Mental Health Disorders: Early Diagnosis is Vital

mental health

One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 50% of youth ages 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.

Early diagnosis of psychological health disorders can spare individuals from experiencing significant problems in the future. Those who struggle with mood disorders at a young age must be screened and treated to prevent them from developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

It is a fact that many people who struggle with substance use in adulthood have an underlying mental illness stemming back to their youth. Men and women who use drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms risk developing behavioral health problems. More than half of adults living with addiction have a co-occurring mental illness like:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While the conditions listed above can result from heavy alcohol and substance use, it is often the other way around in plenty of cases. Many teenagers begin and continue to use drugs and alcohol because they are dealing with undiagnosed psychiatric issues. Mind-altering substances can provide temporary relief from pain and suffering, but the practice only serves to worsen symptoms in the long run.

Mental illness screenings of young people are of the utmost importance. Evidence-based treatments exist, and pairing teens and young adults with mental health services saves lives. During Mental Health Month, it is imperative that parents consider prioritizing both their overall well-being and their children’s.

Diagnosing Childhood Depression

NAMI reports that one in five young people (13 to 18) suffers from a severe mental health disorder at some point in their lives. In previous posts, we have pointed out that depression is the leading cause of disability around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that some 300 million people of all ages suffer from the disorder. A significant number of youths are affected by this serious health condition.

Researchers associate undiagnosed depression with both substance use disorder and suicide later in life. The WHO reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death in those between the ages of 15 and 29. With that in mind, it’s not challenging to see the need for developing effective screening techniques.

Researchers at the University of Vermont may have found a new method for identifying anxiety and depression in young people. These types of conditions are sometimes referred to as “internalizing disorders.” The research team tested a machine learning algorithm that might help doctors diagnose mental illness in youths, according to a press release. The findings of the study appear in the Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

We need quick, objective tests to catch kids when they are suffering,” says Ellen McGinnis, a clinical psychologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families and lead author of the study. “The majority of kids under eight are undiagnosed.”

The study shows that artificial intelligence can evaluate child speech patterns to detect signs of anxiety and depression. The AI singled out three speech patterns that point to the presence of internalizing disorders: low-pitched voices, repeatable speech inflections and content, and a higher-pitched response to unexpected noise.

Fast and Reliable Mental Health Diagnoses

The press release points out that typical youth mental health screenings involve a trained clinician and the child’s primary caregiver. The patient receives a 60 to 90 minute semi-structured interview. Since children do not excel at articulating their emotional suffering, screenings are time-consuming and not always accurate.

The algorithm was able to identify children with a diagnosis of an internalizing disorder with 80 percent accuracy, and in most cases that compared really well to the accuracy of the parent checklist,” says senior study author, Ryan McGinnis.

The researchers plan to embed their algorithm into a universal screening tool.

Gender Specific Mental Health Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we assist young men who suffer from mental health disorders. Our center offers both residential and outpatient services that can help you or a loved one facing a mood or behavioral health disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and our highly credentialed clinical staff.

We utilize a multidimensional treatment approach that integrates evidence-based practices from the psychological, medical, social, familial and self-help communities.

Mental Health First Aid in America: Training Pharmacists

mental healthIn the second week of Mental Health Month, it’s worth making time to discuss what some companies are doing to help the cause. Raising awareness about mental illness is of the utmost importance. Estimates indicate that one in five people will face a mental health or substance use issue in a given year.

Psychological conditions live beneath the surface, and they are challenging to recognize for the untrained eye. Many doctors lack training in the subject matter, which places patients at risk. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness is one of the leading causes of substance use, self-harm, and premature death.

The field of medicine has long been the frontline for prevention and intervention. It is vital that doctors and nurses have the skills to spot behavioral health problems and are able to provide evidence-based guidance. If a patient presents to their primary care physician (PCP) for a routine check-up, it is an opportunity to screen for mental health conditions.

People struggling with psychiatric illness are often unwilling to discuss their symptoms. Many individuals have fears about what a diagnosis might lead to, including being treated differently by one’s peers. As a result, mental illnesses often do not receive proper care; over time, diseases like depression become progressively worse.

It is of critical importance that PCPs undergo training for identifying at-risk patients so they can refer them to mental health professionals. However, since many patients only see their physician once a year, intervention opportunities are sparse.

Pharmacists, on the other hand, have far more contact with the general population. Which means those working at pharmacies are in a unique position to take action if they see people exhibiting signs of mental illness and substance use issues.

Pharmacy Employees Receive Mental Health Training

Tens of millions of Americans walk into stores like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens to fill their prescriptions each month. There are at least twelve opportunities, annually, to have an impact on men and women who may be struggling.

While it’s true that pharmacists do not go to medical school, they can be taught what to do when a customer appears to be struggling. With training, those working in American pharmacies can intervene and offer up support.

