Friday, January 26, 2018

Educating Young People About Addiction

It’s best to be informed when it comes to making decisions that could dramatically impact the course of your life. Doing your research gives you the ability to make choices that foster progress, failure to do so can result in severe consequences down the road. The more you know, the better off you are, in all things life: knowledge is power; we can apply this idea to drug and alcohol use. The fact that you are reading this blog means that you have some idea of where substance use can lead, most notably resulting in addiction.

Modern science has given all of us a more enlightened understanding of mental illness. It’s widely agreed upon that use disorders are mental health conditions with no known cure; while that may sound dismal, the good news is that experts also agree that people can manage the disease of addiction. With help, those afflicted by mental health disorders of any kind can recover; if such people stay committed to the path of recovery, they can lead fulfilling and productive lives.

As with many problems that people battle with in life, they often arise when we are young. The brain, scientists contend, is still developing into one’s mid-20’s; this means that a lot of chemical and physical changes are underway, and the substance people introduce to their bodies can result in the development of severe problems. It’s not a coincidence that teenagers who drink heavily in high school often experience issues later in life. There is no way of identifying (currently) which teenagers are susceptible to behavioral health conditions, which means is best for young people to play it safe and abstain.


National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Of course, we all know that teens are prone to obstinacy and invincibility complexes; they are not keen on being told what to do, let alone being led to think that they are not in control. Parents and teachers begin instilling adolescents with the facts about substance use at a young age, yet come high school countless teens across the country imbibe alcohol and consume various narcotics. The reasons for careless disregard in this area are varied; some don’t see the harm, many don’t grasp the gravity of what they are doing, while others know the danger but like the risk.

Those working in the field of addiction know that young people are extremely susceptible to developing substance use problems. The effects of drugs and alcohol on developing brains are many, including substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. We must do everything in our power, as a society, to give teens and young adults an accurate picture of substance use and addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week in 2010 to “stimulate educational events in communities so teens can learn what science has taught us about drug use and addiction.” In 2016, NIDA was joined by their sister agency, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), to include alcohol into our discussion with young people. Alcohol and drugs are birds of a feather, after all.

NIDA and NIAAA understand that young people make decisions without having all the facts, especially regarding alcohol and substance use; the agencies want to Shatter the Myths ® of about drug and alcohol use. You can help them in their efforts by spreading the word about the risks of addiction on social media or by attending one of the many events taking place this weekend.


Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Addiction can develop during adolescence leading to problems in all areas of a person’s life in high school and down the road. In other cases, the seeds of use disorder are sown as a teen, only to blossom in college; in both cases, addiction treatment is of the utmost import. When the disease is left untreated, individuals live in clear and present danger; drugs and alcohol wreak serious havoc on both mind and body, and certain drugs carry the potential of causing a fatal overdose.

If you’re a young adult struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program was specifically designed to meet the unique needs you young adults plagued by alcohol and substance use disorders. Recovery is more than possible, and it’s entirely vital; HVRC can help you stem the tide and give you the tools to make the journey of lasting recovery.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Protecting Your Recovery: Cigarettes, Relapse, and Zombies

Maintaining a program of addiction recovery is not an easy task, to be sure; one’s disease is always looking for an opportunity to resume control. Relapse prevention is the watchword of the addiction treatment industry; committed to helping people achieve lasting recovery. There are things that people can do to mitigate the risk of relapse, such as staying away from dangerous environments and practicing the principles of recovery in all one’s affairs. However, there is one suggestion that many recovering addicts and alcoholics either question or choose to ignore; the recommendation to quit smoking or using tobacco products at the onset of recovery.

You only have to attend a few recovery-related meetings to realize that a lot of individuals hold on to the habit of smoking. Cigarettes are addictive to be sure, but in some cases maintaining the practice could be chalked up to being one of the last bastions of a person’s disease. Such people know that their cigarettes despite gilded packaging, are in fact trying to kill them, slowly. The habit persists in spite of the warnings and a noticeable detriment to people’s health.

Whatever the reasons for continued use are, any justification for maintaining cigarette use is not backed by reason. What’s more, studies indicate that tobacco use leads to an elevated risk of relapse. Maybe the health risks don’t concern you, but returning to the depths of despair hopefully will lead to a course correction. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 30 days sober or 30 years, you don’t want your hard work to go up in smoke.


Promoting Health Paradoxically

Some of you may remember when CVS Pharmacy put the kibosh on selling tobacco products. While they cited promoting healthy behaviors as a driving force in the decision to can cigarettes and their ilk, there were financial incentives for making the switch. After all, if health were the motivating factor CVS would have quit selling alcohol too, they did not. Nevertheless, ceasing tobacco sales was a healthy move, and maybe one day only a few places in the country will sell cancer sticks.

CVS’s decision to go smoke-free wasn't echoed by other major pharmacies, leading anti-smoking advocates to push the issue. If you were in Washington D.C. filling a prescription at Walgreens flagship store a couple of days ago, you probably thought you were on the set of "The Walking Dead." However, the humans wearing zombie garb were not trying to eat the pharmacy's clientele, instead they were hoping to encourage the chain to stop selling cigarettes, The Huffington Post reports. Protesters are at odds with a company promoting health while simultaneously peddling death. Remember, cigarettes are still one the nation’s leading causes of preventable death.

"Simply put, tobacco and pharmacies don’t mix,” said Robin Koval, CEO, and President of Truth Initiative. “Our zombie protest underscores that while Walgreens continues to drag its feet on removing tobacco products from its shelves, more people are getting sick and dying from tobacco-related diseases."

Walgreens company leaders will meet in Arizona for its shareholder meeting next week; you can bet cigarettes will be a topic of serious discussion.


Protect Your Recovery

Those of you in recovery still smoking are strongly encouraged to seek assistance in the name of your program. Please talk to your doctor or pharmacists about smoking cessation products and their efficacy. Research shows the using patches or drugs like Chantix have the most significant success when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies.

If quitting proves too challenging to manage on your own, Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat can assist you in your effort to manifest the dream of lasting recovery.