Why Do We Make New Year’s Resolutions?

The excitement of a new year represents a chance to reset and approach your New Year’s resolutions from a hopeful lens. And it has been a common way for people to set goals over time. 

When Did New Year’s Resolutions Originate?

Both the Babylonians and the Egyptians celebrated the start of the new calendar year. The Babylonians celebrated in March, commemorating it with a prolonged festival. Meanwhile, the Egyptians celebrated the new calendar year coinciding with the annual flood from the Nile River. 

In particular, the Babylonians pledged to their gods good behavior for the coming year in hopes they curry favor from them. Often, this involved a pledge for them to pay off old debts. 

The Evolution of New Year’s Resolutions

In the past, it was not uncommon for people to pledge resolutions on having a better diet, exercising more and making more money. However, a survey from Affirm found that trends are starting to adjust.

The survey discovered that 71% of respondents pledge to learn new skills or set realistic goals. Along with learning a new skill, resolving to save more money and pay down debt were also popular trends. 

Another change consists of people focusing more on how they spend their time. Of those surveyed, more than half want to spend more time with their family, and 49% want to travel more.

How Do I Keep My New Year’s Resolutions?

Anytime you’re learning to adjust to new behaviors, it is vital to set realistic goals. Here are a few tips to help you achieve them:

Set Smaller Goals That are Easy to Accomplish

You can start by setting small, realistic goals. It is much more manageable to do in that you might not have to alter your behaviors much. And over time, you’ll see the benefit of these small choices, giving you more incentive to do other things.

Share Your New Year’s Resolutions with a Friend

Another tip is to find someone you trust and share your goals with them. Anytime you’re undertaking a new behavior or perspective, you want to find someone supportive who can keep you on course. They can check in to see how your progress goes and share insights to help you achieve your goals.

Alter Goals as Needed

Moreover, give yourself the freedom to adjust. If a goal does not seem attainable, set more realistic ones. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re making strides to improve yourself and being realistic in the process. A slight change in perspective today could yield big results down the road. 

Receiving a Fresh Start

The holidays are hectic enough. However, for men suffering from mental illnesses or behavioral issues, the pressures of the holidays can magnify your struggles. If you or someone you know needs help, contact our team to learn more about our treatment programs. We devise solutions examining the root cause of the illness and work with you to find a more wholesome, positive outcome. The new year represents a fresh start to get on the road to recovery. 

Emotional Sobriety Checklist

The Need for Emotional Sobriety

Addiction recovery goes beyond physical detox and abstaining from addictive substances. If your abstention relies on willpower and “following the rules,” or if you leave other issues unaddressed, stress from unacknowledged emotions will build up and eventually make you prone to relapse. The healthy alternative is emotional sobriety: learning to acknowledge and deal with your feelings, no matter how painful, illogical, or shameful they seem. And no matter how many times you’ve been told, “Real men don’t get emotional.”

Emotions: A Universal Phenomenon

Don’t believe the biased stereotype that says acknowledging emotions is unmanly or weak. Every human being has a natural capacity and need for human feelings. The first step toward emotional sobriety is to observe and name your feelings. The second step is to look for their real purpose, which may be:

  • Warning you to avoid a dangerous situation (the danger needn’t be physical: it may come in the form of being asked to take on more than you can handle mentally)
  • Spurring you to action
  • Helping you determine the best course of action
  • Helping you connect with others and build stronger relationships.

The opposite of emotional sobriety is denying or ignoring the emotions behind a problem (“I’m not afraid to ask for shorter work hours, I’m just too busy right now to schedule a meeting with the boss”). When emotions build up unacknowledged for too long, it becomes increasingly tempting to “cope” with the internal pressure via quick-escape methods—such as drug use or relapse.

Whether you’re just beginning addiction treatment, starting a long-term sobriety journey, or physically sober and struggling with everyday stress and/or relapse temptations, the following points are a useful “checklist” for reviewing your current emotional-sobriety status and your best next steps.

