Category Archives: In the News

Dangers of Alcohol and Energy Drinks

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Most people realize that mixing alcohol and energy drinks is not a good idea. However, they don’t usually recognize just how dangerous it can be. The more research that is done in regards to alcohol and energy drinks, the more we understand the toxic relationship between the two.

Let’s discuss the most current research on mixed beverages and why researchers are concerned for the safety and well-being of young and underage drinkers.

Mixing Drinks is Linked to Risky, Reckless Behavior

On its own, drinking too much alcohol can lead to reckless behavior, alcohol poisoning or death. Energy drinks have their own share of problems, ranging from too much caffeine and sugar and the addition of ingredients like taurine.

According to research published in the online journal Nutrition Reviews, combining alcohol and energy drinks is much riskier than drinking alcohol alone. Consumption of mixed beverages among young drinkers, compared to alcohol straight, is associated with higher rates of binge drinking, impaired driving, risky sexual behavior and a risk for alcohol dependence.

Another meta-analysis of 13 studies published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concluded that people who mix energy drinks and alcohol have a higher risk of injury from car accidents and fights compared to those who drink alcohol alone. Underage drinkers who mix their beverages also have double the risk of committing or experiencing sexual assault compared to young people who drink alcohol straight.

Combining Energy Drinks and Alcohol Has Psychological Effects, Too

Researchers are also discovering that there are psychological effects to consider when mixing alcohol and energy drinks. An experiment was conducted by INSEAD Business School, the University of British Columbia and the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. What researchers found was incredible. People who drink mixed beverages feel stronger effects of intoxication.

In the experiment, 154 young men were given the same drink but with different ingredients: Red Bull and vodka, vodka cocktail or fruit juice cocktail. Participants who drank what they believed to be Red Bull and vodka were more likely to feel intoxicated. This goes against the belief that mixing energy drinks with alcohol could mask the effects. However, what concerns researchers is that these beliefs could somehow encourage risky or reckless behavior.


There is nothing good about drinking energy drinks. They are loaded with caffeine, sugar and other ingredients and marketed to children and teens. When combined with alcohol, the dangers for risky behavior and health complications skyrocket. With no nutritional value and a wide range of effects, energy drinks should be avoided at all costs and never mixed with alcohol.

The River Source is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery to our rehabilitation program.

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March, 27, 2017, (Mesa, Arizona) –

The River Source is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery to our rehabilitation program. On March 14th 2017 , The River Source  integrated this groundbreaking virtual reality (VR) program designed to help reduce recidivism and improve overall outcomes for inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Developed by Dr. Phil McGraw and Jay McGraw, and recently introduced on his #1 rated national talk show, Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery VR program will add an influence to our patients lives in the form of Dr. Phil himself –his distinctive voice delivered from exclusive locations that our patients would never normally have access to, including on-stage at his show and sitting with him in his private office. With more than 45 years of experience working in the mental health profession and addiction recovery, Dr. Phil understands like no one else what it takes for someone to make a drastic change in the direction of their life. 

 As a complement to our current drug and alcohol substance abuse program, The River Source believes this program will put our facility at the forefront of virtual reality technology in healthcare. We are proud to add this tool to our counselors’ arsenal.

About Dr. Phil McGraw:

Dr. Phil McGraw, perhaps the most well-known mental health professional in the world, is the host of the leader in daytime talk, Dr. Phil. Launched in 2002, Dr. Phil provides the most comprehensive forum on mental health issues in the history of television.  For 15 years, Dr. Phil McGraw has used the show’s platform to make psychology accessible and understandable to the general public by addressing important personal and social issues.

With a strong commitment to research, and the assistance of leading scholars and behavioral scientists, Dr. Phil McGraw educates viewers about state-of-the-art and evidence-based treatment options for many of the most challenging problems faced by individuals, couples and families. His unique dedication to families and children is legend to the millions of people around the world who watch his show and read his books.  Dr. Phil’s work was recognized by the American Psychological Association in 2006 as they honored him with a presidential citation. Dr. Phil McGraw is the author of nine #1 New York Times bestsellers, published in 39 languages, with over 33 million copies in print.  

Dr. Phil earned a B.A. from Midwestern State University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas, which was followed by a year of post-doctoral training in Forensic Psychology at The Wilmington Institute.  

About Jay McGraw:

Jay McGraw is the Emmy® Award-winning creator and executive producer of the syndicated series The Doctors, as well as president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Stage 29 Productions. 

