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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Fitness #4Mind4Body Mental Health Month

mental health
National Addiction Treatment Week has come to a close, and hopefully, you found some time to spread the message that treatment works, and recovery is possible. Naturally, the effort to end the stigma of addiction is a year-round job; the fight must continue, millions of Americans are unwilling to seek help due to the toxic nature of stigma. Keeping that in mind, it is only right that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One of the primary goals of this observance is confronting stigma. If more individuals find support, lives are saved.

Mental fitness is just as vital as physical wellbeing. What’s more, the mind and body have an ineluctable connection; the heath of the one is dependent upon the other. While millions of Americans make a point of getting to the gym (which is good for the psyche) to tone up for summer, it would be nice if the same people placed a greater emphasis on mental wellbeing, too. Mental health is something everyone should care about!

Most people lead busy lives, and many of us work more than what experts would consider healthy. It may seem like we don’t have time to focus on mental illness; yet would you believe that there are a few simple things you can do to promote mental health? Such as eating right, getting enough sleep, and (again) exercise.


Fitness #4Mind4Body During Mental Health Month

Mental Health America (MHA) is one of the primary sponsors of the events going on this month. This year the organization chose the theme: Fitness #4Mind4Body. People living with mental illness can do themselves a great service by focusing on diet & nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress; MHA has some key messages that they would like to share, including:
  • Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.
  • Paying attention to both your physical health and your mental health can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.
  • Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.
  • By looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body.
“As part of our efforts this May, we’re asking you to take the #4Mind4Body Challenge and join Mental Health America as we challenge ourselves each day to make small changes – both physically and mentally – to create huge gains for our overall health and wellbeing.”

Each day brings a new challenge and you can share your progress and successes by posting on social media with #4Mind4Body.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression often go hand-in-hand. If you are struggling with a dual diagnosis, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. With our assistance, you can begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.

Monday, April 30, 2018

How to Tell If You Have Career Burnout

Work is a necessary part of life, but career burnout is an unfortunate reality many workers struggle with, and it could derail your recovery. It’s common for people who are in recovery to turn to other outlets that foster addictive behavior, like excessive exercise or workaholism.

Career burnout isn’t always easy to recognize early on, which is why preventing it can be so tricky. It might start with clocking a few too many long days, so you start skipping your morning runs or post-work gym sessions. You clock more long days and reach for an extra cup of coffee to power through the afternoon, which throws off your sleep cycle. Then, you’re skipping meals because you’ve lost your appetite. Now, you’re completely exhausted and can barely muster up the energy to meet with your support group or attend 12-step meetings.

This pattern, when combined with work-related stress, can snowball into anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that impact your career and virtually every other aspect of your life. It’s easy to see why burnout provides a path to relapse.

According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion.
  • Cynicism and detachment.
  • Feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of accomplishment.

If you’re in recovery from substance use disorder, burnout can undo all of the hard work you’ve put in during treatment. It’s important for everyone to maintain healthy work-life balance, especially if you’re in recovery.

Be Able to Recognize Burnout Symptoms Before They’re Out of Control

Of course, your career is something you should take seriously. But if your job is demanding too much of you, it can eventually interfere with other areas of life, like your family, social life and health. Burnout can have serious side effects on your physical well-being and can cause health problems like high blood pressure high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Identifying burnout symptoms from the outset enables you to intervene and take measures to reclaim work-life balance and prevent burnout from becoming a bigger issue. Signs of burnout include:

  1. Chronic fatigue. In the initial stages of burnout, you feel tired most days. Later on, you begin to feel utterly drained and exhausted, both physically and mentally, and are dreading what’s to come at work the next day.
  2. Physical symptoms. Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, gastrointestinal issues and chest pain are all common physical symptoms of burnout.
  3. Illness. Your immune system has taken a hit, so you’re getting sick more often.
  4. Insomnia. Maybe you’re tossing and turning a few nights a week, but then it turns into a nightly event. Still, despite being exhausted, you can’t fall asleep.
  5. Loss of interest. At first, you may not want to go to work, or you can’t wait to leave. You may have checked out mentally. Loss of interest can also roll into other parts of your life.
  6. Isolation. You’ve stopped going out to lunch with your co-workers, you close your office door or you’ve stopped volunteering to work on certain projects. Isolation can turn into avoidance behaviors like coming in early or going home late to avoid interacting with your co-workers.
  7. Depression. At first, you may feel a little sad or hopeless, or guilty for feeling those feelings. Depression can evolve into something more serious and life-altering, at which point you should seek professional help.
  8. Forgetfulness. Being forgetful or having trouble focusing is common early on. It can reach a point where you can’t get any work done, so your work begins to pile up, leaving you more stressed.
  9. Decreased productivity and performance. Even though you’re working a lot, you have nothing to show for it. All that stress has hindered your ability to be as productive as you used to be. You feel completely swamped with work; like you can’t keep your head above water no matter how hard you try.
  10. Loss of appetite. You start skipping meals every so often because you’re not hungry. Then, you’ve lost your appetite and are losing weight.
  11. Detachment. You just don’t feel connected to your job or co-workers like you once did. Maybe you’ve started to isolate yourself or are calling out sick, aren’t returning phone calls and emails, or are showing up late.
  12. Anxiety. Feeling tense and on-edge are common in the early stages of burnout, and anxiety can become so severe that it hinders your productivity.
  13. Irritability. Burnout can make you feel unproductive and unimportant, which can make you feel irritable. Over time, you may find that despite your best efforts, you struggle to control your irritability.
  14. Pessimism. You’ve started looking at like with a “glass half-empty” attitude. Over time, pessimism can impact self-talk about the way you feel about yourself, which can impact the way you feel about your co-workers, friends and family members.