Are You Getting Regular Help from a Therapist and a Support Group?

The journey from emotional suppression to emotional sobriety is rarely short or easy. And especially where deep feelings are related to trauma, drawing everything out at once can prove too painful to handle. The best approach is getting therapy from a counselor who is experienced at helping clients ease into confronting their emotions. Also, join a peer support group where you can feel less alone and explore your feelings in an understanding environment.

Are You Willing to Acknowledge Your Limits?

Especially if you’ve always been a fix-everything man, it may be tempting to treat emotional sobriety as a goal to be achieved quickly in clearly marked steps. Don’t. As already noted, you may not be ready (especially in the vulnerable early stages of physical sobriety) to deal with the full impact of your strongest emotions. Even if you were, uncovering long-suppressed feelings is never a quick-and-easy task, and pushing for instant results only generates extra stress. And stress only encourages relapse.

Are You Accepting Reality and Focusing on What You Can Control?

Emotional sobriety includes the Serenity Prayer goals: “serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Contrary to what many people think, “acceptance” needn’t mean passivity or dishonest optimism, and it needn’t interfere with acknowledging emotions or taking action. What it means is not wasting time trying to change the unchangeable, not letting legitimate anger and grief turn into paralyzing self-pity, but focusing your energy on doing the best you can with what you actually have. (Including help from other people.)

Are You Regularly Practicing Mindfulness?

Mindfulness—the art of reducing stress by allowing yourself to fully experience present reality—is a vital part of emotional sobriety. Mindfulness includes objectively acknowledging your feelings (including any you think you shouldn’t have) as a first step to understanding what legitimate needs lie behind those feelings. Such self-awareness is important for planning effective ways to meet those needs.

Are You Approaching Emotional Sobriety with the Right Overall Attitude?

Besides facing up to existing emotions, healthy emotional sobriety means a long-term, way-of-life commitment to:

  • Self-understanding and self-acceptance
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Effective decision-making and problem-solving
  • Believing that change is possible, and being willing to do your share of the work
  • Building stronger relationships by opening up to (and listening to) others
  • Becoming the best, most honest version of your unique self.

Emotional sobriety reinforces physical sobriety by making life worth living for itself, without any chemical crutch. There’s no better defense against relapse!

Embrace Emotional Sobriety

If you’ve been told all your life that strong men don’t show emotion, you may find the journey toward emotional sobriety as challenging as the initial detox. The best way to make the journey easier is to share it.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of courage and a first step toward overcoming challenges. PACE Recovery will connect you with a brotherhood of peers where you can safely explore your feelings from a position of strength. If you’re troubled by out-of-control drug use, wild mood swings, or similar problems, you don’t have to continue suffering alone. Contact us today to get started on the path to physical and emotional sobriety.

The 10 Best Gifts for People with Anxiety

Anxiety is quite common, with more than 40 million people experiencing it each year. Finding the perfect gift for someone who has it could be a challenge. Our guide helps you understand what people with this illness endure and what you can buy them to help alleviate some of their symptoms.

What Does it Feel Like to Have Anxiety?

Anxiety produces irritability, panic, dread, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, fatigue because of poor sleep, and other symptoms. People with it might feel on edge or engage in compulsive behaviors since they feel out of control. To demonstrate, someone anxious about finances might continually do their budget to quell their nerves.

What are Some Gift Suggestions for Those with Anxiety?

