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Friday, October 12, 2018

Cure Stigma: Suffering Because of Silence

cure stigma
Wednesday was World Mental Health Day; this is Mental Illness Awareness Week 2018. Please join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and everyone working in the field of addiction medicine and dual diagnosis treatment in putting an end to the virus keeping people from seeking help. The target virus? Stigma!

NAMI’s Cure Stigma campaign or #CureStigma aims to identify individuals who are infected by stigma and educate them as to the facts of mental illness with the hope that such people will exercise more compassion, empathy, and understanding. Mental health disorders are far too prevalent to be treated as anything but the severe health conditions that they are; such issues are not moral failings or the fault of anyone. However, unlike other serious medical problems, much of society looks at mental illness through a distorted lens.

Most Americans are unaware that 1 in 5 Americans lives with mental illness and that nearly 60 percent of those individuals have never sought treatment. Far too many people consider alcohol and substance use disorders as being the result of bad decisions rather than mental health disorders; it also isn’t a coincidence that among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experience a substance use disorder, more than half have a co-occurring mental illness. What’s more, both figures are probably low estimates; the exact prevalence is believed to be much higher because of under-reporting. Stigma keeps people in the dark, they fear that opening up about their illnesses will lead to ridicule and social ostracization.

 

Encouraging Treatment


At Celebrate Hope, many of our articles deal with stigma and the value of combating stigma. We follow studies in the field of mental health with great interest and make a concentrated effort to disseminate the facts to our readers. When people are informed, they are more likely to disregard preconceived notions and do what they can to effect change in their community. Since mental illness affects every town and city across the country, we can all benefit from encouraging men and women into treatment. A mission that many agree revolves around ending stigma.

When people in society have open and honest discussions about mental illness, everyone benefits. When more individuals voice support for those in the grips of illness, more of the afflicted seek help. Anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder – for instance – are psychological conditions accepted by science and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); the same can be said for alcohol and substance use disorder and dependence.

Mental illness is real, and people are suffering, and they will continue to do so as long others play host to stigma. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others despite the existence of effective treatments, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Council.

Please take a moment to watch a video about stigma:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

You are also invited to take the Cure Stigma quiz. Please click here.

 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment


Dual diagnoses, or co-occurring disorders, are common in patients dealing with addiction. When people have a dual diagnosis, it is paramount that both the use disorder and other forms of mental illness are treated at the same time. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you or a loved begin the courageous journey of addiction recovery.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Young Adults Using Cannabis On The Rise

cannabis use disorder
Most Americans are in favor of either medical cannabis programs, recreational use laws, or both. There may be a day that comes in the not too distant future when we see cannabis downgraded to a status similar to alcohol, decriminalized on the Federal level. Naturally, there exists two pretty good arguments for supporting or criticizing legislation that will bring about more relaxed marijuana laws. Each case should, and likely will be considered carefully before any national decisions are made in the future.

Maintaining the status quo of marijuana legality is harmful and has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans. The fact that people are serving lengthy sentences in prison for cannabis is almost hard to believe, and yet that is the reality of many Americans. Even though the drug is habit forming for some people and can lead to a cannabis use disorder, doesn’t mean that locking people up for using the substance is the right course.

However, it is vital that legislation in this country, and the rolling out of laws that allow for adult use, be guided by public health and addiction science experts. Americans need to be able to access the facts about the drug so that they can make informed decisions at an age when the brain is still not fully developed. Simply put, there are inherent risks to using cannabis; many Americans, especially young Americans, are unaware of such hazards.

 

Young Adult Cannabis Use


The majority of people who use cannabis recreationally do so in moderation. Your average smoker is lighting up first thing in the morning, maintaining a high throughout the day, and then using the drug just before bed. Just like with alcohol, most Americans exercise caution when it comes to using the drug. However, research shows that young people who use the drug are at a heightened risk of experiencing cognitive deficiencies, social problems, and developing a cannabis use disorder.

Teenagers and young adults, in states permitting medical use or people over the age of 21 years, need to understand better what is at stake before they begin using the drug regularly, or at all for that matter. Millions of people in this country currently meet the criteria for a cannabis use disorder; such people seek the assistance of addiction treatment centers regularly. With that in mind, it is clear that cannabis – as some purport – isn't benign; those who attempt to quit on their own will often experience withdrawal symptoms that can precipitate relapse before recovery takes root.

