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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cannabis Use Carries Significant Risk

cannabis use disorder
Many individuals perceive marijuana or cannabis as benign. Most people have never heard of a person overdosing or dying from smoking "weed." Unlike alcohol, nobody associates cannabis with life-threatening health conditions like liver disease. The fact that medical marijuana and recreational use laws are in place in many states helps a significant number of people justify their "pot" use.

A nationwide survey shows that 22.2 million people aged 12 and older said that they had used cannabis in the past month, according to Medical News Today. While many who partake in marijuana use, do so intermittently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that as many as 30% of marijuana users may have some degree of cannabis use disorder.

It is fair to say that society does not deem chronic marijuana use as particularly harmful. While hearing of a friend seeking addiction treatment for cannabis is rare, it happens all the time. Marijuana use disorder is a real mental health condition that often demands outside help to overcome. Like the heavy use of any mind-altering substance, cannabis users build up tolerance and encounter problems when trying to quit. Hardly the markers of a healthy pastime.

The Risks of Cannabis Use

Experts believe that adolescents are highly susceptible to experiencing negative consequences from use and they are at a heightened risk of developing a use disorder down the road. New studies presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, sheds some more light on marijuana's effect on developing brains. While the findings presented last month involved animal models, the results are important nonetheless. At the meeting in San Diego, researchers showed:
  • Exposure to cannabis at a young age led to faulty development of brain circuits for memory and learning;
  • enhanced activity in brain circuits that regulate the formation of habits; and,
  • physical alterations in the development of brain regions involved in self-control, making decisions, and planning.
Parents living in states like California should be wary of co-signing their teenager's cannabis use. The evidence is clear, marijuana disrupts and alters cognitive functions; those who start using early in life are at high risk of developing a use disorder.

Marijuana use can cause health and social problems. Those who are addicted to marijuana find that stopping is an impossible task without assistance. Withdrawal symptoms are also common for such people when they attempt to quit, including:
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness


Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

If you or a loved one is unable to stop using marijuana on their own, it is possible that cannabis use disorder is presenting. The Haven at Pismo can help you break the cycle of addiction and develop a plan for achieving long-term recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our services. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ideas for Sober Holiday Fun

sober holiday fun
Tis the season for sober holiday fun! Here’s a little reminder of all of the festive, wholesome and sober ways you can enjoy the holiday season:
  • Have a cookie baking and decorating night. Ask some friends over for a night of baking. Have everyone bring their favorite cookie recipe and decorating supplies. You can even make it a friendly competition and offer a small gift for the winning chef.
  • Go see a show. Whether it’s a local production of “A Christmas Carol” or “The Nutcracker” or a holiday music concert, this is the perfect time of year to unwind and enjoy a holiday-inspired performance. Get in the spirit and lose yourself in the storyline for a few hours.
  • Make a date at the movies. Grab a sober friend and head to the movie theater. There are so many new movies released this time of year! Another option is to stay home, make some popcorn and rent some holiday classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas.”
  • Take a leisurely drive. Turn on some holiday music and drive around your neighbor to check out all of the fun and festive lights and decorations.
  • Get moving together. Bundle up and gather some friends for a game of flag football or a scenic hike. Or scout out some places (indoor or outdoor) to go ice skating.
  • Give back. The concept of giving back is an important part of recovery – and what better time of year to help out at local shelter or organize a food drive.
  • Plan a sober party. If attending parties where alcohol will be plentiful is too risky, why not plan your own party with sober friends and family? Keep costs down by making it a potluck. Put on some music, play games and have a white elephant gift exchange.
Sobriety Support Year-round
Aftercare plans are invaluable additions to your recovery toolbox. At The Haven at Pismo, our team of addiction specialists will help you to develop relapse strategies to help you maintain sobriety once returning home. Call today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Opioid Addiction Epidemic Fight Receives Funding

Opioid overdose deaths are on the rise and the average life expectancy in America is dropping. The dark findings, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are a troubling cause for concern. While many factors play a part in the life expectancy decline, overdose deaths and so-called “deaths of despair” in the form of suicide stand out most notably.

Over the last few years, public health agencies have brought stark data to the attention of Americans. Campaigns are underway to get people talking about what happens when mental illness lives in the dark and individuals do not acquire the assistance they desperately require. The consensus among agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the CDC is that stigma continues to prevent millions of men and women from seeking help. Experts believe that having honest discussions about mental diseases like addiction and depression can save lives.

While talking amongst each other is beneficial for stigma-busting, we cannot forget that even when people desire assistance, it is often a struggle to obtain. Several congressional bills have sought to increase access to addiction treatment, expand the availability of the life-saving drug naloxone, and make more significant investments into prescription drug monitoring systems. The above actions have had some promising results; but, we still have a long way to go, and funding shortfalls continue to impede efforts to end the American opioid addiction epidemic plaguing millions.


Funding the Fight to End the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

“We are experiencing a national crisis: For the first time since World War I, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined over the past three years—and opioids are a big reason why,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies Founder and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. “We cannot sit by and allow this alarming trend to continue—not when so many Americans are being killed in what should be the prime of their lives.”

