Friday, March 27, 2020

NIDA Warns About Addiction and COVID-19

As of today, March 27th, 2020, 1,438 souls have been lost in the United States. Moreover, America overtook both China and Italy for having the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are now 94,238 Americans who have tested positive for the potentially lethal coronavirus.

Last week we shared with you some valuable information about protecting your health and your addiction recovery amid a pandemic. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that you and your family are doing everything you can to stay healthy and disease-free.

We are also hopeful that those of you working programs of recovery utilize online resources to keep your program safe. While the days of late are darker than any other time in recent memory, together, we can overcome this public health crisis.

Experts warn that the situation in the U.S. and abroad will become more severe. So, it’s essential that everyone – especially those with pre-existing health conditions – take all necessary precautions to prevent virus transmission.

Here in California, which is where HVRC is located, state officials are doing everything in their power to combat COVID-19. Right now, the State of New York is the epicenter of the epidemic in America, but that can change in the near future. In a letter to the President and Vice President, California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote:

“We project that roughly 56 percent of our population – 25.5 million people – will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period.”

Currently the Empire State has 44,635 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 519 New Yorkers have died from complications linked to the coronavirus. The Golden State currently has exponentially fewer cases and deaths than New York at this moment, with 4,040 people battling the virus, and 82 Californians have died.

Addiction Puts People at Higher Risk of Contraction

Those living with addiction, both inside the rooms of recovery and out, are also at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. As we mentioned above that people with pre-existing health conditions, especially those with respiratory disorders, are more susceptible.

Many people living with alcohol or substance use disorder also have co-occurring illnesses related to their prolonged drug and alcohol use. Those actively using and some individuals in recovery have weakened immune systems that a virus attacks with greater ease. With that in mind, such people need to take the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines seriously.

On Tuesday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a statement titled “COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders.” We strongly encourage you to read it at length when you have the time.

NIDA warns that smokers and people with either opioid use disorder or methamphetamine use disorder can be more susceptible to COVID-19. Opioid addiction and stimulant abuse are known to be harmful to one’s respiratory and pulmonary system.

It’s worth pointing out that many of the people who have died after contracting the virus also had respiratory and pulmonary health problems. Since the primary target of coronavirus is the lungs, anyone with conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is extra vulnerable. NIDA writes

We know very little right now about COVID-19 and even less about its intersection with substance use disorders. But we can make educated guesses based on past experience that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications—for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons. The research community should thus be alert to associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking- or vaping-related lung disease. We must also ensure that patients with substance use disorders are not discriminated against if a rise in COVID-19 cases places added burden on our healthcare system.

A large number of people in recovery are active or former smokers and vapers. Some have COPD, asthma, or other respiratory health conditions. Even nonsmokers in sobriety could be at a heightened risk of contraction and may face more severe complications if they get sick.

Fortunately, the vast majority of 12 Step recovery groups are now meeting online via video conferencing. Still, members of the Fellowship can be exposed when outside their homes. At HVRC, we ask you to take NIDAs information to heart and adhere to CDC and WHO recommendations when leaving the house.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital

Even though we are all facing the worst pandemic in living memory, those battling the disease of addiction need to be able to access recovery services. We must remember that alcohol and substance use disorders can be deadly too, and the opioid addiction epidemic is not over.

Those who are ready to break the disease cycle of addiction and adopt a program of recovery are invited to reach out to HVRC. While we must take extra precautions now at Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) remains open.

We are still accepting new patients while we continue to follow the CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Take the first step toward a life in recovery by contacting us today at 866-273-0868.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Recovery Meetings Go Digital: Concerns About Anonymity

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are continuing to do our part to protect the health and safety of our clients during the Coronavirus outbreak. Hopefully, you were able to read the article we published last week about how you can protect your recovery progress and prevent coming into contact with the deadly virus.

Since we wrote that post, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased exponentially across the Golden State. While some other states have been far more affected, such as Washington and New York, California's vast population and congested cities are making it hard to prevent disease transmission. The California Department of Public Health reports 1,184 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 20 illness-related casualties.

