Friday, November 9, 2018

Opioid Misuse Warning Signs

The National Vital Statistics System indicates that 115 Americans die from drug toxicity each day. However, it is often the case that overdose deaths come as a surprise to loved ones, more times than you might think. Those who find themselves battling substance use disorder learn fairly quickly that their behaviors must be hidden if they are going to feed the fire. Individuals figure out ways to keep their condition under wraps, and they go to great lengths to achieve such ends.

Twenty years following the onset of the American opioid addiction epidemic, most people (including doctors) struggle to spot the signs of use disorder. Behaviors exhibited by men and women that are glaring red flags to addiction experts, regularly go unnoticed by friends and family members. It is paramount that we educate average citizens about the warning signs that someone they love may be in the grips of a progressive mental health condition.

Survivors of overdose victims are prone to have many questions, particularly for themselves; they might ask, ‘how did my family member spiral out of control right under my nose? Moreover, could I have done more to intervene?’ Such lines of questioning do little good for their loved one, but the answers they come up with may help another family avoid similar outcomes. Perhaps, in death, some lives can be saved.

Spotting the Signs of Addiction

There are myriad signs that indicate substance abuse is occurring or that substance use disorder is affecting someone. Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, the chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers, lays out some of the more common indicators for Healthline. Signs and symptoms of opioid misuse include:
  • Continued use of the substance even when there are negative repercussions.
  • Noticeable drowsiness or sedation.
  • Slowed breathing and constricted pupils.
  • Nodding off intermittently or losing consciousness.
  • Mood swings and defensiveness if you approach them about your concerns.
  • Extra pill bottles in the trash.
  • Drug paraphernalia in or around the user’s bedroom or living space; things such as vials, needles, rubber tubing, and spoons that are bent or burned on the bottom, could indicate heroin misuse.
  • Withdrawal symptoms that can mimic flu symptoms.
Dr. Weinstein says opioid addiction “causes people to behave in ways that they would never behave under normal circumstances, and sometimes this behavior can be destructive.”

“This is not who they are, these are symptoms of the disease,” adds Weinstein. “Addiction is not a moral failing by any stretch of the imagination. It is a disease that must be managed, just like hypertension or diabetes.”


Talking To Your Loved One

While it goes without saying, discussing addiction with a friend or family member is never easy or straightforward, such conversations must occur, nonetheless. Those in the grips of addiction can convince others that what they see is an exaggeration; convincing others that a problem is under control might be a specialty of those living with the disease. It is for those reasons above that professional guidance is strongly recommended.

If you are noticing alarming signs relating to a loved one’s use of mind-altering substances, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. Our team can assist you in helping someone you care about take the first step toward addiction recovery.

HVRC would like to wish the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces a Happy Veterans Day! We are grateful for your service.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Opioid Addiction: SUPPORT Act and Take Back Day

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate reached bipartisan alignment on the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in the twelfth hour of September. Now roughly a month later, the White House has given its stamp of approval on the legislation which aims to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in America, NBC News reports. When covering this topic last month, we highlighted some of the legislation's shortcomings, particularly funding shortfalls. Still, the sheer fact that lawmakers were able to put strong partisan differences aside and address opioid use is an enormous feat by any standard.

Of the 72,000 overdose deaths last year, opioids are thought to be responsible for more than 48,000 Americans deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC. The need for action is in a word, dire! As previously mentioned, the bill is a package of various measure taking aim at several of the salient facets of the epidemic; including directing more money to federal agencies and states to expand access to addiction treatment, preventing overprescribing, and providing more instruction on intercepting fentanyl shipments to law enforcement.

The SUPPORT Act does away with a Medicaid provision that barred people with substance use disorders from accessing mental health facilities with more than 16 beds for treatment, according to the article. Public health experts are supportive of the bill concerning increasing access to treatment; however, Keith Humphrey, a Stanford professor assisting both House and Senate in writing the legislation warns that the SUPPORT Act does not go far enough to reverse course.

“It's not the time to be leisurely, and saying that we’ll get there eventually is not sufficient as an answer,” Humphrey said [of decreasing overdose deaths]. “If it takes another year, that’s another 60 or 70,000 people in their graves. That's not good enough.”


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Hopefully, and despite what the act lacks, more lives will be saved, and more Americans will be able to access treatment. Regarding saving lives, many adults can play an essential role in preventing prescription drug abuse and overdose by taking part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Tomorrow’s event, spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA, opens prescription drug collection sites across the country. The agency is asking individuals who have unused or unwanted medication – especially people with leftover narcotics – to safely dispose of their drugs at sanctioned collection sites. To grasp the importance of this event, please consider that 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription painkillers. Many of such people acquired drugs like OxyContin from friends and family members. Please watch the video below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Addiction Treatment

If prescription opioid use is negatively impacting your life, or you feel unable to stop using on your own, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We can assist you in overcoming the cycle of addiction and develop a treatment plan that can help you discover lasting recovery. We invite you to take the first step with HVRC!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mental Illness Awareness Week: Let's Cure Stigma!

mental illness
There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.

The above writing is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) Cure Stigma campaign manifesto; the content of which couldn’t be any closer to the truth. The impact of stigma is pernicious; NAMI rightly implies that it promotes shame, fear, and silence. The result: fewer people seeking treatment for mental health conditions that are treatable.

Even though society has come a long way concerning acknowledging mental illness for what it is, a group of health conditions that deserve to be viewed the same way one would look at, say, diabetes; the fact is that we still have much further to go toward effecting change. Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH, show that only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. If you consider for a moment that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million, or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year, then you will see that the number of untreated mental health disorders is staggering.

