Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

addiction

Unemployment, social isolation, and uncertainty are words all too familiar to millions of Americans in 2020—owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless men and women have struggled to stay afloat during these trying times, especially for those who suffer from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders, which have come to be known as “diseases of despair.”

Recent polling data shows that:

More than half of the people who lost income or employment reported negative mental health impacts from worry or stress over coronavirus; and lower income people report higher rates of major negative mental health impacts compared to higher income people.”

Even those working a program of recovery have found it challenging to keep themselves on track. Relapse rates and overdose rates are up across the country. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports…suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.”

More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.”

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

When life becomes more difficult, people are more apt to turn to mind-altering substances to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This summer, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alcohol use and substance use disorders are on the rise this year as many people try to grapple with this new way of life. However, alcohol and drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors have been steadily rising for the last decade following the great recession.

Between 2009 and 2018, diseases of despair rose 170 percent, HealthDay reports. Alcohol use disorders increased in practically every age group. Substance use disorder diagnoses increased by 94 percent. New research suggests that diseases of despair can be linked to:

  • Economic Decline
  • Stagnant Wages
  • Fewer Community Ties
  • Unemployment

Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate of suicidal ideations and behaviors rose by 210 percent, according to the research appearing in the BMJ Open. What’s more, the researchers report that men had almost 50 percent higher odds of being diagnosed with a disease of despair than women. The new study included 12 million Americans.

Study author Emily Brignone – a senior research assistant – reports that it will take many years before we fully understand the pandemic’s impact on diseases of despair. She adds, however:

There is some evidence of COVID-19-related changes in diseases of despair, including increases in opioid overdoses and high numbers of people reporting suicidal thoughts. Diseases and deaths of despair represent an urgent public health issue, and the COVID-19 pandemic in some respects may exacerbate the conditions that give rise to these problems.”

Talking About Mental Health and Addiction

Evidence-based treatments exist, which can help individuals find recovery and get their life back on track. Addiction and mental health treatment work and people need to feel comfortable reaching out for help. Unfortunately, stigma still stands in the way of getting help for many Americans.

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer for the Well Being Trust, calls the new study a “call to action,” according to the article. He says helping people get back to work is one preventive measure against diseases of despair. He adds that employment could lessen the pandemic’s impact on addiction and mental illness rates.

More importantly, Miller says people need to be able to have conversations about addiction and mental health. He adds:

We have to look at how to embrace the hard conversations around mental health and addiction. We need to know how to talk to each other, and be empathetic and supportive.”

Talking about behavioral and mental health disorders isn’t easy. Reaching out for help takes much courage, but it saves lives. If you know someone who is struggling, please take the time to lend them an empathetic ear.

Behavioral and Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we treat men struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Our team relies upon evidence-based treatment to help men find the gift of recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Addiction Recovery Centers Receive Funding

addiction recovery

In early addiction recovery and beyond, individuals are advised to avoid all mind-altering substances—including legal drugs. In recent years, many states have voted in favor of legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes, even though the drug has no accepted medical purpose and has a high potential for abuse.

In total, 15 states have legalized recreational marijuana; four states passed recreational marijuana legalization measures earlier this month. While ending cannabis prohibition may be a step in the right direction criminal justice-wise, people in recovery need to remember that legal does not mean safe.

Many relapses have come about from thinking that marijuana will not lead to a return to drinking or using other drugs. If you are determined to keep your recovery intact, then please continue avoiding any substance that has the potential for abuse.

Legalizing Drug Use

On November 3, 2020, a number of states passed marijuana-related measures. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voters approved the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, USA Today reports. Both South Dakota and Mississippi passed medical marijuana initiatives; such legislation has now been passed in a total of 36 states.

Oregon took legalizing drug use a couple of steps forward. Having passed recreational marijuana use legislation some years back, now it’s legal to possess small amounts of more harmful drugs.

Oregon voters approved Measure 110, making it the first state to eliminate criminal penalties for cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine possession. Measure 110 expands addiction services using the state’s marijuana tax revenue. Those found in possession of such drugs will be given a $100 fine, which would be waived if the offender seeks an assessment from an addiction recovery center.

