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Thursday, April 25, 2019

DEA Take Back Day: Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse

Prescription Drug MisuseWhat is prescription drug misuse? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is taking more than the recommended dose or using medicine without a prescription. Nonmedical use is when a person uses a pharmaceutical without a doctor's permission.

Individuals who take a prescription drug for its euphoric effects are engaging in nonmedical use. Prescription drug misuse can quickly lead to abuse. People need only scan the headlines to observe what can happen when a person takes too much. Over the last two decades, we have seen an alarming rise in overdose deaths relating to prescription drug misuse.

There are inherent dangers in using prescription opioids and sedatives in unintended ways. Most Americans understand that prescription drug misuse can lead to addiction and overdose. However, many of the patients with prescriptions remain willing to divert their medicines to friends or family members.

More than half (53.0 percent) of people, ages 12 or older, who misused pain relievers in 2016 reported obtaining the drugs from a friend or relative, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans engaged in nonmedical prescription drug use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a total of 70,237 overdose deaths in 2017 in the United States. Opioids of any kind were involved in 47,600 deaths; of which, 17,029 involved a prescription painkiller. Drug theft, misplacement, and diversion are still significant issues even though overdose deaths involving prescription drugs have leveled. Heroin and synthetic opioids (i.e., fentanyl) are now two of the leading causes of fatal overdoses.

National Take Back Day

Combatting nonmedical prescription drug use and abuse is a must. The majority of current heroin users are introduced to opioids via prescription painkillers. Mitigating diversion opportunities can prevent initiation, addiction, and overdose.

In 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched the National Take Back Initiative. Each spring and fall, the DEA provides opportunities for Americans to dispose of their unused or unwanted medication safely. Since the program’s creation, National Rx Take Backs have collected 10,878,950 pounds of drugs.

The federal agency reports that its safe-disposal sites collected more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication during the last Take Back Day. The DEA writes that:

“Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That's dangerous and often tragic. That's why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in - safely and anonymously - a record amount of prescription drugs.” 

The Take Back is scheduled for this weekend; the organization encourages participation from everyone in possession of unused prescription medications. Please take a moment to watch a short PSA about the biannual event:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Please follow the link to find a collection site near you.


Central Coast Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Any person who is in the grips of opioid addiction can benefit from seeking detoxification and residential treatment. Severe withdrawal symptoms make it challenging for men and women to break the cycle of addiction long enough to develop a program of recovery. Relapse rates are particularly high in the first week of abstinence.

Seeking professional assistance for an opioid use disorder can significantly increase a person’s ability to adopt a recovery program. Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about The Pines, our Central Coast residential detox home. Our team of credentialed addiction professionals can safeguard your health and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Once detox is complete, our Central Coast inpatient addiction treatment will help you rebuild your life and restore hope. We invite you to renew to your best today.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Finding Employment Following Addiction Treatment

Working After Addiction Treatment
Following the completion of addiction treatment, most adult clients or patients return to work. Unemployed workers who are new to recovery are advised to seek job opportunities once their program is stable enough. The kinds of employment such people will gravitate towards depends on one’s level of education or skill set.

Addiction treatment experts and sponsors encourage newcomers, or those on the earlier end of the recovery spectrum, to stay busy. Too much idle time at any point in a person’s sobriety is rarely beneficial. Occupying each day with activities is a useful method for staying out of one’s head; rumination can lead to poor decisions, which can lead to relapse.

Men and women new to recovery can also benefit from finding employment that is, relatively, free from stress. Those fresh at working a program may not have robust coping mechanisms in place to cope with complications at work. Even if a person is overqualified for a particular job, there is something to be said for applying for a less demanding position in early recovery. People in recovery circles sometimes refer to the scenario above as finding a 'get well job.'

