Monday, April 30, 2018

How to Tell If You Have Career Burnout

career burnout
Work is a necessary part of life, but career burnout is an unfortunate reality many workers struggle with, and it could derail your recovery. It’s common for people who are in recovery to turn to other outlets that foster addictive behavior, like excessive exercise or workaholism.

Career burnout isn’t always easy to recognize early on, which is why preventing it can be so tricky. It might start with clocking a few too many long days, so you start skipping your morning runs or post-work gym sessions. You clock more long days and reach for an extra cup of coffee to power through the afternoon, which throws off your sleep cycle. Then, you’re skipping meals because you’ve lost your appetite. Now, you’re completely exhausted and can barely muster up the energy to meet with your support group or attend 12-step meetings.

This pattern, when combined with work-related stress, can snowball into anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that impact your career and virtually every other aspect of your life. It’s easy to see why burnout provides a path to relapse.

According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion.
  • Cynicism and detachment.
  • Feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of accomplishment.

If you’re in recovery from substance use disorder, burnout can undo all of the hard work you’ve put in during treatment. It’s important for everyone to maintain healthy work-life balance, especially if you’re in recovery.

Be Able to Recognize Burnout Symptoms Before They’re Out of Control

Of course, your career is something you should take seriously. But if your job is demanding too much of you, it can eventually interfere with other areas of life, like your family, social life and health. Burnout can have serious side effects on your physical well-being and can cause health problems like high blood pressure high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Identifying burnout symptoms from the outset enables you to intervene and take measures to reclaim work-life balance and prevent burnout from becoming a bigger issue. Signs of burnout include:

  1. Chronic fatigue. In the initial stages of burnout, you feel tired most days. Later on, you begin to feel utterly drained and exhausted, both physically and mentally, and are dreading what’s to come at work the next day.
  2. Physical symptoms. Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, gastrointestinal issues and chest pain are all common physical symptoms of burnout.
  3. Illness. Your immune system has taken a hit, so you’re getting sick more often.
  4. Insomnia. Maybe you’re tossing and turning a few nights a week, but then it turns into a nightly event. Still, despite being exhausted, you can’t fall asleep.
  5. Loss of interest. At first, you may not want to go to work, or you can’t wait to leave. You may have checked out mentally. Loss of interest can also roll into other parts of your life.
  6. Isolation. You’ve stopped going out to lunch with your co-workers, you close your office door or you’ve stopped volunteering to work on certain projects. Isolation can turn into avoidance behaviors like coming in early or going home late to avoid interacting with your co-workers.
  7. Depression. At first, you may feel a little sad or hopeless, or guilty for feeling those feelings. Depression can evolve into something more serious and life-altering, at which point you should seek professional help.
  8. Forgetfulness. Being forgetful or having trouble focusing is common early on. It can reach a point where you can’t get any work done, so your work begins to pile up, leaving you more stressed.
  9. Decreased productivity and performance. Even though you’re working a lot, you have nothing to show for it. All that stress has hindered your ability to be as productive as you used to be. You feel completely swamped with work; like you can’t keep your head above water no matter how hard you try.
  10. Loss of appetite. You start skipping meals every so often because you’re not hungry. Then, you’ve lost your appetite and are losing weight.
  11. Detachment. You just don’t feel connected to your job or co-workers like you once did. Maybe you’ve started to isolate yourself or are calling out sick, aren’t returning phone calls and emails, or are showing up late.
  12. Anxiety. Feeling tense and on-edge are common in the early stages of burnout, and anxiety can become so severe that it hinders your productivity.
  13. Irritability. Burnout can make you feel unproductive and unimportant, which can make you feel irritable. Over time, you may find that despite your best efforts, you struggle to control your irritability.
  14. Pessimism. You’ve started looking at like with a “glass half-empty” attitude. Over time, pessimism can impact self-talk about the way you feel about yourself, which can impact the way you feel about your co-workers, friends and family members.

How to Prevent Burnout

Take action toward preventing burnout as soon as you recognize symptoms. Talk with your supervisor about cutting back on your workload, reducing your hours or delegating certain tasks to your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if someone asks you to take on additional responsibilities.

