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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!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Opioid Epidemic Treated Like A Natural Disaster

In 2014, a landslide in Oso, Washington, claimed the lives of 43 people. Each day, more than 100 people lose their lives to an overdose in the United States. Both are disasters, one natural and the other is something entirely different; however, there is evidence that the response to either situation should be roughly the same. That is, to effectively tackle a daunting crisis what’s needed is coordination.

Rightly, some individuals may find it trying to draw parallels between natural disasters and public health epidemics. Because, no one chooses to be part of a mudslide; what’s more, most people would not decide to go back to a dangerous area after surviving nature’s wrath. Conversely, it is not uncommon for a person with an opioid use disorder to overdose on multiple occasions. Addicts – left with few options – will continue down the destructive path they are on unless there be some form of intervention.

When disaster strikes, communities come together in service to a common goal, most notably the mission is to protect life. Local governments team up with Federal agencies to rescue victims, repair the wreckage, and bring the affected back to some sense of normalcy. While there are efforts underway on the local, state, and Federal level to combat the American opioid addiction epidemic, making headway has proven to be a monumental challenge. So, as the nation scrambles to find solutions people continue to suffer and perish; in 2017, more the 70,000 Americans died of an overdose.

Tackling Addiction Requires A Coordinated Effort

The reason for bringing up the Oso Landslide owes to what the devastating event led one local Sheriff to do about the heroin problem in his rural community. The former police chief of Stanwood, WA, (pop. 7,000), and now sheriff of Snohomish County, Ty Trenary, is using natural disaster response as a model for addressing addiction in his community, NPR reports. Trenary’s county is now treating the opioid epidemic like a natural disaster, calling for the same kind of response.

"It took becoming the sheriff to see the impacts inside the jail with heroin abuse, to see the impacts in the community across the entire county for me to realize that we had to change a lot about what we were doing," said Trenary. 

The novel idea was born in the mind of the director of communications for the sheriff's office, Shari Ireton, from what she saw when visiting the Oso disaster, according to the article. In the wake of the 2014 landslide, Ireton was witness to a coordinated effort across government agencies. Her memories of the collective to deal with the shared objective of life safety would impel Ireton to pitch her idea to the Sheriff and county leaders. The suggestion was well received, and the Multi-Agency Coordination group or MAC group was created.

Members of the group meet every two weeks at the special emergency operations center to discuss the epidemic and MAC’s over 100 items long to-do list. The task force has several significant goals including reducing opioid misuse, distributing needle cleanup kits, and training people in the community on reversing overdoses. Arguably, MAC's most important efforts have to do with recovery; the group is providing transportation for people in drug treatment, while police officers and social workers are going into homeless camps to assist addicts.

The effort continues, but hundreds of people now have housing and are in treatment thanks to MAC.


Opioid Use Disorder Recovery

Addiction is a treatable mental health disorder and recovery is possible. The Haven is a Joint Commission (TJC) accredited addiction treatment facility; we rely on evidence-based modalities to help people break the cycle of substance use disorder and go on to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Please contact us if you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with an opioid use disorder, we can provide you with possibilities to renew to your best today.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Prescription Opioids of Tomorrow

prescription opioids
Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day; Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, please click here to find a location near you. Safely disposing of all unused or unwanted medication can prevent diversion, misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose. Any person who is holding on to prescription narcotics is invited to visit a collection site and help combat the addiction crisis we face today.

The majority of Americans understand that the addiction epidemic raging across America – stealing more than a hundred lives each day – is inextricably linked to prescription opioids. For many years, doctors doled out drugs for just about anything pain, from a sore back to palatial care. Prescription painkillers are effective for acute pain, but research indicates that few of the millions of Americans living with chronic pain benefit from drugs like OxyContin.

Research appearing in JAMA this year indicates that prescription opioid relievers demonstrated no advantages over non-opioid painkillers for treating common types of chronic pain. What’s more, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that patients with severe discomfort can benefit from alternative forms of pain management. However, such findings have done little to slow the rate of opioid prescribing, despite recommendations and guidelines from public health organizations.

Prescription Painkiller Controversy

Many years after it became apparent that the nation was in the midst of a prescription opioid epidemic, lawmakers and experts alike called for big pharma to make some changes. Companies like Purdue Pharma – the makers of OxyContin – were compelled to reformulate their drug to make it more tamper-resistant. Other companies were asked to do the same. Simultaneously, pharmaceutical companies were in the midst of developing stronger, more deadly narcotics.

Despite a public outcry over the years to rein in big pharma, the agency tasked with looking after public’s use of medication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), almost always sides with and approves new drugs. Regardless of the glaring risks of supporting Zohydro® ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) – Vicodin sans Acetaminophen – the FDA went ahead and approved the narcotic—with no abuse-deterrent features. Some may find it hard to believe, but the drug was greenlighted against the recommendation of the agency’s own advisory committee. Attempting to make sense of such decisions can be dizzying. Nonetheless, Americans should be made aware of the controversies surrounding prescription opioids.

In 2012-13, Zohydro’s approval gained significant attention from the media, but the drug still went to market. Now five years later, the FDA is in the process of signing off on a new drug that is 500 times stronger than morphine, Market Watch reports. For reference, the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl dominating the news cycle of late is 100 times more potent than morphine.


Prescription Opioids of Tomorrow

The FDA’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee recommends Dsuvia for U.S. approval; a final decision could come as soon as Nov. 3, 2018, according to the article. The narcotic – which is roughly five times as powerful as fentanyl – comes in a preloaded plastic applicator; the medication is intended for sublingual use (under the tongue). Moreover, the chair of the agency’s committee, Dr. Raeford Brown, says that design makes it more divertible; Dr. Brown is against approving the drug. Still, the panel voted 10-3 in favor of Dsuvia.

“This drug offers no advance, in my mind, over previously available opioid formulations, but provides great risk of harm to patients and the general public health,” says Brown, a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Kentucky. He adds, “I just don’t believe at this point in the U.S. that there is any good reason to put another potent opioid on the streets.” 

