Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Awareness: Treatment and Recovery

suicide prevention awareness
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that our alumni and weekly readers are getting involved with National Recovery Month. Anything that encourages personal recovery is beneficial to the nation. We can all make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness.

Beyond National Recovery Month events and activities, there is another observance occurring this month. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! At this time, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling upon Americans to confront stigma and help to encourage treatment for mental illness.

One in five adults is affected by mental illness which means toxic stigmas impact the same number of people. That is 46.6 million adults, and many are needlessly suffering in silence because of their disease. No other group of people affected by medical conditions is subjected to the kind of shame that men and women with mental illness face daily.

Stigma stands in the way of treatment; fortunately, we can work together to cure stigma and inspire recovery. We can all help NAMI get the word out about mental illness and the effective treatments available. Each of us can spread the message that mental health disorders do not have to end in suicide and that healing is possible.

Supporting People with Mental Health Conditions


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to NAMI. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Moreover, psychological autopsies show that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition. Alcohol and substance use disorders are types of mental illness that often play a role in suicide.

In 2016, approximately 22 percent of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At the same time, research shows that:
  • Opioids were present in 20 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Marijuana in 10.2 percent.
  • Cocaine in 4.6 percent.
  • Amphetamines in 3.4 percent.
Previous research indicates that alcohol misuse or dependence is associated with a suicide risk that is ten times greater than the general population, SAMHSA reports. IV drug users are at about 14 times greater risk for suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable; people dealing with mental illnesses of any kind can recover with effective care. However, under half of the adults in America get the help they need. We can change that by confronting stigma and compassionately encouraging men and women to reach out for help.

Individuals in recovery – especially those who have dealt with suicidal ideations – can play an essential role during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. NAMI is asking such people to share their experience. Two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression exist that allow you to share anonymously—You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.

“You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.”

Seeking Help During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


Naturally, there are several ways you can help during this vital observance. NAMI has created graphics and promotional messaging to share facts about mental illness and suicide. Please promote awareness on your website and social media accounts using #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree.

Please contact HVRC if you are struggling with mental illness, including addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our team of experienced clinicians can help you break the disease cycle and teach you healthy ways of coping with symptoms. We can get you on the road to long-term recovery. Take the first step...during Suicide Prevention Awareness and National Recovery Month.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

National Recovery Month 2019: Together We Are Stronger

National Recovery Month
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) is calling upon people to share their stories of recovery. September is National Recovery Month! The observance has several goals, but encouraging more people to seek help may be the most salient.

SAMHSA would like to hear from people about their successes in recovering from addiction and any mental health disorder. The branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes that personal stories will inspire others to reach out for support. The millions of men and women in healing from mental and behavioral health disorders can be Voices for Recovery. The organization writes:

The 2019 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger," emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect us all, and that we are all part of the solution. The observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth.

If you would like more information about how your story can serve to inspire the hope of recovery in others, then please click here. Please do not discount the effect your experience can have on other men and women. The recovery community is millions strong, and each person can have a lasting impact on someone else who has yet to seek support.

National Recovery Month Turns 30


This vital nationwide observance has significantly grown and evolved over the years. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month. Today, SAMHSA's efforts to encourage recovery and break stigmas are supported by more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities.

Nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and substance use disorders assist SAMHSA in planning events and disseminating information about recovery services. This month, at least 362 National Recovery Month events are happening across the country. However, there is room for more recovery-related events; SAMHSA provides a toolkit that can guide individuals and organizations that would like to host local events.

National Recovery Month is also about acknowledging the efforts of treatment providers numbering in the thousands. Mental and behavioral health rehab centers – whose staff work tirelessly to show men and women how to recover – are instrumental in combating the epidemic of mental illness.

Many people are probably unaware that National Recovery Month evolved out of Treatment Works! Month. The previous iteration – founded in 1989 – honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field.

If you work in the recovery services field, please take a moment to appreciate the excellent job you've done helping others find the light of recovery. Without you, significantly fewer people would have the gift of addiction and mental health recovery in their life today.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we are grateful for the countless men and women who've helped those who struggle with mental illness. We'd also like to recognize the millions of people who are both committed to making continued personal growth and helping others do the same. Recovery is only possible when we work together to foster progress.

If you are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness (dual diagnosis), then please contact HVRC today. We offer several programs that can help you turn your life around and go on to lead a productive life in recovery. HVRC is in-network with most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Opioid Addiction: A Long History

addiction
As the American addiction epidemic rages on, the catalyst of which is believed to be opioids, it's easy to forget the age-old history of pain-killing narcotics. Not that the origins of opium-based drugs have any bearing on the lives of addicts, but acknowledging previous attempts to rein in addiction can be informative.

Most Americans are acutely familiar with the impact of opioids on society. Drugs in the opiate family have long been used in medicine and for pleasure. However, we've seen an unprecedented surge in use and abuse over the last two decades.

Rampant overprescribing of drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) – beginning in the late 1990s – resulted in millions becoming dependent and addicted. A reckless disregard among pharmaceutical companies and doctors for acknowledging the dangers of prescription opioids created today's public health crisis. Once the faucet was turned on, it soon became apparent that turning it off was a near-impossible task.

Curbing widespread opioid use isn't as simple as altering prescribing practices. It helps but does little to address the underlying addiction. Physical dependence to opioids is more powerful than the majority of other mind-altering substances carrying the potential for abuse. Those caught in the grips of an opioid use disorder will seek out new access points to sate their cravings.

The rise in heroin use in recent years is the direct result of not attending to the use disorders brought on by prescription opioids. Studies show that the majority of heroin users alive today first used a narcotic painkiller. Staggering heroin use rates seen today are a byproduct of rampant overprescribing followed by implementing more stringent prescribing restrictions.

Ending the Epidemic Through Recovery


The truth is that our government may not be able to effectively combat the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl into this country. However, they can give federal, state, and local public health agencies the resources to increase access to evidence-based therapies.

Opium and its derivatives have been disrupting and stealing people's lives for millennia. Governments around the world have made an effort to curb non-medical use of opium and opioids for centuries with very little success. The failure to control opioid use disorders in generations past stemmed partly from the lack of available therapies. It's only in this century that effective treatments proved that addiction recovery was even possible.

