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.