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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Social Media Impacts Mental Health

mental health
Individuals in early recovery do well to remain focused. Naturally, staying present and grounded in sobriety is not simple. Each day requires a commitment to putting the best foot forward and doing the next right thing in service to well-being. There is clear evidence that when people put recovery first, any progress made can last a lifetime.

Those who work a program understand that they must do certain activities every day to stay on task. It is a realization that is often easier said than done, but taking daily steps to become the best version of “you” is possible. For instance, such people know that attending meetings of recovery is vital; and, that participating in one’s recovery is paramount. That means sharing, checking in with a support group, and remaining in a state of accountability.

People who merely go through the motions of working a program but do not engage are likely to encounter problems. Each person must be an active participant in the continual journey called addiction recovery. Staying tuned-in to a program is made challenging at times by the myriad distractions unique to the 21st Century. It was not long ago when seeing a cellphone in a
meeting-goer's hand was unheard of, let alone a smartphone.

Today, most adults in recovery have the Internet and social media at their disposal. Moreover, it is not uncommon for recovering addicts and alcoholics to be staring at their phone while in a meeting. With just a few clicks or swipes, an individual can find themselves virtually transported into the lives of others, reading news flashes, and snickering at memes. While social media is not inherently bad for people, there is a growing body of research that is causing some men and women pause.

For those who already struggle to maintain mental, physical, and spiritual equilibrium, rethinking social media may be prudent.


Deactivating Facebook May Affect Mental Health

A new study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University and New York University, indicates some benefits of deactivating Facebook. In just 30-days, study participants reported “improvements in well-being, and in particular on self-reported happiness, life satisfaction, depression, and anxiety." Without social media to turn to for distraction, the subjects spent less time online and engaged in real-life activities, i.e., spending time with friends and family.

While the findings may not appeal to the average citizen, who use social media, for those people with a history of mental illness the results should be cause for consideration. And, especially true for individuals in recovery who have a penchant for checking their “timeline” in meetings.

Addiction recovery is a collective pursuit, those in the program heal by listening, sharing, and working together to keep their disease in remission. When a person’s attention is lacking, they risk missing something they may need to hear. Or worse, squandering an opportunity to help another who may be struggling. It is always worth reminding ourselves that recovery works through paying it forward. Again, the researchers are not suggesting that everyone does away with social media, but it seems that limiting screen time could have positive effects on our lives. The authors conclude:  

Our results leave little doubt that Facebook produces large benefits for its users …. Notwithstanding, our results also make clear that the downsides are real …. We find that four weeks without Facebook improves subjective well-being and substantially reduces post-experiment demand, suggesting that forces such as addiction and projection bias may cause people to use Facebook more than they otherwise would. 

If you look at your phone in meetings regularly, perhaps try turning the device off and instead tune into your recovery. The results are likely to be positive.

California Central Coast Addiction Treatment

We invite people struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder to renew their best today with The Haven at Pismo. Please contact us to learn more about the medically supervised and top-quality care we provide.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Foods Your Liver Will Love

Chronic use of drugs and alcohol can take a toll on many organs in your body, including your liver. The liver filters, processes and breaks down what passes through your body and produces glucose and bile, two important substances your body needs to stay healthy.

When the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins and pollutants – from alcohol, drugs and even processed and fried foods – its natural working cycle slows down. Luckily, certain foods can help naturally cleanse your liver. Consider adding these 10 foods your liver will love to your recovery diet.

  1. Apples: This fruit contain high levels of pectin, a chemical that helps the body cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract so the liver can better cleanse the rest of the body. 
  2. Avocado: This super food helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that helps the liver rid itself of toxins. 
  3. Beets: Beets are high in both fiber and Vitamin C, both known as natural cleansers for the digestive system. 
  4. Carrots: Not only are these orange gems high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene, which support overall liver function, but they’re loaded with vitamin A, which has been found to help prevent liver disease. 
  5. Citrus fruits: Grapefruit, oranges, limes and lemons have cleansing powers that help the liver flush out pollutants. 
  6. Garlic: Garlic is rich in selenium, a mineral that helps to detoxify the liver and enable your body to flush out toxins naturally. 
  7. Green Tea: This beverage is rich in plant-based antioxidants, or catechins, which help improve liver function.
  8. Turmeric: This herb not only helps the enzymes that flush out toxins but it also contains antioxidants that repair liver cells. 
  9. Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) contain glucosinolate, which aids the liver in producing detoxifying enzymes. Leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, Swiss chard) are high in chlorophyll, which helps protect the liver by leaching toxins out of the blood stream. 
  10. Walnuts: Rich in the amino acid arginine, glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts help cleanse the liver and assist the organ in detoxifying ammonia.
Fuel Your Recovery
With our in-house chef, the Haven at Pismo helps you create dietary patterns that support your sobriety and correct nutritional deficiencies. Residents learn how to replace sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods with healthy fiber, quality proteins, and antioxidant-rich vegetables. Call today to speak confidentially with an intake specialist: 805-202-3440.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Sound Health: Music and Mental Illness

