Thursday, November 7, 2019

PTSD and Chemical Dependency Treatment

PTSD
Two weeks ago we discussed National Depression Education and Awareness Month at length. As we pointed out, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide. This week, we would like to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring substance use disorder.

With Veterans Day four days away, now is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness about some of the struggles that the bravest Americans face. PTSD impacts the heroes who risk life and limb to protect America at home and abroad from their experiences. Both veterans and active service members are at a heightened risk of developing mood disorders, most notably PTSD and depression.

Those who are unable or unwilling to seek assistance are predisposed to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Self-harming and self-defeating behaviors like drug and alcohol use are common among our nation’s heroes. Such practices put men and women at risk of developing alcohol and substance use disorders.

It’s vital to spread the message that PTSD and addiction recovery is possible for those who seek professional assistance. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we created a Heroes Program for any individuals whose line of work puts them at risk of experiencing trauma, PTSD, and chemical dependency.

PTSD and Addiction: By the Numbers


Whether one is a civilian fighting fire or responding to medical emergencies or those who see combat, traumatic events place people at enormous risk of experiencing behavioral and mental health disorders.

Encouraging such individuals to seek professional assistance is of the utmost importance. Doing so saves lives and allows men and women to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

According to the National Center for PTSD, research shows chemical dependency and PTSD are strongly related in people who served in the military as well as civilians. The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences:
  • Combat
  • Physical or Sexual Assault
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Serious Accident
  • Natural Disaster
Symptoms of PTSD can include any of the following: feeling keyed up, flashbacks of an event, avoiding reminders of the event, and anhedonia (no longer taking pleasure in the activities you once enjoyed). Those who suffer from one or more of the symptoms listed above should seek professional guidance; this is especially vital if one is self-medicating their symptoms.

The VA notes that almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD. Moreover, more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. Trying to manage post-traumatic stress disorder with drugs and alcohol is a vicious cycle. Self-medicating leads to addiction often, and the practice has been shown to worsen one’s PTSD symptoms.

Men and women – veterans, active duty, or civilians – who are experiencing PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorder can significantly benefit from seeking treatment. However, choosing the right facility that can cater to one’s unique needs is paramount.

HVRC’s Heroes Program Accepts TRICARE


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are proud to announce that we meet the strict criteria for being in-network with TRICARE. It allows us to offer service members, veterans, and their family members affordable co-occurring disorder treatment.

Our dedicated team of professionals relies on evidence-based treatment modalities to help our clients heal and achieve lasting recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our specialty tract for first-responders, veterans, active servicemen and women, and their families.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Safe Sober Halloween in Recovery

recovery
The holiday season is fast approaching; Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving in November. During this time, it is helpful for people in recovery to begin planning how they will navigate each holiday. While Halloween may not be as synonymous with drinking as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, the upcoming holiday is known for an abundance of parties.

Many people in recovery may remember attending Halloween bashes. Memories of dressing up and partying with friends might bring fond thoughts for some, despite the damage that alcohol has caused in their lives. Now in sobriety, men and women must avoid the desire to attend gatherings that involve copious amounts of drinking. Individuals in early recovery should not even consider attending such events.

Relapse is always a risk factor for men and women in recovery. People must batten down the hatches of their program to ensure they can avoid risky situations. This could mean doubling down on daily meetings during the holiday season or calling one's sponsor or recovery mentor more often than usual.

Fortunately, even though attending parties that involve alcohol are mostly out of the question, you don't have to lock yourself indoors during Halloween. There are plenty of ways you can have fun and stay sober during All Hallows' Eve.

Leaning On Your Support Network During Halloween


If you attend recovery meetings regularly, then you have probably heard people in your homegroup talking about the upcoming holiday. It's highly likely that one of your peers is hosting a sober Halloween party on Thursday, October 31, 2019. Now is an excellent time to talk with your friends in recovery about attending such an event.

If nobody is planning a sober costume party, then it is not too late for you and your peers to organize one. You can have a lot of fun and get to know your friends in recovery better during the experience.

One of the keys to staying clean and sober during any holiday is staying busy and sticking to your routine, as best as possible. Attend the meetings you usually go to, tend to your commitments, and then have a fun time with your friends in recovery.

Many people in early recovery think that their days of having a good time are behind them. It's natural to feel that way, but it's not accurate. In fact, without drugs and alcohol in your system, it's possible to have authentic experiences that you will remember the next day and cherish in the years to follow.

Recovery has a lot to do with establishing new traditions, seasonal activities and events that do not revolve around one's addiction. Those who make the most of the holidays while they are sober will be thankful for it in multiple ways. Learning that a life without drugs and alcohol, is not a life that is tantamount to being a stick in the mud is a beautiful realization.

So, this coming Halloween, please make the most of enjoying the company of your recovery peers and have a good time. Holidays are not easy; they are a test of the strength of your program. Waking up in the morning, knowing that you got through a major holiday without drugs and alcohol, is a remarkable accomplishment and should be a source of pride.

Orange County Addiction Treatment


Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol. Our team of highly trained addiction professionals can help you begin the life-changing process of recovery. The miracle of recovery can be yours too, with our help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Depression Education and Awareness Month: Seeking Treatment

depression awareness
October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. The observance is about teaching the public to recognize the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for depression. Depressive disorders are the most common form of mental illness; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide.

A combination of factors can lead to the development of depression. Experts believe that both genetics and environmental influences can trigger depressive disorders. People who have a history of substance use also have higher rates of depression compared to the general public. Individuals who’ve experienced a significant trauma in their lives are also at an increased risk.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Many of our clients also contend with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or both. Our facility is unique, being that we operate at an acute care hospital.

Our patients have access to a medical staff of over 185 physicians representing most medical specialties. We are licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); this allows us to provide programs and specialty services all under one roof. Men and women who are struggling with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental illness benefit significantly from the HVRC difference.

People who meet the criteria for dual diagnosis must receive simultaneous treatment to achieve lasting recovery. Our staff addresses with equal care each condition a client presents with in order to ensure they are able to acquire the tools for long-term recovery and to manage their mental health disorder.

Depression Education and Awareness Month


On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we observe National Depression Education and Awareness Month. It’s vital to get the word out that treatment works, and recovery is possible. We need to spread the message that people living with depression no longer need to struggle in silence.

At HVRC, we understand that seeking treatment for behavioral and mental health disorders requires tremendous courage. Societal stigmas and misunderstandings about mental illness cause people to think that they are at fault for their disease.