The addictive nature of cannabis use is incontrovertible, and young people are vulnerable; which is why it is concerning to learn that the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey found that more non-college young adults are using the drug than ever. The MTF shows that daily, or near daily, marijuana use among non-college young adults is climbing. Last year, use reached its highest level (13.2 percent) among the mentioned demographic. Non-college attending young adults use marijuana at nearly three times the rate of college students.

Please take a moment to watch Dr. Nora Volkow discuss some of the findings of the survey:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

 

Cannabis Use Disorder


At Celebrate Hope, we can help men and women struggling with cannabis use disorder break the cycle of addiction. Please contact our skilled team of professionals to learn about our recovery programs and discuss treatment options.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Inspiring Others During Recovery Month

Recovery Month
If you are working a program of recovery and are dedicated to leading a life free from drugs and alcohol, then September is an important month. Each year at this time Celebrate Hope and treatment centers across the United States observe National Recovery Month. This a time when those working a program can play a critical role in encouraging others to take steps toward transforming their life.

Those who follow the news understand that millions of people across the country are currently wrestling with addiction and other debilitating mental health conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. While recovery is attainable for anyone who is willing to take action and seek help, the vast majority of those who have mental illness never seek assistance. But, we can all do our part and encourage others to reach out for help.

National Recovery Month “provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate” the accomplishments of individuals in recovery, and in doing so, we inspire others to embrace change. Sadly, many people feel making changes for the better an impossible task; whether it be stigma or trying to recover without support, it is easy for people struggling with addiction to remain silent. And, if an individual isn’t able to speak up and call out for assistance, nothing is likely to change.

Join The Voices for Recovery


“The observance [Recovery Month] reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”

One way to help people who are in the grips of addiction to see that recovery is possible is to amplify the message of the many men and women, young and old alike, who are committed to long-term improvement. People can and do recover when they believe it's possible; what better way to show the promise of tomorrow than providing a vehicle for those working a program to share their story.

The 2018 Recovery Month theme is, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.” If you are in recovery, then you have an opportunity to inspire others by sharing your experience. You might find it surprising, but your story may be one of the catalysts that helps another make the courageous decision to reach out to a treatment center. What’s more, SAMHSA and other entities are hosting events throughout the month to spread these important messages:

There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.

 

Addiction Treatment


Celebrate Hope commends the hard work of men and women in recovery, and we are confident that your actions this month will inspire others to follow a similar path. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder, please reach out to us as soon as possible to discuss addiction treatment options and start celebrating hope today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Motherhood and Meth In Fresno

meth
After years of apparent decline in methamphetamine use – following the significant government intervention in the early aughts – meth is back with a vengeance. In past articles we have discussed how the powerful stimulant people are using today is even more potent than the stuff Americans smoked, snorted, or injected once upon a time. Gone are the days of clandestine trailer-park labs or making meth in the trunk of a car, no today’s meth or “Ice,” as some people refer to it, is made in super laboratories south of the border. The crystalline substance used today is significantly stronger, purer, and deadlier than anything found at the height of this country’s last drug-related public health crisis.

Between 2000 and 2016, there was more than a five-fold increase in the amount of methamphetamine confiscated by California law enforcement, according to a new documentary that is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators. “Motherhood and Meth,” directed by Mary Newman, provides an up close and personal look at meth use in Fresno as experienced by law enforcement, addiction treatment professionals, and mothers addicted to methamphetamine. In the U.S., an estimated 19,000 methamphetamine users are pregnant women.

“The power methamphetamine has on a person’s life was the most surprising part of [reporting] this story,” Mary Newman, a journalist at the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, tells The Atlantic. “I would speak with people struggling with addiction and they would have a certain self-awareness that their decisions were derailing their life, but they would also describe a feeling of complete helplessness.” 

Motherhood and Meth


In many of the more rural areas of the country, meth use surpasses that of heroin. In Fresno, California, (Population: 522,053 [2016]), almost 273 miles to the northeast of San Juan Capistrano, Ice is taking a severe toll. The drug isn’t just affecting people with stimulant use disorder; it is impacting children and the entire community. Being a border state, it’s not surprising that California sees a massive influx of meth trafficking and use. After medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, drug cartels began making pure liquid meth, according to the article. Once the liquid is transported across the border, it is then crystallized in conversion labs.