I think Oregonians made it clear that they support a more humane, effective approach to drug addiction,” said Anthony Johnson, one of the measure’s chief petitioners. “We took a huge step for funding more treatment and recovery services, and for ending racist drug war policies.”

Naturally, opponents of Measure 110 contend that the initiative goes too far. They fear it will lead to increased drug use, especially among young people. The bill’s opponents argue that it could also lead to more overdoses.

Expanding Addiction Recovery Centers

One of the essential facets of Measure 110 is the reallocating of funds to expand or strengthen addiction recovery centers throughout the state, according to the article. The measure directs the Oregon Health Authority to redistribute marijuana tax revenue to funding for addiction treatment and recovery services.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office says the funds will also be used to expand evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment services. What’s more, the marijuana tax revenue will go towards providing housing for individuals with substance use disorders and overdose prevention education.

”It’s clear that the current approach of arresting and jailing people for their drug addiction has failed, and that people realized that Measure 110 was ultimately about people, not drugs,” said Johnson. He adds:

It’s about what do you want for your loved ones. Do you want them arrested, jailed and saddled with a criminal record? Or do you want them provided recovery services.”

Addiction Recovery Services for Men

It will be interesting to see how Measure 110 plays out in Oregon. Doing away with criminalizing drug use could result in more individuals seeking assistance rather than keeping their problems a secret. Most Americans agree that non-violent drug offenders do not belong behind bars. In the near future, we could see other states following Oregon’s lead on drug use.

Millions of men and women working programs of recovery are proof that there is another way of life. If you are an adult male struggling with drug or alcohol use, we invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center. We offer evidence-based, gender-specific treatment services to help men turn their lives around.

Our team specializes in the treatment of mental illness as well. If your problem is something other than drugs or alcohol, please do not hesitate to reach out for support.

Adoption Month: Talking About Addiction and Trauma

adoption

One’s upbringing has a lasting impact on one’s life. What we experience growing up can set us up for success or challenges down the road. There is no formula for predicting how a person’s life will pan out in the long run. However, there are life events like adoption that can predispose people to have issues such as addiction later in life.

Many people who have traumatic childhoods are unable to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Those who are subject to abuse, emotional or physical, are often ill-equipped to live life on life’s terms. Many adopted individuals struggle with anxiety and depression; some will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms.

Trauma is a significant predictor for who will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. For instance, those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a higher risk of using drugs and alcohol to deal with symptoms. PTSD is not always the result of combat or physical abuse; it can develop from an insecure living environment.

In The Primal Wound, Nancy Verrier writes:

Adoptees trauma occurred right after birth, so there is no ‘before trauma’ self. They suffered a loss that they can’t consciously remember and which no one else is acknowledging, but which has a tremendous impact on their sense of self, emotional response, and worldview. Even in adulthood, adoptees may unconsciously perceive the world as ‘unsafe and unfamiliar,’ remaining in a near-perpetual state of heightened anxiety and constant vigilance.”

Adopted individuals may struggle with lingering attachments, which are often the most significant source of anxiety. Many will have difficulty with never knowing their birth parents. Feeling unwanted can take a toll as well.

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, an initiative to increase awareness of the need for permanent families for children and youth in the U.S. foster care system. This year’s National Adoption Month theme is “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn.” The The Children’s Bureau writes:

It is well known that teenagers are less likely to be adopted, often because of their age, and are much more likely to age out of foster care without strong or stable family support. Securing lifelong connections for teens in foster care, both legally and emotionally, is a critical component in determining their future achievement, health, and well-being.

While it would be nice to think of adoption as being a seamless transition, it’s often a long, drawn-out process that can significantly affect the course of one’s life. Those who are wards of the state are removed from unsafe homes or experience trauma while in foster care. Some adopted children have biological parents who struggle with drugs and alcohol. At this time, we would like to bring people’s attention to the prevalence of addiction among people who were adopted.

The combination of a genetic predisposition for addiction and lingering attachment issues can cause complications. According to researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School, adopted individuals are at an increased risk of mental illness and substance use disorder (SUD).

