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.