Daddy MD / Dr. Damon Raskin Dr. Damon Raskin January 22, 2013

Dr. Damon Raskin

Dr. Raskin is the father of two children. He is board-certified in internal medicine and has had a busy private practice in Pacific Palisades, California, since 1996. He also practices addiction medicine at the renowned Cliffside Malibu Residential Treatment Center in Malibu. He is on staff at St John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica and is medical director of Fireside Convalescent Hospital in Santa Monica, where he treats many geriatric patients.

How many children do you have, and what are their ages? I have 2 children: a bright bilingual 7-year old daughter, Skyler, and a very energetic 2-year-old son, Stone.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a dad, and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge that I face as a dad is finding the balance between work and family. It is constantly a struggle to be able to give everyone the attention they deserve … my patients, my wife, and my kids. It is never easy, but I always have to prioritize and sacrifice something. If I can’t read my daughter a story at night because I had to go see a patient, I will make sure we go for a bike ride on the weekend. It’s also about setting boundaries with patients, and making sure they know that if I am with my family and not on call, I will have another excellent physician covering for me who can help them. I work extremely hard and very long hours, so taking some time off work to spend with family is time you can never get back as a dad. That is why I make vacations a huge priority, and patients understand.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? The biggest surprise about being a dad is how fast it all seems to go. Although it is a cliché to say, it is so true. It seems like I was just changing diapers, and now my daughter is asking to go on sleepovers, and my son can already use my iPhone!

Since you can’t slow time down, just appreciate all the fun little moments, because they are what you cherish most.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? It is very important to not forget about spending time with your partner alone. Having date nights and a little time away without the kids is also vital to reenergizing the marriage, which in turn provides for a happy loving home for the kids.

Why are fathers important? Fathers are important because kids need balance and both a masculine and feminine influence. My wife is super neat, and cleans things before they can even get dirty. I like to let my kids get dirty in the park, and they will come home with mud all over their clothes and ice cream all over their faces. Also, my wife can’t ride a bike, and my daughter and I are currently bonding over the bike learning process.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? In addition, I practice what I preach to my patients about exercise. I try to get to the gym at least 3 days a week, and find that this is the best way to keep my sanity with the juggling act that I described above with work and family.

When should I start talking to my kids about drugs and alcohol?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Parents sometimes ask me when to start talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol, since they know I help a lot of people with those problems. I tell them it is never too early to start modeling responsible behavior, and start talking to kids as early as six about the dangers of smoking and drinking. I do have patients who have addiction issues who have kids, and I do everything I can to help them get in to treatment to be a better parent and help prevent their children from going down the same path. It is impossible to be a good parent while struggling with addiction, so this is one of my highest priorities as an addiction specialist.

Just as an addicted parent cannot be present for their kids, neither can a dad be present who is getting constantly bombarded with emails and text messages from patients. I am still learning that sometimes I just have to put the phone down, and listen to what my kids have to say. After all, they can teach you as much as you can teach them.

Damon Raskin, MD, is the father of two children. He is board-certified in internal medicine and has had a busy private practice in Pacific Palisades, California, since 1996. He also practices addiction medicine at the renowned Cliffside Malibu Residential Treatment Center in Malibu. He is on staff at St John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica and is medical director of Fireside Convalescent Hospital in Santa Monica, where he treats many geriatric patients.

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Dr. Damon Raskin

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E online / Dr. Damon Raskin Why Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway Got the Flu and You Didn’t January 18, 2013

Why Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway Got the Flu and You Didn’t

Why do so many stars have the flu right now? Don’t they have better docs and meds than the rest of us?
–Alien Face, via Twitter

You speak of Jennifer Lawrence, who made the flu her personal bitch during the Golden Globes. There was also, of course, Meryl Streep, whose flu was revealed via an Amy Poehler joke; and Hugh Jackman, whose particular strain of flu has an amazing singing voice. (It also leaped into the lungs of Anne Hathaway.)

Yep, stars do get better medical treatment compared with most of the rest of us, what with on-set doctors available 24-7 and B-12 shots on demand. But does that give them an advantage over this season’s epidemic? Oh, you might be surprised.

