Thursday, June 14, 2018

PTSD Affects Millions of Americans

PTSD
Last month, HVRC took time to acknowledge the 4 million plus heroes working in the nursing profession during National Nurse Week. We discussed how people working in jobs where trauma and stress are commonplace are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems, compared to those who work in other fields. It is fitting that June is PTSD Awareness Month; many people that are working in the field of medicine are negatively affected by the trauma they experience when fulfilling their duties. However, people working in the hospital are not the only people at risk of witnessing or experiencing trauma; disturbing and shocking events can impact anyone.

It is of vital importance that we all take time to educate ourselves about post-traumatic stress disorder. The National Center for PTSD reports that about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year; that number includes many people who have never seen the front lines of combat or witnessed someone die in a hospital bed. Merely put, just about anything that is severely distressing can result in an individual developing a post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, PTSD is one of the many psychological disorders that is undertreated which is why the month of June is so salient; encouraging those who struggle with the condition to seek help is paramount.

At HVRC, we understand that a good number of people work in professions that can have a negative impact on life quality. What’s more, such people are at far higher risk of developing problems with alcohol and drugs due to what is known as the practice of self-medication. At our treatment center, many of the clients taking part in our Heroes Program present signs of both PTSD and addiction. We understand that failing to treat both conditions will significantly diminish a client's ability to work a program of long-term recovery. When we treat both conditions simultaneously, the likelihood of progress exponentially increases.

Help Raise Awareness About PTSD


PTSD can affect anyone; but, women are more likely to develop the condition. The National Center for PTSD points out that about 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives, compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

The good news is that treatment works, and recovery is possible; the bad news is that people fear seeking help. Some worry that acknowledging the disorder will make their friends, family, and society look and treat at them differently. In defense of those suffering, society hasn’t always been kind to those struggling with mental illness, especially PTSD. During World War II, the term “shell shock” was replaced by Combat Stress Reaction (CSR), or "battle fatigue. General Patton nearly ended his military career when he verbally and physically accosted two soldiers exhibiting signs of battle fatigue during the Allied campaign in Sicily.

"Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength, because you have survived!" —Michel Templet 

We live in a different time than the 1940s and have come a long way when it comes to both understanding and empathy. Battle fatigue, which is now called PTSD; is a condition no longer relegated to soldiers alone. The mental health disorder is a condition whose criteria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; and, to be clear, it can have an adverse effect on anyone. If you are struggling with the condition there is support available; or, if you know someone is living with PTSD, you can prove instrumental to their recovery.

“Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.”―S. Kelley Harrell

 

Addiction Treatment for Heroes


During PTSD Awareness Month, we invite anyone struggling with PTSD who self-medicates with drugs and alcohol to cope to contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. Our skilled team of professionals can help you adopt a program of recovery that will change your life for the better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Real Impact of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

substance-abuse-workplaceSubstance abuse impacts virtually all areas of a person’s life: physical and mental health, relationships with friends and family, and career. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 75% of people with substance use disorder maintain employment. Although the impact substance abuse in the workplace is significant, its impact usually isn’t immediately detectable.

So, what’s the real cost of substance abuse in the workplace? It impacts three key areas: company finances, employee health and safety, and company culture.

Company Finances

The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that the annual economic impact of illicit drugs hovers at $193. Employee substance abuse leads to productivity losses, high turnover, workplace theft, more sick days, reduced work performance and higher rates of absenteeism, which affect profit margins and bottom lines. It’s also estimated that health care costs for employees with substance use issues are twice the cost than for non-users.

Even if an employee is physically present at work, if they’re abusing substances on or off the job, they likely can’t operate at the same potential as they usually would.

Employee Health & Safety

Substance abuse on the job increases the risk of occupational injuries and fatalities. According to NCADD, workers with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences than those without alcohol problems.

Additionally, a study of a hospital emergency room found that 35% of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers, and breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of patients who were injured on the job. Many companies require pre-employment drug screenings, but the inconsistency of random drug screenings makes it difficult to protect workers in the long-term.

Morale & Company Culture

If an employee is using drugs or alcohol, it’s likely that morale and company culture will suffer, especially if the company represents an industry where substance use is normalized, such as food and hospitality. In some industries, substances may be needed to keep up with a fast pace and stay focused. In others, substances may be used to blow off steam during downtime.

Even employees who aren’t necessarily dependent on drugs or alcohol can pose a problem. They may not need substances to function in daily life, but they binge on the weekends or after they leave work. Off-the-clock substance use may make them leave work early on Thursday or Friday or come in late on Monday. The after-effects of substance use can also bleed into the workday. If an employee is dealing with a hangover or withdrawal, it can be difficult for them to work. When employees are showing up late, leaving early, absent or unproductive, their colleagues notice, which breeds resentment and drives up conflict.