Last week, Walgreens announced that it would provide Mental Health First Aid training for many of its pharmacists and team members. Working in conjunction with the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the company’s employees are learning:

  • Mental health literacy.
  • Risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction.
  • Strategies for helping people in crisis and non-crisis situations

The eight-hour Mental Health First Aid course teaches participants how to open up a dialogue with persons who require assistance. More than 1.5 million Americans have undergone training to date, according to the National Council. Walgreens plans to direct over 300 of its team members to Mental Health First Aid courses.

With the growing need for services and resources to help those living with mental health conditions, as well as substance use and addiction, we can play an important role by giving our pharmacists and certain team members the training to help those in crisis,” said Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

In 2016, the company joined forces with Mental Health America to provide customers with behavioral health resources and information on accessing care. Moreover, the pharmacy giant offers prescription-free naloxone, an overdose reversal drug that saves thousands of lives each year.

Gender-specific Mental Health Treatment

Help is available for all who struggle with mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Hopefully, Walgreens’ initiative will result in more people seeking treatment and recovery services.

PACE Recovery Center’s doctorate and masters-level clinicians can help you or your male loved one acquire the tools to recover. Our team provides clients instruction in managing their symptoms of mental illness so that they may thrive in recovery. We believe that it’s essential that men learn how to balance mental health needs with educational, vocational, and familial responsibilities.

We understand that each client has unique needs. Our clinicians create individualized treatment plans that cater to our clients’ histories and environmental challenges.

Please contact our dynamic, evidence-based extended care center at your earliest convenience to discuss treatment options. You can call 800.526.1851, any time of the day, to speak with an admission counselor and learn more about our specialty tracks.

Mental Health Month: Educate People About Mental Illness

mental health

With Alcohol Awareness Month behind us, this is an excellent time to pivot to mental illness as a whole. May is Mental Health Month! The nonprofit Mental Health America (MHA) has been celebrating this vital observance for 70 years.

Working with various affiliates, MHA is committed to helping millions of Americans to see that mental health is worth consideration. The myriad psychological disorders affecting millions of Americans, young and old, impacts us all. A society is only as healthy as its most vulnerable citizens.

43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. To put it another way, 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year. Despite evidence-based treatments, most people are unable to access these for several reasons. Stigma and shame stand in the way of therapy quite often in the United States.

Men and women who struggle with conditions like depression face enormous obstacles. Without access to available treatments, the risk of self-medicating and engaging in self-harm is high. Using drugs and alcohol to manage the symptoms of psychological issues is a risky business. Using mind-altering substances to cope can lead to addiction and result in an overdose.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. A dual diagnosis is when a person meets the criteria for an alcohol or substance use disorder and another form of mental illness.

Raising Mental Health Awareness

Taking care of the mind is as vital as physical wellness. The truth is that both facets of human beings are inextricably connected. Mental well-being depends on physical health, and vice versa. During Mental Health Month, one of the key messages is prioritizing a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and exercising can prevent symptoms from worsening and can help people heal.

At PACE Recovery Center, we stress to our clients the importance of recognizing the mind-body connection. Abstinence is of vital importance, but healing is multidimensional. To keep the disease of addiction in remission, one must maintain mental, physical, and spiritual balance.

Making small changes to daily routines can go a long way in recovery. Since healing is a process, lifestyle alterations happen gradually. In addiction and mental health recovery, small changes can be the impetus for continued progress.

This year’s Mental Health Month theme is #4Mind4Body. Spirituality, recreation, and work-life balance are critical for everyone but may be more vital to individuals dealing with mental illness. Mental Health America states that:

Finding balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you towards focusing both #4Mind4Body.

There are several ways that Americans can have a hand in helping raise awareness. MHA offers a toolkit that can assist organizations in hosting events. People in mental health recovery can use social media to spread the message: “mental health is something everyone should care about.”

Helping Others Boost Mental Health and General Wellness

In the social media age, the average American can reach thousands of people with just a few clicks. While most Facebook and Twitter posts are relatively trivial, such platforms can be harnessed for good.

If you would like to help spread the word, then MHA offers some stock social media posts, including:

We need to speak up early and educate people about #mentalillness—and do so in a compassionate, judgment-free way. Download @mentalhealthamerica’s 2019 toolkit to help raise awareness at bit.ly/MayMH. #4Mind4Body #MHM2019

You are also welcome to create unique posts and utilize the above hashtags. The key messages below can help you design your posts:

  • Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.
  • A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions.
  • Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.

Looking Past Stigma, Finding Support

Mental illnesses, ranging from addiction to post-traumatic stress disorder, are treatable. When people find the strength to seek help, they can heal. Still, those suffering from mental health conditions need everyone’s encouragement.

