Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fewer Young Adults Abuse Alcohol

alcohol use disorder
Alcohol and marijuana are mind-altering substances that can significantly impact the course of one's life. Both are legal for adults to use, but they are not without their risks. Moreover, those who begin using at a young age are apt to experience a myriad of consequences. 


Disordered drinking is one of the leading causes of premature death, and more than 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. Marijuana use, like alcohol, affects people's cognition and is addictive. Protracted use can lead to a cannabis use disorder later in life. 


While marijuana is often termed the gateway drug to "harder" substances, alcohol is more commonly used first. Alcohol is the preferred substance of young people who attend parties. Alcohol use can result in life-altering consequences, such as DUIs and fatal car wrecks. 


Teenagers and young adults who use alcohol regularly are at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder and other health problems associated with heavy alcohol use. It's not uncommon for heavy drinkers to develop conditions like pancreatitis in their twenties; some thirty-year-olds have cirrhosis of the liver. Both conditions are not to be taken lightly. 


Those who begin drinking at a young age place their developing brains at risk. Some may struggle with cognitive problems that will make it more challenging to finish high school and transition to college. It's worth remembering that the brain is not fully developed until a person's mid-twenties. 


Each person is unique, and there is no way to predict how alcohol will influence one's life. No amount of alcohol is safe; the longer one can abstain from alcohol, the better. Those who abstain from alcohol into adulthood tend to experience fewer negative consequences associated with drinking. 


It’s Possible to Abstain from Alcohol


Drinking alcohol in high school and college is a common occurrence. Getting drunk during the weekend is often viewed as a right of passage, but it need not be. It's possible to traverse one's formative years without imbibing; many young people are proving that to be true. 


A new study from the University of Michigan (U-M) and Texas State University found that the number of college-age Americans who are abstaining from alcohol is increasing, according to a university news release. Moreover, alcohol abuse among young adults in college and non-college students decreased by roughly half between 2002 and 2018. The findings are published in JAMA Pediatrics


Researchers found that the number of young adults – aged 18-22 – who abstained from alcohol increased from 20% to 28% for those in college and from about 24% to 30% for those not in college. Unfortunately, the data indicate that marijuana use and co-use of alcohol and marijuana increased. 


"We're encouraged by the significant decreases in alcohol use disorder—for both college and non-college students," said lead author Sean Esteban McCabe, director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health at the U-M School of Nursing. "The prevalence of alcohol use disorder in both groups in 2018 was roughly half of what it was in 2002. We are excited to learn about these drops in disordered drinking, as alcohol-related consequences are one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity for young adults." 


Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program


Alcohol use disorder is a treatable condition, and long-term recovery is possible for all who are willing to take the first step. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer age-specific addiction treatment programs. Our Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program focuses on the specific needs and sensitivities of the emerging adult. 


Please contact us today if you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Take the first step by calling us at 866-273-0868 for a chemical dependency treatment evaluation.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Prescription Opioid Abuse Declines

prescription opioids
Opioid use disorder most often begins with prescription painkillers, either prescribed by a doctor or diverted from a friend or family member. Opioid narcotics like oxycodone and hydrocodone are highly addictive. The former medication has made a lot of news in recent years owing to the litany of lawsuits filed against the maker of OxyContin. 


While the practice of prescribing opioid painkillers for all types of pain is still a significant concern, there is evidence that abuse is on the decline. More than 168 million total opioid prescriptions were written by doctors in 2018. 


The above number is much better than six years earlier when, in 2012, more than 255 million opioids were prescribed. That's 81.3 prescriptions per 100 persons compared to 51.4 prescriptions per 100 persons in 2018. 


Prescription opioid reductions from 2012 to 2018 is likely the result of more discerning prescribing guidelines, alternative methods of pain management, and the use of prescription drug monitoring programs. The reduction in opioids prescribed is worth acknowledging, but several counties in the U.S. are not faring so well. 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 11 percent of U.S. counties, doctors wrote enough opioid prescriptions for every person to have one. The finding is a testament that a more significant effort is needed to educate physicians on the dangers of prescription painkillers. In 2018, two-thirds of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid. 


Prescription Opioid Abuse Declines


An analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicates that prescription opioid abuse decreased by more than one-quarter between 2007 and 2018, HealthDay reports. The annual NSDUH survey involves roughly 70,000 Americans. Individuals who take part are asked about their use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. 


"Prior research has shown slight reductions in abuse rates, but our analysis shows we're tracking statistically significant year-to-year declines in abuse, indicating that the decrease is not an anomaly and truly represents a trend in falling prescription drug abuse levels," said study author Mario Moric, a biostatistician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "We believe the message of the dangers of opioid use without supervision of a medical professional is finally getting through and changing people's mindset and behavior." 


Data indicates that 4.9 percent of participants reported misusing prescription opioids in 2007. According to researchers, in 2018, 3.7 percent of respondents abused opioid narcotics, a 26 percent reduction. The findings will be shared at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' annual meeting, which will occur virtually due to COVID-19. 