mental illness
Music is part of the fabric of life. The medium has the power to inspire, enrage, calm, and heal. It is safe to say that most individuals would have a challenging time living without music in their lives. While people need to be cautious about which artists they listen to in early recovery (i.e., avoiding triggers), there is ample evidence suggesting the art form has therapeutic value.

When people enter treatment for mental illness, clinicians advise clients to avoid any music that may trigger cravings and symptoms that can derail their mission. If you listened to a lot of Grateful Dead before attempting recovery, it makes sense that you’d steer clear from their sounds. At least early on in the process.

Those new to recovery often discover that their taste in music has changed, perhaps the result of drugs and alcohol no longer influencing their thoughts. The healing mind may develop new preferences, which is a good thing. Adopting new behaviors and traditions aids the process of recovering from mental illness significantly. The life one leads in recovery is likely to be a complete change from their prior existence.

Many individuals find out who they “really” are upon being in recovery for even a short time. Changing interests and preferences is, in many ways, a natural progression of the healing process. And, music can become a source of comfort when stress takes hold; it can even be a method of coping with the symptoms of mental illness. Neuroscientists are taking a closer look at the healing power of music right now.

Sound Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found evidence that music can have a profound effect on a vast range of health conditions, from depression to pain management. Such discoveries, et alia, has led the NIH to partner with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to enhance our understanding of the bond between music and mental health, The New York Times reports. The project is called Sound Health.

“The payoff,” says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, is to “improve mental health. We know music shares brain areas with movement, memory, motivation and reward. These things are hugely important to mental health, and researchers are trying to use this same concept of an alternate pathway to address new categories of mental disorders.” 

The late Dr. Oliver Sacks, writing in Musicophilia, noted that music can “calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play, [but] it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions.”

Music Heals Minds and Counters Stigma

Musicians, with a history of mental illness, have proven Oliver Sacks words to be accurate in many ways. Orchestral conductor, Ronald Braunstein, a former winner of the prestigious Karajan International Conducting Competition, has had struggles with mental illness in adulthood, according to the article. Mr. Braunstein has bipolar disorder, a severe mental health condition if left untreated. His mental illness almost spelled the end of his career until he met Caroline Whiddon, the chairwoman of the Youth Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras. Whiddon contends with depression and anxiety disorder.

The two accomplished musicians both understood the positive impact that music had on their mental health disorders. A realization that led Braunstein and Whiddon to create an orchestra in Vermont in 2011 that would essentially counter the stigma of mental illness. The Me2/Orchestra (not affiliated with the Me Too Movement) brings musicians with mental illnesses together to perform. Since the inception of Me2/Orchestra, affiliate orchestras have popped up all over the country.

To be sure, the music venture helps musicians with mental illness, but it also provides a forum for the public to discuss diseases of the mind. Audience members are invited to ask the musicians questions about mental illness at each performance, the article reports. All the professional musicians involved in the project are volunteers.

“Instead of thinking people with mental illnesses are lazy or dangerous, they see what we’re capable of,” Mr. Braunstein said. “It has a positive effect on all of us.”

Pismo Beach Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo offers clients living with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety a full continuum of care. Please take the first steps toward a life in recovery by contacting us today to learn more about our programs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Is Perfectionism Interfering With Your Recovery?

Many people view perfectionism as a positive trait – it’s a hallmark of high achievers, after all. Yet being a perfectionist is not always a good thing – and it may even have played a role in your addiction.

The Link Between Addiction and Perfectionism
Struggling to be “the best” can create anxiety, depression and social alienation – all which can lead to a desire to “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol.

Perfectionism can also prevent you from seeking proper treatment. If you’re a perfectionist, for example, you might not accept the fact that you lost control to your addiction. Or, you might view asking for help as a sign of weakness. Denial is common among many with a substance use disorder and it’s even stronger in those with perfectionist tendencies.

How Perfectionism Can Hinder Your Recovery
Because perfectionists often beat themselves up over the slightest failure, recovery can be an especially challenging time. Holding yourself to unrealistic, high standards can even sabotage your recovery. Let’s take a deeper look.