If you were adopted and are struggling with mental health or behavioral health disorder(s), you are not alone. Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions indicates that adoptees are 1.87 times more likely to face substance use disorder problems. The authors write:

Adoptees had higher odds for lifetime SUDs than non-adoptees in this study using NESARC data. Despite the advantages of adoptees’ higher educational levels probably due to being raised by higher educated, higher-income adopting parents, adoptees are still at higher risk to lifetime SUD. Awareness of adopted persons and their adoptive parents to this risk may help in primary prevention (never using substances; having conservative rules about doses and frequency of use) and in secondary prevention (being alert to early signs and symptoms; timely intervention to reduce damage and increase the chance of recovery). The findings can also be useful for clinicians and policymakers to provide education, prevention, and support for adoptees and their families.”

Additional Reading on Adoption, Addiction, and Mental Illness

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of adoptees that struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders. We have written about the subject on numerous occasions and we invite you to learn more about the subject:

Specialists in Adoption-Related Addiction Treatment

Today, please contact us to learn more about our mental and behavioral health specialized services for those who were adopted. Call the PACE Recovery Center team at 800-526-1851 to learn how we can help you or a loved one heal and lead a healthy life in recovery.

Opioid Addiction Epidemic in America

opioid addiction

The American opioid addiction epidemic has been relegated to the back burner of late because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not to say opioid addiction and overdose are no longer on the radar; it’s that we’ve been caught up in COVID-19 statistics and our government’s plan to address the situation.

As far as public health crises are concerned, it makes sense that our focus has shifted to the coronavirus—it has stolen more than 220,000 lives in 2020 thus far. Still, the opioid use disorder epidemic should not be forgotten about, even if it’s challenging to focus on more than one public health crisis at a time.

For years, it seemed like opioid addiction and overdoses dominated the headlines; that nearly 100,000 Americans die of an overdose each year seemed like a primary topic of discussion. With each passing week, a new headline involving opioids would be seen having to do with misuse or a new lawsuit against those who profited from overprescribing. However, public attention has pivoted to COVID-19, which has led to more than one million deaths worldwide.

With the nation’s attention on coronavirus, many important stories are being overlooked. You may have missed specific headlines, like the one involving Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, has been in the limelight in recent years. The primary shareholders of the makers of OxyContin are infamous in America. You may be aware that Purdue touted OxyContin as not carrying a significant risk for addiction. The drug was promoted to prescribers as being safe, despite the steady rise in overdoses since the release of the drug in the mid-’90s.

Purdue’s Role in the Nation’s Opioid Crisis

Last week, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges related to its marketing practices, The New York Times reports. The company is looking at $8.3 billion in penalties, and the Sacklers have agreed to pay $225 million in civil penalties.

In recent years, thousands of thousands of lawsuits have been brought against Purdue Pharma. States, cities, counties, and tribes are all trying to hold the company and the Sackler family responsible for their role in the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. The vast majority of people using heroin today used prescription opioids like OxyContin first.

Research shows that 21% of high school seniors who misused prescription opioids and later received an opioid prescription, used heroin by age 35.

While this update is promising news, it’s unlikely that Purdue will pay anything close to the $8 billion; the company has already sought bankruptcy court protection, according to the article. However, the settlement could lead to the resolution of many of the thousands of pending lawsuits. The agreement did not end all the litigation against Purdue, nor does it preclude the filing of criminal charges against Purdue Pharma executives or individual Sacklers.

In a letter to the Department of Justice, relatives of opioid use disorder victims said the agreement falls short. What’s more, Massachusetts has scheduled depositions against some Sacklers for next month.

The D.O.J. failed,” said Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general. “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers, and I will never sell out the families who have been calling for justice for so long.”

Opioid Addiction During the Pandemic

Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers are the tip of the iceberg. Lawsuits have been filed against other drug companies, including prescription drug distributors that filled pharmacy orders despite evidence of impropriety. The opioid addiction epidemic is nuanced; many players were involved in the problem becoming this bad.

The pandemic has made matters worse, according to a new Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study. The research shows that misuse of fentanyl, heroin, and non-prescribed opioids are on the rise.

