a higher addiction rate of those with … I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t understand why they would say that because that just doesn’t make sense. That means when you have a baby and they have blue eyes you go oh no, you know, like I don’t understand why they would put that in an article like that. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, but thank you for your response. That seems nature versus nurture there’s definitely a large genetic component to addiction.

Janina:             There’s a huge genetic component and then if you have this genetic component that leads into environmental influences. In other words, if you have a parent who has an addictive disorder, now you have the genetic loading, right, but you’re also being raised by someone who has an attachment to a substance … Not healthy attachments to individuals, so now not only do you have the risk factor of the genetic loading, but you have the environmental risk factor. That’s your second risk factor, and even if both parents are not … Go even further than that. If both parents or one of your two parents are not … If either parent is not using substance, but either one was raised by a parent that was active substance abuser then the parent is now … They are going to reproduce the unhealthy attachments that they acquired in the active addictive family to their non-active addicted new family, so it just perpetuates, so that’s your second risk factor that will play into it.

If a child’s raised in genetic loading and say environmental influences, they are going to develop undo stress or maybe co-occurring because of that. Anxiety disorders, trauma, maybe major depressive disorder, so now you have a third risk factor which is a psychological risk factor. Then the other risk factor is if you have a young person and they’re growing up with genetic loading, environmental influences, maybe co-occurring disorder, in adolescence they may attach to the peers in their peer groups that are using substance for their validation, and then you have a fourth risk factor which is early [inaudible 00:06:08] use, so that’s how they really play into one another.

Brandon:         Thanks.

Janina:             You’re welcome Brandon. Thank you for calling us.

Brandon:         No problem.

Janina:             With your provocative question.

Brandon:         Yeah, I just didn’t understand it and I thought maybe … I think your response was great, thank you.

Janina:             Well, I didn’t read it, so I can’t help you untangle it either. Sorry about that.

Brandon:         No problem.

Janina:             Bye bye

Brandon:         Bye

Marshall:         I talk about complex problems of recovering from addiction or dealing with addiction whether you’re the person who’s addicted or whether you’re the family member or friend. That’s just a mini slice. It’s like opening up an onion. All of a sudden, everything falls apart and opens up.

Janina:             Right, right, there’s a lot of … It’s so complex. It’s so so complex. When I teach this in the family program at High Watch and they’re asking they want to know … “Was is … When I was three …” And you can’t answer it. It’s a very multi-dimensional disorder.

Marshall:         How do you deal with all those things? You can’t attack them all at the same time.

Janina:             Well, you know in the end as I say to the patients, Marshall, it doesn’t matter how you got there. You’re obviously there or you wouldn’t be sitting with me. This is not a bed and breakfast. This is a treatment center, so you have the disorder. What’s important for us as treaters to recognize at this point is their psycho-social platform, how strong is that? What do we have to do for them with that? Any co-occurring disorders like do they have an psychiatric disorders? If so, what are we going to do about that? Really actually also, how much has their brain been affected by the use and the pollution of doing substance, and what are we going to do about that, so you know how they got there in the end is not as significant as where they’re at now.

Marshall:         Then you take all those factors and you factor them in, and do you deal with the most base one first and build upon that when you’re treating them?

Janina:             The first thing you deal with is are they in withdrawal? Are they in discomfort? You know, when they present to you … Even though they go to detox facilities, detox facilities don’t adequately withdrawal patients. There’s a very short window and then they discharge them and they’re still in post acute withdrawal, so what’s critical for us as treaters is to make the patient suffer the least amount possible, or they’re going to leave against medical advice and go back to using their substance.

Jill:                   The other complication that we are noticing with Marshall is that many of the things used to treat make their own gravy. In other words, there are side effects to all of these things, and so balancing off and separating what’s what …

Janina:             You know, Jill, the use of medication to help alleviate suffering and its side effects and the use of that far outweigh the consequences of continued substance use.

Jill:                   There’s no question about that. Oh, no, there’s no question about that. It’s just teasing apart as you move into the phase of okay am I not sleeping because I’m medicated or am I not sleeping because I’m withdrawing.

Janina:             Both!

Jill:                   Right.

Marshall:         What’s interesting about what you said though is it makes it simple for people to listen. If you go to an emergency room with an emergency, the first thing that they’re going to do is to diagnose where your pain is coming from and knock it down so then they can diagnose other things, and with you it’s the same thing.

Janina:             Yeah, it’s making people more comfortable.

Marshall:         If someone’s in withdrawal, you’re going to deal with that and then go …

Janina:             It’s humane. It’s humane. You have to make them comfortable because if you don’t make them comfortable, they’re going to go back to the streets and use their drugs.

Marshall:         Absolutely, if people want to get a hold of you Janina?

Janina:             They can get ahold of me at High Watch at 860-927-3772

Marshall:         And, of course at High Watch Recovery dot com.

Janina:             Thank you.

Marshall:         See you next week.

Janina:             Next week I’m on vacation.

Marshall:         Well, then we won’t see you next week.

Janina:             You’ll see me the week after!

Marshall:         All right, have fun. Bye

Janina:             Bye

Jill:                   Enjoy

Marshall:         Janina Kean, High Watch Recovery Center with sober spotlight. Highwatchrecovery.com on the web.