Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Continued Progress In Recovery: NYE

addiction recovery
Few people in addiction and co-occurring disorder recovery will find the results of a 2014 survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) surprising. The data indicates that 64 percent of people with mental illness find the holidays make their conditions worse.

“For many people the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year” said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth. “What the survey shows is a tremendous need for people to reach out and watch out for each other in keeping with the spirit of the season.”

With one more major holiday in front of us, it is critical to prioritize self-care to avoid any complication is one’s recovery. Christmas is now behind us, but that does not mean that the stress of the holidays is gone. New Year’s Eve is a day when relapse rates are exceptionally high, anything you can do to strengthen your program and ward off the risk of relapse is a must.

There are several tools and behaviors one can employ to help manage uncomfortable situations and the feelings that can arise. In our most previous post, we discussed things to keep in mind as you trudge the road of recovery through the holidays. If you didn’t read the article, we invite you to do so, but the gist of it dealt with understanding one’s limitations. Biting off more than one can chew, can be a recipe for relapse in recovery. With NYE less than a week away, it is vital for all people living with mental illness to continue reading the pulse of their recovery.

Expectations in Recovery

New Year’s Eve is a day for partying from one coast to the other; and, an overwhelming amount of alcohol is imbibed as Americans hail in the New Year. People in early recovery are often invited to such gatherings, and it should go without saying that accepting such invitations must be done cautiously.

Making it through New Year’s Eve means managing your expectations, of yourself and others. If old friends and family are pressuring you to attend an event that is unlikely to be conducive to recovery, then pull back. Your continued progress must come before all else; why jeopardize all your hard work just to make other people happy? If an environment is probably going to be unsafe or might generate feelings that can cause you to slip, it is best to decline NYE invitations.

The good news is that people in recovery are not sticks in the mud. Each year, at this time, people working a program come together to bring in the New Year with a smile on their face. Aside from meetings being held around the clock, some members of the recovery community organize dances or dinner parties. Together, those attending can have fun and honor their commitments by putting their physical and spiritual well-being, first.

At the next meeting, you visit, ask your peers about any sobriety-centered holiday events happening next week. Attending will provide an opportunity to strengthen your program all while having a good time.


A New Year in Addiction Recovery

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to wish everyone a safe and sober New Year’s Eve and a new year defined by continued progress. If you are currently in the grips of active addiction or suffering from a co-occurring mental illness, please contact HVRC to take the first step toward healing and lasting recovery.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Holidays: Recognizing Limitations In Recovery

This will be our last post before Christmas, so we thought it prudent to discuss the importance of recovery-first during the holidays. If this is your first year in recovery, then this may be your program’s first real test. Unfortunately, relapse over the holidays is a common occurrence, but it can be avoided provided however you put your program first.

Addiction recovery must always be a priority; however, holidays often demand more of people than average days of the year. That can mean attending more meetings than usual or calling your sponsor or recovery peers more often than average. The point is that it’s beneficial to remain connected to the recovery community during more emotionally taxing times of the year.

Men and women should attempt to plan all holiday activities around the needs of one’s program. They must also be conscious of their limitations to avoid situations that can compromise one's program strength. People, places, and things that carry even a slight risk of jeopardizing a person’s recovery should be avoided, even when it is upsetting. Early recovery is a fragile time, placing oneself into hazardous situations this Christmas and New Year’s Eve is inadvisable.

The Pulse of Recovery

The value of recognizing your limitations cannot be overemphasized. Which means if you are unsure about attending a holiday festivity, it’s best to discuss your plans with a trusted confidant first. Your sponsor or someone else in your support network could help you gauge if your attendance is unwise.

If there is an activity that you feel must be attended, perhaps one of your peers in the program can be your plus-one. It helps to have support when you find yourself in an environment that carries the potential of generating undesirable feelings. Family gatherings are notorious for precipitating old ways of thinking; if a person does not have their finger on the pulse of recovery, then they are at risk making poor decisions to cope with feelings.

It is also vital to remind oneself that there is no shame in choosing not to attend holiday dinners or New Year’s Eve parties. Your loved ones may try to pressure you into going, but your lack of taking part is nothing to feel guilty about. If recovery is your priority, then it is best to heed any reservations you have about attending. There will always be other gatherings in the years to come, that’s a guarantee; but, there is no guarantee that a person has another recovery.

Lastly, do your best to operate in a state of gratitude and practice being present as much as possible. Take some time to recognize the strides made since you got sober and to express your appreciation for everyone who is instrumental to your recovery. Telling someone how thankful you are for their help may be the best gift that that person receives this Christmas. So never hesitate to gift the gift of gratitude. When the people in your support network know they are appreciated it makes you feel good inside, which is a priceless gift.

Reach Out for Recovery

Perhaps, you have decided that 2019 is the year that you heal from mental illness and begin a rewarding journey of recovery. Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to take the first step toward a new life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Don't Deny Me: Mental Health Parity

mental health
People with mental health conditions – such as addiction, depression, and bipolar disorder – deserves the same level of insurance coverage as people with other forms of life-threatening maladies. Insurance parity is of the utmost importance as it can save lives. Unfortunately, and despite specific laws, many Americans still struggle to get treatment coverage.

It is now ten years since the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008. The legislation is intended to compel insurance companies to cover mental illness, in the same way, they would include treatment for other conditions. In conjunction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions more Americans can access life-saving help.

Still, we have a long way to go to ensure coverage for individuals who require assistance. One of the developers of the MHPAEA launched a campaign to make sure the law is being implemented by insurers.

Mental Health Parity, Needed Now More Than Ever

Former U.S. Congressman, Patrick Kennedy – the son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy – spoke recently about addiction, suicide, and mental health parity. In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Kennedy fielded questions about ever-rising overdose death and suicide rates, and his “Don’t Deny Me” campaign. He also points to funding, or a lack thereof, as a primary cause for concern in addressing the problems we face as a nation.

"As a nation, we’re absolutely in denial about how bad this crisis is," said Kennedy. "If this were some other illness that evoked the same type of compassion that other illnesses receive, we would be spending dramatically more money to combat these rising suicide and overdose rates."

The former Congressman understands that addressing the issue rests, in part, on access to and coverage for evidence-based treatments. Despite the MHPAEA and Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely attempt to provide the bare minimum of coverage. It is apparent that some providers still discriminate against people with mental illness and will find methods of denying coverage.

