Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Family History Alcoholism and Hangovers

It is widely accepted that people, with a family history of alcoholism, are themselves at a greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder than their peers, who do not have a similar background. People who have a family history of alcoholism are four times more likely to experience a problem with the substance, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). There are several reasons for the aforementioned case, including genetic factors and exposure to people who are responsible for one’s well-being having unhealthy relationships with the potentially deadly substance. It is easy to normalize things, even when one knows such behaviors are likely to be harmful.

So much of the person we grow up to be is rooted in how we are raised. In many cases, we learn how to process things that are difficult from our parents, especially regarding coping with the trials and tribulations of life. If a child sees a parent drink alcohol when they are upset about something, it can leave a lasting impression that can have serious repercussions down the road. One can equate alcohol with relief. Which, in some respect, that is a true statement; alcohol can ease one's tension about a given situation. However, the use of alcohol to cope with challenges is a slippery slope leading to addiction.

Alcohol use prevention efforts have long focused on instilling young people with the facts about alcohol. Facts that may be the opposite of what they see at home. It is reality that can be very confusing. There is no guarantee that someone who comes from an alcoholic family will develop the same relationship with alcohol that their parents have established. But for those who do drink, it is vital that efforts be made to mitigate the risk of following in the footsteps of their mother and/or father. And, it turns out that hangovers could provide some insight.

What is hangover?

Rather than run through the myriad of theories and highly scientific markers that are likely to be what is behind a hangover resulting, it would be more useful to discuss the symptoms that can accompany the condition that most people who have drank too much are acutely familiar. The morning after somebody engages in heavy alcohol use, the alcohol has pretty much worked its way through one’s system. At which point, a number of uncomfortable symptoms occur—both physiological and psychological in nature.

Symptoms typically include:
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Concentration Problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
Simply put, there is nothing fun about a hangover. Even after the physical symptoms dissipate, emotional distress can linger for some time. A long night of drinking, followed by serious regret. Alcoholics will usually push through a hangover by drinking more, commonly referred to as “hair of the dog.” Such behavior can be sign that you have a problem with alcohol, and potentially an alcohol use disorder.

Countless people in the grips of a hangover have vowed to never drink again, only to renege on what they believed to be a solemn oath to abstain. It turns out that reinforcing the memories of a hangover in people, who have alcoholism in the family tree, may impact the course they themselves eventually take with the substance.


Remembering a Hangover

New research has found that people from families where alcohol has been a problem are more likely to retain lucid and painful memories of hangovers, according to a press release from Keele University. The study, "Does familial risk for alcohol use disorder predict alcohol hangover?", was published in the journal Psychopharmacology. Psychologist Dr Richard Stephens at Keele University said:

“Taken together with findings from prior research it appears that people who are predisposed to develop problem drinking are no more susceptible to developing a hangover after a night of alcohol than people who are not predisposed. However, we found that such people appear to remember their hangovers more lucidly. He adds, “It may be possible to exploit this lucid memory for hangovers to curb excessive drinking. Reminding problem drinkers of the negative consequences of incapacitating hangover, for example, letting down family members due to abandoned plans, may help them to manage their alcohol consumption.”

Getting more answers...

If you have more questions alcohol use disorder, we can help. The therapeutic drug and alcohol treatment process at the Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is designed within a holistic, cognitively-oriented framework. It is facilitated through educational, task oriented and process groups. Introduction to the twelve-step program and philosophy is a component of treatment. Please contact us.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Opioid Addiction Among Older Adults

overdose death
Anyone is susceptible to a drug overdose. Anyone! Attempting to wrap one’s head around the opioid addiction epidemic in America can cause one to become apoplectic with rage at the staggering death toll associated with this class of narcotics. After nearly two decades of heightened abuse rates and roughly one hundred people dying each day from a fatal overdose in this country, there are few Americans who don’t know someone who has been touched by an opioid use disorder.

So, how did we find ourselves in this situation. Well, for starters opioid painkiller prescribing practices across the country has been nothing, if not negligent. Americans make up around 5 percent of the global population, but we ingest the vast majority of the prescription opioids global supply. It was not that long ago that you could acquire a prescription opioid for a hangnail. That may seem like a gross exaggeration, but it is not that far off the mark.