When society has open, honest, and fact-based discussions about mental illness, myths and misconceptions fade away. When psychological distress is viewed through the prism of compassion rather than judgment, people seek help. We can all play a part in eroding the mental health stigma.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our mental health and dual diagnosis treatment. Our gender-specific programs help male clients manage mental health conditions and heal from trauma. Males struggling with substance use disorders and behavioral health issues can and do recover.

Addiction Recovery: First Relationships in Sobriety

addiction recovery

Addiction recovery revolves around self-care; tending to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being is paramount. While these facets of working a program are simple in theory, they are challenging to manage in practice, for some.

Each person with a history of addiction understands that the disease, when active, deprives them of being able to lead a healthy life. Soon they begin to grasp that to stay on course will require their vigilance in adhering to a lifestyle that means putting welfare first. Still, many people in early recovery will seek distractions from the cause which can prove detrimental.

The first year of addiction recovery is an unstable period for most individuals; it takes significant lengths of time for the mind to heal. It may take even longer for men and women to trust their decision-making process. Learning to make the next right move, continually, takes practice; and, following the lead of others is especially helpful.

Persons learn to adhere to the various principles of recovery from those who have come before. So, in a sense, addiction recovery is something that is passed down. Newcomers discover how others maintain by attending meetings, working with sponsors or recovery coaches, and listening. There is much to glean from a two-minute share; one might find the solution to a current problem by paying attention.

Some people, with little recovery time, will convince themselves that they are ready to dive back into life at full tilt. It is understandable! After years of being consumed by addiction, many newly sober individuals find themselves with an insatiable hunger for life. While a carpe diem attitude is okay for people without mental illness, those in early addiction recovery benefit from pumping the brakes. Taking on too much, too quickly, is risky.

Keeping Responsibility In Check

Working a program teaches that recovery must come first. Healing and progress are top priorities for all who desire lasting recovery. Unfortunately, many pitfalls and traps can destabilize one’s program. Too much responsibility and romantic entanglements are two of the most significant causes of relapse. Of course, the latter source of trouble can be folded into the first.

Committing oneself to be emotionally available, to be present for a partner, is a significant responsibility. Along the road of addiction, many men and women never experience or forget the look of a healthy relationship. What worked (or didn’t) while using is unlikely to be helpful once in recovery. It’s probably fair to say that most people in recovery didn’t know what a wholesome relationship looked like before finding sobriety.

While working a program enables people to strive for non-toxic romance, it is not a guarantee. Removing drugs and alcohol from the picture, alone, does not provide people with the tools necessary for being in a nourishing partnership. Such skills come about through working the steps with a sponsor and continued sobriety. Many people discover that there are codependency issues that must be worked out before being in a committed relationship.

Males and females must engage in how to be responsible and accountable to their recovery, first. Relationships ask a lot of individuals, tending to the needs of others cause one to neglect their own. While the comfort of another human is always lovely, those who seek it in early recovery risk jeopardizing their program.

Ideally, those seeking romance will have a strong support network in place and have a fair amount of clean and sober time. Moreover, those who wish to be romantic also benefit from having worked all the steps beforehand, significantly.

Pets, Plants, and Romance in Addiction Recovery

There are many divergent opinions about relationships in early recovery. "The Big Book" does not specify an exact length of time to wait before becoming involved. However, sponsors often encourage sponsees to work the steps and wait a year. The year rule can also apply to other aspects of life; waiting a year before taking on notable obligations is helpful, too.

Some sponsors say that if a person can nourish a plant, then maybe they can handle a pet. If they can tend to a pet, then perhaps they can sustain a relationship. The object of attention isn’t as vital as the ability to manage its needs.

Men and women in early recovery may balk at such advice, but there is wisdom behind the suggestion. Taking care of a plant, for instance, can be beneficial to well-being in more ways than one. Katie Wheeler, a Seattle-based illustrator, has some informative thoughts about rearing plants.

Her cartoon, appearing in The Washington Post, lays out her thoughts in a simple way that anyone can understand. Tending to plants is about “caring for something and feeling satisfied to see it thrive.” One can apply the lessons laid bare in Wheelers illustration to multiple areas of life. She writes:

Every morning I have the same routine...There are a lot of plants in my house, hiding on every bookshelf and table...And they all require special care. If this sounds like a lot of work. It really isn’t. It’s almost like meditation. I’m grateful for the distraction their care provides, the silence before my brain whirs into gear, listing my obligations for the day. It’s very grounding, to care for something and watch it grow. It reminds me to take a moment for myself and acknowledge my own needs.”

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

Addiction recovery is a process; steps are taken to ensure continual progress each day. Hopefully, people in early recovery will recognize the value in holding off on taking on too many obligations. Slow and steady is a mantra worth repeating when feeling impatient. It always helps to remember that others have dealt with similar wants and desires. Whenever you are unsure, it’s best to defer to the guidance of individuals who have more time in the program.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in helping young men establish and adopt routine, structure, purpose, and accountability. The environment we offer allows men to develop lasting connections with other men in recovery. What’s more, our gender-specific treatment center mitigates the risk of clients facing romantic distractions. We invite you to contact us today if you are an adult male who is ready to make the journey toward lasting recovery.

