Mental Health and Loneliness Epidemic in America

mental health

After months of living life in a unique way, it’s hard to quantify what the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will be regarding the American psyche. While several states have begun phasing into reopening businesses, life is hardly back to normal for people from every walk of life, including millions of members of the addiction and mental health recovery community.

If you have been following the endless COVID-19 news cycle, then you are aware that many of the states which made attempts to return to a semblance of life before the pandemic have reaped severe consequences.

The result of such actions – despite stimulating our economy – led to a dramatic surge in new cases and subsequent coronavirus related deaths. The Southwest and western states have been particularly impacted. Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California have all seen spikes in new cases in recent weeks.

While it’s challenging to predict what’s to follow in the coming days and months, most Americans will likely need to continue practicing social distancing and following stay at home orders. Experts continue to argue that the above actions are essential in slowing the spread of the virus.

With tens of millions of Americans still out of work, 2,442,395 people who’ve tested positive, and 123,092 coronavirus-related deaths, it stands to reason that we will all continue to contend with life in isolation. In previous articles, we’ve discussed the repercussions of prolonged separation from other humans. We’ve also talked about how loneliness can take a toll on people in recovery who depend on support networks for maintaining their program.

Loneliness Epidemic During a Public Health Pandemic

Many of you might find it hard to believe that, according to the most recent census, 35.7 million Americans live alone. Such individuals do not have the benefit of sheltering in place with friends and family members. Naturally, mental health experts have severe concerns about the stress caused by prolonged social distancing. Such professionals are particularly concerned about members of society with pre-existing mental health conditions.

A cohort of physicians from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School believe we could witness a significant spike in suicides in the near future, TIME reports. The doctors published an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine that pandemic-related isolation, stress, and a surge in firearm sales could exacerbate the decade-long suicide epidemic in America.

It’s worth noting that the United States was already contending with a loneliness epidemic long before COVID-19 arrived in America. A recent report from Cigna suggested that around 60 percent of American adults felt some degree of loneliness before the pandemic. Moreover, about 25 percent of women and 30 percent of men said they felt coronavirus-related loneliness, according to a SocialPro survey.

Loneliness, says Dr. Carla Perissinotto, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is “the subjective feeling of isolation.” While loneliness is not a mental health disorder listed in the official diagnostic manual for mental health disorders (DSM-), it usually goes hand in hand with many disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.

This is a huge topic, but it’s been kind of sidelined,” Perissinotto says. “Now everyone is forced to look at this in a different way. We can’t keep ignoring this.”

People in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Must Reach Out

Individuals who contend with mental health or addiction or both cannot ignore the toll that prolonged isolation has on their well-being. There are online resources available for attending mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, but virtual attendance may not be enough for some people.

If you are struggling with life in isolation or feel that it’s causing mental illness symptoms to emerge or worsen, please make a concerted effort to keep in close contact with your peers. Those living in isolation may also be feeling the urge to use drugs and alcohol to cope. However, acting on the urge to use will only make your current situation worse.

A relapse will make it far harder to weather the pandemic storm and could have disastrous consequences during these troubling times. Accessing therapeutic treatments and professional help is perhaps more challenging than ever. If you find yourself battling the desire to use, then you must contact your sponsor and other peers immediately to prevent a worst-case scenario from arising.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we fully understand how trying life is of late and that many Americans are living in isolation while contending with mental illness and active addiction. The professional team at PACE specializes in treating men who are in the grips of mental health disorders and alcohol or substance use disorder.

Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one get on the path to lasting recovery. Our team is available around the clock, and we are still accepting new patients. Please call us today at 800-526-1851.

Pain Medication: Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

tolerance, dependence, and addiction

Overuse and abuse of pain medications continue to be major issues in the US. People who are prescribed pain medication for injuries or illnesses can develop a tolerance, dependence, and addiction to those drugs. While medications can help you deal with pain, they are not a cure and are designed only to guide you through a specific recovery period. Tolerance, dependence, and addiction happen when the pain medication is misused or overused.

Overdoses

Taking too much of a prescription medication or an illegally obtained pain medication can lead to an overdose. In 2018, more than 67,300 people in the US died from drug-involved overdoses. Death rates from opioid-involved overdoses rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 46,802 in 2018. Death rates from prescription opioid overdoses rose from 3,442 in 1999 to 14,975 in 2018.