In Washington State and New York, the crisis is even more severe. There are 1,512 cases, and 81 people have died in Washington. New York reports 7,100 cases and 38 deaths. As of 4:15PM PDT on March 20, 2020, there are 17,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and 223 people have succumbed to the virus. Thousands of patient tests are pending across America.

The HVRC team would like to express our condolences to everyone who has lost someone they love from the pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and your families.

Concerns About Recovery Anonymity

When we last covered this most serious topic, we informed our readers that some 12 Step groups were going digital. AA groups throughout the US have alerted local AA offices or hotlines that they are temporarily suspending in-person meetings, and have instructed their members to utilize digital platforms, conference calls, and social networks.

"By attending digital meetings, groups can focus on AA's primary purpose: to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic who still suffers." 

It's safe to say that members of the recovery community are in uncharted territory. Moreover, with the alterations to age-old customs and traditions, it's natural that some in recovery have concerns.

Their concerns go beyond the heightened risk of relapse due to significant changes to recovery routines. Switching from in-person gatherings to digital conferencing raises concerns about anonymity. As many individuals in 12 Step recovery are well aware:

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities." 

It's worth remembering that what is said in the rooms stays in the rooms, even if that room has digital walls. The General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous (G.S.O.) provides many valuable resources about protecting your anonymity and that of your peers. Such service materials from the G.S.O. include: Understanding Anonymity and Anonymity Online and Digital Media.

Each member of the Fellowship is responsible for their own anonymity and that of others when using digital platforms. One must never inadvertently break the anonymity of others. 

As an aside, we would also like to point out that the closing of meetings houses presents challenges for newcomers. Fortunately, they can find out information about attending digital meetings and can access The Big Book and Twelve Steps/Twelve Traditions Book online.

Beginning a Journey of Recovery

Anyone ready to begin a life-changing journey of recovery is welcome to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. We would like to inform you that HVRC is following the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Our team is taking every necessary precaution to keep our clients safe as they learn how to lead a healthy life in addiction recovery.

Take the first step by calling us today at 866-273-0868 to learn more about our programs and services. We can provide you a confidential assessment over the phone.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Protecting Your Recovery During a Pandemic

Every American is aware the world is facing a pandemic that is escalating with each passing day. The number of new cases is increasing at an exponential rate. Everyone is at risk, especially people who gather in groups and shake hands or hug, which is precisely what people in addiction recovery do every day.

Some of you may have heard about travel restrictions, restrictions on gathering of 250 people or more, the NBA suspended its season, and late-night television hosts are no longer performing before live audiences.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 is changing nearly every aspect of life here in America and abroad. We all need to take precautions to prevent the spread and contraction of this potentially fatal disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released protocols and steps that you can take to avoid contracting COVID-19. Working from home if possible, avoiding physical contact with others, regularly washing and sanitizing your hands, and avoiding touching your face.

What Does Coronavirus Mean for People in Addiction Recovery?

Millions of people’s health and lives depend on attending 12 Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous regularly. Naturally, the spread of a highly-infectious virus presents significant challenges for those in recovery.

AA’s Intergroups, the state arms of Alcoholics Anonymous that run the chapters of the program across the country, are starting to take action. For instance, AA’s NY Intergroup informed its volunteers and members that it would be closing its office tomorrow, according to The Daily Beast. The Intergroup also states that most AA meetings will likely move to phone calls and online-only.

In many states, Intergroups are allowing each meeting group to decide if suspending meetings is warranted. The General Service Office (G.S.O.) of Alcoholics Anonymous, a resource for people in the program, released a statement. The G.S.O. pointed out that “providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the A.A. sharing that G.S.O. offers.”

Still, the resource center did provide some helpful suggestions for people in the program, such as contacting your national, state/provincial, and local health authorities for appropriate information. In the G.S.O.’s statement, it mentions what some groups are doing across the country to protect their members:  

Some groups have discussed making changes to customs at their meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions. Some groups have considered contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person. Plans have included: creating contact lists and keeping in touch by phone, email or social media; meeting by phone or online.


California Addiction Treatment Center

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that everyone in recovery is taking precautions to protect their health. HVRC will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.

HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). Please contact us today if you need assistance with addiction. We utilize evidence-based therapies and 12 Step programs to help people learn how to lead a life in recovery.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Acceptance is the Key to Long-Term Recovery

acceptance recovery
The first of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) reads: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable." Once you can acknowledge that you have a problem with alcohol or substance use, then you can begin taking action.

