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.

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

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


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

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.

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

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.

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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Opioid Prescribing Guidelines Work

opioid use disorder
Over the last few years, the death rate from opioids fell by an astonishing 25 percent in Oregon; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the country. Before we get to how such a feat was made possible, let’s discuss some of the ways the nation found itself in the midst of an epidemic. Remember, over two-million Americans are struggling with and opioid use disorder, fewer than 1 in 5 receive any treatment, and over a hundred people die each day from an overdose.

Most individuals are privy to the fact that prescription opioid addiction epidemic and heroin scourge is the result of severe over-prescribing. Doctors are not solely responsible, but they play a significant role. It is worth noting that the job of a physician, among other things, is to provide relief whenever possible. A patient is in pain, and a doctor can help ease their discomfort with the aid of opiate painkillers. In most cases, the practice of prescribing opioids in low doses for short durations does not lead to patient problems; however, when doctors prescribe opioids in high doses for months on end, dependence is almost guaranteed.

Despite the writing on the wall, many primary care physicians (PCPs) continue to prescribe in manners what experts can only describe as reckless. To be sure, doctors must consider and treat patient pain, and if they do so at risk of harming their patients, it is problematic. What’s more, merely turning off the fountain is not the solution; instead, primary care physicians must prescribe responsibly, have knowledge about alternative forms of pain management, be able to identify patients with use disorders and refer them to treatment centers. Any failures to provide that kind of support can lead patients to the street in search of illicit drugs.

Doctors Combating Opioid Use Disorder

Health and addiction experts understand how dangerous long-term opioid prescriptions are for patients. The same professionals also know, thanks to tireless research, that drugs like OxyContin are not adequate for treating chronic pain and can worsen one’s symptoms, lead to addiction, and cause an overdose. With that in mind, perhaps you remember the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing new prescribing guidelines in 2016? The suggestions were optional, but a vast number of doctors vehemently opposed the guidelines; their argument, primarily, was that they didn’t need instructions and such rules could keep patients from accessing pain care.

Well, it’s now 2018, and not much has changed nationally regarding prescribing practices, except for in a few places, Oregon is one such state. Instead of ignoring the CDC guidelines, a task force came about to put the suggestions into practice with vigor. Doctors in Oregon are using the prescription drug monitoring database which has curbed over-prescribing and doctor shopping. Better educating physicians on pain management has led to relying on opioids less, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. PCP’s are introducing people to alternative pain treatments like acupuncture, sleep, and physical therapy. Teaching patients about proper prescription drug disposal is beneficial, as well.

“There’s this report that says that the average time that it takes guidelines to turn into clinical practice is 17 years. That’s from the Institutes of Medicine,” said Dr. Cat Livingston, a family physician at OHSU’s Richmond Clinic in Portland. 

With so many people dying each day, seventeen years is not a realistic time-frame. Livingston says the task force came about to lessen that time. It appears to have worked; a 25 percent reduction is worth taking notice; hopefully, other states will make adjustments.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

5 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain Without Opioids

manage-chronic-pain-opioid-alternativesIf you’ve ever dealt with pain, especially chronic pain, then you know how hard it is to think about or do anything else. You just want to make the pain go away as quickly as possible so you can finally get relief.

This approach--pain relief as quickly as possible--can lead to an unhealthy reliance on pain medications such as opioids, which can lead to tolerance and addiction. But there are other ways to cope with chronic pain than just taking a pill. These opioid alternatives might require a bit more effort, but they can bring relief without unpleasant side effects or the risk of addiction.

1. Acupuncture

This form of traditional Chinese medicine involves the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into certain pressure points in the body, which stimulates nerve fibers and signals the central nervous system to release natural chemicals that relieve pain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, energy, or chi, flows through specific pathways in the body. When illness, pain or inflammation are present, they block energy flow. Acupuncture helps to restore the flow of energy and relieve pain.

Clinical studies have shown it’s useful in treating a multitude of symptoms, conditions and diseases, including:

  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Joint pain
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Sprain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-operative pain

2. Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic is a common alternative treatment for back pain, though it can be used throughout the body. Hands-on spinal manipulation aligns the body’s musculoskeletal structure and helps the body heal itself without medication or surgery. There is substantial evidence that supports chiropractic as an effective treatment for low back pain or disability.