"In the "Don't Deny Me" campaign, we are taking a two-track approach," states Kennedy. "We're facilitating the ability of consumers to file appeals when they feel they've been wrongfully denied access to mental health and addiction care. We also have a complaints registry, because you can't expect the millions and millions of Americans who are wrongfully denied care to be fighting this battle all individually …. We have not imposed enough liability on the part of insurers to make them do what they need to do, and that's to follow the law and to save these lives."


Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

At HVRC, we understand the difficulty that comes with getting coverage for mental health. Not only are we in-network with many insurance providers, we can also communicate with your insurer to obtain your specific benefits. If you are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness, please contact us today to learn more about our program and take the first step toward long-term recovery.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cannabis Use Findings Revealed At Neuroscience Meeting

cannabis use disorder
Decades of cannabis prohibition in the United States means that there are many unknowns regarding use. For people living in states where legislators are relaxing their stance on marijuana, a lack of scientific data can lead to much confusion. Such people would be wise to remember that “legal” does not mean “safe” for consumption. Alcohol, after all, is legal for adults and is one of the leading causes of morbidity and premature death.

Ten states and the District of Columbia have recreational marijuana; and, it is only a matter of time before more states hop on board. As more and more voter-age Americans consider the classification of marijuana, it’s of the utmost importance to determine the facts surrounding cannabis use. Such findings are not just significant for people looking to relax after a long day, but also for patients struggling with treatment-resistant health conditions.

Last month, The Society for Neuroscience held an annual meeting in San Diego, CA. The findings of six cannabis studies were presented at the convention, MNT reports. Below you will find a list of the most notable results from the research.

Shedding Light On Cannabis Use

Some 22.2 million people aged 12 and older in the U.S. said that they had used cannabis in the past month, according to a nationwide survey. Between 2002–2015, prior month use among people aged 12+ rose from 6.2 to 8.3 percent. Marijuana is by far the most popular and most used illicit substance (cannabis is still illegal on the Federal level).

Experts have understood for a long time that cannabis can wreak havoc on the developing brains of teenagers. Researchers associate heavy and prolonged marijuana use with cognitive dysfunction and increase the risk of use disorder development. Those who attempt to quit using the nation’s most popular drug can experience withdrawal symptoms; addiction treatment may be necessary for achieving abstinence.

At the Society for Neuroscience meeting, studies reveal that:
  • Exposing unborn rats to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced their resilience to stress in later life. (Cannabis is also the favored drug among pregnant women)
  • Cannabinoid use among adolescent rats enhanced activity in brain circuits that regulate the formation of habits; such rats also showed physical alterations in the development of areas of the brain involved in self-control, making decisions, and planning.
  • Mice with Alzheimer's disease exhibited memory improvements and lost fewer brain cells.
The first two bullet points reconfirm what experts have contended. The last finding is evidence that some of the compounds in marijuana could be beneficial for patients with specific conditions. Today, medical marijuana is being employed for treating not only Alzheimer's but also multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

“Today's findings lend new understanding of the complex effects that cannabis has on the brain," said Dr. Michael Taffe, who researches substance abuse therapy at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. He underscores the need for "a better understanding of the negative aspects as well, particularly for pregnant women, teens, and chronic users." 

Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

Not mentioned at the neuroscience meeting is that more Americans than ever seek treatment for cannabis use disorder. Professional assistance can help individuals break the cycle of marijuana use disorder and begin a journey of long-term recovery. If cannabis use is impacting your life in negative ways, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center to discuss treatment options.

We accept Medicare and most insurance benefits for detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, residential, and outpatient recovery services.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Addiction Recovery Inspirations, Everywhere

In the rooms of recovery men and women draw strength from one another. Those who listen closely for interesting insights to glean from others' stories have an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. It is best never to underestimate the usefulness of learning about your peers’ experiences.

Healing is next to impossible on one’s own. It is always prudent to recognize the kind of things that hang up others’ recovery. What’s more, seeking to grasp what “works” for other people may help you stay the course for lasting recovery.

In meetings, there is a host of individuals courageously sharing their experience, strength, and hope to stay sober. A byproduct of being brave and opening up is that it helps other people find hope, especially in early recovery when the future seems uncertain. Each recovering alcoholic or addict has an opportunity to keep the progress made by freely giving away the tools they’ve learned. Recovery is a beautiful circle of caring and compassionate reciprocation.

Stories of Hope Outside The Rooms of Recovery

Ever-diminishing stigma means more men and women are finding the fortitude to share their experience. People write memoirs not just about their advancements in recovery; they also talk about their missteps. You can learn a lot from where others go wrong in cautionary tales. The media paying close attention to addiction is another upside of society becoming more tolerant of people with mental illness. Not a day goes by without a headline about both use disorders and people in recovery. When reputable publications focus on this most important subject, it inspires people still living in addiction to seek help.

A recent story of note, appearing in The New York Times, delves into the life of Mark Lanferman, 30; the young man from Brooklyn, New York, is now 17 months sober. Before committing to recovery, his use of alcohol led to seizures and the risk of liver failure. While he is doing well in myriad ways, his story is a reminder that mental illness can still take its toll despite sobriety. You see, on top alcohol use disorder, Lanferman struggles with social anxiety and self-harm, according to the article. We invite you to read about Mark Lanferman at greater length here.

People in recovery must never lose sight of the fact that they are works-in-progress. Healing requires addressing every aspect of being. There is a reason that successful recovery outcomes depend on treating mind, body, and spirit; co-occurring mental illness must receive treatment simultaneously.


Addiction Treatment Services

Please reach out to us to learn more about our dually accredited treatment center. We can help you begin a remarkable journey of healing and assist you in addressing any co-occurring illness. We invite you to take the first step of recovery with Hemet Valley Recovery Center.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Opioid Misuse Warning Signs

The National Vital Statistics System indicates that 115 Americans die from drug toxicity each day. However, it is often the case that overdose deaths come as a surprise to loved ones, more times than you might think. Those who find themselves battling substance use disorder learn fairly quickly that their behaviors must be hidden if they are going to feed the fire. Individuals figure out ways to keep their condition under wraps, and they go to great lengths to achieve such ends.

Twenty years following the onset of the American opioid addiction epidemic, most people (including doctors) struggle to spot the signs of use disorder. Behaviors exhibited by men and women that are glaring red flags to addiction experts, regularly go unnoticed by friends and family members. It is paramount that we educate average citizens about the warning signs that someone they love may be in the grips of a progressive mental health condition.