Ignorance is harmful to us all, so educating the public about conditions like depression saves lives. When society has a better understanding of the mechanisms of mental illness, they are more likely to show compassion. When communities care about the well-being of others, it has a ripple effect.

During Depression Education and Awareness Month, we ask that you take an active role in spreading the message about treatment and recovery. Those who are already working a program and managing their mental health can do an excellent service by sharing stories of hope on social media. Your experience can be a catalyst for change in the life of another.

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are perfect forums for disseminating valuable facts about depression and the benefits of treatment. Let people who may be suffering know that they are not alone. Kindly use #DepressionAwareness.

California Addiction Treatment Hospital


Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and co-occurring depression. We can help you take the first steps toward lasting recovery. We are available at any time to field questions you may have about our programs. You will be pleased to know that we accept most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

If you are battling depression and feel suicidal or are contemplating self-harm, call 911 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Recovery Requires Listening Up

recovery
In early recovery, learning how to listen is key to absorbing the information you need. Those who are new to the program have a lot to get off their chest; the weight of addiction is massive, and everyone desires to feel unburdened. There are ample opportunities to share your experience with the group in the countless meetings to follow. However, it's beneficial to prioritize hearing what others have to say early on.

The people in your support group have been where you are, and they know how you are feeling exactly. Your newfound peers understand the anxiety and fear that accompanies early recovery. They also grasp the desire to run when something isn't going the way you'd hope.

The temptation to use is paralyzing at times, urges to return to drugs and alcohol can crop up without a moment's notice. Persistent cravings are one of the reasons one must attend as many meetings as possible in the first 90 days of recovery. The more meetings you attend, the more tips and tools you will absorb.

Your support group is nothing short of a life raft floating in a turbulent sea; if you do not follow the direction of those with more experience, then you risk falling overboard.

At this point, you may have heard an oldtimer make a statement like, 'take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.' Curmudgeonly, to be sure, but not without some merit; the point they are trying to make is that if you are going to make it in the program, then there is a lot you have to learn.

If you are talking too much, then you can put yourself at risk of not hearing something you need to understand.

Listening in Recovery


People with more time in the program stay sober by helping others achieve similar feats. Once a person's program is strong enough, he or she is in a position to impart wisdom to men and women with less time. Each time an oldtimer shares, it is an opportunity to glean valuable suggestions that can help you stay clean and sober.

Surround yourself with people who are carrying the message and listen up. Whether you are in a meeting or having coffee with your sponsor, remember that what is shared with you can help you stay on the path down the road. You will not always be around your recovery peers, so it's prudent to have a firm set of coping mechanisms to manage cravings.

There will also be times when you find yourself in risky situations that can derail your recovery. If you have been listening to your sponsor and support peers, then it's probable that you know how to comport yourself and extricate yourself from danger.

The stakes in recovery are high, and long-term sobriety is never a foregone conclusion; there will always be dangers and pitfalls to skirt. Do everything you can early on to position yourself for success so that one day, you can help others find what you've found.

This post is not about admonishing newcomers against sharing. It's meant to explain the importance of listening more than talking in recovery's infancy. If you have a burning desire to share, then by all means share. You may be struggling, and people can't help you if they do not know you are having challenges. Just try to be cognizant and be sure that you are soaking up as much or more than you are putting out.

Those who invest all their energy into learning the way of recovery early on will set themselves up for realizing long-term recovery. They will develop the skills for leading a fulfilling and productive life.

California Addiction Treatment and Medical Detox


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we help men and women caught in the cycle of addiction to be free. Our addiction hospital assists patients in all aspects of their care, from detoxification to aftercare. Please contact us today to learn more about the HVRC difference.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Friends In Recovery: Stick With The Winners

recovery
In early recovery, you will meet many new people in a short time. You will likely attend several meetings at different locations after treatment in search of a homegroup. That is a particular meeting that you frequent most often. Some of those who attend your homegroup will become part of your "deep bench"—the individuals you turn to for support and guidance.

In time, you will develop friendships with men and women; these relationships are about more than just talking recovery. The acquaintances people make in early recovery often become lifelong friends provided one stays the course. The time you spend with them outside of meetings will prove to be just as valuable as when you are inside.

Recovery is about so much more than weekly meetings and working the steps. It's about more than total abstinence, as well. Recovery is a complete life redesign that involves changing a myriad of aspects of one's existence. Those who achieve lasting sobriety adopt new traditions and behaviors; they walk a different path than before. In the process, they must surround themselves with people who share common goals and mindsets.

The first meetings you attend post-treatment will include vetting individuals to determine who shares a similar drive for progress. Unfortunately, many newly sober people fall into crowds who are not committed to doing the work. The truth is that not everyone at meetings is in it for the long haul; some people are attending due to exigent or compulsatory circumstance. Once their obligation is fulfilled, a good number will return to active use.

It's critical that you foster relationships with individuals who are in recovery for themselves, with men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes to excel. There is a common saying in the rooms, stick with the winners. That's not to say that people who aren't committed to long-term recovery are losers, but they certainly have different priorities. Stick with people who share your vision for a healthy and productive life.

Bonding in Recovery


Finding a sponsor or recovery mentor is one of the first things people do following treatment. After a few meetings, you will have heard several people share; at least one likely said something that resonated. Hopefully, you approach said person after the meeting and ask if they will guide you through the steps.

If they accept, they will probably ask you to meet up regularly, call every day, and commit to reading recovery related material. In most cases, the time spent with one's guide leads to friendship. The sponsor-sponsee relationship should not be viewed as hierarchical. Instead, take the perspective of it being two people working together to help each other stay sober.

Sure, your sponsor will have more time sober than you, but that does not mean they are above you. Since you're both on equal footing, you can form a lasting bond. The sponsor-sponsee connection is beneficial in several ways; you have someone to turn to in good times and bad. What's more, your sponsor's friends will likely become yours as well. If your recovery guide has confidence in other people's commitment to progress, then it's safe to say you can too.

You will, over the course of recovery, make friends with individuals outside of your sponsor's inner-circle. Early on, the practice of sticking close to your sponsor is beneficial. However, in time, you will start to sponsor people with less time and making new friends along the way. Fortunately, you will have gleaned from your sponsor by then some protocols for deciding whom to invest your time and energy.

As an aside, please remember that the people from your substance-using past should remain in the past. Trying to hold onto old acquaintances will compromise your mission. Moreover, most of the people you used with were friends of convenience. Recovery, on the other hand, is an opportunity to forge healthy and spiritually uplifting connections with people who care about your well-being and continued progress.