Jay McGraw is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Doctor on Demand, the successful tele-medicine app that has changed the way people interact with doctors. The app allows fast, easy and cost-effective video visit access to some of the best doctors, psychologists, and other healthcare providers in the country. He is also CEO of Ghost Mountain Books, Inc., a publishing company that specializes in health, wellness and lifestyle authors and content that has released numerous bestselling titles since its launch in 2012. He is also a #1 New York Times bestselling author, having penned six books. Jay holds a law degree from Southern Methodist University and a psychology degree from University of Texas.

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New Press Release Featuring The Launch Of Our Women’s Only Program

One of Arizona’s leading drug and alcohol addiction recovery centers, The River Source, has announced the creation of an all-new residential treatment program that specifically caters to women. The new program will be located in downtown Mesa, Arizona, the third-largest city in the state.

The River Source Women's Program Press Release“We’re excited to offer our unique model of healing to an exclusively female audience,” The River Source CEO Phill Westbrooks said. “Studies show that women are more likely to complete a treatment program within a single-gender environment. Plus, this program will allow us to provide some services that aren’t available at our co-ed adult residential facility in Arizona City.”

In addition to integrative medical detox and holistic therapy services, the new program for women 18 years and older will include accommodations for pregnant mothers, as well as couples treatment and family therapy sessions. The women-only compound in Mesa features such amenities as a yoga ramada, dry sauna, basketball hoop, outdoor fire pit, lounge area with television, quiet seating areas and beautiful desert landscaping.

“We chose the Mesa location because of its year-round warm weather, sunny skies and great views of the nearby mountains,” Westbrooks said. “Hiking excursions will be offered as part of our holistic therapy services, since exercise is a key component of healing and recovery.”

The River Source accepts clients who live in Arizona and all over the nation, offering customized recovery plans and the ability to treat co-occurring disorders. Located roughly 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the new women’s program will house clients for up to 90 days. The River Source also offers a recovery guarantee, meaning if any client completes 90 consecutive days of inpatient treatment or the Full Continuum of Care and relapses within one year, they can return to The River Source for additional treatment free of charge.

Founded in 2003, The River Source also boasts a co-ed residential treatment facility in Arizona City (about an hour’s drive from the women’s facility) and an intensive outpatient center near downtown Mesa.

Learn More About Our Women’s Only Treatment Program

Revived to life: A Case of Methadone Detox

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Revived to Life: A Case of Methadone Detox (Chad Goetz, ND), as seen in Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, December, 2008 Issue

With dazed eyes, a dribbling of saliva coming out of her half-opened mouth, a greatly disheveled appearance and extreme tooth decay, all 84 pounds of Shannon slowly shuffled into the clinic at The River Source Naturopathic Treatment Center in March of 2007 as a last ditch effort to help break her devastating cycle of opiate dependency. Just a few short hours earlier, she had been discharged from a local Phoenix, Arizona area hospital for bilateral pneumonia, with additional diagnoses of malnutrition, depression, anxiety, heart palpitations, hyperthyroidism, and opiate withdrawal. Having unsuccessfully attempted to get off of the powerful and long-acting opiate methadone at local community detox facility prior to her admission to the hospital, her family researched the alternatives and discovered The River Source. Upon hospital discharge they brought her directly to us for detoxification and treatment. Admittedly, I had great trepidation to accept her as a patient upon seeing her extremely ill state, and yet in that moment I knew that if something was not done for her that the possibility that she would die within the ensuing weeks was very high, as neither the hospital nor the detox facility had afforded her the level and type of care that she really needed to be given a new lease on life. My colleague Dr. Dave Arneson, N.D., who also worked at The River Source at that time, and with whom I shared the responsibility of treating Shannon during her stay, later commented that it was by far the worst case of a methadone withdrawal he had ever seen.

Medication overload and adjustment, the allopathic standpoint

Such was the initial introduction I had to Shannon, a 35 y/o female who had a 5 year history of opiate use which began with prescriptions of oxycodone and morphine by her physician for the treatment of fibromyalgia which was diagnosed in 2001. At the height of using these medications, she was taking 60mg of oxycodone BID along with 15mg of instant-release morphine about every 3 hours for breakthrough pain. Because of this regimen, opiate dependency quickly became an issue as her daily routine began revolving solely around the use of the medications. She eventually lost her job and friends and became, in her words, a hermit—living alone in her apartment, rarely venturing out unless absolutely necessary. Eventually the oxycodone and morphine combination was abandoned when she was switched over to the extremely potent opiate methadone—dosed at 160mg per day over the course of two years before coming to the realization that she wanted more out of life.