Survivors of overdose victims are prone to have many questions, particularly for themselves; they might ask, ‘how did my family member spiral out of control right under my nose? Moreover, could I have done more to intervene?’ Such lines of questioning do little good for their loved one, but the answers they come up with may help another family avoid similar outcomes. Perhaps, in death, some lives can be saved.

Spotting the Signs of Addiction

There are myriad signs that indicate substance abuse is occurring or that substance use disorder is affecting someone. Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, the chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers, lays out some of the more common indicators for Healthline. Signs and symptoms of opioid misuse include:
  • Continued use of the substance even when there are negative repercussions.
  • Noticeable drowsiness or sedation.
  • Slowed breathing and constricted pupils.
  • Nodding off intermittently or losing consciousness.
  • Mood swings and defensiveness if you approach them about your concerns.
  • Extra pill bottles in the trash.
  • Drug paraphernalia in or around the user’s bedroom or living space; things such as vials, needles, rubber tubing, and spoons that are bent or burned on the bottom, could indicate heroin misuse.
  • Withdrawal symptoms that can mimic flu symptoms.
Dr. Weinstein says opioid addiction “causes people to behave in ways that they would never behave under normal circumstances, and sometimes this behavior can be destructive.”

“This is not who they are, these are symptoms of the disease,” adds Weinstein. “Addiction is not a moral failing by any stretch of the imagination. It is a disease that must be managed, just like hypertension or diabetes.”


Talking To Your Loved One

While it goes without saying, discussing addiction with a friend or family member is never easy or straightforward, such conversations must occur, nonetheless. Those in the grips of addiction can convince others that what they see is an exaggeration; convincing others that a problem is under control might be a specialty of those living with the disease. It is for those reasons above that professional guidance is strongly recommended.

If you are noticing alarming signs relating to a loved one’s use of mind-altering substances, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. Our team can assist you in helping someone you care about take the first step toward addiction recovery.

HVRC would like to wish the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces a Happy Veterans Day! We are grateful for your service.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Opioid Addiction: SUPPORT Act and Take Back Day

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate reached bipartisan alignment on the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in the twelfth hour of September. Now roughly a month later, the White House has given its stamp of approval on the legislation which aims to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in America, NBC News reports. When covering this topic last month, we highlighted some of the legislation's shortcomings, particularly funding shortfalls. Still, the sheer fact that lawmakers were able to put strong partisan differences aside and address opioid use is an enormous feat by any standard.

Of the 72,000 overdose deaths last year, opioids are thought to be responsible for more than 48,000 Americans deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC. The need for action is in a word, dire! As previously mentioned, the bill is a package of various measure taking aim at several of the salient facets of the epidemic; including directing more money to federal agencies and states to expand access to addiction treatment, preventing overprescribing, and providing more instruction on intercepting fentanyl shipments to law enforcement.

The SUPPORT Act does away with a Medicaid provision that barred people with substance use disorders from accessing mental health facilities with more than 16 beds for treatment, according to the article. Public health experts are supportive of the bill concerning increasing access to treatment; however, Keith Humphrey, a Stanford professor assisting both House and Senate in writing the legislation warns that the SUPPORT Act does not go far enough to reverse course.

“It's not the time to be leisurely, and saying that we’ll get there eventually is not sufficient as an answer,” Humphrey said [of decreasing overdose deaths]. “If it takes another year, that’s another 60 or 70,000 people in their graves. That's not good enough.”


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Hopefully, and despite what the act lacks, more lives will be saved, and more Americans will be able to access treatment. Regarding saving lives, many adults can play an essential role in preventing prescription drug abuse and overdose by taking part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Tomorrow’s event, spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA, opens prescription drug collection sites across the country. The agency is asking individuals who have unused or unwanted medication – especially people with leftover narcotics – to safely dispose of their drugs at sanctioned collection sites. To grasp the importance of this event, please consider that 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription painkillers. Many of such people acquired drugs like OxyContin from friends and family members. Please watch the video below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Addiction Treatment

If prescription opioid use is negatively impacting your life, or you feel unable to stop using on your own, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We can assist you in overcoming the cycle of addiction and develop a treatment plan that can help you discover lasting recovery. We invite you to take the first step with HVRC!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mental Illness Awareness Week: Let's Cure Stigma!

mental illness
There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.

The above writing is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) Cure Stigma campaign manifesto; the content of which couldn’t be any closer to the truth. The impact of stigma is pernicious; NAMI rightly implies that it promotes shame, fear, and silence. The result: fewer people seeking treatment for mental health conditions that are treatable.

Even though society has come a long way concerning acknowledging mental illness for what it is, a group of health conditions that deserve to be viewed the same way one would look at, say, diabetes; the fact is that we still have much further to go toward effecting change. Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH, show that only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. If you consider for a moment that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million, or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year, then you will see that the number of untreated mental health disorders is staggering.

Encouraging Americans to cast aside stereotypes and show compassion to men and women battling mental illness is difficult to accomplish. Many people's beliefs and – in many cases – misconceptions about diseases of the mind are firmly rooted. The best method of changing people's opinion is through education. During Mental Illness Awareness Week or MIAW, we can all use the internet as a weapon against stigma by educating people; when individuals have the facts, they are more likely to be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2018

NAMI offers many resources to help spread the word about the prevalence of mental health conditions in America. The organization created graphics that you can share on your social media accounts to get your social network thinking about the terrible cost that comes with stigmatization. Put simply, when men and women go without treatment, they are at significant risk of harm.

Individuals who feel they must keep their illness closely guarded often turn to mind-altering substances to “ease” their symptoms. Self-medication worsens one’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, et al.; self-medicating puts people at risk of dependence and developing a use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. For such people, successful treatment outcomes hinge on addressing both the conditions simultaneously.

It’s possible that some Americans are unaware that they are infected by stigma; they may not know that the things they say and the way the act toward those living with mental illness is keeping them from seeking help. NAMI created a short quiz that can help identify the presence of stigma; please follow the link to learn more.

The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.