As such, you want to find gifts that help them feel calm, relaxed, and safe. Here are some suggestions:

  • Weighted blanket: A weighted blanket hugs your body, helping you feel secure and comforted. For those suffering from anxiety, it provides a relaxing haven.
  • Plants: Not only can a plant spruce up a room, but it can also help reduce anxiety. Lavender, in particular, is a wise choice. Its scent induces relaxation.
  • Epsom salts or bath bombs: Baths relax the muscles, resulting in improved sleep. And if you use bath salts containing Epsom salts, it calms anxiety.
  • Yoga: Yoga reduces anxiety through breathing exercises and mediation. If you know someone suffering from this condition, consider buying them a yoga mat and an app subscription to a yoga program. Or, if they prefer to take a class in person, you can purchase a block of them through a local studio.
  • Massage: Massage loosens the muscles, improves blood flow, and promotes relaxation. You can use websites like Groupon to secure a great deal from a local therapist.
  • Adult coloring book: Sometimes, having a fun activity can quiet the mind and allow someone to focus on another task. If your friend or family member loves to color, adult coloring books give them a chance to recenter and re-energize through something they love to do.
  • Tea: Drinking tea can also reduce anxiety. You can find cute tea sets at your local department store, boutique, or through an online retailer. When choosing calming teas, aim for ones with lavender, mint, green, or Chamomile.
  • Exercise class: Exercise lowers anxiety and helps promote a healthier sense of well-being. You can buy a membership to their favorite exercise class, a gift card to a local gym, or an app subscription.
  • Meditation apps: Meditation can also soothe anxious minds. You can give this gift by purchasing a meditation app.
  • Journal: A journal allows a person to empty their thoughts on paper. Not only can this be a wise way to curtail anxious thoughts, but it can also help someone discover the source of their anxieties and thought processes around them.

Take the First Step Towards a Peaceful Future

Only 36% of people receive treatment for anxiety. There are many therapies available that can help you confront the source of your anxieties. You also learn coping behaviors, leading to healthier outcomes.

If anxiety interferes with your daily life, reach out to an admissions counselor. We will work with you to explore all the treatment options available.

How to Deal with Holiday Depression

Often, we associate the holidays with tidings of joy, happiness, and glee. But the opposite can also apply. The financial and social pressures of the season can make you feel inadequate, stressed, or depressed. Our guide delves into the reasons for holiday depression. We also supply tips to help you feel better when depression strikes.

What Causes Holiday Depression?

This time of the year requires more out of us. The pressures of engaging in social activities can produce feelings of anxiety, reaching the point where you would prefer not to go. You could also feel the squeeze of trying to buy gifts for everyone when money is tight. And all the demands of holiday gatherings could lead to you feeling exhausted and worn thin.

It can also be difficult for those who live far away from family and friends. The commercials of family gatherings and the memories of previous holidays can make you feel isolated and alone. And these feelings can result in depression symptoms.

Symptoms of Holiday Depression

Some of the most common behaviors associated with depression are:

  1. You lack interest in doing anything. You would rather shut down and stay away from others. You might cancel plans with friends or loved ones because you do not feel like going.
  2. You might also feel more fatigued. Having depression can wear you out emotionally and physically, resulting in feelings of restlessness even after a good night’s sleep.
  3. You also experience trouble concentrating on tasks.
  4. You express feelings of sadness, apathy, or emptiness.
  5. You could also have either a reduction in appetite or a sudden increase in it.

How Do I Feel Better During the Holidays?

  1. The first step is to admit you are feeling depressed. On its own, it isn’t an easy step to do. But it gives you power because you’re willing to acknowledge how you feel.
  2. From here, share with a friend or loved one how you’re feeling and what triggers those feelings. They can serve as an accountability partner to be there for you when you feel down or empty.
  3. Find healthy activities to help boost your mood. Eating healthy, refraining from drinking, and exercising are all steps you can do to feel better.
  4. You can also expand your social circle. If you don’t know anyone near you, try meeting people who share the same interests. You can find local groups on Meta (previously Facebook) or Meetup. You could also try a new activity like a book club, exercise class, or hobby to meet others.
  5. It is okay to say no. If you feel overwhelmed, you must strike a balance between doing everything you want to do and wearing yourself out.

