Friday, July 12, 2019

Depression and Co-Occurring Addiction Recovery

addiction recovery
A significant number of people who seem put together on the surface contend with something lurking beneath that can upend their lives. It goes by many names but fits under one umbrella: mental illness. Those who struggle with mental health disorders hail from all walks of life. Psychological disorders are pernicious, and they affect men and women regardless of their financial status, race, gender, or upbringing.

More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally. However, many individuals struggle to believe that some men and women battle mental illness. This is partially due to the misconception that symptoms of mental health disorders are circumstantial. People wonder, ‘how could that person, with all their success, battle depression?’

The same is true for addiction! One might muse, ‘what cause does this person have to drink and drug to excess when they have so much going for them in life?’ None of these questions are easy to answer, nor do they need to be. Public perception is rarely rooted in hard science, which contributes to stigmas.

Since one in five Americans will battle with mental illness, it stands to reason that successful people will too. Some of our most beloved actors, musicians, and icons are in recovery from addiction or another psychological condition. Moreover, many celebrities are candid about their issues and what they do to keep them in check.

When a person who is looked up to opens up regarding their trials and tribulations, the effect is enormous. Unreserved disclosure about mental illness and recovery both comforts and inspires average citizens to take action. When John Q. Public learns that they share similar struggles with a person they admire, they feel less alone. He or she becomes empowered to seek recovery!

The Universe Gives Back When You Quit Drinking


Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead, Mission Impossible, and Star Trek) is a British actor who many Americans adore. Not only can he act, but he is also funny. Over the last two decades, his career has gone in one direction—upward. Unfortunately, Pegg’s road to stardom was impacted by depression and addiction.

The English actor, writer, and comedian recently spoke at length with GQ about his battles with mental illness. He discloses how he used alcohol to contend with his depressive symptoms; he shares that drinking helped, at first. However, self-medicating the symptoms of mental illness made his life unmanageable and developed into a co-occurring alcohol use disorder.

“You just can’t rely on any kind of stimulant to make yourself feel better and expect it to solve anything,” said Pegg. “At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time.”

In 2010, Mr. Pegg hit rock bottom and decided to address his problems fully, according to the article. He sought assistance at a mental health hospital and addiction rehab clinic. The actor learned that the substance he thought was helping was making matters worse. It is a realization that many people come to after seeking help for a dual diagnosis. He tells GQ:

“It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue. I spoke to people and got proper help. That’s when you realise you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things. By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last ten years.”

Chemical Dependency and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


Millions of Americans find themselves struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Those who meet the criteria for depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of also developing alcohol or substance use disorder.

Fortunately, long-term recovery is possible when individuals seek treatment to address each disorder simultaneously. If your or a loved one’s life is negatively impacted by drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please contact us today.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is a hospital-based addiction treatment center. Our clients benefit from being treated in a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); they have access to more than 185 physicians.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Addiction Recovery: A Freedom to Decide

addiction recovery
On this day, 243 years ago, the thirteen original colonies came together as one resounding voice and declared independence from Great Britain. Each year at this time, Americans are asked to reflect on the importance of freedom. For most people, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate around the barbecue and watch fireworks with friends and family, but for people in recovery, Independence Day can have more than one meaning.

People in recovery acknowledge their varying lengths of sobriety on the date that they began taking steps to be free from the bondage of self. It is a day of significant importance to millions of people across the country. In a sense, recovery is a declaration of independence from the disease of addiction.

Alcohol and substance use disorders hijack the lives of individuals. Breaking the disease cycle and forging a unique path is one of the greatest acts of courage found in modern times. Through hard work and dedication to abstain from drugs and alcohol (no matter what), men and women can find a new kind of freedom.

With the above thoughts in mind, perhaps you will find time today to think about how grateful you are to have sovereignty. No longer confined by the prison of self, so total that it’s hard for most of society to understand, you can decide the kind of person you’d like to be. People working programs of recovery have the freedom to choose how they will affect those around them and their society.

A Freedom to Decide, in Recovery


Addiction recovery is liberating; it opens doors to new worlds of possibility. Sobriety gives men and women the freedom to decide how they will look at things. They can choose to find the positives in life, even though the addict and alcoholic’s natural default setting is the belief that he or she is the center of the universe. They can decide to squash negative feelings about others and see the good. One remarkable aspect of recovery is the freedom to care about other people.

It is freeing to realize that the gift of recovery is something that you have the honor to be able to pay forward. The humanity shown to newcomers is then passed along; it’s a relay of healing involving men and women with a common goal.

Those who are in the grips of the progressive illness that is addiction are forced to focus only on themselves to survive. Once in recovery, they learn that not only can they care about others but that it is a requirement. Being of service and accountable to something higher enables recovering addicts and alcoholics to find independence. No longer bound by the yoke of addiction, they can spread their wings and soar to new heights of existence.