Manipulations help to restore mobility to joints damaged by a tissue injury caused by a fall or repetitive stress, such as tension or sitting at a desk with poor posture. It’s commonly used to relieve pain in the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

3. Yoga

Chronic pain triggers changes in the brain that are linked to anxiety, depression and impaired cognitive function, but research has shown that yoga has the opposite effect on the brain and can actually relieve chronic pain.

Studies have found that chronic pain leads to changes in the volume of gray matter and the integrity of white matter connectivity. Gray matter consists of neurons and is abundant in the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem. White matter is the filaments that extend from gray matter and create communications pathways between various regions of the brain.

The volume of gray matter and the integrity of white matter decrease with age, but yoga has shown to offset the decrease of gray and white matter and reduce the perception of pain by volumizing gray matter and strengthening white matter connectivity.

4. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy for chronic pain uses essential oils, which are highly concentrated extracts from plants that contain medicinal healing properties. Essential oils offer numerous therapeutic benefits that promote rebalancing and healing for the mind and body. When applied topically, essential oils are delivered to cell membranes and diffuse throughout blood and tissues, increasing immune function and circulation.

Aromatherapy can be delivered in a number of ways, including:

  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Baths
  • Diffusers
  • Compresses

Lavender, chamomile, rosemary, peppermint, bergamot and eucalyptus oil can reduce inflammation and stimulate circulation. While aromatherapy isn’t a proven treatment for chronic pain, there is research that supports its efficacy in reducing pain in the low back and knee, as well as chronic pain caused by surgery and multiple sclerosis.

5. Biofeedback

This self-regulatory form of therapy helps to increase awareness of pain and change physiological responses to reduce symptoms. Sensors are placed on a patient’s body while a therapist monitors brain waves, blood pressure, breathing, muscle tension, heart rate and skin temperature on a computer screen in real time. The therapist guides the patient through a series of relaxation exercises that help the patient change and control the things that cause pain. Studies on the efficacy of biofeedback have found that it provides relief for chronic pain conditions, such as:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ disorder)
  • Arthritis

Prescription opioids aren’t the only way to reduce chronic pain. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, our Chronic Pain Program has helped hundreds of people get relief from pain and recover from addiction. For more information about our holistic therapies and pain management alternatives, contact us at 866.273.0868.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mental Illness Impacts College Students

mental illness
At HVRC, we treat many young adults struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Our team of skilled professionals stresses to clients the importance of treating the whole patient, not just the alcohol or substance use disorder. It is of the utmost importance that both conditions receive treatment simultaneously if clients are to achieve successful outcomes in the way of long-term recovery.

There has long been a debate over whether addiction precipitates co-occurring mental illness or if conditions like depression and anxiety bring about self-medication and addiction as a result. The dialectic on the subject will likely persist for decades to come, but it’s likely that both propositions are cogent. With that in mind, ensuring the treatment of mental health disorders is the vital part any discussion.

When pathologies present themselves varies from case to case; however, young adulthood is a time when people most often show signs of illness. College-age men and women regularly struggle with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; and, until recently, most students kept their struggle to them self. Thanks to a significant effort to encourage young people to disregard the stigma of mental illness, a more substantial number of nascent adults are speaking up and seeking assistance. This new-found reality is good news, what isn’t so great is that many institutes of higher learning are woefully unprepared to meet the demand.


Mental Illness In College

Young adults living with mental health conditions are far more likely to resort to self-medication, self-harm, and entertain suicidal ideations. Those who are attending college courses have access to campus resources that can assist young people with their disorders. However, an American College Health Association survey shows that nearly 40 percent of students dealt with symptoms of depression and 61% of students said they had “felt overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year. They also reported that their symptoms made it difficult to function at times, TIME reports. The survey results are alarming, and thankfully there is support to be found on campus. But is it enough?

A 2016 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health shows that the number of students seeking support on campus for mental illness rose 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to the article. Schools are doing what they can to meet the ever-increasing demand for support, but resources are limited. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey shows that the typical American university has a single counselor for every 1,737 students (the recommended minimum is one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500). What’s more, much of a therapist’s time is devoted to crisis control; students don’t have access to long-term treatment options.

“A lot of schools charge $68,000 a year,” says Dori Hutchinson, director of services at Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. “We should be able to figure out how to attend to their whole personhood for that kind of money.”


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you are a young adult in college and are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring disorder, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We can help you begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.

Monday, March 19, 2018

What Is PTSD and How Is It Treated?

Post-traumatic stress is a mental health disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It’s estimated that 7.8% of Americans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives, and approximately 5.2 million Americans experience PTSD during the course of any given year.

