Monday, September 10, 2018

Why Older Americans Are Overdosing on Opioids

senior opioid abuseWhen you think of opioid misuse, you may not think about the elderly. But the reality is that those over 65, who are often struggling with chronic, painful health conditions like arthritis and cancer, are becoming a big part of the opioid epidemic. In fact, the population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020, from 1.2 percent to 2.4 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

So what’s contributing to this rise? An analysis of Medicare Part D data by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that more than 500,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries received high amounts of opioids in 2016, with doses exceeding the recommended amount set forth by the manufacturer, says SAMHSA. What’s more, older adults who face barriers getting pain medications have been found to get prescriptions from friends and family without proper instruction. 

Perhaps the biggest explanation, notes a recent poll, is that doctors aren’t communicating the risks that come with pain meds. Beyond the risk of addiction, opioid abuse can increase the risk of breathing complications, confusion, drug interaction problems and increased risk of falls for the older adult population, according to SAMHSA. 

“The messages that doctors give to patients are largely dictated by how they perceive patients,” Sheila Vakharia, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, told The Atlantic. “You don’t often see the elderly as a population at risk for developing substance use disorders.” And yet with higher levels of pain, the risk to misuse and abuse is also higher. 

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program
Prescription medication misuse is the most common substance related problem among older adults, with alcohol running a close second.
If you’re concerned about an older adult in your life and don’t know how to help, contact us. To learn about our drug and alcohol rehab for older adults, call today: 866-273-0868.

Friday, September 7, 2018

National Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

Recovery Month
Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge the thousands of men and women dedicated to helping another find recovery at treatment centers, recovery centers, and meeting houses across the country. We would also like to take a moment to celebrate those who manage the symptoms of alcohol and substance use disorders by working a program of recovery. Making a daily commitment to lead a drug and alcohol-free life takes both diligence and constant dedication to adhering to the principles of the program and practice them in all of one’s affairs. Taking action to keep the disease at bay is worth being proud, and worth commendation; after all, not everyone finds him or herself able to commit to a different way of living, and such people are at risk of ultimately succumbing to their condition.

Of course, anyone can recover from mental illnesses like an addiction; but, making recovery a reality often depends heavily on seeking the assistance of addiction treatment services. Those who reach out for help find detoxing and laying a foundation for healing a much easier undertaking than going it alone—or “white knuckling” it as it is often called. Across the United States, there exists a vibrant community of men and women working together to keep their diseases in check; and, people in recovery typically owe much of their progress to working in accord with others who share congruent goals.

It is an unfortunate fact that in the 21st Century many individuals find themselves unable to seek assistance. The stigma of addiction and mental disease, while somewhat diminished compared to generations past, is still alive and as counterproductive as ever. The fear of being ostracized by one's friends, family, and community keeps people from opening up about their struggle and deciding to give a new way of living a shot. It is for the above reasons that it is paramount that people in our society open their mind and cast aside the binding yoke of stigma once and for all.


National Recovery Month

The U.S. has long been in the grips of a polysubstance use epidemic, the news media never lets us forget, nor should they; Americans must bear witness to the preventable tragedy unfolding before us. With that in mind, while reminding average citizens of the dangers of substance use is vital, it is also salient to highlight the progress that individuals make every day working programs of recovery. If more people see that leading a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle is possible, they might find the strength to cast the guilt and shame of addiction aside long enough to pick up the phone and call for help.

Some of our readers are aware that it is National Recovery Month; a critically important time for anyone who's been touched by addiction to playing a part in encouraging others to seek treatment. Naturally, Recovery Month is a multifaceted observation involving myriad public health agencies, treatment centers, and countless individuals in the program. Nearly one-thousand events are taking place throughout the country this September to increase awareness of the power of recovery. There is a high likelihood that some events are occurring in your community. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the official sponsor of Recovery Month, writes:

“There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.”


Support Is Available

Not everyone can attend an event, but such people can still be of assistance to others during Recovery Month. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community,” provides a platform for people to share their story and progress made in recovery online. If you are interested in being a “voice for recovery,” please click here.  

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. 

For those who are actively battling a mental or substance use disorder, or both, HVRC can help you start taking steps toward leading a healthy and rewarding life. We offer several addiction treatment programs tailored to the specific needs of our clients; please contact our highly trained admissions staff to answer any of your questions.

We provide the environment and pace conducive to the individual needs and abilities of adults.

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

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

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.