Understanding Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

There is a difference between tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Tolerance means that you continuously need higher doses of the pain medication to achieve the same effect as when you first began taking it. Your body develops a tolerance to the effects of the pain medication and doesn’t respond as well unless you continue to take more. This can also lead to an overdose.

When you are dependent on a drug, it means that if you don’t have it your body will go through withdrawal. You can experience physical and mental symptoms in withdrawal. Some of these symptoms may be mild – for example, if you decide to give up caffeine, you may experience some level of discomfort. However, others can have life threatening consequences, such as would be the case if you stop using a prescription pain reliever without professional supervision.

Many people who take a prescription medicine every day over a long period of time can become dependent; when they go off the drug, they need to do it gradually, to avoid withdrawal discomfort. Dependence typically happens when you use a drug long-term (six months or longer) to manage pain associated with a medical condition. Your body builds up a tolerance to the pain medication and then you become dependent on it to maintain the same level of effectiveness.

Addiction is a chronic, treatable disease. When you continue to use a pain medication and do not feel as though you can stop despite any negative consequences you may be facing, you have an addiction. You can be dependent or have a tolerance for a drug and not necessarily be addicted.

Addiction can have devastating, life-long consequences if not properly treated. Also known as a substance use disorder, addiction results in compulsive behaviors as well as an inability to control the use of the pain medication. Although addiction and dependence are different, when you are addicted to opioids, you are also typically dependent on them.

Addictive Pain Medications

According to Dr. Karsten Kueppenbender, an addiction psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, “ninety-seven percent of patients don’t have a problem with opioids.” However, there are pain medications that can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Opioids decrease the perception of pain and create a feeling of euphoria for some people, especially those who take the pain medication even though they are not actually in pain. Opioids are typically used for the short term, to treat severe pain following surgery. They may also be used for some long-term pain, such as pain related to cancer and terminal illness.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (including brand name Duragesic)
  • Oxycodone (including brand name OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, and Roxicet)
  • Morphine (including brand name MS Contin)
  • Meperidine (including brand name Demerol)
  • Hydrocodone (including brand name Vicodin and Lortab)
  • Hydromorphone (including brand name Dilaudid)

At Risk for Addiction

Even though some people can safely take pain medications that are properly prescribed by their physician without developing a tolerance, dependence, or addiction, there are factors that can predict your vulnerability to becoming addicted to pain medication, including:

  • Family history of problem substance use
  • Misuse of other substances
  • Other risky behaviors (such as problem gambling)
  • Past history of problem substance use

Additionally, undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, such as depression, can predict an eventual reliance on substances for self-medicating tendencies that, in turn, only make the issue worse.

Contact PACE for Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

At PACE Recovery, we’ve helped hundreds of men enter into a life of recovery from opiate addiction through a combination of traditional and alternative therapeutic methods. If you are in the downward spiral of a pain medication addiction, contact PACE today to begin your life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Substance Use Disorders and Adoption

substance use disorders and adoptionWhen kids are adopted, it can be a life-changing event. Children who are born into unsafe environments or whose parents cannot or choose not to take care of them properly can benefit tremendously from being adopted into a caring, loving family. Being adopted, though, can also mean that the child experiences an underlying struggle between logic and emotion. Research has found a link between substance use disorders and adoption that is connected to that struggle.

Increase in Adoptions

Researchers at Pew state that a record number of children in foster care are being adopted. In 2018, more than 63,000 kids were adopted from foster care, an increase of nearly a quarter from four years earlier. The percentage of children leaving foster care for adoption has increased from 21% in 2014 to more than 25% in 2018. A total of 135,000 children are adopted each year and there are currently 1.5 million adopted children in the US today. The increase in adoptions is good news in that these children are in more stable homes, but the increase is also in part a reflection of the devastating effects of the opioid crisis in this country.

Substance Use Disorders

Research has found a connection between substance use disorders and adoption, in that adoptees have a higher rate of substance use disorders than non-adoptees. The studies demonstrated an increased risk of lifetime substance use disorders in adopted adults. The odds ratios were found to be high for both abuse and dependence, of both alcohol and drugs.

In a separate study conducted in Sweden, researchers found that 4.5 percent of adopted individuals had problems with drug abuse, compared with 2.9 percent of the general population. Adoptees who had at least one biological parent who abused drugs had drug abuse problems at more than twice the percentage, 8.6 percent, of people whose biological parents did not have drug abuse issues, 4.2 percent.

