If you feel like God is far away,

ask yourself “who moved?”

Get Admitted

Friday, November 17, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude and Paying it Forward

addiction
If you have been attending recovery meeting for some time, then you have undoubtedly heard hundreds of acronyms. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid), H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired), and G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction) just to name a few. At times you might get tired of hearing the little sayings, but you shouldn’t discount their importance.

Alcoholics and addicts have tendency to overcomplicate the simplest of situations. We over-think things that don’t even require thought, only action. If life in addiction is complicated, recovery should be an elementary iteration of existence. One need not worry about the things that once consumed their day in addiction. You no longer need to ask the question of how you will fuel the disease for just one more day. We don’t have to keep track of who we are dishonest to anymore because we are working an honest program.

In recovery, one commits him or herself to putting their best foot forward. They follow the lead of those who came before, to experience the miracles of recovery, too. More importantly, those in recovery have different perspectives than they once had, in turn giving them a new lease on life. This current mindset allows one to exercise an attitude of gratitude for those who support them in their endeavors.

 

Paying It Forward


When a person works the Steps and follows the direction to live a spiritual life, it allows them to strive for serenity. In doing so, one can be available to their fellow members of the program. No longer trapped inside our heads, consumed by our selfish desires, we can be there for others. After a person becomes versed in the steps (having gone through them with their sponsor), they are in a position to serve as a guide to a newcomer. This leads us to the next acronym, S.P.O.N.S.O.R. (Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery).

Accruing sober time in recovery is excellent, but if you want to keep it, you have to pay it forward. When you arrived in the Rooms, someone else selflessly guided you along the way. They walked you through the steps, lathered you with platitudes and acronyms until your head spun, and then told you to pass the message to the newcomer. That's what keeps the cycle of addiction recovery going. We can't rest on our laurels; we are not cured, we must carry the message that if one is willing to do the work—recovery is possible.

You may not be at the point of sponsorship (yet), but it’s beneficial to take stock of the things you hear or see that help you stay sober Just for Today. Please do not write off pithy sayings and acronyms as being overused and unuseful. There will come a time when someone needs to hear what you have learned along the way, and it may be as simple as telling someone P.A.C.E. (Positive Attitudes Change Everything).

 

Addiction Treatment: A Gateway to Recovery


Not everyone can march into a room of recovery with a desire to quit drinking or drugging. Heavy abuse for an extended period can make abstaining from drugs and alcohol exceedingly tricky. Detox and addiction treatment are proven methods of traversing the early stages of recovery. If you or a loved one is battling alcohol and substance use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Faith-Based Addiction Treatment

recovery
If you have made it onto our blog there is a good chance you are here for one of two reasons. You are considering addiction treatment, or you are seeking help for a loved one. If it is the former, we at Celebrate Hope understand the difficult decisions you face. On the one hand, you know that your life has become unmanageable, that to keep on your current course will likely be your demise. On the other hand, you have a disease that is ever trying to convince you that all is well. Even if you know that your addiction is out of control, you continue to try and convince yourself otherwise.

People in recovery sometimes say that nobody flirts with the idea of addiction treatment by accident. Those who can drink alcohol or do drugs casually never consider that they need 90-days of treatment to balance out their lives. What’s more, the typical person who seeks treatment doesn’t have an on/off switch, and the word moderation isn’t in their lexicon. Use disorders take many different forms, but the underlying currents are all the same.

Do you spend time each day trying to figure out how you are going to juggle your substance use with responsibilities? Have you lost important people and possessions due to drugs and alcohol? When you tried to stop in the past (without help) what was the outcome? The last question is somewhat rhetorical, but it makes a salient point; it’s unlikely that people who don't suffer from substance use disorders ever ask themselves such questions. That’s not to say you are an addict or alcoholic, and only you can make such a determination; although, if you meet certain diagnostic criteria it’s usually indicative of a problem.

 

Making Decisions for Recovery


Recovery is possible, but it’s next to impossible to achieve on one’s volition. Seeking the help of an addiction treatment center increases one’s chance of achieving lasting recovery greatly. Of course, there are many different ways you can bring such a goal to fruition.

The majority of treatment centers use the 12-Step model of recovery; a modality that relies heavily on spirituality. Those who engage in Step work foster a relationship with a power greater than him or herself, a “higher power.” For many Americans, Christianity was a major part of their life before addiction set in. Many addicts and alcoholics once had a close relationship with Jesus Christ until substance use came into the picture. At which time, all communication went dark. However, you can reestablish a connection with Him.

It makes sense for those who are ready to take steps for addiction recovery, to seek help from a treatment center that shares a common spiritual language. You may be more receptive to a Christian faith-based program than other types of treatment. Spirituality will be that which holds your recovery together, without it relapse is inevitable. If long-term recovery is your goal, reconnecting with Christ can give you the best chance of successful outcomes.

 

We Can Help


Anyone in need of treatment should carefully explore all their options. Being in treatment for 30 to 90 days is a tremendous commitment, such decisions shouldn’t be made lightly. If you are ready, open your heart and soul to Christ again, and accept His help; Celebrate Hope can help assist you. Please contact us today.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Cocaine and Fentanyl Overdose Death Concerns

cocaine
Cocaine, unlike heroin, is considered a party drug by most people despite the fact that it’s highly addictive and can cause an overdose. Heroin is used mostly in relative secrecy, whereas cocaine is something far more socially acceptable. People are far less likely to feel the need to be discreet; it’s a drug that is regularly passed around at parties.

Two drugs, heroin and cocaine, both addictive and hazardous to one’s health yet one of the drugs is cast in a far darker light. One might argue that the discrepancy is for a good reason; after all, a far more significant number of overdose deaths stem from opioids than stimulants like cocaine. People consider cocaine as being safer than heroin resulting in increased social acceptance. More than a hundred people aren’t dying from cocaine overdoses every day.

While heroin and opioids, in general, are deadlier than cocaine, the latter is used more often—especially for recreation. The potential for cocaine misuse and abuse is significantly higher, and the drug is commonly used in conjunction with other substances as well, mainly alcohol. You may not associate cocaine with overdose, but it was involved in thousands of deaths in past several years across the country.

 

Cocaine with a Side of Fentanyl


Mixing stimulants and opioids occurs on a regular basis among people with opioid use disorder. However, your average social cocaine user flirts with opioids only on rare occasions. If offered a “downer,” most people who use cocaine recreationally will say, “no thanks.” Which is why a new trend has people concerned, the heightened prevalence of cocaine laced with fentanyl. Having an opioid "tolerance" and being exposed to fentanyl is dangerous enough, for those without a tolerance—overdose is almost a guarantee.

In New York, 37 percent of overdose deaths in 2015 involved cocaine and fentanyl; heroin was not part of the equation. Officials see cocaine and fentanyl admixtures outside the Empire State; cocaine samples tested positive for the synthetic opioid in both Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, USA Today reports. Anyone who uses or abuses cocaine should understand that the stakes just got higher.