Co-occurring Disorder Treatment Is Effective

Take the first step toward recovery with HVRC and Sage Retreat. We understand how difficult it is to acknowledge that you need help. Because chemical dependency and co-occurring mental illnesses are progressive and destructive diseases that require treatment, immediate action and courage is a must; our team of addiction professionals can intervene, confront and empower you toward discovering your true potential. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Opioid Bill Receives Bipartisan Support

opioid use disorder
It isn’t a secret that there is little love lost between elected officials on both sides of the aisle in American politics. The endless news cycle about what is happening in all three branches of government is at times hard to watch regardless of where one’s affiliation rests. Nevertheless, with lives hanging in the balance owing to an addiction epidemic, it is paramount that partisans look past their differences and at least try to enact legislation to combat the ever-rising death toll linked to substance use and use disorder.

In a divided nation, interestingly, it seems the only thing Senators and members of the House can agree on is addressing the scourge of opioids and other drugs with the power to kill. With each passing year, the annual overdose death toll continues to elevate exponentially. It is hard to disagree with enacting common-sense legislation that could lead to mitigating the pernicious effects of mind-altering substances.

In recent years, lawmakers have reached across the aisle to change public policy; to make it harder for individuals to acquire dangerous narcotics, expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment, and make the overdose reversal drug naloxone more readily available. Notably, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires insurance companies and group health plans to provide benefits for mental illness and substance use treatment and services that are on par with how they cover medical/surgical care. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA), among other things, expanded the availability of naloxone and access to addiction treatment services, and strengthened prescription drug monitoring programs.

Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package

This week, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate achieved something that many thought unthinkable, bipartisan agreement on a 653-page bill designed to address addiction and overdose, The New York Times reports. It is impossible to cover everything in the package, but some of the critical facets include a measure that will hopefully make it harder to smuggle dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the country.

The agreement reached by lawmakers could allow more Medicaid recipients to receive residential addiction treatment in the coming years, according to the article. A measure allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used for treating opioid addiction. The legislation also channels more funding for researching and developing nonaddictive medications for pain management.

While anything is better than nothing when it comes to tackling addiction and helping more people into recovery, as well as lowering the number of overdose deaths each year, many lawmakers and experts have expressed concerns. The primary source of contention with the bill is that it is woefully underfunded. It is expected that the bill will cost around $8 billion, which some have pointed out is significantly less than what was is allotted for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990’s.

“While there is more work to be done, this bipartisan legislation takes an important step forward and will save lives,” said Republican and Democratic committee leaders. 

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat can assist you or a family member in breaking the cycle of opioid use disorder and begin a journey of addiction recovery. As National Recovery Month concludes, we are hopeful that more people will make the courageous decision to seek care. Please take the first step and contact us today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

4 Holistic Therapies That May Help Your Recovery

holistic therapiesWhen used with traditional addiction treatment, holistic therapies have been proved to help both the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Alternative treatments are becoming more mainstream for helping people with substance use disorders develop the necessary skills for long-term sobriety. What’s more, holistic therapy is being used among patients who are struggling with chronic pain and addiction – helping the body heal by tapping into the mind, body and spirit connection.

Here’s a look at a few holistic therapies that you might experience during rehab – and how they can help you or someone you love: 

  1. Meditation: The ancient practice of meditation has numerous health benefits, including helping you to learn how to stay in the present, manage stress and connect to your divine nature. Meditation has also been study-proven to increase oxygenation of the blood and decrease heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.
  2. Therapeutic Breathing: Also called “mindfulness breathing,” therapeutic breathing is a holistic practice that enables you to use breath to let go of any negative emotions, feelings and distractions. The result: Your “prana” or life force will flow more freely.
  3. Guided Imagery: This type of focused relaxation helps you develop a deeper sense of peace, harmony, balance and understanding. Guided imagery teaches you to focus your imagination to create a “mental escape” and tap inner strengths to find hope and courage to cope with a variety of conditions.
  4. Heart-Mind Coherence (HeartMath™): During stress and negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern becomes erratic and disordered and limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason and make rational decisions. Similar to biofeedback, HeartMath helps you to visually observe heart function in response to contrasting emotional states and teaches you how using breathing techniques to establish a state of heart-mind “entrainment.”

About Our Holistic Therapies 
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer a host of holistic therapies that take into account the body, mind and spirit, which are all impacted by the disease of addiction. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs and services, call today: 866-273-0868.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Why Older Americans Are Overdosing on Opioids

senior opioid abuseWhen you think of opioid misuse, you may not think about the elderly. But the reality is that those over 65, who are often struggling with chronic, painful health conditions like arthritis and cancer, are becoming a big part of the opioid epidemic. In fact, the population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020, from 1.2 percent to 2.4 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

So what’s contributing to this rise? An analysis of Medicare Part D data by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that more than 500,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries received high amounts of opioids in 2016, with doses exceeding the recommended amount set forth by the manufacturer, says SAMHSA. What’s more, older adults who face barriers getting pain medications have been found to get prescriptions from friends and family without proper instruction. 

Perhaps the biggest explanation, notes a recent poll, is that doctors aren’t communicating the risks that come with pain meds. Beyond the risk of addiction, opioid abuse can increase the risk of breathing complications, confusion, drug interaction problems and increased risk of falls for the older adult population, according to SAMHSA. 

“The messages that doctors give to patients are largely dictated by how they perceive patients,” Sheila Vakharia, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, told The Atlantic. “You don’t often see the elderly as a population at risk for developing substance use disorders.” And yet with higher levels of pain, the risk to misuse and abuse is also higher. 

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program
Prescription medication misuse is the most common substance related problem among older adults, with alcohol running a close second.
If you’re concerned about an older adult in your life and don’t know how to help, contact us. To learn about our drug and alcohol rehab for older adults, call today: 866-273-0868.

Friday, September 7, 2018

National Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

Recovery Month
Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge the thousands of men and women dedicated to helping another find recovery at treatment centers, recovery centers, and meeting houses across the country. We would also like to take a moment to celebrate those who manage the symptoms of alcohol and substance use disorders by working a program of recovery. Making a daily commitment to lead a drug and alcohol-free life takes both diligence and constant dedication to adhering to the principles of the program and practice them in all of one’s affairs. Taking action to keep the disease at bay is worth being proud, and worth commendation; after all, not everyone finds him or herself able to commit to a different way of living, and such people are at risk of ultimately succumbing to their condition.

Of course, anyone can recover from mental illnesses like an addiction; but, making recovery a reality often depends heavily on seeking the assistance of addiction treatment services. Those who reach out for help find detoxing and laying a foundation for healing a much easier undertaking than going it alone—or “white knuckling” it as it is often called. Across the United States, there exists a vibrant community of men and women working together to keep their diseases in check; and, people in recovery typically owe much of their progress to working in accord with others who share congruent goals.