PBS Frontline created a timeline that shows opium throughout history that is both fascinating and informative. We strongly recommend taking a look at it in your free time. Notable dates include:
  • c.3400 B.C. — The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia; present-day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey.
  • 1799 A.D. — China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
  • 1803 A.D. — Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany, discovers the active ingredient of opium: Principium somniferum or morphine.
  • 1874 A.D. — English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove.
  • 1895 A.D. — Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin."
  • 1996 A.D. — International drug trafficking organizations in China, Nigeria, Colombia, and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."
PBS points out that doctors in the first years of the 20th Century recommended using heroin to help morphine addicts discontinue their use. Naturally, heroin addiction in the U.S. rose to alarming rates by 1904. Treating opioid use disorder has come a very long way in the last hundred years.

 

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team relies on evidence-based treatments to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to prosper in recovery.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Couple's Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
Recent reports indicate that methamphetamine use is surging in California and other areas of the country. The Golden State's proximity to the Mexican border means that a large amount of meth finds its way into the hands of Californians. If you have been reading the news about today's meth, then you know that it is cheaper and more potent than ever before.

Mexican drug cartels saw an opportunity to exploit the U.S. crackdown on homemade methamphetamine. Today, the vast majority of meth or "Ice," as it is sometimes called, is manufactured in large labs south of the border.

While the nation has focused significant resources on curbing the opioid epidemic, meth has flooded American towns and cities, virtually unchecked. Thousands of Americans grapple with meth addiction each year, and many people succumb to the drugs deadly effects.

Fortunately, people can recover from a stimulant use disorder and lead healthy lives. Working a program of recovery is hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Unfortunately, people struggling with meth cannot turn to a drug like buprenorphine to aid them in detox. There are not any medications that are used specifically for treating stimulant addiction. Nevertheless, those who are dedicated to changing their lives can accomplish the task provided they have outside assistance.

From time to time, it is helpful to showcase individuals who are working programs of recovery. Such men and women can inspire those who are still in the grips of the disease. Brent Walker of Cleveland, Tennessee, and his wife Ashley are two people who found themselves able to recover from meth addiction.

Life In Recovery


Nearly three years ago, Brent and Ashley Walker were in a bad way; they were both addicted to methamphetamine. On July 26, they posted a before and after photo on Facebook which embodies how life changes when you are in recovery, Knox News reports. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have reacted or commented on Walker's photo. Attached to the picture, the couple wrote:

"This is my wife and I in active meth addiction the first photo was taken around December 2016 the second one was taken in July of 2019. This December 31st will be 3 years we have been clean and sober and living for God. I hope that my transformation can encourage a [sic] addict somewhere! It is possible to recover!!" 

Clean for more than two and a half years, the two recovering addicts have undergone a complete 180 turn. It is safe to say that the couple barely recognizes the people in the before photo.

Brent was in jail for two years on meth-related charges just before choosing to recover, according to the article. He started using again once he was released but then decided that failing a drug test would mean more jail time. He asked Ashley, his girlfriend at the time, if she would be willing to get clean with him, and she agreed.

Since that time, the two got married, and Brent got his GED. They both hold down full-time employment. Brent says he never thought that he would be sober, nor did he expect their before and after photos to go viral. They are proof that it's possible to turn your life around in recovery. They are glad that their experience is helping others see that there is a different way.

"Don't give up, it gets easier. It's really hard. We had a really hard time, just because we didn't have nobody [sic] to talk to," Walker told Knox News. "But if you don't give up... the grass is greener on the other side. It's been a blessing. It really has."
  

Stimulant Use Disorder Recovery


Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with amphetamines or methamphetamine. Our highly-trained staff can help you begin a journey of lasting addiction recovery. We offer several different programs that cater to the unique needs of each client. We are confident that you can go on to lead a healthy and productive life in sobriety.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Binge Drinking Among Older Americans

binge drinking
Our focus in the field of addiction medicine is most often on young people. Stemming the tide of alcohol and substance use disorder is crucial to preventing men and women from having severe health problems later in life. It is vital to encourage individuals to ask for help when a problem develops at a young age.

While the choice to center our attention on younger demographics is not misplaced, we mustn't lose sight of the older Americans who struggle with drugs and alcohol. As people age and reach retirement, they find themselves with far more freedom.

With fewer responsibilities, many men and women will choose to fill their time imbibing. Some will even engage in unhealthy drinking practices that are most closely associated with young Americans. Older folk who have a hazardous relationship with alcohol are at significant risk of injury and other health problems.

Besides having a plethora of free time, many seniors are contending with difficult emotions. The identity of many men and women is attached to the kind of work they did; without it, some people feel an overwhelming loss of purpose. Moreover, baby boomers in retirement are also dealing with the loss of spouses and other loved ones; some will look to the bottle for comfort and solace.

In recent years, a fair amount of research has been conducted on alcohol and substance use among aging Americans. Prescription drug and alcohol misuse are proving to be more common than previously thought among older people. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that about 1 in 10 older adults binge drinks.

Older Americans Binge Drinking


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of consuming four alcoholic beverages for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours. It's a dangerous practice that brings people to a level of intoxication in a short period.

Study senior author, Joseph Palamar – an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health – analyzed data on 10,927 people over age 65, NBC News reports. The data comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Some 80 percent of older people are living with at least one chronic condition (e.g., heart disease, cancer, or diabetes), according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Naturally, binge drinking can cause health complications for those with serious health problems.

"We focus so much on young people and their risky drinking," said senior author Joseph Palamar. "But this research reminds us that we also have to keep an eye on the older population." 

Moreover, it is not uncommon for an older person to develop an alcohol use disorder stemming from repeated, daily bouts of intoxication. This research should prompt primary care physicians to keep a watchful eye for patients who exhibit signs of alcohol or drug misuse.

It's also worth mentioning that the researchers found elevated rates of cannabis use among people over 65. Palamar rightly points out that polysubstance use can lead to complications. Heavy alcohol use increases one's risk of injury, and admixing pot into the situation heightens the chance of falling down.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand that seniors are going through significant life changes. Our team of addiction professionals understands that alcohol or other drug use can worsen pre-existing conditions that are common among older adults. If addiction develops, such people must seek help from a center that caters to their unique needs.

With that in mind, we have designed an Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program that is conducive to the needs and abilities of this age group. Please contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sharing About Addiction Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
The road to addiction recovery is a little different for each person, but once people decide to turn their lives around, the outcome is universal. Working a program gives men and women the tools to lead productive lives. No longer choosing to escape one’s problems, they can tackle obstacles head-on.