Encouraging Americans to cast aside stereotypes and show compassion to men and women battling mental illness is difficult to accomplish. Many people's beliefs and – in many cases – misconceptions about diseases of the mind are firmly rooted. The best method of changing people's opinion is through education. During Mental Illness Awareness Week or MIAW, we can all use the internet as a weapon against stigma by educating people; when individuals have the facts, they are more likely to be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2018

NAMI offers many resources to help spread the word about the prevalence of mental health conditions in America. The organization created graphics that you can share on your social media accounts to get your social network thinking about the terrible cost that comes with stigmatization. Put simply, when men and women go without treatment, they are at significant risk of harm.

Individuals who feel they must keep their illness closely guarded often turn to mind-altering substances to “ease” their symptoms. Self-medication worsens one’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, et al.; self-medicating puts people at risk of dependence and developing a use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. For such people, successful treatment outcomes hinge on addressing both the conditions simultaneously.

It’s possible that some Americans are unaware that they are infected by stigma; they may not know that the things they say and the way the act toward those living with mental illness is keeping them from seeking help. NAMI created a short quiz that can help identify the presence of stigma; please follow the link to learn more.

The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.


Co-occurring Disorder Treatment Is Effective

Take the first step toward recovery with HVRC and Sage Retreat. We understand how difficult it is to acknowledge that you need help. Because chemical dependency and co-occurring mental illnesses are progressive and destructive diseases that require treatment, immediate action and courage is a must; our team of addiction professionals can intervene, confront and empower you toward discovering your true potential. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Opioid Bill Receives Bipartisan Support

opioid use disorder
It isn’t a secret that there is little love lost between elected officials on both sides of the aisle in American politics. The endless news cycle about what is happening in all three branches of government is at times hard to watch regardless of where one’s affiliation rests. Nevertheless, with lives hanging in the balance owing to an addiction epidemic, it is paramount that partisans look past their differences and at least try to enact legislation to combat the ever-rising death toll linked to substance use and use disorder.

In a divided nation, interestingly, it seems the only thing Senators and members of the House can agree on is addressing the scourge of opioids and other drugs with the power to kill. With each passing year, the annual overdose death toll continues to elevate exponentially. It is hard to disagree with enacting common-sense legislation that could lead to mitigating the pernicious effects of mind-altering substances.

In recent years, lawmakers have reached across the aisle to change public policy; to make it harder for individuals to acquire dangerous narcotics, expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment, and make the overdose reversal drug naloxone more readily available. Notably, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires insurance companies and group health plans to provide benefits for mental illness and substance use treatment and services that are on par with how they cover medical/surgical care. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA), among other things, expanded the availability of naloxone and access to addiction treatment services, and strengthened prescription drug monitoring programs.

Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package

This week, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate achieved something that many thought unthinkable, bipartisan agreement on a 653-page bill designed to address addiction and overdose, The New York Times reports. It is impossible to cover everything in the package, but some of the critical facets include a measure that will hopefully make it harder to smuggle dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the country.

The agreement reached by lawmakers could allow more Medicaid recipients to receive residential addiction treatment in the coming years, according to the article. A measure allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used for treating opioid addiction. The legislation also channels more funding for researching and developing nonaddictive medications for pain management.

While anything is better than nothing when it comes to tackling addiction and helping more people into recovery, as well as lowering the number of overdose deaths each year, many lawmakers and experts have expressed concerns. The primary source of contention with the bill is that it is woefully underfunded. It is expected that the bill will cost around $8 billion, which some have pointed out is significantly less than what was is allotted for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990’s.

“While there is more work to be done, this bipartisan legislation takes an important step forward and will save lives,” said Republican and Democratic committee leaders. 

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat can assist you or a family member in breaking the cycle of opioid use disorder and begin a journey of addiction recovery. As National Recovery Month concludes, we are hopeful that more people will make the courageous decision to seek care. Please take the first step and contact us today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

4 Holistic Therapies That May Help Your Recovery

holistic therapiesWhen used with traditional addiction treatment, holistic therapies have been proved to help both the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Alternative treatments are becoming more mainstream for helping people with substance use disorders develop the necessary skills for long-term sobriety. What’s more, holistic therapy is being used among patients who are struggling with chronic pain and addiction – helping the body heal by tapping into the mind, body and spirit connection.

Here’s a look at a few holistic therapies that you might experience during rehab – and how they can help you or someone you love: 

  1. Meditation: The ancient practice of meditation has numerous health benefits, including helping you to learn how to stay in the present, manage stress and connect to your divine nature. Meditation has also been study-proven to increase oxygenation of the blood and decrease heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.
  2. Therapeutic Breathing: Also called “mindfulness breathing,” therapeutic breathing is a holistic practice that enables you to use breath to let go of any negative emotions, feelings and distractions. The result: Your “prana” or life force will flow more freely.
  3. Guided Imagery: This type of focused relaxation helps you develop a deeper sense of peace, harmony, balance and understanding. Guided imagery teaches you to focus your imagination to create a “mental escape” and tap inner strengths to find hope and courage to cope with a variety of conditions.
  4. Heart-Mind Coherence (HeartMath™): During stress and negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern becomes erratic and disordered and limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason and make rational decisions. Similar to biofeedback, HeartMath helps you to visually observe heart function in response to contrasting emotional states and teaches you how using breathing techniques to establish a state of heart-mind “entrainment.”

About Our Holistic Therapies 
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer a host of holistic therapies that take into account the body, mind and spirit, which are all impacted by the disease of addiction. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs and services, call today: 866-273-0868.