Help is Here When You Need It

The holidays are a difficult time for those suffering from depression. In a survey of people diagnosed with mental illnesses, 64% said the holidays worsened their conditions. The study suggests the holiday season places a magnifying glass on why people with depression struggle.

If you experience any depression symptoms and want to talk, feel free to reach out to us at Pace Recovery Center. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for depression.

PTSD Symptoms in Men

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects 3.5% of adults every year. While women are twice as likely to incur PTSD, men still are susceptible to it–especially if you experienced a traumatic event or have a dangerous job. This guide examines the causes of PTSD in men, symptoms displayed, and treatment options available.

What Causes Men to Have PTSD?

Often, men experience post-traumatic stress disorder after:

  • Witnessing a horrific event like murder or accident.
  • Suffering verbal, sexual, or physical abuse.
  • Experiencing combat as a member of the military.
  • Working as a first responder, where the nature of the job involves helping people in terrifying and life-threatening situations.
  • Working as a police officer puts people in contact with abuse victims and traumatizing experiences.
  • Surviving a life-threatening event.

PTSD Symptoms in Men

Typically, symptoms fall into one of these four categories:

Intrusive Thoughts

It is common for men to relive their experiences through flashbacks, nightmares, and other memories. The memory can be so vivid you feel like you are back in the event again. Moreover, you might experience triggers like noises or words that draw you back to the traumatic event. A car backfiring might mimic gunshots, or the wail of police sirens might catalyze thoughts of a bad accident.

Disassociation

Men with PTSD might avoid any scenario that makes them address this memory. It can include places, similar events (like driving), and people.

Alterations in Mood

Men might have feelings of guilt, frustration, and fear. They might blame themselves for what happened. Furthermore, their experience might make them feel like they cannot trust anyone. If you have PTSD, you may revert away from people you know or activities you like.

Changes in Behavior

Those with PTSD might be prone to bursts of irritability, be overly protective, and engage in self-destructive behaviors like drinking. It can also lead to a decrease in sleep quality and concentration.

Do PTSD Symptoms Go Away on Their Own?

You might experience PTSD within three months after the traumatic event happened. However, in other instances, memories might surface years later.

It is common for symptoms of PTSD to vary in intensity over time. However, the behavior patterns formed to combat this disorder could live longer than the memories do. To illustrate, you attempt to self-medicate to avoid these feelings and memories through drinking. It is why being proactive in receiving treatment for PTSD can help alleviate these symptoms and lead to more promising outcomes.

Help Tailored to Your Needs

If you want to talk about your PTSD symptoms, feel free to reach out to our admissions counselors. We’ll help you learn about all the treatment options available to you.

Drug Crime Statistics

Over 60 percent of people arrested for non-drug crimes test positive for at least one drug. That doesn’t necessarily mean that drug use causes criminal behavior, but there’s no question that many people behave differently under the influence. Or that many people with substance use disorder resort to stealing, forging prescriptions, or other illegal actions to obtain money for more drugs (drug money is the motive for over 15 percent of property crimes). Today, we’d like to discuss major drug crime statistics in the United States.

About Drug Crime

Many drug crime arrests involve someone who did nothing more criminal than carrying small amounts of a banned substance: over a million people are arrested in the U.S. each year for drug law violations, and over 86 percent of these arrests are for “possession of a controlled substance.” Many organizations advocate for the decriminalization of this particular offense, arguing exaggeration of its dangers, disproportionate prosecution of minorities, and—especially now that marijuana is legal in some states and not others—the unfairness of attaching “criminal” labels to what was obtained legally elsewhere, perhaps even through medical prescription.

There is, however, another issue to consider: many people commit possession offenses because they have substance use disorder. And, after being arrested, two major problems instead of one. Nearly two-thirds of people jailed in the U.S. (for any offense) also suffer from addiction.