Sobriety is the solution for so many, molding individuals into better friends, parents, spouses, and employees. The list of gifts that recovery bestows upon a person are too many to recount, but each story of healing shares common traits. Those who show up and do the work, day after day, find results. At times the path is rocky, and many want to quit before the miracle happens, but with support there is no problem that can’t be worked out in recovery.

Over the last two decades, there has been a collective effort to shatter the myths and stigma of addiction. There’s been a drive to bring mental illness out of the darkness. As a result, more people are empowered to share their experience, strength, and hope, outside the rooms of recovery.

Publicly sharing one’s story was relatively unheard of not too long ago. Men and women went to great lengths to keep the history of abuse under lock and key. While it was not too uncommon for a celebrity to share a little about his or her struggle with addiction, in an interview or tell-all, that was veritably not the case for average citizens. Not anymore. Today more Americans are finding the courage to talk publicly about their battles with alcohol and substance use disorder.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Addiction


Instead of viewing addiction as a failure, more and more people are accepting the disease for what it is — a treatable mental health condition. The millions of people working programs of recovery prove that to be true. As the number of men and women in recovery grows, the stigma of addiction shrinks. No longer paralyzed by shame, those leading lives in sobriety empower and affect change in the lives of others.

The New York Times Magazine recently published an article written by a former aircraft maintenance technician for the U.S. Air Force. Heather King is in recovery for alcohol use disorder and has penned a beautifully written piece about her road to sobriety. She shares with readers about the complications that alcohol caused her and her family, and how recovery changed her life. She eloquently relates many of the reasons she kept drinking, even though the decision to do so nearly cost her everything.

King shares that although she had a full-time job, a house, and a graduate degree, she was plagued by depression, alcohol use, and suicidal ideation. Her drinking led to a couple of DUIs, one of which could have been fatal. After her second offense, King said, “I could no longer see myself drinking, but I had no idea how to live my life without alcohol."

Like so many people before her, King found help in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. People in the rooms told her that if she attended meetings and didn’t drink, they would show her a new way of life. If you have an opportunity to read what Heather King wrote, in full, please do.

If you are in recovery or are thinking about taking steps to recover, there is probably much you can relate to in her essay.

“I’ve been sober now for two years and 10 months. The decision to get sober and stay sober, by no means easy, was the single most important decision I have made in my life. Sobriety has allowed me to become a better parent. My life as a sober mother has cured the awful ache deep inside my core. It has given me a life I always wanted but never thought I deserved. It has taught me what is most important in motherhood: showing up for your children and being fully present for them.” — Heather King

Finding the Courage to Share


Talking about your history with drugs and alcohol is not easy; there are many painful emotions attached to years of active use. If working a program is new to you, and it takes every ounce of courage you have to share, then please know that you are not alone.

Sitting among relative strangers and talking about being brought to your knees by drugs and alcohol is, for most people, a daunting task. Some will attend a large number of meetings before they feel up to speaking in front of an audience. However, once a person shares their story, it is not uncommon for them to feel a wave of calmness and serenity.

Every individual with alcohol or substance use disorder in their past has said and done things they are not proud of and would rather not recount. Active addiction impacts one’s decision-making process, which leads men and women to harm those they care most about in life. Talking about those things with nonjudgmental people is a vital component of the healing process. Doing so allows people to find it in their hearts to forgive themselves.

At the core of recovery is changing your life for the better; working a program is the mechanism that manifests progress. If you have been attending meetings and are reticent about sharing, that's alright. Just keep coming back and talk with a man or woman you feel comfortable with either before or after a meeting. In time, your reservations will diminish, and the desire to open up with the group will increase.

California Addiction Program for Adults


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care to help men and women heal from addiction and lead productive lives in sobriety. Our facility is equipped to provide acute medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Prescripion Opioids in America

prescription opioids
Chronic pain affects millions of Americans. The standard treatment for persistent discomfort is prescription narcotics—opioids. When prescribed responsibly and taken as directed for short durations, they are a relatively safe method of mitigating pain. However, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone are overprescribed, and they have a high propensity for abuse.

A significant number of chronic pain patients struggle with opioid use disorder. The need for adequate pain management can lead to dependence quickly. Once this occurs, it is incredibly challenging to stop taking painkillers without assistance.

Since accessing evidence-based addiction treatment is difficult in most parts of the country, many people see their issues with opioids worsen. Moreover, the risk of overdose increases with each day of continued use; prescription opioids are responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The surge in prescriptions for pain relievers over the last two decades has led to increases in both heroin and synthetic opioids use. A significant number of today's heroin users (80 percent) started with prescription opioids.

The Scope and Scale of Opioid Distribution


Assurances were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s by pharmaceutical companies that the risk of opioid addiction was low. Physicians ran with inaccurate information and proceeded to prescribe narcotics for all things painful. MDs dealt with both acute and chronic pain in the same way, prescribing potent opioid analgesics.

Prescription drug companies benefited immensely from reckless prescribing. They continued to push a false narrative about the dangers of opioids despite an ever-rising number of patient overdose deaths. If you have been following the news lately, then you are aware that many states and victim families are demanding some accountability. More than a thousand lawsuits have been filed against the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Experts have a relatively clear picture of the number of people who are addicted to opioids (between three and six million) and the number of lives lost. However, the true scope and scale of opioid distribution were less clear, that is up until this week.

The Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System, known as ARCOS, is a database that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maintains. It's a system that keeps tabs on every single pain pill sold in the United States, The Washington Post (WAPO) reports. Gaining access to the data has proved to be an exceedingly difficult task.

Opioid Transparency


Justice Department and DEA officials have fought tooth and nail to keep ARCOS data from the public eye, according to the article. This week, US District Judge Dan Polster removed the protective order for part of the database.

The exact scope and scale of the prescription opioids came into focus with the release of long-awaited data. ARCOS indicates that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills hit the market between 2006 and 2012.

A WAPO analysis found that six companies – McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart – distributed 75 percent of the pills during this time frame. SpecGx, ­Actavis Pharma, and Par Pharmaceutical manufactured 88 percent of the opioids.

"The depth and penetration of the opioid epidemic becomes readily apparent from the data," said Peter J. Mougey, an attorney for the plaintiffs from Pensacola, Fla. "This disclosure will serve as a wake up call to every community in the country. America should brace itself for the harsh reality of the scope of the opioid epidemic. Transparency will lead to accountability."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Chronic Pain Patients


NIDA reports that around 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed narcotics for chronic pain misuse them; between 8 and 12 percent develop opioid use disorders. Those who develop an opioid addiction can safely detox and recover.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center's Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program was designed to assist people living with daily, physical discomfort who become dependent on opioids. Our team helps this demographic detox, discover alternative forms of pain management, and learn how to lead a healthy life in recovery.