Contributing Factors

Genetics and environment have been found to be contributing factors in the connection between substance use disorders and adoption as well. Genetic risk factors include alcoholic and psychiatric disorders in biological parents. Children who experienced fetal alcohol effects, alcoholic adoptive parents, and multiple pre-adoption placements were also more prone to substance use disorders. Psychological factors unique to adopted children also contribute to the increased rate of substance use disorders.

Adoption Trauma

One of the underlying causes of substance use disorders is unresolved adoption trauma, rooted in the shock and pain of being permanently separated from a person’s biological family. The birth parents as well as the child being adopted can suffer from adoption trauma. The level of mental and emotional challenges can depend on the child’s age and maturity level when adopted. Unresolved emotional pain arising from the separation can lead to an increased use of drugs or alcohol as unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms.

Awareness and Treatment

Understanding the underlying causes can help the adopted person become more aware of the potential for substance use disorders as well as prevention and treatment options. Recognizing early signs and symptoms and taking steps to get help can reduce the damage and increase the chance of recovery among adoptees who are experiencing an addition to drugs or alcohol.

Resources that can help the healing process include the adoption-related treatment program at PACE Recovery. Therapy can alleviate the adoption trauma and treat the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse. Treatment options can include Gestalt therapy, attachment-focused therapy, and emotion-focused therapy. Social skills training and specialized support groups can also benefit the adoptee significantly.

People who are adopted may feel rejected by their biological family or pained by their own history. Treatment focused on support, education, and advocacy can help them work through their vulnerability and fear, facilitating healing and healthy discussions about their adoption. Treatment for substance use disorders for adoptees must first address their insecurities and inconsistent attachment styles.

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

The professionals at PACE Recovery Center understand that the struggles you may encounter as an adoptee can manifest as anxiety, depression, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, including anger and substance abuse. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you have been adopted or an adoptive parent and struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. Our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

June is Men’s Health Month | Men and Mental Health

Men’s Health Month

June marks the beginning of summer, the Father’s Day holiday, and a focus on men’s health. This month, men are encouraged to take better care of themselves, physically and mentally. Men’s Health Month features a number of activities designed to bring attention to the need for men to get checkups, to become more physically active, and to learn more about caring for themselves. A focus on men and mental health is especially important during these challenging times.

Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month was established in 1994, during the month of June to coincide with Father’s Day. The goal is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

The focus on men’s health, and particularly on men and mental health, is critical. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that on average, men die five years younger than women, and die at higher rates from nine of the top ten causes of death

Mental Illness in the US

Mental health can often affect physical health and vice versa. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017). Mental illnesses include many different conditions that vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe.

In general, women experience mental illness at a higher rate than men. However, the percentage of women who seek treatment for their mental illness is, in some cases, significantly higher. For example, NIMH statistics reveal that more women with serious mental illness (71.5%) received mental health treatment than men with serious mental illness (57.7%) in 2017.

Men and the Mental Health Stigma

Given the numbers regarding men and mental health, though, a disproportionate percentage of men contemplate and commit suicide each year. In fact, statistics show that men died by suicide at a rate of 3.54 percent higher than women in 2017.

In addition, 62,000 men die due to alcohol-related causes, as compared to 26,000 women. Men are two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women. Depression and suicide are ranked as a leading cause of death among men, yet men are still less likely to seek treatment than women.

There is a continuing stigma among men about mental illness and substance abuse, even as more becomes known about the biological causes of both diseases. Many men still see their mental health challenges as a personal issue and attribute them to a lack of personal fortitude. They may feel pressure to be strong, rather than admitting they need help.

Men and Depression

The researchers at NIMH estimate that more than 6 million men in the US experience depression each year. Major depression has been found to be one of the most common mental disorders in this country. For some men, major depression can result in severe impairments that interfere with their ability to carry out everyday life activities.

If left untreated, depression can lead to personal, family, and financial difficulties. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, most people recover. The darkness disappears, hope for the future returns, and energy and interest in life becomes stronger than ever.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Men who are experiencing mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, grief, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might be tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Unfortunately, the use of drugs and alcohol tends to make the mental health issue worse. There has also been research indicating that men who are addicted to drugs and alcohol can be more susceptible to the effects of mental health disorders, such as PTSD.

Mental Health Treatment for Adult Men

Men’s Health Month is a good time to understand the relationship between men and mental health. Learn how to be a healthier you by reaching out to PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in treating men battling addiction or mental health disorders. Our team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists can help you get on the road to lasting recovery.