It is an unfortunate fact that in the 21st Century many individuals find themselves unable to seek assistance. The stigma of addiction and mental disease, while somewhat diminished compared to generations past, is still alive and as counterproductive as ever. The fear of being ostracized by one's friends, family, and community keeps people from opening up about their struggle and deciding to give a new way of living a shot. It is for the above reasons that it is paramount that people in our society open their mind and cast aside the binding yoke of stigma once and for all.


National Recovery Month

The U.S. has long been in the grips of a polysubstance use epidemic, the news media never lets us forget, nor should they; Americans must bear witness to the preventable tragedy unfolding before us. With that in mind, while reminding average citizens of the dangers of substance use is vital, it is also salient to highlight the progress that individuals make every day working programs of recovery. If more people see that leading a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle is possible, they might find the strength to cast the guilt and shame of addiction aside long enough to pick up the phone and call for help.

Some of our readers are aware that it is National Recovery Month; a critically important time for anyone who's been touched by addiction to playing a part in encouraging others to seek treatment. Naturally, Recovery Month is a multifaceted observation involving myriad public health agencies, treatment centers, and countless individuals in the program. Nearly one-thousand events are taking place throughout the country this September to increase awareness of the power of recovery. There is a high likelihood that some events are occurring in your community. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the official sponsor of Recovery Month, writes:

“There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.”


Support Is Available

Not everyone can attend an event, but such people can still be of assistance to others during Recovery Month. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community,” provides a platform for people to share their story and progress made in recovery online. If you are interested in being a “voice for recovery,” please click here.  

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. 

For those who are actively battling a mental or substance use disorder, or both, HVRC can help you start taking steps toward leading a healthy and rewarding life. We offer several addiction treatment programs tailored to the specific needs of our clients; please contact our highly trained admissions staff to answer any of your questions.

We provide the environment and pace conducive to the individual needs and abilities of adults.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Binge Drinking Carries Significant Risks

alcohol use disorder
Alcohol, the drug of choice of most Americans, is often considered to be safe, despite significant evidence to the contrary. It makes sense that people think the substance is benign, after all, you can purchase beer, liquor, and wine just about anywhere—in some places around the clock. Even young people know that as long as they do not get behind the wheel, they do not have much to worry about when it comes to drinking.

Legal consequences of drinking may be the biggest concern of young Americans. But, a growing body of research shows that teenagers and young adults who drink heavy have much more than a DUI to look forward to, if they continue imbibing in hazardous ways. Even when you remove the risk of developing alcohol use disorder or alcoholism from the equation – some 16 million Americans struggle with AUDs – the health consequences of binge drinking and regular alcohol use are staggering.

One of the most significant health concerns that people associate with drinking alcohol is the effect that the substance has on vital organs, like the liver. However, most individuals correlate conditions like cirrhosis with patients who’ve drunk copious amounts of liquor for decades. While it’s true that liver disease predominately affects older Americans, a growing body of evidence suggests that young people are eligible too. And, a separate study indicates that young people who binge drink, elevate their chances of experiencing heart problems later in life.


The Impact of Alcohol Use

A study published last month in BMJ indicates that fatal liver disease is on the rise, particularly amongst younger demographics, NPR reports. In fact, alcohol-related liver disease deaths annually nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016 with 25- to 34-year-olds. The troubling findings coincide with rising rates of binge drinking in the U.S. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as when women have four drinks or men have five drinks in about 2 hours.

"Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis used to be considered a disease that would happen after 30 years of heavy alcohol consumption," says Dr. Vijay Shah, who heads the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic. "But this study is showing that these problems are actually occurring in individuals in their 20s and 30s." 

It gets worse, aside from binge drinking putting the liver at risk, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that young binge drinkers may have a more significant risk of developing heart disease and experiencing stroke down the road, Newsweek reports. The findings are cause for concern; researchers point out that one in five college-age students binge drink.

"As part of this intervention pattern, young adults should be screened and counseled about alcohol misuse, including binge drinking, and advised on how binge drinking may affect their cardiovascular health," said Mariann Piano, study co-author and a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If you are a young adult whose alcohol use is negatively impacting your life, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Alcohol use disorder can strike in young adulthood; there are not any age restrictions to addiction. At HVRC, we can help you break the cycle of AUD and show you how to lead a productive and healthy life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

High Temps Can Impact Your Recovery

When people are comfortable, they feel better; simple, right!? It’s the inverse that is of particular concern especially regarding those recovering from addiction or another form of mental illness. In the field of mental health, recovery is dependent on balance, calmness, and serenity. Naturally, outside factors can impact people’s subjective well-being.

One of the things people working a program are taught early on is how to mitigate stress, and how to cope with it when uncomfortable circumstances arise. While mental strain — as it pertains to recovery — centers on work, finances, family, and romantic relationships usually, several things exist that are out of one’s control, and they can wreak havoc on a person’s recovery. Notably, the weather!

Regardless of where you are living, it is probable that you are aware that July brought with it unprecedented temperatures for much of the country. In fact, 2018 is poised to be the fourth hottest year on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Perhaps most concerning is that this year's hellish temps are part of a disturbing trend, consider that three hottest years ever recorded are 2015, 2016 and 2017. So, what do escalating temps mean for people living with mental illness?


Cooling Off In Recovery

Here in Hemet Valley, the 7-day forecast shows several triple-digit days; and, we are not alone, many places across the country are experiencing similar temperatures. It is of the utmost importance that people in recovery do everything in their power to avoid letting their stifling climes affect their mental wellbeing.

It isn’t a secret that individuals living with mental health conditions do not always handle change very well. It is one of the reasons people remain in the cycle of addiction for as long as they do before embracing a new way. Such persons regularly struggle with situations that are beyond anyone’s control, and exceedingly hot days qualify. So, and with that in mind, it’s paramount that you stay close to your support network perhaps more than you might normally.

When you are uncomfortable, you may be more likely to act in ways that are not in service to your best interest. You may find yourself wanting to find means of escaping present circumstances which can lead to isolation. Please resist such temptations and remember that regardless of outside elements, recovery must come first. What’s more, research shows that heat waves have a measured effect on people’s psyche.

A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University indicates that a 1-degree Celsius increase in average monthly temperature in the U.S. translates to a 0.68 percent increase in the monthly suicide rate, Bloomberg reports. The research shows that people are also more likely to use depressive language which is indicative of emotional lows. Depression, whether clinical or circumstantial, is often a catalyst for relapse. The findings appear in Nature: Climate Change.