How to Prevent Burnout

Take action toward preventing burnout as soon as you recognize symptoms. Talk with your supervisor about cutting back on your workload, reducing your hours or delegating certain tasks to your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if someone asks you to take on additional responsibilities.

If you can, work from home a few days a week. Use the time you would have spent commuting to work to take a walk around your neighborhood or meditate. Make exercising, attending support groups and meeting with your therapist or sponsor priorities.

Knowing how to intervene before burnout gets out of control is vital to preventing relapse. If you’re struggling with substance abuse or career burnout, Hemet Valley Recovery Center can help. Contact us at 866-273-0868 for more information about our detox and residential treatment programs.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Addiction Treatment In America

addiction treatment
Right now, a significant number of people in the United States are observing National Addiction Treatment Week. During this time, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) asks that we all do our part to raise awareness about mental illness, specifically alcohol and substance use disorder. The organization wants to help the general public understand that addiction is a disease and that treatment is not only available, it also works.

The U.S. is in the grips of an addiction epidemic! In the news, most people only hear about prescription opioids and heroin due to the alarming overdose rates over the last two decades. While it is a fact that opioid use disorder is a tier one issue, it is not the only substance devastating families and stealing lives. It's worth pointing out that alcohol is responsible for tens-of-thousands of more deaths each year than painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids.

We must address addiction in America as a whole. Compartmentalizing one iteration of the disease from the next is tantamount to not seeing the forest for the trees. Use disorders, left untreated, all lead to the same outcomes, none of which are desirable. It is of the utmost importance that those in the vice-like grip of active addiction have access to evidence-based treatments; that they can seek treatment without fear of social stigma, which is one of the most significant deterrents to people seeking help.


Having The Facts About Addiction Helps

As was proffered earlier, it is easy for the general public to lose sight of the big picture of addiction in America. Practically everyone is aware that opioids are one the most daunting problems of our times. However, the problem we face today goes far beyond overprescribing painkillers or fentanyl crossing the border; the salient issue we must confront is the fact the tens-of-millions of people are struggling with addiction of any kind, and only a small number seek treatment. The barricade preventing people from recovery is often stigma or an insufficient number of centers equipped to guide people down the road of recovery.

addiction treatment

Please consider the figures below:
  • There are some 20.5 million Americans in the grips of addiction.
  • Only 1 in 10 people in the US with the disease of addiction receive treatment.
  • In 2015, more people died from a drug overdose than from car accidents and nearly 88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes.
  • An estimated 15.1 million adults suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, yet only 1.3 million adults (or less than 10%) received treatment.
  • About 2.3 million Americans met the criteria for opioid use disorder in 2015, yet there was only enough treatment capacity to treat 1.4 million people, leaving a treatment gap of nearly 1 million people.
It has come to light another factor preventing individuals from care is a lack of clinicians with knowledge about addiction medicine. With that in mind, ASAM is hosting events and webinars this week with the hope of encouraging more people to pursue a career in the field.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “National Addiction Treatment Week supports ASAM’s dedication to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, and helping physicians treat addiction and save lives.”


Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with addiction of any kind, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. With our assistance, you can begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Long-term opioid use is down among vets, study finds

opioid-use-vetsA study found that efforts by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to promote safer prescribing practices of opioids appear to be effective.

According to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, opioid prescriptions by the VHA have been on the decline after peaking in 2012. The drop-off in prescriptions is primarily due to a decrease in long-term opioid prescriptions, which pose a higher risk of addiction and overdose compared to short-term prescriptions, said Katherine Hadlandsmyth, Ph.D., lead author and professor at the University of Iowa.

The study analyzed VHA prescription data from 2010 to 2016, which included more than 4 million veterans each year.

According to that data, in 2010 opioids were prescribed at least once to 20.8% of veterans (962,193 out of approximately 4.63 million). The opioid prescription rate dropped in 2016 to 16.1% of veterans (803,888 out of 4.99 million) who received new prescriptions for opioids including oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl.

Researchers also looked into long-term opioid use, which accounted for around 90% of VHA opioid prescriptions during the 6-year period. The percentage of veterans receiving long-term opioid treatment went from 9.5% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2016.

According to Hadlandsmyth, this is because fewer veterans receiving new prescriptions for opioids became long-term opioid users. The probability of a veteran becoming a new long-term opioid user decreased from 2.8% in 2011 to 1.1% in 2016.

Hadlandsmyth believes that the improvement in prescribing practices could be the result of recent VHA initiatives that call for opioid safety and opioid alternatives in chronic pain treatment. Since 2010 the VHA has provided clinical practice guidelines to health care professionals about how to safely and effectively use opioids to manage chronic pain, as well as how to select and monitor patients and wean patients off of opioids if desired treatment outcomes are not met.

The VHA also offers guidelines for complementary treatment and multidisciplinary therapy to manage pain, which include behavioral, chiropractic and stepped treatment, or delivering the most effective, least intensive treatment first, and “stepping up” to more intensive treatment as required.

“Future work to understand precisely which initiatives have most positively impacted opioid prescribing would be necessary to maintain effective approaches within VHA,” said Hadlandsmyth.

In the meantime, the VHA’s example could be valuable for other health care organizations. Prescription opioids are not the only way to manage chronic pain. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, our Chronic Pain Program and First Responders Program have effectively helped hundreds of clients find relief from chronic pain without opioids and address the physical and mental aspects of addiction as they relate to military trauma. For more information about our addiction recovery services, please contact a Hemet Valley Recovery Specialist at 866-273-0868.