Friday, August 17, 2018

Binge Drinking Carries Significant Risks

alcohol use disorder
Alcohol, the drug of choice of most Americans, is often considered to be safe, despite significant evidence to the contrary. It makes sense that people think the substance is benign, after all, you can purchase beer, liquor, and wine just about anywhere—in some places around the clock. Even young people know that as long as they do not get behind the wheel, they do not have much to worry about when it comes to drinking.

Legal consequences of drinking may be the biggest concern of young Americans. But, a growing body of research shows that teenagers and young adults who drink heavy have much more than a DUI to look forward to, if they continue imbibing in hazardous ways. Even when you remove the risk of developing alcohol use disorder or alcoholism from the equation – some 16 million Americans struggle with AUDs – the health consequences of binge drinking and regular alcohol use are staggering.

One of the most significant health concerns that people associate with drinking alcohol is the effect that the substance has on vital organs, like the liver. However, most individuals correlate conditions like cirrhosis with patients who’ve drunk copious amounts of liquor for decades. While it’s true that liver disease predominately affects older Americans, a growing body of evidence suggests that young people are eligible too. And, a separate study indicates that young people who binge drink, elevate their chances of experiencing heart problems later in life.

 

The Impact of Alcohol Use


A study published last month in BMJ indicates that fatal liver disease is on the rise, particularly amongst younger demographics, NPR reports. In fact, alcohol-related liver disease deaths annually nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016 with 25- to 34-year-olds. The troubling findings coincide with rising rates of binge drinking in the U.S. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as when women have four drinks or men have five drinks in about 2 hours.

"Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis used to be considered a disease that would happen after 30 years of heavy alcohol consumption," says Dr. Vijay Shah, who heads the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic. "But this study is showing that these problems are actually occurring in individuals in their 20s and 30s." 

It gets worse, aside from binge drinking putting the liver at risk, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that young binge drinkers may have a more significant risk of developing heart disease and experiencing stroke down the road, Newsweek reports. The findings are cause for concern; researchers point out that one in five college-age students binge drink.

"As part of this intervention pattern, young adults should be screened and counseled about alcohol misuse, including binge drinking, and advised on how binge drinking may affect their cardiovascular health," said Mariann Piano, study co-author and a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


If you are a young adult whose alcohol use is negatively impacting your life, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Alcohol use disorder can strike in young adulthood; there are not any age restrictions to addiction. At HVRC, we can help you break the cycle of AUD and show you how to lead a productive and healthy life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

High Temps Can Impact Your Recovery

addiction
When people are comfortable, they feel better; simple, right!? It’s the inverse that is of particular concern especially regarding those recovering from addiction or another form of mental illness. In the field of mental health, recovery is dependent on balance, calmness, and serenity. Naturally, outside factors can impact people’s subjective well-being.

One of the things people working a program are taught early on is how to mitigate stress, and how to cope with it when uncomfortable circumstances arise. While mental strain — as it pertains to recovery — centers on work, finances, family, and romantic relationships usually, several things exist that are out of one’s control, and they can wreak havoc on a person’s recovery. Notably, the weather!

Regardless of where you are living, it is probable that you are aware that July brought with it unprecedented temperatures for much of the country. In fact, 2018 is poised to be the fourth hottest year on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Perhaps most concerning is that this year's hellish temps are part of a disturbing trend, consider that three hottest years ever recorded are 2015, 2016 and 2017. So, what do escalating temps mean for people living with mental illness?

 

Cooling Off In Recovery


Here in Hemet Valley, the 7-day forecast shows several triple-digit days; and, we are not alone, many places across the country are experiencing similar temperatures. It is of the utmost importance that people in recovery do everything in their power to avoid letting their stifling climes affect their mental wellbeing.

It isn’t a secret that individuals living with mental health conditions do not always handle change very well. It is one of the reasons people remain in the cycle of addiction for as long as they do before embracing a new way. Such persons regularly struggle with situations that are beyond anyone’s control, and exceedingly hot days qualify. So, and with that in mind, it’s paramount that you stay close to your support network perhaps more than you might normally.