Traumatic events include:

  • Exposure to combat, accidents, or other gruesome scenes
  • Childhood abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault
  • Being threatened with a weapon
  • An accident

Symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by four types of symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms: Flashbacks accompanied by a racing heart or sweating, nightmares and frightening thoughts are characteristic of this type of symptom. They can be brought on by a person’s thoughts and feelings or triggered by anything that is a reminder of the traumatic event, such as words, people or objects.
  • Avoidance symptoms: A person may alter his or her routine to avoid particular triggers, such as people, places, objects or situations that serve as reminders of the traumatic event. For example, a veteran may stop watching news coverage of combat scenes.
  • Arousal and reactivity symptoms: Instead of being triggered by something, reactivity symptoms, such as insomnia, hypervigilance and angry outbursts are constant and can make it challenging to function day-to-day.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: These symptoms can be brought on or made worse by a traumatic event. Having trouble remembering significant details about the traumatic event, negative feelings about oneself and the world, distorted emotions like extreme guilt, and loss of interest can make a person withdraw from family and friends.

Risk Factors for PTSD

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age, but not everyone who lives through a traumatic event develops PTSD. It’s not clear why some people get PTSD and others don’t. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, most people won’t. Like most other mental health problems, however, it is likely caused by a combination of stressful experiences, a person’s temperament, a family history of mental health issues, and how the brain regulates the hormones and chemicals released by the body in response to stress.

Risk factors for PTSD include:

  • Witnessing or personally experiencing a traumatic event
  • Having experienced trauma earlier in life
  • A job that increases your exposure to traumatic events, such as a first responder, member of law enforcement or military personnel
  • Mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety
  • A family history of mental health problems
  • A lack of a stable support system
  • Substance abuse

How PTSD Is Treated

Because PTSD affects everyone differently, the treatment that is effective for one person might not be sufficient for another. The main types of treatment for those with PTSD include medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), is the primary form of treatment for PTSD. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are also commonly prescribed.

If you or someone you know is affected by PTSD, it’s crucial that you are treated by a mental health professional who is experienced in treating PTSD. Proper treatment can reduce and even eliminate many symptoms of PTSD. Talk therapy and, if necessary, medication can help you learn how to:

  • Address and manage symptoms
  • Change the way they view themselves, others and the world
  • Treat the other issues associated with traumatic experiences, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse

You can’t forget the memories of a traumatic experience, but effective treatment can help you gain control over your life by eliminating or even reducing the extent to which those memories trigger symptoms.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center’s specialized First Responders Program addresses the effects PTSD has on first responders, firefighters, law enforcement, medical professionals, military personnel and others who have experienced trauma firsthand. Every HVRC client’s treatment plan is designed to address their unique circumstances utilizes a range of therapeutic modalities to help men and women recover and reclaim their lives.

We are also in-network with most major insurance providers, as well as Medicaid and TRICARE. For more information about our First Responders Program, or to verify your insurance coverage, please contact us at 866.273.0868.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

FEND Off Opioid Use Disorder

opioid use disorder
Millennials who grew up in Southern California are familiar with Vans Warped Tour, an annual event for the last 24 years. The festival is primarily a roaming music tour that showcases half pipes and professional skateboarders, from sometime in June right into August. In fact, many musicians cut their teeth in the 1990’s at Warped Tour, including Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, and My Chemical Romance. What’s more, over the years the event’s founder, Kevin Lyman, has taken the opportunity to advocate for sound causes; the overwhelming teenage audience at the festival affords a chance to talk to young people about everything from breast cancer to donating blood. This year, Lyman is focusing on the American opioid addiction epidemic.

When you consider that nearly every demographic in the U.S. has felt the impact of the opioid use crisis, you also have to acknowledge that many adolescents have already started down a perilous path toward addiction. Opioid use isn’t in most young people's sphere, like alcohol and marijuana; that isn’t to say that today’s youth aren't experimenting with painkillers and heroin. Efforts to educate young people about the risks of using OxyContin and illicit opioids is critical. The potential for overdose is exponentially high; those who manage to avoid overdose are still at risk of developing an opioid use disorder which can easily shatter young people’s dreams.

Reports indicate that 2018 is the final Warped Tour. As event organizers prepare to drop the curtain on the beloved event on August 5th, Lyman is calling on young people to FEND off opioids this summer.