Naturally, pain and one’s response to it, is subjective. How you tolerate an injury or chronic ailment is likely to be different from your peers. Since pain is often internal, not even a doctor with high-tech gadgets can quantify the severity of your pain. If you report that your pain, on a scale from one to ten, is a ten—physicians have an obligation to not only take your word on it, but to respond with an effective treatment. Mitigation which usually comes in the form of a prescription opioid. Of course, blind faith in a patient's honesty is not always the best course of action, as is evident by the crisis we face today.

An Obligation to Help With Addiction

In many cases, patients will exaggerate their pain levels in order to continue receiving prescriptions for a drug that they may not even realize they have become dependent upon. With that in mind, doctors today have had to begin utilizing resources to determine “at risk” patients. Such as, using prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) to curb “doctor shopping,” that is visiting multiple doctors to get more of the same drug; performing random drug screens on patients to ensure that other mind-altering substances are not part of the picture; mixing one narcotic with another, or taking too much of a drug, is a sure recipe for an overdose.

One could even argue that doctors have an obligation to ensure that patients who are showing problematic signs, or have become dependent upon opioids have access to necessary resources. While opioid use disorder has affected millions of Americans across the age spectrum, it is middle-aged and older Americans that have chronic pain and require long-term pain management. Keeping in mind that even if you take a drug as prescribed it can lead to dependence and addiction. Over time, more of the drug is required to achieve a desired feeling, thus beginning a journey toward overdose. Doctors who identify problem patients will often cut back or stop prescribing opioids to them all together, hopefully in conjunction with a referral to addiction treatment. If it does not play out like that, such patients will turn to the streets to acquire opioids. Many will not be above using heroin as an alternative.

Older Americans, Opioid Overdose and Treatment

People over the age of forty, are dying from opioid overdoses at an alarming rate. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that adults aged 45 to 54 had the highest overdose related death rate at 30 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. Between 1999 and 2015, drug overdose deaths increased the most for adults aged 55 to 64, from 4.2 per 100,000 to 21.8 in 2015.

"Generation X" and “Baby Boomers” are two age groups that doctors must focus on when it comes to opioid use disorder. Physicians are in a unique position to intervene and provide options that can help patients utilize alternative forms of pain management, break the cycle of addiction and recover before a fatal overdose occurs. What’s more, patients should be made to feel that they can talk to their provider about their dependence on pain medication. Help is often a two-way street.

If you are an older adult struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. We can help.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

Last summer, we wrote at length about the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI). Since that time, we are pleased to report that versions of the program have been adopted all over the country. In case you were not able to read the article about PAARI, otherwise known as the “Angel Program;” it is an initiative which encourages addicts to surrender their narcotics to local authorities and, in return, they will be linked with a substance use disorder treatment center. The program, thus far, has been hailed as a great success. On Tuesday, the PAARI Facebook page posted:

“In just 19 months, over 200 police departments in 28 states have become entry points into treatment for people suffering with the disease of opioid and heroin addiction. Together with our law enforcement partners, we've placed an estimated 10,000 people into treatment.”

Addicts Exercise Blind Faith

The idea that the same people (police), whose job it was to arrest those in possession of illegal drugs, were now addicts' saving grace can be somewhat hard to wrap your head around. Nevertheless, the program has proved to be one of the most effective measures against the scourge of opioid addiction in the United States. It is a sign that addiction is no longer being viewed as a problem that we can arrest away. And it highlights the valuable role police officers can have in providing a great public service of impacting active addiction rates.

Historically, police officers were considered to be enemy “numero uno” by drug addicts, not dissimilar from how lawmakers labeled drug use in order to justify decades of imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders. However, the present situation has required both addicts and law enforcement to exercise some blind faith when it comes to one another. Rather than enemies, both addicts and cops can be allies in putting an end to the epidemic.

PAARI Saves Lives

Programs like PAARI are prime example of the paradigm shift in thinking occurring in America when it comes to addiction. If we can all agree that the disease is not a moral failing, but rather a legitimate mental health disorder, then society can come together to better address the epidemic of addiction. Through continued efforts to chip away at the stigma of mental illness, addicts will not only be “re-humanized,” they will get the help they so desperately require.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to commend the efforts of the various law enforcement agencies and their affiliate addiction treatment centers. The value of helping thousands of people find recovery should not be underestimated. Substance use disorder treatment was, is and will continue to be the best resource available for addicts. If you or a loved one is active in their addiction, please contact us today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cocaine Reappears As A Deadly Concern

The use of cocaine has been in the shadow of opioid narcotics for well over a decade. One could even argue that cocaine is hardly a concern any more, when compared to the deadly nature of opioid addiction, prescription opioids and/or heroin. It was not that long ago when crack cocaine was the primary target of police departments and federal agencies charged with addressing drug use. Today, however, you really have to search to find anything about cocaine in the era of opioids.