During the coronavirus pandemic, our dedicated staff is taking every precaution to safeguard your health. Learn more about PACE’s COVID-19 response.

Addiction Recovery Inspirations During a Pandemic

addiction recovery

During these challenging times, it can be a real struggle to find stories of inspiration in the realm of addiction recovery. Millions of men and women around the globe have been cut off from the support networks. What’s more, many people working a program have lost friends to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, 1,687,687 Americans have tested positive, and just over 100,000 have perished.

Still, life must go on for the courageous individuals who have dedicated their lives to recovery. Experience, strength, and hope are what is shared in the rooms of 12 Step recovery. Of late, the message has been carried in the digital world for the first time since the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous. For many, it’s been arduous to stay the course while in isolation, but countless individuals have shown it is possible.

When the community of recovering alcoholics and addicts faces adversity, they come together to support one another in any way possible. The helping hand of recovery is far-reaching, and there is nothing a committed person working a program will not do for their fellow peers. It’s fair to say that the coronavirus pandemic has mostly brought out the better angels of addiction recovery.

Thanks to video and teleconferencing platforms, the addiction recovery community has been able to continue putting in the work for a better life. While there has been an uptick in relapses in recent months, the majority of men, women, and teenagers have managed to maintain their commitment to lasting recovery.

Personal Milestones in Addiction Recovery

As you well know, nobody is exempt or immune to the disease of addiction. It does not spare people based on their background: rich or poor, black or white, and the young or old are all eligible to develop problems with drugs and alcohol. The same is true for celebrities.

Many of you may be aware that Elton John celebrated 29 years of sobriety last July—nearly one year ago. There is an excellent chance he will hold a chip commemorating 30 years in a couple of months. When he reached the momentous milestone, he wrote on social media:

29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”

You might also know that Elton John was instrumental in helping several famous musicians summon the courage to chart a path toward long-term addiction recovery – paying it forward – including Marshal Mathers. Better known by his fans as Eminem, the Emmy-winning rapper struggled with substance abuse for years. He has been open about his addiction recovery and has shared that his mother also battled drug use.

Last month, Eminem, 47, took to Instagram to share a picture acknowledging a personal milestone, USA Today reports. The picture displayed a 12 Year coin from Alcoholics Anonymous; in the caption, he wrote: “Clean dozen, in the books. I’m not afraid.”

The rapper did the same thing when he received an eleven-year chip. Each year he lets other young men know that addiction recovery is possible. He can be a source of inspiration to countless men around the world who are caught in the disease cycle.

Inspirations for Addiction Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand that men of all ages are struggling to cope with the pandemic. Many are relying on drugs and alcohol to get through each day. With some 40 million Americans out of work, it’s likely that despair will be the impetus for a large number of individuals requiring professional assistance.

Both Elton John and Eminem are evidence that the miracle of addiction recovery is within reach for all those who seek to lead a positive and productive life.

If you are an adult male who is currently in the self-defeating, downward spiral of alcohol or substance use disorder, we invite you to contact PACE today to begin a life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, but many states are taking steps to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. It is still unclear what impact the changes will have on the addiction recovery community. Naturally, going back to in-person meetings in the near future is welcome; however, we should be concerned about heightened relapse and overdose rates among people in early recovery.

We must be clear; the pandemic is not over. Some 1,570,154 Americans have tested positive, and 93,436 have died from complications related to the coronavirus, a 9 percent increase since May 15th. Each of us must continue practicing social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in public is still strongly advised.

It is still unclear how much longer millions of Americans will have to live in relative isolation, which we pointed out before is not healthy for men and women in recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you continue to take precautions to protect your physical and mental health.

As an aside, one of the unforeseen byproducts of the COVID-19 crisis was the effect it would have on the international drug trade, drug sales, overdoses, and the addiction treatment industry. Many of you are probably aware that drug trafficking into the country is much more challenging than it was just a few months ago.

Naturally, stay at home orders made it harder for drug dealers to meet clients on the streets. Heroin shortages resulted in the stretching of product with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine. We don’t have data yet, but it’s fair to wager there has been an uptick in overdoses in some parts of the country as a result.

Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic

Unable to access opioids from one’s usual dealer, many turned to new avenues of acquiring heroin and pills, NPR reports. Utilizing a foreign supply source may not seem like a big deal, but according to an addiction expert in Orange County, California, such changes are fraught with peril.