AcelRx, the maker of Dsuvia, states that the drug would only be found in medically supervised settings, like a hospital, the article reports. However, Dr. Brown points out that preventing diversion of prescription opioids – even in specific environments – is challenging.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with prescription painkillers or another form of opioid, please contact The Haven. We offer medically supervised, top quality care for those living with a use disorder or coöccurring mental illness. The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Recovery Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors This Fall

Spending time outdoors this fall can be a big boon to your mental and physical health as well as your overall recovery. This is because it can help with stress management, sleep, socialization and more. Here’s a closer look at the benefits along with some ways you can get more fresh air this autumn.
  • You’ll boost your mental health. Nature and outdoor activities are a natural way to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Just think about how you felt the last time you strolled through the park or even stepped outside and inhaled the crisp air.
  • You’ll feel more relaxed.  Nature has been linked with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduced blood pressure and heart rate. This is partly because of the colors and scents found in nature. Bonus: If it’s sunny outside, you’ll get some mood- and immune-boosting vitamin D.
  • You’ll have sunnier thoughts.  Stanford scientists discovered that walking in nature can reduce obsessive, negative thoughts. And if you’re walking vigorously or jogging, you’ll reap these benefits even more.
  • You’ll have better slumber. Even if you only get outdoors in the a.m., the effects can last until nighttime. In fact, studies show that a healthy dose of fresh air can help you fall and stay asleep.
  • You’ll expand your social network. Walking the same route each day or heading to the dog park is a great way to meet new people and possibly expand your network of sober friends.
Outdoor Recreation for a Better Recovery
It certainly can’t hurt to try to sneak a little fresh air into your recovery schedule – even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes each day. Try one of these ideas:
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Outdoor walk, jog or run
  • Gardening
  • Meditation or journaling outdoors
  • Pick-nicking in the park
  • Playing tennis, soccer or golf
  • Horseback riding
Get Nurtured in Nature
At Haven, we know that spending time outdoors reduces anxiety and depression, encourages healing, enhances creativity and promotes gratitude. Our Central Coast location is blessed with year-round sunshine, making it the perfect place for outdoor recreation as part of your recovery. To learn more about our location and programs, call today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Remembering an Addiction Medicine Pioneer

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a federal-government research institute whose mission is to "lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction." Many Americans are familiar with NIDA and its director Dr. Nora Volkow; however, the majority of those with knowledge of the organization are unaware of its origins. NIDA is the offspring of the Addiction Research Center, part of United States Public Health Service (PHS), established in Lexington, Kentucky.

One of the pioneers in addiction treatment got his start in the field after college by volunteering for the United States Public Health Service. In 1964, Dr. Herbert Kleber thought he would fulfill his military obligation by working for the USPHS, but he didn’t know he would be assigned to the Public Health Service Prison Hospital at Lexington, Ky, The New York Times reports. He couldn’t have known then that that position would result in a career in addiction medicine.

Upon completing his two-year obligation Kleber had plans to go into psychiatry; but, he would soon realize that his work with the Addiction Research Center caused others to think he had a better understanding of addiction than most doctors, according to the article. Pleas for help on the subject matter from not just doctors but also parents led Dr. Kleber to become an expert and pioneer in the field.

Pioneer in Addiction Treatment

Dr. Herbert Kleber died at the age of 84 on October 5, 2018, while vacationing with his family in Greece. He suffered a heart attack on the island of Santorini. Over the course of his career, Kleber’s work led to several advancements in the field of addiction medicine; he developed treatments that would make withdrawal more comfortable for patients. His methods would also help people avoid relapse and maintain programs of recovery, the article reports. His work transformed the study of addiction into a medical discipline.

“He was at the vanguard of bringing scientific rigor to the area of addiction,” said Dr. Frances R. Levin, director of the division on substance use disorders (started by Dr. Kleber) at Columbia University Medical Center. 

When Kleber began work at the prison hospital in Lexington, a facility that “treated” many celebrities over the years including William S. Burroughs (“Junky,” 1953), the approach to addiction treatment was punitive. In contrast, Dr. Kleber designed “evidence-based treatment” methods rooted in science rather than the moral turpitude of such conditions. He co-founded the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, now the Center on Addiction).

“His legacy,” Joseph Califano, Jr., the former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter, said in a statement, “will be the trained generations of professionals who will carry on his work and the thousands of lives that have been saved.”

Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

Everyone working in the field of addiction today owes Dr. Kleber a debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts in the area of addiction. Who knows how different things would be today if it were not for the advancements he helped bring about, he was one of the catalysts who helped create the paradigm shift in society viewing addiction as a disease. When asked how he kept his head up after working with alcoholics and addicts for so long, Dr. Kleber quoted the Talmud:

“The day is short. The task is difficult. It is not our duty to finish it, but we are forbidden not to try.” 

Please contact the Haven at Pismo if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol, and would like to begin the journey of recovery. We provide medically supervised top-quality care that utilizes evidence-based treatment modalities. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mental Illness Awareness Week: Cure Stigma

cure stigma
Have you been tested for stigma? Yes, there is a test to see if you harbor misconceptions about mental illness and if you may be inadvertently contributing to other people’s reluctance to seek treatment. The fact is that, of the millions of Americans struggling with mental health disorders, many carry a lot of shame about their illness. Shame and guilt about living with the symptoms of psychological distress keep people in silence, unable to share with others about their problems. While stigma contributes to mental illness being a guarded secret among some, the good news is that unlike the disorder, stigma is 100 percent curable.

It is a fact that humans are afraid of what they don’t understand. Men and women fear that which they lack knowledge about and as a result do and say things that keep others from reaching out for help. Nobody wants to be known as someone who struggles with a disease of the mind due to the pervasiveness of stigma; most people’s solution to the dilemma is to keep quiet and pretend that everything is under control. Meanwhile, symptoms worsen; life quality becomes dire. Moreover, when people feel like they have nowhere to turn for help, they are prone to make rash decisions that can be disastrous.

The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) would like to set the record straight about mental health and help society grasp the dangers of ignoring the mental afflictions affecting people in the community. NAMI encourages everyone to help Cure Stigma; the organization points out that we can all help save lives by exercising compassion, empathy, and understanding.


Ending Stigma, Encouraging Treatment

Evidence-based treatments for addiction and other forms of mental illness are effective. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those living with such conditions feel discouraged about asking for help. In fact, almost 60% of adults with a mental health disorder didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.