  • You expect to get it right the first time. Setbacks are a normal part of recovery and perfectionists may reject this idea and believe they should get it right the first time or not face any roadblocks. This can interfere with learning and lead to impatience with the recovery process. It can also make it that much harder to recover from a slip-up.
  • You set unrealistic goals. Recovery is a process that requires setting a lot of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely or Time-sensitive) goals to help build confidence and rediscover your strengths. This can be a hard concept for a perfectionist, who is used to setting the bar too high, to grasp.
  • You don’t need help. The road to sobriety is a long one and definitely not one best traveled alone. Most perfectionists will tell themselves that they can overcome addiction alone and with sheer willpower. Yet this is not a healthy (or successful) approach for overcoming a substance use disorder.
Help for Perfectionism and Addiction
Don’t let perfectionism stand in the way of a healthy, fulfilling, sober life. At Haven at Pismo, we provide clients with the tools and strategies needed for early recovery and beyond. To learn more about our addition treatment programs, call today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Alcohol Use Disorder Impacts Mind and Body

alcohol use disorder
Alcohol use disorder or AUD plagues the lives of millions of Americans. Drinking beer, wine, or liquor can do irreparable damage to mind, body, and spirit. If treatment is not sought in a timely fashion, the consequences can be dire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that around 88,000 Americans succumb to alcohol-related illness and injury each year. Furthermore, upwards of 16 million people in the United States meet the criteria for AUD.

Too many young adults fail to realize the impact of having a dangerous relationship with alcohol. Without intervention, such people stand to lose more than jobs and relationships. For men and women whose lives are being disrupted by alcohol use, it is critical that assistance is sought immediately. The sooner addiction treatment is found, the less harm alcohol will have on one’s vital organs.

Teenagers and people new to adulthood often think that heavy drinking will not do much damage in the short term. The majority of people associate alcohol-related illness with older adults who have been consuming alcohol for decades. In a sense, such a mindset might fall in line with conventional wisdom. While it is true that older habitual drinkers are at significant risk, so too are young adults who make a practice of binge drinking or daily consumption.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Since this is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week or NDAFW, a health observance linking young people to science-based facts to Shatter the Myths® about drugs and alcohol, it is prudent that The Haven joins the effort. Research shows that a litany of potentially fatal conditions can arise from an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Young adults struggling in California, who would like some examples of the impact alcohol can have are welcome to click here; in short, notable alcohol-related illnesses include, alcohol-related liver disease, pancreatitis, and a litany of cancer types.

In fact, fatal liver disease is on the rise, according to research appearing in BMJ last year. Moreover, the demographic hardest hit by the increase is young people. The findings, boiled down from CDC data, show that the number of 25- to 34-year-olds who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016 (259 in 1999 to 767 in 2016).

It is also worth noting that findings from research at University of California-San Francisco show that 36.7 percent of almost 33,000 studied liver transplants patients since 2002, had ALD in 2016, NBC News reports. More young people struggling with AUD and subsequent ALD means it is not uncommon for young adults to require a transplant.

Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with alcohol use, then our team of dedicated addiction professionals can help. We can assist you in safely detoxing from the substance and provide you with the necessary tools for working a program of long-term sobriety. Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based addiction treatment. The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Methamphetamine Addiction in America

stimulant use disorder treatmentThere is an epidemic that is quietly tearing lives apart while being overshadowed by opioid addiction in the United States. Before the nation, including lawmakers and medical professionals, began voicing severe concerns about opioids, the primary topic of drug-related discussion focused on methamphetamine. Not too long ago, American public service announcements and national headlines drove the dangers of meth home for every citizen. And then, seemingly overnight, the conversation about the “scariest drug in America” went silent.

Opioid use disorder – conditions involving the use of prescription painkillers or heroin – is a life-threatening mental health condition. More than 70,000 Americans perished in 2017 from an overdose, and opioids were involved in about two-thirds of all cases. The efforts to address this most severe crisis must continue on every applicable front, but it is vital to remember that just because there is little mention of meth these days doesn’t mean the country isn’t in the midst of a devastating and emerging problem. Methamphetamine is, in fact, a more serious dilemma than opioids in many parts of the United States.

Unfortunately, clinicians lack medications for assisting meth addicts in transitioning from addiction into recovery unlike what is available for opioid use disorder. Moreover, there is not a drug like naloxone to reverse the effects of a methamphetamine overdose. While stimulant use disorder recovery is possible, there are few pharmacological solutions to aid people in early abstinence. Since most addiction researchers are focused on curbing the opioid epidemic, it is critical that more people start talking about this deadly drug. The fact is that meth use has done anything but decrease since the U.S. government began cracking down on homegrown meth labs in the 2000s.