“To be blunt, what you might buy and use [cocaine], thinking it’s a good time, could cost you your life,” warns T.J. Jordan, Assistant Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation: Drug Investigation Division. 

Overdose death can easily happen without the introduction of synthetic opioids. Fentanyl and carfentanil, an even stronger analog, are being mixed with other drugs frequently these days. Naloxone, to make matters worse, is not enough to reverse an overdose in many cases. The only 100 percent effective way to avoid the risk of overdose is addiction treatment and working a program of recovery. Perhaps the most concerning feature of this new trend:

“Those that are using cocaine recreationally, their usage is going to increase because of the physical addictive aspects of opiates are being injected into the cocaine,” said Patrick O’Shea, a former recreational drug user. “It’s shaping up to be a disaster.”

 

Recovery is the Solution


Those caught in the vicious cycle of substance use disorder face great risks today. Fentanyl isn’t going anywhere and is likely to become more prevalent. Seeking addiction treatment and recovery is the only sure way to avoid exposure to fentanyl. Please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea to begin the life-saving mission of addiction recovery.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Addiction Recovery: A Commitment for Change

addiction recovery
People who attempt addiction recovery without assistance experience disappointment relatively quickly. Alcohol and substance use disorders take tremendous effort to overcome and require a lifelong commitment to going against one’s programming. Simply put, recovering from addiction is not something accomplished on your own. If you have been unable to break the cycle of self-defeating behavior using nothing but will, there is a good reason for the outcome you found. Recovery requires support, a network of lifelines, one can turn to when the going gets tough.

Use disorders develop over time, and the disease is progressive. What starts off as recreation transmogrifies into addiction; once that happens, it’s impossible to reverse the change. You can turn a cucumber into a pickle, you can’t (try as you might) make a pickle a cucumber. Those who try to stop using experience fleeting results. Many people have managed to avoid using for short periods of time, but use recommences sooner rather than later because there isn’t a program to rely upon for coping with all things Life. As a result, people convince themselves that they are doomed to the fate of addiction.

Fortunately, such a conclusion is flawed because it's derived from going about recovery in the same way one went about keeping the flame of their addiction afire—on one’s own. With the help of others and the practice of constant spiritual maintenance, we can and do recover.

 

Seeking Assistance is Required


Individuals battling use disorders know that their condition will likely be their demise if they are unable to stop. Attempts made to free one's self from bondage rarely result in success. Again, we cannot find recovery by the ways and means that we found addiction. A different course of action is required, and one that should begin with alcohol and substance use disorder treatment; to be followed by a continued program of recovery, i.e., 12 Steps or SMART Recovery.

If you are still in the grips, you might ask yourself, ‘why can’t I skip treatment and just join a program? After all, there are meetings in my neighborhood.' Well, you can do that, and that's worked for many people. However, if you are in the late stages of use disorder or dependent on a particular substance — there’s a good chance that the symptoms of acute withdrawal and the people, places and things that trigger you to use will derail your efforts. The pain of withdrawal typically leads to a relapse before one has even contemplated what it means to be powerless over alcohol or drugs.

Medical detox and treatment, on the other hand, are safe environments staffed by people who can help you get through the earliest stages of recovery. This is the time period when the risk of relapse is at its highest. Various medications will dull the symptoms of withdrawal reducing the urge to quit abstinence and return to active use. Treatment centers offer clients 30, 60, or 90-days of trigger-free living. The elements that are known to precipitate substance use don't exist in recovery centers.

 

Treatment: A Commitment that Pays for Itself


Deciding to seek help via treatment should be made as carefully as possible. You are going to be away from your family and be unable to bring home a paycheck (in most cases) for an extended period. When you check into treatment, you are in effect checking out of your previous sphere of existence. It’s a move that gives one the opportunity to shut down, make necessary adjustments conducive to recovery, and reboot. It is a time-consuming and significant commitment.

Some people, have concerns that the financial investment they will have to make by deciding to go to an addiction treatment center may not be worth it—it’s only natural. It is a considerable investment in oneself. Although, the returns will be far higher than the initial investment; especially when you consider the fact that one has no future without recovery. Active addiction always has the same outcome: jails, institutions, and death.

Have you tried to get clean and sober on your own, to no avail? If so, please consider taking a different approach. You will not regret it in the long-run. Please contact Celebrate Drug Rehab today, to begin the life-saving journey of recovery. We have helped a significant number of people achieve what they once thought was impossible—a life without drugs and alcohol.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Vietnam War, PTSD and Addiction

PTSD
There is a significant number of people working programs of addiction recovery today who are living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A serious mental health condition involving individuals who feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger. In many cases, people’s addiction was the result of coping with untreated PTSD. The symptoms can be blunted, for a time, by drugs and alcohol; but, in the end substance use and abuse only serves to worsen one's symptoms. When one’s PTSD is triggered while in recovery, there is great risk of relapse.

The disorder can manifest itself in a number of ways, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), such as:
  • Re-experiencing Symptoms: Flashbacks, bad dreams and frightening thoughts.
  • Avoidance Symptoms: staying away from places, events, or objects linked to the trauma. Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the trauma.
  • Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms: Being easily startled, feeling tense or “on edge,” difficulty sleeping and outbursts of anger.
  • Cognition and Mood Symptoms: Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event, negative thoughts about oneself or the world, distorted feelings like guilt or blame and loss of interest in enjoyable activities.
PTSD can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, such as a violent attack or serious injury. However, the condition is most commonly associated with combat veterans, and for good reason. Those who go off to war or armed conflict of any kind are exposed to horrific events. Asked to do things that under normal circumstances would be unthinkable. While most people make it through to the other side of battle without the lingering effects of trauma, many are not so fortunate. People with PTSD are at risk of being triggered by a host of cues for the rest for their lives.

 

The Vietnam War and PTSD


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As was pointed out earlier, PTSD episodes can be triggered by anything linked to the traumatic event. So, it is fair to say that "The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick" is the epitome of a trigger. The ten-part, 18-hour documentary film series is chock full of the graphic images and sounds of one of the darkest chapters in American history.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is urging Vietnam Vets to take precaution if they are planning to watch the series. Watch the series with a loved one and be prepared to reach out for help from the VA. Viewing the documentary can easily trigger PTSD.


PTSD and Addiction


Many Vietnam Veterans went years before seeking help for their PTSD. The United States has been in many armed conflicts since that time, and there are many young men and women who are
self-medicating their PTSD with drugs and alcohol today. Treatment works, but it requires that both the PTSD and substance use disorder be treated at the same time. If you or a loved one is living with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder like PTSD, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Inspiring Recovery In Others

recovery monthWe are now in the final days of National Recovery Month. Hopefully, you are all aware of what it is, and its importance. Recovery Month is about many things. From addiction recovery related events hosted across the country, to taking time to reflect upon how far you have come in your own recovery. Every September, people around the United States acknowledge the brave men and women who have turned their lives around with the help of a program of recovery.