When they had to use another dealer, they would be getting a different strength. So they weren’t really sure of how they should measure it and how much they should use. So we started seeing a lot of overdoses and a lot of overdose deaths in the first couple of weeks of the pandemic.”

Travel restrictions at the southern border, and on flights from Asia or South America, have decreased the availability of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine significantly. Shortages led dealers to increase their prices exponentially, according to the article. With more than 35 million out of work and store closures preventing shoplifting, many addicts could no longer afford to purchase their drugs.

Many people sought addiction treatment services as one might expect, rather than face painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Jack MacEachern, who runs a Salvation Army residential drug recovery program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the pandemic has led to a decrease in relapse and overdose rates.

Reopening Could Lead to Relapse and Overdose

When a person detoxes and begins a program of recovery, their tolerance to opioids changes. When life returns to normal, and drug supply routes open back up, a number of those who got clean during the lockdown may decide to start using again. Such individuals may not understand that their tolerance is not the same, which could result in a spike of fatal overdoses.

The above concern has resulted in discussions about ramping up access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, a tactic that the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Elinore McCance-Katz, supports, the article reports. However, she says that such measures are complicated.

In some areas, first responders such as law enforcement do not want to administer naloxone because they’re afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus,” said McCance-Katz. “I found that very concerning because the option is that the person dies.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

Please reach out to PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male struggling with opioid use disorder. Opioid addiction is a treatable condition, and long-term recovery is possible with the guidance of professionals. Our gender-specific treatment center for men can give you the tools to break the cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behavior and help you begin a new life.

Addiction Recovery: Staying Present Despite Fear

addiction recovery

Staying present is a vital component of addiction recovery. Unfortunately, it’s likely that many of our readers, of late, are finding it challenging to stay in the “here and now.” The fear of catching the coronavirus and what might happen if one does, can consume one’s thoughts and lead to negative thinking and behaviors.

Today, there are now 1,244,465 Americans whose COVID-19 test has come back positive. Moreover, a staggering 74,413 men, women, and children have died due to health complications related to the coronavirus. As both figures continue to climb in the United States, staying calm, collected, and present is vital to maintaining one’s addiction recovery.

Keep your focus on your program at all times, and do not do anything that will jeopardize your progress. While some states have begun loosening their stay at home orders, and 12 Step groups could start meeting in person in the near future, it is still not safe for immunocompromised individuals to assemble. This means that many people in the recovery community will have to continue working their program from home.

Nearly three months into this public health crisis in America, you probably have learned effective ways of keeping your recovery intact. Attending virtual meetings via video conferencing platforms is a prime example. Adhering to a prayer and meditation regimen is another excellent method for staying present and keeping fear from influencing your mood and decision making.

In previous posts, we’ve written to you about stress management, as well as coping with isolation, vulnerability, and fear. We hope you found the time to read those articles at length. We offer up a number of tips that could help you stay present during these troubling times. Creativity is one example of how to stay present and positive.

Staying Present in Addiction Recovery During Fearful Times

The present, as author Spencer Johnson, M.D., puts it, is precious. Perhaps you have had the chance to read the best-selling author’s books, such as “The Precious Present.” If not, it could be useful to read or listen to a copy while we shelter in place. Johnson writes:

The present is what it is. It is valuable. Even I do not know why. It is already just the way it is supposed to be. When I see the present, accept the present, and experience the present, I am well, and I am happy. Pain is simply the difference between what is and what I want it to be.”

Mr. Johnson has several books that could prove useful to you while coping with the current state of the world and the new normal. Of course, there are many books on practicing mindfulness that can help you stay positive and strengthen your recovery.

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, became a neurologist and psychiatrist and is the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” The book is a harrowing account of surviving the death camps during World War II and so much more.

Within the bindings of Frankl’s relatively short books are many gems of wisdom that we can all benefit from during these difficult times. He contends that the bedrock of staying present is that we each have the power to choose how to respond to a situation—no matter what happens to us. He writes, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” – Viktor Frankl

Overcoming Adversity is Possible

Millions of men, women, and teenagers have embarked upon journeys of addiction recovery. Each day they make a commitment to maintaining a positive attitude as they fight for continued progress.

The global pandemic is an immense test to everyone in recovery, and it test one’s ability to live in the present. Some 33.5 million Americans have lost their jobs, so it can be hard to not dwell on the past and worry about the future, but doing so will be detrimental to your addiction recovery.