Your Recovery Is Worth It

If you have found yourself in exceedingly low spirits of late, it could be the result of the current heat wave. Please communicate your feelings with your support network so that they may provide you with guidance. Remember, you are not alone!

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat offers a full continuum of care that helps people break the cycle of addiction and adopt a program of lasting addiction recovery. Please contact us at any time to learn more about our center.

At HVRC, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Carr fire.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trauma and Addiction Recovery Is Possible

Do you work in a field that adds stress to your life? If so, do you drink alcohol or use drugs in order to cope with your feelings about your work or the feelings employment experiences elicit? You may not know this, but using mind-altering substances to deal with life stressors can be a slippery slope to problems, notably that of use disorders.

In the United States, it is common practice for adults to have a few beers or a couple of glasses of wine after work. After all, it is within people’s rights to do so; however, for some individuals, the practice ends up exacerbating the negative feelings that one is trying to counter. Nowhere is this truer than people who work in fields that expose them to trauma.

It is not uncommon for people working in the fields of medicine, first response, and the military, to turn to alcohol and substance use to cope. Which makes sense, considering that people in those lines of work are more likely to confront psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Individuals facing such circumstances, typically rely on drink and drugs to mute or dull their symptoms; the practice regularly leads to a dual diagnosis.


First Responders Struggle With Mental Illness

Citing a University of Phoenix survey, the American Psychiatric Association points out that approximately 85 percent of first responders had experienced symptoms of mental illness; what’s more, some 34 percent of respondents report a mental disorder diagnosis, and:
  • More than a quarter diagnosed with depression,
  • one in 10 diagnosed with PTSD; and,
  • 46 percent had experienced anxiety.
There is a significant body of evidence online and in research journals that indicate an increased likelihood of alcohol and substance use disorders among first responders. The reality is that when conditions like depression and PTSD are left untreated, many will resort to substance use as a coping mechanism. The practice doesn’t fix the problem; it makes it worse.

It’s vital that people working in fields that involve a high risk of trauma, and also misuse drugs and alcohol, seek treatment as a path to recovery. When addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses receive simultaneous treatment, long-term recovery is possible.

HVRC Heroes Program

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a program that caters to the unique needs of individuals struggling with employment-induced trauma. Our team of highly trained addiction professionals can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and learn how to cope with the symptoms of co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us to receive a complimentary assessment and discuss treatment options.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Safeguarding Your Recovery from Relapse

Relapse is something that everyone in recovery strives, day in and day out, to avoid. Working a program is hard, and it requires a tremendous amount of dedication, for myriad reasons in the blink of an eye (seemingly) all your efforts can go down the drain. To be clear, we are talking about more than just losing all the time you have put into a program of recovery, in some cases a slip back to use, is fatal, especially when it comes to opioids.

Naturally, going to meetings and fostering a “deep bench” support network can help you steer clear of situations that can result in a return to using drugs and alcohol. Following the directions of people who’ve been in the program longer, is invaluable in bringing about lasting progress. Nobody is perfect, nor are you expected to always get things right regarding your actions; but, today you have a means of correcting misguided thinking and behaviors before they devolve into something much worse.

We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping exceptionally close ties to your support group in the first years of recovery. Addiction is a lifelong disease with no known antidote which means that you will have to be ever vigilant in managing your condition in healthy ways. Fortunately, there are several approaches you can take to improving your life and, as a result, prevent relapse.


Safeguarding Your Recovery

Staying present in recovery is of vital importance. Romanticizing about your past or future-tripping are sure paths to drugs and alcohol. Addicts and alcoholics have a unique ability to quickly forget the negative aspects of their history and deluding themselves into thinking, ‘this time might be different.’ Merely put, if mind-altering substances caused you the kind of problems that demanded recovery in the first place, it stands to reason that bad memories outweigh the good times. If you find yourself thinking it would be nice to have a beer on a hot day this summer, and without getting down on yourself, replay a snippet of the tape that is your substance abuse history. Pretty quickly you’ll grasp why having that Corona is not worth what comes after the bottle goes dry.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is another way you can protect your recovery from relapse. Rest is key to a robust program, but unfortunately, many people in recovery take getting ZZZs for granted. If you are not well rested, then you are far more likely to make rash decisions that are not in accord with your best interests. People who are tired all the time lack the energy that they must put toward their daily commitment to recovery.

If you find it difficult to get to sleep at a decent hour, it may be due to some of your behaviors after the sun goes down. Scientists tell us that eating late or watching television before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The brain cycles throughout the night about every 90 minutes; REM sleep is when your brain and body are energized. If you are not staying asleep, it means you are losing out on a vital revitalization process which is essential for function in a healthy way the next day.

Lastly, do whatever you can to stay away from situations involving people using drugs and alcohol. It seems obvious, but it is easy to forget how dangerous it can be to see people getting intoxicated. You may feel secure enough to go into a bar for something that doesn’t involve drinking, but ask yourself, ‘is it worth it?’


Relapse Prevention

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat can assist you, or a loved one in beginning a journey of recovery. A significant component of our program is relapse prevention; our highly trained addiction counselors teach clients techniques for protecting their program form relapse. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve lasting changes.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CDC Director Discusses Opioids, Suicide, and HIV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new director, Dr. Robert Redfield. While his recent appointment led many people to voice their reservations, most individuals will find it hard to argue with the Redfield goals. In Dr. Redfield's first interview, he expressed a desire to tackle substance use, suicide, and HIV/AIDS, The Wall St. Journal reports. The three public health crises are, the CDC Director points out, connected. He says the CDC is ramping up its effort to confront opioid use disorder, track overdoses in real-time, and develop guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain.

Dr. Redfield reveals that he has a close family member who has dealt with opioid addiction, according to the article. With that in mind, it stands to reason that he will stress a compassionate approach to addressing the epidemic stealing over a hundred American lives each day. He goes on to talk about the dangers of stigma and thinks that nation’s past experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic might provide insight.

“I think part of my understanding of the epidemic has come from seeing it not just as a public-health person and not just as a doctor,” he said. “It is something that has impacted me also at a personal level. Stigma is the enemy of public health,” he said, adding that it’s important to find “a path to destigmatize” opioid abuse. “We were able to do it to some degree for HIV, and I think pretty successfully, but it’s not over.” 