If you are in recovery yourself, then you know how hard it was to break the cycle of addiction. To ignore your programming which tells you that you can drink or drug without consequence. Even when you know that it isn’t reality. And because mental illness has no known cure, every day you must recommit yourself to the practices and principles of recovery. Doing so requires tremendous effort, using drugs and alcohol is easy—recovery mandates work.

For every one person in recovery, there are scores more still in the throes of addiction. Which is why every day in recovery is both a blessing and a privilege. Never to be minimized. At Celebrate Drug Rehab, we hope that all of you actively working a program takes a moment to acknowledge the strides you have made. Not only are you living life on life’s terms, you serve as an inspiration to the millions of people still actively using.

 

Take Pride In Recovery


While pride is said to come before the fall, there is such a thing as healthy acknowledgement of one’s good work. If you are working a program, then you have helped others even if you don’t know it. Even those of you with 30-days or less, show others still “out there” that recovery is possible. People working in the field of addiction medicine understand the power of fellowship. Togetherness is what allows this whole enterprise to remain afloat, and has done so for almost a century.

People in recovery are part of something great, awe inspiring even. It does not take much energy to remember what it was like out there. The things that one had to do to keep the fire of addiction burning, were in many cases unconscionable. Not anymore. Today, you can wake up and be of service to your fellow recovering addicts and alcoholics. And, to society as a whole.

As you well know, millions of Americans have not been fortunate enough to find recovery, yet. Many of those people don’t believe that recovery is possible. You might be able to change their opinion on that front. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is asking those who are willing to Join the Voices for Recovery. You can share your experience with recovery online by video or written word. By doing so, you can inspire and encourage others to embrace a program of recovery. Please take a moment to watch a short example below:


If you are having trouble viewing, please click here.

 

Addiction Treatment Works


Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea would like to honor everyone actively working a program of recovery. You have so much to be grateful for, today. If you are still in the grips of active addiction, please contact us to find out how recovery can be a part of your story.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Practicing Patience In Recovery

recovery
Patience is a virtue, albeit one hard to attain for many people. Particularly for those who have a history of addiction. Everyone in recovery knows what it means to, ‘want what I want, when I want it.’ Knows firsthand about seeking instant gratification, and becoming upset when pleasure needs be waited on. While it is not a mindset wholly unique to addicts and alcoholics, it is certainly a pervasive trait among such people.

When you embark upon a journey of recovery, the eternal act of recreating oneself for the better, you find out pretty quickly that you’re not the center of the universe. That time does not belong to you, more importantly: you are not god. You are not the most important person in the room. You learn right off the bat, life happens on life’s terms and your once inability to accept that reality contributed to your downward spiral.

Thus, a change was needed, if you were going to make it in recovery. You would have to re-learn what patience is, remind yourself of its value. Because, if you cannot wait for the miracles of recovery to present themselves, you’d likely return to the banes of addiction. Whether you like it or not. If you are new to the program, there will be many realizations in the coming weeks, months and years. After all, recovery is a lifelong endeavor, we don’t wake up one day and think to ourselves, ‘voilá, I’m recovered.’ Whatever vehicle of recovery you choose to take the ride in, it’s a journey that should not stop. If it has ended, one of two things has occurred: relapse or expiration.

 

Practicing Patience in Recovery


To be sure, patience is not inherent or innate, we are not born with the virtue; one need only observe the movements of a child to see that for truth. No, we learn it along the way, and like anything you want to get better at—practice makes perfect. With that in mind, a good approach to improving your ability to exercise patience is to ever remind yourself (as clichĂ© as it sounds) that everything happens in its own time and that everything happens for a reason.

In early recovery, it can be easy to convince yourself that because you are sober now, windfalls are on the near horizon. While it is great that you have chosen to embark on a new path, much work is needed before the blessings of recovery (usually) occur. For many, the wreckage of one’s past is extensive. A great number of people walk into a meeting for the first time with few resources. Homeless, unemployed and financially destitute. Others have significant debt, that will need to be paid along the way. The list goes on, but you get the point, surely. It is impossible to determine when one’s lot will change. But, one thing is certain, things will never change if recovery is abandoned. And, it is worth noting that your worst day in recovery is far better than your best day in active addiction. Why? Because you have options in recovery, whereas…

If you are willing to do the Work, good things will come your way eventually. Recovery is a process, it takes time for improvements to be seen. Which is OK. This is not a race where speed is the most important attribute one can have. There's much to be unpacked mentally, emotionally and spiritually, if long-term recovery is to be obtained. Both your higher power and sponsor will be there for you along the way, if you let them. Ever remind yourself that you are no longer running away from yourself, you’re running towards. With a clear head and clear conscious the miracles of recovery will inevitably present themselves to you, often when you least expect. As long as you can remember that there is nothing to be lost by staying the course. Those who drift away from the program stand to lose — everything.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

Let Addiction Treatment Guide You


In addiction treatment, much time is spent learning how to ground oneself in the present. Exercises in how to cope with situations that could send one down an unhealthy path. Learning how to trust. Not just another, trust in yourself. If you are ready to begin the process of addiction recovery, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea today. We can equip you with the skills and tools for successfully achieving long-term recovery.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Raising Awareness About Overdose Deaths

overdose deaths
As things stand right now, experts believe that there will be more overdose deaths in 2017 than last year. Before this year comes to an end, over 50,000 more Americans will likely succumb to an overdose. Just to give you an idea of the staggering death toll, 64,000 people died of an overdose in 2016. That is 11, 596 more Americans than the year before (52,404). We probably do not have to mention that the cause of these terrible incidents was opioid narcotics. Such as prescription opioids, heroin and synthetics like fentanyl (100 times stronger than morphine).

With ever-mounting opioid-related morbidity rates, it’s fair to say that this problem demands the attention of every American. And that all of Us, can have a hand in raising awareness about opioid addiction and treatment. Particularly regarding the fact that treatment works and addiction recovery is possible. Believe it or not, many of the afflicted do not think that they can break the cycle of addiction. It is a belief that is often fortified by individuals' attempts to abstain from opioids on their own. That is, not having the aid of medical detox and addiction treatment professionals. Without assistance, relapse is almost always a given. Being more a question of “when,” rather than “if.”

Even if someone manages to get past the acute withdrawal stage on their own, which is possible (believe it or not), the likelihood of achieving long-term recovery is slim. The pull of opioids is extremely strong, and without a Program and a “higher power” to rely on, relapse is usually a foregone conclusion. Which is why lawmakers, health experts and local clergymen to double their efforts to encourage people with opioid use disorders to seek assistance.

 

#2069 Opioid Overdose Deaths


In the wake of last year's overdoses, Rev. Ron Tibbetts of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Wrentham, MA, decided to launch a novel campaign. In 2016, the state of Massachusetts lost 2,069 of its citizens to opioid-related overdoses, The Boston Globe reports. Upon learning of the startling figure, Rev. Tibbetts started the #2069 sign campaign to raise awareness.