"Pain medications such as opioids are an important resource in the treatment and care of patients, but they are not a cure-all," said study co-author Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran, chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Committee on Pain Medicine and executive vice chair of anesthesiology at Rush University Medical Center. 


Prescription Opioids Are Not a Panacea


People who undergo surgery may require prescription opioids for a time following the procedure. However, such drugs are not the best choice for long-term, non-palliative pain management. Research suggests that opioids are not optimal for managing chronic pain, even though they are often the go-to option. 


Studies have shown that long-term opioid use can worsen one's pain. Patients who are given the option of opioid-alternatives may fare better. Physical therapy, yoga, and acupuncture have shown to be useful measures against chronic pain. They may help individuals who are about to undergo surgery. 


A new study involving veterans who are about to have hip-replacement surgery has some interesting findings. Researchers found that acupuncture before surgery could reduce the need for opioids following the procedure. Veterans receiving acupuncture before surgery reported less pain and needed far fewer opioids after the operation. 


"Six percent of patients given opioids after surgery become dependent on them, and Veterans are twice as likely to die from accidental overdoses than civilians," said Brinda Krish, D.O., lead author of the study and an anesthesiology resident at Detroit Medical Center, "Clearly it is crucial to have multiple options for treating pain, and acupuncture is an excellent alternative. It is safe, cost effective and it works."


Chronic Pain & Addiction Treatment Program


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we have a program for men and women who struggle with chronic pain and prescription opioid addiction. We help clients break the cycle of addiction and create an alternative pain management treatment strategy that doesn't involve using opioids. Please contact HVRC today to learn more about our programs and services.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020

Mental Illness Awareness Week
This year has been challenging for hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Even those who have not been directly affected by COVID-19 can still struggle with issues beneath the surface. The pandemic's mental health impact will likely be lasting, and it's crucial that we have open and honest discussions about mental illness. Otherwise, individuals will suffer in darkness. 


Last month, we wrote about addiction, mental illness, and suicide at length. Our readers may remember that September was both National Recovery Month as well as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. At HVRC, the above topics are of particular importance, as we specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. 


September has come and gone, but the conversation about mental illness must continue year-round. We cannot forget that one-fifth of American adults face the reality of mental health concerns each year. We must also remember that mental health disorders are treatable, and that stigma needs no longer stand in the way of recovery. 


An open and honest dialogue about conditions like major depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) erodes stigma and inspires people to seek help. Recovery is possible with professional assistance; it's vital to spread the message. In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020 (MIAW), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares that: 

"We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice." 


Mental Illness Awareness Week


Acknowledging the reach and prevalence of mental illness is the first step in fighting stigma. Mental health disorders affect members of every community and practically each family. NAMI points out the annual scope of mental illness:

  • Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
  • PTSD: 7.2% (17.7 million people)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
  • Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
  • Schizophrenia: less than 1% (estimated 1.5 million people)


Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020 begins Sunday, October 4, and ends on the 10th. Throughout the week, you are encouraged to share the facts on mental health disorders. You can also take part in the You Are Not Alone campaign. NAMI shares stories from people who are living with mental illness with the public. Such experiences serve as a beacon of hope for the tens of millions who are still struggling. 

"NAMI continues our year-long awareness campaign, You Are Not Alone, to feature the stories of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public. Now more than ever, the mental health community must come together and show that no one is ever really alone. No one should be without the information, support, connection and help they need." 


Those in recovery who are not ready to share their personal story with the world can still fight stigma and inspire others. NAMI has created social media graphics and logo files to be shared. The organization has drafted targeted messaging that can be used in social media posts, such as:  


Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone, whether you have a mental health condition or not. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW 


The salient dates to remember next week include:

  • Tuesday, October 6: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
  • Thursday Oct. 8: National Depression Screening Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: NAMIWalks National Day of Hope


Trauma and PTSD Treatment


Hemet Valley Recovery Center is here for men and women who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring PTSD. Many first-responders have a challenging time coping with trauma in a healthy way. Some turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with what they experience. 


Please contact HVRC during Mental Illness Awareness Week if you would like help beginning a journey of recovery. We invite you to take the first step toward healing with our dedicated team of professionals.

Friday, September 25, 2020

An Attitude of Gratitude During Recovery Month


Recovery Month ends in less than one week, and we hope that you have taken time to acknowledge the progress you've made since you began the journey. It's easy to lose sight of the things you have to be grateful for in recovery. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. 


Addiction recovery – no matter the length of sobriety or clean time – is a remarkable achievement. It's hard to forget how challenging life was before beginning the journey of recovery. Even tasks that seem insignificant today, like paying bills on time, were likely difficult before you found recovery. Showing up to work on time or at all was probably arduous too. Today in recovery, you probably don't have to worry about such things. 


Working a program with a sponsor or mentor gives men and women the tools to surmount any obstacle. Recovery gives people the keys to open doors to new opportunities—both personally and professionally. There is no limit to what can be accomplished if one stays on course. 


Not only do you have the chance to help yourself by working a program, but you also get to help others realize their own aspirations. Recovery, simply put, is the gift that keeps on giving. 