Opioids and Disease Transmission

IV drug use and sharing needles have resulted in more people contracting life-threatening health conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. In recent years, a significant number of people in specific areas are victims of disease transmission owing to the American opioid addiction epidemic. The spike in new cases of mostly incurable diseases has led many lawmakers to rethink their former positions on needle exchanges.

Before Mike Pence became Vice President, he was the Governor of Indiana and, as it turns out, a long-time opponent of clean needle exchanges. He is on record stating his belief that giving people syringes supported drug use. Then Pence was tested when an HIV outbreak sprung up in a rural part of his state, around 100 new cases of the incurable disease. Two months later—after pleas from local, state and federal health officials—Pence signed an executive order allowing syringes to be distributed in the affected county, The New York Times reports. The result, new HIV cases plateaued!

One thing that many opponents of clean needle exchanges do not realize is that aside from mitigating the risk of spreading infection, the services provide a valuable opportunity for outreach counselors to discuss recovery with addicts. Such openings for talking about treatment are far and few between, public health officials would be wise to remind needle exchange opponents of that fact. During Dr. Redfield’s interview, he shares his thoughts about pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. He believes that addiction treatment services, a form of PrEP, are the best means of preventing disease transmission. He boldly states that by getting infected people into treatment and off drugs that, “HIV/AIDS can be ended as an epidemic in the U.S. in “seven years or maybe a little longer.”

Addiction Treatment

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our skilled team of professionals can help you adopt a program of recovery that will forever change your life for the better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

4 Healthy Habits for a Sustainable Recovery

sustainable recovery

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

1. Eat well.

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

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

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

2. Be active.

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

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

3. Get plenty of rest.

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

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

4. Develop new hobbies and interests.

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

PTSD Affects Millions of Americans

Last month, HVRC took time to acknowledge the 4 million plus heroes working in the nursing profession during National Nurse Week. We discussed how people working in jobs where trauma and stress are commonplace are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems, compared to those who work in other fields. It is fitting that June is PTSD Awareness Month; many people that are working in the field of medicine are negatively affected by the trauma they experience when fulfilling their duties. However, people working in the hospital are not the only people at risk of witnessing or experiencing trauma; disturbing and shocking events can impact anyone.

It is of vital importance that we all take time to educate ourselves about post-traumatic stress disorder. The National Center for PTSD reports that about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year; that number includes many people who have never seen the front lines of combat or witnessed someone die in a hospital bed. Merely put, just about anything that is severely distressing can result in an individual developing a post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, PTSD is one of the many psychological disorders that is undertreated which is why the month of June is so salient; encouraging those who struggle with the condition to seek help is paramount.

At HVRC, we understand that a good number of people work in professions that can have a negative impact on life quality. What’s more, such people are at far higher risk of developing problems with alcohol and drugs due to what is known as the practice of self-medication. At our treatment center, many of the clients taking part in our Heroes Program present signs of both PTSD and addiction. We understand that failing to treat both conditions will significantly diminish a client's ability to work a program of long-term recovery. When we treat both conditions simultaneously, the likelihood of progress exponentially increases.

Help Raise Awareness About PTSD

PTSD can affect anyone; but, women are more likely to develop the condition. The National Center for PTSD points out that about 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives, compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

The good news is that treatment works, and recovery is possible; the bad news is that people fear seeking help. Some worry that acknowledging the disorder will make their friends, family, and society look and treat at them differently. In defense of those suffering, society hasn’t always been kind to those struggling with mental illness, especially PTSD. During World War II, the term “shell shock” was replaced by Combat Stress Reaction (CSR), or "battle fatigue. General Patton nearly ended his military career when he verbally and physically accosted two soldiers exhibiting signs of battle fatigue during the Allied campaign in Sicily.

"Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength, because you have survived!" —Michel Templet 

We live in a different time than the 1940s and have come a long way when it comes to both understanding and empathy. Battle fatigue, which is now called PTSD; is a condition no longer relegated to soldiers alone. The mental health disorder is a condition whose criteria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; and, to be clear, it can have an adverse effect on anyone. If you are struggling with the condition there is support available; or, if you know someone is living with PTSD, you can prove instrumental to their recovery.

“Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.”―S. Kelley Harrell


Addiction Treatment for Heroes

During PTSD Awareness Month, we invite anyone struggling with PTSD who self-medicates with drugs and alcohol to cope to contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. Our skilled team of professionals can help you adopt a program of recovery that will change your life for the better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Real Impact of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

impact substance abuse workplaceSubstance abuse impacts virtually all areas of a person’s life: physical and mental health, relationships with friends and family, and career. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 75% of people with substance use disorder maintain employment. Although the impact substance abuse in the workplace is significant, its impact usually isn’t immediately detectable.

So, what’s the real cost of substance abuse in the workplace? It impacts three key areas: company finances, employee health and safety, and company culture.

Company Finances

The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that the annual economic impact of illicit drugs hovers at $193. Employee substance abuse leads to productivity losses, high turnover, workplace theft, more sick days, reduced work performance and higher rates of absenteeism, which affect profit margins and bottom lines. It’s also estimated that health care costs for employees with substance use issues are twice the cost than for non-users.

Even if an employee is physically present at work, if they’re abusing substances on or off the job, they likely can’t operate at the same potential as they usually would.

Employee Health & Safety

Substance abuse on the job increases the risk of occupational injuries and fatalities. According to NCADD, workers with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences than those without alcohol problems.

Additionally, a study of a hospital emergency room found that 35% of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers, and breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of patients who were injured on the job. Many companies require pre-employment drug screenings, but the inconsistency of random drug screenings makes it difficult to protect workers in the long-term.

Morale & Company Culture

If an employee is using drugs or alcohol, it’s likely that morale and company culture will suffer, especially if the company represents an industry where substance use is normalized, such as food and hospitality. In some industries, substances may be needed to keep up with a fast pace and stay focused. In others, substances may be used to blow off steam during downtime.

Even employees who aren’t necessarily dependent on drugs or alcohol can pose a problem. They may not need substances to function in daily life, but they binge on the weekends or after they leave work. Off-the-clock substance use may make them leave work early on Thursday or Friday or come in late on Monday. The after-effects of substance use can also bleed into the workday. If an employee is dealing with a hangover or withdrawal, it can be difficult for them to work. When employees are showing up late, leaving early, absent or unproductive, their colleagues notice, which breeds resentment and drives up conflict.