NAMI asks that we all take time to spread the message that stigma is curable and that treatment works during Mental Illness Awareness Week or MIAW. You are invited to follow this link and take a test to learn if you have been infected by stigma. The organization asks that you take to your social media accounts to share facts about diseases of the mind and exhibit compassion for those whose lives are in chaos. NAMI states:
There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Today is a perfect day to take action if you haven’t already, seeing as it is World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2018. Together, we can spread the message that no one is at fault for his or her mental health condition. It is worth noting that of the 20.2 million adults in America who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5 percent (10.2 million adults) had a co-occurring mental illness.

The Haven at Pismo is fully equipped to treat men and women living with an alcohol or substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder. Please contact us to learn more about our program. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It's World Mental Health Day

Mental Health DayTomorrow is World Mental Health Day, held each year on October 10 to highlight issues of global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against the social stigma of mental health illnesses, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness, then you know just how important it is to shine a spotlight on the issue. And this is especially important if you’re in recovery from a co-occurring addiction and mental illness. Individuals with a substance use disorder are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And many of these co-occurring disorders predate the start of drug or alcohol use.

This year’s theme of World Mental Health Day is young people and mental health. Half of all mental health conditions begin by age 14, and most cases are undetected or untreated. This could lead self-medication, addiction and even suicide. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death in young adults age 15–19.

According to WHO, mental health promotion and prevention are key to helping both adolescents and adults thrive. So what can you do to take part in World Mental Health Day? Well, first and foremost carve out time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling emotionally? Are you taking enough time to nourish your mind, body and spirit? Think about what you can do today – and every day – to ensure your caring for your mental health. 

And then reach out to someone else who may be struggling with depression, anxiety or addiction. No one should have to navigate mental illness alone. Let your friend or loved one know that "it's okay not to be okay," and that you are there for them and take time to really listen to how they’re feeling. 

Seeking Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
The Haven at Pismo offers clients with co-occurring addiction and mental illness a continuum of care in one recovery program. To learn more about our integrated dual-diagnosis treatment program, call us today: 805-202-3440. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Opioid Addiction Legislation Finalized

opioid addiction
In a rare instance of bipartisan support, lawmakers in the U.S. Senate has finalized a version of a package of bills written to address the American opioid addiction epidemic, The Washington Post reports. It would seem that putting an end to the more than 100 overdose deaths each day is one of the only things that our elected officials can agree upon, and not a moment too soon. Last year, more than 70,000 men and women lost their lives to a fatal overdose. More than two million individuals are in the grips of an opioid use disorder, and millions more are wrestling with substance use-related problems.

While the Senate is right to hail their collective achievement to tackle opioid addiction, there are some doubts among experts that the package will accomplish its goal; we will address such concerns later in this article. The vote to pass the Senate opioid package came in at 98-1; last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of legislation 393 to 8, according to the article. All that remains left to do is for POTUS to sign the package, which is likely to happen any day now as lawmakers step up their efforts for reëlection.

In the following passages, we will discuss some of the critical points of the legislation, what’s there and what is missing. A collaborative effort to address the Nation’s most severe public health crisis is crucial, especially concerning the ever-growing prevalence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.


Tackling Opioid Addiction Requires Funding

First, let’s take a look at some of the most notable features of the package of legislation to address the opioid epidemic. The package calls for $8.5 billion for opioid-related programs this year to expand and reauthorize programs and policies across almost every federal agency. The primary targets of the various bills are prevention, treatment, and recovery. The key pieces of legislation include:
  • A measure creating a grant program for addiction treatment centers that include housing, life skills training, and mental and physical health care.
  • A bill altering a decades-old rule prohibiting Medicaid from covering patients with substance use disorders being treated in a mental health facility with more than 16 beds. 30 days of residential treatment coverage are now permissible.
  • Legislation requiring the U.S. Postal Service to screen packages for synthetic opioids coming from overseas, particularly China.
  • A bill increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.
Even though some public health advocates support the package of bills, several experts have significant concerns over funding, the article reports. The $8.5 billion for opioid-related programs is for just one year and no assurances that the bills will find financing in the years to come. Some lawmakers have called for an exponential funding increase commensurate with what Congress appropriated to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic; interestingly, the opioid package is modeled on Congress’ response to HIV/AIDS in the 1990’s.

“This legislation edges us closer to treating addiction as the devastating disease it is, but it neglects to provide the long-term investment we’ve seen in responses to other major public health crises,” said Lindsey Vuolo, Associate Director of Health Law and Policy at Center on Addiction. “We won’t be able to make meaningful progress against the tide of addiction unless we make significant changes to incorporate addiction treatment into the existing health care system.”


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you break the cycle of opioid addiction and give you the tools for leading a productive, meaningful life in recovery. Please reach out to us today to learn more about our medically supervised and top-quality care. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Finding Support In Recovery

It is probably fair to say that early recovery is a confusing time for everyone. Not only are men and women grappling with living without the crutch of drugs and alcohol for coping, newfound recovery demands that people make sense of how to best live for recovery. People can no longer maintain the status quo of existence they are familiar with; they must instead forge a different path, associate with new individuals, and entertain ways of looking at things that are unfamiliar.

Simply put, early recovery asks much of people, including eternal vigilance to adhere – as best as possible – to the principles of a program for living life free from mind-altering substances. Dedicating oneself to recovery is possible and maintaining a program of long-term sobriety is within reach for those willing to subscribe. Support networks and fellowship ameliorate the process of changing nearly every aspect of one's life in service to recovery.

Men and women in early recovery are not alone. Unlike when one is in the grips of active addiction, people with a commitment to sobriety have others in their corner willing to be of service. When old thinking crops up in a person’s mind, they do not have to bear it in solitude, hoping they can resist the temptation to use. Instead, those whose recovery comes into jeopardy can turn to their support group for guidance. Together, we can work through individual problems; by working the problem, we can find collective solutions.

Looking Outward for Inward Guidance in Recovery

Anyone in treatment, inpatient or otherwise, and transitional living learn to rely on their peers for guidance on navigating the often-turbulent waters of early sobriety. Such people are encouraged to turn to those who have been on the path longer than them, to learn how they handled situations that could upend one’s program. An excellent suggestion to adhere to in recovery: whenever a person is unsure of how to handle a situation, ask for advice. A support group, including one’s sponsor or other forms of recovery mentors, can impart valuable bits of wisdom that can help people decide, for instance, whether something can imperil a program.