In early recovery, it's challenging to believe that you will one day have the sense of freedom you see your fellows exhibiting. Thinking that you will, at some point, have all your affairs in order may seem like a miracle. However, what once seemed like far-etched dreams will unfold in front of you the longer you stick around. 


Those who stay on the path of recovery improve with each passing day—mentally, physically, and spiritually. They "comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace." 


Stay the Course of Recovery


If this is your first National Recovery Month, then you may be piecing your life back together still. You may not have experienced most of the promises of recovery that you hear about time and again at meetings. However, there is still much to be grateful for in your life today. Acknowledge the changes in your life today, and be proud of all your accomplishments. 


Staying sober from sunup to sundown for another day is worth appreciating. It was probably not long ago that such a milestone was unthinkable. It's an excellent practice to write down all that you have to be grateful for at the end of each day. Refer to your list the following morning; the procedure will enable you to go through the day with an attitude of gratitude. You will feel more positive and be less bothered by aspects of your life that you would hope to be different. 


A positive attitude makes staying the course of recovery that much easier. With each passing day, you will see subtle changes happening before your eyes. In time, small changes will add to up to more significant alterations. 


Working the Steps is a formula for living a fulfilling and productive life. Working a program keeps you on track to seeing anything you put your mind to come to fruition. Such goals can include paying off debt, finishing school, or landing employment that you enjoy waking up in the morning for each day. 


No matter the obstacle, you will be able to navigate through the problem. Gone are the days of feeling like you need drugs and alcohol to cope. When people ask for your assistance, you will be able to be there for them. It feels good to know you are a reliable person who people can turn to for support. Recovery teaches you how to handle any situation—big or small. 


Before Recovery Month comes to an end, take stock of where you are today because of your program. Doing so will help you set your sights on achieving future goals. 


California Addiction Recovery Program for Adults


Hemet Valley Recovery Center is a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) located in Central California. Our CDRH license allows us to provide programs and specialty services all in one facility. Our patients have access to Hospital level diagnostic services and physician specialists. Take the first step toward a life in recovery by contacting us today at 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Substance Use Disorder and COVID-19

Many people who begin journeys of recovery also contend with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. What's more, many individuals working programs also have physical health problems linked to years of alcohol or substance misuse. While it's still possible to achieve lasting recovery, such individuals must address comorbidity; successful outcomes depend on managing any illnesses that might jeopardize one's efforts. 


Drugs and alcohol affect both mind and body. Part of the recovery process is about no longer neglecting one's physical health. Eating healthy and prioritizing physical fitness is strongly encouraged by addiction professionals, as both help with the recovery process. Healthy foods nourish the mind and body. Making eating right a priority can help repair the damage caused by prolonged use of mind-altering substances. 


Learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle is a crucial facet of addiction recovery—the mind, body, and spirit are connected. Choosing to eat nutrient-rich foods and establishing an exercise routine pays off, especially in early recovery—when one's neurological and physiological systems are off-balance. A healthy diet can boost your immune system, which helps the healing process in turn; it can also help ward off sickness. 


People in early recovery also benefit from choosing to give up tobacco products. There is evidence that smokers are at a higher risk of relapse. Moreover, tobacco can slow down healing, and the long-term damage that cigarettes and smokeless nicotine products cause is well documented.


Substance Use Disorder and COVID-19


There are individuals in early and long-term recovery who have compromised immune systems. A large cohort of recovering alcoholics and addicts have heart, liver, and lung conditions. As such, men and women with physical health problems benefit from doing whatever they can to improve their health. 


In the year of a novel coronavirus that has infected nearly 7 million Americans and taken almost 200,000 lives, the term immunocompromised is part of the national lexicon. Those with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and they may be less likely to recover. Naturally, the above should be concerning for many men and women in recovery for the reasons stated above. 


New research appearing in the journal Molecular Psychiatry confirms that people with substance use disorders (SUD) are more susceptible to COVID-19 and related health complications. The National Institutes of Health-funded (NIH) study found that individuals with a SUD diagnosis on record were more likely to contract COVID-19, be hospitalized, and die from COVID-19 than people without a SUD. 


The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nora Volkow and Rong Xu, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University, analyzed non-identifiable electronic health records (EHR) of millions of patients in America. While patients with a SUD accounted for 10.3 percent of the total study population, they represented 15.6 percent of the COVID-19 cases. The correlation was strongest among people with an opioid use disorder or tobacco use disorder. 


"The lungs and cardiovascular system are often compromised in people with SUD, which may partially explain their heightened susceptibility to COVID-19," said study co-author, Dr. Volkow. "Another contributing factor is the marginalization of people with addiction, which makes it harder for them to access health care services. It is incumbent upon clinicians to meet the unique challenges of caring for this vulnerable population, just as they would any other high-risk group." 


According to the study authors, the research confirms that health care providers should closely monitor men and women with SUDs. The researchers also recommend that doctors "develop action plans to help shield them from infection and severe outcomes." 


Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one struggles with drugs, alcohol, or a co-occurring disorder. HVRC is still fully-functional during these unprecedented times, and we are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines to safeguard our patients' well-being. Our admissions team is standing by to answer any of your questions about our programs and services.