The findings indicate that the drug positivity rate increased 35% for non-prescribed fentanyl and 44% for heroin during the pandemic compared to the period before the pandemic (January 1, 2019-March 14, 2020 and March 15-May 16, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect storm for a rise in substance use disorders and other forms of prescription and illicit drug misuse. Stress, job losses and depression compounded with isolation and a lack of access to health services can trigger prescription medication overuse, illicit drug use, or relapses,” said co-author Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., Senior Medical Director, Head of Health Trends Research Program, Quest Diagnostics.

It was concerning to learn that the positivity for a combination of drugs was especially pronounced. Positivity for non-prescribed fentanyl and amphetamines increased by 89%, benzodiazepines (48%), cocaine (34%), and opiates (39%). The researchers point out that most overdoses involve concurrent use of benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine.

Our Health Trends data demonstrate the consequences of the pandemic, with dramatic increases of misuse of non-prescribed drugs at a time when fentanyl is also on the rise. Our nation is grappling with a drug epidemic inside a pandemic. Patients and providers need increased access to support services, clinical care and drug testing to stop drug misuse from claiming more lives,” Dr. Kaufman said.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapies to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to lead a positive life in recovery. We are standing by at 800-526-1851 to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment for men.

Early Recovery: Stay Close to Other Men in the Program

early recovery

In 12-Step programs, men work together with other men to achieve lasting recovery. The same is true for women. People of the same sex can relate more easily. Moreover, working the steps with someone of the same gender makes it easier to open up in early recovery—free from the distraction of the opposite sex.

Early recovery is a challenging time. Anything you can do to mitigate the risk of distractions will aid you significantly. There is a reason why it’s suggested to avoid dating in the first year of recovery. Few people are equipped to keep their program intact and juggle the needs of a romantic relationship in early recovery.

What’s more, if a relationship runs into problems and a break-up occurs, it can be an impetus for relapse. If you can avoid romantic entanglements in the first year or until you’ve worked all the steps, you will not be sorry. Doing so will allow you to put all your energy into laying a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

A straw poll of people at meetings would reveal that relationships are right next to resentments in being a leading cause of relapse. In many cases, a toxic relationship begets resentment that is a catalyst for deciding to drink or drug again.

If you are new to working a program, devote your energy toward fostering friendships with other men in the Rooms. Other men in the program will be the people who are there for you when you face challenges. Another man will also serve as your sponsor; he will show you how to work the steps and stay sober one day at a time.

Sticking With Other Men in Early Recovery

There will be plenty of time down the road to think about romance. Early on, your focus must be on adopting new behaviors and practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs. What’s more, early recovery is time to learn how to be friends with others in healthy ways.

When in the grips of addiction, practically everyone you associated with had something that serviced your disease. Now, you are looking for people who are also serious about their program; other men who have what you want—those whose lives are on the right track because of their recovery.

Look for individuals whose daily actions for recovery inspire you to keep doing the next right thing. Stay close to the men who put their recovery first in every aspect of life. Recovery requires eternal vigilance; it can never come second.

Early recovery is a time when your addiction is working tirelessly to reassert itself in your life—to retake its former position on center stage. It’s easy to get off track and to become distracted. Ensure that you are around other men in the program when you are not working or in meetings.

Develop a deep-bench of supporting men in recovery; such relationships will help you stay on course. In COVID-19 America, it’s vital for men and women in recovery to stick together. Preventing relapse during these challenging times must come first and foremost.

Whenever you find yourself struggling, call another man in the program and ask them for help. You might be surprised how beneficial picking up the phone can be. Make a call before you fall. You are not alone.

We Help Each Other Stay Sober

Reaching out for help when you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed helps you and the person you lean on for support. You never know, the man you talk to might be having a hard time too. Your call or meeting with that individual helps them stay sober as well.

A sponsor helps you stay sober, and you help him stay sober too. A sponsor cannot keep their recovery if they do not give it away. Interconnectivity or fellowship is the life-blood of the program.

You make progress each time you join forces for recovery in a meeting or one on one. Staying connected with the people in your deep bench is the key to reaching new milestones.

If you’ve been isolating because of COVID-19 or otherwise, please do not hesitate to reach out. Addiction thrives in isolation, and alcoholics and addicts cannot afford the luxury of solitude. Take advantage of video conferencing platforms to remain an active participant in your recovery.