Addiction Recovery Prayers: Acceptance, Courage, and Serenity

addiction recovery prayers

Sobriety is a paradigm shift, to be sure; and, dedicating one’s self to a new mode of living is not without challenge. With steadfast dedication and a daily commitment to practicing the principles of addiction recovery, long-term healing is possible.

A good many people, who find themselves requiring assistance, struggle with some aspects of 12 Step recovery. There is a pervasive misconception among some newcomers that they must welcome God into their life. While it’s true that spirituality is key to 12 Step addiction recovery, a person’s understanding of God is entirely subjective.

It is not uncommon for people to be turned off by programs like Alcoholics Anonymous because of the God part. Such individuals convince themselves that when program subscribers finish combing through The Big Book, they move on to Bible or Koran verses. Since many men and women have less than pleasant childhood memories of religion, they will not abide by the prospect of religious recurrence.

It’s true, some members of AA et al. return to a place of worship after getting sober; their God being of the Biblical or Koran variety. However, people in recovery are a diverse group; they pray and meditate on myriad different powers-greater-than-themselves. In recovery, one can arrive at the same ends by any one of several spiritual roads. The program only asks a person to relinquish the delusion that he or she can control all things life. No person is omnipotent.

Addiction, mental illness, or not—no human is perfect! We all make mistakes, and each of us is better off when we accept that we don’t have all the answers. People on the more unfortunate end of addiction must realize that their best thinking brought only greater despair. They need to grasp that standing up (and staying up) requires outside assistance, human and otherwise.

12 Step Prayers

It isn’t challenging to understand why many newcomers think 12 Step recovery is affiliated with religion. Members of the program will often recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of meetings. People in recovery will also grasp hands and say the Serenity Prayer; an invocation attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer's phrasing brings to mind the pulpit in more ways than one. However, if a person is willing to look beyond the religious connotations, then they discover powerful tools to help them stay on course.

The debate over how much God is too much is one that has been going on since AA’s founding. Some meeting houses have done away with the Lord’s Prayer lest they dissuade newcomers. The Serenity Prayer, on the other hand, remains a fixture at practically every meeting and at treatment centers utilizing the 12 Step model.

The Serenity Prayer is longer than most people know. The full orison contains God, capitalized as He or Him, and His Will. Finishing with a resounding AMEN! 12 Step members rely on an abridged version of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference…

Even though the word God is the prayer’s opening, the word is interchangeable. Members can insert any “higher power” they like when reciting. The religious undertones are not the critical elements of the Serenity Prayer. It all boils down to several timeless truths that any person in recovery can benefit from remembering on their quest toward serenity.

Finding Serenity in Addiction Recovery

The definition of serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Who doesn’t desire mental, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium? Working a program is a pathway to the realm of both internal and external peace. Still, each person is a work in progress; men and women still face obstacles when the drugs and alcohol are out of the picture.

Trials and tribulations are a certainty; what one does in the face of such circumstances, however, is not. The question is, will one’s frustrations be an excuse to return to self-defeating behaviors, or will these instances be harnessed as an opportunity to grow?

Individuals who are new to addiction recovery and struggle with God-talk must do their best to focus their attention on different watchwords. Instead of fixating on what form higher powers take, look to the words acceptance, courage, change, wisdom, and serenity.

Persons still risk trying to change things they have no control over, especially other people, even in addiction recovery. Working a program gives men and women the tools to accept the reality that they can only change him or herself. Other people may change by the example we set, but no one can force them to make alterations. Moreover, when a person focuses on their mode of being alone, it is an exercise in “letting go.”

Surrender isn't defeat; it is trusting that a power greater than ourselves will guard us against veering off the path.

One of the most useful verses in the Serenity Prayer is rarely uttered at meetings. Readers may find it interesting to learn that the full Serenity Prayer includes:

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Addiction Recovery is a Process

It can take time to conceptualize the role that spirituality plays in 12 Step recovery. Perspective comes when a person accepts that their way didn’t work, that there is a more natural method of living, and trusts that there are more powerful forces at work. If one is open, honest, willing, and maintains a positive attitude their life is bound to transform, and they will find serenity.

At PACE Recovery Center, our clients benefit from having access to a dynamic 12-step recovery community. We specialize in treating men who struggle with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific, extended care mental health and addiction rehab.

Adoption-Related Treatment Expert Brett Furst Featured on Quiver Full Adoptions Podcast

PACE Recovery Center’s own Brett Furst appeared on the podcast for Quiver Full Adoptions, a South Carolina-based adoption agency and advocacy group. With core values of “serve, encourage, empower,” Quiver Full Adoptions seeks to support adoption journeys for both adoptive couples and biological families.