California Addiction Treatment Center


We invite you to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for a complimentary assessment if you feel that your drug and alcohol use is problematic. We offer several programs to help people take the first step toward lasting addiction recovery. HVRC works with most insurance providers.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Mental Health Days Off in Recovery

mental health
Some 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Many of them are managing other forms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Lasting sobriety is only possible when people with co-occurring disorders prioritize well-being.

Leading a balanced life in addiction recovery is challenging enough and having to deal with a dual diagnosis only complicates matters. Still, it’s possible to keep the symptoms of mental illness at bay and abstain from drugs or alcohol.

The work doesn’t stop after treatment or going through the steps; people with comorbidity must also continue with therapy. In many cases, both ongoing counseling and medication are required to prevent compromising one’s recovery.

While being in recovery makes the task of juggling life significantly more manageable, there will be days that test one’s program. Co-occurring mental illness is with people for life, and symptoms will crop up throughout the months and years. If you have the tools to cope and a support network to consult, then there is no reason men and women can’t overcome mental health episodes.

However, individuals in recovery are not always the best at emphasizing their needs; they are prone to mismanage their priorities. It can be hard for people who have families and work responsibilities to pause and tend to their mental needs. Nevertheless, it is essential to know when taking time for mental health is necessary. Failing to do so can and does compromise a person’s recovery.

Mental Health Days Off


As many of you well know, September is National Recovery Month. Moreover, the first full week of October is Mental Health Awareness Week. The observation’s purpose, like Recovery Month, is educating and increasing people’s awareness about mental illness.

For those currently in recovery, this time of the year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on if you are meeting your mental health needs. It is vital to consider if you are handling stress healthily and productively. Perhaps you are working too much, or have taken on too big of a class load? Maybe current life circumstances have caused a reversion to some old behaviors and mindsets? If not, then it probably means you have to keep an even keel. However, if the opposite is true, then doubling down on your recovery efforts is prudent.

When a hard day comes along, please consider taking a day off from work or school to nurture your mental health. Instead of mowing through the day despite symptoms, call out and reach out for support. People in recovery have the benefit of a vast network of peers who can help with keeping things together. Individuals with co-occurring disorders should go one step further by contacting their therapist or primary care physician.

Mental health is vital to overall health; neglecting the former will jeopardize the latter. It’s easy to convince oneself that taking time off for mental and spiritual well-being is an impossibility. What, with pressing bills to pay or course work and all, it’s hard to justify taking time off. Although, sometimes it is vital to ignore the temptation to put quotidian responsibilities ahead of mental health and recovery. If you don’t put mental well-being first, then you stand to lose far more than money or a good grade.

During National Recovery Month and beyond please take a close look at your needs to see if they are being met. Talk to your peers about ways to balance life and recovery better. Remember, there isn’t any shame in taking time off for mental health and addiction recovery.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital


Take the first step toward a life in long-term recovery with Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our team of dedicated professionals provides the highest degree of medical and psychological expertise in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today for a complimentary assessment and to discuss treatment options. 866-273-0868

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cannabis Use Concerns Surgeon General

cannabis
More than 30 states have passed laws that permit the use of cannabis and a myriad of products containing THC—the psychoactive ingredient that causes euphoria. Some states only allow people to use the drug for medical purposes, while other states permit adult recreational marijuana use.

The findings of 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) shows that 22% of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying a significant risk of harm. That is a five percentage point decline from the previous year and the lowest level since 1980, according to the University of Michigan. The research is somewhat concerning because marijuana use is not without risks.

Comparatively speaking, cannabis isn't the most dangerous mind-altering substance. Some people use the drug to varying degrees for the majority of their lives and face very few side effects. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests the drug can wreak havoc on developing brains. What's more, regular use can lead to dependence and addiction.

People living in states that permit the use of cannabis should have all the facts about prolonged use, especially young people. The MTF survey shows that marijuana use among U.S. college students is at a new 35-year high. Given the reduction in perceived risk, many young people could be on a path to addiction or other problems unknowingly.

Moreover, marijuana being smoked today is far more potent than in years past owing to enhanced growing techniques. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects this will have on individuals. It's worth noting that young people are vaping highly concentrated THC oils and distillates, the long-term ramifications of which are not yet known.

Surgeon General Warning On Cannabis Addiction


At a recent press conference, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that cannabis is not safe for teens, young adults, and pregnant women, NPR reports. Surveys indicate that the number of adolescents and pregnant women using the drug is rising. Adams added that a large number of people do not understand how potent marijuana is today.

"While the perceived harm of marijuana is decreasing, the scary truth is that the actual potential for harm is increasing," said Adams. He adds that, "The higher the THC delivery, the higher the risk."

The surgeon general pointed out that nearly 1 in 5 adolescents who use cannabis become addicted, according to the article. He explains that regular marijuana use among young people can impair attention, memory, and decision-making. They may also begin to struggle in school. More research is necessary to understand better the drug's true impact on developing brains.

What research can tell us is that cannabis is not a benign substance, mainly when used in large amounts. Millions of Americans meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder, and those who try to quit can experience withdrawal symptoms. Without professional assistance, relapse is likely to occur.

Please take a moment to listen to a short broadcast on the subject:


If you are having trouble listening, please click here.

If you use cannabis regularly and have trouble quitting even though it interferes with aspects of your life, then please reach out for help. Addiction treatment can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery.

California Addiction Treatment Center


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we have extensive experience in treating marijuana addiction or cannabis use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and to determine if HVRC is right for you or a loved one. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Awareness: Treatment and Recovery

suicide prevention awareness
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that our alumni and weekly readers are getting involved with National Recovery Month. Anything that encourages personal recovery is beneficial to the nation. We can all make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness.

Beyond National Recovery Month events and activities, there is another observance occurring this month. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! At this time, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling upon Americans to confront stigma and help to encourage treatment for mental illness.

One in five adults is affected by mental illness which means toxic stigmas impact the same number of people. That is 46.6 million adults, and many are needlessly suffering in silence because of their disease. No other group of people affected by medical conditions is subjected to the kind of shame that men and women with mental illness face daily.

Stigma stands in the way of treatment; fortunately, we can work together to cure stigma and inspire recovery. We can all help NAMI get the word out about mental illness and the effective treatments available. Each of us can spread the message that mental health disorders do not have to end in suicide and that healing is possible.

Supporting People with Mental Health Conditions


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to NAMI. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Moreover, psychological autopsies show that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition. Alcohol and substance use disorders are types of mental illness that often play a role in suicide.