“They’re actually more vulnerable to the flu than the average person,” child-actor-turned internist Dr. Damon Raskin tells me. “It’s a matter of being in contact with so many people.”

That’s right. According to doctors with a celebrity clientele, it’s actually a small wonder that more actors aren’t laid up with this season’s infamous sickness this month–because of the sheer number of flunkies, handlers, fans, reporters and glam squads they have surrounding them during every waking moment.

Yes celebrities have had an easier time accessing flu shots, and, increasingly, producers are insisting their stars get immunized against the flu before taking a gig this year.

But several other factors trump those advantages, making the average star more likely to get the flu than you, says Dr. Max Lebow, who sees plenty of celebrities through his practice at Reliant Immediate Care near the Los Angeles International Airport.

“This year’s flu vaccine isn’t quite so effective as it has been in years past,” he points out, calling this current batch only “moderately effective” with about a 60 percent chance of working.

Plus, Lebow adds, “the only way to really defeat the flu is if your immune system gets fired up enough to defeat it,” and right now, stars’ immune systems are constantly being challenged: Think jet lag, lack of sleep, dehydration, red-carpet diets, extra-long work hours, awards-season stress and other factors particular to Hollywood in mid-January.

And oh: Those B-12 energy shots that the stars love? “Worthless” when it comes to the flu, Lebow says.

Maybe it’s not so bad being a civilian after all.

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Dr. Damon Raskin

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The Blaze / Dr. Damon Raskin Doctors Dish to TheBlaze on Bloomberg’s New Rule Limiting Painkillers in the ER: ‘Ridiculous’ January 17, 2013

Doctors Dish to TheBlaze on Bloomberg’s New Rule Limiting Painkillers in the ER: ‘Ridiculous’

Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that public hospitals in New York City would adopt his new guidelines that restrict emergency room doctors from dishing out opiate painkillers in an effort to curb abuse. But just what do medical professionals have to say about this?

“The fact that Mayor Bloomberg is suggesting that hospitals limit supplies of prescription pain killers in ERs is ridiculous,” Dr. Damon Raskin, a board certified internist and addiction specialist who works with Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, said in an email to TheBlaze. ”Limiting opiate prescriptions will not change the drug problem and only cause problems with the patients who really need them.”

And that was a common theme among the medical professionals we spoke to.

The problem

A report by the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control says prescription painkillers accounted for 20,044 of 26,450 overdose deaths in 2008, more than those from heroine or cocaine combined. DrugFree.org pointed out that 70 percent of people who were abusing prescription drugs got them from a relative or friend.

Map shows an AP analysis of Drug Enforcement Administration data highlighting the increased use of the addictive pain killer oxycodone across the U.S. from 2000 to 2010.

According to the press release from Bloomberg’s office, the rate of opioid painkiller-related emergency room visits nearly tripled in the city between 2004 and 2010.

The new guidelines will be used in all of New York City’s public hospitals. Specifically, the guidelines prevent emergency departments from prescribing long-acting opioid painkillers, like oxycodone, fentanyl patches and methadone. Doctors will be able to prescribe up to a three-day supply of opioids but will not refill lost, stolen or destroyed prescriptions.

“Prescription opioid painkillers can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said in a statement. “These new guidelines will help reduce prescription drug misuse while also making sure that patients coming to emergency departments have access to safe and appropriate pain relief options.”

Is government intervention needed?

Dr. Joshua Kugler, the chief medical officer and former chairman of the emergency services department at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Long Island, New York, said he agrees with Bloomberg’s efforts and called it a “necessary evil.”

“I applaud the concept, the philosophy behind it,” Kugler said to TheBlaze in a phone interview. “But also am cautiously optimistic about how this will truly affect patient care.”

Still, Kugler noted that there might be times when the guidelines could leave a legitimate patient in considerable pain. He said, for example, if a patient lost a prescription on a Friday evening after their doctor had gone for the weekend, they could be out of luck until Monday.

He added that although similar guidelines wouldn’t necessarily infringe upon how he or his department practices medicine, he does believe physicians need to have the ability to address patient care on a case-by-case basis.

Dr. Alex Kudisch, the chief medical officer at the Texas-based Origins Recovery Centers, expounded on this sentiment in an email to TheBlaze saying that “medicine must heal itself and without government intervention.”

