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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Prescription Drugs and Drug Diversion


If you have ever taken someone else’s prescription medication or given your drugs to them, you have participated in an illegal activity called drug diversion. Drug diversion happens when people distribute or sell prescriptions in a way the prescriber did not intend. Minor instances can occur with individual users, but people with easy access to medications – like doctors, pharmacists and manufacturers – can also commit this crime on a large scale.

Types of Drug Diversion

Typical examples of drug diversion include:
  • Selling or dispensing prescription drugs without legal permission to do so
  • Doctor shopping, or visiting multiple prescribers in hopes of obtaining several prescriptions
  • Black-market internet pharmacies
  • Prescription pad theft and forgery

The Connection Between Drug Diversion and Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warn that prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Valium, Adderall, Xanax and Ativan have a high potential for drug diversion. Not surprisingly, these medications are also highly addictive. People who are physically and psychologically dependent on opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants might be willing to turn to illicit paths to get more drugs when they can no longer obtain them legally.

Many people mistakenly believe prescription medications are safer than illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, but the reality is that they can be just as addictive, even when used according to a doctor’s orders. These drugs can lead to a chemical dependency because of the sensations they create in the brain. For example, prescription stimulants give people energy and focus, while opioids cause euphoria and benzodiazepines have a calming, relaxing effect.

According to statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 1 million people end up in the emergency room every year after taking prescription drugs incorrectly. Prescription painkiller abuse is responsible for the deaths of more than 40 people daily, which is more than the combined number of people dying from heroin and cocaine misuse.

How Can You Prevent Drug Diversion?

If you or anyone in your household routinely takes potentially addictive prescription drugs, you have a vital role in preventing them from falling into the wrong hands and avoiding medical emergencies such as an accidental overdose.
  • Keep your medicine cabinet locked to ensure only the person who needs the medication has access to it.
  • Safely dispose of any unused prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet or finding a drug take-back program near you where someone will responsibly destroy the remaining supply.
  • Know the warning signs of an accidental overdose and be ready to call 911 for emergency help if a loved one falls unconscious and is unresponsive after using prescription medications incorrectly.

A Supportive Christian Rehab

No matter where you are in life, God is always willing to forgive you. At Celebrate Hope, we provide compassionate, faith-based addiction treatment. Throughout the years, our team of addiction clinicians and Christian counselors has provided comprehensive care that has helped many clients begin working on their long-term sobriety while strengthening their relationship with God.

We have built a safe, supportive space where you can get the care you need to recover using Biblical principles to find your way out of addiction and toward a bright, fulfilling future. Take the first step and contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

California Good Samaritan Law


The Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan tells the tale of an unfortunate Jewish man who was attacked and beaten by robbers. Though the Jewish and Samaritan people were historically enemies, a kind Samaritan was the only person to stop and help the victim, bandaging his wounds and taking him to an inn where he could heal. This story exemplifies the importance of treating everyone you see as your neighbor, even if they come from a different walk of life.

Inspired by this parable, California legislators have passed a Good Samaritan law aiming to encourage bystanders to intervene if they see someone who looks like they need help. It also ensures rescuers act responsibly in providing emergency care.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

If someone acting in good faith provides medical or non-medical care to a person at risk of harm, with no expectation of payment or reward, the Good Samaritan law protects them from a lawsuit if there was no gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Since EMTs and other first responders cannot always get to the scene of an accident immediately, timely assistance from bystanders can save lives and prevent further injuries.

Examples of Good Samaritan acts include:
  • Helping an injured driver get out of their car after a minor accident
  • Pulling a drowning swimmer out of a pool and performing CPR
  • Providing first aid to someone who tripped and fell on the sidewalk in front of you

Good Samaritan Laws and Accidental Drug Overdoses


Responding to an accidental overdose by moving an unconscious person into the recovery position and calling 911 is another excellent example of being a Good Samaritan. Drug overdoses take the lives of approximately 130 Americans each day, but most of these deaths are preventable if the people around the victim know what to do and act quickly.

In the case of an accidental overdose, Good Samaritan laws provide limited protection from arrest, charge or prosecution for low-level drug violations. That means you can provide lifesaving intervention on a friend or loved one’s behalf without worrying that you will face legal consequences for doing so.