There will be plenty of time in the future to utilize one’s full potential and anything a person can do to mitigate stressors is critical. Generally speaking, a get well job is one that is part-time and not overly demanding; typically a position that doesn’t require taking the work home. Simply put, it’s about clocking in, doing the work, and clocking out. Such work positions can go a long way in re-teaching the merits of accountability and responsibility—two vital life skills for achieving long-term recovery.

Working After Addiction Treatment

Each case is different; following treatment some people have more employment options than others. A good many people have their financial situation to think about; money mismanagement accompanies years of active addiction quite frequently.

Clients preparing for discharge must weigh their options carefully and discuss their plans with a case manager or sponsor. Addiction treatment professionals have sufficient knowledge on the subject of working after treatment. When deciding the kind of work that will suit life in early recovery, men and women must ask and answer important questions. Such as:
  • Should I seek part-time or full-time employment?
  • Should I commute to a job or work from home?
  • Can I keep my recovery intact working in a position held previously?
Living in recovery means that the program comes first. Sobriety must be the foundation that supports everything else in life. A barkeep, new to abstinence, may find that bartending will jeopardize his or her hard work. Early recovery demands that people do whatever they can to preempt their exposure to people, places, and things that elicit a relapse.

While stress can severely impact an individual’s mission to achieve long-term recovery, so too can loneliness and isolation. In the 21st Century, there are plenty of jobs one can work from home, on the computer or over the phone. Such tasks may not be the most stressful or put people at risk of being around drugs and alcohol, but they can still impact mental well-being.

Males and females who recently completed treatment or those preparing to discharge should discuss the pros and cons of remote employment. With that in mind, a recent survey sheds some light on how working from home might affect one’s recovery.

Remote Employment Can Affect Wellness

People who undergo addiction treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder learn that they struggle with mental illness. Use disorder is a form of mental disease that is vulnerable to environmental factors. Clients learn that they must protect their sobriety by making choices that are conducive to well-being.

Individuals who are new to recovery and are considering working from home may find the 2019 State of Remote Work survey interesting. Respondents were asked about the struggles they faced from working remotely:
  • 49 percent struggled with wellness.
  • 19 percent with loneliness.
  • 8 percent with motivation.
Dr. Amy Cirbus, Ph.D., LMHC, LPC, and Manager of Clinical Quality at Talkspace, tells Forbes that:

“Remote workers often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression at a higher rate than people commuting into traditional office spaces. Specifically, they report feelings of isolation and loneliness and high rates of worry about job performance and stability. Insomnia and sleep disturbance are common, along with increased fatigue, irritation, sadness and feelings of disconnection. Remote workers report a lack of concentration and focus that can compound and exacerbate these mental health challenges. It can lead to a loss of self-worth and a questioning of one’s abilities. Combined together, these symptoms can have a significant impact on job performance, job satisfaction and the efficiency of productive work.” 

The report does not imply that working from home is an impossibility for people with mental health illness. However, types of work that can result in loneliness, anxiety, and depression should be taken into consideration when finding employment in recovery.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo works with clients to develop a plan to reduce the risk of relapse following addiction treatment. Please contact us today to learn more about our proven continuum of care. We are confident that you will find that our Central Coast addiction treatment is the perfect place to renew to your best today. (805) 202-3440

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Alcohol Use: Relapse Prevention

alcohol use affects white matter
Alcohol Awareness Month continues, and it’s vital to keep the discussion about the most heavily used substance alive. Today, we would like to cover an alcohol-related topic that people in recovery, or not, should find interesting — the subject of relapse and the importance of remaining abstinent despite how a person feels.

Early recovery from alcohol, or any substance for the matter, is a challenging time. Once alcohol is no longer in the picture, the body begins a transition process of varying lengths of time. The substance may be out of an individual’s bloodstream, but the effects of heavy use can linger for months and years even.

The detoxification stage of recovery is meant to stabilize a patient. Medical professionals utilize medications to prevent any health complications that might arise, such as seizures. Anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and discomfort can drive a person to want to abandon ship before reaching destination recovery. Keeping detox patients comfortable during this period is critical to helping them see the process through.