“Yes, the Oxy for a toothache mentality must end, but the medical community will lose its rights to perform medicine if government intervenes,” Kudisch continued.

And what about the doctor’s roll in providing the drugs in the first place potentially contributing to the problem itself? Glenn Beck earlier this week said that if doctors providing the drugs can’t tell the difference between real pain and a drug addict, “then we have a problem with the doctors.”

Dr. Michael Michael with a rehabilitation clinic in Michigan told TheBlaze in a phone interview that for a long time physicians themselves didn’t do a good enough job managing patients’ use of the drug.

“A lot of it has to do with options — what options the doctor had at managing a patient’s pain,” Michael said, noting that even short term use of opiates as a painkiller is associated with an addiction risk.

He called opiates the “be-all-end-all in pain relief,” but noted there are other treatments now that doctors can use to avoid the drug completely.

“We’ve become better educated about it and are doing better at managing it, but are still not doing well enough,” he said.

Watch Beck share his thoughts regarding Bloomberg’s guidelines and the mayor’s comment that people using the ER as their source of primary care might have to “suffer a little bit”:

Treating the addiction

While Michael, who works specifically with patients suffering from addiction, agrees that something needs to be done to help curb the problem in the short term and that Bloomberg’s guidelines might cut down on overdose situations, he told TheBlaze that he doesn’t think it will have a significant, long-lasting effect.

Why? Because treatment of the addition is more than just cutting off the source. Part of the problem is the treatment in and of itself. Michael said the most popular way to wean an opiate addict off the drug is to put them on another, more controlled opiate, which would then be reduced over time. Although Michael said he respects those who provide this type of treatment, he said it’s not only painful for the addict but also not entirely effective as it often leads them to become addicted to this other opiate.

As a doctor at the Eagle Advancement Institute, Michael takes a different, 100-percent non-opiate approach at treating patients. In fact, the Clarity Detox Program was named one of the top five technologies to reduce prescription drug abuse by the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence.

Michael said four out of five patients going through their program are successful at overcoming their addiction.

And even if addiction is being addressed, what is to be done about overdoses, which are still bound to occur? Kugler pointed out that Naloxone, an injectable drug used to reverse opiate overdoses, is being distributed to sources beyond emergency responders. New York and a few other states have programs expanding the distribution of Naloxone kits. Reuters reported on a study last year that found it would be life-saving and cost-effective to put the Naloxone kits directly in the hands of known heroine users.

Overall though, Kugler said stifling the problem goes all they way back to parents and schools having a real dialogue with children about the risks associated with prescription narcotics.

In other words, personal responsibility is just what the doctor ordered.

Orignal Article

Cliffside Malibu

Dr. Damon Raskin

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Celebzter / Dr. Damon Raskin Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal: Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, says expert January 16, 2013

Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal: Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, says expert

On Thursday (and Friday) the world will finally hear the truth for once come out of Lance Armstrong’s mouth as he reveals all to Oprah Winfrey.

A new reports from USA Today suggests the disgraced cyclist will admit he started using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge in cycling in the mid-1990s, before he was diagnosed with cancer.

On Tuesday’s “The View”, Whoopi Goldberg got into a heated debate with Barbara Walters when she questioned the correlation between steroid use and cancer. [In Oct. 1996, Armstrong  was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lung]

“I don’t know but the question really is: Do the steroids cause cancer? That’s the question. Did he get the cancer because of the steroids? That’s what we need to know,” Goldberg asked.

And it is a good question to ask.

In preparation of Armstrong’s no holds barred interview with Oprah, Dr. Damon Raskin, a board certified internist Los Angeles and men’s health specialist, has spoken to Celebzter about the effects of steroids and blood doping.  Dr. Raskin in the supervising MD for Ageless Men’s Health, a nationwide facility dealing with men’s health and anti-aging issues and he has worked with many patients who have long-term steroid usage.

“Long term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, (it is unclear whether this many have been a contributing factor to his testicular cancer) as well as atherosclerosis (increased plaque in arteries and risk of heart attacks and strokes), and lower the good cholesterol in the body (HDL),” Dr Raskin explains.  ”Steroids can also contribute to higher blood pressure, acne, and aggressive behavior.”