Relapse is a fact of life, but it does not have to be a part of your story. Those who’ve recently embarked upon the Journey are sometimes inclined to keep things to him or herself; it is common to fear what others might think about you if you open yourself up, for varying reasons. We all have a natural desire to present ourselves as having it all together to our peers; some worry that if they are thinking incorrectly about some facet of the program, then they will be judged. Such fears are real in recovery. While an inclination to keep thoughts to oneself is understandable, they do little good. That’s not to say men and women should share with the entire group about sensitive subjects or things that confuse them about recovery; instead, it is paramount that each person has at least one other individual they can confide in for how to do the next “right” thing.


Transitioning Into Recovery

Early recovery is the perfect embodiment of transition. Moving out of the pernicious darkness of active addiction into the empowering light of recovery is a process. Healing doesn't happen overnight and does not make perfect that which is flawed; what it does do is provide a vehicle for men and women to manage the symptoms of mental illness so that may lead a fulfilling and productive life. Those who stay on track, follow direction and heed the wisdom of others have an opportunity to change their lives and affect change in the lives of others.

It is salient that each person new to sobriety set him or herself to task and establish a rapport with people they can confide in within their immediate support group. When in meetings or at groups in treatment or sober living, look for individuals who share a commensurate dedication with you to avoid the trappings of selfish thinking. Again, whenever there is uncertainty about what the next right move is in life—ask. Someone else has undoubtedly dealt with a similar situation. Together, lasting recovery is possible for all.

The Haven at Pismo strongly emphasizes to our clients the vital importance of supporting one and another, working together to lay a strong foundation for long-term sobriety. We offer detox and residential treatment on the Central Coast of California. Please contact us to learn how we can help you renew to your best today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Why Self-Confidence is Key to Your Recovery

Building self-confidence is core to a successful recovery. In short, when you feel good about you and your abilities, you’ll be better able to stick with your recovery and build a happy, fulfilling and sober life. 

Here’s a look at some of the many ways self-confidence plays a role in your recovery: 
  • You’ll have less fear and anxiety. The more confidence you gain, the better you’ll be at calming your inner critic and/or any negative thoughts and feelings that could cause anxiety or depression or prevent you from sticking with your recovery. 
  • You’ll be more motivated. As your confidence grows – and as you meet your recovery goals – you’ll find yourself more driven to stretch your abilities. Certainly, you may still experience doubt from time to time – What if I fail? – but your doubt will no longer prevent you from trying. Instead, you’ll feel energized by your progress and more apt to push yourself to reach your goals. 
  • You’ll be more resilient. Self-confidence helps you better cope with any setbacks (small or big) in your recovery. This is because confidence makes it easier to accept that mistakes happen and that you can learn and grow from any mistakes you make on the journey toward lasting sobriety.  
  • You’ll have better relationships. The more self-confidence you have, the less preoccupied you’ll be with your own self-doubt. This will prevent you from comparing yourself to others and/or feeling worried about how others view you. In turn, you’ll have more energy to focus on the interactions and bonds you can form with others and be a more present friend, family member or recovery peer.   
Let’s Work to Build Your Confidence Together
At Haven, we can help you gain self-confidence and learn the skills needed to create a sober life worth living. To learn about our cutting edge treatments and addiction services, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Calling Alcohol A Drug

The optics on alcohol are quite tricky. On the one hand, the substance is legal for adult consumption and sold practically everywhere; on the other, no amount of alcohol is safe, and prolonged use can cause a host of medical problems. People who use alcohol in hazardous ways often attempt to distance themselves from those who use drugs. After all, many people in recovery via Alcoholics Anonymous still frown upon people at meetings mentioning drug use. For many decades, those seeking recovery were encouraged only to listen at meetings, if their problems stem from drug addiction.

While many AA meetings around the country and ostensibly abroad take a more enlightened approach when it comes to the members with a history of substance use, there exists a pervasive mindset that drugs and alcohol are somehow diametric. While each person probably has their reasons for viewing whiskey differently than heroin (including the general public), at the end of the day alcohol can bring individuals to abysmal lows just like any drug that carries the risk of addiction.

Changing how the public looks at drugs and alcohol is a progressive step worth discussing. One could easily argue that the stereotypes that follow addicts around are far more vitriolic than those tied to alcoholism. Most people hear about "functioning" alcoholics, few people hear about functioning heroin addicts. Despite the disparity in optics, more people succumb to alcohol-related illness each year than from drug use. An estimated 2.8 million deaths every year can be attributed to alcohol use, according to the British Medical Journal. A new editorial in the BMJ says it’s time to start calling alcohol what it is, a drug.


Treating Alcohol As a Drug

The experts writing in the BMJ argue that recognizing alcohol as a drug could have important benefits for public health, serving to strengthen policy responses to harms caused by addiction industries. Professors Kypros Kypri of The University of Newcastle and Jim McCambridge of The University of New York wrote:  

Alcohol, actually ethanol (C2H5OH), is a psychoactive molecule ingested by 2.4 billion people globally. A central nervous system depressant, it exists naturally and can be produced in people’s homes. Any alcohol consumption confers health risks, including for a range of cancers, and any possible cardiovascular benefits are smaller than was previously understood. Alcohol harms users through intoxication, organ toxicity, and addiction, which cause an estimated 2.8 million deaths every year. In a recent systematic review and meta-analysis the Global Burden of Disease Alcohol Collaborators concluded that the “the level of alcohol consumption that minimised harm across health outcomes was zero.”

Policy aside, it’s possible that lumping all mind-altering substances that carry the potential for addiction under one umbrella could help people in addiction recovery. Many people over the years have erroneously thought that they could continue using alcohol while in recovery for drugs, and vice versa. On a regular basis, newcomers will relapse on their substance of choice after first using something they never had problems with in the past. What is more, the disease excels at convincing men and women that dispensations can be made in recovery.


