Friday, November 15, 2019

Opioid Epidemic: Children Suffering in the Shadows

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives due to overdose over the last two decades. The opioid addiction epidemic has impacted millions more; loved ones lost, and families separated – torn apart by substance use disorder – the cost of this public health crisis is steep.

Headlines and research that center on the opioid epidemic typically involve overdose rates, naloxone, treatment, and recovery. As such, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the fallout of this most severe drug scourge is vast. Many of the men and women currently struggling with prescription opioids and heroin are fathers and mothers.

Over the last twenty years, an overwhelming number of children have grown up in homes plagued by addiction. Many of these same children have lost one or more parent to overdose; many more have been separated from their families by child protective services.

It's challenging to predict what these young people's lives will be like as they age and grow up. A large number of grandparents have become court appointed guardians of their children's children. Tens of thousands of kids are in foster care; some have been adopted.

Simply put, the epidemic has not spared young people by any means. In the coming years, these youths and young adults will require the support of their community and their local and federal government.

In the Shadow of an Epidemic

It's hard to wrap one's head around the scope and scale of the American opioid addiction epidemic. It's even harder to generate a clear picture of the havoc wrought by opioid misuse and abuse across the country.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS is a condition that arises when a child is exposed to opioids in the womb. Withdrawal symptoms present at birth requiring substantial medical supervision to prevent further complications. NAS babies are typically separated from their mother and placed in the care of another.

Hopefully, said new parent seeks treatment, finds recovery, and actively seeks to be reunited with their child. Sadly, that does not always happen; breaking the cycle of addiction takes tremendous effort under the best of circumstances.

The United Hospital Fund (UHF), a health policy nonprofit, conducted a study to determine how the epidemic has impacted young people. The findings of the report are startling, and it's highly likely that far more young people will be affected by this crisis. The UHF found that the epidemic had impacted at least 2.2 million children in the United States by 2017. By the year 2030, the report estimates that 4.3 million children will be affected—at the cost of $400 billion.

"Even if we could stop the epidemic cold in its tracks today, the ripples will last long into the future," says Suzanne Brundage, the study's lead author and director of UHF's Children's Health Initiative. 

The number of affected children varied from state to state, with California having the highest number at 196,000 in 2017. That's 20 kids per 1,000 whose lives have been altered by the opioid crisis.

If the above figures are not shocking enough, the research showed that 170,000 children had opioid use disorder themselves, according to U.S. News & World Report. This demographic will likely experience problems similar to their parent(s) as they age.

"The opioid epidemic is clearly driving forward a wave of children affected by family substance use disorder," Brundage says. "We need policymakers, (the) private sector, community leaders and the general public to … start responding today."

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you or someone you love is in the grips of an opioid use disorder, then please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); this status allows us to provide programs and specialty services all in one facility—from detox to aftercare. We are also equipped to treat patients who struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders that often present with addiction.

Those who take the first step toward recovery with HVRC stand an excellent chance of turning their lives around. Treatment works, and long-term recovery is possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

PTSD and Chemical Dependency Treatment

Two weeks ago we discussed National Depression Education and Awareness Month at length. As we pointed out, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide. This week, we would like to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring substance use disorder.

With Veterans Day four days away, now is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness about some of the struggles that the bravest Americans face. PTSD impacts the heroes who risk life and limb to protect America at home and abroad from their experiences. Both veterans and active service members are at a heightened risk of developing mood disorders, most notably PTSD and depression.

Those who are unable or unwilling to seek assistance are predisposed to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Self-harming and self-defeating behaviors like drug and alcohol use are common among our nation’s heroes. Such practices put men and women at risk of developing alcohol and substance use disorders.

It’s vital to spread the message that PTSD and addiction recovery is possible for those who seek professional assistance. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we created a Heroes Program for any individuals whose line of work puts them at risk of experiencing trauma, PTSD, and chemical dependency.

PTSD and Addiction: By the Numbers

Whether one is a civilian fighting fire or responding to medical emergencies or those who see combat, traumatic events place people at enormous risk of experiencing behavioral and mental health disorders.