Long-term recovery is possible for all who are willing to accept that they need help and seek assistance. Professional guidance is the surest method of finding long-term recovery. Those who seek addiction treatment receive instruction on breaking the cycle of addiction. Clients also learn how to establish a support network and are introduced to mutual-help groups like AA or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Both AA and NA utilize the 12 Steps, which are a set of guidelines to follow for achieving lasting recovery. Each program includes literature, such as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Within the bindings are hundreds of pages that instruct people with alcohol or another substance use disorder how to work and rework the steps.

Recovery is a never-ending process of making progress in one’s life, after all. A commitment to working and reworking the steps is to accept that you have a complex disease that requires continuous maintenance.

The Big Book also includes scads of wisdom to help men and women navigate the world clean and sober. Acceptance is a word that comes up often in recovery, and The Big Book speaks to that too. Those who are new to working a program will quickly discover that acceptance is one of the mainstays of addiction recovery.

Acceptance is the Answer in Addiction Recovery

Seeking help is to accept that you have a behavioral health disorder that you cannot contend with alone. Opting to go into treatment is accepting that you have an addiction. No matter how much time you accrue in recovery, it’s vital always to remember that you have a disease. If you do, then it will make working a program significantly less challenging.

Those who are unable to accept the reality of their potentially life-threatening condition regularly are likely to relapse. It’s worth noting that acceptance is an action that is beneficial in every facet of your life. Cases in point, the abridged passage below is from page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment...Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

The wise words above are worth taking the time to memorize, and they will help you when you find yourself losing serenity. The passage will help you remember that the only thing you can change is yourself. Accepting that truism will make it less challenging to stay focused on your recovery and progress.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery in California

Please call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat at (866) 273-0868 for a confidential assessment if you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or a co-occurring mental health disorder. HVRC is a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); we provide specialty services for chronic pain, older adults, young adults, and families.

At HVRC, we focus on empowering clients “toward discovering their true potential through a greater understanding of the 12-Steps and the mind-body connection.” You can contact our admissions team around the clock to have your questions answered and learn more about our programs and services.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Older Adults Battling Addiction: Treatment and Recovery

Last week, we covered the topic of young people in the grips of addiction and the options available for those who desire recovery. We shared the benefits of seeking age-specific addiction treatment services as well.

This week we’d like to share the fact that many older adults, retirees, or those on the verge of retirement are not immune from alcohol and substance use disorders. Those who never had problems with drugs or alcohol in years past often develop chemical dependency in retirement.

It might be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around the growing trend of older adults developing an addiction. So, we ask you first to consider some figures, and then we will discuss why older demographic are finding themselves struggling with use disorders in their golden years.

Alcohol and prescription medication misuse affects as many as 17% of older adults. Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among older adults. However, many older adults are misusing prescription sedatives and opioids. Some doctors prescribe both types of central nervous center depressants to the same patient.

Those taking benzodiazepines and opioids are at significant risk of developing a substance use disorder and experiencing an overdose. It is vital that doctors screen their older patients for signs of alcohol or substance use disorders.

Older Adults and Addiction

Many people retiring today, particularly baby boomers, are facing significant medical obstacles. Millions of older Americans contend with chronic pain, and doctors are usually more than willing to prescribe potent opioids in such cases. What’s more, retirees often contend with loneliness following the death of a spouse.

Feelings of isolation are compounded by having a significant amount of free time to dwell on the loss of loved ones and a sense of purpose. Such realities can make individuals highly susceptible to a yearning for escape. Drugs and alcohol can provide a sense of relief, albeit temporary.

Before one knows what has happened, dependence and addiction can develop, which leads older people down a dangerous path. Moreover, older individuals are more likely to hide their condition and not seek help because they are ashamed of their problems.

As with any case of addiction, refusing to seek assistance can be deadly. If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription drug or alcohol misuse, we strongly encourage you to take action.

Seniors can benefit from seeking help from a treatment center that offers a program for older adults. Being in the company of people in your age group facing similar issues is ideal, just as it is for young adults.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer an age-specific treatment program for older adults. Our dedicated staff helps clients break the cycle of addiction and addresses many of the factors that precipitated one’s condition.

