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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Addiction and "Deaths of Despair" in America

addiction
In 2015, a paper was published regarding rising mortality rates in the U.S. involving drug overdose, alcohol, and suicide. The groundbreaking article appeared in the National Academy of Science’s magazine.

The research paper, interestingly, did not come from leaders in public health, but instead from two economists. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton found that the mortality rate was most pronounced in one specific demographic: middle-aged non-Hispanic whites without a college degree.

In 2017, Case and Deaton followed up on their findings; they suggested that a large portion of America never recovered from the 2008 recession, The Guardian reports. Families that were no longer able to earn a living without a college degree were linked to rising overdose, suicide, and substance use-related deaths. In their update, Case and Deaton coined a phrase that stuck: “deaths of despair.”

While drugs, alcohol, and mental illness are driving forces in premature death, the crisis many people face is that of despair. When someone experiences the complete loss or absence of hope, they are likely to want to escape. Others too, have conducted similar research on why people turn to drugs and alcohol when life becomes exceedingly harder and harder to bear.

The author Johann Hari published a book called “Chasing the Scream” that dealt with drivers of addiction. He writes that environment and life-circumstances (e.g., stable home life and employment) play a significant role in the development of addiction.

When men and women feel cut off from society and the American Dream, they are more likely to engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. Naturally, this subject matter is nuanced—many factors play a role in the alarming trends.

Deaths of Despair are Up Nationally


Alcohol and substance use disorder and other forms of mental illness are treatable. Millions of Americans are working programs of addiction recovery and receiving mental health services. However, accessing care continues to be a severe problem in several areas of the United States.

The Commonwealth Fund, which tracks health performance in each state, found a correlation between deaths of despair and poor scorecards. The data shows that suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths have reached an all-time high; and, understanding why could lead to solutions.

The organization analyzed 47 factors that have an impact on health outcomes for a new report, NBC News reports. Insurance coverage and access to doctors were two of the elements. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, Connecticut, and Vermont ranked the highest. Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi received the lowest rankings.

“When we look at what’s going on in mid-Atlantic states — West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania — those are the states that have the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country,” said David Radley, a senior scientist for the Commonwealth Fund. “The rate of growth in drug overdose deaths in West Virginia is absolutely mind-boggling.” 

Health care coverage is what separates the states with the highest score from those with the lowest, according to the article. The states at the bottom of the list all had the highest number of uninsured residents. California ranked 14th.

 “We really think of health care access of being the foundation of a high-performing health care system,” Radley said.

SLO County California Addiction Treatment

 

The Haven at Pismo can assist men and women who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We offer many different programs to cater to the unique needs of each client. Our evidence-based addiction treatment center is the perfect place to renew your best today.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about The Haven difference.

Friday, June 7, 2019

12 Step Recovery: Founders Day

12 Steps
Millions of Americans and many more people around the globe are grateful for the birth of 12 Step recovery. While there are several different modalities (e.g., SMART Recovery), programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have the largest following by far.

There is a reason why most evidence-based addiction treatment centers encourage their clients to work the 12 Steps while in rehab and after. Having a fellowship of men and women who share a common goal is exceedingly beneficial. A support network is of the utmost importance to any person desiring to heal from alcohol or substance use disorder.

What’s more, unlike many therapists and counselors, each person in the rooms of recovery has first-hand experience with the disease. Having the common bond of past experiences enables people to relate, and they can guide each other through the challenges of life. Since there are not any hard mandates short of abstinence, men and women have the freedom to work their own program.

Even a casual observer has to acknowledge the remarkable nature of 12 Step recovery programs. Those who were at the brink of total despair and looking up at the bottom can rebuild their lives by practicing a set of principles. Member of Alcoholics Anonymous take what they learn, leave what they don’t need behind, and carry the message to newcomers 365 days a year. This is the way it has been for 84 years since the founding of AA.

84th Anniversary of 12 Step Recovery: Founders Day


Most of those working a program in 12 Step recovery know a little history about its origins. They know the names Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Ebby T.; even some are familiar with the Oxford Group, a precursor to AA. For those who are not familiar with the humble beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous, we’d like to share some the program's lineage.

AA was the brainchild of two seemingly hopeless alcoholics who met in Akron, Ohio in 1935: Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services writes:

“Bill had gotten sober and had then maintained his recovery by working with other alcoholics, though none of these had actually recovered. Meanwhile, Dr. Bob’s Oxford Group membership at Akron had not helped him enough to achieve sobriety. When Dr. Bob and Bill finally met, the effect on the doctor was immediate. This time, he found himself face to face with a fellow sufferer who had made good. Bill emphasized that alcoholism was a malady of mind, emotions and body. This all-important fact he had learned from Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital in New York, where Bill had often been a patient. Though a physician, Dr. Bob had not known alcoholism to be a disease. Responding to Bill’s convincing ideas, he soon got sober, never to drink again. The founding spark of AA had been struck.” 

If you would like to read more about the lifesaving fellowship’s origins, please click here.

This weekend is Founders Day Weekend, an annual observance to acknowledge the birth of AA. There could be as many as 12,000 who will descend upon Akron in the coming days to celebrate the program. Events will be held at the Gate Lodge, which is where the founders first met to lay out the steps for recovery.

Across the country, events are being held this weekend and next week. For example, in our area there will be a Founders Day event on June 16, 2019.

 

Addiction Recovery


The Haven at Pismo would like to wish everyone in recovery a happy Founders Day Weekend. Each day in recovery is a remarkable achievement worth being proud of; we hope that you have time to celebrate with your support network.

Please contact us if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol and would like to take steps to improve your life. At The Haven, our team of experts utilizes evidence-based therapies to help people make necessary changes and learn how to excel in recovery.