Combating Methamphetamine Addiction in America

When laws were passed to make it more difficult for Americans to acquire the necessary precursors (i.e., pseudoephedrine) meth lab explosions and busts decreased dramatically. This led some to believe that the problem was mostly solved. However, wherever there is a demand someone will find a way to supply; and that someone turned out to be Mexican drug cartels.

Not only is there more methamphetamine than ever in the U.S., what is available today is more potent and is less expensive. The price is the lowest the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has witnessed in years and the product being consumed is more than 90 percent pure, ABC News reports. Meth-related overdose deaths more than tripled from 2011 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The University of Texas at Austin found that meth use led to 813 deaths in Texas, compared 591 heroin-related deaths in 2017.

While traditional treatment therapy models are useful in facilitating long-term recovery, experts in the field express a need for drugs, like buprenorphine or naltrexone, to aid people with stimulant use disorders. Such medications help men and women in the earliest stages of recovery stay on track and avoid relapse.

“We’re realizing that we don’t have everything we might wish we had to address these different kinds of drugs,” said Dr. Margaret Jarvis, a psychiatrist and distinguished fellow for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. 

Fortunately, there may be solutions on the horizon! The National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network is testing the efficacy of combining naltrexone and the antidepressant bupropion (e.g., Wellbutrin), according to the article. Researchers at the Universities of Kentucky and Arkansas created lobeline, a molecule that may be able to counter methamphetamine’s effects in the brain.


Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment in Central California

The short-term effects of meth use carry significant risks to one’s health. Any person finding him or herself battling meth addiction should reach out for assistance immediately to begin the recovery process. Immediate intervention can help individuals avoid the impact of long-term meth use. Methamphetamine wreaks significant havoc on both mind and body.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about our innovative substance abuse treatment center. We have extensive experience in bringing the light of recovery into the lives of people living with stimulant use disorders. Our commitment to integrity and excellence makes our inpatient addiction rehab the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Addiction Recovery Following An Overdose

addiction recovery
People who experience an overdose risk experiencing another if there isn’t an intervention. It is not uncommon for an individual to suffer multiple overdoses before ultimately succumbing to their disease. In fact, having more than one overdose in a single day is not unheard of in the United States.

The time immediately following an overdose is crucial. When someone is most vulnerable it is believed to be an ideal opportunity to encourage addiction treatment services. A new study shows that most overdose victims who receive naloxone – an overdose reversal drug – can safely be released from hospitals in just one hour, HealthDay reports. Which can cause a person to wonder, are overdose victims ready to go back “out there” shortly after near-death experiences?

It is no secret that a lack of substance use disorder treatment is one of the most significant obstacles to curbing the American opioid addiction epidemic. As the crisis continues to devastate many states and countless families, people living in rural areas continue to struggle to acquire the help they require.

While some progress has been made, we continue to fall short as a nation. Only 10 percent of people with a substance use disorder get specialty treatment, due to an inability to access care, according to a 2016 surgeon general report.

Addiction Recovery Following Overdose

Drug overdoses – the majority of which involved opioids – took the lives of more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the final tallies are not available yet for 2018, the death toll is likely to be in the same range as previous years.

Experts agree addiction recovery is the most useful means of reducing the death toll. Naloxone can prevent drug toxicity from becoming fatal, but it does little to address the substance use disorder. Addiction treatment works, and recovery is possible provided however that a person is willing to surrender and make specific changes in their life. What’s more, recovery does not happen in a vacuum; individuals suffering from the disease require the assistance of professionals and continued support.

For men and women who recently experienced an overdose, the reality is that now is the best opportunity to embrace addiction recovery. The stakes of opioid use disorder are overwhelmingly high. If you are a person who is using again, post overdose, we strongly encourage you to embrace a new path. At The Haven, we ask that you look past the stigma of addiction and the humility that comes with accepting that outside help is needed.

We implore you to keep in mind that nothing changes if nothing changes, as people frequently say in the rooms of recovery. Those who continue down a self-defeating and self-destructive path are guaranteed to witness their disease progress; such individuals are also at extreme risk of history repeating itself by way of an overdose.

The Haven at Pismo Can Help

Any individual can find recovery and lead a fulfilling and productive life. Please contact The Haven to learn more about the programs we offer. Men and women who choose our center benefit from highly credentialed counselors and therapists practicing exclusively in the field of addiction. At The Haven, we help to Rebuild Lives and Restore Hope.