Friday, April 24, 2020

Coping with Stress in Recovery

The global pandemic has proved to bring billions together in a common cause to eradicate COVID-19. However, it has also led to an exponential rise in calls to mental health crisis hotlines, and alcohol sales are through the roof. Members of the recovery community are cut off from the physical lifelines like in-person 12 Step meetings.

The whole country is stressed out, to put it mildly, fears of contracting the virus, and in the past five weeks, 26.5 million workers have already filed for unemployment. Each day the number of new cases rises, as does the death toll. A staggering 193,039 people around the globe have lost their life due to COVID-19, and some 2,745,525 are infected.

You're most likely aware that the United States is at the top of the list when it comes to coronavirus infections and deaths. As of 9:19 a.m. on April 24, 871,970 Americans are infected, and 50,103 have perished since February 6, 2020.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we offer our condolences to every person who has lost a loved one, and we are praying that the infected make a speedy recovery. We understand that words cannot assuage the pain that many of you are going through, but we will continue to keep you in our thoughts.

Dealing With Stress In Recovery

These are stressful times, and it's vital that members of the recovery community do their best to cope in non-destructive ways. A relapse will only worsen an already challenging situation. We understand that many people are anxious to return to how things were before, but it will be some time before that comes to fruition. So, then it's critical that you utilize every tool in your recovery toolbox for managing and maintaining the progress you've made.

Even before there were whispers of an ensuing pandemic, many Americans were stressed out. Did you know that data indicates that Americans are among the most stressed people in the world? It's true!

In 2018, about 55 percent of adults said they had experienced stress during "a lot of the day" prior, compared with just 35 percent globally, according to the Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report. Nearly half (45 percent) felt worried a lot, and more than one in five (22 percent) felt angry a lot.

With the above information in mind, Stress Awareness Month couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Yes, that's right, every April since 1992, people around the world observe Stress Awareness Month. While the observance started in the United Kingdom, it has since branched out to other nations. National Today writes:
Stress can be debilitating, and it can cause and/or aggravate health problems. And since stress is a normal part of human existence — nobody is immune to it — it's important to arm ourselves with knowledge so that we recognize when stress rears its ugly head...It's important to learn some strategies for coping with this particular silent scourge.
Men and women who've gone through treatment or have worked the 12 Steps already have mechanisms for coping with stress throughout the year. However, this year is proving to be vastly different than 2019; the next Gallup polls will probably show that Americans were more stressed than ever before in 2020.

Remember, you can counter stress and mitigate the risk of relapse by practicing breathing techniques, meditating, and reciting mantras like the serenity prayer throughout the day. Take walks; the fresh air is good for you. Exercise if you are physically able; it will release endorphins that will make you feel better. Always remind yourself, this too shall pass.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital

Despite the pandemic, addiction recovery services are essential. Alcohol and substance use disorders are epidemics of their own and must be addressed. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and what our team is doing to keep our current and prospective clients safe. You can reach us today at 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Alcohol Relapse Increases Risk of Contracting Coronavirus

alcohol relapse
Billions of people fear contracting the coronavirus known as COVID-19, and for rational reasons. Millions of people in addiction recovery have the same concern, but they are also worried about the strength of their program. Such individuals lack the resources they could always rely on and are forced to meet with their support network online or by phone.

With 672,303 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, attending a meeting in person is risky. Even if a meetinghouse is diligent about sanitizing surfaces, requiring face masks, and social distancing, contracting the virus is still possible.

The recovery community must be exceptionally cautious about attending meetings in person. Moreover, many members can benefit from eating nutritious foods, exercising, and possibly taking supplements to boost one's immune system. COVID-19 preys upon people with weakened immune systems.

Years of heavy active drug and alcohol use have left a large number of the recovery population with compromised immune systems. Physical health problems are a common vestige of one's addictive past. For instance, if you have a lung condition or respiratory issues, then please do not gamble with your health and safety. Take full advantage of online 12 Step meetings to mitigate the risk of contracting a virus that has led to the death of 33,898 Americans.