Drug Courts

Thankfully, most jurisdictions now recognize that addiction is an illness, better treated than punished. Anyone who is arrested for drug possession, and suspects that he or she also has an addiction, should ask a lawyer to request medical evaluation plus referral to a “drug court”—a program designed to consider the addiction problem and set guidelines for treatment-based alternatives to criminal prosecution. Specifics vary, but most drug courts fit one of the following categories:

  • Pre-plea: court-supervised treatment in exchange for a full stay of prosecution
  • Post-plea: a guilty plea followed by court-supervised treatment, after which all criminal charges are dropped
  • Post-adjudication: court-supervised treatment after conviction, during which time additional sentences are suspended.

In every case, there will be conditions for completing treatment successfully, and violating those conditions will mean resumption of the criminal-law process.

Drug Crime and New Beginnings

Although it may feel like the end of the world to be arrested on drug crime charges, if you have a chemical dependency, it may be the best thing that can happen. An addiction denied is an addiction untreated, and an untreated addiction will likely get worse until it leads to financial and personal ruin, or death from overdose or illness. Being charged with a crime makes it impossible to ignore the problem any longer, and may well prove the factor that finally leads to treatment and recovery.

If you’re facing a day in drug court:

  • Follow your lawyer’s advice.
  • Respect the authorities and experts. Don’t demand anything of anybody, and don’t try to argue that the laws are unfair or there’s nothing wrong with you.
  • Understand the terms of your court-mandated treatment (which may include regular drug tests, a minimum number of weekly therapy appointments, and restrictions on driving or other privileges), and follow the rules. Any deviation could result in a return to court and perhaps a jail sentence.
  • Don’t expect treatment to be completed quickly or with initial detox. Effective recovery from drug addiction requires weeks or months of counseling, major life changes, and taking steps to prevent relapse.
  • Get a thorough physical checkup and a psychiatric evaluation, if they aren’t already required as part of your treatment. The drug use may have done undetected physical damage, and many people with substance use disorder also have other mental health disorders to address.
  • Get your family involved if at all possible. They likely will require help understanding your addiction problem and what you need.
  • Remember that, even after treatment is completed and your record clean, addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. You can’t go back to the old “business as usual,” but you can go forward into a better and more effective life. Practice expecting good things to happen.

A Place for Understanding and Healing

For men troubled by the pain and shame of drug addiction—with or without an arrest record—PACE Recovery offers a safe, nonjudgmental setting in which to recover and prepare for a better future.

We specialize in dual diagnosis treatment for those who have substance use disorder combined with other mental disorders such as depression.

PACE stands for “Positive Attitude Changes Everything,” which we emphasize in our commitment to treating the whole person and focusing on his future. Contact us today to begin your recovery.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Its popularity is increasing, but so are the potential safety issues involved in a substance known as Delta-8 THC. The product can be dangerous on many levels so it’s important to understand what Delta-8 THC is and how it can affect a person who consumes it.

Delta-8 THC

A psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is more popularly known as Delta-8 THC. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids that are produced naturally by the cannabis plant but are not found in the plant in significant amounts. Concentrated amounts of Delta-8 THC are usually manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol or CBD.

Not Evaluated by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated or approved Delta-8 THC products for safety. In fact, the products may be marketed for consumption in ways that actually put individuals’ health at risk.

There are growing concerns around the Delta-8 THC products that are currently being sold, both online and in stores. Some of these concerns include the variability in the way the product is formulated and labeled. These products may contain other cannabinoid and plant oils with variable Delta-8 THC concentrations. Labels may simply say “hemp products,” and that can mislead individuals who typically associate hemp products with non-psychoactive products.

The FDA is further concerned about products containing the substance that are marketed for medical or therapeutic uses. Consumers can be at risk when consuming these products. The organizations that sell the products using these marketing techniques, claiming unsubstantiated therapeutic benefits, are violating federal law. Individuals who use the unproven substance Delta-8 THC to treat serious or even fatal diseases can be at significant risk.