Addiction is Addiction is Addiction

Programs specific to assisting people recover are of vital importance and play an essential role in society. The way they operate is not the focus of this article. The salient focal point is the benefit of setting legality and stereotypes aside and helping more people see that alcohol is deadly addictive substance, the same as drugs. Helping people new to recovery understand that, no matter what program they subscribe to for guidance or what is spelled out in the name of such modalities, alcohol is a drug. If drugs bring a person to recovery, alcohol use must discontinue. If alcohol use results in needing outside help, the use of any mind-altering substance must stop too.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you are unable to stop drinking or using another kind of drug on your own. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and provide you with the skills and tools necessary for leading a productive and fulfilling life in recovery. The Haven is the perfect place to renew your best today!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mental Health Treatment Prevents Suicide

mental illness
Right on the heels of announcing National Recovery Month, we have National Suicide Prevention Week; September is both Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Month. Various public health organizations, people working in the field of mental health, and millions of people in recovery are using this opportunity to start conversations about mental illness, treatment, and recovery. The hope is that more individuals will draw strength from men and women who have come out on the other side of mental diseases and are now managing their symptoms via therapy, medication, and support groups.

The vast majority of males and females living with mental health disorders like depression and addiction, never receive any treatment. What happens – as you probably know – is that people's conditions worsen over time and many individuals are then at risk of making drastic decisions. Some despairing men and women start to convince themselves that treatment and recovery are not possible, and as a result, they begin entertaining suicidal ideations rather than continuing living this way. Untreated anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, PTSD, and substance use disorder significantly increases a person’s risk for suicide.

In the depths of despair people struggling with mental illness develop the mindset that they are utterly alone in this world, that no one else can understand what they are experiencing. If such people knew that there are millions of people just like them – a statistically significant number of whom are actively working programs of recovery – they may find the strength to reach out for assistance. The truth is that far more people are affected by mental illness than most would think; according to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 300 million people around the world are living with depression.


Suicide Prevention Month

Mental health disorders have the power to isolate men and women from their family and friends, which is why we all have to work together to spread the message that recovery is possible; in the process, it is paramount that everyone exercises compassion for his or her fellow-persons in the throes of mental illness. When people access treatment, they receive instruction on how to manage their conditions and lead productive and fulfilling lives. The longer society continues to ignore and ostracize those struggling with psychological disorders, the less likely people will be to talk about their illness and ask for help.

On average, there are 123 suicides per day, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide, and for every person who commits suicide there are 25 attempts. Throughout the week and month, the AFSP asks that we all do our part to help reduce the startling figures above by talking with each other. When we have open, honest, and non-judgmental conversations with our friends, family, and co-workers, we have an opportunity to affect life-saving change. The organization writes:

“Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another.” 

Those of you with an interest in helping the cause to fight suicide this month should take a look at the AFSP website for more information on how to take action. There are several ways you can help even if you have limited resources or time, such as sharing about suicide prevention on your social media accounts. The AFSP also invites people to help #StopSuicide by sharing their connection to suicide prevention. Please follow the link to learn more.

Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

One in four people who die by suicide are intoxicated at the time of their death. It stands to reason that many such individuals were struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. Addiction is a treatable mental health condition; and, like any form of mental illness, sadly only 4 out of ten people receive mental health treatment. Addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment work, people can and do recover from diseases of the mind when they believe it is possible and they learn how to manage their condition.

Please reach out to The Haven at Pismo if you are or a loved one is battling a use disorder or dual diagnosis. At our private haven, we are committed to integrity and excellence. We offer the perfect place to renew your best today!  

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Don’t Let Shame Stand in the Way of Your Recovery

While it’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of shame and guilt from time to time, it’s detrimental to your overall recovery (and your mental health) to dwell on those pesky feelings. 

According to a University of British Columbia study, those in recovery from alcohol use disorder who were ashamed of earlier drinking behaviors were more likely to relapse during recovery. Overcoming issues of shame and guilt will not only help safeguard your sobriety but it can increase your self-esteem and give you a better understanding of your addiction.

The first step in overcoming shame is to remind yourself that addiction is a disease; not a choice. While understanding this may not completely eliminate feelings of shame and guilt, it can be a good first step toward self-forgiveness for any past actions or behaviors that occurred during active addiction. 

4 Steps to Stop the Shame
Here are a few more tips to help prevent feelings of shame and guilt from interfering with your recovery: 

  1. Give it a positive spin. Positive affirmations are pretty powerful when it comes shifting negative thought patterns and stopping shame. Try it: Look in the mirror and say: “Today is a new chance for a better, sober life,” or whatever helps eliminate shame and strengthens your recovery. 
  2. Write it down. A journal is a great outlet to let go of any feelings of shame and focus on how far you’ve come in your recovery. There are no rules, so just start writing. 
  3. Focus on your breath. Feeling overwhelmed by guilt, shame or self-doubt? Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply for the count of 7. Now exhale slowly and let go of these negative emotions to make room for more positive ones. 
  4. Helping someone else. Volunteering is a great recovery activity that can help squash any negative feelings about yourself and turn your attention to the needs and feelings of others.  
Dealing With Emotions During Addiction Treatment 
Meditation is just one of the many holistic approaches we teach clients to help them stay positive, motivated and mentally strong as they journey toward sobriety. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Recovery Month: Confronting the Stigma of Addiction

Every year at this time, all of us at The Haven observe National Recovery Month. Throughout September the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) invites people working a program and recovery service providers to have a hand in breaking down the stigma of addiction and spreading the message that treatment is effective and people recover.

It is a well-known fact that the overwhelming majority of people living with any form of mental illness never receive the care they require. Paralyzed by the fear of social repercussions, many languish in their addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions for far too long. As a result, some never have the opportunity to embrace the gifts of recovery; instead, they succumb to the physical consequences of their disease. It should go without saying that this reality must change, should change, and can change if we all work together to promote the benefits of reaching out for help.

Seeking addiction recovery takes remarkable courage. Those in the grips of mental illness are often victims of their terrible affliction for years—decades even. As a result, the chaos of addiction becomes the norm and turning one’s back on their condition and accepting assistance can seem like an impossible challenge. No one can predict what the future holds, but people with alcohol and substance use disorder convince themselves of the opposite; such individuals resign to thinking that recovery isn’t possible, even when all the evidence says otherwise. Those in recovery know this to be true, they are living testaments of the power of change and all the possibility that comes with it—proving that recovery in all its forms is possible.