Orange County Gender-Specific Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we show men how to work together toward a common goal. Our gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment are the ideal launching point for any adult male who’d like to better their lives. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Mental Health Services Investment Around the Globe

mental health

World Mental Health Day was last weekend. The World Health Organization (WHO) called it “an opportunity to kick-start a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.” The global public health agency called on governments to invest more heavily in services for mental illness.

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is behind us, but raising awareness is a year-round movement. The more we discuss mental health, the better; public discourse erodes the stigma, which often stands in the way of recovery.

Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.

WHO points out that more than 75 percent of people living with mental illness and substance use disorders receive no treatment in low- and middle-income countries. In light of COVID-19, more people than ever are struggling with symptoms of mental illness. Those same individuals are also facing challenges and barriers to treatment.

COVID-19 has disrupted access to mental health services, and WHO shares that it was hard enough for people to receive assistance before the pandemic. A new survey conducted by WHO confirms that accessing care has been disrupted or halted due to the global public health crisis.

Mental Health Service Barriers

The WHO survey indicates that 93 percent of countries worldwide are not supporting people with mental illness and substance use disorders. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said:

We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching.”

The WHO survey found:

  • 67% of countries saw disruptions to counseling and psychotherapy.
  • 65% saw disruptions to critical harm reduction services.
  • More than a third (35%) reported disruptions to emergency interventions for severe substance use withdrawal syndromes.
  • 30% reported disruptions to access for medications for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.

“We estimate, and preliminary information is telling us, that there may be an increase in people with mental, neurological and substance abuse-related conditions that will need attention,” said Devora Kestel, Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.

The survey highlights the need for more mental and behavioral health funding. While 89% of countries reported that mental health support services are part of their pandemic response plans, unfortunately, only 17% have allocated additional funding to meet the need for assistance.

Funding Mental Health Services

A more significant investment in mental health services pays off. According to WHO, countries that allocate funds for providing services for mental illness and substance use disorder will see huge returns. For every dollar spent on evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety returns five dollars.

Before COVID-19 spread across the globe, depression and anxiety had a massive impact on the global economy. Each year, nearly $1 trillion in economic productivity is lost to untreated depression and anxiety. The above number is likely to increase exponentially due to life amid a pandemic.

In May, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that a third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety, depression, or both. It’s been more than six months, and we are still fighting the spread of COVID-19. We cannot ignore the psychological toll of coronavirus; investing in mental health services saves lives.

While it’s true, accessing care is more challenging of late, there are still resources available to people struggling with mental illness and substance use disorder. If you or a loved one are having difficulty, please reach out for support.

Gender-Specific Mental Health Program

Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our gender-specific programs for men living with mental illness or substance use disorder. We rely on evidence-based approaches for helping men to lead fulfilling and productive lives in recovery. We are available around the clock to answer your questions and to begin the admissions process. We are standing by at 800-526-1851.

MIAW 2020: You Are Not Alone With Mental Illness

MIAW

With National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month behind us, the focus on mental health continues. While it’s vital to remember that raising awareness about addiction and mental illness is a year-round effort, the first full week of October is of significant importance. National Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) runs from October 4 – 10.

Right now is an unprecedented time of isolation, and it is critical to remind people suffering from mental health disorders that they are not alone. One in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages everyone to take part in MIAW. The organization provides many avenues for participation, from sharing one’s story of recovery and hope and by posting mental illness-related content on social media platforms.

There are also mental health-related events throughout MIAW, including:

  • Tuesday Oct. 6: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
  • Thursday Oct. 8: National Depression Screening Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: NAMIWalks National Day of Hope

At PACE Recovery Center, we hope you find time to help NAMI raise awareness about mental illness. Mental health disorders affect men and women around the globe. Depression alone impacts the lives of more than 300 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, depressive disorders are the number one cause of poor health worldwide. NAMI writes:

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

Getting Involved With MIAW 2020

You Are Not Alone is a year-long awareness campaign. NAMI invites people living with mental and behavioral health disorders to share their experience, strength, and hope. Doing so encourages men, women, and teenagers to ask for help before one’s condition worsens. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideations or commit suicide struggle with symptoms of mental illness.