He adds: ”In addition, blood doping, which involves blood transfusions and/or taking a hormone called eryrthropoetin which increases red blood cells and thus more oxygen to muscles, can also lead to strokes by making the blood too thick.”

We also asked Dr. Raskin about what the long-term ramifications on Armstrong’s body will be after prolonged use of steroids and blood doping.

“Long term, doping can lead to structural changes in the heart which could  lead to increased risks of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.” he says. ”High blood pressure, low amounts of HDL (good cholesterol), acne, infertility, and possibly prostate cancer are also major risks.”

And what happens when you suddenly stop taking steroids after years of abuse?

“When someone suddenly stops taking steroids after prolonged use, they may experience mood swings, depression and anxiety, muscle and joint pain, and insomnia. For men, the steroid abuser has turned off his own body’s making of testosterone, so a sudden withdrawal will also lead to lack of sex drive,” Dr. Raskin explains.

Interestingly, Livestrong also has an article about the long-term effects of doping.

And at least one board member of Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation said he feels betrayed by Armstrong’s years of deceit. “Yes, I do. And I think he’s got a lot of apologies,” Mark McKinnon said in a CNN interview.

Perhaps, Armstrong should have named his organization ”Liestrong”.

Original Article

Cliffside Malibu

Dr. Damon Raskin

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Celebzter / Dr. Damon Raskin Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal: Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, says expert January 16, 2013

Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal: Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, says expert

On Thursday (and Friday) the world will finally hear the truth for once come out of Lance Armstrong’s mouth as he reveals all to Oprah Winfrey.

A new reports from USA Today suggests the disgraced cyclist will admit he started using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge in cycling in the mid-1990s, before he was diagnosed with cancer.

On Tuesday’s “The View”, Whoopi Goldberg got into a heated debate with Barbara Walters when she questioned the correlation between steroid use and cancer. [In Oct. 1996, Armstrong  was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lung]

“I don’t know but the question really is: Do the steroids cause cancer? That’s the question. Did he get the cancer because of the steroids? That’s what we need to know,” Goldberg asked.

And it is a good question to ask.

In preparation of Armstrong’s no holds barred interview with Oprah, Dr. Damon Raskin, a board certified internist Los Angeles and men’s health specialist, has spoken to Celebzter about the effects of steroids and blood doping.  Dr. Raskin in the supervising MD for Ageless Men’s Health, a nationwide facility dealing with men’s health and anti-aging issues and he has worked with many patients who have long-term steroid usage.

“Long term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, (it is unclear whether this many have been a contributing factor to his testicular cancer) as well as atherosclerosis (increased plaque in arteries and risk of heart attacks and strokes), and lower the good cholesterol in the body (HDL),” Dr Raskin explains.  ”Steroids can also contribute to higher blood pressure, acne, and aggressive behavior.”

He adds: ”In addition, blood doping, which involves blood transfusions and/or taking a hormone called eryrthropoetin which increases red blood cells and thus more oxygen to muscles, can also lead to strokes by making the blood too thick.”

We also asked Dr. Raskin about what the long-term ramifications on Armstrong’s body will be after prolonged use of steroids and blood doping.

“Long term, doping can lead to structural changes in the heart which could  lead to increased risks of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.” he says. ”High blood pressure, low amounts of HDL (good cholesterol), acne, infertility, and possibly prostate cancer are also major risks.”

And what happens when you suddenly stop taking steroids after years of abuse?

“When someone suddenly stops taking steroids after prolonged use, they may experience mood swings, depression and anxiety, muscle and joint pain, and insomnia. For men, the steroid abuser has turned off his own body’s making of testosterone, so a sudden withdrawal will also lead to lack of sex drive,” Dr. Raskin explains.

Interestingly, Livestrong also has an article about the long-term effects of doping.

And at least one board member of Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation said he feels betrayed by Armstrong’s years of deceit. “Yes, I do. And I think he’s got a lot of apologies,” Mark McKinnon said in a CNN interview.

Perhaps, Armstrong should have named his organization ”Liestrong”.

Original Article

Cliffside Malibu

Dr. Damon Raskin

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