There is a caveat, of course; detox, treatment, and working a program gives people the ability to manage their condition. Action in perpetuity is required for continued progress; recovery has a start date but no end. Through continued service and a commitment to practice certain principles in every aspect of life, men and women learn what it means to be free.

On Independence Day, please find a moment to consider the many gifts in your life today and show gratitude toward those who helped you be free from the bondage of self. If you attend a meeting, maybe there will be an opportunity to be of service; bring cookies, stack chairs, or introduce yourself to a newcomer.

If you have plans with your peers in recovery for after the meeting, invite said newcomer along. It will make their day, and the invite might be the thing that keeps them from picking up a drink.

Addiction Recovery is a Doorway to Independence


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). We utilize evidence-based practices to help people take their first steps toward a life in recovery. Our clients significantly benefit from hospital-based care and specialty services that we provide at HVRC. Please contact us today to take the first step toward finding independence from addiction.

At HVRC, we hope that everyone in recovery has a safe and sober 4th of July. Please keep your phone charged and never hesitate to call your support network for assistance.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Opioid Addiction and Overprescribing: A Global Epidemic

opioid
Despite the warnings and some 130 overdose deaths per day in America, surgeons still prescribe painkillers at alarming rates. A new report from Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Johns Hopkins shows that they are prescribing many times the recommended number of opioids.

Surgeons continue to prescribe far more opioids for post-op pain than recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings come from an analysis of the latest available data, including 350,000 prescriptions written for patients operated on by nearly 20,000 surgeons from 2011 to 2016.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, together with KHN, found that doctors performing surgeries are ignoring current guidelines from several academic medical centers. The article points out that while opioid manufacturers have received the market share of the blame for the epidemic, the contribution to the crisis by physicians is mostly disregarded.

In some ways, it’s hard to imagine a doctor prescribing massive amounts of opioids for less painful procedures. Physicians know the addictive nature of opiates; they must exercise the utmost discretion when treating minor injuries. Writing smaller prescriptions and then refilling them as needed mitigates the risk of abuse or drug diversion.

In 2016, some coronary artery bypass patients took home upwards of 105 opioid pills, according to the article. The highest prescribing doctors performing a lumpectomy to remove a breast tumor doled out 40 to 70 pills on average. Researchers found that some knee surgery patients received prescriptions for more than 100 pills to take home.

The data being a few years old does not mean that prescribing practices are significantly better today. Dr. Chad Brummett, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at the University of Michigan, says:

“When prescribing may have been five to 20 times too high, even a reduction that is quite meaningful still likely reflects overprescribing.”

 

A Global Opioid Addiction Epidemic


The United States accounts for a small percentage of the world’s population; however, we consume the bulk of all prescription opioids. Still, that does not mean that the crisis we face is specific to America.

Yesterday, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published its 2019 World Drug Report. The UNODC estimates the number of people who’ve used opioids at 53 million globally, up 56 percent from previous projections. The UN estimates that 35 million people are suffering from substance use disorders.

The scourge of opioid use in the USA has had a terrible effect, even though America has the infrastructure in place to address the problem. The same cannot be said for North Africa and the Middle East, where the opioid tramadol is heavily abused. Access to evidence-based treatment services is limited; only one in seven people with drug use disorders receive treatment each year.

Both methamphetamine and cocaine use are on the rise as well. Meth seizures are up both in Asia and here at home. Coca bush cultivation and cocaine production reached record highs in 2017.

“The findings of this year’s World Drug Report fill in and further complicate the global picture of drug challenges, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated health and criminal justice responses to supply and demand,” said Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director. 

If you would like to read the full UNODC report in full, please click here.

Central California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat can help you or someone you love detox from opioids and begin a remarkable journey of recovery. We utilize evidence-based therapies to treat opioid addiction and help clients heal. Please contact us at any time to discuss treatment options with our recovery staff. 866-273-0868

Friday, June 21, 2019

California Tests Mental Health Apps

mental health
Smartphones have transformed the way we live in myriad ways. These tiny pocket computers, which give people the power to learn, shop, schedule, organize, and connect with their peers, are invaluable to most people. Young Americans cannot even remember life before the iPhone, nor would they dare to imagine existing without smartphones.

The potential for phones and tablets is seemingly limitless. Each year, developers pack more and more power into the devices which allows users more freedom to create, explore, and communicate in new ways with individuals across the globe. While smartphones and apps can make our lives easier, they can also prevent us from being present. So, it’s essential to find a balance and take steps to limit screen time.