Drug and alcohol use is a huge issue in the workplace because most people with substance use issues are employed somewhere. If an employee is dealing with substance abuse, it’s bound to affect their performance.

If you or a colleague you care about is struggling with substance use disorder, Hemet Valley Recovery Center can help. We realize that residential treatment isn’t always an option for someone who has a full-time job and other obligations, which is why our Chemical Dependency Program is designed with working adults in mind. For more information about how our services can help you heal, contact us at 866-273-0868.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

6 Tips for Managing Mental Health at Work

It seems we’re more open about discussing mental health issues than ever before, but there’s one topic that is rarely discussed: how mental health affects our work lives. Mental health issues affect every worker at every level, from the entry-level employee to the c-suite executive.
tips-mental-health-work

We spend so much time working, and our jobs can have a significant impact on our mental well-being–one that often goes unnoticed. If mental health symptoms go ignored, it can cause serious harm to your health and career.

Since May is Mental Health Month, now is as good a time as any to be more mindful of your mental health in and out of the workplace.

1. Don’t sweep it under the rug.

If you’re experiencing mental health issues, talk to your employer, manager or supervisor about it. You don’t have to tell them every little detail. Just say that you would benefit from some time off to talk to a health care provider or therapist. You might be surprised by how receptive your employer is to this kind of conversation.

Think about how and when you want to have this conversation, because once you say it, it can’t be unsaid. You should feel comfortable and secure discussing something so personal with your employer. It’s so much better to have an honest, open discussion instead of trying to cover up your symptoms.

2. Leave work at work.

There’s a lot of good that comes with constant, immediate connection, but it can be problematic when it comes to trying to maintain work-life balance. Try to keep work at work. It’s OK to send a late night email response every now and again, but if off-hour work becomes a part of your routine and it seems like you’re always on the clock, you need to assess your boundaries. Be upfront with your manager about what you’re willing and unwilling to handle.

3. Don’t let your mental health become a problem.

Identifying a mental illness can be difficult because it doesn’t appear physically. It’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for so you can intervene early on. Do you feel like you can’t focus lately or you’re not as productive as you were a few months ago? Are you dragging yourself out of bed every morning? Maybe you’ve been dealing with mood swings or a bad temper.

Make it a point to periodically check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. It’s never too late to seek treatment for mental health, but taking action early on can prevent you from feeling like you’re spiraling out of control.

4. Take time for yourself.

Be honest with yourself about what you need to feel happy, healthy and balanced. Not checking your email on weekends, going for a walk during your lunch hour or leaving work promptly are boundaries that can help you feel more in control.

5. Take a mental health day.

As an employee, it’s your job to do the best work you can, which requires you to have the right mindset. For smaller issues, a mental health day may do the trick, but if you’re dealing with something more significant, such as anxiety, depression or a death in the family, it’s wise to have an honest, yet brief conversation with your supervisor.

Think of it this way: By failing to communicate that you’re dealing with mental health issues, the reasoning behind your performance issues is left to your supervisor’s imagination. You don’t need to share all of the details, but you should share whatever you feel comfortable sharing. It’s also wise to share your plans for treatment, such as therapy, so you can continue working.

6. Know your rights.

It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of a mental health condition. You can’t be fired, forced to take a leave of absence or denied a promotion because of a mental health condition, or even if your employer suspects you have a condition.

Per the Americans With Disabilities Act, employees with any mental health condition that “substantially limits one or more major life activities” also have the right to workplace accommodations, such as an altered work schedule, work-from-home days or time off for therapy sessions. Many companies offer employee assistance programs that can connect you with free counseling sessions. Check with your HR office for more information.

Your mental health impacts all areas of your life, and it’s important to take it seriously. Help is available. Hemet Valley Recovery Center’s treatment services can help you take control of your mental health. For more information, contact us at 866-273-0868.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Many Nurses Struggle With Addiction

addiction
Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans head off to jobs where their physical and mental health is put at risk. You can probably think of several such tasks, such as firefighters and law enforcement for example. These forms of employment can be hazardous, and those who work in such fields can experience severe trauma from the things that they witness. Traumatic experiences can lead to the development of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression; left untreated, people with those types of affliction often resort to drugs and alcohol for relief. Such quests for comfort can develop into alcohol and substance use disorder which, like other form of mental illness, requires treatment.