Please contact us today to learn more about our program. 866·273·0868

Friday, July 12, 2019

Depression and Co-Occurring Addiction Recovery

addiction recovery
A significant number of people who seem put together on the surface contend with something lurking beneath that can upend their lives. It goes by many names but fits under one umbrella: mental illness. Those who struggle with mental health disorders hail from all walks of life. Psychological disorders are pernicious, and they affect men and women regardless of their financial status, race, gender, or upbringing.

More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally. However, many individuals struggle to believe that some men and women battle mental illness. This is partially due to the misconception that symptoms of mental health disorders are circumstantial. People wonder, ‘how could that person, with all their success, battle depression?’

The same is true for addiction! One might muse, ‘what cause does this person have to drink and drug to excess when they have so much going for them in life?’ None of these questions are easy to answer, nor do they need to be. Public perception is rarely rooted in hard science, which contributes to stigmas.

Since one in five Americans will battle with mental illness, it stands to reason that successful people will too. Some of our most beloved actors, musicians, and icons are in recovery from addiction or another psychological condition. Moreover, many celebrities are candid about their issues and what they do to keep them in check.

When a person who is looked up to opens up regarding their trials and tribulations, the effect is enormous. Unreserved disclosure about mental illness and recovery both comforts and inspires average citizens to take action. When John Q. Public learns that they share similar struggles with a person they admire, they feel less alone. He or she becomes empowered to seek recovery!

The Universe Gives Back When You Quit Drinking


Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead, Mission Impossible, and Star Trek) is a British actor who many Americans adore. Not only can he act, but he is also funny. Over the last two decades, his career has gone in one direction—upward. Unfortunately, Pegg’s road to stardom was impacted by depression and addiction.

The English actor, writer, and comedian recently spoke at length with GQ about his battles with mental illness. He discloses how he used alcohol to contend with his depressive symptoms; he shares that drinking helped, at first. However, self-medicating the symptoms of mental illness made his life unmanageable and developed into a co-occurring alcohol use disorder.

“You just can’t rely on any kind of stimulant to make yourself feel better and expect it to solve anything,” said Pegg. “At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time.”

In 2010, Mr. Pegg hit rock bottom and decided to address his problems fully, according to the article. He sought assistance at a mental health hospital and addiction rehab clinic. The actor learned that the substance he thought was helping was making matters worse. It is a realization that many people come to after seeking help for a dual diagnosis. He tells GQ:

“It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue. I spoke to people and got proper help. That’s when you realise you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things. By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last ten years.”

Chemical Dependency and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


Millions of Americans find themselves struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Those who meet the criteria for depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of also developing alcohol or substance use disorder.

Fortunately, long-term recovery is possible when individuals seek treatment to address each disorder simultaneously. If your or a loved one’s life is negatively impacted by drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please contact us today.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is a hospital-based addiction treatment center. Our clients benefit from being treated in a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); they have access to more than 185 physicians.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Addiction Recovery: A Freedom to Decide

addiction recovery
On this day, 243 years ago, the thirteen original colonies came together as one resounding voice and declared independence from Great Britain. Each year at this time, Americans are asked to reflect on the importance of freedom. For most people, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate around the barbecue and watch fireworks with friends and family, but for people in recovery, Independence Day can have more than one meaning.

People in recovery acknowledge their varying lengths of sobriety on the date that they began taking steps to be free from the bondage of self. It is a day of significant importance to millions of people across the country. In a sense, recovery is a declaration of independence from the disease of addiction.

Alcohol and substance use disorders hijack the lives of individuals. Breaking the disease cycle and forging a unique path is one of the greatest acts of courage found in modern times. Through hard work and dedication to abstain from drugs and alcohol (no matter what), men and women can find a new kind of freedom.

With the above thoughts in mind, perhaps you will find time today to think about how grateful you are to have sovereignty. No longer confined by the prison of self, so total that it’s hard for most of society to understand, you can decide the kind of person you’d like to be. People working programs of recovery have the freedom to choose how they will affect those around them and their society.

A Freedom to Decide, in Recovery


Addiction recovery is liberating; it opens doors to new worlds of possibility. Sobriety gives men and women the freedom to decide how they will look at things. They can choose to find the positives in life, even though the addict and alcoholic’s natural default setting is the belief that he or she is the center of the universe. They can decide to squash negative feelings about others and see the good. One remarkable aspect of recovery is the freedom to care about other people.

It is freeing to realize that the gift of recovery is something that you have the honor to be able to pay forward. The humanity shown to newcomers is then passed along; it’s a relay of healing involving men and women with a common goal.

Those who are in the grips of the progressive illness that is addiction are forced to focus only on themselves to survive. Once in recovery, they learn that not only can they care about others but that it is a requirement. Being of service and accountable to something higher enables recovering addicts and alcoholics to find independence. No longer bound by the yoke of addiction, they can spread their wings and soar to new heights of existence.

There is a caveat, of course; detox, treatment, and working a program gives people the ability to manage their condition. Action in perpetuity is required for continued progress; recovery has a start date but no end. Through continued service and a commitment to practice certain principles in every aspect of life, men and women learn what it means to be free.

On Independence Day, please find a moment to consider the many gifts in your life today and show gratitude toward those who helped you be free from the bondage of self. If you attend a meeting, maybe there will be an opportunity to be of service; bring cookies, stack chairs, or introduce yourself to a newcomer.

If you have plans with your peers in recovery for after the meeting, invite said newcomer along. It will make their day, and the invite might be the thing that keeps them from picking up a drink.

Addiction Recovery is a Doorway to Independence


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). We utilize evidence-based practices to help people take their first steps toward a life in recovery. Our clients significantly benefit from hospital-based care and specialty services that we provide at HVRC. Please contact us today to take the first step toward finding independence from addiction.

At HVRC, we hope that everyone in recovery has a safe and sober 4th of July. Please keep your phone charged and never hesitate to call your support network for assistance.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Opioid Addiction and Overprescribing: A Global Epidemic

opioid
Despite the warnings and some 130 overdose deaths per day in America, surgeons still prescribe painkillers at alarming rates. A new report from Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Johns Hopkins shows that they are prescribing many times the recommended number of opioids.