Most application developers do not set out to change the world. An exploration through app stores proves that there are some incredible things people can and will spend $1 on for entertainment. However, several companies have chosen to harness the power of smartphones to help people with their internal struggles. Today, there exist a plethora of apps that are meant to assist people with their mental health.

California is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world; Silicon Valley is ground zero for the latest in innovation. An experiment is currently underway to determine if smartphone applications can help state and county mental health officials address the needs of people living with mental illness.

Make Mental Health Services More Available


When we use our phones patterns emerge, a picture of who we are and how we go about our day is transposed into data. Observations into how long someone is on their smartphone, the apps used, and what they post could theoretically give experts a window into said person’s mental health.

Last summer, the California Mental Health Services Authority selected two app companies to collaborate with county services, The New York Time reports. Mindstrong, founded by Dr. Paul Dagum, created an alternate keyboard to embed on patient participants’ smartphones. The other company, 7 Cups, cofounded by psychologist Glen Moriarty, is a digital mental health network.

The Mindstrong app monitors users “moment-to-moment screen activity;” its algorithms establish a person’s baseline phone behaviors. If a participant’s usage appears abnormal, the app will sound an alarm that an emotional crisis could be coming. The application also has a diary feature that allows users to chart how they are feeling from one day to the next. Los Angeles County has distributed the technology thus far.

“I like the diary card,” said Skyy Brewer, 30, who has used the diary since to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. “At therapy, you can go through the cards for the week and see the good days and bad ones, and figure out why your moods were off.” 

7 Cups was co-founded by former National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director Thomas R. Insel—a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The app pairs participants with company-trained “listeners,” according to the article. A listener will determine if the user is in crisis and connect them with a 7 Cups therapist.

The collaboration between the tech sector and the California Mental Health Services Authority has run into some difficulties (e.g., privacy concerns) since the beginning. However, the findings of the research could end up helping millions of people down the road. It will be interesting to see what the experts determine.

“It’s been a little rough in the beginning, I have to say, and it may take a couple of years,” Dr. Insel said. “The program may have to fail at first.”

California Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness like depression or anxiety. We can help you detox from drugs and alcohol, address your mental health needs, and give you the tools to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Research on Cannabis Use

cannabis use disorder
Marijuana may not be at the top of the American people’s list of concerns, but it’s vital to stay up to date on current research. The end of cannabis prohibition in many states has led to a surge in scientific studies. There is a whole lot that we do not know about the dangers and benefits of marijuana.

Since cannabis use can lead to addiction and subsequent adverse effects, having all the facts can better inform treatment providers. Marijuana is a polarizing subject matter; as such, there is a lot of misinformation.

Several claims have been made that suggest weed can do wonders for people with severe medical conditions. In some cases, the assertions hold water, but others are unequivocally false. Weeding through all the material to find peer-reviewed research is an arduous task.

Given that more and more states are going to legalize both medical and recreational use, it’s paramount to inform citizens about the science.

New Research on Cannabis


Two new studies published recently present some interesting findings regarding medical marijuana, legalization, and the pathways to a cannabis use disorder. One study contradicts previous research, which claimed that medical cannabis reduces the rate of fatal opioid overdoses. The other seeks to explain why some heavy users become addicted, whereas others do not.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found no evidence that indicates opioid overdose deaths are reduced by the availability of medical cannabis, according to a press release. Moreover, the researchers found that states with medical marijuana had higher overdose death rates. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If you think opening a bunch of dispensaries is going to reduce opioid deaths, you’ll be disappointed,” said Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “We don’t think cannabis is killing people, but we don’t think it’s saving people.” 

A separate study we’d like to focus on appears in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Researchers used brain imaging to observe the neural of cannabis users who viewed images associated with use (e.g., drug cues), according to Elsevier. All of the human participants were heavy cannabis users.

The findings indicate that people with heavy marijuana use, with and without cannabis use disorders, had exaggerated responses in a brain region called the ventral striatum. This area of the brain handles reward processing. The scans of those who had a cannabis user disorder also showed more significant responses in the area that forms habits—the dorsal striatum. What’s more, the researchers found that dependent users had increased responses in the regions that attach importance to things.

“Cannabis is now legal for medical and recreational use in many parts of the United States and the health impacts of this development are still being understood,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. “These findings are important insights that can help us better understand why some individuals might be more likely to become addicted to cannabis.”

California Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment


Marijuana addiction can take a severe toll and affect life quality. Those who meet the criteria for a cannabis use disorder tend to struggle in several areas of their life. Many who try to quit experience withdrawal symptoms that, if not managed professionally, lead to relapse.

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with marijuana, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our highly trained team of clinicians helps individuals break the cycle of addiction and sets them on a path toward long-term recovery. We invite you to take the first step and call us today for a confidential assessment. 866-273-0868