You cannot change the state of the world and the existence of coronavirus, but you can take steps to maintain balance in your life. Prioritizing the need for focusing on today will significantly help your cause.

You overcame a mental and behavioral disorder, which is one of the most challenging feats to achieve. As such, you have the strength to persevere during these trying times and stay positive in the process. A positive attitude changes everything.

Never forget that we are all in this together and can help lift one another in times of despair.

To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year, and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are–always!” – Richard Carlson, Ph.D. in psychology

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. Our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Coping With Isolation

mental health

“This Too Shall Pass” and “You Are Not Alone” are familiar phrases to members of the addiction and mental health recovery community. It’s fair to say that we’re living in a time when such mantras are more valuable than ever owing to the pandemic.

We are wise to remember that no matter how bleak the societal forecast looks, we shall overcome this public health crisis eventually. Such words may offer little solace to millions of Americans, but we have to hold on to hope and maintain a positive attitude. Remembering that we are all in this together can help to that end. While we may be ordered to stay at home and shelter in place, keeping in mind that you are not alone is beneficial.

COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s life, and the spread continues, as does the rising death toll. Those most vulnerable to the effects of isolation – those living with addiction and mental health disorders – are facing significant adversity.

Isolation begets loneliness; people in early and long-term recovery struggle dealing with both seclusion and sadness. Fellowship is what makes 12 Step recovery so effective for abstaining from drugs and alcohol and making progress in every sector of one’s life. No longer being physically connected to your support network can wreak havoc on your program, provided you don’t take precautions.

Warding off the sadness that accompanies feeling alone does not come easy for those in early addiction recovery. It takes time to develop coping mechanisms for contending with the discomfort that comes from hardship. Adopting healthy coping skills begins in treatment, but they are strengthened when you put them into practice in real-world situations. A pandemic is the severest example of a real-world situation.

Coping With Mental Health Symptoms in the Face of Fear and Isolation

Fear is one of the driving factors behind both use disorder and mental health symptoms. With 1,084,983 infected Americans and the death of 63,686 of our loved ones, it’s right to feel afraid. The fact that the death toll in less than three months is higher than that of all the Americans who died while serving in Vietnam, 58,220, over two decades is cause for concern.

Public health experts assure us that we can stave off contracting and transmitting the virus by following the CDC and WHO guidelines. Some of those include wearing face masks and latex gloves (Personal Protective Equipment) while in public. The more challenging recommendations are sheltering in place and self-quarantining (if you have or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19). Adhering to the advice of the world’s leading health professionals should reduce some of your fears about contracting the coronavirus.

People living with mental illness or are in addiction recovery depend on connection with others. It’s critical that you continue attending your support groups and therapy sessions via teleconferencing and video conferencing. Call, facetime, or skype with people in your support network every day of the week, particularly if you are harboring negative thoughts.

Negativity can lead to ideations of self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors. If acted upon, you could slide backward in your recovery, lose progress, and potentially relapse. You can avoid all the above unfortunate byproducts of negative thoughts by digitally linking up with your friends and family.

The goal is to prevent fear, isolation, and loneliness from being the impetus for relapse or a resurgence of mental illness symptoms. Throughout the day, try to remind yourself that you are not alone, and this too shall pass.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

mental health

April was Stress Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month; both observances could not have come at a better time. For the one in five Americans living with a mental health disorder, support is needed now more than ever. The same is especially true for the one in 25 adults who contend with a severe mental illness.

It is worth reiterating how vital it is to stay connected with each other and show support for the 47.6 million Americans dealing with conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of our fellow members of the addiction recovery community also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

It’s fitting that the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone.” This month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will feature personal stories from people living with mental health conditions.

If you would like to share your story and help people feel less alone during these isolating times, then you can submit your story here. Your experience may brighten the lives of others who may be struggling to cope with our new normal. NAMI writes:

NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others, and educate the broader public. Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with the digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Even in times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is always here, reminding everyone that you are not alone.

Mental Health Treatment for Adult Men

If you or an adult male you love is struggling with a mental illness, then please reach out to PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific facility specializes in treating men battling addiction or mental health disorders. Our team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists help men get on the road to lasting recovery.

We want to share with you that our dedicated staff is taking every precaution to safeguard the health of our clients. If you would like to learn more about the COVID-19 response at PACE, then please click here.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences are with the millions of families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. We are hopeful that all the infected make a fast recovery.