Encouraging such individuals to seek professional assistance is of the utmost importance. Doing so saves lives and allows men and women to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

According to the National Center for PTSD, research shows chemical dependency and PTSD are strongly related in people who served in the military as well as civilians. The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences:
  • Combat
  • Physical or Sexual Assault
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Serious Accident
  • Natural Disaster
Symptoms of PTSD can include any of the following: feeling keyed up, flashbacks of an event, avoiding reminders of the event, and anhedonia (no longer taking pleasure in the activities you once enjoyed). Those who suffer from one or more of the symptoms listed above should seek professional guidance; this is especially vital if one is self-medicating their symptoms.

The VA notes that almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD. Moreover, more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. Trying to manage post-traumatic stress disorder with drugs and alcohol is a vicious cycle. Self-medicating leads to addiction often, and the practice has been shown to worsen one’s PTSD symptoms.

Men and women – veterans, active duty, or civilians – who are experiencing PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorder can significantly benefit from seeking treatment. However, choosing the right facility that can cater to one’s unique needs is paramount.

HVRC’s Heroes Program Accepts TRICARE

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are proud to announce that we meet the strict criteria for being in-network with TRICARE. It allows us to offer service members, veterans, and their family members affordable co-occurring disorder treatment.

Our dedicated team of professionals relies on evidence-based treatment modalities to help our clients heal and achieve lasting recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our specialty tract for first-responders, veterans, active servicemen and women, and their families.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Safe Sober Halloween in Recovery

The holiday season is fast approaching; Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving in November. During this time, it is helpful for people in recovery to begin planning how they will navigate each holiday. While Halloween may not be as synonymous with drinking as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, the upcoming holiday is known for an abundance of parties.

Many people in recovery may remember attending Halloween bashes. Memories of dressing up and partying with friends might bring fond thoughts for some, despite the damage that alcohol has caused in their lives. Now in sobriety, men and women must avoid the desire to attend gatherings that involve copious amounts of drinking. Individuals in early recovery should not even consider attending such events.

Relapse is always a risk factor for men and women in recovery. People must batten down the hatches of their program to ensure they can avoid risky situations. This could mean doubling down on daily meetings during the holiday season or calling one's sponsor or recovery mentor more often than usual.

Fortunately, even though attending parties that involve alcohol are mostly out of the question, you don't have to lock yourself indoors during Halloween. There are plenty of ways you can have fun and stay sober during All Hallows' Eve.

Leaning On Your Support Network During Halloween

If you attend recovery meetings regularly, then you have probably heard people in your homegroup talking about the upcoming holiday. It's highly likely that one of your peers is hosting a sober Halloween party on Thursday, October 31, 2019. Now is an excellent time to talk with your friends in recovery about attending such an event.

If nobody is planning a sober costume party, then it is not too late for you and your peers to organize one. You can have a lot of fun and get to know your friends in recovery better during the experience.

One of the keys to staying clean and sober during any holiday is staying busy and sticking to your routine, as best as possible. Attend the meetings you usually go to, tend to your commitments, and then have a fun time with your friends in recovery.

Many people in early recovery think that their days of having a good time are behind them. It's natural to feel that way, but it's not accurate. In fact, without drugs and alcohol in your system, it's possible to have authentic experiences that you will remember the next day and cherish in the years to follow.

Recovery has a lot to do with establishing new traditions, seasonal activities and events that do not revolve around one's addiction. Those who make the most of the holidays while they are sober will be thankful for it in multiple ways. Learning that a life without drugs and alcohol, is not a life that is tantamount to being a stick in the mud is a beautiful realization.

So, this coming Halloween, please make the most of enjoying the company of your recovery peers and have a good time. Holidays are not easy; they are a test of the strength of your program. Waking up in the morning, knowing that you got through a major holiday without drugs and alcohol, is a remarkable accomplishment and should be a source of pride.

Orange County Addiction Treatment

Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol. Our team of highly trained addiction professionals can help you begin the life-changing process of recovery. The miracle of recovery can be yours too, with our help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Depression Education and Awareness Month: Seeking Treatment

depression awareness
October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. The observance is about teaching the public to recognize the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for depression. Depressive disorders are the most common form of mental illness; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide.

A combination of factors can lead to the development of depression. Experts believe that both genetics and environmental influences can trigger depressive disorders. People who have a history of substance use also have higher rates of depression compared to the general public. Individuals who’ve experienced a significant trauma in their lives are also at an increased risk.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Many of our clients also contend with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or both. Our facility is unique, being that we operate at an acute care hospital.

Our patients have access to a medical staff of over 185 physicians representing most medical specialties. We are licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); this allows us to provide programs and specialty services all under one roof. Men and women who are struggling with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental illness benefit significantly from the HVRC difference.