Here’s how it works; the church has made simple lawn signs that people in Mass can order to place in their yard. The signs have a white background with “#2069” on them, intended to be stark and bleak, according to the Reverend. Signs can be purchased by making a $12 donation which will go towards an awareness rally the church is holding on Oct. 28, 2017, The Globe reports. Called No Shame 2017. The event is meant to raise opioid awareness and recognize first responders who have been assisting overdose victims. By the end of August, some 277 signs had been ordered from the Trinity Episcopal Church.

“It’s empowered us to become a lot more aware of the world around us,” said Tibbetts.

 

Addiction Recovery


The work of Trinity Episcopal Church is just one example of houses of faith doing their part to address the epidemic. Across the country, churches have been opening their doors to addicts with nowhere else to turn. At Celebrate Hope we commend the good works happening in Mass, and would like to help spread the message that addiction recovery is possible with the help of Christ. If you are struggling with opioids please contact our faith-based residential addiction treatment center. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and help you re-establish contact with your higher power.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Methamphetamine Induced Stroke Among Young People

methamphetamine
Verily, there isn’t a narcotic without inherent risks. Each of us knows this to be true. Even if you have never been touched by addiction, you know someone whose life was turned upside down by substance misuse. Untreated substance abuse will ultimately end with institutions and premature death. That does not need to be the case though. There is treatment available to those who would seek it, but most will never get the chance. However, if you are reading this it means that you still can find recovery.

These days we seem to give almost exclusive attention to prescription opioids, heroin and synthetics like fentanyl or carfentanil. And for good reason, the epidemic we have been confronting for nearly two decades is like nothing we have ever faced before. Over a hundred Americans lose their lives every day from overdose. The government has declared a state of emergency, with lawmakers and health experts being confounded over what to do about it. But, the essential solution (which has been under-utilized) is providing greater access to treatment. Better educating doctors and patients about the dangers of opioids to prevent future use disorders and potential overdoses. Because at the end of the day, ours is a problem of addiction. Preventing it, and treating the disease will save lives.

When focusing on the opioid addiction epidemic we must not take our eye off some of the other narcotics both ruining and taking lives. In many ways, like the somnolence typified by opioid use, the epidemic has put us in a state of sleepiness regarding other substances. You know, not too long ago all the talk was about methamphetamine. Once called the most deadly and pernicious substance being abused by Americans. But a combination of numerous factors caused many Americans to think that the tide of the meth epidemic had been stemmed. Which makes sense, after all everyone was talking about meth — then they weren’t. So, meth must not be a problem anymore, right?

 

Meth Hasn’t Gone Anywhere, We Stopped Talking About It


Not for nothing, addiction has been around forever. But when it takes people’s lives in overwhelming numbers at young ages, people seem to give it more credence. Such was the case with opioids. As the death toll continued to mount with each year that passed, we were all forced to confront the opioid epidemic. Especially when people from nearly every demographic are dying every day. Unfortunately, while we were all focusing on opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine use continued and increased with few taking notice. Perhaps some new research will cause people to divert their attention from opioids for a moment.

A review of research, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, indicates a heightened risk of stroke among young people who use meth, BMJ reports. This is concerning considering that methamphetamine use is on the rise, especially in North America. Methamphetamine can be swallowed, inhaled, or injected. Swallowing and injecting meth was associated with Haemorrhagic strokes (bleed into the brain) risks. Whereas, inhalation was linked to ischaemic stroke (caused by a clot).

“With the use of methamphetamine increasing, particularly more potent forms, there is a growing burden of methamphetamine related disease and harms, particularly among young people, in whom the majority of methamphetamine use occurs,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, it is likely that methamphetamine abuse is making a disproportionate contribution to the increased incidence of stroke among young people observed over recent years.”

 

Methamphetamine Treatment


Meth addiction, as you can see, can lead to premature death. It may not be as common as opioid overdose, but worth everyone's focus. This is not just a drug that makes people “hyper” and rots out one’s teeth. The caustic effect it has on the human body can be fatal. If you are addicted to methamphetamine, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea to discuss treatment options. Recovery will save your life.

Friday, August 18, 2017

AUD Among Women Rising

AUD
When you think of heavy drinkers you are likely to picture a man taking shots in a dimly lit bar or a frat boy taking “keg stands.” Associations that would be accurate, but men are not the only Americans drinking in unhealthy ways. Women are touched by addiction, and millions of American women struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) every year. However, it hardly gets the attention that it deserves.

Alcohol is a dangerous substance, even when used in relative moderation. Due to the drug's legal status, it is an accepted pastime in the United States. Yet, when recreation turns into addiction society is not all that kind. The stigma of alcoholism prevents many alcoholics from seeking the help they desperately require. In 2015, around 1.3 million adults received AUD treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Of those who received treatment 898,000 were men, which equates to 8.8 percent of the number of males who needed treatment. Only 417,000 women got treatment, 7.5 percent of females who needed treatment.

The lack of people seeking treatment for AUD is troubling, especially when you consider that a new study shows that alcohol use, high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders, has increased significantly among women leading up to 2015. The findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry.

 

High Risk Drinking and AUD Among Women


In order to prevent and educate people about the dangers of alcohol, we need to know who is at the greatest risk. This will allow experts to better target their preventive efforts. The new study showed increases in high risk drinking and alcohol use disorder among men as well. Yet, the most significant increases were found with:
  • Women
  • Older Adults
  • Racial/Ethnic Minorities
  • Individuals with Lower Educational Levels and Family Income
"These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates and heroin) during the same period. ... Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD, destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment," the authors write in JAMA.

AUD Treatment 


Alcohol use disorders are progressive forms of mental illness. Left untreated typically leads to tragic outcomes. But, much of the heartache typical to alcoholism can be avoided by making the brave decision to seek help, sooner rather than later. If you are a woman who is struggling with AUD, recovery is possible, if you are willing to take certain steps.

At Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea, we can guide you to the road of early recovery. Starting with breaking the cycle of alcoholism. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a consultation. Please give us a call.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Avoiding Triggers in Early Recovery

addiction recovery
Living a life free from drugs and alcohol is no easy task. It is not a coincidence that most relapses happen within the first year of recovery. Whether you sought help by way of treatment or not. Of course, those who do seek the assistance of a substance use disorder treatment facility are given tools and taught skills to better mitigate the risk of relapse.

When you go to treatment for alcohol or substance use disorders, getting you off substances is the first order of business. Next, comes the work. Learning, understanding and accepting ways of living that can help you avoid the temptations lurking around every corner. One of the reasons that staying clean and sober for long period of time is so difficult is triggers. People, places or things that can elicit certain responses and feelings in thee mind.

In early recovery, avoiding triggers is absolutely paramount. Those who delude themselves into thinking they are stronger than they are, often encounter problems. People with less than a year sober have no good reason to be in an environment where people are using. If there is a party that requires your presence (i.e. work related event), bringing a friend in the program with you is always wise. That being said, it is possible to stay out of shark infested water in early recovery. If one is honest about their limitations.