William Ruzzamenti, who appears in the documentary, is a 30-year Drug Enforcement Administration veteran; he says that there is more methamphetamine than ever, and it is significantly less expensive to buy. Ruzzamenti points out that an ounce of meth fell from nearly $968 in 2013 to around $250 in 2016. The drug is cheaper, purer, and there is a plentiful supply; all of which is fueling a new crisis in California.

“I think a lot of people associate meth with the 1990s, and this comeback has gone largely unnoticed in the shadow of the heroin and opioid epidemics,” said Newman. 

You can watch the short documentary below, but please be advised that there are some graphic content and some footage of people using meth. If you are relatively new to the program, you may want to skip the film or talk to someone in your support network about watching it beforehand.


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

 

Stimulant Use Disorder


Please contact Celebrate Hope if you are struggling with methamphetamine or prescription stimulants. We can assist you in breaking the cycle of addiction and teach you how to navigate life in recovery. Start celebrating hope today!

Friday, August 24, 2018

No Safe Amount of Alcohol

alcohol use
There are many myths about alcohol use that people hold on to despite the science. Occasionally, the media covers stories about the potential health benefits of drinking moderate amounts of alcohol; which undoubtedly adds to the confusion of the general public. Headlines reading that wine promotes a healthy heart is just one of many fictions promulgated by news networks.

Researchers across the globe work tirelessly to glean a more concise picture of the effect that alcohol has on the human body. While there is little doubt about prolonged heavy alcohol use leading to myriad health concerns, there is still a small number of scientists who argue that moderate drinking carries few risks in the long run. However, research teams continue to make associations between alcohol use in any amount and potentially life-threatening health conditions.

Any action a person can take – whether it be driving or walking next to a busy road – can lead to injury. There is an element of risk to everything we do in life. Alcohol is terrible for people to be sure, but no amount of scientific evidence is going to result in banning the substance or the majority of people choosing to abstain. The best we can hope for is that science helps Americans and people abroad to make informed decisions about using the substance. It is of the utmost importance that everyone knows that there is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol.

 

Alcohol Isn’t Good for Overall Health


At Celebrate Hope, we treat clients whose alcohol use is more substantial than average; people whose use negatively impacts their life to a pernicious degree. Beyond meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder, some of our former clients have severe health conditions stemming from alcohol use like liver diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer. Merely put, alcohol isn’t just destroying such peoples’ lives, it is severely damaging their body.

Naturally, your average drinker doesn’t meet the criteria for alcoholism, nor do they experience all the pain and suffering that accompanies the condition. Most people have a couple of drinks each night after work or during the weekend; they probably are not thinking about the possible physical problems that can arise from their moderate alcohol use. It is essential that we discuss a new analysis of global alcohol consumption and disease risk.

New research, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, from an analysis of the 2016 Global Burden of Disease report, shows that no amount of alcohol is safe, CNN reports. The findings which appear in the journal The Lancet, indicate that alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death for people between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, regardless of sex.

"The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally," said senior study author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. "We're used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine. But the evidence is the evidence." 

Gakidou points out that while moderate amounts of alcohol may be slightly beneficial for some health problems, i.e., Type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease, the benefits are outweighed by the overall adverse health impact of any amount of alcohol, according to the article. This state-of-the-art study is likely to fly in the face of many previous studies on moderate drinking.

"This study is a stark reminder of the real, and potentially lethal, dangers that too much alcohol can have on our health and that even the lowest levels of alcohol intake increase our risks," Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK.

 

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


Please reach out to Celebrate Hope if alcohol is wreaking havoc on your life or that of a loved one. We can help you break the cycle of alcohol addiction and give you the tools and coping mechanisms for leading an alcohol-free life in recovery.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Diagnosing Mental Illness With AI

mental illness
More than half of the people living with an alcohol or substance use disorder also contend with a co-occurring mental health condition. In the field of addiction medicine, it is critical that patients receive screenings for a dual diagnosis. Research indicates, unequivocally, that individuals who do not receive simultaneous treatment for coöccuring disorders while in rehab are unlikely to stay on track working a program of addiction recovery.

Addiction is a treatable mental illness and success depends on treating the whole patient. Attending to a use disorder without addressing a client's comorbidity almost guarantees a relapse down the road. Conversely, when people receive treatment for all of their conditions at once – learning how to manage the symptoms without drugs and alcohol – they can lead productive lives in recovery.

