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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery: The Benefits of Detox

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

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

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

Dangers Accompany Alcohol Withdrawal

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

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

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

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


Alcohol Detox In Pismo Beach

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Managing Loneliness This Holiday Season

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Addiction Recovery: Social Media Impacts Well-Being

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

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

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

Curbing Social Media May Help Your Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Recovery

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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mental Illness Among Veterans

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

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

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


Talking About Mental Illness

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

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

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

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

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

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

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.