Full Energy Not Drugs

Last week, Forbes writer Steve Baltin interviewed the founder of Vans Warped Tour in Costa Mesa, CA, at the shoe company's headquarters. A major topic of the discussion, among other things, is Lyman’s new initiative FEND (Full Energy Not Drugs). The new drug prevention campaign has its target on opioid use, abuse, addiction, and overdose. FEND members will be present at every stop of the tour, from Pomona to West Palm Beach, Florida.

The goal is to reach teens and young adults regarding safe use of opioids, identifying and responding to an overdose, according to the initiative's website. FEND members will also educate teenagers about where the can find help for someone struggling with a substance use disorder. Lyman tells Forbes:

“The first phase of this is an education thing. We’re finding there’s just a general lack of knowledge of what are opioids, the storage of opioids when you get hurt, and they give you something is that potentially addictive?” 

Another component of the campaign is called gamification. Lyman points out that we are living a “gaming society,” and that they can utilize games for educational purposes. FEND members will encourage Warped Tour goers to download a smartphone app that prompts users to learn, answer questions; those who participate will receive rewards. Down the road, Lyman hopes to start working with people who are already in addiction recovery.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Opioid use among teenagers is a sure path to addiction. Disease progression is different for everyone, although it often develops quickly. Many people entering young adulthood are in need of assistance, those who do not receive help are at a significant risk of harm. If you are a young adult battling an opioid use disorder or have a struggling adult child, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center. We can help break the cycle of addiction and help you begin the journey of recovery.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

4 Substances Commonly Abused by Older Adults

substances-commonly-abused-older-adultsThe baby boomer generation came of age during the 1960s and 1970s, an area marked by changing attitudes toward drug and alcohol use, and substance use disorder has remained prevalent among this population as they’ve aged. In fact, substance use disorder rates among those 50 and older are expected to increase from about 2.8 million in 2006 to 5.7 million in 2020.

Here’s a look at four substances that are most commonly abused by older adults:

1. Alcohol

Although the rates of illicit and prescription drug misuse among adults over 65 are on the rise, alcohol is still the most commonly used substance among older adults, so much so that it is referred to as an invisible epidemic.

Most existing research on substance use among older adults centers on alcohol use. Although research suggests that light to moderate alcohol consumption offers some health benefits, risky or heavy drinking is associated with increased risk of falls and mortality, and it also indicates a broader pattern of other health risks, including a history of alcohol abuse or dependence, smoking, and major depression.

2. Tobacco

Teenagers’ attitudes toward tobacco have shifted in recent years, and overall tobacco use has hit a record low, but tobacco use among older adults is still quite common. 14% of adults ages 65 and older report having used tobacco within the last 12 months.

Smoking is particularly dangerous for older smokers who are at an increased risk of health problems, including respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Tobacco use may be down among younger age groups, but aging baby boomers are likely to spike the total number of older adults who need smoking cessation services in the next several years.

3. Marijuana

Illicit substance use is more prevalent among older adults in the United States than in any other country in the world. Marijuana remains, by and far, the most prevalent illicit substance used. The number of adults ages 65 and older who reported marijuana use increased by 250% between 2006 and 2013. The legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana have contributed to more lax attitudes toward the substance, and more older adults may use it to manage illness-related side effects, which can lead to recreational use.

4. Prescription Opioids

Prescription drug abuse is a public health emergency but rarely does the conversation mention older adults. Older adults report misusing painkillers more than any other type of prescription drug. According to an AARP survey, “The prevalence of older adults who reported misusing painkillers in the past year is about 1 percent among adults 65 and older and less than 4 percent among adults 50 to 64.” Those numbers are particularly concerning when you consider that 51% of adults ages 50-64 and 70% of adults ages 65 and older got painkillers from their doctor.

Opioid use among older adults may increase the risk of falls, fractures, delirium, pneumonia and all-cause mortality. The rate of opioid-related hospitalizations among older adults ages 65-84 quintupled between 1993 and 2012.

Substance use, especially prescription drug use, is a growing concern among all ages, especially older adults. Recovery is possible, but it requires a treatment plan that is structured around the needs of this unique age group. Hemet Valley Recovery Center offers an Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program that encompasses interdisciplinary care administered by a team of experienced physicians, registered nurses, therapists and dieticians.

We believe in the efficacy of our Older Adult Program and want it to be accessible to all because it’s never too late to get treatment. We accept a range of insurances, including Medicare and TRICARE. Contact HVRC to learn more about Older Adult Program and verify your insurance benefits.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Recognizing People Who Encourage Recovery

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we invite our readers to suggest nominees for our Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award. In the field of addiction medicine there is no shortage of individuals who’ve made an enormous difference; for example, those whose good works and tireless dedication to treatment and addiction recovery affect significant change in the lives of others. Each year, we select an individual to honor who is committed to the 12 Step philosophy and exhibit leadership in the field of recovery field. We salute exemplary men and women who encourage addiction recovery in others and promote the merits of sobriety.

