Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2016

mental illness
At the beginning of the month we wrote about the importance of National Recovery Month with regard to breaking the stigma of addiction, encouraging people to seek addiction treatment and recognizing the achievements made by those in recovery. Those who are actively working a program, and have been for some time, are fully aware of the gifts of recovery—without their program nothing they have today would be possible.

Addiction is a debilitating, life threatening mental illness. Left untreated, and without a continued program of spiritual maintenance, addiction will continue to drag you down into the depths of despair. Every year people’s lives are cut short because of their addiction, which is why it is so important that we continue to spread the message that: together we can, and do recover from this insidious disease of the mind.

Blurring the Lines of Mental Illness

In the field of addiction medicine, it is not rare for people living with a substance use disorder to also have another form of mental illness at play, such as depression. When that is the case, such patients are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. It is not all that important whether a person happens to have both addiction and another form of mental health disorder, or they developed a substance use disorder as a result of using drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of their untreated mental illness. What is important for ensuring a successful recovery is that both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorder be treated at the same time, failure to treat one and not the other can be disastrous—leading to a relapse.

The stakes are exceptionally high, mental illness is a matter of life and death. People who use drugs and alcohol to cope with conditions like depression or bipolar disorder, put themselves at risk of overdose. Mental health conditions that are not treated can lead people to make rash decisions out of despair. After living with the uphill battle of mental illness for years—whether it be addiction, depression or both—many choose to take their own life. It is paramount that people who need help, get the assistance they desperately require.

A Permanent Solution… 

In the field of mental health, suicide is commonly referred to as finding a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But with aid of treatment, such finality can be avoided. In addition to September being National Recovery Month, it is also the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) would like to use the month of September to “promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.”

The organization points out just how serious suicide prevention is, drawing from a number of statistics:
  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Of the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, often spurred on by mental health symptoms.
NAMI is asking that everyone do their part to help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness. If you’d like, you can share the image below on social media, using #suicideprevention or #StigmaFree.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Helping Others Find Recovery

National Recovery Month
In any given city or town in the United States, one can find a 12-Step meeting of recovery. Behind the closed doors, recovering addicts and alcoholics form circles and share their experience, strength and hope with one another. They do so anonymously, without fears of judgement or scrutiny. While everyone’s story is unique in its own way, people in recovery share many similarities with one another. There is hardly a thing that can be shared by one that will shock the other people in the circle.

Those who actively work a program find both comfort and strength through a common understanding that we are all in this together. Individual recovery depends upon working together with others who are trudging the road to a happy destiny—free from the vice-like grip of drugs and alcohol. A loose translation of the South African idea known as Ubuntu is as follows, ‘I am, because of you.’ It would seem that the 12-Steps of recovery have a lot in common with the “human-ness” concept of Ubuntu. And, just as all humans are connected through a universal bond, so too are the people who make a choice every day to better their lives in recovery. Only by helping others recover from substance use disorder, can you keep your own recovery.

Addiction Into The Light

The major reason for the anonymous aspect of 12-Step programs is the stigma which has long accompanied addiction. Verily, most people have little knowledge of the nature of addiction. It is an ignorance that perpetuates the need for anonymity. Even in recovery, addicts and alcoholics can be subject to reproach by the peers. Most people struggle to understand why you can’t drink like the rest, or why you would need to sit in a circle for an hour every day in order to abstain from using mind altering substances.

Fortunately, there are people all over the world who have made it their mission to break the stigma of addiction, with the hope that everyone who needs help will seek it. Many addicts and alcoholics prolong their chemical tenure because they do not want to be seen by others as having a problem that is beyond their control. Those working in the field of addiction know all too well that the longer one puts off recovery, the greater the chances that their disease will cut their life short. It is paramount that those who are active in their addiction find encouragement, not just from friends and family, but from society—to seek help and find recovery.

Join The Voices of Recovery 

In September we observe National Recovery Month. It is an important time of the year for everyone working a program and working in the field of addiction medicine. For 27 years, the month has been dedicated to raising awareness about addiction and other forms of debilitating mental health disorders. What’s more, National Recovery Month is about breaking the stigma of addiction, letting people know that recovery is possible and how to achieve it.

The theme this year is, Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery! Both people working a program and their families are being encouraged to share their story, with the hope that it will inspire millions of people to seek addiction treatment services. Addiction recovery should not have to exist in the shadows any longer, the stakes are too high. If you would like to share your personal story and successes in order to encourage others, please click here.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

College Students Drink More Alcohol

alcohol use
One’s adolescent and teenage years can easily be characterized as a time for experiencing new people, places and things. There is a plethora of changes that occur in people’s behaviors and social interactions, all while one is developing both inside and out. Young people often feel the need to fit in with their peers, and some are willing to go to extreme lengths to accomplish the goal of acceptance. It is a trend that often involves the use of drugs and alcohol.

While experimenting with mind altering substances can be viewed as being a part of a young person’s life, for others it can be the start of a dangerous road towards addiction. Sure, for the majority of young people, alcohol and drug use is just a passing phase that will be traversed without a problem, a reality which almost allows older people to be OK with endorsing such behavior. However, in light of the tragedy that befalls many young people every day due to substance use and abuse—it is vital that preventative measures be taken with regard to alcohol use by young adults.

College Drinking

In the United States, there is a common misconception that teenagers who go off to college are less likely to engage in risky behavior, compared to their non-academic peers. There is an idea that those who are keeping up their grades and attending class can have a pass when it comes to weekend use of mind altering substances. As is evident by how pervasive weekend parties are, in and around college campuses. Some people may even think that college students drink and drug less than young adults who are not working to advance their education. It is a line of thinking that is made in error.