If you can, work from home a few days a week. Use the time you would have spent commuting to work to take a walk around your neighborhood or meditate. Make exercising, attending support groups and meeting with your therapist or sponsor priorities.

Knowing how to intervene before burnout gets out of control is vital to preventing relapse. If you’re struggling with substance abuse or career burnout, Hemet Valley Recovery Center can help. Contact us at 866-273-0868 for more information about our detox and residential treatment programs.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Addiction Treatment In America

addiction treatment
Right now, a significant number of people in the United States are observing National Addiction Treatment Week. During this time, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) asks that we all do our part to raise awareness about mental illness, specifically alcohol and substance use disorder. The organization wants to help the general public understand that addiction is a disease and that treatment is not only available, it also works.

The U.S. is in the grips of an addiction epidemic! In the news, most people only hear about prescription opioids and heroin due to the alarming overdose rates over the last two decades. While it is a fact that opioid use disorder is a tier one issue, it is not the only substance devastating families and stealing lives. It's worth pointing out that alcohol is responsible for tens-of-thousands of more deaths each year than painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids.

We must address addiction in America as a whole. Compartmentalizing one iteration of the disease from the next is tantamount to not seeing the forest for the trees. Use disorders, left untreated, all lead to the same outcomes, none of which are desirable. It is of the utmost importance that those in the vice-like grip of active addiction have access to evidence-based treatments; that they can seek treatment without fear of social stigma, which is one of the most significant deterrents to people seeking help.


Having The Facts About Addiction Helps

As was proffered earlier, it is easy for the general public to lose sight of the big picture of addiction in America. Practically everyone is aware that opioids are one the most daunting problems of our times. However, the problem we face today goes far beyond overprescribing painkillers or fentanyl crossing the border; the salient issue we must confront is the fact the tens-of-millions of people are struggling with addiction of any kind, and only a small number seek treatment. The barricade preventing people from recovery is often stigma or an insufficient number of centers equipped to guide people down the road of recovery.

addiction treatment

Please consider the figures below:
  • There are some 20.5 million Americans in the grips of addiction.
  • Only 1 in 10 people in the US with the disease of addiction receive treatment.
  • In 2015, more people died from a drug overdose than from car accidents and nearly 88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes.
  • An estimated 15.1 million adults suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, yet only 1.3 million adults (or less than 10%) received treatment.
  • About 2.3 million Americans met the criteria for opioid use disorder in 2015, yet there was only enough treatment capacity to treat 1.4 million people, leaving a treatment gap of nearly 1 million people.
It has come to light another factor preventing individuals from care is a lack of clinicians with knowledge about addiction medicine. With that in mind, ASAM is hosting events and webinars this week with the hope of encouraging more people to pursue a career in the field.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “National Addiction Treatment Week supports ASAM’s dedication to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, and helping physicians treat addiction and save lives.”


Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with addiction of any kind, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. With our assistance, you can begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Long-term opioid use is down among vets, study finds

long term opioid use down
A study found that efforts by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to promote safer prescribing practices of opioids appear to be effective.

According to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, opioid prescriptions by the VHA have been on the decline after peaking in 2012. The drop-off in prescriptions is primarily due to a decrease in long-term opioid prescriptions, which pose a higher risk of addiction and overdose compared to short-term prescriptions, said Katherine Hadlandsmyth, Ph.D., lead author and professor at the University of Iowa.

The study analyzed VHA prescription data from 2010 to 2016, which included more than 4 million veterans each year.

According to that data, in 2010 opioids were prescribed at least once to 20.8% of veterans (962,193 out of approximately 4.63 million). The opioid prescription rate dropped in 2016 to 16.1% of veterans (803,888 out of 4.99 million) who received new prescriptions for opioids including oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl.

Researchers also looked into long-term opioid use, which accounted for around 90% of VHA opioid prescriptions during the 6-year period. The percentage of veterans receiving long-term opioid treatment went from 9.5% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2016.

According to Hadlandsmyth, this is because fewer veterans receiving new prescriptions for opioids became long-term opioid users. The probability of a veteran becoming a new long-term opioid user decreased from 2.8% in 2011 to 1.1% in 2016.

