Methamphetamine and Opioids: Drug Synergism Concerns

Methamphetamine

In 2011, 19% of opioid users said they also used methamphetamine; by 2017, that figure had risen to 34%, according to a study appearing in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The researchers concluded:

“Qualitative data indicated that methamphetamine served as an opioid substitute, provided a synergistic high, and balanced out the effects of opioids so one could function “normally.” Our data suggest that, at least to some extent, efforts limiting access to prescription opioids may be associated with an increase in the use of methamphetamine.”

In 2014, 14% of heroin users entering treatment in San Francisco reported also having a meth problem. A follow up in 2017 showed that 22% of heroin users seeking treatment in San Francisco had issues with meth too.

The numbers above are not an anomaly; methamphetamine is making a comeback across the United States. Although, some experts might argue that meth use never went away but was hiding in the shadows of the opioid epidemic.

The days of clandestine methamphetamine labs in the U.S. came to an end in the 2000s. However, government crackdowns had the unintended consequence of ushering in new opportunities for Mexican cartels.

Efforts to stem the tide of homegrown meth production in America were most successful at creating a windfall for the cartels. South of the border “super labs” sprung up to feed America’s growing demand for “crystal meth.” Mexican meth, sometimes called “ice” due to its purity, is stronger and less expensive than what was found on the streets a decade ago.

Deaths involving methamphetamine are steadily rising, particularly in the West, NPR reports. The link between meth and opioids is cause for concern; the surge in meth use is believed to be tied to efforts to confront the opioid epidemic.

The Impact of Rising Opioid Prices

Making it more difficult to acquire certain drugs does little to address addiction. Instead, it forces those who live with use disorders to take more risks and seek new avenues of euphoria. Most people are aware that the U.S. government has taken many steps to decrease access to prescription opioids. New legislation and prescribing guidelines forced many addicts to turn to heroin.

While heroin is less expensive than OxyContin, a habit can be hundreds of dollars a day. Maintaining an opioid addiction is costly, regardless of the drug in question. Opioids make people feel lethargic, which makes it difficult to hold down a job. Stimulants like meth provide many addicts the extra pep in their step needed to get to work.

Amelia, a recovering addict, tells NPR that meth enabled her to keep working so she could afford her heroin habit. She said that using stimulants to help her support the opioid use disorder developed into a pattern.

The heroin was the most expensive part,” she says. “That was $200 a day at one point. And the meth was $150 a week.”

There are other reasons why people use stimulants in conjunction with opioids—drug synergism. Addicts have been mixing heroin and cocaine (e.g., “speedballing”) for a long time; one drug enhances the effects of the other and vice versa. However, cocaine is often more expensive than heroin. Now, many people are using heroin and meth simultaneously to replicate a speedball; the admixture is commonly referred to as a “goofball.”

When a person is struggling with both a stimulant and opioid use disorder, it can complicate treatment efforts. Unlike opioids, there is no medication to help people with meth withdrawal. It’s it vital that treatment professionals pay close attention to polysubstance use disorder cases to prevent relapse.

Methamphetamine and Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Mixing stimulants with opioids is a deadly combination; naloxone isn’t as effective on polysubstance overdoses. It is vital that individuals in the grips of meth and opioid addiction seek professional help immediately to avoid severe complications.

If you are an adult male who is struggling with a use disorder of any kind, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. Our gender-specific, extended care programs can help you break the cycle of addiction. We are available 24/7 to answer any of your questions about our multidimensional approach to substance use disorder treatment.

Mental Health Program Requires Funding

mental health

Health care is not free in the United States. Those who do not have insurance are unable to acquire elective services, even if they are potentially life-saving. Mental health care, whether it be for addiction or depression, is no different; many people do not get help because they lack financial resources.

In recent years, mental illnesses of the behavioral health and mood disorder varieties have come into the spotlight. Rising overdose and alcohol-related death rates and suicide have forced millions of Americans to take notice. Preventable “deaths of despair” have given many individuals cause for concern.

The reality is that there are not enough treatment centers, nor funding to provide evidence-based mental health care. Millions of Americans, many of whom are living in affluent parts of the country, are suffering needlessly. The situation is even more dire in rural America, where there may be one center or just a handful of mental health and addiction specialists for a radius of hundreds of miles.

Men and women who need assistance are unable to access it, and recovery is just out of reach for countless people. When one considers that we live in the most prosperous country in human history, facing the hard truths about mental illness is both perplexing and troubling.

In the last decade, lawmakers have introduced, passed, and signed into law legislation meant to increase funding and expand access to mental health care. The list of bills written to stem the tide of untreated mental illness and increase access to insurance parity include:

  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
  • The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) of 2016

Mental Health in America

Over the past few months, we observed several awareness campaigns focusing on addiction and mental health. June is PTSD Awareness Month; May is Mental Health Month; April is Alcohol Awareness Month; March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month; and, February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

Whenever we cover the subject of national observances, pointing out the statistics is critical to catch people’s attention. Tens of millions of Americans are battling untreated mental health disorders. Those who would like to get assistance find it exceedingly challenging to do so. The human cost of not being able to find support is high; each day not in recovery can end in tragedy.