Dr. Joseph Galletta was the actual embodiment of everything outlined above. Over the course of many decades, he had a hand in bringing the miracles of recovery into the lives of others. The eponymous “Spirit of Recovery” Award goes to people who, like Galletta, advocate for the addict and inspire people to recover from mental illness.

All around the world, countless men and women selflessly give back through helping others break the cycle of addiction. They are those who teach individuals how to work a program of recovery openly and honestly; they show others how to embrace spirituality and open the mind to endless possibilities. Many of the people worthy of recognition are in recovery themselves; they know first-hand the tremendous courage required to rebel against the disease.


Who Was Dr. Galletta?

Joseph Galletta (1935-2004) is the author of the "ABC's of Addictive Behaviors;" he is also dear to us here at HVRC. In 2000, Galletta became the Medical Director of Hemet Valley Recovery Center. He was a selfless man who stressed the importance of the team, fellowship, and community. An impressive resume preceded his tenure with us.

He was one of the first 160 physicians in the U.S. certified in Addiction Medicine in 1983. He served as Medical Director for Hemet Valley Medical Center's Outpatient Chemical Dependency Center until 1986. Later, he served (1993-1996) as Medical Director at the Chemical Dependency Unit at Loma Linda's Behavioral Medical Center. In 1997 Dr. Galletta began serving as the Medical Director of Addiction Medical Specialists.


Spirit of Recovery 2017

The Spirit of Recovery honor went to Reverend Leo Booth in 2017. He is the author of 10 publications, and his writing appears in Counselor Magazine regularly. Rev. Booth is a lecturer, training people in many different areas, including spirituality, depression, addictions, compulsive behaviors, and low self-esteem.

Booth’s published works include: Say Yes to Your Life, Say Yes to Your Spirit, Spirituality and Recovery, The Wisdom of Letting Go, The Angel and the Frog. You can learn some more information, here.

If you believe someone should receive the honor of the Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award, you’re welcome to submit your candidate for 2018.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Why Are First Responders So Susceptible to Addiction?

first responders addictionPolice officers, firefighters, military personnel, paramedics and other first responders are trained to be calm in the face of chaos, but the amount of stress and trauma they experience on a daily basis isn’t just “part of the job.” It adds up over time, and the effects can be devastating.

We count on first responders to be sober and in control, but they are the very people who are most vulnerable to slipping into a cycle of isolation, avoidance and addiction due to work-related trauma.

Common Mental Health Issues Among First Responders

Exposure to images most of us can’t fathom----violence, accidents, injury and destruction--and working long shifts alongside people who are also grappling with stress and trauma take a toll. First responders often turn to substances to self-medicate, which only exacerbates mental health issues.

Common mental health disorders that affect first responders include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Co-occurring disorders

First responders experience significantly higher rates of mental illness, including substance abuse, addiction and, in particular, suicide. According to one study of approximately 4,000 EMS workers published in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, 37% of respondents had contemplated suicide, and 6.6% had attempted suicide. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation reports that a fire department is three times more likely to experience a suicide in any given year than a death in the line of duty.

The transition into retirement is an especially vulnerable time. It can reveal underlying mental health or substance use disorders that were previously covered up while the former first responder was working in the field.

Overcoming the Stigma

Although society as a whole has made great strides in discussing mental health more candidly in recent years, there is still a considerable stigma surrounding the topic in a field where people are expected to be tough and resilient. Many first responders who are struggling with mental health or substance use disorders are apprehensive to acknowledge their need for treatment or that their symptoms may be interfering with their ability to do their job. Given that a first responder’s duty is put others’ needs before their own, it’s easy to understand why.

It’s unfortunate that stigma could prevent someone from getting the help they deserve, because addiction can be overcome and mental health disorders can be managed with a combination of therapy and medication.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center offers a dedicated program for first responders. We can steer you or someone you love toward the path to recovery with a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and individualized treatment plan that connects clients with the most effective mental health and addiction treatment services based on their needs. We also believe that treatment for mental health and substance use disorders should be accessible to all, which is why we accept a wide range of insurances, including Medicare and Tri-Care.

Contact HVRC to verify your benefits and learn more about our services.