While conditions like depression and bipolar disorder are manageable with the help of evidence-based therapies, there are times when medication is required to keep symptoms at bay. Naturally, there is a multitude of prescription drugs that can help improve people’s life quality. Deciding which drug works best depends entirely on how a patient responds; it is often the case that several different meds are tried before finding the one that works best. The process of finding the right drug for a client can be a challenging task, but technology may one day help things along.

 

Using Artificial Intelligence to Better Diagnose Mental illness


Diagnosing mental illness is a complicated task that can take a significant amount of time; finding the medication that works best for a patient, often takes even longer. Research shows that A.I. has something to offer in the quest for diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. Researchers at Canada’s Lawson Health Research Institute, The Mind Research Network in New Mexico and the Brainnetome Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, designed an artificial intelligence algorithm that analyzes brain scans to classify illness in patients with a complex mental illness, PyschCentral reports. What’s more, the algorithm can predict how a patient will respond to a particular medication.

“Antidepressants are the gold standard pharmaceutical therapy for [major depressive disorder] MDD while mood stabilizers are the gold standard for bipolar I,” said Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a clinician-scientist at Lawson and co-lead investigator on the study. “But it becomes difficult to predict which medication will work in patients with complex mood disorders when a diagnosis is not clear. Will they respond better to an antidepressant or to a mood stabilizer?” 

When the researchers tested their algorithm on 78 adult patients from mental health programs, it correctly classified their illness with 92.4 percent accuracy, according to the article. And, 11 out of 12 participants responded to the medication predicted by the algorithm.

“Patients may also have more than one diagnosis, such as a combination of a mood disorder and a substance abuse disorder, further complicating diagnosis,” said Dr. Osuch. “Having a biological test or procedure to identify what class of medication a patient will respond to would significantly advance the field of psychiatry.”

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


If you or a loved one is living with addiction and co-occurring mental illness, please contact Celebrate Hope. We specialize in treating patients with a dual diagnosis and can help you begin a life-changing journey of recovery.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Encouraging Loved Ones Into Addiction Treatment

intervention
Addiction, as many people well know, disrupts the entire family. The impact of active alcohol or substance use disorder occurring in the household is significant in both scale and scope. Merely put, chemical dependency is a family disease; and family involvement aids successful recovery outcomes. Evidence-based treatment centers, including Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea, understand that family can play an instrumental role in helping their loved one accept treatment; we also take steps to include the family in the recovery process so that all concerned parties can heal.

The first step in the process of addiction recovery is encouraging the person you care about to seek treatment. Naturally, people in the grips of the disease are not always receptive to the idea of changing their life, even when it’s for the better. Addicts and alcoholics often wait until they are looking up from the bottom before they accept help. With that in mind, it is possible for interventions to go awry unless professional advice is sought. Unguided intervention often devolves into finger-pointing, guilting, and shaming; which, naturally, is hardly productive.

There are so many ways an unchoreographed intervention can go wrong that we strongly recommend you reach out to us for help. Celebrate Hope is a faith-based addiction treatment track, which means we join biblical principles with evidence-based addiction treatment techniques. For those who lost their connection with God, and strayed from the teachings of Jesus, faith-based treatment is an ideal method of breaking the cycle of addiction. When individuals turn to God for guidance and surrender to His will, long-term recovery is made possible.

 

More People Than Ever Need Addiction Help


A new Gallup poll shows that substance abuse is causing a higher number of families problems in the last decade and a half, The Hill reports. In 2005, 22 percent of respondents said drug use caused familial issues, whereas 30 percent report such troubles today and 37 percent report family problems related to alcohol. When Gallup asked about the impact of substance misuse on the family for the first time in 1995, only 19 percent reported concerns. It is likely that the sharp rise in drug-related family problems is connected to the opioid addiction epidemic in America.

The organization found that women were more likely to report family problems stemming from substance use than men, according to the article. What’s more, the highest number of respondents reporting issues reside in the West, 38 percent, compared to 26 percent in the South. The findings come from a survey of 1,033 adults nationwide.

 

Encouraging Recovery


Putting an end to family problems relating to substance use is possible, with the help of a recovery program. Celebrate Hope can assist you in expressing your concerns to a loved one productively and healthily. Please contact us to learn more about planning a Christian intervention.
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