Triggers In Addiction Recovery


Alcohol and drugs are triggers. But, there are other subtler triggers that can make a person want to use, too. After years of living in addiction, there are number of mental associations that form. Stimuli and behaviors that went along with your disease, but are not necessarily things that will get you drunk or high on their own.

For instance, everyone listens to music. Perhaps there was a band that you listened to a lot when you were using. Now in recovery, you may play a song that could make you have fond memories of when you were using. Forgetting all the pain that drugs and alcohol caused, you find yourself with a smile on your face. This can be dangerous. In early recovery, you would be wise to make a list of certain bands that could trigger your appetite for particular substances.

Music is just a general example of something benign in nature that can have catastrophic impact on your program. Early on in treatment, you and your counselor will likely narrow down things in the outside world that could jeopardize your recovery. Identify places that should be avoided, and people that you should try to stay clear of. One’s addiction will be constantly trying to steer you towards the precipice of relapse. Working a program counters the sinister drive of addiction. After leaving treatment, you will work with a sponsor and go to meetings. It is vital that you talk with your fellows in recovery about any and all urges to use that you are having. Not doing so is a slippery slope to relapse.

 

Addiction Treatment As A Model


Some of you reading this are not in recovery yet, but need it. If that is the case, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. We can help you build a solid foundation for recovery, and teach you about the people, places and things that should be avoided—at all costs. Achieving long-term recovery is possible, let us show you how.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Opioid Addiction Report: Declare A National Emergency

opioid addiction
There is a good chance that you have been affected by the widespread misuse of opioid painkillers. Either yourself personally, or you have a loved one or close friend who's been touched by the disease of addiction. Right now, there are millions of Americans living with an untreated opioid use disorder. You may have heard tell that the White House appointed a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The hope is to find viable solutions to our nation’s most serious public health crisis.

Solutions are desperately needed, people are dying and many more are meeting the criteria for opioid addiction with each day that passes. Confronting this epidemic has proved to be a serious challenge. While there have been efforts to both assist addicts get help and make it harder to acquire prescription opioids, still around 142 Americans die of an overdose every day.

Last year, Congress approved and President Obama signed into law a couple piece of legislation aimed at putting an end to the epidemic. Legislation that called for funding addiction treatment services, expanding access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone and training doctors to be more frugal prescribers. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act have yet to bear quantifiable proof. Only time will tell. The current administration has placed their trust in the opioid commission to address the epidemic.

 

Opioid Crisis Report



Many addiction experts have eagerly awaited what conclusions the commission would make. This week, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a preliminary report, according to the Associated Press. Wherein, the first order of business calls for the President to declare the opioid addiction epidemic a national emergency. Report says that roughly 142 deaths each day is "equal to September 11th event every three weeks."

“Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life. It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.” 

The commission included several recommendations in their report, including:
  • Enforcing mental health parity laws, ensuring people get the coverage they need for addiction treatment.
  • Equipping “all” law enforcement officers with naloxone.
  • Funding federal agencies to develop fentanyl detection sensors.
  • Increasing the use of opioid addiction medications, such as buprenorphine.
  • Require doctors and other people working in the medical field to get buprenorphine prescribing waivers.
  • Facilitate state prescription drug monitoring programs data sharing nationally by July 1, 2018.
The commissioner stated that it will release another report later this fall.

 

Addiction Treatment


Opioid addiction is difficult to recover from, but it is possible. The process usually begins with detox to help you get through the withdrawal process, the pain of which often leads to immediate relapse without assistance. Then followed by residential addiction treatment to teach you how a life in recovery can be achieved, teaching you skills and providing tools to help achieve success. After treatment, a continued program of spiritual maintenance is how one holds on to their recovery for years to come.

If you are ready to take the journey of addiction recovery, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea today.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mental Health Treatment Around The World

mental illness
In the United States there are resources available to help people dealing with mental health disorders, such as depression. Yet, only 44.7 percent of adults with any mental illness received any mental health services in 2013, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If you are familiar with the field of mental health you may not be surprised by SAMHSA’s findings. Because you know that reaching out for help is extremely hard for people living with mental illness.

We live in a society that still struggles to understand that mental health disorders are serious impairments. These conditions require treatment and continued therapy over the course of one’s life. People living with mental illness often fear that asking for help will result in them being stigmatized by the peers. Thus preventing people for taking the first step to recover.

To be sure, we have come along way with regard to stigma, but it is a fight that is extremely hard to win. Consider the general public’s lack of understanding about conditions like depression or addiction. Despite the fact that there is ample evidence showing that treatments are effective, they are widely underutilized. Those living with any type of untreated mental illness are at great risk of developing problems with mind-altering substances. That is because people with untreated mental health problems often self-medicate, leading to the development of co-occurring mental health disorders. In turn, requiring an extra level of treatment.

 

Talk Therapy for Mental Illness


The SAMHSA report indicated 43.8 million adults (age 18 or older) experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2013. Given that 9.3 million Americans reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, the need for encouraging more people to seek help is great.

Mental illness is a worldwide problem, with depression affecting more than 300 million people around the globe, according to the the World Health Organization (WHO). Because treatment rates are so low in this country, perhaps American health experts should look for examples in other countries.

A campaign was launched in 2008 to help people living with mental illness in England, called Healthy Minds. It has the expressed goal of creating a system of primary care for mental health across the UK, The New York Times reports. Healthy Minds offers free open-ended talk therapy at clinics throughout the country. Since the program’s inception, adults in England receiving mental health treatment increased from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3. What’s more, people all over the country have access to talk therapy and not just in cities. Brits are getting help, according to the article, in:
  • Desolate Farming Villages
  • Industrial Suburbs
  • Remote Immigrant Communities
The program has had a serious impact on the stigma surrounding mental illness, as well. This gives more people the strength to seek the help they desperately need.

“You now actually hear young people say, ‘I might go and get some therapy for this,’” said Dr. Tim Kendall, the clinical director for mental health for the National Health Service. “You’d never, ever hear people in this country say that out in public before.”

 

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


If you are living with any type of mental illness, the problem is always made worse by using drugs and alcohol. At Celebrate Drug Rehab, we specialize in treating clients with a dual diagnosis. Please reach out to us to begin the process of recovery.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Prayer and Meditation In Addiction Recovery

prayer
Anyone who is new to recovery finds it difficult to take every suggestion given to them. After all, addicts and alcoholics can be stubborn to the bone. Even though their way didn’t work for them, one still wants to hold on to the illusion of control. The idea that, despite all the wrong turns leading up to recovery, we know what is best for us.

Resistance to suggestion can take a number of different forms. What one decides to heed or doesn't, varies from case to case. In early recovery there is a lot of information being bombarded from several directions, one may find it hard to act in accordance to what is suggested. Early on, some of the more common advice that is given that newcomers struggle to take without question, includes:
  • Get a sponsor, don’t put it off.
  • Staying away from romantic entanglements in the first year of recovery.
  • Go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
  • Pray and/or meditate daily.
  • Keep it simple…
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, and any one of a number of platitudes.
All of which, believe it or not, may seem straightforward and easy to follow, but many in early recovery struggle with some of them. But, all of such advice is sage wisdom when it comes to staying clean and sober. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the suggestion to pray or meditate, daily.