Drug and alcohol use is a huge issue in the workplace because most people with substance use issues are employed somewhere. If an employee is dealing with substance abuse, it’s bound to affect their performance.

If you or a colleague you care about is struggling with substance use disorder, Hemet Valley Recovery Center can help. We realize that residential treatment isn’t always an option for someone who has a full-time job and other obligations, which is why our Chemical Dependency Program is designed with working adults in mind. For more information about how our services can help you heal, contact us at 866-273-0868.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

6 Tips for Managing Mental Health at Work

It seems we’re more open about discussing mental health issues than ever before, but there’s one topic that is rarely discussed: how mental health affects our work lives. Mental health issues affect every worker at every level, from the entry-level employee to the c-suite executive.
managing mental health work

We spend so much time working, and our jobs can have a significant impact on our mental well-being–one that often goes unnoticed. If mental health symptoms go ignored, it can cause serious harm to your health and career.

Since May is Mental Health Month, now is as good a time as any to be more mindful of your mental health in and out of the workplace.

1. Don’t sweep it under the rug.

If you’re experiencing mental health issues, talk to your employer, manager or supervisor about it. You don’t have to tell them every little detail. Just say that you would benefit from some time off to talk to a health care provider or therapist. You might be surprised by how receptive your employer is to this kind of conversation.

Think about how and when you want to have this conversation, because once you say it, it can’t be unsaid. You should feel comfortable and secure discussing something so personal with your employer. It’s so much better to have an honest, open discussion instead of trying to cover up your symptoms.

2. Leave work at work.

There’s a lot of good that comes with constant, immediate connection, but it can be problematic when it comes to trying to maintain work-life balance. Try to keep work at work. It’s OK to send a late night email response every now and again, but if off-hour work becomes a part of your routine and it seems like you’re always on the clock, you need to assess your boundaries. Be upfront with your manager about what you’re willing and unwilling to handle.

3. Don’t let your mental health become a problem.

Identifying a mental illness can be difficult because it doesn’t appear physically. It’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for so you can intervene early on. Do you feel like you can’t focus lately or you’re not as productive as you were a few months ago? Are you dragging yourself out of bed every morning? Maybe you’ve been dealing with mood swings or a bad temper.

Make it a point to periodically check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. It’s never too late to seek treatment for mental health, but taking action early on can prevent you from feeling like you’re spiraling out of control.

4. Take time for yourself.

Be honest with yourself about what you need to feel happy, healthy and balanced. Not checking your email on weekends, going for a walk during your lunch hour or leaving work promptly are boundaries that can help you feel more in control.

5. Take a mental health day.

As an employee, it’s your job to do the best work you can, which requires you to have the right mindset. For smaller issues, a mental health day may do the trick, but if you’re dealing with something more significant, such as anxiety, depression or a death in the family, it’s wise to have an honest, yet brief conversation with your supervisor.

Think of it this way: By failing to communicate that you’re dealing with mental health issues, the reasoning behind your performance issues is left to your supervisor’s imagination. You don’t need to share all of the details, but you should share whatever you feel comfortable sharing. It’s also wise to share your plans for treatment, such as therapy, so you can continue working.

6. Know your rights.

It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of a mental health condition. You can’t be fired, forced to take a leave of absence or denied a promotion because of a mental health condition, or even if your employer suspects you have a condition.

Per the Americans With Disabilities Act, employees with any mental health condition that “substantially limits one or more major life activities” also have the right to workplace accommodations, such as an altered work schedule, work-from-home days or time off for therapy sessions. Many companies offer employee assistance programs that can connect you with free counseling sessions. Check with your HR office for more information.

Your mental health impacts all areas of your life, and it’s important to take it seriously. Help is available. Hemet Valley Recovery Center’s treatment services can help you take control of your mental health. For more information, contact us at 866-273-0868.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Many Nurses Struggle With Addiction

Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans head off to jobs where their physical and mental health is put at risk. You can probably think of several such tasks, such as firefighters and law enforcement for example. These forms of employment can be hazardous, and those who work in such fields can experience severe trauma from the things that they witness. Traumatic experiences can lead to the development of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression; left untreated, people with those types of affliction often resort to drugs and alcohol for relief. Such quests for comfort can develop into alcohol and substance use disorder which, like other form of mental illness, requires treatment.

Heroic acts like rushing into a burning building, confronting an armed suspect, and comforting victims can have a lasting effect even on the strongest of individuals. However, there are other lines of work that demand a particular kind of individual, which can leave permanent scars on people’s psyches. In fact, people working in the field of medicine see things that they wouldn’t wish for others to see; emergency rooms workers across the country regularly attend to horrific injuries, some of which end fatally. While nurses and doctors undergo extensive training for learning how to handle uncomfortable situations, many are unable to cope with the trauma.

Nurses Living With Addiction

About 63 percent of nurses experience physical or mental side effects of job-related stress, according to a Nursing Times survey. Of the 4,011,911 professional nurses in the U.S., 10% to 15% may be impaired or recovering from substance or alcohol addiction, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). The number of RNs struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder may be a lot higher. If you consider the nature of the work calls for doling out prescription drugs, so asking for help may lead some to believe that it is tantamount to career suicide. While those caught diverting meds from the hospital may be at such a risk, it is unlikely that one’s career will come to an end for seeking treatment.

Most people struggling with mental illness, such as addiction and PTSD, do not work in an environment where they have to handle narcotics. Nurses and doctors prescribe and administer mind-altering drugs daily. When people dealing with stress, trauma, and sleep deprivation can divert medication relatively easily for relief, the practice is a slippery slope to a use disorder. Of course, most nurses are not engaging in illegal activity to calm their nerves; some people return home from work and imbibe alcohol instead. In either scenario, the outcome can be the same.

It is vital that people who are dealing with mental illness seek assistance in the form of treatment. Both the addiction and the co-occurring psychological illness require simultaneous care if long-term recovery is to be achieved.

Addiction Treatment for Heroes


Last week, people around the country acknowledged the 4 million plus heroes working in the nursing field during National Nurses Week. At HVRC, we know first-hand the vital role that professional nurses play in helping others find addiction recovery. What’s more, we have created a program that is specifically tailored to those working in fields where trauma is a common occurrence.

If you are a nurse who is struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder like PTSD, our Heroes Program can help you begin the journey of recovery. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat to learn more about our program.