Our Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program helps clients build or rebuild self-esteem. We teach them how to cope with depression, loneliness, and loss while also establishing a social support network. Please contact us today to learn about our evidence-based therapies for the treatment of seniors struggling with addiction.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Young People in Addiction Recovery

young people in recovery
Individuals who begin using drugs and alcohol at a young age place themselves at significant risk. Drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning, physical altercations, and overdose are some of the dangers of using mind-altering chemicals, regardless of one’s age. However, people who begin using during adolescence face a myriad of other adverse effects.

The brain is not fully developed until one’s mid-twenties, which means introducing drugs and alcohol can lead to temporary and permanent alterations. People who use during their formative years are exponentially more likely to develop alcohol and substance use disorders compared to their non-using peers.

There are other risks besides addiction; teenage alcohol and drug use can inhibit one’s ability to learn the necessary skills and abilities for managing emotions. They also struggle to communicate their thoughts and feelings effectively. High schoolers who use drugs and alcohol regularly often struggle with problem-solving; naturally, this can lead to social and academic problems.

Teens and Young Adult Invincibility Complex

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. Since the frontal lobe does not finish developing until around the age of 26, alcohol and substance use can significantly alter maturation. Please note the decision-making aspect of the PFC.

It’s well known that teens make rash and impulsive decisions. Adolescents are notorious for not thinking through their actions fully and believing that they are immune to certain dangers. Young adults, those in their early twenties, also have similar traits, albeit they may be more rational than sixteen-year-olds.

Those who use drugs and alcohol in their youth regularly often maintain the delusions that they are not susceptible to addiction. Each person learns about such dangers in health class, but many shrug off the knowledge of inherent risks associated with alcohol and substance use.

It’s a concerning fact that many young people are in denial about having an alcohol or substance use disorder. Young adults are often resistant to the idea of seeking help because they believe they can control their disease. In such cases, the disease progresses, and more problems arise in their lives.

Young People in Recovery

If you are a young adult who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, then please know that you are not alone. Moreover, there are many young people working programs of addiction recovery today because they sought professional assistance. You might be thinking that if you seek treatment, then you will be the youngest client pursuing care. While many older adults enter treatment each year, there exist age-specific treatment programs.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a program for young adults and one for older persons. While the disease of addiction affects everyone in similar ways, we have found that some clients respond better when amongst individuals in their age group. HVRC’s Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program caters to people in their late teens and twenties.

Our skilled team of clinicians utilizes innovative age-appropriate experiential approaches to enhance the therapeutic experience for young people. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and learn healthy coping skills for living a productive life in recovery. Please contact us today to take the first step toward healing.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Naloxone Saves Lives and Helps People with Opioid Use Disorders

opioid use disorder
It's hard to imagine how much deadlier the American opioid addiction epidemic would be if it were not for naloxone. Often sold under the brand name Narcan, naloxone is a drug that can reverse the potentially fatal effects of an opioid overdose.

If the naloxone is administered in a timely fashion, lives are saved. Since the late 1990s, naloxone has saved thousands and thousands of lives, both young and old Americans alike. The life-saving drug is a miracle worker by any standard, which is why every first responder in the country has a naloxone kit on hand at all times.

We must also note that addicts and their friends and families keep naloxone close by in case of an emergency. What's more, many people living with an opioid use disorder owe a debt of gratitude to naloxone for allowing them to find recovery. Naloxone gives people a second chance they wouldn't have had otherwise.

In recent years, federal and state legislation has made it easier for citizens to acquire the overdose antidote. Sadly, there was a time not long ago when a prescription was required to acquire a dose of naloxone. Previously, if someone lacked a prescription, then they were at the mercy of a fast response from paramedics, and that's assuming someone else was present to call 911.

Even still, seeking recovery is the only sure way to protect against a fatal overdose. Naloxone is not always effective when powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl or carfentanil are involved. Moreover, if an overdose involves other central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines, a dose of Narcan may not produce the desired outcome.