Adverse Event Reports

The danger of consuming Delta-8 THC products has been shown in the number of adverse event reports received by the FDA. Over a twenty month period, from December 2020 through July 2021, the FDA received a number of reports of individuals who experienced hallucinations, vomiting, difficulties standing, and a loss of consciousness. Most of these individuals consumed the substance in edibles such as brownies and gummies.

In addition, national poison control centers received 660 exposure cases of Delta-8 THC products between January 1, 2021, and July 31, 2021. Of the cases received:

  • 41% involved unintentional exposure to Delta-8 THC
  • 77% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients under the age of 18
  • 39% of the total cases involved pediatric patients under the age of 18
  • 18% required hospitalizations, including children who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) following exposure to these products. 

Some of the side effects involved in the use of Delta-8 THC include rapid heart rate, red eyes, trouble with coordination, dry mouth, slowed reaction times, memory loss, and anxiety. Since it is synthetically produced, one of the major dangers of using the substance is not knowing exactly what the product contains.

Production Involves Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Since the natural amount of Delta-8 THC in hemp is low, additional chemicals are necessary to convert the other cannabinoids in hemp, including CBD, into the final product. There are many concerns with this process, including the fact that some manufacturers use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make the substance.

The synthetic process may also involve other chemicals used to change the color of the final product, which can have potentially harmful effects, especially when combined with other chemicals. The biggest danger is that there is significant uncertainty as to exactly which potential contaminants may be present in a product.

The chemicals used to make the Delta-8 THC can be very harmful to an individual. This is especially true when the manufacturing process takes place in an uncontrolled or unsanitary setting. Additional harmful substances and unsafe contaminants can find their way into the final product in these situations, causing even greater danger to the person consuming the substance.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

We want you to be safe and healthy. When you are addicted to a dangerous and unregulated drug such as Delta-8 THC, we can help. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Why Men Hide Their Feelings

Men are often hesitant to express their true emotions, which can lead to serious issues in their lives. They may be viewed as cold or distant. They can even develop mental health issues when attempting to suppress how they truly feel. There are a number of reasons why men hide their feelings.

Gender Differences in Emotion Words

Emotional diversity is important to a person’s mental health. Individuals who experience a diversity of both positive and negative emotions tend to report fewer symptoms of issues such as depression. Emotions serve as a guidepost for the human experience, as they draw attention to the important markers in an individual’s environments, acting as warning signs of things that need to be noticed, processed, or changed.

However, research has suggested that emotionally diversity is not fostered in young boys. In one study of conversations between mothers and their young children, the mothers who interacted with daughters used an emotion vocabulary of greater depth and density. The mothers’ conversations with sons tended to focus on a single emotion, anger.

A Narrower Range of Emotions

Boys tend to grow up in a world focused on a narrow range of emotions. Anger is typically the emotion that is noticed and perhaps even cultivated among young males. The other emotions, especially those that indicate vulnerability, are ignored or are missing as their young minds develop.

The lack of emotional diversity in young males can have long-term problematic consequences, perhaps helping to explain why men hide their feelings. As boys who avoid strong emotions grow up, they are more likely to have issues with school and even engage in health-risk behaviors such as substance use. When those boys mature into men, they tend to suppress their emotions more than women, which can lead them to experience symptoms of depression.

Aggressive behavior can also develop when men hide their feelings, as they experience trouble regulating their emotions. The skills that enable an individual to control their emotions are gained through practice so when a man did not have that experience growing up, he may feel he does not have permission to experience and express a full range of emotions in a healthy manner.

Discouraging Displays of Emotion

Likewise, when men are growing up they are exposed to messages that discourage them from expressing any emotions other than anger. At the same time, they are encouraged to act dominant in any given situation. A young boy who expresses his feelings may hear responses from adults in his life such as “boys don’t cry” or “don’t cry like a girl.” He might be told to “man up” or to “be a man and get over it.”