Shannon came to us on the following oral medication regimen which was initiated by her hospital physicians: Effexor XR 75mg QD for depression, Buspar 15mg BID also for depression, Ativan .5mg TID for anxiety, Megace 40mg QD for appetite stimulation, Pepcid 20mg QD for possible stomach ulcer, methadone 5mg BID to abort the opiate withdrawals, and Levaquin 750mg QD for pneumonia. Upon arrival to the River Source, the methadone was immediately discontinued, as was the Effexor and Buspar. The main reason for discontinuing the antidepressants—aside from philosophically disagreeing with the need for antidepressants in general—is that depression is certainly to be expected in this situation, as anyone experiencing what she was in that moment could be nothing but extremely disheartened and depressed. Trying to mask this with more chemicals is extremely counterproductive and only potentiates the mentality of relying on medications to address deeply rooted issues—a mentality that is, of course, extremely common within the drug addict population.

Given that extreme anxiety is a very common symptom of opiate withdrawal, and given that I have had only limited success with specific homeopathics for this issue with these cases in the past, I agreed to keep her on the prescribed Ativan regimen, while adding Xanax 2mg QHS to help facilitate sleep—a medication similar to Ativan, but generally with more sedative potential, as persistent insomnia is always one of the more troubling symptoms of withdrawal. Phenergen 25mg q6-8h as needed was also added initially to help afford some temporary relief from nausea that would soon begin. The remaining medications of Megace, Pepcid, and Levaquin were all discontinued later on during her first week in treatment.

From a physical standpoint, Shannon presented with severe cachexia. Initial vital signs revealed a blood pressure of 98/68, temperature of 99.9, respirations 16, and pulse 80 with regular rate and rhythm. A focused physical exhibited normal heart sounds, no murmers, clicks, gallups, or rubs; a soft, non-tender abdomen with bowel sounds in all 4 quadrants; and diminished breath sounds in both lungs with mild crackles in the bases bilaterally, a finding which resolved over the ensuing weeks. Her vitals remained stable throughout her stay, with the exception of tachycardia (which returned with the removal of the methadone), which was confirmed to be due to hyperthyroidism with subsequent laboratory evaluations and which was treated after her stay at the River Source.

Opiates and the Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome

Oxycodone and morphine are both potent opioid analgesics derived from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) with a high potential for physical dependency and abuse. Although the opium poppy has about 25 different alkaloids, it is only codeine, morphine, thebaine (from which oxycodone is derived), and papaverine which exhibit the most biological activity upon the central nervous system.1 The synthetic opiate methadone was developed in Nazi Germany initially for military use as an analgesic substitute to morphine on the battlefront in the late 1930s.2 Despite the fact that the Germans concluded that methadone was too toxic and had too much addictive potential for general use, the drug made its way into the United States in 1947 as an inexpensive analgesic. Although methadone continues to be used for pain management by allopathic physicians, it is more well-known for its use in aborting the opiate withdrawal syndrome of heroin addicts, a purpose for which it has been employed in the United States since the 1960s—this despite the fact that a detox from methadone is far more difficult than one from heroin.

Typically, opiate withdrawal begins within 6-12 hours after the last dose in the case of the shorter-acting opiates, whereas with the with long-acting opiate methadone it may take up to 24-36 hours to begin noticing symptoms. The duration usually lasts around 7-10 days in the case of heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, whereas the withdrawal of methadone lasts a minimum of 14 days, but it is not uncommon for it to continue for up to 4-8 weeks without adequate treatment. During the acute withdrawal phase, all of the following physical symptoms are usually exhibited—and Shannon was no exception: rhinorrhea, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, lacrimation, bone pain, diffuse muscle aching, abdominal cramping, leg cramping, piloerection, yawning, diarrhea, anxiety, tachycardia, extreme restlessness, and insomnia. This conglomeration of symptoms is so incredibly uncomfortable for most individuals that they simply give up and go back to using opiates just to feel normal. With naturopathic and homeopathic treatment, however, as Shannon’s experience exhibits, this unfortunate conclusion for many simply does not need to be the case.