Reducing Opioid Overdose Deaths in America

While reports indicate that overdose deaths were down in 2018 from the previous year, the daily death toll is still unacceptable. More than 100 Americans succumb to an overdose every day; that number would be much higher if not for naloxone, without question. Still, some states are reticent to pass legislation that would allow for the sale of naloxone over the counter (OTC).

If the drug is made more available, it saves lives and opens the door for someone to seek treatment. An overdose is a traumatic event that could be likened to hitting bottom. Some individuals are more receptive to the idea of treatment in the hours following an overdose.

Research shows that doing away with prescription requirements is a priority. When legislation is passed to that end, addicts and their loved ones will utilize the freedom to purchase the life-saving drug.

A team of researchers at the University of Cincinnati report in JAMA Network Open that naloxone dispensing in Ohio increased dramatically since 2015, according to HealthDay. After Ohio lawmakers passed legislation allowing pharmacists to sell naloxone OTC, there has been a 2,328% increase in naloxone dispensing across the state.

"Overdoses are not a planned event so during an emergency is not the time to try and access naloxone," said lead researcher Pam Heaton. "The intent is for any adult to be able to go to a pharmacy and purchase naloxone for themselves or for anybody who might need it, so they are adequately prepared to administer a life-saving medication." 

Naloxone Nasal Spray is Easy to Administer

Since the advent of a naloxone nasal spray, even a child can administer the overdose antidote with limited training. William Eggleston, clinical assistant professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and colleagues at SUNY Upstate Medical University conducted a study on administering naloxone, HealthDay reports. The professor reported that most participants were able to deliver the drug after watching a short training video.

In a new study, Eggleston sought to determine if he would get the same results if participants had no training at all. He had groups of participants test all three available methods for administering the antidote: nasal spray, intramuscular shot, and a nasal atomizer kit.

Eggleston found that participants were able to administer the nasal spray faster than the other two methods; the median administration time was 16 seconds. The atomizer took the longest because it comes in three pieces that require assembling.

"People may not realize how important it is to provide training on how to administer naloxone," Eggleston said. "But when someone is not breathing, every second counts. If naloxone becomes available over the counter, our study highlights the importance of training resources, like pharmacists, public health campaigns and community resources. It also shows that the nasal spray product is the most intuitive to use and easiest to give quickly."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in California

If you or a loved one survived an overdose recently, then today is the ideal opportunity to reach out for professional assistance. Those who survive one overdose are exponentially more likely to experience another, and the outcome could be fatal.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we help adult men and women take the first step toward a life in recovery from opioid use disorder. Please contact our admissions team today to learn more about our chemical dependency rehabilitation hospital.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Early Life Adversity and Opioid Addiction

ELA Opioid Addiction
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we specialize in the treatment of addiction and trauma. The majority of individuals who meet the criteria for alcohol or substance use disorder experienced at least one traumatic event in their life.

Those who do not have the coping skills to manage adverse experiences often resort to mind-altering substances to ease their minds. For those who are genetically predisposed to addiction, using drugs and alcohol to cope is a sure path to developing an addiction.

In the field of mental health and addiction medicine, the topic of adverse childhood experiences or ACEs is frequently discussed. Sometimes referred to as early life adversity (ELA), ACEs can include being exposed to the following at a young age:
  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical or Emotional Neglect
  • Household Mental Illness or Substance Use
  • Household Domestic Violence
  • Incarcerated Household
While parental separation or divorce may appear to be less severe than abuse, such events can leave an indelible mark on a young person's psyche. Each child will respond to trauma the best they can, but many children lack the ability to process their feelings, which can impact their life trajectory.

In 2018, a study appearing in JAMA Pediatrics delved into the effects of adverse childhood experiences. The researchers found that as young people with ACEs grow up, they are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol, such as opioid use and misuse. The report suggests that the trend can affect one generation to the next. The authors write:

"Early life adversity is associated with leading causes of adult morbidity and mortality and effects on life opportunities. These findings highlight the importance of understanding why some individuals are at higher risk of experiencing adverse childhood experiences than others, including how this increased risk may exacerbate health inequities across the lifespan and future generations."