How to Respond to a Drug Overdose

Respiratory failure is the leading cause of drug overdoses. When someone combines intoxicants or takes more drugs than their body can handle, their organs and systems will begin shutting down, starting with the central nervous system and continuing with the brain, heart and lungs.

Warning signs of a drug overdose include:
  • Extreme confusion and disorientation
  • Vomiting, seizures and hallucinations
  • Slow or irregular breathing and heart rate
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Clammy or feverish skin
  • Unresponsiveness
While a drug overdose can be terrifying, it could provide the catalyst you need to convince someone you care about that it’s time to seek help for their addiction. In a Christian rehab program, your loved one can learn to apply Biblical principles to their struggles with substance abuse.

Why Choose Christian Treatment?

People who come to Celebrate Hope’s faith-based rehab can expect to find fellowship, self-forgiveness and a strengthened relationship with God on their journey to improved health and wellness. To learn more about our programming and how we can help you and your family, contact us today.

Monday, July 18, 2022

What Does the Bible Say About Addiction? | Addiction in the Bible

Woman Studying the Bible

For people managing an addiction, the physical cravings are only part of the struggle. The other side of the battle is addressing the mental and emotional challenging that coincide with physical symptoms. A common mental struggle for Christians is reconciling their faith with their substance use disorder. While the Bible offers warnings about falling into substance misuse, it also provides hope for people who are coping with these disorders. In fact, what the Bible says about addiction is primarily encouraging.


Examples of Addiction in the Bible

When people think about references to addiction in the Bible, most will recall verses about drunkenness and its adverse effects. These are valid examples to consider. However, those don’t provide guidance on what to do after a person develops a substance use disorder They can also be discouraging, making people feel like they are beyond help. Rather than focusing on the consequences of falling into addiction, perhaps what’s more effective is looking at the grace for people who are managing a substance use disorder. 


The Story of the Prodigal Son

One of the more memorable parables that Jesus tells in the Bible is the story of the prodigal son. This teaching is often used to encourage people who have turned away from God to tell them they can always come back. However, the lesson of this story can also be applied to any decision to turn away from things of the world, including an addiction. 


After the younger son takes his share of his inheritance, he leaves his father’s home:


“Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” (Luke 15:13, ESV)

 

Anyone who has struggled with substances has experienced the physical, financial, and emotional toll that a substance use disorder can take. It often leads to reckless living and decision-making, much like the prodigal son. After he spends all of his inheritance, the son hits rock bottom. He ends up sleeping with pigs and without food. However, it’s what he chooses to do at this moment that makes the difference. Rather than continuing to make poor decisions, he chooses to return home. 


“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” (Luke 15:20-21, ESV)

 

When his father hears this, he doesn’t agree with or condone the son’s behavior. Instead, he celebrates his child’s return home. In the same way, when people turn from their addictions and choose to live a life outside of that, they are welcomed home in their faith. Notice that the father never asked the son to live a perfect life at home and never mess up again. He simply celebrated the choice his child made to turn from his old way of life. 


Bible Verses About Addiction

When someone decides to pursue recovery, God is never waiting to reprimand them for their previous choices. The story of the prodigal son speaks to this, but there are other examples of this grace in the Bible.


“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1, ESV)

 

Anyone who chooses a life in Christ doesn’t have to worry about past mistakes being held against them. Not only did His death on the cross forgive sins, Jesus’s life also provides hope for people struggling.


“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)


Addiction Recovery Based on Biblical Principles

At Celebrate Hope, we offer addiction treatment founded on what the Bible says about those who follow Christ. We believe that recovery built on faith in Christ leads to long-lasting sobriety. Our treatment center emphasizes who our clients are outside of their disorder, building on their individual strengths. We provide multiple opportunities for healing and growth through individual counseling, life skills workshops, and group therapy. If you’re looking for healing from a substance use disorder in a Christian community, contact our treatment center today. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Depression in the Bible | Hope for Depression

Verses in the Bible
For Christians struggling with depression, it’s often difficult to navigate their mental health challenges in the context of faith. Mental illness is not a new concept and has existed throughout history. In fact, there are multiple examples of these disorders in the Bible, including some of the most highly regarded people of that time. The Bible provides hope for Christians managing depression, and these examples can help reshape current views on mental health in the church.