Stigma Busting

Stigma thrives on ignorance; addiction thrives on shame. It’s a vicious cycle that has the power to kill, which is why it is paramount that as many people as possible let it be known that there is a different way. There is scientific evidence proving the efficacy of addiction treatment and working a program of recovery. While relapse is always a possibility, as with any life-threatening disease, remission doesn’t always last; however, just because some members slip and fall from time to time, doesn’t mean long-term recovery is impossible. Right now, a statistically significant number of people around the globe have found it possible to accrue decades of clean and sober time. And, such people can serve as an authoritative source of inspiration for the individual who is celebrating 24 hours of sobriety.

SAMHSA, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asks people to heed their call and promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. When we come together and talk about the disease, we take some of the power of stigma away; when those less informed develop a better understanding of mental illness, society as a whole is healthier. Those suffering are more likely to seek treatment if they don’t feel like they are at fault for their mental illness—when they don’t perceive themselves as a social pariah.

Spreading the Message of Recovery

This month, everyone touched by addiction and recovery – including men and women working in the field – can take to social media and spread positive messages. SAMHSA would like to get the word out: behavioral health is essential to overall health. Those who feel comfortable are even invited to share their personal story of recovery with the hope of empowering others to give recovery a shot. Depending on where you live, it's possible that a Recovery Month event is occurring in your area. If attending is not possible, the HHS is live streaming several of the more notable events throughout the month.

The Haven at Pismo celebrates people in recovery and appreciates the contributions of all the treatment and service providers committed to helping people make recovery possible. If you or a loved one are currently battling alcohol, substance use, or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We offer clients medically supervised detox and addiction treatment on California’s Central Coast. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Recovery Fun With Your Friends

Finding ways to have a good time with people in recovery is difficult for many individuals. It is a particular challenge for some persons who are new to the program. Anyone in recovery will tell you that maintaining an addiction is a full-time job, acquiring one’s drug of choice used to take up a significant portion of their day. Once such people began living life in a new way, it became critical to find methods of filling their time that didn’t revolve around substance use.

To be sure, working a program takes up a good part of a person’s day. Attending meetings, working with a sponsor or mentor, reading approved literature, and practicing prayer and meditation consume a good number of the available hours in each day. However, there is another facet of recovery that is oft left unmentioned. That of fun! What’s more, the need for enjoying one’s self is an aspect of healing that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous emphasize in the “Big Book.” A sentiment that even people working a different recovery program than A.A. can see the importance of; on page 132 of the Big Book it states:

“We absolutely insist on enjoying life …. So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”


Enjoying Recovery to the Fullest

For most people in recovery, having fun often involves socializing with each other before and after meetings. Coffee houses across the country have long catered to individuals who no longer drink or drug. A good number of people plan recovery retreats, go for group hikes, lay around on the beach in an attempt to enjoy their sobriety. Some even go bowling, an activity that most addicts never could’ve imagined being a part of their lives just a short time ago. In early recovery, it’s a wise practice to stay away from wet environments, places where alcohol is likely to be on tap. However, for people whose recovery is robust and the risk of relapse less likely, there exists a desire to have some kind of nightlife. That’s not to say that they want to be in a bar; instead, they would like to confab with adults not sitting at a table across from students typing their thesis.

For Elissa Emery, the daughter of an addict, the desire to create just such a space was real. Along with Sarah Wehnau, Emery opened 'Unbreakable Nutrition' on August 1st, CBS6Albany reports. Instead of cocktails, they serve healthy beverages reminiscent of what you might find at a bar, sans alcohol of course. The idea for a sober bar came about when Emery’s friend started working a program of recovery and two could not find anywhere to hang out that was alcohol-free.

“Trying to find a space we could both go where we both felt like this is a great place where we can go and hang out, that wasn't like a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Starbucks, there really wasn't anywhere,” says Emery. “We hope we're setting the new standard to include everybody, including those in recovery.”


Addiction Treatment

Please keep in mind that while the above idea is novel and could be beneficial for some people in recovery, visiting such an establishment may present problems for people in early recovery. Even a “mocktail” can cause feelings to arise that could trigger a person. It is hard to know how you will respond to feeling like you are back in the bars again after being sober for a stint. Before attending alcohol-free bars and nightclubs, please talk it over with your support group.

If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, The Haven at Pismo can assist you to begin the journey of recovery. Please reach out to us today, to learn more about our innovative addiction treatment programs.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cannabis Use Disorder In America

Cannabis Use Disorder
If you live in California, or Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, then you live in a state that allows for adult recreational marijuana use. Perhaps you smoke pot or eat edibles? Maybe you maintain an opinion that there are worse vices that a person can have? You wouldn’t be inaccurate having such a mindset; after all, compare the host of other mind-altering substances that are ripe for misuse. Cannabis ranks reasonably low on the list of drugs that can ruin a person's life. However, safer doesn’t imply safe; and since states began adopting less harsh pot laws, more people than ever are seeking treatment for cannabis use disorder. Approximately 4.0 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 had a marijuana use disorder in the past-year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Many people in the United States have a challenging time wrapping their heads around marijuana addiction. People rarely hear about reefers destroying lives; the headlines don’t indicate pot overdoses as being a thing worth concern. The majority of marijuana users, like that of alcohol imbibers, never face any consequences due to using the drug. In reality, more people have a problem with the drug – experience repercussions – than you would think; and, believe it or not, dependence is real and far from a walk-in-the-park to quit.

“Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University, tells The Atlantic. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.” 

Cannabis Use Disorder Isn’t Benign

Any substance that is used in excess can result in dependency and, for some, addiction. And, just because a drug carries inherent risks isn’t necessarily cause for prohibition. You are probably more likely to find research supporting the inefficacy of waging war on drug use than you are to discover incontrovertible evidence about dangers of marijuana. Still, if a drug is going to be bought and sold out in the open with levels of government oversight, there also needs to be a campaign to educate Americans about the potential harm that can come from smoking weed.

Cannabis is a mind-altering substance that people form unhealthy relationships with over the course of varying lengths of time. A significant number of people, who attempt to quit, experience withdrawal symptoms that often lead to relapse before recovery has a chance to take hold. Symptoms which include but are not limited to mood changes, irritability, insomnia, and headaches; the list is far longer, but these are some of the more common experiences. In 2012-2013, nearly 3 of 10 marijuana users manifested a marijuana use disorder, according to research appearing in JAMA Psychiatry.