Surgeons continue to prescribe far more opioids for post-op pain than recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings come from an analysis of the latest available data, including 350,000 prescriptions written for patients operated on by nearly 20,000 surgeons from 2011 to 2016.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, together with KHN, found that doctors performing surgeries are ignoring current guidelines from several academic medical centers. The article points out that while opioid manufacturers have received the market share of the blame for the epidemic, the contribution to the crisis by physicians is mostly disregarded.

In some ways, it’s hard to imagine a doctor prescribing massive amounts of opioids for less painful procedures. Physicians know the addictive nature of opiates; they must exercise the utmost discretion when treating minor injuries. Writing smaller prescriptions and then refilling them as needed mitigates the risk of abuse or drug diversion.

In 2016, some coronary artery bypass patients took home upwards of 105 opioid pills, according to the article. The highest prescribing doctors performing a lumpectomy to remove a breast tumor doled out 40 to 70 pills on average. Researchers found that some knee surgery patients received prescriptions for more than 100 pills to take home.

The data being a few years old does not mean that prescribing practices are significantly better today. Dr. Chad Brummett, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at the University of Michigan, says:

“When prescribing may have been five to 20 times too high, even a reduction that is quite meaningful still likely reflects overprescribing.”

 

A Global Opioid Addiction Epidemic


The United States accounts for a small percentage of the world’s population; however, we consume the bulk of all prescription opioids. Still, that does not mean that the crisis we face is specific to America.

Yesterday, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published its 2019 World Drug Report. The UNODC estimates the number of people who’ve used opioids at 53 million globally, up 56 percent from previous projections. The UN estimates that 35 million people are suffering from substance use disorders.

The scourge of opioid use in the USA has had a terrible effect, even though America has the infrastructure in place to address the problem. The same cannot be said for North Africa and the Middle East, where the opioid tramadol is heavily abused. Access to evidence-based treatment services is limited; only one in seven people with drug use disorders receive treatment each year.

Both methamphetamine and cocaine use are on the rise as well. Meth seizures are up both in Asia and here at home. Coca bush cultivation and cocaine production reached record highs in 2017.

“The findings of this year’s World Drug Report fill in and further complicate the global picture of drug challenges, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated health and criminal justice responses to supply and demand,” said Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director. 

If you would like to read the full UNODC report in full, please click here.

Central California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat can help you or someone you love detox from opioids and begin a remarkable journey of recovery. We utilize evidence-based therapies to treat opioid addiction and help clients heal. Please contact us at any time to discuss treatment options with our recovery staff. 866-273-0868

Friday, June 21, 2019

California Tests Mental Health Apps

mental health
Smartphones have transformed the way we live in myriad ways. These tiny pocket computers, which give people the power to learn, shop, schedule, organize, and connect with their peers, are invaluable to most people. Young Americans cannot even remember life before the iPhone, nor would they dare to imagine existing without smartphones.

The potential for phones and tablets is seemingly limitless. Each year, developers pack more and more power into the devices which allows users more freedom to create, explore, and communicate in new ways with individuals across the globe. While smartphones and apps can make our lives easier, they can also prevent us from being present. So, it’s essential to find a balance and take steps to limit screen time.

Most application developers do not set out to change the world. An exploration through app stores proves that there are some incredible things people can and will spend $1 on for entertainment. However, several companies have chosen to harness the power of smartphones to help people with their internal struggles. Today, there exist a plethora of apps that are meant to assist people with their mental health.

California is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world; Silicon Valley is ground zero for the latest in innovation. An experiment is currently underway to determine if smartphone applications can help state and county mental health officials address the needs of people living with mental illness.

Make Mental Health Services More Available


When we use our phones patterns emerge, a picture of who we are and how we go about our day is transposed into data. Observations into how long someone is on their smartphone, the apps used, and what they post could theoretically give experts a window into said person’s mental health.

Last summer, the California Mental Health Services Authority selected two app companies to collaborate with county services, The New York Time reports. Mindstrong, founded by Dr. Paul Dagum, created an alternate keyboard to embed on patient participants’ smartphones. The other company, 7 Cups, cofounded by psychologist Glen Moriarty, is a digital mental health network.

The Mindstrong app monitors users “moment-to-moment screen activity;” its algorithms establish a person’s baseline phone behaviors. If a participant’s usage appears abnormal, the app will sound an alarm that an emotional crisis could be coming. The application also has a diary feature that allows users to chart how they are feeling from one day to the next. Los Angeles County has distributed the technology thus far.

“I like the diary card,” said Skyy Brewer, 30, who has used the diary since to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. “At therapy, you can go through the cards for the week and see the good days and bad ones, and figure out why your moods were off.” 

7 Cups was co-founded by former National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director Thomas R. Insel—a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The app pairs participants with company-trained “listeners,” according to the article. A listener will determine if the user is in crisis and connect them with a 7 Cups therapist.

The collaboration between the tech sector and the California Mental Health Services Authority has run into some difficulties (e.g., privacy concerns) since the beginning. However, the findings of the research could end up helping millions of people down the road. It will be interesting to see what the experts determine.

“It’s been a little rough in the beginning, I have to say, and it may take a couple of years,” Dr. Insel said. “The program may have to fail at first.”

California Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness like depression or anxiety. We can help you detox from drugs and alcohol, address your mental health needs, and give you the tools to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Research on Cannabis Use

cannabis use disorder
Marijuana may not be at the top of the American people’s list of concerns, but it’s vital to stay up to date on current research. The end of cannabis prohibition in many states has led to a surge in scientific studies. There is a whole lot that we do not know about the dangers and benefits of marijuana.

Since cannabis use can lead to addiction and subsequent adverse effects, having all the facts can better inform treatment providers. Marijuana is a polarizing subject matter; as such, there is a lot of misinformation.

Several claims have been made that suggest weed can do wonders for people with severe medical conditions. In some cases, the assertions hold water, but others are unequivocally false. Weeding through all the material to find peer-reviewed research is an arduous task.

Given that more and more states are going to legalize both medical and recreational use, it’s paramount to inform citizens about the science.

New Research on Cannabis


Two new studies published recently present some interesting findings regarding medical marijuana, legalization, and the pathways to a cannabis use disorder. One study contradicts previous research, which claimed that medical cannabis reduces the rate of fatal opioid overdoses. The other seeks to explain why some heavy users become addicted, whereas others do not.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found no evidence that indicates opioid overdose deaths are reduced by the availability of medical cannabis, according to a press release. Moreover, the researchers found that states with medical marijuana had higher overdose death rates. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If you think opening a bunch of dispensaries is going to reduce opioid deaths, you’ll be disappointed,” said Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “We don’t think cannabis is killing people, but we don’t think it’s saving people.” 