In 2016, approximately 22 percent of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At the same time, research shows that:
  • Opioids were present in 20 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Marijuana in 10.2 percent.
  • Cocaine in 4.6 percent.
  • Amphetamines in 3.4 percent.
Previous research indicates that alcohol misuse or dependence is associated with a suicide risk that is ten times greater than the general population, SAMHSA reports. IV drug users are at about 14 times greater risk for suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable; people dealing with mental illnesses of any kind can recover with effective care. However, under half of the adults in America get the help they need. We can change that by confronting stigma and compassionately encouraging men and women to reach out for help.

Individuals in recovery – especially those who have dealt with suicidal ideations – can play an essential role during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. NAMI is asking such people to share their experience. Two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression exist that allow you to share anonymously—You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.

“You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.”

Seeking Help During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


Naturally, there are several ways you can help during this vital observance. NAMI has created graphics and promotional messaging to share facts about mental illness and suicide. Please promote awareness on your website and social media accounts using #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree.

Please contact HVRC if you are struggling with mental illness, including addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our team of experienced clinicians can help you break the disease cycle and teach you healthy ways of coping with symptoms. We can get you on the road to long-term recovery. Take the first step...during Suicide Prevention Awareness and National Recovery Month.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

National Recovery Month 2019: Together We Are Stronger

National Recovery Month
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) is calling upon people to share their stories of recovery. September is National Recovery Month! The observance has several goals, but encouraging more people to seek help may be the most salient.

SAMHSA would like to hear from people about their successes in recovering from addiction and any mental health disorder. The branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes that personal stories will inspire others to reach out for support. The millions of men and women in healing from mental and behavioral health disorders can be Voices for Recovery. The organization writes:

The 2019 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger," emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect us all, and that we are all part of the solution. The observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth.

If you would like more information about how your story can serve to inspire the hope of recovery in others, then please click here. Please do not discount the effect your experience can have on other men and women. The recovery community is millions strong, and each person can have a lasting impact on someone else who has yet to seek support.

National Recovery Month Turns 30


This vital nationwide observance has significantly grown and evolved over the years. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month. Today, SAMHSA's efforts to encourage recovery and break stigmas are supported by more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities.

Nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and substance use disorders assist SAMHSA in planning events and disseminating information about recovery services. This month, at least 362 National Recovery Month events are happening across the country. However, there is room for more recovery-related events; SAMHSA provides a toolkit that can guide individuals and organizations that would like to host local events.

National Recovery Month is also about acknowledging the efforts of treatment providers numbering in the thousands. Mental and behavioral health rehab centers – whose staff work tirelessly to show men and women how to recover – are instrumental in combating the epidemic of mental illness.

Many people are probably unaware that National Recovery Month evolved out of Treatment Works! Month. The previous iteration – founded in 1989 – honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field.

If you work in the recovery services field, please take a moment to appreciate the excellent job you've done helping others find the light of recovery. Without you, significantly fewer people would have the gift of addiction and mental health recovery in their life today.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we are grateful for the countless men and women who've helped those who struggle with mental illness. We'd also like to recognize the millions of people who are both committed to making continued personal growth and helping others do the same. Recovery is only possible when we work together to foster progress.

If you are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness (dual diagnosis), then please contact HVRC today. We offer several programs that can help you turn your life around and go on to lead a productive life in recovery. HVRC is in-network with most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Opioid Addiction: A Long History

addiction
As the American addiction epidemic rages on, the catalyst of which is believed to be opioids, it's easy to forget the age-old history of pain-killing narcotics. Not that the origins of opium-based drugs have any bearing on the lives of addicts, but acknowledging previous attempts to rein in addiction can be informative.

Most Americans are acutely familiar with the impact of opioids on society. Drugs in the opiate family have long been used in medicine and for pleasure. However, we've seen an unprecedented surge in use and abuse over the last two decades.

Rampant overprescribing of drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) – beginning in the late 1990s – resulted in millions becoming dependent and addicted. A reckless disregard among pharmaceutical companies and doctors for acknowledging the dangers of prescription opioids created today's public health crisis. Once the faucet was turned on, it soon became apparent that turning it off was a near-impossible task.

Curbing widespread opioid use isn't as simple as altering prescribing practices. It helps but does little to address the underlying addiction. Physical dependence to opioids is more powerful than the majority of other mind-altering substances carrying the potential for abuse. Those caught in the grips of an opioid use disorder will seek out new access points to sate their cravings.

The rise in heroin use in recent years is the direct result of not attending to the use disorders brought on by prescription opioids. Studies show that the majority of heroin users alive today first used a narcotic painkiller. Staggering heroin use rates seen today are a byproduct of rampant overprescribing followed by implementing more stringent prescribing restrictions.

Ending the Epidemic Through Recovery


The truth is that our government may not be able to effectively combat the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl into this country. However, they can give federal, state, and local public health agencies the resources to increase access to evidence-based therapies.

Opium and its derivatives have been disrupting and stealing people's lives for millennia. Governments around the world have made an effort to curb non-medical use of opium and opioids for centuries with very little success. The failure to control opioid use disorders in generations past stemmed partly from the lack of available therapies. It's only in this century that effective treatments proved that addiction recovery was even possible.

PBS Frontline created a timeline that shows opium throughout history that is both fascinating and informative. We strongly recommend taking a look at it in your free time. Notable dates include:
  • c.3400 B.C. — The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia; present-day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey.
  • 1799 A.D. — China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
  • 1803 A.D. — Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany, discovers the active ingredient of opium: Principium somniferum or morphine.
  • 1874 A.D. — English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove.
  • 1895 A.D. — Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin."
  • 1996 A.D. — International drug trafficking organizations in China, Nigeria, Colombia, and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."
PBS points out that doctors in the first years of the 20th Century recommended using heroin to help morphine addicts discontinue their use. Naturally, heroin addiction in the U.S. rose to alarming rates by 1904. Treating opioid use disorder has come a very long way in the last hundred years.

 

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team relies on evidence-based treatments to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to prosper in recovery.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Couple's Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
Recent reports indicate that methamphetamine use is surging in California and other areas of the country. The Golden State's proximity to the Mexican border means that a large amount of meth finds its way into the hands of Californians. If you have been reading the news about today's meth, then you know that it is cheaper and more potent than ever before.

Mexican drug cartels saw an opportunity to exploit the U.S. crackdown on homemade methamphetamine. Today, the vast majority of meth or "Ice," as it is sometimes called, is manufactured in large labs south of the border.