The Naturopathic and Homeopathic steps taken on the road to recovery

From the start, it was clear that Shannon would require a much higher level of treatment than is normally necessary in the vast majority of opiate withdrawal cases. The first step was to provide all that we could nutritionally via the intravenous route, given her anorexia. Her first treatment involved 500mL lactated ringers for rehydration with 4cc (500mg/mL) of extra magnesium to help relax her (which provides exceptional temporary relief to anxiety, restlessness, and muscle cramps in these cases), followed by a 250mL sterile water nutrient IV bag with the following ingredients: 2cc B-complex, 2cc Dexpanthenol (250mg/mL), 2cc Pyridoxine (100mg/mL), 3cc Magnesium (500mg/mL), 2cc Calcium gluconate (20mEq/mL), 20cc Ascorbic acid (500mg/mL), 1cc Folic acid (10mg/mL), 2cc Cyanocobalamin (1000mcg/mL), 5cc Selenium (40mcg/mL), and 5cc Zinc (1mg/mL). This combination of lactated ringers followed by a nutrient IV was continued on a daily basis during the first month of treatment. In addition to this was the limited use of separate IV lipid drips to provide a source of fats and calories, as well as the periodic alternating use of 20cc of dextrose 50% and 60cc of free amine proteins added in to her nutrient IV bags. These protocols produced noticeable results in only the first week as evidenced by the obvious improvement in her skin color, increase in energy, and mental affect. As her overall health status improved, the frequency and intensity of the IV regimen was reduced significantly during the second month of her stay to one basic 250mL nutrient IV (at half the strength of the above protocol) three to four times per week.

In addition to the heavy use of IVs was the use of frequent doses of homeopathic Opium. I have attempted countless times to provide homeopathic relief to opiate withdrawal cases and have only a few times observed the ‘strange, rare, and peculiar’ symptoms that clearly pointed to specific remedies such as China officinalis, Phosphorus, or Arsenicum album, which for those cases did extremely good work. For the vast majority, however, an individual’s experience involves the symptoms as described above without any uniquely defining characteristics. In over a year and a half of attempting to deal with these difficult cases, and feeling that each time I was giving apparently well-indicated remedies that ended up doing virtually nothing, I became frustrated and ultimately decided to try homeopathic Opium as a last resort. And it is unfortunate that I had not tried it much sooner, as the results were quite impressive. Clearly, this is more isopathic than homeopathic, but in an acute opiate detox anything that provides such obvious relief can only be welcomed. This is not to suggest that the Opium instantaneously removes every symptom, but it affords great relief for most of them in my experience. The more resistant symptoms are the anxiety and insomnia, which was also the case for Shannon. She was started the first night on Opium LM20 in a 4oz dropper bottle dosed 2 droppers under the tongue every 15-30 minutes while awake. This may appear to be an extreme dosing regimen, but without such repetition the withdrawal quickly regains its footing and comes back with vengeance. At one point Shannon had dropped the glass remedy bottle and went almost an entire day without it, and that same night she had a return of recurrent and powerful episodes of vomiting bile and extreme diarrhea. Once the remedy was restarted, the troubling setback of symptoms resolved. Shannon required steadily increasing strengths of Opium over the course of two months, moving from LM20, to LM30, to LM40, and finally to LM50 after which point it was discontinued entirely as she was restored to health. Usually in methadone detox cases, an individual only needs to be on the Opium for about two, maybe three weeks, and usually at a lower strength than what Shannon required—but given the severity of her situation overall, she was unique in requiring higher and higher strengths given over a longer period of time.

By the end of her first week, Shannon was improving such that she could tolerate a limited amount of food without vomiting, so Dr. Arneson was able to begin her on his oral supplement protocol for opiate detoxification cases. This includes a comprehensive amino acid formulation (L-tyrosine, L-lysine, L-methionine, and 5-HTP) to help restore the neurochemistry circuits of the brain by balancing out the monoamines (serotonin and dopamine) and the catecholamines (norepinphrine and epinephrine), a high-potency multivitamin / multimineral, fish oils to support general cellular integrity and functionality, and an adrenal support formula to help facilitate the restoration of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis that is disrupted in cases of long-term opioid abuse. Additionally, a natural source of L-dopa is utilized in the form of Mucuna pruriens to further enhance the restoration of the dopamine neurochemistry circuit. This protocol, along with the IVs, is very important in helping to rebuild an individual on the nutritional, biochemical level, as they are always depleted when they come in for treatment.

Treatment resolution

As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. By agreeing to come to the River Source in March of 2007 Shannon took the first step, and only two short months later she had completed the most dangerous terrain of her long journey toward sobriety from opiates. Through the focused use of the appropriate naturopathic, homeopathic, and allopathic therapies, combined with the utilization of the 12-step approach to drug addiction and counseling that was provided, Shannon, who now weighed 117 pounds, found herself restored to a level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being she said she had not enjoyed for years. Shortly after being discharged from our care, Shannon reentered society as a very happy and productive member—evolutionary leaps above the decrepit state she occupied before being introduced to our medicine, to which she remains ever grateful.


1) “Opium.”

2) “Methadone.”