Brett Furst, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has worked at PACE Recovery as a primary therapist for three years. On the podcast, he discusses his personal experience as a child of adoption, as well as his specific recommendations for aspiring adopters and their future children.Brett Furst Adoption Podcast

Podcast Recap

Beginning with his introduction to the field, Brett explains that he always wanted to be a child therapist, but found his calling with adolescents and young adults. From there, he felt drawn to working with adoptees, saying, “I noticed that we were getting quite a few adopted individuals, and being adopted myself, I saw that there was a need to treat this population.”

Brett describes PACE Recovery Center’s inpatient treatment options, including its unique Adoption Programming and mental health house. He emphasizes the importance of attending an outpatient program after completing the required 90 days of inpatient treatment, calling it the “push comes to shove moment” in one’s recovery journey.

Quiver Full Adoption

Questions & Answers

We’ve highlighted some of Brett’s Q&A with Casey Brown and Elizabeth Bordeaux of Quiver Full Adoptions below. Read on for a snippet of the interview, then listen to the complete podcast.

On being adopted, and how this informs his practice with the men at PACE –

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “My adoptive parents did a fantastic job, I have no memory of not knowing that I’m adopted. It never really came up for me in my life as a major issue. Until I started seeing this population in my practice – how is my story going to integrate with theirs? It’s really helped in this connecting way with my clients, but at the same time, it also allows me to say, ‘I know your story is unique to you.’ We share this commonality, but that commonality is that each one of us that are adopted is unique in their story.”

Quiver Full: “Do you feel like children who are adopted have a higher risk of struggling with addiction?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “So, unfortunately, yes. There’s significant evidence out there that shows that adopted individuals – some research even says they’re twice as likely to become addicts as the ‘non-adopted’ population... We know that they’re out there, but we have trouble treating them. It’s nature and nurture.”

Quiver Full: “How can we, as parents of adoptees, equip them so that they’re not as likely to struggle with addiction? Is that even possible?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “Yes, it’s definitely possible. There are many, many ways to kind of help with this, and in my experience in working with this population, the number one thing is to have open and consistent and continuous conversations about this with the child. Oftentimes as adults, we underestimate the intellectual capacity of our children, and they can usually understand quite a bit more than we give them credit for. Even if it’s when you first adopt the child, making sure – depending on the age – that they understand that they’re adopted, or why they’re adopted, or getting their feelings on being adopted – don’t be afraid of these conversations. It can be a difficult subject for adoptive parents to bring up, there isn’t really a handbook, but having those conversations is super important. Whether you talk about it or not, it’s there.”

On common misconceptions about children of adoption –

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “This is where I see a lot of clinicians who are not adopted themselves – they automatically assume, say, an 18-year-old is always going to want to meet their birth parent, and they consider it weird if they don’t want to meet them. In my work, I see that as a misfire sometimes. I think giving the child the option, or at least giving the information you have, is definitely good, but there shouldn’t be a pressure of, ‘you really should, it’s normal.”

Quiver Full: “What’s one thing that you would tell all hopeful adoptive parents?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “A lot of what I’m saying sounds scary, I understand that, but please, please, please, don’t be afraid of this. It can be managed, and it can be helped, and it can be changed. Just in the same way that any parent with any child has a chance of that child having issues down the road, there’s a lot of stigma around the guys that I work with, adopted or not. Having those conversations, putting that effort in at the beginning, can really change the whole game. If – unfortunately – a child does have an addiction problem or some kind of mental health problem down the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that you messed up. It is 100% possible for them to fully recover and have a perfectly normal, happy, healthy, successful life. So, in the event that they end up with a substance use issue, it’s not the end of the world. It is treatable.”

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to the full podcast to hear the complete details of PACE Recovery’s philosophy and its one-of-a-kind adoption-related treatment path. Brett covers much more than is outlined here, including his dual focus on attachment and authenticity in recovery programs for adopted youth with substance use disorders.

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Android, or Spotify – look for the episode titled “Episode 9: Interview with Brett Furst.” Learn more about Quiver Full Adoptions on their website and tune in to their podcast in June to hear Brett’s next talk.

Recovery Sayings Motivate and Inspire

recovery sayings

Men and women who are new to recovery discover the value of repetition and routine. Addiction recovery is a 24/7, 365 days per year enterprise in making progress. To that end, it’s helpful for newcomers to follow the prescribed recommendations of those with more time. Individuals who follow patterns and understand the value of a daily commitment position themselves for long-term recovery. Moreover, heeding recovery sayings can help people stay on course in early sobriety.

Sponsors and other members of one’s support group will drive certain points home to people with less time. One method of impressing principles on the newcomer is by repeating statements over and over. Acronyms like HALT and KISS roll off tongues frequently ("Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired" and "Keep It Simple Stupid"). They are meant to remind the newcomers of what to do and what to avoid when outside the recovery room safety net.