Michael Bloomberg made the above statement just before his charity announced a $50 million donation to look into the catalysts of opioid addiction and support substance use prevention and treatment programs, PBS NewsHour reports. The funds will be directed to the ten states hardest hit by the scourge of opioid use over the next three years.

A Bloomberg Philanthropies press release reveals that Pennsylvania is at the top of the list of states to receive financial aid. The organization has pledged at least $10 million to curb opioid deaths across The Keystone State. The findings of the three-year initiative will hopefully serve as a guide for others states to follow. Bloomberg’s charity is partnering with the CDC, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Johns Hopkins University, and Vital Strategies to find, “novel approaches and gaps in current treatment and prevention programs.”

“Communities across the country are taking innovative steps to address the opioid epidemic. Evaluating the efficacy of these approaches will help us determine which ones should be scaled up and implemented across the board,” said Ellen J. MacKenzie, Ph.D., MSc, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid use disorder is a mental health condition devastating the lives of millions of Americans. Substance use disorder, left untreated, can result in premature death; it is vital that Americans living with addiction seek treatment immediately. Recovery is possible, and The Haven can aid you in breaking the cycle of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors, and help you renew to your best today. Please contact us to learn more about our residential treatment center on the Central Coast of California.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery: The Benefits of Detox

alcohol use disorder
Taking the first step toward addiction recovery is an action that looks different from one person to the next. Some will opt for medical detox, others will not; checking into a treatment center can significantly help, but it is not a requirement. However, choosing medical detox isn’t always a choice, or shouldn’t be for that matter. The fact is, the use of certain substances can carry extreme risks to one’s health when attempting abstinence.

Most people who follow the news about the American opioid addiction epidemic read about the benefits of medical detox as it pertains to successful outcomes. The symptoms of heroin or painkiller withdrawal are so severe that many people will relapse if they do not receive outside assistance. However, and contrary to popular belief among many persons (some addicts as well), opioid withdrawal is rarely fatal. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for other mind-altering substances, most notably alcohol.

Some 16 million Americans meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder of varying degrees of severity. The substance is pervasive in our culture, and people use it more than any other drug — individuals who use alcohol frequently and in a harmful manner, place their health in jeopardy. What’s more, few men and women realize just how quickly they can experience adverse side-effects from alcohol use. Perhaps, an even smaller number understand that, after years of hazardous consumption, achieving the goal of sobriety can be risky without assistance.

Dangers Accompany Alcohol Withdrawal

Those living with opioid use disorders, attempting to quit on their own, may think they are going to perish; but, people with alcohol use disorders must understand that stopping without assistance can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC attributes 831 deaths in 2016 to the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Delirium tremens or the DTs is a symptom of acute alcohol withdrawal that can result in several complications. The markers of delirium tremens include confusion, increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, fever, heavy sweating, delusion, hallucinations, and seizures. Without medical supervision, individuals face tremendous health risks that are deadly. American actor Nelsan Ellis (True Blood), died last year from health complications stemming from alcohol withdrawal, USA Today reports. Anyone who experiences such symptoms when they attempt to sober up, particularly heavy drinkers, should seek medical detoxification immediately.

Dr. Anthony Marchetti, medical director of the emergency department at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Georgia, tells the news publication that how much a person drinks isn’t the only concern. Dr. Marchetti says that the number of times someone has gone through withdrawal previously is critical. He points out that, over time, daily heavy alcohol use causes changes to the brain; as a result, safe detox requires a gradual step down, not “cold turkey.”

“Almost everyone who tries to do it (alone) breaks through and has a seizure or some other complication from too-rapid withdrawal," said Dr. Marchetti.


Alcohol Detox In Pismo Beach

The definition of alcohol use disorder is compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using," writes the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Highly problematic drinking often leads to experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.

If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder and are ready to begin the healing process, please contact The Haven at Pismo. Our credentialed therapists and medical practitioners can administer supervised detox to manage withdrawal symptoms and safeguard your health.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Managing Loneliness This Holiday Season

loneliness and holiday
The holiday season can be lonely – especially if you’ve broken ties with any family members or friends and you’re still working on rebuilding your sober social network. Yet, for many people in recovery, loneliness can make you feel alone, misunderstood and not cared for – even if you’re surrounded by loved ones who support you.

Luckily, you can take steps to prevent loneliness from taking a toll on your health, overall recovery and holiday season. These tips can help:
  • Attend support groups and/or therapy session. The holidays season is certainly not the time to take a break from your addiction treatment. Talking to others who get what you’re going through and who may also be experiencing loneliness can help you feel supported. And you may even meet a new friend with whom you can enjoy a sober holiday celebration. 
  • Vow to volunteer. 'Tis the season for gratitude and there’s no better way to reap the benefits than to give back to others. Taking time to help someone else will not only help you appreciate all that you have in life, but it will help get you into the community and meet like-minded positive people.
  • Carve out time for friends and family. Everyone gets super busy around the holidays, so be sure to schedule in some much-needed time with your loved ones. Whether it’s a weekly call or weekly meeting, surrounding yourself with loved ones is super important during this time when your natural instinct may be to retreat into isolation.  
  • Keep up with self-care. The holidays can be an emotional time and practicing self-care, including healthy eating, exercise, proper sleep and relaxation strategies, can help keep you on a more even keel and give you the mental strength to stave off loneliness. 
Aftercare for Lifetime Sobriety
Aftercare plans are invaluable additions to your recovery toolbox. At The Haven at Pismo, our team of addiction specialists will help you to develop relapse strategies to help you maintain sobriety once returning home. Call today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Addiction Recovery: Social Media Impacts Well-Being