Author information:

Chad Goetz, ND, graduated from SCNM in 2004 and shortly after graduation began to work with drug recovery specialist Dave Arneson, ND. Since May of 2007, he has been the Medical Director at the River Source and routinely performs medical detoxes from all drugs of abuse. Homeopathy is his passion, and in seeking to advance his application of Hahnemann’s methods, he has studied with Jeremy Sherr, R.S. Hom, as well as the highly regarded Master Homeopath Vega Rozenberg, R.S.Hom at his ESSH School of Homeopathy.

Contact information: 108 East 2nd Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210. Phone: 480.827.0322. Email: Website:

New: Constitutional Hydrotherapy

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Constitutional Hydrotherapy Cho Long Elizabeth Kim, NMD

Constitutional hydrotherapy is a special technique in which alternating hot and cold compresses are applied to the torso and abdomen which greatly improves recovery from various illnesses, both acute and chronic by stimulating our vis medicatrix naturae, our own body’s natural ability to heal itself.

During the treatment the patient lies comfortably on a soft table while hot towels are applied over the upper torso to warm the body. Once the body is warm, a single cold towel is applied in exchange for the hot one. This process occurs twice: once on the front of the body, and again, on the back.

The hot compress causes local vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), causing blood to be drawn away from the core and to rise toward the blood vessels closer to the skin. Then, the alternating cold compress causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) which drives the blood back into the core of our body. In addition, the cold compress (also called a warming compress) is kept on the torso for 10 minutes, allowing body to warm it. This process increases circulation and immune function. Some sources state that this warming process increases white blood cell production and lymph flow throughout the body. This increase in circulation is very beneficial for detoxification and excretion of toxins from the body, and increasing tone of the vessels.

At the River Source Treatment Center, we add another dimension to the traditional constitutional hydrotherapy to enhance its benefits. Hydrotherapy researchers have shown that an increase in blood flow is delivered to the underlying organs in response to stimulation of the skin above it. For this reason, electrodes from a sine wave machine are applied to the skin above the adrenal glands and abdomen to deliver a mild, soothing current to those organs. Stimulating the adrenals and intestines increase the body’s ability to recover from stresses at an optimal rate. The adrenal support is vital for our clients because prolonged use and abuse of pharmaceutical and illicit substances have been known to decrease the function of this crucial gland, responsible for the direct production of vital hormones in our body, and linked to our brain’s signaling pathways (via the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis). Long term use of Opiates and other substances have also been known to decrease immune function, especially by disrupting the intestinal flora and its tissue: the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) and Mucosa Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT), which account for 70% of our body’s immune system. Enhancing the function of the GALT and MALT would allow the body to protect itself from foreign pathogens so that it may divert more of its energy to healing and rebuilding the body during their stay at the River Source.

Patients who receive Constitutional Hydrotherapy report improved sleep, increased vitality, decreased recovery time from colds and flus, and an overall peaceful and serene detoxifying experience. As with all therapies, consult your Naturopathic Physician before receiving constitutional hydrotherapy and receive all treatments under a physician’s supervision for your safety.
If you or a loved one is looking for treatment for any type of substance abuse, please call NOW: 1-888-687-7332 or 480-827-0322 (your call is confidential)

Are you tough enough to be my parent?

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Are you tough enough…

I am a son or daughter who needs guidance. I don’t need a friend. Friends can be manipulated and it makes me feel unsafe.

I don’t need you to care take me, as I get older it keeps me from growing up and enables me to not be responsible.

I don’t need you to rescue me when I do something wrong. How else will I learn the difference between right and wrong? When this happens, you give me permission to do the same behaviors over again.

I don’t need you to yell at me because when you yell at me I won’t be listening. If I do something wrong teach me what I did and help me to do better.

Don’t baby me. Babies always get their way and I’ll take advantage of you. And speaking of getting my way, it’s not something I need all the time. Nobody likes an adult baby. They are never satisfied with life and are easily bored. They will become emotional vampires and emotionally drain those around them. So don’t baby me! (When we baby our children we turn them into the very babies others will resent later in their lives).

If I don’t receive these lessons by the very people who should teach me them, I have to learn them from those who are not so invested in me as I get older. Judges, Jail, or worse yet, prison, Probation Officers or Parole Officers. I don’t want this.

I will get angry with you——————————————————-Do it any way! I will fight you every step of the way—————————————-Do it anyway! I will try to make you feel sorry for me————————————-Do it any way! I will blame, try to manipulate you and make you feel guilty———-Do it any way, Do it because you love me enough to challenge me to make the right decisions, to do the right things and to be a better person in my life. The truth is I love you and although lessons are hard I must learn them and with you at my side I know you will gently guide me in the direction I need to go.