When people affected by mental illness share their stories, they help fight stigmas that stand in the way of recovery for millions of Americans. The recovery community’s stories help the public understand that mental and behavioral health disorders are not a choice. As such, members of society are less likely to stand by or spread misinformation.

You can read some other people’s experience, strength, and hope here.

Mental Illness Awareness Over Social Media

This Sunday, you can also start posting to social media about mental health. You can create unique status updates to attach to infographics. You can also utilize NAMI sponsored posts, such as:

  • There is a lack of understanding surrounding people experiencing mental illness. That’s why @NAMICommunicate is sharing some of the most misunderstood aspects of mental illness each day during MIAW. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone, whether you have a mental health condition or not. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • There is no health without mental health #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • (10/10) Today is World Mental Health Day. We all have mental health challenges and if you are struggling right now, know that You Are Not Alone. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • Mental health can and should be a priority this election season. Visit NAMI’s new election website, vote4mentalhealth.org, and pledge to #Vote4MentalHealth.

More Facts About Mental Illness

Many Americans do not realize how common mental illness is, even when it affects someone they love. Since mental health is still a taboo topic to discuss, the ubiquity of psychiatric disorders is often overlooked. Below you will see a snapshot by demographic; according to NAMI, mental illness affects:

  • 37% of LGB adults
  • 27% of Mixed/Multiracial adults
  • 22% of American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 20% of White adults
  • 17% of Latinx adults
  • 16% of Black adults
  • 15% of Asian adults

Mental Health Treatment for Men

PACE Recovery treats adult men living with mental health and co-occurring disorders. Our team utilizes the latest evidence-based treatment modalities to facilitate long-term recovery. Mental Illness Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity to disregard stigma and reach out for assistance. We are standing by around the clock to field any questions you have about our programs and services. Please call 800-526-1851 for more information.

Addiction Recovery: A Positive Attitude Helps You

addiction recovery

As 2020 winds down, it may be challenging to look back without a sense of melancholy. Nearly one million people have died thus far worldwide; tens of millions have contracted COVID-19. Many members of the addiction recovery community have come face to face with the novel illness.

You may know someone who has contracted the coronavirus or passed away. If so: our thoughts and prayers go out to you. We also hope that your well-being and program have not been compromised owing to grief and mourning.

COVID-19 has tested and continues to test the addiction recovery fellowship. Not long ago, it would have been hard to imagine that millions of people in recovery would forgo in-person meetings for a digital option. Who could have dreamt that an untold number of men and women seeking a new way of life would attend their first 12 Step meeting via video conferencing?

Fortunately, members of the community have banded together for the common cause of recovery. You continue to meet the day by carrying the message (online) to alcoholics who still suffer—those unable to cope with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

It’s comforting to know that the hands of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous remain open to the newcomer. The new normal is far from ideal but there is a solution to be found. Support is always there for those who need it, including any one of the untold number of individuals who relapsed recently. Knowing that they still have an outlet to reconnect with the fellowship is uplifting.

Positivity: A Gift from Recovery

Undoubtedly, the last several months were taxing, and many have found cause to despair. Risk of contraction, mass layoffs, financial insecurity, and divisive sentiments come to mind when looking backward and presently. However, you have the power to decide how you perceive what is happening. You can choose to zero-in on life with a negative lens, or you can single out what’s positive today.

There is much to be grateful for of late. The tens of thousands of men and women in the field of medicine are a perfect example. It’s challenging to overlook their heroic acts—tending to and treating the millions of people impacted by the coronavirus. Every day, such individuals put on a face mask and go into the trenches to care for the infected. Remember that their selfless acts could have fatal consequences, but they suit up each day regardless of the risks.

The heroes of medicine are just one of the myriad examples of greatness shining today. We implore you to recognize the many beacons of hope lighting your surroundings. Observing acts of kindness is empowering and can inspire you to continue reaching out your hand to others. There is a comfort to be had in the realization that we are all in this together.

September is National Recovery Month: a time to acknowledge the gains made by millions of people across the country. It’s uplifting to remind yourself of the gifts that working a program gives to people. Commitment pays off; just about anything is possible and achievable in recovery.

Even those with a shorter length of sobriety – those in early recovery – quickly see their lives improve before their eyes. Recovery gives individuals the tools to be free from self-defeating and negative states of mind. With a positive outlook, one can seize the day.