While the nation has focused significant resources on curbing the opioid epidemic, meth has flooded American towns and cities, virtually unchecked. Thousands of Americans grapple with meth addiction each year, and many people succumb to the drugs deadly effects.

Fortunately, people can recover from a stimulant use disorder and lead healthy lives. Working a program of recovery is hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Unfortunately, people struggling with meth cannot turn to a drug like buprenorphine to aid them in detox. There are not any medications that are used specifically for treating stimulant addiction. Nevertheless, those who are dedicated to changing their lives can accomplish the task provided they have outside assistance.

From time to time, it is helpful to showcase individuals who are working programs of recovery. Such men and women can inspire those who are still in the grips of the disease. Brent Walker of Cleveland, Tennessee, and his wife Ashley are two people who found themselves able to recover from meth addiction.

Life In Recovery


Nearly three years ago, Brent and Ashley Walker were in a bad way; they were both addicted to methamphetamine. On July 26, they posted a before and after photo on Facebook which embodies how life changes when you are in recovery, Knox News reports. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have reacted or commented on Walker's photo. Attached to the picture, the couple wrote:

"This is my wife and I in active meth addiction the first photo was taken around December 2016 the second one was taken in July of 2019. This December 31st will be 3 years we have been clean and sober and living for God. I hope that my transformation can encourage a [sic] addict somewhere! It is possible to recover!!" 

Clean for more than two and a half years, the two recovering addicts have undergone a complete 180 turn. It is safe to say that the couple barely recognizes the people in the before photo.

Brent was in jail for two years on meth-related charges just before choosing to recover, according to the article. He started using again once he was released but then decided that failing a drug test would mean more jail time. He asked Ashley, his girlfriend at the time, if she would be willing to get clean with him, and she agreed.

Since that time, the two got married, and Brent got his GED. They both hold down full-time employment. Brent says he never thought that he would be sober, nor did he expect their before and after photos to go viral. They are proof that it's possible to turn your life around in recovery. They are glad that their experience is helping others see that there is a different way.

"Don't give up, it gets easier. It's really hard. We had a really hard time, just because we didn't have nobody [sic] to talk to," Walker told Knox News. "But if you don't give up... the grass is greener on the other side. It's been a blessing. It really has."
  

Stimulant Use Disorder Recovery


Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with amphetamines or methamphetamine. Our highly-trained staff can help you begin a journey of lasting addiction recovery. We offer several different programs that cater to the unique needs of each client. We are confident that you can go on to lead a healthy and productive life in sobriety.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Binge Drinking Among Older Americans

binge drinking
Our focus in the field of addiction medicine is most often on young people. Stemming the tide of alcohol and substance use disorder is crucial to preventing men and women from having severe health problems later in life. It is vital to encourage individuals to ask for help when a problem develops at a young age.

While the choice to center our attention on younger demographics is not misplaced, we mustn't lose sight of the older Americans who struggle with drugs and alcohol. As people age and reach retirement, they find themselves with far more freedom.

With fewer responsibilities, many men and women will choose to fill their time imbibing. Some will even engage in unhealthy drinking practices that are most closely associated with young Americans. Older folk who have a hazardous relationship with alcohol are at significant risk of injury and other health problems.

Besides having a plethora of free time, many seniors are contending with difficult emotions. The identity of many men and women is attached to the kind of work they did; without it, some people feel an overwhelming loss of purpose. Moreover, baby boomers in retirement are also dealing with the loss of spouses and other loved ones; some will look to the bottle for comfort and solace.

In recent years, a fair amount of research has been conducted on alcohol and substance use among aging Americans. Prescription drug and alcohol misuse are proving to be more common than previously thought among older people. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that about 1 in 10 older adults binge drinks.

Older Americans Binge Drinking


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of consuming four alcoholic beverages for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours. It's a dangerous practice that brings people to a level of intoxication in a short period.

Study senior author, Joseph Palamar – an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health – analyzed data on 10,927 people over age 65, NBC News reports. The data comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Some 80 percent of older people are living with at least one chronic condition (e.g., heart disease, cancer, or diabetes), according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Naturally, binge drinking can cause health complications for those with serious health problems.

"We focus so much on young people and their risky drinking," said senior author Joseph Palamar. "But this research reminds us that we also have to keep an eye on the older population." 

Moreover, it is not uncommon for an older person to develop an alcohol use disorder stemming from repeated, daily bouts of intoxication. This research should prompt primary care physicians to keep a watchful eye for patients who exhibit signs of alcohol or drug misuse.

It's also worth mentioning that the researchers found elevated rates of cannabis use among people over 65. Palamar rightly points out that polysubstance use can lead to complications. Heavy alcohol use increases one's risk of injury, and admixing pot into the situation heightens the chance of falling down.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand that seniors are going through significant life changes. Our team of addiction professionals understands that alcohol or other drug use can worsen pre-existing conditions that are common among older adults. If addiction develops, such people must seek help from a center that caters to their unique needs.

With that in mind, we have designed an Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program that is conducive to the needs and abilities of this age group. Please contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sharing About Addiction Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
The road to addiction recovery is a little different for each person, but once people decide to turn their lives around, the outcome is universal. Working a program gives men and women the tools to lead productive lives. No longer choosing to escape one’s problems, they can tackle obstacles head-on.

Sobriety is the solution for so many, molding individuals into better friends, parents, spouses, and employees. The list of gifts that recovery bestows upon a person are too many to recount, but each story of healing shares common traits. Those who show up and do the work, day after day, find results. At times the path is rocky, and many want to quit before the miracle happens, but with support there is no problem that can’t be worked out in recovery.

Over the last two decades, there has been a collective effort to shatter the myths and stigma of addiction. There’s been a drive to bring mental illness out of the darkness. As a result, more people are empowered to share their experience, strength, and hope, outside the rooms of recovery.

Publicly sharing one’s story was relatively unheard of not too long ago. Men and women went to great lengths to keep the history of abuse under lock and key. While it was not too uncommon for a celebrity to share a little about his or her struggle with addiction, in an interview or tell-all, that was veritably not the case for average citizens. Not anymore. Today more Americans are finding the courage to talk publicly about their battles with alcohol and substance use disorder.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Addiction


Instead of viewing addiction as a failure, more and more people are accepting the disease for what it is — a treatable mental health condition. The millions of people working programs of recovery prove that to be true. As the number of men and women in recovery grows, the stigma of addiction shrinks. No longer paralyzed by shame, those leading lives in sobriety empower and affect change in the lives of others.