Heroic acts like rushing into a burning building, confronting an armed suspect, and comforting victims can have a lasting effect even on the strongest of individuals. However, there are other lines of work that demand a particular kind of individual, which can leave permanent scars on people’s psyches. In fact, people working in the field of medicine see things that they wouldn’t wish for others to see; emergency rooms workers across the country regularly attend to horrific injuries, some of which end fatally. While nurses and doctors undergo extensive training for learning how to handle uncomfortable situations, many are unable to cope with the trauma.

Nurses Living With Addiction


About 63 percent of nurses experience physical or mental side effects of job-related stress, according to a Nursing Times survey. Of the 4,011,911 professional nurses in the U.S., 10% to 15% may be impaired or recovering from substance or alcohol addiction, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). The number of RNs struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder may be a lot higher. If you consider the nature of the work calls for doling out prescription drugs, so asking for help may lead some to believe that it is tantamount to career suicide. While those caught diverting meds from the hospital may be at such a risk, it is unlikely that one’s career will come to an end for seeking treatment.

Most people struggling with mental illness, such as addiction and PTSD, do not work in an environment where they have to handle narcotics. Nurses and doctors prescribe and administer mind-altering drugs daily. When people dealing with stress, trauma, and sleep deprivation can divert medication relatively easily for relief, the practice is a slippery slope to a use disorder. Of course, most nurses are not engaging in illegal activity to calm their nerves; some people return home from work and imbibe alcohol instead. In either scenario, the outcome can be the same.

It is vital that people who are dealing with mental illness seek assistance in the form of treatment. Both the addiction and the co-occurring psychological illness require simultaneous care if long-term recovery is to be achieved.

Addiction Treatment for Heroes

 

Last week, people around the country acknowledged the 4 million plus heroes working in the nursing field during National Nurses Week. At HVRC, we know first-hand the vital role that professional nurses play in helping others find addiction recovery. What’s more, we have created a program that is specifically tailored to those working in fields where trauma is a common occurrence.

If you are a nurse who is struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder like PTSD, our Heroes Program can help you begin the journey of recovery. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat to learn more about our program.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Study: Manufacturing Job Losses and Opioid Addiction Go Hand-In-Hand

manufacturing-unemployment-opioid-addictionAlthough the unemployment rate has reached a record low of 3.9%, it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the labor market. In a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Chicago social scientists examined the dramatic decline in manufacturing jobs throughout the 2000s, which had significant and ongoing negative effects on local employment rates, hours worked and wages.

And, according to the paper, as job losses in the manufacturing industry caused employment levels to plummet, opioid use increased.

Why Manufacturing Matters


The state of the manufacturing industry says a lot about the health of the economy. Researchers established four reasons why economists pay such close attention to the manufacturing sector:

  • Size. Historically, manufacturing has accounted for a significant portion of employment in the United States. It accounted for approximately 20% of employment in 1980.
  • Concentration. Manufacturing jobs are highly concentrated in specific pockets of the country, meaning that “negative employment shocks” can have catastrophic effects on local communities and widespread regions.
  • Policy. Given its size and concentration in regions that are economically-dependent on industry, manufacturing is often a key player in policy decisions.
  • Human capital. It’s an industry that provides jobs for low-skilled, less educated workers. For example, since 1980, more than one-third of employed men between 21 and 55 with a high school degree or less worked in manufacturing.

The Correlation Between Economic Losses & Opioid Addiction


Using Census data, researchers found that certain pockets of the United States that were particularly dependent on manufacturing in 2000 suffered excessive and enduring employment losses in the following years. These include parts of Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Many of these regions make up the Rust Belt, or parts of the United States that were once booming with industry, but are now characterized by a decline in industry and population.

Researchers then examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Quest Diagnostics, a drug-testing company, and found that opioid use and overdose rates increased in those same areas.

Theoretically, job losses in one industry should be replaced by job gains in others. But the paper suggests that manufacturing job losses are different. Low-skilled, less educated manufacturing workers aren’t able to quickly acquire the skills necessary to find a job in another industry, and they also tend to stay put instead of moving to a new city for more opportunities.

The permanent loss of jobs and reductions in wages didn’t just hurt workers financially--it also affected their overall health. The paper revealed that declines in manufacturing jobs was also correlated with an increase in failed drug tests. These negative social implications prevent a region’s ability to ever economically recover because employers may be apprehensive to locate where many potential workers are failing drug tests.

This paper serves as another testament of the devastating consequences the opioid epidemic has on the United States. Now more than ever, it’s so important for high quality, evidence-based, comprehensive opioid addiction treatment to be accessible. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we’re helping people heal from addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Contact us at 866-273-0868 for more information about our programs.