When you are uncomfortable, you may be more likely to act in ways that are not in service to your best interest. You may find yourself wanting to find means of escaping present circumstances which can lead to isolation. Please resist such temptations and remember that regardless of outside elements, recovery must come first. What’s more, research shows that heat waves have a measured effect on people’s psyche.

A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University indicates that a 1-degree Celsius increase in average monthly temperature in the U.S. translates to a 0.68 percent increase in the monthly suicide rate, Bloomberg reports. The research shows that people are also more likely to use depressive language which is indicative of emotional lows. Depression, whether clinical or circumstantial, is often a catalyst for relapse. The findings appear in Nature: Climate Change.

 

Your Recovery Is Worth It


If you have found yourself in exceedingly low spirits of late, it could be the result of the current heat wave. Please communicate your feelings with your support network so that they may provide you with guidance. Remember, you are not alone!

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat offers a full continuum of care that helps people break the cycle of addiction and adopt a program of lasting addiction recovery. Please contact us at any time to learn more about our center.

At HVRC, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Carr fire.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trauma and Addiction Recovery Is Possible

addiction
Do you work in a field that adds stress to your life? If so, do you drink alcohol or use drugs in order to cope with your feelings about your work or the feelings employment experiences elicit? You may not know this, but using mind-altering substances to deal with life stressors can be a slippery slope to problems, notably that of use disorders.

In the United States, it is common practice for adults to have a few beers or a couple of glasses of wine after work. After all, it is within people’s rights to do so; however, for some individuals, the practice ends up exacerbating the negative feelings that one is trying to counter. Nowhere is this truer than people who work in fields that expose them to trauma.

It is not uncommon for people working in the fields of medicine, first response, and the military, to turn to alcohol and substance use to cope. Which makes sense, considering that people in those lines of work are more likely to confront psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Individuals facing such circumstances, typically rely on drink and drugs to mute or dull their symptoms; the practice regularly leads to a dual diagnosis.

 

First Responders Struggle With Mental Illness


Citing a University of Phoenix survey, the American Psychiatric Association points out that approximately 85 percent of first responders had experienced symptoms of mental illness; what’s more, some 34 percent of respondents report a mental disorder diagnosis, and:
  • More than a quarter diagnosed with depression,
  • one in 10 diagnosed with PTSD; and,
  • 46 percent had experienced anxiety.
There is a significant body of evidence online and in research journals that indicate an increased likelihood of alcohol and substance use disorders among first responders. The reality is that when conditions like depression and PTSD are left untreated, many will resort to substance use as a coping mechanism. The practice doesn’t fix the problem; it makes it worse.

It’s vital that people working in fields that involve a high risk of trauma, and also misuse drugs and alcohol, seek treatment as a path to recovery. When addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses receive simultaneous treatment, long-term recovery is possible.


HVRC Heroes Program


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a program that caters to the unique needs of individuals struggling with employment-induced trauma. Our team of highly trained addiction professionals can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and learn how to cope with the symptoms of co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us to receive a complimentary assessment and discuss treatment options.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Safeguarding Your Recovery from Relapse

Relapse is something that everyone in recovery strives, day in and day out, to avoid. Working a program is hard, and it requires a tremendous amount of dedication, for myriad reasons in the blink of an eye (seemingly) all your efforts can go down the drain. To be clear, we are talking about more than just losing all the time you have put into a program of recovery, in some cases a slip back to use, is fatal, especially when it comes to opioids.

Naturally, going to meetings and fostering a “deep bench” support network can help you steer clear of situations that can result in a return to using drugs and alcohol. Following the directions of people who’ve been in the program longer, is invaluable in bringing about lasting progress. Nobody is perfect, nor are you expected to always get things right regarding your actions; but, today you have a means of correcting misguided thinking and behaviors before they devolve into something much worse.

We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping exceptionally close ties to your support group in the first years of recovery. Addiction is a lifelong disease with no known antidote which means that you will have to be ever vigilant in managing your condition in healthy ways. Fortunately, there are several approaches you can take to improving your life and, as a result, prevent relapse.