Recovery: April is Stress Awareness Month 2020

recovery

This March and April are arguably the most challenging months that people in recovery have faced in living history. Millions of people’s lives depend on constant contact with a mutual support network like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).

Being seen and seeing others reminds recovering individuals that they are not alone. Attending meetings is an outlet of accountability that keeps one on track toward continued progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down; almost everything is different than a short time ago. Protecting your health and the well-being of others demands that we all “shelter in place,” practice social distancing, and use personal protective equipment (PPE).

We have no idea how long these protocols will continue. There are now 854,338 Americans infected with coronavirus; the nation is mourning the loss of 47,125 of our loved ones.

The restrictions imposed on the planet are stressful for each of us, but for those who rely on 12 Step meetings they are taking a nerve-racking toll. Countless people in recovery – regardless of their lengths of sobriety – are in a precarious position and must be more exacting than usual.

While some in-person meetings are still held across the country, people with pre-existing health conditions can’t risk exposure. A significant number of men and women in recovery fall into the above bracket. For such individuals, the internet and smartphones are the only access points to the recovery community.

Videoconferencing and teleconferencing are helpful, and we are lucky such tools exist. However, protracted in-person isolation takes a traumatic toll on a group of people whose program can be compromised by seclusion. Quarantine is stressful and frustrating; if the pressure builds up and isn’t released in a healthy way, the outcome could be a relapse.

Stress Awareness Month 2020

It’s both fitting and ironic that April happens to be Stress Awareness Month. April is always stressful because of taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15th. While forking over your savings to the IRS is worrisome, it pales in comparison to the fear of contracting a deadly virus.

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. The goal of the annual observance is to help people learn how to cope with stress in non-destructive ways. De-stressing is a target that each person in recovery must focus on, perhaps now more than ever.

Just shy of one year ago, a survey showed that Americans were among the most stressed-out people in the world. The Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report indicated that in 2018 men and women in the United States reported feeling stress, anger, and worry at the highest levels in a decade.

What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news, told The New York Times. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”

Gallup asked survey participants about how they felt in the previous day:

  • 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing stress during a lot of the day.
  • 45 percent felt worried a lot.
  • 22 percent – more than one in five – felt angry a lot.

Naturally, maintaining a positive attitude during this unprecedented event is no small hurdle. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to let the new normal of isolation jeopardize your program of recovery. There are many techniques for enhancing your positivity while sheltering in place.

Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to remind you that a positive attitude changes everything (PACE). You have the power to maintain a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.

Your recovery must always come first; call your sponsor and peers in your “deep bench” of support regularly. Attend meetings via the internet. Read recovery related materials and find ways to have fun at home.

If you find yourself becoming overly stressed, try to silence your mind. Meditation is an effective way to bring yourself back to a state of serenity. Exercise is another means of combating anxiety, worries, and pressure.

Being cooped up will ultimately lead to feeling stir crazy. Get outside and take at least a 30-minute walk every day. If you don’t have physical limitations, then go for a bicycle ride or a jog. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go to a gym to work out, nor do you require workout equipment at home. Pushups, sit-ups, and yoga can keep you physically fit and reduce your stress levels.

Any of the above suggestions can help you stay positive despite the pandemic. Staying positive will protect your recovery and keep your program intact until the storm passes.

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

One of the unfortunate byproducts of “stay at home” orders is that Americans are drinking and drugging at elevated rates. Moreover, these arduous past couples of months have impacted members of the recovery community significantly and led to many relapses.

If you relapsed, please get back on track before your situation worsens. It’s possible that you require professional assistance to get back on the road to lasting recovery. We invite adult males who are struggling with mental health and behavioral health problems like depression or addiction to contact us today.

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific recovery programs and services for men. Please reach out to us today to learn more and begin the healing process. Our dedicated team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists are following all COVID-19 protocols for protecting our clients.

Addiction Recovery: Refocusing On Opioid Use Disorder

addiction recovery

The United States isn’t a stranger to deadly epidemics. For over twenty years, public health officials have waged a protracted war against the opioid addiction epidemic. Opioid use disorder (OUD) has cut hundreds of thousands of lives short; millions of Americans are currently in the grips of OUD and are in desperate need of addiction recovery.

As you well know, our local, state, and federal public health agencies are stretched thin because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. As such, it’s unlikely that health officials have the resources to combat two epidemics simultaneously.