Men and women working programs of addiction recovery do well to remember that all the pieces matter. Emphasizing physical well-being is just as vital as taking steps to improve mental health, for example. Those who make their way from active addiction to sustained recovery come to understand that drug and alcohol use are symptoms of mental illness. A commitment to abstinence is paramount; but, refraining from use is only one facet of healing.

Remove mind-altering substances from the equation and other forms of mental health illness often plague people. No longer drinking and drugging, men and women learn that they are far from being out of the woods. The saying that ‘the only thing you need to change is everything’ could not be more accurate. Long-term addiction recovery asks individuals to make significant amendments to how they lead their life.

If lasting recovery is one’s goal, purging old behaviors and ways of looking at things are instrumental. Simply put, going to meetings is not enough; success depends upon engaging with the program and practicing principles that are foreign. Sharing in the rooms of recovery is vital, but so is listening. What’s more, the way men and women behave in meetings must continue in the outside world.

Curbing Social Media May Help Your Recovery

People who attend meetings of recovery are no strangers to the fact that many attendees stare at their smartphone while others are sharing. It could signal that addicts and alcoholics are excellent multi-taskers, or it could mean that many people are not emphasizing the importance of connecting with their peers. A disconnect from the community can breed loneliness and isolation, which can beget symptoms of depression. Seeing as depressive symptoms are a common occurrence among persons living with addiction, it’s critical that one do everything in their power to avoid activities that may affect their well-being.

A new study confirms, or at the very least supports, the passage above. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that limiting “screen time” could enhance life quality, mitigating the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness, according to Penn Today. The findings appear in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt and her team found a correlation between Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use and decreased well-being, the article reports. To be clear, the researchers do not suggest ceasing all social media use, but they believe that screen time reductions can improve life quality.

“When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life,” said Hunt. “In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.” 

Those of you in recovery, who spend a significant portion of your day on social media, may find that limiting use strengthens your program; this may be especially true for addicts and alcoholics with a co-occurring mental illness. Depression is, after all, one of the leading causes of relapse among those in recovery. You can even start small, by turning your phone off when attending meetings.

Addiction Recovery

The Haven at Pismo provides men and women battling addiction top quality treatment. Our safe and serene setting is the perfect environment to renew your best today. Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer and about how we can make the dream of recovery a reality for you or a loved one.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mental Illness Among Veterans

mental illness
With Veterans Day on the horizon, it is prudent to focus on mental illness. Mental health is discussed more openly throughout society today, thanks in part to science giving the general public a better understanding of the deleterious role stigma plays in seeking help. The reality is that despite available treatments, most people never access care. When mental disorders like addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress go without treatment, the results are never positive.

Approximately 18.5 percent of service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD or depression. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, more than 2 of 10 Veterans with PTSD also meet the criteria for substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that approximately 50 percent of veterans who require mental health treatment, seek it. About half who receive treatment, receive the kind of help they need.

There is an urgent need to encourage our veterans to make the decision to talk about their symptoms, instead of opting for self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Veterans who use substances to combat their PTSD symptoms are at significant risk of developing a substance use disorder. What’s more, the use of mind-altering drugs worsens one’s symptoms of PTSD; a vicious cycle ensues, and many decide their life is too complicated and they experience suicidal ideations.


Talking About Mental Illness

Making the courageous decision to seek assistance will save your life. Effective, evidence-based therapies are available; those who struggle with more than one disorder benefit from co-occurring disorder treatment. However, the fact that people often feel unable to discuss their problems keeps them from recovery.

If you are a veteran who is battling PTSD and co-occurring mental illness please know, you are not alone. Mental health problems affect millions of Americans, veterans, and civilians alike. Those who seek care have an opportunity to address their conditions, learn tools for coping with symptoms and go on to lead healthy, productive lives. Talking about your problems is the first step toward recovery; mental illness runs riot in silence.

At The Haven, we understand the negative impact stigma has on a person’s ability to open up and seek a solution. Reminding yourself others are in the same boat can be empowering; in fact, over 44 million American adults are experiencing a mental health illness. Mental Health America reports that 7.93 percent of adults have a substance use disorder. As you can see, no small number of people in this country battle the same kind of issues that you do; thankfully, access to insurance and treatment is increasing owing to reforms.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring disorders. From medically supervised detox to aftercare planning & treatment coordination, we are there for you every step of the way ensuring that you have the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please contact us to learn how you can begin the recovery process today.

We want to express our gratitude to the men and women who’ve served bravely in the armed forces, and those who continue to do so. Thank you for your service!