When hearing 12 Step truisms, many in early recovery think the utterings are cliché. It is true that after more than 80 years of 12 Step recovery, many statements are overused. However, slogans like ‘progress not perfection’ are no less valuable today. People living with addiction are often perfectionists. Recovery teaches that no one is perfect, but you can strive to be the best version of yourself. Making progress is the path to achieving that goal.

Look for the similarities, not the differences will always carry water in treating a disease that tells people they are unique. Individuals may tire of hearing them, but there may come a time when they save one’s life.

12 Step Recovery Sayings Aplenty

People who attend 12 Step meetings to aid in their recovery are no strangers to slogans and sayings. Even those new to working a program are already familiar with a handful of maxims, and for a good reason. Simple statements, like "one day at a time," for instance, are easy to remember and can be especially helpful at any stage in the recovery process.

At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings et al. across the country and abroad, the meeting houses’ walls are plastered with useful sayings. While generally short and concise, and considered easy to understand, 12 Step slogans are nuanced. There is a lot more than meets the eye to most recovery sayings; and, they are subject to various interpretations.

People in recovery repeat slogans day-in-and-day-out in an almost automatic manner. However, few people take the time to explore their meaning or offer a further explanation to those who are newer. It is not uncommon for newcomers to misunderstand what is at the heart of expressions like keep it simple. As such, some people are at risk of discounting the value of recovery expressions, chalking them up to being annoying platitudes.

It is essential to keep in mind that 12 Step recovery is a simple program for complicated people. Generally speaking: things are what they seem. Those who try to dissect this decades-old formula for healing can jeopardize their recovery. Breaking down every aspect of the program can muddy the water and make it difficult to find clarity. This wheel does not require reinvention. Poking holes in the Program for the sake of poking holes isn't beneficial. There is however nothing wrong with asking questions to glean a better understanding.

Below, we will discuss some of the more common 12 Step slogans. Being equipped with a better understanding of recovery sayings can be of significant benefit to newcomers.

Slogans for Long-term Recovery

There is no shortage of catchy recovery sayings, and each one of them speaks to people differently. Men and women who are unsure about what something means should never hesitate to ask for clarity. Those with more recovery time are always happy to provide insight. The success of the oldtimer depends on their willingness to help the newcomer.

Let’s take a moment to discuss some of the more common watchwords and slogans. HALT is fairly straightforward. Avoid hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; such states of being are a cause of stress. Of course, mental pressure is often a factor in causing self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors.

If it is not broken, don’t try to offer a fix! The 12 Step method works, for anyone willing to work it. Paradox and inconsistencies are out there if someone is looking. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a person’s job to amend the program. It’s alright to notice contradictory things, but it is paramount to avoid letting observations color your view of the program.

Intellect is not a bad thing, yet it can cause complications. Addiction is a mental illness and a spiritual sickness. Treatment addresses the medical side of the problem; Twelve Step recovery tends to the spiritual facet of the condition.

Keep It Simple Stupid reminds us that our best thinking can exacerbate our problems. Intelligence is going to offset a spiritual deficit. The goal is not to let one’s powers of deduction block them from receiving the gifts of recovery. Simplicity is a good thing!

12 Step recovery calls for abstinence and much more; long-term progress demands significant lifestyle alterations. It also calls for looking at life and the people in it differently.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

In early recovery, there is much a person can find to be unhappy about. The gifts of healing do not come instantly. Embracing a positive attitude, as often as possible, is necessary to realize progress and one’s dreams. The saying nothing changes if nothing changes reminds us that recovery requires more of people than not drinking or drugging. Avoiding old friends and unsafe environments is excellent, but so is changing how we think.

Positive actions and maintaining a positive attitude, changes everything. Negative thinking prevents people from taking positive steps each day. Progress depends on positivity as much as it depends on making lifestyle changes.

At PACE Recovery Center, we place much stock in the power of positive thinking. We have seen how significantly a positive attitude changes everything for those new in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific treatment programs for men living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you or a loved one learn how to live a positive life in recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery in America: #AlcoholAwarenessMonth

alcohol use disorder

Eighty years ago this month 5,000 copies of “The Big Book” — titled Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) — were printed, according to Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Within its bindings is a program outline for people recovering from alcoholism—known today as alcohol use disorder.

While initial sales were severely lacking, as of today the Fellowship’s manuscript has sold more than 30 million copies. Each year, approximately one million copies of the basic text are distributed around the globe, in 67 languages.

From humble beginnings to a significant beacon of hope for countless people, such is the story of 12 Step recovery. Mutual help groups, aided by The Big Book, show those struggling in the darkness of addiction how living life on life’s terms is possible.