The deadly coronavirus is commonly referred to as COVID-19; ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. The 19 corresponds to the year it was discovered. If you’ve been following the news reports while sheltering in place, then you know that the coronavirus has hit America harder than any other country.

Today’s reports indicate that 672,303 Americans have confirmed cases and 33,898 of our citizens are no longer with us. It must be pointed out that the exact number of people who have COVID-19 is probably significantly higher than what the reports indicate, as is the death toll. Testing is limited, people can be asymptomatic, and there has been a shortage of autopsies. Some Americans are dying from SARS-CoV-2, and it’s not being reported.

Limited Testing Demands Continued Preventive Measures

Only people who exhibit symptoms are eligible for a test because of the limited number of available tests. On April 16th, only 3.2 million (about 1 percent of the population) Americans had been tested, according to The Atlantic. Nearly one in five people who get tested for the COVID-19 in the United States are positive; Tracking Project reports that is a “test-positivity rate” of nearly 20 percent. Jason Andrews, an infectious-disease professor at Stanford, says that number is “very high.”

The reality laid out above is alarming and is cause for all of us to continue taking preventative measures. Even though prolonging the practice of social distancing and sheltering in place is taking a toll on us all, we must keep heeding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Along with wearing face masks in public, following CDC recommendations is the only way to stop the spread of the disease until the advent of a vaccine.

Unfortunately, it’s challenging for average citizens to acquire a medical grade face mask like the N95; those available need to be in the hands of medical workers who are on the frontlines. The good news is that making an effective mask is relatively easy with a few essential ingredients. Matthew McConaughey, AKA “Bobby Bandito,” explains how:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Refocusing On Opioid Addiction Recovery

Over the last two decades we’ve witnessed a staggering rise in overdose deaths mostly involving the use of opioid narcotics. Opioid addiction remains a real public health threat that has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s vital that we do not lose sight of the crisis and continue to provide and expand access to addiction recovery services.

The day will come when the coronavirus is contained, but addiction will continue to plague millions of Americans. We have written on many occasions about the steps taken to curb opioid use disorder rates and reduce the annual death toll related to prescription opioids and heroin. The passing of multiple pieces of legislation to expand access to addiction treatment and the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone has paid off.

In 2018, the number of overdose deaths in America fell by 4 percent from the previous year, Politico reports. Experts considered the reduction as an inflection point. The decrease is almost certainly due to the actions we mentioned above. However, there is reason to believe that we could see a rise in 2020 because the nation’s public health experts are primarily focused on the pandemic.

We must turn our eyes back to the American addiction epidemic related to opioids and other deadly substances. Experts must take steps to ensure people can access addiction recovery services. Moreover, those struggling with substance use disorders need to be made aware that addiction treatment centers are still operating; they are an “essential service” if the strictest sense of the words.

I think we’re going to see deaths climb again,” Nora Volkow, the long-serving director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We can’t afford to focus solely on COVID. We need to multitask.”

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic During a Pandemic

Yesterday, a group of mental health and addiction recovery advocates spoke with White House officials, including the president, according to the article. The experts cautioned that without nearly $50 billion in emergency funds, progress made with the opioid epidemic could be lost. They said that with new support, we could prevent backsliding on the ground we’ve made regarding the shortage of providers and stigma. The funds will ensure that people can access lifesaving addiction recovery services.

Some of you will remember that the “great recession” of 2008 contributed a dramatic rise in opioid use and overdose deaths. Economic woes often lead people to cope in unhealthy ways. Given that 22 million Americans lost their jobs in the last month, history suggests we will see a similar trend to what happened 12 years ago.

There is already evidence that many Americans are using drugs and alcohol to cope with the pandemic. Last week, the market research firm Nielsen reported that alcohol sales surged 55 percent in the first week “stay at home” orders.

Hard liquor sales increased by 75 percent compared to the same time last year. It’s fair to say that a similar trend is occurring regarding opioid use. Sheila Vakharia, a deputy director at the Drug Policy Alliance, said:

We had that little blip, 4 percent or 5 percent decrease [in overdose deaths] and there were way too many headlines celebrating. That tenuous plateau people hoped we were seeing is not going to hold.”

Opioid Addiction Recovery Treatment for Men

Individuals struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders during these challenging times can still take steps toward a life in addiction recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we continue to treat adult males living with addiction and mental health disorders. Our clients’ safety is our chief priority; we continue to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC strictly. Please contact us today to discuss treatment options.

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