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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Motherhood and Meth In Fresno

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

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

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

Motherhood and Meth

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

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

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

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

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Stimulant Use Disorder

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

No Safe Amount of Alcohol

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

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

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


Alcohol Isn’t Good for Overall Health

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

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

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

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

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

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


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

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

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Diagnosing Mental Illness With AI

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

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

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


Using Artificial Intelligence to Better Diagnose Mental illness

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

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

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

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

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Encouraging Loved Ones Into Addiction Treatment

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

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

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


More People Than Ever Need Addiction Help

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

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


Encouraging Recovery

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

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Real Friends In Recovery

Recovery is a gift! Setting aside the first benefaction, life, those who work a program are awarded loads of excellent opportunities. Trustworthiness and accountability are a couple of salient aspects of note that accompany those living a life free from drugs and alcohol. Being able to rely on others for support, to have your back, when the going gets tough is another miraculous thing that staying clean and sober offers people.

Let’s face it, when you are drinking and drugging, people only tend to stick around when things are good. At the first sign of conflict, the majority of your using buddies would cut-and-run; and, hopefully, they are no longer a part of your inner circle. Today, you have something that you’ve probably not experienced in a very long time, maybe never, the gift of community.

Owing to working a program of recovery, the individuals in your life care about how you are doing. There is a good chance that you have become a vital component of your peers' program, and together you are making progress (another gift). However, people who are new to abstinence and spiritual maintenance may find it hard to sever ties with their past completely. Putting down the "booze" and "dope" was one thing, saying goodbye to people who you have known for years is not always a simple feat to accomplish.

Real Friends In Recovery

addiction recovery
Those who’ve committed to living life on life’s terms have to wrestle with the reality that some individuals from their past must go. If long-term abstinence is to come about, hanging around with people who are still using is not conducive to one’s well-being. Relapse in early recovery is often precipitated by trying to maintain old relationships. Even though treatment centers, sponsors, and “oldtimers” enjoin people who are new to the program to let go of unhealthy connections, many ignore the advice.

If you recently completed rehab, it’s likely that you are trying to decide how to inform the people you used to imbibe or get high with, that you are making changes. It isn’t easy, but please think long and hard if such people are actually your friend, or if they were instead relationships of convenience. It’s no secret that misery loves company. Those same people may try to convince you that having just a little of a substance won’t hurt; they may try to downplay the severity of your condition. Do not give in, do not believe what they are saying.

People do not seek treatment by accident! Your life had to be pretty unmanageable to invest the kind of time and money that help demands. If you believe in your heart-of-hearts that you are an addict or an alcoholic, then keeping your distance from anything that can jeopardize recovery is critical.

Naturally, there are several ways of discontinuing contact with old peers. Sometimes ripping the band-aid off quickly, is the most effective. Of course, specific relationships may be more complicated— mainly if romance is a part of the equation. In such cases, ask your sponsor or support group for advice; they have been where you are today and can steer you in the right direction. Investing energy into fostering relationships with people who share your goals will go a long way and carry with it its own set of rewards.

Start Celebrating Hope Today

Celebrate Hope gives people the tools for building a strong foundation for recovery. We offer several unique and innovative programs that suit the particular needs of each client. Please contact us to learn more about making recovery you or your loved one’s reality.
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