Hadlandsmyth believes that the improvement in prescribing practices could be the result of recent VHA initiatives that call for opioid safety and opioid alternatives in chronic pain treatment. Since 2010 the VHA has provided clinical practice guidelines to health care professionals about how to safely and effectively use opioids to manage chronic pain, as well as how to select and monitor patients and wean patients off of opioids if desired treatment outcomes are not met.

The VHA also offers guidelines for complementary treatment and multidisciplinary therapy to manage pain, which include behavioral, chiropractic and stepped treatment, or delivering the most effective, least intensive treatment first, and “stepping up” to more intensive treatment as required.

“Future work to understand precisely which initiatives have most positively impacted opioid prescribing would be necessary to maintain effective approaches within VHA,” said Hadlandsmyth.

In the meantime, the VHA’s example could be valuable for other health care organizations. Prescription opioids are not the only way to manage chronic pain. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, our Chronic Pain Program and First Responders Program have effectively helped hundreds of clients find relief from chronic pain without opioids and address the physical and mental aspects of addiction as they relate to military trauma. For more information about our addiction recovery services, please contact a Hemet Valley Recovery Specialist at 866-273-0868.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Opioid Prescribing Guidelines Work

opioid use disorder
Over the last few years, the death rate from opioids fell by an astonishing 25 percent in Oregon; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the country. Before we get to how such a feat was made possible, let’s discuss some of the ways the nation found itself in the midst of an epidemic. Remember, over two-million Americans are struggling with and opioid use disorder, fewer than 1 in 5 receive any treatment, and over a hundred people die each day from an overdose.

Most individuals are privy to the fact that prescription opioid addiction epidemic and heroin scourge is the result of severe over-prescribing. Doctors are not solely responsible, but they play a significant role. It is worth noting that the job of a physician, among other things, is to provide relief whenever possible. A patient is in pain, and a doctor can help ease their discomfort with the aid of opiate painkillers. In most cases, the practice of prescribing opioids in low doses for short durations does not lead to patient problems; however, when doctors prescribe opioids in high doses for months on end, dependence is almost guaranteed.

Despite the writing on the wall, many primary care physicians (PCPs) continue to prescribe in manners what experts can only describe as reckless. To be sure, doctors must consider and treat patient pain, and if they do so at risk of harming their patients, it is problematic. What’s more, merely turning off the fountain is not the solution; instead, primary care physicians must prescribe responsibly, have knowledge about alternative forms of pain management, be able to identify patients with use disorders and refer them to treatment centers. Any failures to provide that kind of support can lead patients to the street in search of illicit drugs.

Doctors Combating Opioid Use Disorder

Health and addiction experts understand how dangerous long-term opioid prescriptions are for patients. The same professionals also know, thanks to tireless research, that drugs like OxyContin are not adequate for treating chronic pain and can worsen one’s symptoms, lead to addiction, and cause an overdose. With that in mind, perhaps you remember the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing new prescribing guidelines in 2016? The suggestions were optional, but a vast number of doctors vehemently opposed the guidelines; their argument, primarily, was that they didn’t need instructions and such rules could keep patients from accessing pain care.

Well, it’s now 2018, and not much has changed nationally regarding prescribing practices, except for in a few places, Oregon is one such state. Instead of ignoring the CDC guidelines, a task force came about to put the suggestions into practice with vigor. Doctors in Oregon are using the prescription drug monitoring database which has curbed over-prescribing and doctor shopping. Better educating physicians on pain management has led to relying on opioids less, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. PCP’s are introducing people to alternative pain treatments like acupuncture, sleep, and physical therapy. Teaching patients about proper prescription drug disposal is beneficial, as well.

“There’s this report that says that the average time that it takes guidelines to turn into clinical practice is 17 years. That’s from the Institutes of Medicine,” said Dr. Cat Livingston, a family physician at OHSU’s Richmond Clinic in Portland. 

With so many people dying each day, seventeen years is not a realistic time-frame. Livingston says the task force came about to lessen that time. It appears to have worked; a 25 percent reduction is worth taking notice; hopefully, other states will make adjustments.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with opioid addiction, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. With the assistance of our Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program, you can begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.