There are other programs of addiction recovery in existence today that have helped many men and women, aside from AA. However, the 12 step method is by far the most utilized regarding alcohol and substance use disorder. Drug and alcohol use is but a symptom of an underlying mental illness. Such that working a program of recovery has proven to be helpful for anyone regardless of how their disease manifests.

Despite most discussions about use disorders focusing on drugs today, it is vital to include alcohol in the national conversation about addiction. April is Alcohol Awareness Month 2019!

Facing Addiction with the National Council on Alcoholism or NCADD organizes the annual observance. Now is an excellent opportunity to talk about alcohol use disorder (AUD), its causes, and addiction recovery. The more open we talk about alcohol, the more lives saved. Right now, millions of Americans require help for an AUD, and fortunately, assistance is within reach.

Confronting Alcohol Use Disorder In America

An estimated 16 million people in the United States have an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). And untold millions more are on a trajectory toward having problems with the substance down the road.

There are many myths and inaccuracies swirling around alcohol use. When people do not have the facts, they are at risk. Alcohol Awareness Month is partly about helping people develop a better understanding.

It is of utmost importance that we equip young people with some of the facts, so they can make informed decisions about using alcohol. Even though the vast majority of people will never develop AUD, alcohol use can still affect men and women’s health negatively.

The BMJ reported that the number of Americans, ages 25- to 34-, who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016. Moreover, hazardous alcohol use affects men far more often than women. However, recent studies show that women are slowly closing the gap.

Drinking alcohol cut the lives of some 3 million people short in 2016. Young men who engage in heavy alcohol use is an especially pervasive problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 7.7 percent of global deaths involve men and alcohol use.

Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

While alcohol is ubiquitous in today’s world, there is no safe amount of alcohol! That is the conclusion of a recent study about drinking around the world. In spite of the available research, Facing Addiction with NCADD points out that the pressure to drink is everywhere. The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before turning 18.

People who start drinking by 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence. The organization notes that young people who engage in hazardous alcohol use, like binge drinking, face higher risks of addiction. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.

One in every 12 American adults, or 17.6 million people, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. While such statistics are hardly uplifting, it’s worth to remember the living examples of recovery. NCADD estimates that almost 20 million individuals and family members are in long-term recovery.

Alcohol Awareness Month is about educating young people and spreading the message that alcohol use disorder recovery is possible. Evidence-based treatments exist that can help people get on the road toward long-term recovery. This year’s theme is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

All month there are events to help educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder. Since many people do not fully grasp yet that they have an unhealthy relationship with drinking, Alcohol-Free Weekend is April 5-7, 2019. The upcoming event is an excellent opportunity for people to gauge alcohol’s role in their lives. Those who struggle to abstain are encouraged to reach out for help.

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow with PACE Recovery Center

If you are one of the millions of men who struggle with alcohol use, then please know that you are not alone. Alcohol use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, and it is possible to find long-term recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer evidence-based addiction and behavioral health treatment for men. Our male clients significantly benefit from being in a gender-specific environment. With decades of professional experience, PACE empowers men of all ages to fulfill their dreams.

Please contact us today to learn more about our multidimensional approach to bringing about lasting recovery.

Mental Health Emergencies Among Young People

mental health

Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans. Moreover, a significant number of people struggling with mental illness are under the age of 24. How mental health disorders impact a young person varies from case to case. However, when young people ignore or fail to seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, grave complications can arise.

In recent years, public health experts and various campaigns have sought to raise awareness about mental illness. The goal is to erode the stigma that prevents individuals from finding the courage to discuss their symptoms with friends, family, and professionals. The effort to dissolve the shame around mental health has been considerable. Still, society has a long way to go in encouraging those who are suffering to seek help.

Diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and a program of recovery are essential for any person living with mental illness. While finding support in urban areas is relatively simple, those who live in rural America have a challenge finding resources. Primary care physicians can help people in less populated areas to a degree. However, new research highlights a lack of mental health training and screening expertise among primary care physicians, as a whole.

Perhaps most concerning, a recent study shows a dramatic rise in visits to the emergency department (ED) for mental health problems. The increase is unusually high among younger demographics – ages 6 to 24 – according to HealthDay. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report a 28 percent rise in psychiatric visits among the age span between 2011 and 2015. The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics.

Why are More Young People Seeking Help for Mental Health?

Determining the etiology of mental health trends is not a simple task. Many factors require consideration. The study reveals that more suicides and the addiction epidemic in the U.S. play a significant role. Study author Luther Kalb, Ph.D. points out that "the ER plays a critical role in treating overdoses." Kalb, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also states that it’s likely that social media contributes considerably.

Dr. Susan Duffy, in an editorial accompanying the study, lists a number of other factors influencing the increase in ED mental health visits. More young people landing in the ED for mental illness, according to Dr. Duffy, is linked to:

  • Poverty
  • Violence
  • Child and parental substance abuse
  • Social media’s influence on depression, isolation and anxiety risk
  • Information overload

On the upside, expanded insurance coverage across the country means that more people can seek help. Conversely, a lack of psychiatric training among primary care providers means that more people turn to the ED for mental illness. Duffy, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says the trends are clear and that the findings "should not come as a great surprise."