 

Safeguarding Your Recovery


Staying present in recovery is of vital importance. Romanticizing about your past or future-tripping are sure paths to drugs and alcohol. Addicts and alcoholics have a unique ability to quickly forget the negative aspects of their history and deluding themselves into thinking, ‘this time might be different.’ Merely put, if mind-altering substances caused you the kind of problems that demanded recovery in the first place, it stands to reason that bad memories outweigh the good times. If you find yourself thinking it would be nice to have a beer on a hot day this summer, and without getting down on yourself, replay a snippet of the tape that is your substance abuse history. Pretty quickly you’ll grasp why having that Corona is not worth what comes after the bottle goes dry.

relapse
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is another way you can protect your recovery from relapse. Rest is key to a robust program, but unfortunately, many people in recovery take getting ZZZs for granted. If you are not well rested, then you are far more likely to make rash decisions that are not in accord with your best interests. People who are tired all the time lack the energy that they must put toward their daily commitment to recovery.

If you find it difficult to get to sleep at a decent hour, it may be due to some of your behaviors after the sun goes down. Scientists tell us that eating late or watching television before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The brain cycles throughout the night about every 90 minutes; REM sleep is when your brain and body are energized. If you are not staying asleep, it means you are losing out on a vital revitalization process which is essential for function in a healthy way the next day.

Lastly, do whatever you can to stay away from situations involving people using drugs and alcohol. It seems obvious, but it is easy to forget how dangerous it can be to see people getting intoxicated. You may feel secure enough to go into a bar for something that doesn’t involve drinking, but ask yourself, ‘is it worth it?’

 

Relapse Prevention


Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat can assist you, or a loved one in beginning a journey of recovery. A significant component of our program is relapse prevention; our highly trained addiction counselors teach clients techniques for protecting their program form relapse. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve lasting changes.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CDC Director Discusses Opioids, Suicide, and HIV

opioids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new director, Dr. Robert Redfield. While his recent appointment led many people to voice their reservations, most individuals will find it hard to argue with the Redfield goals. In Dr. Redfield's first interview, he expressed a desire to tackle substance use, suicide, and HIV/AIDS, The Wall St. Journal reports. The three public health crises are, the CDC Director points out, connected. He says the CDC is ramping up its effort to confront opioid use disorder, track overdoses in real-time, and develop guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain.

Dr. Redfield reveals that he has a close family member who has dealt with opioid addiction, according to the article. With that in mind, it stands to reason that he will stress a compassionate approach to addressing the epidemic stealing over a hundred American lives each day. He goes on to talk about the dangers of stigma and thinks that nation’s past experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic might provide insight.

“I think part of my understanding of the epidemic has come from seeing it not just as a public-health person and not just as a doctor,” he said. “It is something that has impacted me also at a personal level. Stigma is the enemy of public health,” he said, adding that it’s important to find “a path to destigmatize” opioid abuse. “We were able to do it to some degree for HIV, and I think pretty successfully, but it’s not over.” 

Opioids and Disease Transmission


IV drug use and sharing needles have resulted in more people contracting life-threatening health conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. In recent years, a significant number of people in specific areas are victims of disease transmission owing to the American opioid addiction epidemic. The spike in new cases of mostly incurable diseases has led many lawmakers to rethink their former positions on needle exchanges.

Before Mike Pence became Vice President, he was the Governor of Indiana and, as it turns out, a long-time opponent of clean needle exchanges. He is on record stating his belief that giving people syringes supported drug use. Then Pence was tested when an HIV outbreak sprung up in a rural part of his state, around 100 new cases of the incurable disease. Two months later—after pleas from local, state and federal health officials—Pence signed an executive order allowing syringes to be distributed in the affected county, The New York Times reports. The result, new HIV cases plateaued!

One thing that many opponents of clean needle exchanges do not realize is that aside from mitigating the risk of spreading infection, the services provide a valuable opportunity for outreach counselors to discuss recovery with addicts. Such openings for talking about treatment are far and few between, public health officials would be wise to remind needle exchange opponents of that fact. During Dr. Redfield’s interview, he shares his thoughts about pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. He believes that addiction treatment services, a form of PrEP, are the best means of preventing disease transmission. He boldly states that by getting infected people into treatment and off drugs that, “HIV/AIDS can be ended as an epidemic in the U.S. in “seven years or maybe a little longer.”

Addiction Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our skilled team of professionals can help you adopt a program of recovery that will forever change your life for the better.