The New York Times Magazine recently published an article written by a former aircraft maintenance technician for the U.S. Air Force. Heather King is in recovery for alcohol use disorder and has penned a beautifully written piece about her road to sobriety. She shares with readers about the complications that alcohol caused her and her family, and how recovery changed her life. She eloquently relates many of the reasons she kept drinking, even though the decision to do so nearly cost her everything.

King shares that although she had a full-time job, a house, and a graduate degree, she was plagued by depression, alcohol use, and suicidal ideation. Her drinking led to a couple of DUIs, one of which could have been fatal. After her second offense, King said, “I could no longer see myself drinking, but I had no idea how to live my life without alcohol."

Like so many people before her, King found help in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. People in the rooms told her that if she attended meetings and didn’t drink, they would show her a new way of life. If you have an opportunity to read what Heather King wrote, in full, please do.

If you are in recovery or are thinking about taking steps to recover, there is probably much you can relate to in her essay.

“I’ve been sober now for two years and 10 months. The decision to get sober and stay sober, by no means easy, was the single most important decision I have made in my life. Sobriety has allowed me to become a better parent. My life as a sober mother has cured the awful ache deep inside my core. It has given me a life I always wanted but never thought I deserved. It has taught me what is most important in motherhood: showing up for your children and being fully present for them.” — Heather King

Finding the Courage to Share


Talking about your history with drugs and alcohol is not easy; there are many painful emotions attached to years of active use. If working a program is new to you, and it takes every ounce of courage you have to share, then please know that you are not alone.

Sitting among relative strangers and talking about being brought to your knees by drugs and alcohol is, for most people, a daunting task. Some will attend a large number of meetings before they feel up to speaking in front of an audience. However, once a person shares their story, it is not uncommon for them to feel a wave of calmness and serenity.

Every individual with alcohol or substance use disorder in their past has said and done things they are not proud of and would rather not recount. Active addiction impacts one’s decision-making process, which leads men and women to harm those they care most about in life. Talking about those things with nonjudgmental people is a vital component of the healing process. Doing so allows people to find it in their hearts to forgive themselves.

At the core of recovery is changing your life for the better; working a program is the mechanism that manifests progress. If you have been attending meetings and are reticent about sharing, that's alright. Just keep coming back and talk with a man or woman you feel comfortable with either before or after a meeting. In time, your reservations will diminish, and the desire to open up with the group will increase.

California Addiction Program for Adults


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care to help men and women heal from addiction and lead productive lives in sobriety. Our facility is equipped to provide acute medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Prescripion Opioids in America

prescription opioids
Chronic pain affects millions of Americans. The standard treatment for persistent discomfort is prescription narcotics—opioids. When prescribed responsibly and taken as directed for short durations, they are a relatively safe method of mitigating pain. However, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone are overprescribed, and they have a high propensity for abuse.

A significant number of chronic pain patients struggle with opioid use disorder. The need for adequate pain management can lead to dependence quickly. Once this occurs, it is incredibly challenging to stop taking painkillers without assistance.

Since accessing evidence-based addiction treatment is difficult in most parts of the country, many people see their issues with opioids worsen. Moreover, the risk of overdose increases with each day of continued use; prescription opioids are responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The surge in prescriptions for pain relievers over the last two decades has led to increases in both heroin and synthetic opioids use. A significant number of today's heroin users (80 percent) started with prescription opioids.

The Scope and Scale of Opioid Distribution


Assurances were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s by pharmaceutical companies that the risk of opioid addiction was low. Physicians ran with inaccurate information and proceeded to prescribe narcotics for all things painful. MDs dealt with both acute and chronic pain in the same way, prescribing potent opioid analgesics.

Prescription drug companies benefited immensely from reckless prescribing. They continued to push a false narrative about the dangers of opioids despite an ever-rising number of patient overdose deaths. If you have been following the news lately, then you are aware that many states and victim families are demanding some accountability. More than a thousand lawsuits have been filed against the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Experts have a relatively clear picture of the number of people who are addicted to opioids (between three and six million) and the number of lives lost. However, the true scope and scale of opioid distribution were less clear, that is up until this week.

The Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System, known as ARCOS, is a database that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maintains. It's a system that keeps tabs on every single pain pill sold in the United States, The Washington Post (WAPO) reports. Gaining access to the data has proved to be an exceedingly difficult task.

Opioid Transparency


Justice Department and DEA officials have fought tooth and nail to keep ARCOS data from the public eye, according to the article. This week, US District Judge Dan Polster removed the protective order for part of the database.

The exact scope and scale of the prescription opioids came into focus with the release of long-awaited data. ARCOS indicates that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills hit the market between 2006 and 2012.

A WAPO analysis found that six companies – McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart – distributed 75 percent of the pills during this time frame. SpecGx, ­Actavis Pharma, and Par Pharmaceutical manufactured 88 percent of the opioids.

"The depth and penetration of the opioid epidemic becomes readily apparent from the data," said Peter J. Mougey, an attorney for the plaintiffs from Pensacola, Fla. "This disclosure will serve as a wake up call to every community in the country. America should brace itself for the harsh reality of the scope of the opioid epidemic. Transparency will lead to accountability."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Chronic Pain Patients


NIDA reports that around 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed narcotics for chronic pain misuse them; between 8 and 12 percent develop opioid use disorders. Those who develop an opioid addiction can safely detox and recover.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center's Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program was designed to assist people living with daily, physical discomfort who become dependent on opioids. Our team helps this demographic detox, discover alternative forms of pain management, and learn how to lead a healthy life in recovery.

Please contact us today to learn more about our program. 866·273·0868

Friday, July 12, 2019

Depression and Co-Occurring Addiction Recovery

addiction recovery
A significant number of people who seem put together on the surface contend with something lurking beneath that can upend their lives. It goes by many names but fits under one umbrella: mental illness. Those who struggle with mental health disorders hail from all walks of life. Psychological disorders are pernicious, and they affect men and women regardless of their financial status, race, gender, or upbringing.

More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally. However, many individuals struggle to believe that some men and women battle mental illness. This is partially due to the misconception that symptoms of mental health disorders are circumstantial. People wonder, ‘how could that person, with all their success, battle depression?’

The same is true for addiction! One might muse, ‘what cause does this person have to drink and drug to excess when they have so much going for them in life?’ None of these questions are easy to answer, nor do they need to be. Public perception is rarely rooted in hard science, which contributes to stigmas.

Since one in five Americans will battle with mental illness, it stands to reason that successful people will too. Some of our most beloved actors, musicians, and icons are in recovery from addiction or another psychological condition. Moreover, many celebrities are candid about their issues and what they do to keep them in check.