 

Spirituality in Recovery


If you have been in the program for even a short time, then you are probably aware that ours is a spiritual program. One’s connection to a “higher power” of their own understanding is what holds a program together. Without something greater to be accountable to, we resume the comfortable position of thinking we are running the show. It’s probably been said to you by now that it doesn’t matter what your higher power is—as long as you have one.

Choosing something greater than yourself may come easier to you than keeping in constant contact with said higher power. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to drown out the noise and connect with the spiritual. The suggestion to pray or meditate at the start or end of your day is a good one. When the outside world quiets down a bit, early in the morning or late at night, one is in a better position to connect. Better able to open oneself up to the sunshine of the spirit. If you are new, you may be adverse to “God,” or any ideas of omnipotence, for that matter. This is pretty normal. You may find it hard to get down on your knees and open your soul to the spiritual plane. That’s alright. Practice makes perfect.

Are you like the many who are new to the program, who feel a little goofy getting down on your knees and asking for guidance? Or perhaps you have trouble remembering to pray and meditate, after all, in early recovery we have busy lives to contend with. If you are one of those people, perhaps you would entertain another suggestion that might help. When you get ready for bed at the end of your day, put your shoes under the bed. When you wake, unless you are planning to walk around in your socks you will need those shoes. Voila! And there you find yourself already on your knees, open to the light of your higher power. It might sound corny, but it works.

 

Prayer In Addiction


It is not uncommon for people who are still struggling with substances to pray for a way out of the despair. Some of us, after all, grew up with spirituality in our live. Despite the fact that the drugs and alcohol make us deaf to the spirit, we still send out prayerful signals hoping for a response. If you have been praying to change, that is great and change is possible. But it will require something from you, first. Picking up the phone. If you would like to be free from the bondage of self, and break the chains of your addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

alcohol use disorder
Do you drink regularly? If so, it may not be cause for concern. Millions of Americans imbibe on regular basis, the majority of whom will never develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD). But that does not mean that there aren't inherent risks to regularly consuming alcohol, or that you will not develop a problem with the world’s most used mind-altering substance. What’s more, the majority of people with an alcohol use disorder may not even be aware that they have a problem.

If you are a regular drinker, and are unsure if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, it might be worth looking into. AUDs that are left untreated can cause a host of medical problems and increase the risk of premature death. One way to assess if you have a problem is to talk to your primary care physician. They can shed light on the subject. Doing so could lead to addiction treatment, and in turn greatly improve the quality of your life. If you have an inkling that your drinking is problematic, please do not hesitate.

Furthermore, it is never wise to gauge the severity of your drinking by comparing yourself to your peers. Their drinking is not relevant to your situation. Every one of us is different. Drinking may not affect your peers' lives in the negative ways it affects your own. It is quite common for people to continue fueling the fire of an alcohol use disorder because they think they do not have a problem based on how their friends drink. It is worth remembering that perceptions are not fact.

 

The Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder


When diagnosing any health disorder, certain criteria must be met. Whether it is diabetes or depression. One should see a specialist to identify a problem, which is always advised. But you can also utilize resources from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Currently, there are eleven symptoms of alcohol use disorder, which include:
  1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
  5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
  8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to criteria A and B of the criteria set for alcohol withdrawal) b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

AUD Severity and Treatment


If you met two of the symptoms criteria, then you meet the criteria for AUD. Depending on how many of the eleven that you meet, will determine the severity of the disorder.
  • Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms.
  • Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms.
  • Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms.
So now what? If you meet the criteria for a mild AUD, it may possible to start the process of recovery in the rooms of 12-Step programs or SMART Recovery. For those who have over four symptoms, it is likely that more help assistance initially will be required. At Celebrate Hope, we can help you detox from alcohol and get you started on the road to recovery. Our trained professionals can give your tools and skills for avoiding relapse and achieving long-term recovery. Please contact us today, recovery is possible.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fewer Teens Using Tobacco Products

tobacco
“Gateway drug” is a term that many young people are familiar with in the United States. In elementary school and beyond, by way of programs like DARE, kids are cautioned about staying away from drugs and alcohol. With good intentions to be sure. However, marijuana is often talked about in the context of being a gateway drug that will lead to the use of other, more dangerous drugs.

In some cases that is true. Teenagers who use marijuana in high school are far more likely to try, experiment or abuse harder substances. Yet, research over the past few years has shown that alcohol and tobacco is the true gateway drug for young people. So, with that in mind, it makes sense that prevention efforts be focused more on the two legal substances, before addressing marijuana.

It is worth noting that fewer Americans, regardless of age group are smoking cigarettes than in decades past. But, a significant number of young people are still smoking either traditional tobacco products or e-cigarettes. We have written in the past about concerns over young people using e-cigs, many high schoolers now prefer them over normal nicotine delivery systems. A number people close to the field of addiction, expressed concerns about nicotine initiation via e-cigarettes. Fearing that it would start people who would never have tried regular tobacco on a slippery slope to addiction.

 

Good News On Tobacco


New research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, shows that fewer teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes or using other tobacco products, The Washington Post reports. The study showed that in the past year 11.3 percent of high school students engaged in e-cigarette use, compared to 16 percent in 2015. The data can be viewed on the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Regarding e-cigarettes that is good news, but the highlight of the report is with regard to traditional tobacco products. The study showed the lowest numbers on record for high school students using any type of tobacco product, according to the article. With 8 percent reporting smoking cigarettes in the past year and 20 percent using any form of nicotine product. Including:
  • Cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Hookahs
  • Pipes
  • Smokeless Tobacco

 

Young Adults Smoking


People who smoke cigarettes or use nicotine products in high school are far more likely to drink alcohol or use other drugs. Which is why it is so important that the rate of tobacco use continues to decline. Teenagers who abuse substances in high school often end up abusing in young adulthood. It can be a sign that addiction has developed and it is vital that intervention occurs before the problem gets worse.

If your young adult child has been abusing drugs and/or alcohol, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. Our highly-trained staff can help break the cycle of addiction and get them on the road to recovery. The sooner recovery starts, the better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1 Million Heroin Users in America

 heroin
Grim news was printed this week, courtesy of The New York Times. And, once again opioids are at the center of the discussion. Preliminary data compiled by the newspaper indicates that drug overdose deaths in America probably exceeded 59,000 last year. Unless something drastic is done soon, this is a trend that will likely continue in the coming years.

People are dying. Opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction is the root of the problem. Yet, in 2017, nearly twenty years into the 21st Century, millions of Americans still struggle to access addiction treatment services. Even when they want help. In rural America, the closest addiction treatment center is sometimes hundreds of miles away. Given that fact that many opioid addicts are at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, the likelihood of traveling such distances for help is slim to none.

In addition to a lack of treatment options, many addicts still have hard time getting naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug that has saved thousands of American lives, and will continue to do so. But, getting the drug without a prescription is still not possible in certain places. Even if one can acquire it, affording the medicine is a whole different story. Perhaps you've heard the news about ever-increasing naloxone prices. Wherever you find demand, you find greed.