Early Life Adversity and Opioid Addiction

It's been nearly two years since the above research was published. Since that time, more research on the subject of early life adversity and opioid use disorder has been conducted. A team of researchers at the University of California - Irvine (UCI) sought to determine why people with a history of ELA are disproportionately prone to opioid addiction. Their findings appear in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The authors of the study titled, "On the early life origins of vulnerability to opioid addiction," examined how ELAs impact brain development and function, thus causing a higher potential for opioid use disorder, according to a UCI news release. The new research could lead to the development of predictive biomarkers and novel prevention strategies for curbing the American opioid abuse epidemic.

"We already know that genetics plays a major role in addiction vulnerability. But, this factor alone cannot account for the recent exponential rise in opioid abuse," said Tallie Z. Baram, MD, Ph.D., the Danette Shepard Chair in Neurological Sciences at the UCI School of Medicine. "Our team was determined to find out if environmental factors, like early life adversity, were contributing." 

There is now a direct causal link between ELA and opioid addiction vulnerability, according to the release. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Hewitt Foundation for Biomedical Research.

Opioid Use Disorder and Trauma Treatment

At HVRC, we can help you or a loved one address the traumatic events of your past and give you the tools to lead a healthy life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) and to speak with our admissions team about treatment options. Take the first step toward a life in long-term recovery with HVRC.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Novel Target for Treating Stimulant Use Disorders

stimulant use disorder
Research is essential for advancements in addiction treatment therapies. Scientists are the people who develop medications to help treat alcohol and substance use disorders. Research teams study and develop novel therapies that lead to the adoption of evidence-based treatment modalities.

However, while there are effective treatments available for all who struggle with addiction, there are some disorders that respond better to current therapies. With the recent surge of methamphetamine use in America, there is a dire need to find better ways of addressing stimulant use disorders.

Currently, there are no medications that are approved for treating people who struggle with stimulants. People with opioid use disorders can rely on several medications that can reduce cravings and prevent relapse in early recovery. The same is true for those living with alcohol use disorders.

Still, scientists are hard at work in finding new ways to help those who misuse and abuse stimulants like Adderall or methamphetamine. This is important because, in some parts of the country, methamphetamine is causing more deaths than prescription opioids.

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School may have found a new target for treating drug addiction involving amphetamines, ScienceDaily reports. The findings appear in the scientific journal Neuron.

The Hidden Stars of the Brain

Substance use disorders disrupt dopamine – one of the significant reward molecules of the brain production and the nucleus accumbens, one of the primary reward centers in the brain. The new study, co-led by Michelle Corkrum, Ph.D., a third-year medical student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/Ph.D.) at the University of Minnesota Medical School, found that targeting astrocyte calcium signaling could decrease the behavioral effects of amphetamine.
Astrocytes are support cells in the brain that are shaped like stars; Dr. Corkrum calls the cells "the hidden stars of the brain." The cells respond to dopamine with increases in calcium in the nucleus accumbens, according to the article. The researchers discovered that astrocytes respond to amphetamine with increases in calcium, and if astrocyte activity is altered, it could decrease the behavioral effects of amphetamine.

Increasing or decreasing the activity of astrocytes in the brain could lead to more effective treatments. Corkrum will continue researching the hidden stars of the brain with repeated exposures, withdrawal and reinstatement of amphetamine.

"These findings suggest that astrocytes contribute to amphetamine signaling, dopamine signaling and overall reward signaling in the brain," Corkrum said. "Because of this, astrocytes are a potentially novel cell type that can be specifically targeted to develop efficacious therapies for diseases with dysregulated dopamine." 

California Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

Hopefully, the above research and further studies will result in more effective addiction treatment therapies for stimulant use disorder. In the near future, science may help increase people's ability to abstain and achieve long-term recovery. While there are no medications to help reduce cravings for stimulants, those who seek treatment and adopt a program of recovery can go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Professional assistance can significantly increase one's chances of finding long-term recovery. Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat helps men and women who are caught in the grips of stimulant use disorders. Our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) is the ideal environment for adults who desire to recover from addiction.

Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based therapies and to find out what sets us apart from other treatment centers. Please call us today at 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment and to take the first step toward healing.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Having Fun in Early Recovery

Having Fun In Recovery
Having fun in recovery is essential. Your sobriety and protecting it is of the utmost importance, which means you have to attend meetings and work with others on a daily basis. However, your progress in early recovery also rests on finding time to enjoy life. Make time to have fun with the people in your support network.