“In large national surveys, about one in 10 people who smoke it say they have a lot of problems. They say things like, ‘I have trouble quitting. I think a lot about quitting and I can’t do it. I smoked more than I intended to. I neglect responsibilities.’ There are plenty of people who have problems with it, in terms of things like concentration, short-term memory, and motivation,” Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, reports to The Atlantic. “People will say, ‘Oh, that’s just you fuddy-duddy doctors.’ Actually, no. It’s millions of people who use the drug who say that it causes problems.”


Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo inpatient addiction treatment is the ideal location to begin your journey of recovery from marijuana addiction. If cannabis use is negatively affecting your life, it is possible that you require assistance to break your cycle of self-defeating behavior. Please contact us to learn more about how our programs can assist you in living a substance-free life. The Haven provides you with possibilities to renew to your best today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

4 Benefits of Traveling for Addiction Treatment

traveling for addiction treatment
Once you’ve decided to seek addiction treatment, you might be wondering whether you should travel or stay close to home. Traveling for addiction treatment isn’t for everyone. But if your community doesn’t have high-quality treatment available and/or you’re looking for a fresh start away from triggers in your home environment, traveling for addiction treatment might be a worthy consideration. 

Here, we take a look at some of the key benefits of traveling for treatment:
  1. You’ll have more choices. Obviously, expanding your rehab search to others cities and states means you’ll have more choices when it comes to finding the right treatment fit for you – depending on type of addiction treatment, insurance, financial situation, interests, goals, etc. 
  2. You’ll gain perspective. The physical distance between yourself and your triggers can help you look at your old habits through a more objective lens. It may even help further reduce your desire to use.
  3. You’ll have fewer distractions. Traveling for treatment makes it easier to completely immerse yourself in the recovery process – without family, friends and stressors of daily life. Removing yourself from triggering people and situations has been shown to improve treatment outcomes and help those in recovery better manage these triggers once they return home.
  4. You’ll have more privacy. If you’re worried about privacy or protecting your reputation, attending treatment outside of your community may be the right choice.  Although, any reputable addiction treatment center will mostly place a premium on privacy. 
Traveling to The Haven at Pismo
We pride ourselves on being a haven for men and women looking to heal from addiction –whether they’re traveling for treatment or not. We are the only residential detox and addiction treatment center on California’s Central Coast and offer clients a multi-faceted, outcome-focused program that includes traditional and complementary therapies. To learn more about how our programs and services can help you or someone you love, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Saves Lives

opioid use disorder
People suffering from an opioid use disorder are mostly aware that the drugs they use carry several risks. While such people may know that recovery is achievable, the vast majority of people living with opioid addiction have not had any therapy. A severe lack of individuals being unwilling or unable to seek treatment needs to change, especially when one considers that fentanyl becomes more ubiquitous with each passing year.

Fentanyl is an extremely potent pain medication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes the use of fentanyl for treating cancer pain or palliative care. While doctors prescribe the drug off-label quite regularly – for unapproved conditions like back pain – the fentanyl showing up in batches of other narcotics doesn't come from the same place as what you find in hospitals. With relative ease, drug cartels can both acquire the precursors and make the substance. The synthetic opioid – 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin – is then mixed with other drugs to boost potency.

It is highly likely that the majority of Americans who succumb to an overdose involving fentanyl didn’t know that their heroin was mixed with the deadly substance. What’s more, public health officials need to make people who use cocaine and anti-anxiety drugs, like benzodiazepines, aware that fentanyl is combined with those drugs as well. There is little indication that the trend of mixing synthetic opioids with other narcotics is going to wane; which is why it is so critical – perhaps now more than ever – that more is done to encourage addicts of any kind to seek treatment.


Opioid Overdose Deaths In America

If the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has it right, one American dies from an overdose every eight minutes. The agency states that in 2017 more than 72,000 people lost their lives to an overdose, roughly 200 per diem; the death toll is up almost 10 percent from the 12-month period before. While heroin continues to be one of the deadliest drugs abused, the culprit behind rising mortality rate is synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and its analogs, The Washington Post reports. Provisional estimates show that synthetics had a hand in almost 30,000 overdoses last year.

To say that the CDC's report is troubling is probably an understatement. Annual data from one year to the next shows us that fatal overdose rates continue to go in one direction: UP! Increasing access to the life-saving drug naloxone, while helpful, can only do so much; and, in many cases, naloxone is ineffective in reversing fentanyl-related overdoses. Opioid use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, with professional assistance men and women can recover from the disease of addiction. The CDC report shows that the states hardest hit by the epidemic have reduced the number of fatal overdoses, the result of (in part) expanding access to treatment. For instance, Vermont and Massachusetts saw significant reductions in overdoses, according to the article. Still, millions of Americans are continuing down the deadly path of opioid addiction.

More than 2 million Americans are living with opioid use disorder according to a 2016 phone survey; however, Dr. Dan Ciccarone, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, tells The New York Times that the number is much higher. Dr. Ciccarone has reason to believe around 4 million Americans are living with opioid addiction.


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Here at The Haven, we offer people, caught in the vicious cycle of addiction, detox and residential treatment. Located on the Central Coast of California, our center is in the ideal setting to begin the journey of recovery and healing. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

5 Forms of Active Meditation to Strengthen Your Recovery

active meditationDoes the idea of sitting still, closing your eyes and meditating make you feel uncomfortable? If so, take heart. You can still reap the many recovery benefits of meditation, including less stress, better emotional control, more energy and motivation and improved sleep. Start by trying one of these active approaches today: 
  1. Journaling. Making journaling a daily activity – when you wake up and before bedtime – is a great way to check in with your inner dialogue as you observe and express your thoughts and feelings without judgment. 
  2. Coloring. Adult coloring books are all the rage and for good reason. Coloring is a great way to relax, find peace and quiet your mind as you learn to focus on the present. Find a quiet place – inside or outside – and take 10 minutes to get absorbed in the vibrant colors and designs. 
  3. Yoga. Similar to meditation, yoga brings balance to the mind and body. It teaches you to become acutely aware of your breath and physical sensations while letting go of any mental clutter. 
  4. Cooking. It’s more than a hobby, but an act of self-care. Beyond nourishing your body and mind, cooking healthy foods can help keep the brain occupied and teach you the art of staying in the moment. 
  5. Walking. Walking meditation can be just as powerful as sitting meditation and it doesn’t matter if it’s formal or informal, as long as it helps you bring greater awareness to this everyday activity.
Nurturing Your Mind, Body and Spirit
The Haven at Pismo is set apart from other California addiction recovery facilities by our unique blend of multi-modal therapies. We believe that the most successful addiction treatment programs take into account the body, mind and spirit, which are all impacted by the disease of addiction. To learn more about our specialized treatments and customized holistic therapies, call today: 805-202-3440.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Addiction Science People Can Understand