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol use can last differing lengths of time. It depends on the person. On average, symptoms diminish within five to seven days of taking the last drink. While physical symptoms can subside in a week, psychological ones can continue for variable lengths depending on the case. Extended care following detox is critical due to this reality.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and long-term use can have lasting ramifications. Heavy drinking impacts brain white matter, which disrupts how different regions in the brain communicate. The alterations, according to new research, can last at least six weeks, MNT reports. The implication being that removing alcohol from the equation does not mean everything is back to “normal.”

Alcohol Use Affects White Matter

residential treatment
Owing to post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), some patients can experience emotional and psychological symptoms for months or longer. Without a secure support network in place or a safe environment to process emotions, an individual may act on cravings. Deciding to head home following detoxification often proves too much for some people, resulting in relapse.

Healing takes time, three to five days of abstinence isn't a panacea. The brain needs time to readjust and balance itself out. Finding equilibrium is akin to a rollercoaster ride, but life becomes a little easier to handle with each day sober.

The brain is a complicated organ; there is still much that experts do not understand about how drugs affect the mind. However, a new study shows that alcohol use disorder disrupts brain function long after the last drink. Research published in JAMA Psychiatry indicates that AUD patients had a generalized change in the corpus callosum and the fimbria.

The fimbria is responsible for communication between the hippocampus, the nucleus accumbens, and the prefrontal cortex. These regions of the brain play a central role in addiction being the pleasure centers of the brain.
  • The hippocampus is responsible for agreeable memory formation.
  • The nucleus accumbens is the reward-circuit (i.e., desire, satiety, and inhibition).
  • The Prefrontal Cortex handles complex thinking and planning, executive function, decision making, and appropriate social behavior.
Substance use changes how the above structures function. The fact that how pleasure centers communicate is still affected during abstinence is of crucial importance. Dr. Santiago Canals, co-author of the study, said that:

“Until now, nobody could believe that in the absence of alcohol, the damage in the brain would progress.”


Central Coast Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Center

Residential treatment is the safest route for anyone hoping to achieve long-term recovery. Once detox is complete, beginning a course of rehab for either 30, 60, or 90 days can significantly strengthen one’s program of sobriety thus preventing relapse.

Residing in a distraction-free, safe environment is the ideal place for a person’s brain function to normalize. While such changes are underway, individuals learn tools and coping skills for living in recovery.

The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today. Please contact us to learn more about our detox, residential and outpatient treatment, and transitional living programs.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

Across the country, people from all walks of life are living with alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependence. This is true for one in every 12 adults, as a matter of fact, according to Facing Addiction with NCADD. What’s more, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD in 2015; one's age has little effect on alcoholism.

In the US, alcohol use is legal for people over the age of 21. However, legality does not imply that drinking is safe. Since the practice of drinking often begins in high school, it is critical that experts do more to educate young people to be cautious about their alcohol consumption. Those who start drinking at a young age are more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related health problems.

The association between drinking and significant life issues is crystal clear. The list of alcohol-related health disorders is lengthy and is likely to become longer. Scientists can now link excessive alcohol use with:
  • Addiction, anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Gastrointestinal problems, i.e., pancreatitis and gastritis
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Several types of cancers, including but not limited to liver, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box) and esophagus
Facing Addiction with NCADD shares that 40 percent of all hospital beds in the U.S are being used to treat health conditions that are linked to alcohol use. The life-threatening health risks of hazardous alcohol use call for action – to break the stigma of addiction. In doing so, we encourage people struggling to seek treatment and embrace life in recovery.


Alcohol Use Disorder is Treatable, Recovery is Within Reach

April is Alcohol Awareness Month! Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has worked tirelessly to break the stigma of addiction with facts. Information is one of the most useful tools in promoting change! The organization helps communities organize events to educate people about addiction, treatment, and recovery.

Many people living with alcohol and substance use disorder don’t know that there is a solution to their problem. Such individuals do not realize that recovery is possible, and it is within reach.