When a person who is looked up to opens up regarding their trials and tribulations, the effect is enormous. Unreserved disclosure about mental illness and recovery both comforts and inspires average citizens to take action. When John Q. Public learns that they share similar struggles with a person they admire, they feel less alone. He or she becomes empowered to seek recovery!

The Universe Gives Back When You Quit Drinking


Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead, Mission Impossible, and Star Trek) is a British actor who many Americans adore. Not only can he act, but he is also funny. Over the last two decades, his career has gone in one direction—upward. Unfortunately, Pegg’s road to stardom was impacted by depression and addiction.

The English actor, writer, and comedian recently spoke at length with GQ about his battles with mental illness. He discloses how he used alcohol to contend with his depressive symptoms; he shares that drinking helped, at first. However, self-medicating the symptoms of mental illness made his life unmanageable and developed into a co-occurring alcohol use disorder.

“You just can’t rely on any kind of stimulant to make yourself feel better and expect it to solve anything,” said Pegg. “At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time.”

In 2010, Mr. Pegg hit rock bottom and decided to address his problems fully, according to the article. He sought assistance at a mental health hospital and addiction rehab clinic. The actor learned that the substance he thought was helping was making matters worse. It is a realization that many people come to after seeking help for a dual diagnosis. He tells GQ:

“It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue. I spoke to people and got proper help. That’s when you realise you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things. By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last ten years.”

Chemical Dependency and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


Millions of Americans find themselves struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Those who meet the criteria for depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of also developing alcohol or substance use disorder.

Fortunately, long-term recovery is possible when individuals seek treatment to address each disorder simultaneously. If your or a loved one’s life is negatively impacted by drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please contact us today.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is a hospital-based addiction treatment center. Our clients benefit from being treated in a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); they have access to more than 185 physicians.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Addiction Recovery: A Freedom to Decide

addiction recovery
On this day, 243 years ago, the thirteen original colonies came together as one resounding voice and declared independence from Great Britain. Each year at this time, Americans are asked to reflect on the importance of freedom. For most people, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate around the barbecue and watch fireworks with friends and family, but for people in recovery, Independence Day can have more than one meaning.

People in recovery acknowledge their varying lengths of sobriety on the date that they began taking steps to be free from the bondage of self. It is a day of significant importance to millions of people across the country. In a sense, recovery is a declaration of independence from the disease of addiction.

Alcohol and substance use disorders hijack the lives of individuals. Breaking the disease cycle and forging a unique path is one of the greatest acts of courage found in modern times. Through hard work and dedication to abstain from drugs and alcohol (no matter what), men and women can find a new kind of freedom.

With the above thoughts in mind, perhaps you will find time today to think about how grateful you are to have sovereignty. No longer confined by the prison of self, so total that it’s hard for most of society to understand, you can decide the kind of person you’d like to be. People working programs of recovery have the freedom to choose how they will affect those around them and their society.

A Freedom to Decide, in Recovery


Addiction recovery is liberating; it opens doors to new worlds of possibility. Sobriety gives men and women the freedom to decide how they will look at things. They can choose to find the positives in life, even though the addict and alcoholic’s natural default setting is the belief that he or she is the center of the universe. They can decide to squash negative feelings about others and see the good. One remarkable aspect of recovery is the freedom to care about other people.

It is freeing to realize that the gift of recovery is something that you have the honor to be able to pay forward. The humanity shown to newcomers is then passed along; it’s a relay of healing involving men and women with a common goal.

Those who are in the grips of the progressive illness that is addiction are forced to focus only on themselves to survive. Once in recovery, they learn that not only can they care about others but that it is a requirement. Being of service and accountable to something higher enables recovering addicts and alcoholics to find independence. No longer bound by the yoke of addiction, they can spread their wings and soar to new heights of existence.

There is a caveat, of course; detox, treatment, and working a program gives people the ability to manage their condition. Action in perpetuity is required for continued progress; recovery has a start date but no end. Through continued service and a commitment to practice certain principles in every aspect of life, men and women learn what it means to be free.

On Independence Day, please find a moment to consider the many gifts in your life today and show gratitude toward those who helped you be free from the bondage of self. If you attend a meeting, maybe there will be an opportunity to be of service; bring cookies, stack chairs, or introduce yourself to a newcomer.

If you have plans with your peers in recovery for after the meeting, invite said newcomer along. It will make their day, and the invite might be the thing that keeps them from picking up a drink.

Addiction Recovery is a Doorway to Independence


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). We utilize evidence-based practices to help people take their first steps toward a life in recovery. Our clients significantly benefit from hospital-based care and specialty services that we provide at HVRC. Please contact us today to take the first step toward finding independence from addiction.

At HVRC, we hope that everyone in recovery has a safe and sober 4th of July. Please keep your phone charged and never hesitate to call your support network for assistance.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Opioid Addiction and Overprescribing: A Global Epidemic

opioid
Despite the warnings and some 130 overdose deaths per day in America, surgeons still prescribe painkillers at alarming rates. A new report from Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Johns Hopkins shows that they are prescribing many times the recommended number of opioids.

Surgeons continue to prescribe far more opioids for post-op pain than recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings come from an analysis of the latest available data, including 350,000 prescriptions written for patients operated on by nearly 20,000 surgeons from 2011 to 2016.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, together with KHN, found that doctors performing surgeries are ignoring current guidelines from several academic medical centers. The article points out that while opioid manufacturers have received the market share of the blame for the epidemic, the contribution to the crisis by physicians is mostly disregarded.

In some ways, it’s hard to imagine a doctor prescribing massive amounts of opioids for less painful procedures. Physicians know the addictive nature of opiates; they must exercise the utmost discretion when treating minor injuries. Writing smaller prescriptions and then refilling them as needed mitigates the risk of abuse or drug diversion.

In 2016, some coronary artery bypass patients took home upwards of 105 opioid pills, according to the article. The highest prescribing doctors performing a lumpectomy to remove a breast tumor doled out 40 to 70 pills on average. Researchers found that some knee surgery patients received prescriptions for more than 100 pills to take home.

The data being a few years old does not mean that prescribing practices are significantly better today. Dr. Chad Brummett, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at the University of Michigan, says:

“When prescribing may have been five to 20 times too high, even a reduction that is quite meaningful still likely reflects overprescribing.”

 

A Global Opioid Addiction Epidemic


The United States accounts for a small percentage of the world’s population; however, we consume the bulk of all prescription opioids. Still, that does not mean that the crisis we face is specific to America.

