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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

4 Healthy Habits for a Sustainable Recovery

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Recovery is all about creating and sticking to new habits. It can be challenging to “unlearn” the patterns you were once dependent on, but incorporating new, healthier habits and intentions into your daily life can help you sustain your recovery and feel more energized.

1. Eat well.

Hunger is a physiological trigger for addiction. When you’re hungry, you can start to develop cravings–not just for food, but for substances–which can lead to relapse. Eat when you’re hungry.

Be mindful of the foods you are eating. A diet rich in fresh produce and whole grains can make you feel balanced, but one that’s high in processed foods and sugar can leave you feeling quite the opposite.

Many people in recovery eat excess amounts of sugary foods because sugar activates the same parts of the brains as drugs and alcohol. Although it may taste good in the moment, it causes blood sugar levels to spike and plummet rapidly, which can lead to relapse.

2. Be active.

We don’t get nearly enough physical activity, so it’s essential to get into the habit of regular exercise or at least movement. Physical activity is easy to adapt to suit your lifestyle, whether that means a daily walk around your neighborhood, sessions with a personal trainer or vowing to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Over time, exercise can teach the body how to regulate brain chemistry, strengthen the mind-body connection, improve self-confidence and serve as an outlet for stress-relief, all things that can help boost recovery.

3. Get plenty of rest.

You can attend all the therapy sessions, cook all the healthy meals and get all the exercise you want, but it’s all useless if you’re not getting enough sleep. Sleep disturbances are common during the early stages of recovery, and research shows that they can increase the risk of relapse.

When you’re well rested, you just feel better. Without quality, restorative sleep, it’s much more challenging to deal with stress, manage your emotions and stay focused–things that can lead to a relapse. Limit caffeine consumption, don’t eat a big meal right before going to bed and establish a bedtime routine to develop better sleeping habits.

4. Develop new hobbies and interests.

In the early stages of recovery, it’s tempting to revert to your old patterns, many of which are destructive and serve no purpose in helping you achieve and maintain sobriety. Create more positive patterns for yourself by developing new hobbies and interests, or revisiting hobbies you’ve put off over the years. As you become more engaged in your interests and increase your knowledge, you’ll start moving away from self-destructive patterns and toward more satisfying habits.

These hobbies or interests don’t require major life changes. Reading more books, taking a cooking class or going back to school are simple things that can help you feel better than you ever have.

Recovery is an ongoing process that isn’t always easy, but replacing negative, destructive behaviors with healthy habits can help you feel more grounded as you navigate sobriety. If you or your loved one is in need of addiction treatment, Hemet Valley Recovery Center’s programs can help. For more information, contact us at 866-273-0868.

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.