Data suggests that over 20 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 18 have experienced a debilitating mental health disorder," Duffy said. "For the past 10 years, there has been an increasing trend in children's, youth and young adult mental health visits, and increasing recognition that the resources do not meet the need for care."

Mental Health Training is Lacking

More 6 through 24-year-olds seeking mental illness assistance from EDs is alarming and must be addressed. But, it is also worth noting the 28 percent increase rose even higher when analyzing specific demographics. The researchers found a 54 percent increase among adolescents, black youths, and young adults. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 90 percent increase in mental health-related ED visits among Latinos.

What’s more, Professor Kalb said he is "surprised at how few saw a mental health provider" after presenting to the ED, the article reports. The researcher did find that practically all young people consulted with a physician, at least. Still, without mental health training and screening expertise patients face the risk of being underserved.

Kalb notes that many hospitals across the country lack the resources to staff mental health providers. He adds that, “This could be changed by increasing mental health staff in the ER, creating special intake settings that deal just with mental health, using new technologies such as tele-psychiatry, and cross-training providers."

Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have the expertise to assist young men struggling with mental illness. Our facility offers clients residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs for mental health, and dual diagnosis outpatient. With the assistance of doctorate and masters-level clinicians, male clients set realistic treatment goals and see them come to fruition. PACE’s highly credentialed specialists are a phone call away.

Prospective clients are also invited to submit a confidential online inquiry.

Practicing Gratitude in Recovery Increases Positivity

practicing gratitude in recovery

In spite of the negative aspects of one’s life, a positive attitude changes everything. Especially in addiction recovery! Positivity, if harnessed, can be the force behind the sails of personal progress and healing on the turbulent seas of early recovery. Choosing to focus on the good, steers people away from dangers (i.e., triggers, cravings, and relapse) and toward calmer waters or serenity.

Practicing gratitude in recovery is an excellent method of singling out the good things in one’s life. When we recognize the people who helped make our recovery a possibility, for instance, it’s bound to elicit happy emotions. Even when one’s life is still in shambles, choosing to single out the things going right in life makes quotidian obstacles less stressful and more comfortable to overcome.

Staying present is a crucial ingredient to spotting beneficial elements of your life. Early in sobriety, people often become bogged down in memories of past mistakes. The things one has no power to change should not take center stage when one is on a mission to recover. Living in the moment, as best you can, brings everything worthwhile front and center. On the other end of the spectrum, those who always think about the tomorrows yet to come, risk missing something of importance now.

Individuals in recovery, even relative newcomers, already have so much to be thankful for today. Alcohol, substance use disorder, and coöccurring mental illness(es) are progressive, life-threatening diseases. Not everyone makes it to the rooms of recovery; it is sad and unfortunate because each person has the potential to heal. The mere fact that you are taking steps to improve your life should never be discounted or minimized. Men and women working a program, at any stage, can find uplifting things to think about moving forward.

A Daily Gratitude Journal

Transitioning into more positive modes of being will take practice. Change is a slow process; progress can be hard to see. Keeping a gratitude journal is one technique that people in recovery can utilize.

Positive experiences, while beneficial, are often fleeting; they can pass by without you having had the opportunity to acknowledge their significance. Setting aside a few minutes each day to compile a list of the people, places, and things that aid your recovery can help. Having a journal you can refer to when you are feeling down is also extremely beneficial.

Dr. Judith T. Moskowitz, a psychologist at Northwestern University, recently shared some thoughts about gratitude with the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Moskowitz et al. study how keeping a daily gratitude journal affects stress relief and overall health. She contends that practicing gratitude is a skill that can help some people increase their positivity, and improve their mental health.

By practicing these skills, it will help you cope better with whatever you have to cope with,” Moskowitz explains to NIH: News in Health. “You don’t have to be experiencing major life stress. It also works with the daily stress that we all deal with. Ultimately, it can help you be not just happier but also healthier.”

Making gratitude a habit is not a panacea; it works best in conjunction with other wellness tools. Moreover, it may not make everyone feel better or rid some people of negativity. Dr. Moskowitz points out that meditating and doing small acts of kindness are other tools at people’s disposal.

Being more mindful can increase one’s overall feelings of positivity. In conclusion, the next time something happens that uplifts your spirit, write it down. Acknowledge it, save it for later; gratitude will help you down the road.

A Positive Attitude Changes Everything in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we firmly believe that a Positive Attitude Changes Everything (PACE). Our team helps men, struggling with mental illness, identify their specific recovery goals, and empowers them to achieve their dreams.

We offer gender-specific programs in a safe, sober, and supportive environment. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our services and how we can help your or family member foster long term recovery.

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