Yesterday, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published its 2019 World Drug Report. The UNODC estimates the number of people who’ve used opioids at 53 million globally, up 56 percent from previous projections. The UN estimates that 35 million people are suffering from substance use disorders.

The scourge of opioid use in the USA has had a terrible effect, even though America has the infrastructure in place to address the problem. The same cannot be said for North Africa and the Middle East, where the opioid tramadol is heavily abused. Access to evidence-based treatment services is limited; only one in seven people with drug use disorders receive treatment each year.

Both methamphetamine and cocaine use are on the rise as well. Meth seizures are up both in Asia and here at home. Coca bush cultivation and cocaine production reached record highs in 2017.

“The findings of this year’s World Drug Report fill in and further complicate the global picture of drug challenges, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated health and criminal justice responses to supply and demand,” said Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director. 

If you would like to read the full UNODC report in full, please click here.

Central California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat can help you or someone you love detox from opioids and begin a remarkable journey of recovery. We utilize evidence-based therapies to treat opioid addiction and help clients heal. Please contact us at any time to discuss treatment options with our recovery staff. 866-273-0868

Friday, June 21, 2019

California Tests Mental Health Apps

mental health
Smartphones have transformed the way we live in myriad ways. These tiny pocket computers, which give people the power to learn, shop, schedule, organize, and connect with their peers, are invaluable to most people. Young Americans cannot even remember life before the iPhone, nor would they dare to imagine existing without smartphones.

The potential for phones and tablets is seemingly limitless. Each year, developers pack more and more power into the devices which allows users more freedom to create, explore, and communicate in new ways with individuals across the globe. While smartphones and apps can make our lives easier, they can also prevent us from being present. So, it’s essential to find a balance and take steps to limit screen time.

Most application developers do not set out to change the world. An exploration through app stores proves that there are some incredible things people can and will spend $1 on for entertainment. However, several companies have chosen to harness the power of smartphones to help people with their internal struggles. Today, there exist a plethora of apps that are meant to assist people with their mental health.

California is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world; Silicon Valley is ground zero for the latest in innovation. An experiment is currently underway to determine if smartphone applications can help state and county mental health officials address the needs of people living with mental illness.

Make Mental Health Services More Available


When we use our phones patterns emerge, a picture of who we are and how we go about our day is transposed into data. Observations into how long someone is on their smartphone, the apps used, and what they post could theoretically give experts a window into said person’s mental health.

Last summer, the California Mental Health Services Authority selected two app companies to collaborate with county services, The New York Time reports. Mindstrong, founded by Dr. Paul Dagum, created an alternate keyboard to embed on patient participants’ smartphones. The other company, 7 Cups, cofounded by psychologist Glen Moriarty, is a digital mental health network.

The Mindstrong app monitors users “moment-to-moment screen activity;” its algorithms establish a person’s baseline phone behaviors. If a participant’s usage appears abnormal, the app will sound an alarm that an emotional crisis could be coming. The application also has a diary feature that allows users to chart how they are feeling from one day to the next. Los Angeles County has distributed the technology thus far.

“I like the diary card,” said Skyy Brewer, 30, who has used the diary since to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. “At therapy, you can go through the cards for the week and see the good days and bad ones, and figure out why your moods were off.” 

7 Cups was co-founded by former National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director Thomas R. Insel—a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The app pairs participants with company-trained “listeners,” according to the article. A listener will determine if the user is in crisis and connect them with a 7 Cups therapist.

The collaboration between the tech sector and the California Mental Health Services Authority has run into some difficulties (e.g., privacy concerns) since the beginning. However, the findings of the research could end up helping millions of people down the road. It will be interesting to see what the experts determine.

“It’s been a little rough in the beginning, I have to say, and it may take a couple of years,” Dr. Insel said. “The program may have to fail at first.”

California Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness like depression or anxiety. We can help you detox from drugs and alcohol, address your mental health needs, and give you the tools to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Research on Cannabis Use

cannabis use disorder
Marijuana may not be at the top of the American people’s list of concerns, but it’s vital to stay up to date on current research. The end of cannabis prohibition in many states has led to a surge in scientific studies. There is a whole lot that we do not know about the dangers and benefits of marijuana.

Since cannabis use can lead to addiction and subsequent adverse effects, having all the facts can better inform treatment providers. Marijuana is a polarizing subject matter; as such, there is a lot of misinformation.

Several claims have been made that suggest weed can do wonders for people with severe medical conditions. In some cases, the assertions hold water, but others are unequivocally false. Weeding through all the material to find peer-reviewed research is an arduous task.

Given that more and more states are going to legalize both medical and recreational use, it’s paramount to inform citizens about the science.

New Research on Cannabis


Two new studies published recently present some interesting findings regarding medical marijuana, legalization, and the pathways to a cannabis use disorder. One study contradicts previous research, which claimed that medical cannabis reduces the rate of fatal opioid overdoses. The other seeks to explain why some heavy users become addicted, whereas others do not.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found no evidence that indicates opioid overdose deaths are reduced by the availability of medical cannabis, according to a press release. Moreover, the researchers found that states with medical marijuana had higher overdose death rates. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If you think opening a bunch of dispensaries is going to reduce opioid deaths, you’ll be disappointed,” said Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “We don’t think cannabis is killing people, but we don’t think it’s saving people.” 

A separate study we’d like to focus on appears in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Researchers used brain imaging to observe the neural of cannabis users who viewed images associated with use (e.g., drug cues), according to Elsevier. All of the human participants were heavy cannabis users.

The findings indicate that people with heavy marijuana use, with and without cannabis use disorders, had exaggerated responses in a brain region called the ventral striatum. This area of the brain handles reward processing. The scans of those who had a cannabis user disorder also showed more significant responses in the area that forms habits—the dorsal striatum. What’s more, the researchers found that dependent users had increased responses in the regions that attach importance to things.

“Cannabis is now legal for medical and recreational use in many parts of the United States and the health impacts of this development are still being understood,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. “These findings are important insights that can help us better understand why some individuals might be more likely to become addicted to cannabis.”

California Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment


Marijuana addiction can take a severe toll and affect life quality. Those who meet the criteria for a cannabis use disorder tend to struggle in several areas of their life. Many who try to quit experience withdrawal symptoms that, if not managed professionally, lead to relapse.

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with marijuana, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our highly trained team of clinicians helps individuals break the cycle of addiction and sets them on a path toward long-term recovery. We invite you to take the first step and call us today for a confidential assessment. 866-273-0868