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.