 

An Epidemic That Costs Billions


Prescription opioids are still a problem, to be sure. Yet, heroin use has steadily increased in recent years. What’s more, the mixing of heroin and fentanyl has become a common occurrence. Users who don’t know their heroin was mixed with the deadly painkiller are at great risk of overdose death. There are an estimated 1 million people actively using heroin in America today, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago press release. All told, heroin use in the United States costs society $51 billion in 2015. The costs are tied to:
  • Addiction Treatment
  • Heroin-related Crime
  • Imprisonment
  • Treating Chronic Infectious Diseases
  • Treating Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
  • Overdose Deaths
  • Lost Job Productivity
“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” said UIC pharmacoeconomists, Simon Pickard.

 

The Greatest Cost Is Life


Loss of productivity pales in comparison to the staggering death toll that could be reduced by increasing access to addiction treatment services. The longer one goes without treatment, the greater the chance of an overdose. If you are struggling with addiction to any form of opioids, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea today.

Our highly-trained staff specializes in the treatment of opioid use disorder. The opioid addiction epidemic is the most serious drug crisis the world has ever seen, and putting an end to it starts with treatment.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stigma: Talking About Depression and Anxiety

depression
It is fairly well understood that the best weapon against stigma, and to promote compassion, is to talk about mental illness. No easy task, to be sure. For time immemorial, people have been made to feel that talking about their psychological symptoms of addiction, depression and anxiety would be a road to social exile. Brain diseases are not as well understood as other health conditions, for many reasons. And due to the reality, most people will fill in the blanks with stereotypes and pejorative remarks that do little good for both society and especially the afflicted.

To be fair, we have come a long way in the mission to talk about mental illness and encourage people to seek help without fear of reprisal. Yet, the fact remains that the clear majority of people living with any form of mental illness never receive any form of treatment. Without such care, the consequences are typically grave. Commonly people with mental health disorders abuse drugs and alcohol to cope with the debilitating symptoms they face. Addiction is usually the result of self-medication. Worse, left feeling like there are no more options, people suffering from depression and anxiety often try to take their own life. Many succeed.

 

Shining a Light On Mental Illness


In popular culture, several movies and televisions shows now cover the topic of mental health. And not just because mental illness is fascinating, but due to the fact by doing so—lives can be saved. It is a trend that tells people who may be afraid to seek help that they are not alone. That treatment can improve the quality of one’s life dramatically. It is worth noting that around the world some 300 million people suffer from depression, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports. Many of those people live in countries that are not as fortunate as Americans are when it comes to mental health care.

The World Health Organization has deemed depression to be the leading cause of poor health on the planet.

 

Katie & Shaun Talk About Depression and Anxiety


On May 26, 2017, a new web series will debut on YouTube which focuses on depression and anxiety. Katie & Shaun is the name of the show, which was created by husband-and-wife Matt Thomas (Writer) and Susan Allen (Director), according to Broadway World. The six-minute episodes are based on the creator's own experiences. Susan Allen says:

"We both have personal experience with mental health, and we've supported family and friends over the years, so it's a story close to our hearts. First and foremost, we hope people will find the show entertaining. And if someone feels less alone, or more like they can handle their own problems because of it, that would be amazing. By illuminating the characters' struggles with anxiety and depression - which are often confusing or debilitating, sometimes downright frustrating, and yet just one part of who they are - we hope to foster a deeper and broader understanding of mental health, and its role in the human experience." 

Please take a moment to watch the trailer below:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Substance Abuse and Suicide Among Veterans

suicide
It's a good sign. Major media outlets like premium cable (e.g. HBO or Showtime) and Netflix have been dedicating their resources and addressing suicide. Just recently, Netflix released a series called 13 Reasons Why, about a teenage girl whose temporary problems made her life no longer worth living. The web streaming service also released an original movie, The Discovery, which focused on where we go after we die, a realization that leads to a spate of suicides across the world.

While such content are works of fiction, the messages ring true. More importantly, they encourage us all to question the case of suicide. The reasons behind it, the various ways that it might be prevented. It is important that people, who may be susceptible to suicidal ideations, are made aware that suicide in most cases is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. As much as it may feel like you can't go on, feelings are not facts—there is always a solution to be had.

One demographic that is no stranger to suicide, or thinking about it, is people who have or are struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. Especially among those whose substance abuse is a direct result of attempting to self-medicate another form of mental illness, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

Suicide In The Military


One does not have to experience trauma in order to develop a substance use disorder, but such people are at a greater risk. Whether or not someone is struggling with addiction or a co-occurring disorder (substance abuse combined with another mental health disorder), people in the military take their own lives at a far greater rate than the general public.

It turns out that out of more than 4 million veterans, drug and alcohol abuse affects 8 percent of males and 3 percent of females, HealthDay reports. Such individuals were two-times at risk of suicide, compared to veterans without an alcohol or substance use—20 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. The findings were published in the journal Addiction.

"We hope these findings will help clinicians and health systems care for people with substance use disorders, with mental health conditions, and with both -- and focus suicide prevention efforts accordingly," said lead study author Kipling Bohnert, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, and also a researcher with the VA Center for Clinical Management Research. 

Female veterans with substance use problems were found to commit suicide at more than five times the rate of female veterans who did not abuse drugs or alcohol, according to the article. The researchers found that females who abused opioids and males who abused amphetamines were at the greatest risk of suicide.

 

Suicide Prevention by Way of Treatment


Active substance abuse takes people to the darkest of places. With each day that passes one sees more and more doors closing. If you add other forms of mental health disorders into the equation, the picture becomes even more dismal. Despair can lead to a rash decision that can’t be reversed.

The first step to addressing why you feel the way you do, is to identify what you are doing that might be a contributing factor. If daily drug and alcohol use is occurring, it is definitely contributing to your feelings of despair. It is quite common for people abusing drugs and alcohol to also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, as we mentioned previously otherwise known as a “dual diagnosis.” While depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder certainly complicate the treatment of addiction, recovery is still possible.

Please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. We specialize in treating co-occurring mental health disorders. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin the process of treating your dual diagnosis, so that you can lead a life in recovery free from drugs and alcohol.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Heroin: Educating Young People

heroin
The most recent Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey had promising results regarding young people using drugs and alcohol. When it comes to opioid narcotics, such as prescription painkillers and heroin, teenagers are using them at fairly low rates. In fact, heroin use (intravenous) rates among high school seniors was remarkably low at 0.3 percent in 2016, even though we are in the midst of an epidemic. Teenage use of prescription opioids seemed to be declining as well. All good news!