If substance use disorder or SUD is a part of your or a loved one’s life, please do not wait to seek help. Like any health condition that can result in premature death, the longer a person remains unchecked, the worse the symptoms become. When it comes to the progression of addiction, it isn’t a question of if but rather when — fortunately, evidence-based therapies exist to help people recover. Those who seek addiction treatment have an opportunity to lead a wholly new existence, and repair both physical and mental damage caused by prolonged substance use.

While researchers and doctors have a reasonably comprehensive understanding about the disease of addiction, the same cannot be said for the general public. Everyone has an opinion about the mechanisms of addiction; some consider it a mental health condition whereas others view it as a lack of willpower — despite evidence to the contrary. Misunderstandings and misconceptions about mental illness have long played a role in contributing to the age-old stigma of addiction. It’s vital that policymakers and health experts do what they can to educate the public about this most severe disorder and encourage those living with SUD to seek help.

Conceptualizing addiction in the brain isn't easy to wrap one’s head around. After all, neurochemistry isn’t a prerequisite for most college degrees. Many people know what the disease looks like symptomatically from firsthand experience or what one sees a loved one go through. Even still, such people may have a hard time making sense of substance use disorder development and progression. A new cartoon series produced by the Addiction Policy Forum aims to bring the disease into more precise focus.

APF Turns The Science of Addiction Into Stories That Stick

The Addiction Policy Forum is a community of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders working together to educate the public about substance use disorder. What’s more, the Washington DC-based collective takes substance use disorder discoveries and turns them into methods that can help people struggling with, or in recovery from addiction.

Over the course of a month, the Addiction Policy Forum is releasing short info-toons about addiction and recovery. Now in its third week, viewers can learn more about the disease as long as YouTube is accessible. “Addiction” is animated by artist Patrick Smith and the episodes are as follows:
  1. Episode I: The Hijacker, or How addiction changes brain function.
  2. Episode II: Whirlpools of Risk, or Risk factors for developing substance use disorder (SUD)
  3. Episode III: Understanding Severity, or Why addiction treatment can’t be one-size-fits-all.
  4. Episode IV: Don’t Wait for ‘Rock Bottom,’ or Why engaging in treatment as early as possible is so important.
“There’s so much misinformation about this disease, everything from this being a choice and not a disease, the misunderstanding about how treatment works, misunderstandings about medications, about lengths of treatment and recovery support, how you develop this disease in the first place,” Addiction Policy Forum president, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, tells The Chicago Tribune. “We are surrounded and drowning in misinformation and myths.”

Please take a moment to view the available segments:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Addiction Recovery Support

The Haven at Pismo offers clients a multi-faceted, outcome-focused program for treating substance use and/or co-occurring disorders. If you would like to learn more about our specialized therapies and what sets us apart from other treatment centers, please contact us today. The Haven is the perfect place to renew you to your best today.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Relapse Prevention In Early Recovery

People who complete an addiction treatment program understand that they must do everything humanly possible to avoid relapse. Such individuals grasp that if they do not take steps each day to keep their addiction at bay, the disease will creep back to the forefront. In treatment, addicts and alcoholics are taught many skills and are introduced to various tools to help them cope with the stressors and difficulties of life. A failure to utilize such resources can quickly turn a molehill into an actual mountain.

Addiction is a complex disorder; and, like any mental illness, symptoms can manifest in unsuspecting ways. In many cases, people who relapse are those who thought they were doing everything right only to end up with a drink or drug in their hand. Merely put, the disease can sneak up on individuals, and in practically no time at all old behaviors can spring up. When signs of an imminent relapse become apparent, it is critical that efforts are made to nip selfishness, dishonesty, and addictive thinking in the bud.

If you finished an addiction treatment program of late, it is likely you learned some of the warning signs of relapse. Of course, people learn a lot in rehab, and it can be easy to forget about some the hazardous markers that can throw a wrench in the gear-works of recovery.


Some Signs Imminent Relapse

Meeting makers, make it, a recovery saying that makes a lot of sense. Those who make a point of getting to their support group as much as possible are far less likely to act in ways discordant with recovery. Early on, many recovering addicts attend meetings with enthusiasm; and, for some people, their zest for attending meetings begins to wane as the months pass. Attending meetings may not be the most fun, there are probably some other things many people would instead be doing. But, making a point of getting to the group is an opportunity, or rather an exercise in accountability; both to other persons and most importantly to one’s recovery.

If the amount and frequency of attendance slip, it is critical that such people make efforts to correct course. The value of opening up and listening to others on a regular basis cannot be overestimated. Attending meetings is one of the few opportunities to get feedback about problems and glean insight on how to overcome a particular situation. Last week, we covered the topic of utilizing your support group; naturally, meetings are an example of times that you can foster recovery relationships and protect against relapse. If you see that you are losing interest in meetings and spending time with people who share the goal of progress, then you are at risk of reconnecting with people from your past. Naturally, reaching out to people whom you used with is a precursor of relapse.

Your environment and the company you keep plays a significant role in recovery. Spending time with old friends or frequenting old haunts may not bring on a relapse right away, but if the behavior doesn't change immediately, a slope back to use is almost guaranteed.


Keeping On In Recovery

Addiction recovery asks a lot from individuals, notably a daily commitment to working a program. Those who go through treatment put in a lot of work and invest much time in service to turning one’s life around. If you are not going to as many meetings, avoiding your support group, or rekindling old relationships, then please act now to prevent losing that which you worked so hard to achieve—freedom from drugs and alcohol.

For those who have yet to seek help for alcohol or substance use disorder, please reach out to The Haven at Pismo to discuss treatment options. Our team of addiction professionals provides clients with medically supervised and top-quality care.