Defining Depression in Biblical Times

It’s no secret that society today has a greater understanding of mental illness than those in the Bible. In those times, depression was often referred to as sorrow, grief, despair, or anguish. The people who lived in Biblical times didn’t have the scientific knowledge to define experiences or label these emotions in the same way that people do now. However, there is still ample evidence that people in the Bible exhibited the same emotions that those with a depressive disorder do, and this wasn’t used against them, especially not by God.


Examples of Depression in the Bible

For many people, the first person who comes to mind when they think about people in the Bible who were depressed is David. He is notorious for the rapid mood swings in his writings captured in Psalms. One moment he is praising God for His goodness, and the next he is deep in despair. 


“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” Psalm 32:3-4 (ESV)

 

Jonah exhibited similar symptoms when God told him that Ninevah would be spared despite their evil deeds.


“And he prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’” Jonah 4:2-3 (ESV)

 

Jeremiah also struggled with these feelings when he was being persecuted.


“Cursed be the day on which I was born!... Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?” Jeremiah 20:14, 18 (ESV)

 

Feeling hopeless is a common emotion for the people of the Bible. They faced persecution, physical pain, and had their whole lives turned upside down in an instant. Symptoms of depression are a natural response to these life events, and God continued to bless and use people who struggled.


Hope for Depression in the Bible

Many well-meaning people in the church will label mental illness as something that can be resolved through faith alone. While this may be the case for some, it’s more common that these disorders require professional treatment. However, the Bible does provide hope for people who are managing mental health or substance use issues. 


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)

 

What makes these verses so powerful is that there is both an acknowledgment of the challenges people face in life and future hope. Even Jesus struggled, but God was always there as a source of comfort. Because of what Jesus did in dying on the cross, Christians have access to this same comfort during hard times.


Managing Depression and Addiction

Depression often co-occurs with substance use disorders, and this can make managing the two more challenging. At Celebrate Hope, our team is skilled in treating people with dual diagnoses. We utilize evidence-based practices and emphasize community within our center, so our residents receive the best care possible. Faith can be a powerful tool in the recovery process which is why we built our treatment model on the foundation of the hope we have in Jesus. If you are looking for a place to heal from your addiction that shares your faith in God, contact our team today to learn more about our treatment program. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Mental Illness in the Bible | Faith and Mental Health

Bible

Mental illness has existed long before we had a context for these diseases. Those who lived during the time of the Bible experienced some of the same mental health challenges that we do today, but they didn’t have the same understanding that we do about how and why these disorders occur. People who struggle with mental illness today may feel isolated, especially if the church is not acknowledging these challenges. However, there are many examples of mental health challenges in the Bible, and these can provide much-needed support to those who struggle today.


Mental Illness Today vs. in Biblical Times

The examples that we see in scripture regarding mental illness may look different than our current definitions of these disorders. Because we are looking at moments in time for these people, they may not look exactly like diagnoses today. However, the glimpses we see recorded in the Bible give enough insight to indicate that many people struggled with mental health issues during that time. Today, we have a more comprehensive view of these disorders, and we can apply some of this understanding to instances in the past.


Examples of Mental Health Issues in Scripture

A majority of the mental illnesses we can observe in the Bible are either depressive or anxiety-related disorders. That’s not to say that other diagnoses didn’t exist at that time, but those would be more challenging to attempt to identify retrospectively. 


David: Depression

David is known for his expression throughout the Psalms. He wrote beautiful poems and songs praising God and giving thanks for the good things in life. However, he also had many challenging moments. 


“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” Psalm 6:6 (ESV)

 

Today, we would classify this as a depressive disorder due to his persistent sadness. Some may argue that David exhibited symptoms of bipolar disorder, but this is more difficult to prove due to the timeline necessary to make this diagnosis.


Martha: Anxiety

The story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament is often referenced in the context of prioritizing rest in Jesus. When Jesus comes to visit these sisters, Martha spends her time cleaning and serving while Mary sits and listens to Jesus. While this is a great lesson on how busyness can distract us, it’s also an example of how anxiety can affect our lives. 


“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:40-42 (ESV)


Jesus directly points out Martha’s anxiety in these verses and how it manifests in her concern about getting things done in the home. 


Job: Depression

God put Job through a series of tests in the Old Testament, resulting in him losing his family and home among other things. Naturally, Job was distressed as a result. In multiple instances, he cried out to God due to his sadness.


“...so that I would choose strangling and death rather than my bones. I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.” Job 7:15-16 (ESV)

 

At this moment, Job was experiencing such severe symptoms of depression that he would rather have died than continue on. 


Why Is This Important?

These examples are not of unimportant people in the Bible. They are people that God wanted to use and continued to use. The mental health challenges they faced did not disqualify them from being part of God’s plan. Rather, He used their struggles to bring them closer to Him and strengthen their faith. These moments were only part of their stories, and each of these people went on to do great things for God.


Healing From Mental Illness and Addiction

Mental health issues and substance use disorders often occur at the same time, but your struggles do not define you. If you’re looking for addiction treatment founded in Christ, Celebrate Hope can help. We work with our residents to develop skills for sobriety with a focus on faith. We also treat dual diagnoses, meaning we can help you manage a substance use disorder alongside a mental illness. Just like these examples in scripture, your struggles do not determine whether you can be used by God. In fact, your challenges may be exactly what He wants to use to help others. If you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery, contact our treatment team today. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

How to Find a Therapist | Therapy for Addiction

finding a therapist

As you navigate the road to recovery, one of the best investments you can make is finding a reputable therapist. However, this process can feel overwhelming at times with the number of options available. As a Christian, you may want someone who shares your faith. Or it may be more important to find someone who falls within a specific budget. Whatever you are looking for, knowing how to find a therapist that meets your needs is imperative for lasting sobriety. 


Finding the Right Therapist for You

Every person in recovery has different needs and priorities when looking for counseling. Here are the steps you should follow as you seek mental health care:


1. List Your Priorities

If you start by listing the characteristics you want in a provider, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed with the number of options available. Consider things such as specialty, cost, location, gender, credentials, and insurance when making your list. Ultimately, you know what is best for you. However, there are key components that you should consider in a mental health professional such as licensure and reputation.

2. Consider the Cost
For many people seeking treatment, the cost is the biggest factor in finding care. If you have health insurance, your benefits may cover at least part of the cost of treatment. This could include outpatient therapy, inpatient treatment, and residential care. Depending on the level of help you need, you could have all or a portion of this covered by your insurance. To find therapists who accept your health care coverage, your online portal often has a search feature to find providers. 

3. Utilize Reputable Therapist Directories

There are an overwhelming number of resources online to find a therapist or treatment center. Websites such as Psychology Today and The American Psychological Association are reputable databases of both individual therapists and treatment centers based on location or needs. There are many other options online, but be wary of any site that doesn’t list licensing information or requires any type of payment upfront. 

4. Find Addiction Recovery Specialists

The letters after a therapist’s name help you determine if this person would be a good fit for what you need. Here are a few that you can look for to find a reputable therapist:

  • LPC or LMFT: These are masters-level therapists who have completed the training and practice hours to achieve licensure.
  • PsyD or Ph.D.: These therapists have doctoral degrees in psychology and are often referred to as licensed psychologists.
  • LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Workers are practicing therapists who also have social work training. They complete clinical hours in counseling to receive this title. 
  • CAS: These are clinical addiction specialists, meaning they specialize in addiction treatment.
There are a number of other licenses and credentials that providers list in their biographies, and all of them have different benefits. Try not to get caught up in the number of letters after a person’s name. Instead, look for key indicators of licensure and specializations, like addiction treatment.

5. Determine Other Needs

After you know you’ve found a trustworthy therapist, then consider the other qualities you would like for them to have. You may want someone who is the same gender as you, especially if you’re going to talk about sensitive topics. If you’re looking for someone who shares your faith, they will likely list this in their biography as well. 


If this all still feels overwhelming, try not to stress. You may try one provider and find they’re not a good fit. You can always find someone else. Or you might realize you need more intensive treatment than you can get in an outpatient office. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider residential treatment. 


Finding Specialized Addiction Treatment

Deciding to pursue intensive treatment is never easy. However, finding a center that supports your recovery and encourages your faith can ease some of your stress. At Celebrate Hope, we are dedicated to helping you pursue recovery on the foundation of faith in Jesus. We encourage deep connections amongst residents through our groups and participation in Celebrate Recovery programs. We also offer individual therapy where you can work through your past experiences and develop healthy coping skills. If you are looking for a reputable, Christian addiction treatment center, contact our admissions team today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Is Worrying a Sin? | Faith and Anxiety

woman worrying

As Christians, we are often told not to worry because God is in control. While this is a nice sentiment, it's also an attitude that can create a moral dilemma for those prone to stress. Is it a sin to worry about things that are to come? And where is the line between worrying about a situation and a lacking trust in God?


Worrying Versus Anxiety

Before diving too deep into worrying in relation to faith, it’s important to first differentiate between worry and anxiety. Worry can be brief or long-term, but it’s often related to a specific circumstance. Most times, it resolves after a person is able to figure out how to manage the upcoming event or situation. However, anxiety is a more chronic state of stress. It could be related to a specific event, or there may be no identifiable cause. Anxiety interferes with your ability to complete the daily tasks you need to and can be debilitating. It’s a diagnosable mental illness and can be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Often, people can rationalize their situation to reduce worrying, but there still may be anxiety present.


What the Bible Says About Worrying

The Bible tends to use the terms “worry” and “anxiety” interchangeably. During the time it was written, there was not the same understanding of mental illness, so it’s important to look at the intention behind the verse rather than the terminology used. For the most part, we can assume the writers are referring to worrying in these verses. 


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV)


This verse is one of the most commonly referenced portions of scripture when discussing worry and anxiety. Christians may use this verse to say that you only need to tell God what you’re worried about, and your anxiety will go away. Others may argue that this condemns anxiety by commanding us to not be anxious. However, another interpretation is that this is an opportunity to let go of our worries. For the things that are causing us stress, we can put our trust in God. This doesn’t mean God will be angry if we still have moments of worry. Rather, it’s an invitation to give these anxious thoughts to Him.


“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)


This passage can also create some confusion as it sounds like a commandment. You may even be tempted to read it like, “Don’t worry about tomorrow!” Similar to Philippians 4:6, this verse is more of an invitation. In reality, it sounds more like Jesus is expressing an understanding of the stressors of life. By saying each day has enough trouble of its own, he is demonstrating a recognition of the things we are managing. He isn’t telling us not to worry as a condemnation. Instead, he is encouraging us to focus on each day as it comes.


“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV)


Unfortunately, this verse has been used as an argument that fear (or worrying) is sinful. Christians will state that because God has not given a spirit of fear, then being fearful is against God’s will. However, this argument falls short of a true understanding of who God is and how the world works. It’s true that God is not the One who has given us a spirit of fear because there is no fear in God. But like any other part of our human nature, this is not something that He resents. Even Jesus exhibited fear the night before he was crucified. His human nature left room for uncertainty, and he became overwhelmed and asked God to take his fate away from him (Matthew 26:37-39). God understands our tendency to worry, and His son experienced it first-hand. 


God does not view worry or anxiety as a sin. Rather, he understands our human weaknesses and is willing to embrace us in our struggles. Worrying is not sinful, but it is an opportunity to practice putting our faith and trust in Christ.


The Effects of Stress

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), chronic worrying or stress can have lasting effects on your body. Common physical symptoms that emerge as a result of stress include*:

  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Headaches
  • Higher risk for heart attack, stroke, or hypertension
  • Inflammation in the circulatory system
  • Unstable cortisol, resulting in fatigue, metabolic issues, and immune disorders
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Sexual dysfunction

Not every person who experiences excessive worry or anxiety will exhibit these symptoms, but living in a state of stress increases this risk. 


Worrying and anxiety are difficult to manage without proper coping skills. Many times, those who lack stress-management techniques will turn to substance use to help them cope with their situation. It’s also possible for substance abuse to lead to excessive worry and anxiety. In both scenarios, these people need a high level of care from a licensed, mental health professional. 


*Note: This is not a replacement for medical advice. If you are experiencing any of the above, you should discuss your concerns with a medical provider.


Faith-Based Rehab for Substance Use and Anxiety

When healing from a substance use disorder and managing chronic worry or anxiety, faith provides a solid foundation to build your sobriety upon. At Celebrate Hope, we will never tell you that your struggles are an indication of sin or lack of faith. Instead, we utilize evidence-based treatment practices that emphasize your strengths in Christ. Our Christian rehab center provides support for substance use disorders and dual diagnoses, so you can learn to manage an anxiety disorder alongside an addiction. If you’re looking for a higher level of substance abuse treatment, contact us today to speak to one of our faith-based recovery specialists.


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