Keeping your recovery intact can also protect you from becoming vulnerable to the virus. A relapse, followed by a continued drug and alcohol abuse, will weaken your immune system. Sadly, the state of each of our lives almost guarantees a rise in relapse rates.

"The rises in anxiety and [depression] being anticipated are also accompanied by an expected increase in substance misuse as people cope with loneliness, isolation and potential unemployment," said a spokesperson for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA).

Alcohol Use Compromises Your Immune System

No amount of alcohol is good for human beings despite some myths about drinking wine. Ethanol is a poison that can clean surfaces and power motor vehicles; it has the power to wreak havoc on the mind, body, and spirit.

While this is not a good time for people to do anything that could jeopardize one's health, Americans are drinking more alcohol than ever. Sheltering in place and social distancing can be depressing and boring, and millions of Americans are opting to respond to our new way of life by consuming alcohol.

There is a mind-boggling rise in the sale of alcohol in America due to "stay at home" orders. When you add in the fact that 22 million more Americans find themselves out of work, it's little wonder that alcohol sales rose 55 percent in the first week (ending March 21) that sheltering in place went in effect, according to the market research firm Nielsen.

Below, you will find a breakdown on how alcohol sales differ from the same week last year:
  • Spirits sales increased by 75 percent.
  • Beer went up by 66 percent
  • Wine rose by 42 percent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reaffirms the dangers of increased alcohol use amid a pandemic. WHO states that alcohol weakens the body's immune system and lowers one's inhibitions, which can lead to risky behaviors, according to a press release. Both increase a person's risk of contracting COVID-19. WHO states:
"Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, alcohol compromises the body's immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes. Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The organization reminds us that alcohol use contributes to 3 million deaths each year. Now, they want the world to know it can put you at risk of contracting a deadly pathogen.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment in California

With the above information in mind, those in recovery for alcohol use disorder will want to protect their program. Relapsing with alcohol does not only derail your recovery, but it also places you at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. Please do everything in your power to safeguard your health and recovery during these trying times.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage retreat if you are in the grips of an alcohol use disorder. Our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) is following CDC coronavirus guidelines. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and set you on the path toward lasting recovery.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Mental Health Crisis Hotline Calls Spike During the Pandemic

mental health
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we continue to provide you with information about life in recovery during a pandemic. Since last week, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in America has nearly doubled from 245,573 to 467,184 cases. We now have by far the most cases of the potentially deadly coronavirus compared to any other country.

Sadly, the COVID-19 related death toll continues to rise around the globe; 97,264 people have died worldwide, and 16,736 of those deaths happened in America. Again, our hearts go out to all the families who have lost a loved one to the pandemic.

Thankfully, there is some evidence that the number of new cases may begin to slow because of preventive measures taken by millions of people. Social distancing, sheltering in place, and self-quarantining have proven to be effective in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Regular hand washing/sanitizing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks has helped too.

If you are taking the above measures, then please continue to do so; we are far from being in the clear of this severe public health crisis. As we mentioned last week, it is essential for people in recovery and those living with anxiety disorders to safeguard their mental well-being.

Attending meetings and constant contact with your support network is essential to coping with this new way of life. COVID-19 is scary, and it's natural to feel extremely vulnerable; you must be vigilant about protecting your recovery and tending to your mental health needs.

The Pandemic is Affecting People’s Mental Health

It may not surprise you to learn that the Disaster Distress Helpline – a service run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – has been inundated with calls of late. In February, there was a 338 percent increase in call volume compared with last February, according to CNN. Moreover, the helpline saw an 891 percent increase in calls this March, compared to that time last year.

Millions of Americans cope with mental and behavioral health disorders, and their well-being has been understandably compromised of late. When you consider people's heightened anxiety and feelings of uncertainty, it can be too much for some individuals to handle. Add in the fact that an untold number of Americans are grieving, and at least 17 million men and women have lost their jobs; it's no wonder why there has been a spike in calls for support.

SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline – launched in 2012 – provides counseling for people facing mental health symptoms during natural and human-caused disasters. The program's website reads:

"This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor." 

Addiction Recovery and Mental Health Services

While speaking with a counselor over the phone is beneficial, some individuals are in need of more comprehensive care. Addiction and mental health treatment are essential services under any circumstance, which is why Hemet Valley Recovery Center is continuing to care for patients.

At HVRC, we are following every Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines to protect the health and safety of our clients and staff members. We invite you to reach out to us if you are battling addiction or have a co-occurring disorder. Take the first step toward recovery with HVRC & Sage Retreat by calling 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Coping with Anxiety During a Pandemic is Possible

anxiety disorder
Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed over 1 million. Today, 245,573 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States, and 6,058 Americans have passed away from virus-related health complications. Sadly, the U.S. has more infections than any other country, and the trend will continue, according to public health experts.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we feel it our duty to help people in addiction recovery and with mental health disorders navigate life during a pandemic. This public health crisis has changed the way we live in innumerable ways.

A few weeks ago, few people had heard the words social and distancing said together. Now, we are all familiar with self-quarantines and keeping six feet away from each other (social distancing). We are living in a state of fear for ourselves and loved ones; it's hard to avoid feeling vulnerable and overly anxious.

As many of you know, the states of mind mentioned above can be detrimental to people in recovery and those with pre-existing anxiety disorders. Today, utilizing coping mechanisms is more vital than ever for those in recovery.

Isolation can lead your mind to wander, and negative thoughts can arise as a result. As such, millions of people are at risk of relapse and a decline in mental well-being. Hopefully, you are keeping in constant contact with your support network and calling your sponsor and therapist (if needed) to discuss your emotions and symptoms of anxiety. Moreover, it's important that members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous take part in online meetings by way of video conferencing.

If you follow the suggestions laid out above, then you're better able to protect your mental health and recovery. Remember, you are not alone; we are all dealing with life during a pandemic together despite being physically away from each other. Such reminders can be of great comfort when angst or depression crop up.

Coping with Anxiety Disorders

More than half of people in recovery are believed to have a co-occurring mental illness (dual diagnosis). On top of maintaining a program of recovery, many people have to keep mental health disorder symptoms at bay. Achieving the goals stated above amid a pandemic is challenging.

If you have an anxiety disorder – are in addiction recovery or not – it's understandable if you're dealing with more angst. This is an unprecedented time in our life; coping with anxiety is challenging when life is normal; life today is anything but usual.

Dr. John Sharp, a board-certified psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, offers some beneficial advice about coping with anxiety during a public health crisis. His helpful tips could assist you in managing your symptoms and protect your recovery. Dr. Sharp states on the Harvard Health Blog:

"Separating out feelings from the past, reminding yourself that you have the strength and ability in the present to prevail, seeing a path forward for yourself and setting yourself upon that path is the way forward. If along that way you should stumble and fall, picture yourself as able to pick yourself back up and carry on. Reassure yourself that the basic provisions for your safety and well-being are within your power to meet." 

He suggests that people with anxiety disorders work toward separating where your feelings are coming from by saying to yourself, "Of course, I'm more concerned than (my roommate/my friend/my family), because I'm practiced at feeling anxious or helpless."

The next step is recognizing that the feelings that stem from the past don't have to dictate how you feel today. He suggests saying out loud: "Well that was then, this is now." The psychiatrist believes that the above action can provide much relief.

Dr. Sharp adds that it's vital to separate your past from your present, gently. Tell yourself that you have the tools to manage your condition during these trying times and cope with your "feelings and reactions" in the present. Moreover, it's crucial that you be kind to yourself.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Hospital

If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction and/or co-occurring mental illness, then please reach out to HVRC. We are unique in being a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). Our clients benefit from having access to over 185 physicians in a variety of medical fields. Take the first step today by calling (866) 273-0868.