Many people in early recovery do not know that it’s possible to have a good time without using drugs and alcohol; this is especially true for young people in recovery. A twenty-year-old who can no longer drink or drug may think that life will be boring moving forward. Such feelings are understandable, but they are not valid.

Young people in recovery learn how to have exciting times together. They find activities that do not involve drugs and alcohol and learn how to enjoy their newfound freedom. After meetings, men and women across the country get together to engage in activities. They grab a coffee and discuss matters other than the Steps.

Going to a movie, seeing a play, or visiting amusement parks are common activities among individuals in sobriety. Those living on the coast may go surfing or take walks along the beach. People living in mountainous parts of the country go rock climbing or hiking to enjoy nature with their peers. There is a myriad of ways to have a good time without drugs and alcohol. Remember, achieving lasting recovery will depend on stimulation.

People in Recovery are Not Sticks in the Mud

In your first year, you may find it challenging to enjoy yourself for numerous reasons. Years of drug and alcohol use alter one’s ability to enjoy the same things as “normies.” It’s a condition that is known as anhedonia: an inability to feel pleasure. Don’t worry because such states of being will subside the longer you are in the program. Early recovery is a healing process; the mind needs to reorient itself back to homeostasis.

You may need to fake it until you make it with regards to having fun. When someone in your homegroup invites you to do something, do it even if you do not feel like it; you may surprise yourself and have fun. Even if you are not having a good time, try to pretend to; you have the ability to develop a positive outlook when engaged in something you do not prefer.

Rest assured, there will come a day when you look forward to partaking in activities with your peers. We highly suggest that you attend recovery conventions or campouts; they are an excellent way to learn how to have fun in recovery. Being around hundreds or thousands of others in recovery is a remarkable experience and sure to bring enjoyment.

When you attend meetings, ask your peers how they have fun when they are not working or doing Step work. You will get responses that can guide you towards exciting activities. Learning how to have a blast without mind-altering substances will significantly strengthen your program. It will also help you achieve your goals in recovery.

Addiction Program for Adults and Young Adults

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for more information about our programs. We can help you or a loved one begin a life-altering journey of recovery.

HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH), which means we can offer more services than other centers. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions. Take the first Step with HVRC: 866-273-0868

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mental Health Resources for First Responders

Trauma is an underlying factor in many cases of addiction and other forms of mental illness. Many people's employment puts them in harm's way and exposes them to see things that are challenging to unsee. When an individual experiences a traumatic event it is paramount that steps are taken to process and cope with it in healthy and productive ways. Preventing trauma from taking hold of one's life often depends on professional therapy.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Services & Sage Retreat, we have written about the effects trauma can have on people. We have seen first-hand the deleterious impact traumatic events can have on a person's life, and we know that it often leads people down a destructive path. Many of the men and women we treat at HVRC have some form of trauma in their past.

Working in the field of addiction medicine, we also know that first responders and military personnel are at a higher risk of being subject to traumatic events. They are the first to arrive on the scene of unspeakable horrors, from murder to child abuse. As such, those who lack the tools nor have the resources to cope with what they experience are at a significant risk of self-harming and self-destructive behaviors.

The prevalence of mental and behavioral health disorders among first responders is staggering. A large number of EMTs, firemen and women, and law enforcement officials struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and addiction. At HVRC, we created a program with the first responder demographic in mind, one that addresses a patient's underlying trauma and mental illness that follows from unfortunate experiences.

When people do not receive immediate treatment for trauma, it can lead to PTSD. When PTSD isn't treated, men and women turn to drugs and alcohol to cope; this trend often leads to the development of alcohol and substance use disorders. Sadly, some individuals find all of the above too challenging to bear. When that happens, they suffer from suicidal ideation, and many will attempt and succeed in ending their lives.

Police Officers Committing Suicide

Blue HELP – a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that tracks police suicides – reports that more police officers committed suicide in 2019. The organization found that at least 228 officers died by suicide last year, the highest number ever, USA Today reports. Moreover, the nonprofit states the actual death toll is probably much higher.

"This is a mental-health crisis," writes NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill. "And we – the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole – absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue." 