In fact, new research suggests that college students actually drink more alcohol than those of the same age who are not attending an institute of higher learning, HealthDay reports. The research showed that college students are also more likely to binge drink than 18- to 22-year-olds who are not in school. Binge drinking is a dangerous behavior commonly defined as having 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women, in a two-hour period. Despite being in college, students often carry on a surreptitious affair with alcohol—a relationship that can result in an alcohol use disorder.

Target Audience

The findings come from a survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), according to the article. The data indicates that 60 percent of full-time college students are current drinkers, compared with 51.5 percent of other adults in the same age group. The survey showed that 38 percent of college students reported having had a binge-drinking episode at least once in the past month, compared with 33.5 percent of their peers not attending university.

Fran Harding, who directs the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), says the findings could help with efforts to tailor college substance use, "so that we can better target prevention programming to young adults from all walks of life with vital information on substance use disorder prevention and treatment."

Alcohol Use Disorder and Recovery

Our Young Adult Program at Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat focuses on the particular needs and sensitivities of the emerging adult. 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.

At HVRC, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center, 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Addiction Stigma: Shifting Cultural Perception

addiction stigma
Ending the American opioid epidemic, arguably, starts with killing the stigma that has long accompanied people living with substance use disorders. For centuries those suffering from addiction we considered to have a moral failing and a weak constitution. And because of which, the few treatments available up until recent decades were both harsh and ineffective.

Even after there were treatment centers available that utilized effective science based methods, acknowledging the disease model of addiction; lawmakers continue to stick to their guns in support of draconian drug laws for punishing illicit substance users.

Today, there scores of studies available which support the disease model of addiction, and much of the American population now views addiction as a sickness rather than a shortcoming. Part of the reason for the paradigm shift in thinking is due to the opioid problem in America, practically every adult has a connection to someone who has or is dependent to opioids. What’s more, this particular epidemic is unprecedented in a number of ways, and unlike the previous drug epidemics we have faced, this one primarily affects:
  • Caucasians
  • All Socioeconomic Tiers
  • Residents of Suburban and Rural America
Keeping that in mind, many lawmakers who were traditionally in favor of locking up addicts for non-violent drug offenses, are now singing a different tune. While the change is welcomed in the addiction community, there is still much work to be done—especially when it comes to stigma. It is a sad truth that many opioid addicts fail to seek help because of fears of being branded a failure by their peers. Naturally, consternation about seeking help can be deadly, as is evident by the 78 opioid overdose deaths in this country everyday.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy met with The Huffington Post’s Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington to discuss the addiction crisis in America. While Murthy agrees that we need to change prescribing practices and train doctors how to spot addiction with patients so they can get the help they need, he said we need to “change how our country sees addiction.”

“For far too many people living with addiction, they feel that they are living with stigma,” said Murthy. “Many people see addiction, still, as a character flaw or a bad choice. They don’t recognize that addiction is in fact a chronic disease of the brain.” 

Please take a moment to watch a short video below:

If you are having trouble watching the video, please click here.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How Alcohol Affects Marriage

alcohol use
It is quite common for people in committed relationships to engage in the same leisure activities. Part of what attracts one person to another is having similar interests, such interests when pursued together can serve to strengthen a relationship. Sometimes a couple's leisure activities can include the consumption of alcohol. Naturally, couples who drink alcohol together and in similar ways can be OK for a relationship, if done in moderation; however, many many marriages have ended on account of one or the other's drinking habits. Alcohol is an insidious substance that can wreak havoc on a relationship, especially one that is co-dependent in nature.

Research has shown that many “baby boomers” are consuming alcohol at alarming rates. In fact, the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found the rate of binge drinking among people ages 65 and older was 8.2 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 2 percent. The researchers estimated that 5.7 million people over the age of 50 will need substance use disorder treatment by 2020.

Alcohol and Marriage 

Given the fact that many older adults are engaging in heavy alcohol use, it would stand to reason that it is having an impact on people’s marriage. A group of researchers set to determine how alcohol affects the quality of marriage among older adults. Interestingly, the research didn’t focus as much on how much spouses were drinking, but rather whether spousal drinking patterns were concordant. The researchers found that the amount one’s spouse drank wasn’t as much as a factor in having a satisfied marriage as was whether or not both partners consumed alcohol the same way, Reuters reports. The findings were published in Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological Sciences.

Study author, Dr. Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues came to their findings by analyzing survey responses from 4,864 married participants, according to the article. The findings indicated that in more than half of the couples, both partners consumed alcohol. Wives only reported marital dissatisfaction when only one partner drank alcohol.

“The study shows that it’s not about how much they’re drinking, it’s about whether they drink at all,” said Birditt.


Concerning Alcohol Use

At people approach or reach retirement age, they often find themselves with more time on their hands than they know what to do with. Idle time can lead one spouse or the other to turn to alcohol as a way to fill the day. It is a behavior which can quickly become a slippery slope that potentially leads to an alcohol use disorder. The research showed that 20 percent of men and 6 percent of women had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol which could be characterized as having a drinking problem.

“Problem drinkers are a whole different kettle of fish,” said Dr. Fred Blow, also at the University of Michigan. “Serious heavy drinkers have disruptive relationships with people, particularly their partners. That’s an important issue that should be looked at going forward.” 

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, our Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program is tailored to meet the varying needs and special circumstances the older adult faces. Patients flourish in an intimate, age specific, non-confrontational group of peers.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.