Considering the MTF findings, it is vital that young people continue to be given the message about the dangers of opioid narcotics; because the trends seen among high school age students are not mirrored in young adults. New research from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that Americans using heroin has jumped by an exponential of five over the last ten years, according to a press release from the university. What’s more, the most drastic increases in heroin use and abuse was among:
  • Young Adults
  • Males
  • Whites
"In 2001 to 2002, whites and non-whites reported similar prevalence of heroin use. However, in 2012-2013, increases in heroin and related disorders were particularly prominent among whites, leading to a significant race gap in lifetime heroin use by 2013," said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

The findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry indicated that people with low incomes and no more than a high school education were at a heightened risk. So, it is vital that young people are educated in high school about the insidious nature of opioid addiction. Across the country, many public high schools have begun to place a greater focus on opioids.

"Our results underscore the need to expand educational programs on the harms related to heroin use and access to treatment in populations at increased risk," said Dr. Martins. "Promising examples of prevention and intervention efforts include expansion of access to medication-assisted treatment -- methadone, buprenorphine or injectable naltrexone -- as well as educational campaigns in schools and community settings, and consistent use of prescription drug monitoring programs." 

In the states hardest hit by the opioid addiction epidemic, lawmakers are thinking about mandatory opioid abuse education in public schools, The Washington Post reports. Michigan, ­Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Carolina are all considering legislation that would include some form of opioid education in public schools throughout their states. Such programs could deter use both in high school, and later into young adulthood.

If you are one of the many young adults in this country struggling with opioid use disorder, then you are likely aware of the deadly nature of such drugs. Overdose is rarely a question of “if,” but rather a question of “when.” Please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea to begin the lifesaving journey of addiction recovery.

Side Note: Today is World Health Day. We would like to encourage all of our readers to take a part in ending the stigma of mental illness, in order to help people seek help and recover. Stigma hurts us all, putting an end to it could help countless individuals around the world. You can find more information here.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Addiction Recovery: Experience, Strength and Hope

addiction recovery
The 12-Steps model is one of the more common roads for one to take in the journey to recover from a substance use disorder. For more than 80 years, individuals caught in the maelstrom of addiction have turned to the rooms of 12-Step recovery, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. What started as two people sharing their story with one another, overtime morphed into a program where millions of people with the disease of addiction work together to live a spiritual life free from drugs and alcohol.

We all have different stories. All of us came to the rooms of recovery by a different road. But, at the end of the day, our stories are remarkably similar. With an open mind, one can easily see that no one living with the disease of addiction (active or not) is all that unique. As much as we all imagine that we are unique, that is our addiction or our path to it was somehow special, as one’s disease would lead one to believe, at the end the day the driving forces that led to and perpetuated the vicious cycle are quite the same.

A “normal” person may try a drug on more than one occasion, and think nothing of it. Whereas, others being exposed to a substance will have a far different experience and develop an insidious relationship with drugs and alcohol due to genetic, psychological and environmental factors. If the aforementioned explanation seems ambiguous or nebulous, that is because it is; while addiction experts and researchers have a basic understanding of what precipitates an addiction there is still much that is not well understood.

 

It Doesn’t Matter How You Got Here


People who are new to recovery, will often feel an urge to at least try explaining how this happened. Where they zigged when they should have zagged. But, when all is said and done, such explanations and experiences are only of value when it comes to not repeating past behaviors. Simply put, the road that brings one to the abyss of active addiction, is not the same road you will take to recover from the disease.

We can’t walk back down the road of our past, identify where we made a wrong turn and correct course accordingly. Rather, one must forge a new path. A journey that requires not only adopting, but showing deference to the principles and traditions that have saved the lives of those who have come before you. In the “rooms,” you will be asked to share your experience, strength and hope by relaying what it was like (active addiction), what happened (how you came to the realization that one’s course was no longer tenable) and what it is like now (the transformation which resulted from living life one day at a time and practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs)?

It may seem like an onerous task, and it is most certainly. But, through honesty, humility and continually reminding yourself that without taking these steps the outcomes are bleak. In the rooms of recovery, you are taught how to learn from your past, by living for today, so that you may have a future.

 

Giving It Away Is The Gift


It is interesting to note the transformation people undergo, as is evident by what is shared. In early recovery, one is in total disarray. In a fog of one’s own shame and regret, incessant and pervasive thoughts about how your best thinking got you here. Newcomers are still so close to their disease that to talk about anything but what it was like out there is an impossibility. But those who are willing to do the work, follow direction and are honest (even when it hurts) have a fighting chance at not only achieving long term recovery, they will be in a position to share the strength and hope—potentially aiding others in their mission to live a spiritual existence.

Many, if not the majority, of people who enter a program of recovery are hopeful that manageability will be returned. They look around at those who have significant recovery time, they hear about how those peoples’ lives have been put back together from a multitude of infinitesimal pieces. Some of whom getting their families back, holding good job, driving their own vehicle (registered and with valid insurance), etc. It can be easy to see all those things as being the gift, or gifts of recovery. However, those are merely the byproduct of the true Gift of recovery. The miracle of living a spiritual life free from the bondage of self, helping others recover as they help you recover, simply by sharing one’s experience, strength and hope. Having an active role in another's recovery is the Gift, you get to keep your recovery because you freely give it away.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Smartphones May Impact Teen Substance Use

substance use
Everyday millions of Americans of practically every demographic spend an inordinate amount of time on their smartphones. Between checking for the latest news and playing games, there are countless ways to waste time on the pocket-sized devices. In recent years, many experts have raised concerns about our reliance on smartphones. It cannot be denied that they are sometimes used to distract us from the really important life issues, whether that be responsibilities or our mental state. For some people, smartphone use turns into dependence and even addiction. With that in mind, we would be seriously remiss if we failed to mention that smartphones may actually be doing some good when it comes to drug and alcohol use.

With the United States in the continued grip of an opioid addiction epidemic, it is hard to pinpoint areas of progress when it comes to substance use and abuse, until you take a look at teenagers. Research has shown that teens are trying and using drugs and alcohol less and less over the last decade. “Monitoring the Future,” is an annual survey which essentially takes a snapshot of teenage (eighth, 10th and 12th graders) drug and alcohol use. The most recent findings indicate that past-year use of illicit drugs (excluding marijuana) was the lowest in several decades.

While education and prevention can account for some of that progress, it would seem there are other factors at play that could be responsible for the decline. Researchers have theorized that smartphones could be one of the major causes for a drop in teen substance use rates, The New York Times reports. They point out that the downswing of drug and alcohol use coincides nicely with the significant increase in smartphone use.

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nora Volkow, has plans in the works to research the correlation between smartphones and substance use reductions, according to the article. Interactive media is, the director of NIDA describes, “an alternative reinforcer” to
mind-altering substances, “teens can get literally high when playing these games.” Dr. Volkow will share the findings with a group of scholars this spring.

Dr. Volkow’s theory is “highly plausible,” said Dr. Silvia Martins, an expert on substance abuse at Columbia University. “Playing video games, using social media, that fulfills the necessity of sensation seeking, their need to seek novel activity.”

We will continue to follow this interesting story in the coming months. Whatever the findings are, they will surely be of interest to those working in the field of addiction, or for those recovering from it. Parents will likely have a vested interest in Dr. Volkow's findings, as well.
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