Since alcohol use disorder is a chronic and progressive mental health disease, time is of the essence. Men and women who believe they have a problem cannot afford to delay their recovery. While making significant life changes to recover isn’t easy, it is possible, especially with professional assistance.

For example, NCADD estimates that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use alone. Millions more are recovering from other types of addiction.

It is also worth mentioning that many Americans may not realize that some of their problems are the result of drinking. Screening for alcohol use disorder has become more common, but we still have a long way to go. Again, since alcohol is legal and intertwined with many men and women’s lives, people risk ignoring the signs. Or, they link employment, family, and social issues to something other than alcohol.

One method of gauging a relationship with alcohol is to abstain for a period. Conveniently, Alcohol-Free Weekend is coming up (April 5-7, 2019)! NCADD encourages all Americans to engage in three alcohol-free days. People who attempt and are unable to refrain from drinking this weekend should reach out for further guidance.

SLO County Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Center

We must point out that just because someone isn’t able to abstain for three days doesn’t mean they have an alcohol use disorder. Moreover, people can have an addiction to alcohol and still forgo for the entire weekend.

There are diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, and an inability to abstain is just one criterion. Anyone who has concerns or is uncertain about their drinking can benefit from speaking with an addiction professional.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you believe alcohol is disrupting your life. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions and to help you determine if action is required. Our Central Coast addiction treatment center can assist you in bringing about long-term addiction recovery. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Benefits of Life Skills Training

life skills training
Building a new normal for yourself without the crutch of drugs or alcohol requires learning life strategies and coping skills that you can use long after you leave rehab. From eating healthy to managing your free time to finding employment,  life skills are essential for sustaining your sobriety and enhancing your quality of life.

While different facilities offer different life skills programming, some of the things you can expect to learn include:
  • Job search and career development
  • Stress management
  • Health and fitness
  • Emotional and behavioral control
  • Social skills
  • Personal development

6 Must-Learn Life Skills for Sobriety

Here’s a closer look at some essential life skills to learn during recovery – and how they can benefit your health and long-term sobriety:

  1. Routines: The right routine can provide structure and familiarity to your day and make use of your downtime in a healthy way. Do your best to prioritize your daily tasks and don’t take on too much, too fast. Keep your routine simple and revolve it around the activities and tasks that will strengthen your recovery.
  2. Self-care: A great deal of time goes into using drugs and alcohol. So much so, that you likely need to relearn simple self-care acts like proper grooming and hygiene, establishing a sleep routine, healthy eating, exercise and making time for sober hobbies. Now that the focus is on living healthy in life after addiction, more time should be spent on looking and feeling your best.
  3. Nutrition: Chronic drug and/or alcohol use robs the body of the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Eating the right foods during recovery can help repair this damage and ensure that your organs and tissues work properly. It can also help keep you physically and mentally strong. This is why it’s essential to learn how to avoid or limit processed foods and stick with a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean proteins.
  4. Job skills: Financial well-being is an important part of lasting sobriety. As part of your life skills training, you may learn how to write a resume, conduct a job interview, dress for the workplace, manage on-the-job stress and more. 
  5. Stress management: Learning to recognize and manage stress is a critical skill for people in recovery. This includes finding ways to relax and alleviate stress without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. Unmanaged, chronic stress can lead to anger, anxiety, hunger, fatigue, loneliness – which are all know triggers for relapse.
  6. Social skills: An essential life skill is saying what is meant and meaning what is said. Clear communication skills are important for building and maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends, recovery peers, coworkers and employers. Learning to communicate properly will also help you to maintain healthy boundaries and better manage your emotions.

The Haven’s Life Skills Program

Our life skills program can help you create a clear vision of the drug- and alcohol-free life you'd like to see for yourself. You’ll receive support to take the necessary steps to stay grounded as you move forward in your new sober life. Consider us your safety net as you establish healthy patterns and habits for sustained sobriety. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.