A separate study we’d like to focus on appears in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Researchers used brain imaging to observe the neural of cannabis users who viewed images associated with use (e.g., drug cues), according to Elsevier. All of the human participants were heavy cannabis users.

The findings indicate that people with heavy marijuana use, with and without cannabis use disorders, had exaggerated responses in a brain region called the ventral striatum. This area of the brain handles reward processing. The scans of those who had a cannabis user disorder also showed more significant responses in the area that forms habits—the dorsal striatum. What’s more, the researchers found that dependent users had increased responses in the regions that attach importance to things.

“Cannabis is now legal for medical and recreational use in many parts of the United States and the health impacts of this development are still being understood,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. “These findings are important insights that can help us better understand why some individuals might be more likely to become addicted to cannabis.”

California Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment


Marijuana addiction can take a severe toll and affect life quality. Those who meet the criteria for a cannabis use disorder tend to struggle in several areas of their life. Many who try to quit experience withdrawal symptoms that, if not managed professionally, lead to relapse.

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with marijuana, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our highly trained team of clinicians helps individuals break the cycle of addiction and sets them on a path toward long-term recovery. We invite you to take the first step and call us today for a confidential assessment. 866-273-0868

Friday, June 7, 2019

PTSD Awareness Month 2019

PTSD
Exposure to traumatic experiences can leave lasting marks on a person’s psyche. While mental scars may seem indelible to those affected, evidence-based treatments for trauma exist and recovery is possible. When people are unable to access professional help, they are at significant risk of self-medicating and self-harm. As a result, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often accompanied by alcohol and substance use disorder.

Channeling more people who are living with PTSD to therapeutic and recovery services is a must. Unfortunately, stigma walls off many men and women from accessing recovery resources.

Even though victims are not at fault for the pain they’ve suffered, they can convince themselves otherwise. Vicious cycles of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors come to life, resulting in the development of addiction and another mood-related psychopathology.

Fortunately, there is help available for individuals living with post-traumatic stress and co-occurring substance use disorders. During June, the National Center for PTSD is asking the general public to help raise awareness and break the stigma of this treatable mental health condition. This is PTSD Awareness Month!

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we understand that mood or mental disorders coincide with addiction regularly. Many of our clients, now in recovery, began their journey towards addiction in direct response to trauma and subsequent PTSD. Stigma prevented many of these men and women from seeking help sooner. We have the power to change this common occurrence and empower people to request assistance.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders


Experts have long understood that there is a correlation between adverse experiences and substance use disorder. The connection is especially true when the trauma occurs during childhood before a person has developed effective, healthy coping mechanisms. As a person ages, and is introduced to drugs and alcohol, they discover that the symptoms of PTSD can be alleviated to a degree.

Mind-altering substances have the power to change people’s perception and numb some of the pain that they bear. Occasional use morphs into regular, heavy use; at which point, the substances, that one thinks are helping, become pernicious. In time, self-medicating PTSD symptoms will begin to have the opposite effect, serving only to exacerbate the feelings which men and women are trying to escape.

When co-morbidity or “dual-diagnosis” becomes one’s reality, it is paramount that they receive treatment for both conditions simultaneously. Treating one, while ignoring the other, significantly impedes a person’s ability to recover. In a sense, co-occurring disorders require co-occurring recoveries.

PTSD Awareness Month


When discussing PTSD, people are inclined to attach the condition to combat veterans. However, survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events are all eligible for developing the condition too. Anyone dealing with symptoms can benefit from seeking professional assistance. The markers of PTSD include:
  • Re-experiencing the trauma (flashbacks)
  • Avoidance (i.e., staying away from anything that reminds one of the experiences)
  • Arousal and reactivity (feeling tense or being prone to outbursts)
  • Cognition and mood symptoms (negative self-talk, guilt, and blame)
“Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available.” – National Center for PTSD

There are several ways you can assist the efforts to break the stigma and encourage people to seek treatment. Please click here to learn more.

 

Southern California Dual-Diagnosis Treatment


We invite you to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder. We specialize in treating men and women who have a dual diagnosis. Please contact us today to learn more.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Mental Health Disorders in College

mental health disorders
Families play a critically important role in the lives of young people in recovery. They are often the catalyst for a child seeking professional assistance for mental health disorders, and they also provide support at home.

Upon learning that a son or daughter is experiencing mental health or substance use problems, mothers and fathers struggle to determine the best course of action. They understand that expert help is necessary, but they may not want to derail their child’s life. Urging their kid to take a break from college often comes with a heavy heart.

Parents wanting their children to succeed in life is usually the main priority; they may hesitate to intervene or downplay the severity of the situation. It's both understandable and risky because mental illnesses are not to be ignored.

In recent years it has come to light that college students are subject to significant amounts of stress. Without healthy coping mechanisms in place, such individuals are apt to experience severe anxiety or turn to self-defeating behaviors to weather the storm. Many young people engage in alcohol and drug use to manage their symptoms.

Higher education is extremely competitive, exorbitantly expensive, and classloads are daunting for most students. Given that teens push themselves to the limits in high school to get into a top university, by the time they get into the college of their choice, they are exhausted.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 32% of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 have an anxiety disorder. The American College Health Association reports that 60 percent of college students suffer from anxiety disorders and psychological distress.

Anxiety in College


Today is the conclusion of Mental Health Month. We want to direct parents and students to an NPR interview with Dr. Anthony Rostain, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and B. Janet Hibbs, a family and couples psychotherapist.

Dr. Rostain and Hibbs authored The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years, a new book about anxiety and stress in college.

“One of the reasons we wrote this book is not to scare parents, but to help them know what they can do to help,” said Hibbs. “When a child, for whatever reason, is hopeless or verging on that, families are incredibly, vitally important in maintaining hope. ... Having the emotional expression of the family convey warmth, support, unconditional support, not judgment, that ... is one of the best medicines.” 

The authors point out that kids today are being pushed extremely hard to succeed. They add that those with preexisting mental health conditions often let up on therapy once in school. Moreover, they point to research that shows only about one in four young people with suicidal ideation seek help. Rostain tells parents:

“Don’t be afraid of getting help from mental health professionals. We’re here to work with you and with your kids and we’re not here to blame you or to condemn you. So many parents face this fear of the shame or the embarrassment or the stigma, and what we think is the most deadly thing of all is not the mental illness, but the stigma around it that leads people to avoid getting the help in time.”