The organization can't be sure if the findings mean more officers are taking their lives or if officer suicides are being more widely reported. Whatever the case may be, more than 200 documented instances is a staggering finding, which should lead law enforcement agencies to take action to ensure their officers receive support.

When more officers are dying by suicide than are in the line of duty, it is clear that we have a severe problem in America. Data from Officer Down Memorial Page Inc. shows that 132 officers lost their lives in the line of duty last year.

Blue HELP is hopeful that the revelations regarding suicide will prompt prevention efforts among agencies across the country, according to the article. Karen Solomon, the co-founder of Blue HELP, believes that there is a need to increase the availability of mental health resources for officers.

"I'm really hoping that 2020 will be the year this turns around," Karen Solomon, the group's co-founder, told ABC News. "I'd love to see suicide prevention receive the same efforts we put forth for traditional line-of-duty deaths."

HVRC First Responders Treatment Program

If you are a first responder or active or retired military who struggles with mental and behavioral health disorders, then please reach out to HVRC. Our Heroes Program was designed to meet your unique needs and help you take the first steps toward long-term recovery. Call us today for a free, confidential assessment. 866-273-0868

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Spirit of Recovery 2019: Pat Kelly

Spirit of Recovery
Previous "Spirit  of Recovery" award recipients celebrate with
2019 honoree Pat Kelly (center)
The field of addiction medicine and recovery is of vital importance, perhaps now more than ever. Millions of people struggle with the disease of addiction, and men and women who seek assistance find numerous individuals who are committed to helping them get on the road to recovery.

Each year at Hemet Valley Recovery Center (HVRC), we honor the men and women whose service to others is invaluable. From medical professionals to those who pay forward the gift of recovery to newcomers, many people meet the criteria for recognition. The Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award is our way of shining a spotlight on those whose tireless work is saving lives.

We have written about past honorees over the years. For instance, in 2018, we recognized Stephen Ey, MD, a physician who has dedicated his entire medical career to helping men and women adopt a program of addiction recovery. If you click here, then you will find a list and write-ups about previous award winners.

It’s worth mentioning that no one gets into the field of addiction because of a desire to receive accolades. Those who get into the field, some in recovery themselves and some not, do so because of an innate sense of compassion for individuals who struggle with alcohol, substance use, and mental health disorders. All of these are treatable conditions, but finding recovery depends on the excellent work of specific individuals, such as Dr. Stephen Ey.

This year, the Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award honored Pat Kelly. She has worked in this field for over 30 years and is a Certified Addiction and Drug Counselor. What’s more, she is a Board Registered Interventionist with the Credentialing Board for Interventionists (CIP).

 Helping Others Find Recovery

Pat Kelly, CADC, like those who we honored before, stands out in the field of addiction medicine and is a member of the Addiction Treatment Advocacy Coalition (ATAC). It’s a role that has her fighting tirelessly for addiction and mental health parity. Her mission is to ensure that insurance providers cover the cost of treatment commensurately with any other life-threatening illness.

In addition to raising four children, Mrs. Kelly is a member of the Association of Intervention Specialists. She mentors men and women in the field of intervention, teaching them effective ways of helping families get their loved ones into treatment.

Throughout her impressive career, Mrs. Kelly (now married 51 years) has worked in psychiatric hospitals and various treatment facilities. A notable contribution to the field was her creation of the intake training protocol for St Joseph’s nurses on their Chemical Dependency Unit. That was 19 years ago, and her protocol is still used today at many treatment centers across the country.

She still works as an interventionist and consults with treatment centers. Pat is proficient in the Johnson, Storti, and the three Invitational Models of intervention: The Arise, Family Systems, and Break Free Invitational Model. Moreover, she was a keynote speaker at the most recent California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). She spoke about the ethical practices of admission and proper client placement.

If you would like to learn more about Pat Kelly’s personal life, then you can find more information here. Again, we would like to commend Pat for all her hard work; she is a model for all who enter the vital field of addiction medicine.

Take The First Step with HVRC

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one require assistance with addiction or co-occurring mental illness. Our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) is in-network with most insurers, which means that evidence-based treatment is more affordable. We invite you to reach out today for a confidential assessment and take the first step toward a life in recovery with HVRC.