Cocaine use and cocaine overdoses had been on steady decline for a number of years. What's more, cocaine on its own isn't often associated with overdose deaths. With prescription opioids and heroin abuse stealing the headlines across the country, cocaine use came to be of seemingly little import. However, there is significant data to support a dramatic rise of overdose deaths involving cocaine in recent years.

Speedballing Towards Overdose 

The 2016 Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Threat Assessment found that cocaine availability and abuse are showing the first signs of a possible increase in the United States since 2007. The U.S. News analysis of mortality data showed a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths in recent years, according to the U.S. News & World Report. The rise in cocaine related deaths is the likely result of more and more addicts mixing cocaine and heroin together, a practice commonly referred to as “speedballing.”

“When there are no opioids involved in cocaine-overdose deaths you see an overall decline in recent years,” says Christopher M. Jones, an acting associate deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. “But when you look at cocaine and opioids together, we see a more than doubling in the number of overdoses since 2010, with heroin and synthetic opioids increasingly involved in these deaths." 

Using heroin or prescription opioids can easily result in an overdose death, especially when the synthetic opioid fentanyl is involved. As was mentioned earlier, cocaine on its own doesn’t typically result in an overdose. But when you mix opioids and cocaine together… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database (WONDER) compiles information from death certificates, the article reports. After subtracting opioids from overdose data involving cocaine, researchers found that overdose deaths from cocaine stalled out. The real danger lies in the admixture.

Treating Opioid and Cocaine Addiction 

While opioids may be more dangerous than cocaine, both drugs are highly addictive and have the power to both ruin and take lives. If you are battling with addiction of any kind, the risk of overdose is very real. In today’s illegal drug market, it is extremely difficult to determine one white powder from another. Heroin and fentanyl are commonly mixed together unbeknownst to the addict. It is also possible that cocaine is being mixed with fentanyl as well.

At the end of the day, addressing one’s addiction is the best course to take to ensure that you have a future. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to begin the journey of addiction recovery.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

There are several myths about drugs and alcohol that can play a role in leading people down a dangerous road to addiction. In the age of internet media outlets, such as Facebook, many Americans now get the majority of their information from sources that are not always accurate. It can be easy to form opinions about behaviors and issues that will dictate certain choices, based off of inaccurate information. We are all susceptible to misinformation, which is why it is vital that serious efforts are made to present truthful pictures of substance use and abuse, especially when it comes to teenagers and young adults.

Teenagers are often led to believe by their friends or certain media outlets that certain drugs may be safe to use. Misconceptions that can be a slippery slope to years of heartache (or worse) later in life. With that in mind, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched the National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week ® (NDAFW) in 2010; with the hope of making teens and young adults more informed about mind altering substances. The hope is that NDAFW will counter the myths about drugs and alcohol young people receive from the:
  • Internet
  • Social Media
  • Television
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Friends


National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

This week, January 23rd through January 29th, NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have helped organize events across the country, pairing experts with high school students. Such events give teens an opportunity to ask questions about drug and alcohol use and abuse, learning how such substances affect the brain, body, and behaviors.

When young people have the facts, they are more informed and may be less likely to experiment with mind altering substances. Teenage substance use is not rare, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When looking at past month drug use among high school seniors: over 5 percent misuse prescription drugs, more than 20 percent use marijuana and 35 percent use alcohol.


Shatter the Myths

NIDA and the NIAAA offer a number of resources to help better inform young people during their Shatter the Myths ® of drugs and alcohol campaign. Including:
Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat offers a Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program. Our team of experts realize clients in their late teens and early twenties are often unaware the use of alcohol and drugs during the developmental years can inhibit the necessary skills and abilities necessary to manage emotions, communicate thoughts and feelings, and problem-solve effectively. Continued use can ultimately frustrate efforts to build healthy relationships and develop realistic goals for a productive future by a related cycle of poor choices, impulsivity, and destructive behaviors. You can call us at 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment.