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Friday, September 11, 2020

Celebrating Connections in Recovery

recovery month
In June, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) made a significant announcement regarding the future of National Recovery Month (Recovery Month). The agency stated that the Recovery Month torch was now in the hands of the men and women in recovery.

For 30 years, SAMHSA and its directors have acted as a leader in the fight to break the stigma of addiction, advocate for health parity, and get the message out that recovery is possible. Now, Faces & Voices of Recovery will lead the way; the initiative writes:

"Though SAMHSA will no longer sponsor this celebration, their support of Recovery Month continues as they embrace the community's efforts to speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share our stories with neighbors, friends, and colleagues...Whether our faces and voices are shared through digital platforms or safe, social-distanced gatherings, we celebrate the millions of people who have found, are finding, and have yet to find this path to hope, health, and personal growth." 

We have a long way to go in the fight to end the stigma preventing individuals living with mental illness and addiction from reaching out for help. However, when the recovery community and fellowship come together with a common voice, significant feats are achievable.

While SAMHSA is no longer the spearhead of Recovery Month, they are still hosting recovery-related webinars throughout the month.

Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections


"Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections" is this year's theme for Recovery Month. Faces & Voices of Recovery writes that the theme:

"Embraces the challenges experienced in 2020. When we celebrate our connections to the diversity of people from all walks of life striving for recovery, we find support and courage to speak up for inclusion, respect, and opportunity." 

2020 is likely the most challenging year ever for the addiction and mental health recovery community. Healing is a process that comes about when men and women join forces. The COVID-19 pandemic made and is still making it hard for the community to meet on common ground; the internet is a godsend in that regard.

Without digital meeting platforms, maintaining one's sobriety would've been an even more formidable challenge. Thankfully, many parts of the country have made gains containing the coronavirus. However, many of you are still meeting online, especially those who are immunocompromised and can't risk contracting COVID-19.

"Whether our faces and voices are shared through digital platforms or safe, social-distanced gatherings we celebrate the millions of people who have found, are finding, and have yet to find this path to hope, health, and personal growth." 

We hope you can take part in Recovery Month 2020. There are many events listed on the Recovery Month website that you can attend and check your local area resource listings. You can also spread the message of hope for the alcoholic or addict still suffering; social media is an excellent way to share the message of recovery.

If you or your organization is planning on hosting an event this month, be sure to let Faces & Voices know the details. The initiative can help you get more participants and expand the reach of your message.

Reach for Recovery in 2020


Please contact Celebrate Hope for more information about our faith-based addiction recovery programs and services. We can assist you or a loved one get on the path toward lasting recovery and help you reconnect with your higher power, Jesus Christ. National Recovery Month is an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and begin the healing process.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

As Overdoses Spike, States Slash Addiction Treatment Funding



During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and organizations are struggling financially. The economic challenges of the coronavirus outbreak have reached virtually everyone in the US. For people fighting addiction and seeking treatment, the financial challenges are even more devastating. Unfortunately, as overdoses spike, states slash addiction treatment funding as they also are experiencing significantly reduced budgets.

Worsening Crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people across the country, as does the opioid epidemic. There have been an increasing number of reports from national, state and local media suggesting increases in opioid-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.

Barbara Andraka-Christou, an assistant professor of health management and informatics at the University of Central Florida, says “"The coronavirus pandemic is, unfortunately, expected to worsen the opioid overdose crisis. Many individuals are experiencing triggers, such as family- or job-related stress, that may lead them to relapse." She added, "Many people are losing their jobs and the funds necessary to pay for lifesaving health care. Those of us working in public health research are very worried."

Early research shows that accessing addiction treatment is becoming more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. A third of Americans have noted disruptions in care. Approximately 14% say they’re unable to access treatment at all.

Disruption in Service


The Addiction Policy Forum conducted an anonymous survey between April 27 and May 8, 2020, and found that:

  • More than one in three (34%) of the 1,079 respondents reported changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or recovery support services.
  • Fourteen percent say they were unable to receive their needed services and 2% say they were unable to access naloxone services.
  • Nationwide, 4% of respondents report an overdose has occurred since the pandemic began. The South Atlantic region reported the greatest number and percent of overdoses. The region includes Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and the District of Columbia.
  • Twenty-four percent of respondents indicate that their/their family member’s substance use has changed because of COVID-19, with 20% reporting increased substance use.

State Cuts


During COVID-19, as these overdoses spike, states slash addiction treatment funding often because they are cash-strapped themselves. Oregon is slashing $69 million from the state’s 2021 budget for behavioral health services, including a $2 million reduction for outpatient programs in particular. Colorado has cut $26 million from its treatment funding. In addition, the state’s plan to invest in training for medical professionals to identify individuals at risk of substance use disorder will take a $1 million cut. Minnesota will also see service reductions because of shortfalls in fees collected from pharmaceutical companies.

Georgia has cut $5.7 million from its substance use disorder programs, including residential treatment facility expansions. New Jersey and Utah have also slashed millions from the budget for future substance use disorder programs. In Florida, the governor vetoed over $12 million in behavioral health funds meant to go toward initiatives such as substance abuse prevention programs, crisis intervention programs, and a long-acting injectable buprenorphine pilot program.

Medicaid funding, which supports about 21% of the country’s substance use disorder program spending, is being cut back significantly in many states across the country. The federal government earmarked $425 million for behavioral health in its emergency relief package, but the experts say that won’t come close to filling the gap left by the state slashes.

COVID Challenges


Given orders to stay home and maintain social distances, many treatment programs are challenged with providing addiction treatment services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth has become more acceptable and more common. However, many treatment facilities are having to cut back on their capacity, which has the circular effect on their budgets as well.

The National Council for Behavioral Health surveyed its 3400 members in April 2020. It found that 92.6% of both residential and outpatient centers — had cut back their programs, forcing many to furlough employees or lay them off. A month into the pandemic, two-thirds of those centers said they had enough cash to last three months or less.

Addiction Treatment During a Pandemic


At Celebrate Hope, we recognize that these are challenging times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to get help with your addiction. We are following all CDC COVID-19 guidelines for your health and safety. A Christian treatment center, we are located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano, in Southern California. We provide faith-based, compassionate addiction programs for you when you are battling a substance use disorder. Start celebrating hope today! Please contact us to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program and how we ensure that our clients are safe.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

What Families Need to Know About Addiction

what families need to know about addiction

When your loved one is showing signs of being addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can affect your entire family. You are undoubtedly worried about your loved one’s health and well-being. Their addiction may strain your relationship. You may even feel helpless as you watch them continue their addictive ways. What families need to know about addiction is what is behind it, how it works in your loved one’s mind and body, and how you can help them.

A Complex Disease


People don’t choose addiction. It is a complex condition, a brain disease manifested by compulsive substance use despite the harmful consequences it can cause. Addiction takes over your loved one’s life. They will keep using drugs or alcohol, and doing whatever it takes to get them, even when they know it will cause problems for them and their families.

When your loved one is addicted, they have distorted thinking, behavior, and body functions. They experience changes in the wiring of their brains, resulting in intense cravings that make it very hard to stop using. Brain imaging studies have shown physical changes in an addict’s brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control.

How It Starts


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that people have a variety of reasons for taking drugs or drinking alcohol. They may do it:
  • To feel good — feeling of pleasure, “high”
  • To feel better — e.g., relieve stress
  • To do better — improve performance
  • Because of curiosity and peer pressure

The Need for More


Regardless of why they started taking drugs or drinking alcohol, they will build up a tolerance over time. Your loved one will then need to consume larger amounts to feel the same effects. Even if they are aware of emerging health problems, as well as problems at work or with family and friends, they could simply be unable to stop on their own.

The Addiction Experience


A research study published by NCBI attempted to learn more about addiction, from the perspective of those individuals who were addicted. Their stories are unique and insightful as to why they began using drugs or alcohol and what their experience was as an addict. These stories add to what families need to know about addiction, to understand what their loved one is experiencing.

A mother, Latoya, who was in treatment for heroin and nicotine addiction, believed that addiction was a part of human nature. She said, “I feel like everybody got addiction, you know what I mean, ‘cause they have addiction to smoking, addiction to going to work, you know, so somebody has an addiction somewhere in them.” Connecting her experience to a trend she perceived in others, Latoya had developed a sense that her addiction, though problematic and disabling, was not unique to her, but in fact, a common experience along the spectrum of “normal” human behavior.

Joe, who was a self-described blue-collar worker in his late forties, shared what he believed to be a strong connection among his mental health, employment, and alcoholism cycles. He said, “It is anxiety and stress that I was dealing with. [Alcohol] just calmed me down so that I used it as a tool, like a self-medication for me...I have depression and anxiety and overwhelming problems with employment, it was very stressful...but it has nothing to do with family or anything...I would quit for a month here and there; I have quit for a couple of weeks here and there. But I always went back when the anxiety and depression set in when I'm dealing with work.”

Paige, a housewife in her fifties, spoke about her pattern of abuse and the bargaining process. She said, “I had a blackout, don't remember, ended up in the hospital...then I got out of the hospital after three days and swore I would never drink again. And within two weeks I was having wine again. I told myself it was just wine, it couldn't do any damage. So, yeah. And it just spiraled down and I was very, very depressed and constantly hopeless... I have emotional triggers that are problematic.”

The Impact on the Family


What families need to know about addiction is that they are not necessarily overreacting when they notice problems in their loved one’s work, health, finances, relationships, social functioning, legal issues, self-esteem, or self-respect. Their substance use has become more important than the problems it causes. When your loved one continues to use drugs or alcohol in spite of the fact that their behavior is causing these problems, that is a problem in itself – for them and for you.

As untreated problems continue, family members develop their own issues. Partners of people who have substance use problems can suffer greatly. Common symptoms include headaches, backaches, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Children of parents with substance use disorders can experience school behavior problems, poor academic performance, and are more likely to struggle with addiction themselves.

Help for Your Loved One and Your Family


Taking those first steps to help your loved one begin treatment can be a painful process. Celebrate Hope can guide you through the challenges of helping your loved one realize their brokenness and getting treatment at a reputable Christian addiction treatment facility. We are a faith-based addiction program firmly rooted in the 12 Steps and in the teachings of Christ and we are here to help you and your loved one. For more information about our evidence-based addiction treatment, contact us today.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

PTSD Talk Therapy Doesn't Lead to Relapse in Recovery

PTSDMany Americans could be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those living with any mental illness face significant obstacles at this time, as well. Any person in recovery for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders must prioritize their well-being every day.

While these are challenging times financially for millions of us, it's vital to continue taking steps to address your mental and behavioral needs. Attend 12 Step meetings and call your support group whenever you feel the need. If you see a therapist, please do not let up because of the coronavirus. Counselors are utilizing virtual platforms to serve the needs of their patients.

In the last several months, more and more men and women have reported experiencing mental illness symptoms. Those who find themselves dealing with psychological distress benefit when they don't ignore their symptoms; unfortunately, many people are accustomed to shrugging off mental health conditions because of misconceptions and stigma.

If you are feeling alone with what you are experiencing, please keep in mind that one in five Americans has a psychiatric disorder. What's more, there is a large community of individuals in recovery who can support you along the way. Anyone struggling with behavioral health disorders like addiction and mental illnesses can recover with the help of treatment providers, mutual-help groups, and professional therapy.

It's worth remembering that new conditions can arise while in recovery. Traumatic events, such as natural disasters or a public health crisis, can jeopardize your progress. If you've been significantly affected by COVID-19, then you may consider seeking the assistance of a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) disproportionately impacts men and women living with alcohol or substance use disorder. PTSD symptoms can be a catalyst for relapse if left unaddressed. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, around one-fourth of people living with addiction also have PTSD.

PTSD Talk Therapy Doesn’t Trigger Relapse in Recovery


It's natural to avoid talking about painful memories, but doing so is beneficial in many ways. A failure to process what you have been through can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Mutual-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can help with what you've experienced; however, it might not be enough for some individuals. You might have concerns that facing your trauma will do more harm than good or be the impetus for a relapse. Some providers are under that opinion too.

New research appearing in the Journal of Traumatic Stress shows that PTSD talk therapy doesn't cause a drug or alcohol relapse. The study involved comparing the week-to-week craving comparisons of 44 patients. The researchers found that participants had no rise in stress or cravings for drugs after PTSD therapy sessions.

"Now that we have evidence that treating PTSD won't impact recovery, patients can request therapy, and mental health providers have a duty to make it available," said study author Jessica Peirce, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "There is a lot more resilience within this population than many health care providers give them credit for, and not offering the proper treatment is doing patients a disservice."

Faith-Based Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


At Celebrate Hope, we offer medical and therapeutic assistance for individuals living with co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. We treat both use disorders and accompanying mental illnesses alongside one another. Please contact us today to learn more about our faith-based co-occurring disorder treatment program.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Addiction Treatment Centers Take COVID-19 Precautions

addiction treatment
People living the disease of addiction who are actively using drugs or alcohol still require help, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The American addiction epidemic existed long before this public health crisis and will be present long after the matter is suppressed.

Public health precautions have led to border closures and greater scrutiny at every point of entry in the United States. The result: getting drugs into the country is significantly more challenging, and many people will resort to desperate measures to sate their addictive needs. With few avenues for acquiring illicit substances, many are considering taking steps toward recovery.

Fortunately, addiction treatment centers are still operating across the country. Such programs have had to alter their operations in many ways to ensure the safety of their clients. Nevertheless, it’s normal that those who need assistance harbor concerns about contracting the coronavirus while in treatment.

Close Quarter Recovery


Addiction treatment centers emphasize the importance of working closely with others who share similar goals. Throughout the day, clients attend group therapy and socialize with each other at night. Many inpatient treatment centers bunk more than one client to a room, and not just to save space. It’s common to bond and form friendships with the people you share a bedroom with at the facility.

Recovery is about fellowship, inside treatment and out. Rehab centers teach clients how to rely on their peers to achieve long-term recovery. Progress doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Life-long bonds are often formed in addiction treatment centers; you meet and befriend people you can call when problems arise.

In light of COVID-19, there are concerns about safely social distancing at residential treatment centers. Staff members have had to change the structure to ensure clients keep their distance from one another, and regularly screen for the virus to prevent an outbreak. You can rest assured that clinicians and support staff diligently strive to ensure that patients can focus on their recovery rather than live in fear of contracting a deadly virus.

Fears of Inpatient Addiction Treatment


It’s hard to deny that it isn’t challenging to institute social distancing protocols in a treatment center. Nevertheless, Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea, and many others are rising to the challenge. We implore men and women to believe that addiction treatment providers have their best interests at heart and are doing everything in their power to protect clients from the pandemic.

There are reports that even though drug and alcohol use is on the rise, fewer people are seeking addiction treatment. Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), reports that around 1,000 members saw a 40 to 50 percent census drop in March and April.

The above data is concerning, especially when you consider that opioid overdoses could be up 40 percent during the pandemic, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). With substance use on the rise, people need to have faith in treatment more than ever.

“It’s hard to underestimate the effects of the pandemic on the community with opioid use disorder,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The pandemic has profoundly disrupted the drug markets. Normally that would drive more people to treatment. Yet treatment is harder to come by.” 

Addiction Treatment During a Pandemic


During these troubling times, we invite you or a loved one to start celebrating hope today! All CDC COVID-19 guidelines are being followed. Please contact us to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program and how we ensure that our clients are safe.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Raising Awareness About PTSD

PTSD
Last month, we directed our focus on mental health and co-occurring mental illnesses that accompany addiction. May was Mental Health Month. Today, we would like to direct your attention toward post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every June is PTSD Awareness Month.

PTSD is a condition you may hear about a lot in the coming months and years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus public health crisis has impacted countless lives across the globe. More than 2.5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 120 thousand have died from health complications related to the virus.

Post-traumatic stress can arise in a person's life for a number of reasons. It's not just people in the military who contend with the severe form of mental illness. Experiencing any kind of traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one, can have a dramatic impact on a person's life.

Prolonged stents of loneliness and isolation can have a negative impact on your psychological well-being. It's worth noting that millions of Americans live alone and cannot rely on others' support while weathering the pandemic storm.

Isolation also has a pernicious effect on men and women who struggle with mental illness. Those living with mental health disorders have found the current crisis a real challenging event. With no end in sight, anxiety plagues millions of people, including those who contend with PTSD.

PTSD Awareness Month: Treatment Works


PTSD is not a rare disorder; some 8 million people live with PTSD in America. At this time, it is vital to support those living with the condition and let those with untreated post-traumatic stress know that treatment works. Many people who meet the criteria for PTSD also struggle with addiction. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is exceptionally common amongst those afflicted by the condition.

Addicts and alcoholics living with co-occurring PTSD must receive simultaneous treatment for both conditions. Each of us can play a role in raising awareness and encouraging those who are struggling to seek assistance. We can all make a difference in the lives of Veterans and anyone who has experienced trauma. It's a critical mission; the National Center for PTSD points out that:

"Most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need...Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life."

As the month ends and all year long, you can join the National Center for PTSD in raising awareness and help people in your community find the courage to seek treatment. Men and women living with untreated mental and behavioral health disorders are at significant risk and more prone to self-destructive behaviors and suicidal ideations. Please keep in mind:  

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. There are factors that can increase the chance someone will develop PTSD, and these are often not under that person's control.
 

Faith-Based Dual Diagnosis Treatment


Celebrate Hope is a faith-based addiction treatment center in Southern California. We utilize evidence-based therapies, 12 Step principles, and the teachings of Jesus Christ to help men and women overcome addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses like PTSD. Please contact us today to begin the journey of recovery.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Risk Factors for Youth Substance Use

risk factors

Since the beginning of America’s opioid epidemic, research has focused on how drug use begins and how it progresses. Many different factors, environmental and genetic, can contribute to someone’s risk for a substance use disorder.

The Facts of Youth Substance Use 


Since 1975, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has monitored trends of drug and alcohol consumption among adolescents. Current data reveals that while the prevalence of cigarette use and binge drinking have dropped in recent years, the use of tobacco products remains high. Marijuana use has increased, with 12.5% of 8th graders, 28.8% of 10th graders, and 36.4% of 12th graders reporting that they had used the drug within the past year. Prescription medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Adderall, and Ritalin are of particular concern; in 2009, the CDC reported that more than 20% of high school students had misused a prescription drug. 

The risks of substance use among young people are significant. Research shows that using drugs and alcohol earlier in life can result in increased rates of sexually transmitted infections, juvenile delinquency, vehicular fatalities, and other issues associated with mental and physical health. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable due to the underdeveloped state of their brains, which can lead to worsened decision-making abilities and increased long-term effects of alcohol and drugs. Finally, using these substances in one’s teen years can result in an increased risk of serious drug use and dependence later in life. 

Risk Factors 


It is important to know that risk factors do not predict a child’s future; instead, they provide a general gauge regarding the likelihood of drug or alcohol use. By addressing risk factors early and providing extra assistance to higher risk children, it is possible to avoid the path of substance use. Prominent risk factors for youth substance use include

Family history. If a child’s family members have had addiction problems in the past, there is a heightened biological and social risk that this child will misuse alcohol or drugs. Adults should let their children know that they are more likely to develop drug or alcohol problems when they reach their early teens. 

History of trauma. Research shows that children who have been through car accidents, sexual abuse, or other traumatic incidents are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol later in life. It is vital for parents to help their teens to receive proper treatment for these concerns. 

Impulse control issues. Teens who love risk-taking or who have difficulty controlling their impulses are more likely to use drugs and alcohol. Because teens’ brains are not fully developed, it is critical that parents educate their children on the risk factors for youth substance use. 

Mental health problems. Children with diagnoses like depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or anxiety are at higher risk for addiction. These individuals aren’t guaranteed to develop a substance use disorder, but because of their reduced ability to regulate emotions and behavior, parents should be watchful. An open dialogue with your child’s primary care provider is advised. 

How to Prevent Youth Substance Use 


Teens use drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons, and understanding these motivations is critical to prevention efforts. During this phase of their lives, young people struggle to cope with transitions, grown-up emotions, and hormonal surges. They may turn to drugs in an attempt to escape or self-medicate feelings of depression and anxiety. It’s also possible that they see substance use as a tool of their rebellion, or as a way to fit in. The risk factors for youth substance use are as complex as teenagers themselves. However, it is possible to prevent them from taking over your child’s life.

Know your teen’s activities and friends. Be aware of their whereabouts, and find out which adult-supervised activities your child is interested in. Encourage them to get involved in these activities, rather than letting them have unlimited downtime – boredom can be a reason that teens turn to substance use. 

Create rules and consequences. Family rules are important to young people and serve as helpful boundaries for their behavior. Explain what these rules are – for example, you may forbid riding home with a driver who has been drinking – and consistently enforce the consequences when necessary. 

Know the signs of substance use. Early intervention is key, and behavioral change is usually one of the first things parents notice. If your child is using drugs, you may observe worsened academic performance, self-isolation and secrecy, complaints from teachers and classmates, unexplained disappearances, changing friend groups, and defiant or disrespectful behavior. Keep an eye out for physical signs of substance use, including slurred speech, mood swings, inappropriate laughter, loud or obnoxious behavior, paranoia, low energy levels, and unexplained changes to their personality. 

Set a good example. Parents should model the behavior they wish to see – do not drink to excess, misuse prescription medications, or use illicit drugs. This is particularly salient for those in recovery, who should avoid drinking or drug use altogether. By setting a good example, you show your child how to behave and how to overcome the risk factors for youth substance use. 

Faith-Based Addiction Treatment 


Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea is a faith-based addiction treatment program rooted in the 12 Steps and the teachings of Christ. Many of our clients first began a pattern of substance abuse in their youth and are now working to lead prosperous lives in recovery. Others reached the age of 18 and realized that treatment is necessary. For more information about our evidence-based addiction treatment, contact us today.
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