People who meet the criteria for dual diagnosis must receive simultaneous treatment to achieve lasting recovery. Our staff addresses with equal care each condition a client presents with in order to ensure they are able to acquire the tools for long-term recovery and to manage their mental health disorder.

Depression Education and Awareness Month

On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we observe National Depression Education and Awareness Month. It’s vital to get the word out that treatment works, and recovery is possible. We need to spread the message that people living with depression no longer need to struggle in silence.

At HVRC, we understand that seeking treatment for behavioral and mental health disorders requires tremendous courage. Societal stigmas and misunderstandings about mental illness cause people to think that they are at fault for their disease.

Ignorance is harmful to us all, so educating the public about conditions like depression saves lives. When society has a better understanding of the mechanisms of mental illness, they are more likely to show compassion. When communities care about the well-being of others, it has a ripple effect.

During Depression Education and Awareness Month, we ask that you take an active role in spreading the message about treatment and recovery. Those who are already working a program and managing their mental health can do an excellent service by sharing stories of hope on social media. Your experience can be a catalyst for change in the life of another.

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are perfect forums for disseminating valuable facts about depression and the benefits of treatment. Let people who may be suffering know that they are not alone. Kindly use #DepressionAwareness.

California Addiction Treatment Hospital

Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and co-occurring depression. We can help you take the first steps toward lasting recovery. We are available at any time to field questions you may have about our programs. You will be pleased to know that we accept most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

If you are battling depression and feel suicidal or are contemplating self-harm, call 911 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Recovery Requires Listening Up

In early recovery, learning how to listen is key to absorbing the information you need. Those who are new to the program have a lot to get off their chest; the weight of addiction is massive, and everyone desires to feel unburdened. There are ample opportunities to share your experience with the group in the countless meetings to follow. However, it's beneficial to prioritize hearing what others have to say early on.

The people in your support group have been where you are, and they know how you are feeling exactly. Your newfound peers understand the anxiety and fear that accompanies early recovery. They also grasp the desire to run when something isn't going the way you'd hope.

The temptation to use is paralyzing at times, urges to return to drugs and alcohol can crop up without a moment's notice. Persistent cravings are one of the reasons one must attend as many meetings as possible in the first 90 days of recovery. The more meetings you attend, the more tips and tools you will absorb.

Your support group is nothing short of a life raft floating in a turbulent sea; if you do not follow the direction of those with more experience, then you risk falling overboard.

At this point, you may have heard an oldtimer make a statement like, 'take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.' Curmudgeonly, to be sure, but not without some merit; the point they are trying to make is that if you are going to make it in the program, then there is a lot you have to learn.

If you are talking too much, then you can put yourself at risk of not hearing something you need to understand.

Listening in Recovery

People with more time in the program stay sober by helping others achieve similar feats. Once a person's program is strong enough, he or she is in a position to impart wisdom to men and women with less time. Each time an oldtimer shares, it is an opportunity to glean valuable suggestions that can help you stay clean and sober.

Surround yourself with people who are carrying the message and listen up. Whether you are in a meeting or having coffee with your sponsor, remember that what is shared with you can help you stay on the path down the road. You will not always be around your recovery peers, so it's prudent to have a firm set of coping mechanisms to manage cravings.

There will also be times when you find yourself in risky situations that can derail your recovery. If you have been listening to your sponsor and support peers, then it's probable that you know how to comport yourself and extricate yourself from danger.

The stakes in recovery are high, and long-term sobriety is never a foregone conclusion; there will always be dangers and pitfalls to skirt. Do everything you can early on to position yourself for success so that one day, you can help others find what you've found.

This post is not about admonishing newcomers against sharing. It's meant to explain the importance of listening more than talking in recovery's infancy. If you have a burning desire to share, then by all means share. You may be struggling, and people can't help you if they do not know you are having challenges. Just try to be cognizant and be sure that you are soaking up as much or more than you are putting out.

Those who invest all their energy into learning the way of recovery early on will set themselves up for realizing long-term recovery. They will develop the skills for leading a fulfilling and productive life.

California Addiction Treatment and Medical Detox

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we help men and women caught in the cycle of addiction to be free. Our addiction hospital assists patients in all aspects of their care, from detoxification to aftercare. Please contact us today to learn more about the HVRC difference.