A Positive Life in Addiction Recovery

If the pandemic has impacted your life and you have had difficulty seeing the bright side of late, please do not be discouraged. You do not have to work through your challenges alone. What’s more, it’s beneficial to discuss your hardships with your peers. The addiction recovery fellowship is always there when one needs it most.

Keeping negative thoughts to yourself will only serve to worsen an already challenging situation. Sharing what you are going through with others will help you. It will also help others who are experiencing similar hardships. Moreover, the feedback of others will quickly remind you that you are not alone. Knowing that others care will help you put negativity to bed and foster a positive attitude.

A Positive Attitude Changes Everything! Remember, if you still have your recovery, you still have much to be grateful for today. If you decide to harness the power of positivity, it will be easier to get through darker days. Take stock in the gains you make, no matter how small.

Recognize the milestones you make in recovery; getting through another day sober is a monumental achievement if you choose to see it that way. You can get through any challenge without drugs and alcohol in your life. This September, take time to celebrate the gains you’ve made in recovery—it will strengthen your resolve for continued progress.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson–

Gender-Specific Treatment Center for Men

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific addiction recovery programs for men. Please contact us today to learn more about our center and the evidence-based therapies we utilize. Our highly skilled team of professionals can help you begin a remarkable journey and set you on a path to leading a positive and fulfilling life in recovery.

Recovery Brain Heals Over Time: New Research

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Early addiction recovery is a time of significant adjustment; learning how to live life without drugs and alcohol is only one aspect of a complex process. Most individuals new to recovery have been misusing mind-altering substances for a long time; some people used them for decades before making the decision to take certain steps.

It’s common for men and women new to working a program to struggle with patience; it’s said that the addict or alcoholic “wants what they want when they want it.” However, recovery is a process that takes time—one cannot expect to heal and change specific mindsets overnight.

If you are new to addiction recovery – in treatment or otherwise – please allow yourself a significant period of time to grasp and implement a new way of living. Your disease did not come about all at once; the same is valid for implementing a new set of principles and traditions.

Weeks and months can pass by before one feels a sense of equilibrium and achieving lasting recovery will require balance in all aspects of your life. It’s of significant value to understand the difference between acute withdrawal symptoms and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). While the former feelings and cravings may dissipate rapidly – one to two weeks generally – following your last drink or drug, PAWS can persist for months and sometimes up to a year.

Owing to the protracted length of PAWS – usually psychological and mood-related issues – the longer one stays in treatment, the better. When PAWS is left unchecked by professionals, it drastically increases one’s risk of relapse in the first year of recovery.

Scanning the Addicted Brain

The early stages of addiction recovery can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and mental turmoil. It’s vital to stick close to a support network to protect your recovery from acting on uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

Fortunately, the brain bounces back from the ravages of prolonged drug and alcohol use. Over time, you start feeling better, and it becomes easier to tolerate cravings.

In recent years, scientists have conducted studies using positron emission tomography (PET) scans. The type of imaging shows how well tissues and organs are functioning. Researchers scanned the brains of addicts and alcoholics before and after stopping use. The images revealed marked changes in brain functioning in relatively short periods.

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The imagining shows the dopamine transporter levels – an indicator of dopamine system function – in the brain’s reward region. As soon as one removes drugs and alcohol from the equation, the mind begins to heal, and research shows that the brain dopamine transporter levels return to normal function in time.

While the brain scan above deals with methamphetamine use, the same changes were seen when people abstained from other substances. The fact that the brain has an exceptional ability to heal from prolonged alcohol and drug use is salient, and it shows that the damage done is not permanent.

Alcohol Use and Brain Recovery

New research dealing with alcohol use came back with some positive findings. What’s more, the study shows that the brain recovers quickly after taking the last drink, Yale News reports. The findings appear in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

At Yale University, researchers scanned the brains of people with alcohol use disorder. The scans were conducted one day to two weeks after their last drink. The researchers found disruptions disparities, among people with AUD’s, in a brain network associated with decision-making.