Even when experiencing a painful physical injury, a young man may think he is not supposed to show emotions as he has learned to avoid expressing his real feelings. He will then begin to bottle up his frustration and sadness. Over time, this behavior can lead to a dysfunctional emotional expression as well as mental health issues such as depression.

Different Symptoms of Depression

An understanding of why men hide their feelings can lead to an understanding of what they go through when they are experiencing the symptoms of depression. A man can have very different depression symptoms than a woman. Men who are depressed may appear to be aggressive or anger rather than sad, given their training that has taught them to suppress their emotions.

Even though depression affects a large number of men, they are less likely than women to talk about their depression and to seek treatment for their mental health concerns. Men can become irritable or very tired, losing interest in their family and work. They may have more difficulty sleeping when they experience depression than women. They may even have physical issues such as a tightening chest, headaches, or stomach problems.

Family and friends may be the first to recognize that a man in their life is depressed, since the man himself tends to avoid addressing his feelings. It is important to support him and encourage him to seek treatment from a mental health professional, particularly if his depression has led to a substance use disorder.

Mental Health and Addiction Support for Men

If you are experiencing mental health or substance use issues, we want to help get you back on track with your life. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

The Myth of Adopted Child Syndrome

Adoption can be a happy and positive event. The child who is adopted finds a new home and a supportive family. However, the very need for a child to be adopted means that they have experienced a loss of some sort and that can cause some issues, often well into adulthood. There is a myth of Adopted Child Syndrome that is controversial and does not tell the true story of issues faced by adopted individuals.

Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a time to focus on the continuing need for the adoption of children in the US, especially teenagers. The theme for 2021 is “Conversations Matter,” as it’s important to talk about adoption, particularly with the young people who are in the foster system or who have been adopted. This month and throughout the year, having that conversation will create an environment where the adopted individual knows they can be honest and ask questions that are important to them.

A Controversial Term

The term Adopted Child Syndrome was first used in 1978 by Dr. David Kirschner. The term has become controversial, is not included in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and is not considered a valid diagnosis. It has been used to describe the behavioral and emotional challenges that adopted children may experience, including problematic behaviors such as violence or defiance. However, Dr. Kirschner said that he used it to describe a very small clinical subgroup of individuals at the time of his study.

Adoption Challenges

There are legitimate issues facing adopted children and, in fact, some individuals have challenges throughout their adult lives because of the trauma they faced through their loss earlier in life. While adoption can give the child the loving, permanent home they need, the fact they need a new home can have negative effects on their mental and emotional health.

A young person who is adopted can struggle with low self-esteem, identity issues, difficulty forming emotional attachments, and a sense of loss or grief over the loss of their birth family. These negative effects can be short-lived and resolved once the adoptee feels an increased sense of security, but they can also arise in the individual during times of emotional stress throughout their lives.

Mental Health Issues

Several research studies indicate that there is an increased risk of mental health issues for adults who are adoptees. Studies found higher levels of anxiety, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, as well as depression among participants who had been adopted. The studies also found higher levels of behavioral disorders, certain personality disorders, and neuroticism.

Substance Abuse

In addition to the trauma of loss experienced by individuals who are adopted, there may have been issues with drug or alcohol addiction in the adoptee’s birth family that were at least partially responsible for that loss. The issues faced by the adopted child, coupled with certain genetic factors, could also lead to an increased rate of substance abuse that lasts into adulthood without appropriate treatment.

Research has found that the prevalence of a lifetime substance use disorder was 43% higher in individuals who had been adopted, compared with non-adoptees. The lifetime prevalence rates of alcohol use disorders was 41% and the rate of nicotine addiction was 25.4% for adoptees. The rates of illegal drug abuse in individuals who were adopted ranged from 2.9% for opioids to 13.2% for cannabis.