Self-Medicating Mental Health Disorders


Alcohol and substance use and abuse in college is often the result of untreated mental illness. Young men and women will turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their symptoms. The practice can result in the development of a use disorder on top of the mental health condition. It is critical that such people receive help for both issues simultaneously.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a substance use and co-occurring disorder treatment program for young adults. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our services and begin the journey of recovery.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Patrick Kennedy: On Addiction and Stigma

“Addiction was unimpressed that I came from a famous family.” – Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy 

Mental illness does not discriminate is a sentiment shared among experts in the field of medicine. Each person, if certain conditions are met, can struggle with mood disorders or behavioral health issues. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million) experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

To complicate matters even further, more than half of individuals who live with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental illness. The fact of the matter is that addiction and other mental health disorders affect tens of millions of Americans. What’s more, despite a modern understanding of the mechanisms of psychological morbidity, stigma and shame remain pervasive.

As long as there have been mental diseases, there has been the stigma that goes with them; sometimes, it comes from strangers and other times, family. Moreover, the American health industry is still guilty of discriminating against people living with mental health conditions. Even though legislative protections exist, insurance providers continue to do everything they can to deny coverage.

Parity is a word of vital importance: the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay. In health care, the word means providing the same level of care and coverage to everyone regardless of the ailment.

Not too long ago, ante-Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers were allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies could also set arbitrary coverage restrictions on those with mental illness.

Despite the enactment of the MHPAEA and ACA, the fight for parity continues, as well as the effort to eliminate stigma.

 

Mental Disorder and Addiction: Legitimate Health-care Issues


addiction
Last December, we wrote about former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy and his “Don’t Deny Me” campaign. The champion of equal coverage and lead sponsor of the MHPAEA continues his effort to ensure every American receives the coverage they deserve.

Patrick Kennedy, some of you will remember, is in recovery. He has a keen understanding of what it’s like to live in silence, to be treated differently by those who you love. Now sober for eight years, he continues to share his story with others and encourage people to seek mental health services.

Over the weekend, Kennedy gave a commencement speech to an audience of 15,000 at the University of Rhode Island, Dispatch reports. He used the opportunity, as one might expect, to talk about his experience with addiction, mental illness, and stigma. Mr. Kennedy also encouraged 3,434 undergraduates to seek help if they experience symptoms of mental disorder.

During his speech, Patrick shared how his father, the late U.S. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy, lacked compassion for his struggles, according to the article. He said that “when it came to my addictions,” his father’s response was: “Patrick just needs a swift kick in the ass.”

“I spent many years lost in a fog of shame,” Kennedy said. 

Like many people with substance use issues, Kennedy hid his illness as best he could for as long as possible. Stigma will cause people to go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their problems, such behaviors often come at severe costs. When Patrick first sought recovery, he went out of his way to ensure no one knew he was seeking help. Again, such actions are a testament to the shame that looms over mental health conditions.

Seeking Help for Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders


Acknowledging that you have a problem that requires outside assistance isn’t simple, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand how challenging it is to ask for help and to look past stigma.

Recovery is possible for all determined to make it their reality. At HVRC, we can help you break the cycle of addiction, address any co-occurring disorders, and give you the tools to realize long-term sobriety. Please contact us today to speak with our admissions staff and to receive a chemical dependency treatment evaluation.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Decriminalizing Addiction in America

addiction
When discussing addiction in the United States, it is hard to ignore the fact that it has not been handled appropriately. On top of being in the midst of a substance use epidemic, we have a long history of punishing people for being ill. Arresting and incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders have led to the largest prison population in the world.

Even though Americans account for merely five percent of the global population, we have more inmates than any other country by far. While steps have been taken in recent years to confront overpopulation in penal institutions, more than two million adults live behind bars.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, one in five incarcerated people is locked up for a drug offense. Moreover, 451,000 Americans are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses on any given day. Over one million drug possession arrests occur each year in the U.S.

Addiction is a form of mental illness. It is imperative that more be done to put a stop to draconian drug sentencing laws and provide people with treatment instead. Locking people up for the crime of drug use is only a temporary fix. Without access to adequate mental health services, inside jail or out, recidivism is practically a guarantee.

There are other ways lawmakers and enforcement officials can tackle substance abuse in America. Many states and municipalities have changed their stance on drug use, opting for diversion, and addiction treatment over jail and prison.

The American opioid crisis has had an impact on policymakers, many of whom now understand that substance use disorder is a disease. They have witnessed that addiction can impact anyone in their communities. However, we still have a long way to go as a nation regarding the handling of all mental illnesses, but with use disorder especially.

How Portugal Handles Addiction


Making alterations to the criminal justice system is not a simple task. Dispelling bad ideas and implementing evidence-based changes does not happen overnight. While America has excelled at trying to arrest away drug addiction, we are not alone. Many other countries have engaged in similar wars on drugs. Although, some republics have made drastic changes to how they deal with substance use in recent years.

Some of our readers may remember when Portugal decided to decriminalize drugs in 2001. The outcome of the country’s decision to treat drug possession as a public health issue has had mixed results. While more research is needed to better understand these outcomes, there are some interesting items worth mentioning. Statistics show:
  • More people are seeking treatment.
  • New HIV diagnoses reductions.
  • Reductions in drug-related deaths.
  • Drug use among adolescents and problematic users declined.
  • Decreases in drug-related criminal justice workloads.
American prosecutors, in many cases, decide how to handle nonviolent drug offenders. It would seem that they may be able to glean insight from how things are being done across the Atlantic. This month, twenty prosecutors from major cities, like Philadelphia and Baltimore, are touring Portugal to learn about decriminalization.

The Marijuana Moment reports that the contingent of prosecutors will tour courts, prisons, treatment facilities, and health and community service providers. The trip is sponsored by the advocacy group Fair and Justice Prosecution.

“The enormous power of prosecutors to exercise their discretion in ways that ensure outcomes that enhance public safety and reduce recidivism is unparalleled in the criminal justice system,” said Washington, D.C. Attorney General, Karl Racine. “My colleagues and I look forward to learning from countries that have successfully reduced mass incarceration, reintegrated previously incarcerated individuals back into society, and treated drug users and individuals struggling with mental illness with health services and supports that have a high degree of success.”