The more recently an alcoholic had their last drink, the more significant the disruption. Increased disruption was linked to a higher likelihood of returning to drinking. Such alcoholics will compromise their recovery, and begin drinking heavy again. The researchers found decreased disruption in activity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and striatum, the longer one abstained. The findings mean that more extraordinary lengths of abstinence make people more equipped to prevent relapse.

Rajita Sinha, professor of neuroscience and senior author of the study, says the brain scans can “help reveal who is most at risk of relapse and underscore the importance of extensive early treatment for those in their early days of sobriety.” She adds that a better understanding of brain disruptions in the brains of alcoholics could lead to new medications that can help people in early recovery.

For people with AUD, the brain takes a long time to normalize, and each day is going to be a struggle,” said Sinha. “For these people, it really is ‘one day at a time.’”

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment for Men

If you are or an adult male loved one is struggling with alcohol use, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We rely on evidence-based therapies to help men recover and live positive lives.

Recovery and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you had a peaceful Labor Day weekend. We understand that many Americans in recovery are still out of work—furloughed or on permanent leave. As such, these are stressful times for a large percentage of the population. We also hope that you continue taking steps to safeguard your mental health and protect your progress.

We shared some alarming data regarding the dramatic increase in the number of Americans experiencing one or more adverse mental or behavioral health conditions. Being Recovery Month, we would be remiss for not reminding people – inside the rooms of recovery and out – that they are not alone.

Many people are struggling with symptoms of mental illness—some individuals for the first time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions linked with the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those surveyed, over 30 percent struggled with anxiety or depression; there is a significant chance that some of the respondents are still contending with symptoms.

Any mental illness must be addressed. The dangers of ignoring symptoms of depression and anxiety can result in self-medication or worse. Unfortunately, the CDC survey revealed that 10.7 percent of respondents reported having considered suicide in the 30 days prior.

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While the survey was relatively small, 5,412 adults, it’s probable that the findings are the bellwether of a more severe problem. COVID-19 cases have bogged down our entire health care system. It’s more challenging for medical professionals to assist those struggling with mental illness. When a person’s psychological distress symptoms – whether it be trauma- and stressor-related disorder or depression – is unmitigated, then adverse outcomes are practically a given.

Suicide Prevention Week 2020

September is Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. What’s more, this is Suicide Prevention Week and this Thursday is World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10, 2020).

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The Each Mind Matters campaign asks organizations to focus on the intersection between suicide prevention, alcohol and drug use, and efforts that foster resilience and recovery. The initiative provides many resources that mental health and addiction recovery advocates can utilize.

Individuals can also get involved in the effort to promote hope, resiliency, and recovery. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) invites you to share resources or your story to increase awareness on this “highly taboo and stigmatized topic.”

Not everyone is ready to speak openly about their struggle with mental illness and suicide, and that’s okay; that may be the case for you. If so, you can make a difference in many ways; social media can be a tool for letting others know that they are not alone.

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NAMI has scores of infographics and helpful wording that you can appropriate for use on your social media pages. Sharing about the ubiquity of mental illness and suicidal ideation lets those who are still suffering know that how they are feeling is not uncommon. Armed with knowledge, one might be more amenable to reaching out for help. For instance:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences a mental health condition in a given year.
  • Nearly 50 million Americans manage a mental illness each day.
  • Suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition.
  • Half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • 75 percent of people who die by suicide are male.

You Are Not Alone—Recovery is Possible

Untreated mental illness and suicide is a year-round priority. Given that 2020 is one of the most challenging years for Americans in living memory, it’s even more vital to stay connected with one another.

When we take the time to reach out or share our experience and hope for one another, we affect change and save lives. No matter how difficult life becomes, suicide is never the answer. Together we can espouse mental health treatment and recovery; we can let men, women, and teenagers know that they are not alone. NAMI writes:

Now, more than ever, we need to find ways to stay connected with our community. No one should feel alone or without the information, support, and help they need. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.

Please take some time this week or month to get the message out about treatment and recovery. Reach out to a friend or family member who you believe is struggling this year. A small action can make an enormous difference in the lives of others.

Mental Health Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or someone you care about struggles with mental illness or addiction. Our evidence-based treatment programs for adult males can help bring about lasting, positive changes in one’s life. National Suicide and Recovery Month is an ideal opportunity to begin a remarkable and healing journey.

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