Adoption Competence in Treatment Options

One survey that was identified by the research studies revealed that about half of the participants were seeking therapy for a variety of reasons, including self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and family issues. Almost a fourth of the survey respondents noted that adoption competence was the highest factor in their choice of a therapist for their mental health issues. Having a mental health professional who specialized in their particular situation made a difference in terms of having someone who truly understands their stresses and challenges as adoptees.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Treatment

The professionals at PACE Recovery Center understand the struggles you may encounter as an adoptee, particularly in regard to adoption trauma and abandonment and attachment issues. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you have been adopted or are 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. During these challenging times, our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe and healthy. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

 

My Son is Going to Prison

An addiction to drugs can take control of a young man’s life and that can lead to devastating consequences. The statistics for imprisonment reveal that drug offenses, particularly for males, are significantly higher than for any other crime. When your son is going to prison, you are undoubtedly drained emotionally and possibly even financially. You are not alone in your concerns.

Drug Crimes by the Numbers

Across the country, drug crime statistics continue to climb. As of October 2021, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that there are 67,115 people in prison for drug offenses, almost half of the total prison population. Offenses for weapons, explosives, and arson had the second highest number, with 30,144 or just over 20%. Overall, for all offenses listed, there are 144,915 men in prison, or 93% of the prison population.

Drug Abuse Arrests

The Office of Juvenile Justice reports that there was a total of 1,558,860 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2019. Of those, 1,162,790 were males. Teenage males ages 17 and under accounted for 60,060 arrests for drug abuse violations. Among adult males, 127,420 were between the ages of 18 and 20, 161,240 were between the ages of 21 and 24, and 814,060 were ages 25 and older.

Particularly disturbing among the drug crime statistics is that the arrests for drug abuse violations of males between the ages of 18 and 20 occurred at a rate of 1,939.4 per 100,000, and between the ages of 21 and 24 drug abuse arrests occurred at a rate of 1,815.4 per 100,000.

California Drug Crime Statistics

In the state of California in 2019, drug offenses are the biggest category of arrests for misdemeanor offenses. Just over a fourth of the 758,000 arrests in 2019 were for drug offenses. Alcohol-related offenses accounted for an additional 8% of those misdemeanor arrests.

A separate report found that California had the highest percentage across all states in the US of teenagers who were offered, given, or sold an illegal drug on school property.

Drug-Related Offenses

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the prison population in the US is substantial and the high numbers are strongly connected to drug-related offenses. Research has shown that an estimated 65% of the prison population has a substance use disorder. Another 20% was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they committed their crime, even though they may not have had a diagnosed substance use disorder.

A Known Contributor to Violent Crimes

Beyond the arrests for use of illegal drugs, many individuals face prison sentences for crimes they committed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2020, the rate of violent crimes, including aggravated assault and murder, increased dramatically. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug trafficking is known as a significant contributor to those violent crimes.

Even more devastating is the data showing that over 81,000 individuals in the US died of a drug overdose between May 2019 and May 2020. Overdose deaths have also increased significantly over the past year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support for Your Son

When your son is going to prison as one of the individuals who used drugs and was arrested for a drug-related offense, it can be heartbreaking for you and your entire family. Supporting your son during this stressful time means encouraging him to get the help he needs to overcome his substance use disorder.

Many parents find themselves in an unending cycle of bailing out their son each time he is arrested, even though he promises never to use drugs again. It is important to stay strong and to set boundaries for yourself and your son, even during this most difficult time.

Addiction is almost impossible to overcome alone. If your son is going to prison, there may be options for him to learn how to get and stay clean during his time there.

The best time to get treatment, though, is before the drugs are able to influence your son toward a life of self-destruction and crime. When you and your son seek the help that he needs to overcome his addiction, he will learn how to live a healthier, more fulfilling life without being dependent on the harmful substances.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

If your son is experiencing substance use or mental health issues, we can help get him back on track with his life. At PACE Recovery, we optimize each person’s recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both their addiction to drugs or alcohol and their mental health issues. We address the whole person, including spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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