 

California Chemical Dependency Treatment Center


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to speak with our Admissions and Assessment Department. We can answer any questions you have regarding our approach and what you can expect from receiving our care. We can help you stop the cycle of addiction and show you how to take steps toward lasting recovery.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mental Health Screening During MHM2019

Mental Health Month (MHM) is now 70 years old; the annual observance takes place each May. Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – launched MHM in 1949 as a way to reach millions of Americans about mental illness and well-being. A goal of this essential nonprofit is to encourage people to receive screenings and treatment for behavioral health and mood disorders.

One in five Americans face symptoms of a mental disability each year; depression, alone, is the leading cause of poor health globally. The need for screening, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment is paramount to society.

Throughout May, events are being held across the country to get more people thinking about the importance of mental health. The theme this year is #4Mind4Body, which emphasizes the necessity of both psychological and physical well-being. MHA and its affiliates are exploring how animal companionship, spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections can improve mental health and general wellness.

There are no cures for mental illnesses; however, symptoms can be managed, and people can recover. Those who prioritize overall well-being can lead fulfilling and productive lives in recovery.

While it’s critical that individuals receive professional assistance, there are things people can do on their own to reign in their illness. MHA offers many tools and helpful guidance for men and women who are struggling. Still, some people are unaware that psychological problems are impacting their lives. Many persons convince themselves that their life issues are circumstantial when it’s likely they meet the criteria for one of several conditions.

Proper screening from primary care physicians (PCP) is crucial, but many people do not have a PCP. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.

 

Mental Health Screening


Before we proceed, we must point out that digital screenings are not an exact science. A screening is not a diagnosis. However, the result of the MHA screening tool can help individuals begin discussions with mental health professionals.

There are numerous mental health conditions, ranging from addiction to schizophrenia. MHA provides effective, research-proven screening tools for some of the more common psychiatric disorders. You can find a list of available screens below:
  • Depression Screen: for individuals who are feeling overwhelming sadness.
  • Anxiety: for people who feel that worry and fear are affecting their ability to function day-to-day.
  • Bipolar Disorder: for individuals who have mood swings - or unusual or extreme shifts in mood and energy.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): for those who are affected by a traumatic life event.
  • Alcohol or Substance Use Problems: for helping people determine if their use of alcohol or drugs is an area to address.
  • Psychosis: for young people (age 12-35) who feel like their brain is playing tricks on them (seeing, hearing or believing things that don't seem real or quite right).
  • Eating Disorders: for exploring eating-related concerns that have an impact on your physical health and overall well-being.
Following successful completion of mental health screens, MHA provides resources to help steer people toward assistance. Again, the available tests are not diagnoses; they are meant to help people determine if further action is required.

If you or someone you love is exhibiting concerning behaviors, then taking a mental health screening could be of significant value. More than half of people living with mental illness have not undergone treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

MHM2019 is an excellent opportunity for people to take steps to improve their mental health. Once a problem is determined, men and women can take action to enhance their psychological well-being.

 

Co-occurring Disorder Treatment


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. In the field of addiction medicine, alcohol and substance use diseases are impacted by other forms of mental illness. It is vital that men and women meeting the criteria for dual-diagnosis receive treatment for all conditions present.

Those who believe they are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness are strongly encouraged to seek help. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we can provide detoxification and treatment services to people impacted by mental health disorders. Please contact us today to learn more about our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH).

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Health Complications Affecting People in Recovery

addiction recovery health complications
Men and women who find addiction recovery have an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Millions of Americans in the United States and abroad are working programs of long-term recovery. Any person who is struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder can do him or herself an invaluable service by seeking assistance.

Prolonged, heavy drug and alcohol use takes a significant toll on the human mind and body. The longer a problem persists without intervention, the higher the likelihood of developing further complications. Researchers also associate addiction with a higher risk of experiencing co-occurring mental health disorders and physical health issues.

In previous posts, we mention that more than half of people living with addiction have a dual diagnosis. Common comorbidities include anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Co-Occurring Mental and Physical Health Disorders


Dual diagnosis cases require individuals receive simultaneous treatment for each condition. Treating the addiction, while ignoring the co-occurring disorder, is likely to result in unfavorable outcomes post treatment.

Those who seek professional assistance and begin working a recovery program must continue to monitor their mental health. They need to undergo regular physical health check-ups as well. This is especially true for men and women who find sobriety later in life.

While abstaining from drugs and alcohol and prioritizing mental health is of substantial benefit, there can be lingering damage. Many alcoholics and addicts fail to prioritize healthy eating and exercise when their disease is active. Extended periods of poor diet and minimal exercise can lead to a variety of health issues, such as diabetes.

Long-term alcohol use and IV drug use are associated with several life-threatening health conditions, diseases that must be monitored following addiction treatment. For example, liver diseases, COPD, and hepatitis C impact the quality of life for many people in recovery. These conditions require regular monitoring.

Burden of Disease in Addiction Recovery


Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute analyzed the effect that recovery has on addiction-related illness. Medical News Today reports that some health conditions improve, but others will persist—despite the health benefits of sobriety. The research appears in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

"The prodigious psychological, social, and interpersonal impact of excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use is well-characterized," said David Eddie, Ph.D., lead author of the study. He adds, "Less well-appreciated is the physical disease burden, especially among those who have successfully resolved a significant substance use problem." 

Of a sample of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. who were in recovery, 37 percent had received a diagnosis of one or more diseases, according to the article. The conditions affecting the adults in recovery include, but are not limited to:
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Liver disease
  • Tuberculosis
If the listed diseases do not receive treatment while a patient is in recovery, they can affect quality of life and reduce life expectancy, the article reports. Dr. Eddie points out that the health industry must develop better measures to assist people with use disorders and mitigate the risk of disease. Eddie offers:

“The extent to which these diseases and health conditions continue to persist for the millions of Americans who achieve recovery remains to be clarified, but this study highlights the fact that these negative impacts may continue to affect quality of life, even when people achieve addiction recovery."

Addiction Recovery Improves Quality of Life


Men and women who begin the journey of recovery are encouraged to embrace healthier lifestyles. Eating nutritional foods and developing an exercise routine helps the mind and body heal from the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use. Prioritizing annual physicals can help patients identify any conditions that present following addiction treatment, allowing for early interventions.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, our clients benefit immensely from receiving care in our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). We can provide patients with programs and specialty services, as well as access to hospital-level diagnostic services and consultations from physician specialists.

HVRC’s unique environment allows clinicians to identify any co-occurring health disorders quickly. Our team can then administer concurrent, evidence-based treatments. Please contact us today to learn more.