Many of the mental health-related awareness months deal heavily with ending the stigma that prevents people from recovery. However, a lack of funding for life-saving support is just as harmful than society’s attitudes about mental illness.

It’s fair to say that most people lack the financial resources to cover the costs of all or some of their care. Which means that the burden falls on the state, county, and municipal leaders to ensure less-fortunate people can access recovery services. Expanding access to care requires money, and the necessary funds can only come from one place: taxes!

Free Mental Health Care Program

San Francisco is no different than any other metropolis in America despite being the epitome of opulence and affluence. The city has its fair share of homelessness, drug use, and people struggling with various mental health problems. However, unlike Cleveland or Indianapolis, San Francisco is in California—home to many of the wealthiest cities in the nation. The Golden State is the fifth largest economy in the world.

Silicon Valley is just down the way from San Francisco; if it were a country of its own, it would be the second richest in the world, The Mercury News reports. Many tech companies, CEOs, and execs call San Francisco home. At street-level, just beneath some of the wealthiest Americans penthouses and tech company offices, people are crippled by mental illness symptoms.

Interestingly, San Francisco lawmakers would like companies with well-paid CEOs to foot some of the city’s mental health bill, Reason reports. The Board of Supervisors introduced a motion last week that would place a new tax on “disproportionate executive pay.” Companies paying top executives 100 to 600 times the median compensation of their employees would pay an additional .1 to .6 tax on gross receipts.

In November, San Franciscans will vote on two measures that could significantly help people living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Six of the 11 supervisors support a disproportionate executive pay tax and a program called Mental Health SF. If voters approve both motions, the tax on CEO pay will cover some of the cost of a program that offers round-the-clock mental health services.

We have a crisis of people who are severely addicted to drugs and that have severe mental health illnesses that are wandering the street and that desperately need help,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

California Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, our team of highly trained mental health professionals specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We also offer programs for men who do not meet the criteria for substance use disorders, but they struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.

We invite you to contact us today if you or a male loved one requires mental health assistance. Please call 800-526-1851 now to learn more about our behavioral health treatment team and mental health programs.

Recovery Communities Help People Succeed

recovery

On the road to long-term recovery, finding a community is essential. Most men and women who’ve had struggles with drug and alcohol and tried to get sober without assistance encounter problems. The modes of being that people utilized in active addiction – selfishness, self-centeredness, and isolation – are not the same that a person relies on for lasting recovery.

Individuals looking to make drastic changes for the better must embrace an entirely new mode of living. A paradigm shift in thinking about one’s self and others is required to make personal improvements stick. The old ways of living life will not suffice in the realm of addiction recovery.

Healing from alcohol and substance use disorder is a lengthy process. Time is a necessary ingredient; learning how to maintain a positive attitude in the face of stress doesn’t happen overnight.

Finding the courage to trust others isn’t easy; addiction makes it hard for people to look at others’ motives without suspicion. However, trust one must, if a man or woman is to make progress. The longer a person works a program, the less work it is to believe that peers have your best interest at heart when they make suggestions.

With each passing day, relative newcomers feel less and less alone. A sense of togetherness wells up inside individuals, providing them with the strength to keep moving forward.

Millions of people realize the gifts of recovery by working with others to achieve similar goals. Having a support network to rely on is the most vigorous defense against relapse. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol for a day or two is possible without help, but doing it for months or years requires outside help.

Community is Everything in Recovery

Many of those new to recovery, either in treatment or 12 Step meetings, are reticent about opening up. Finding a voice, and the courage to use it, can seem impossible to some. However, those unable to express their feelings initially learn to do so so by watching others do the same.

Hearing others share their daily struggles – such as the desire to use again – is empowering. It’s an acknowledgment that the disease is always trying to re-exert itself, and that talking about it diminishes its power. Sitting amongst like-minded individuals who all share similar challenges, collectively saying to their disease ‘not today,’ is a remarkable experience.

Recovering alcoholics and addicts draw strength from their community. Such people find solutions to everyday trials and tribulations by talking about them with a sponsor or trusted confidant. When a young man works the Steps with another man, their eyes become open to a world of possibilities.

Real friends are made through working a program of recovery. The very people who serve as a person’s guide toward a better life often become their most essential companions.

The connections made between men and women in “the rooms” are selfless, genuine, and enriching. Friendships made in sobriety feel meaningful because they are bound by honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.

The recovery community gives people the freedom to be themselves, to no longer mask who they really are and feel accepted. Drugs and alcohol erode men and women’s authenticity; recovery builds it back up. Again, it is a process that requires more than abstinence alone. The Steps are a formula for more than sobriety; they are a recipe for being a whole person.

12 Step Recovery 84th Anniversary

In 2019, countless people around the globe owe some part of their ability to heal from addiction to a 12 Step recovery program. For those who embrace the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, you probably know that Founders Day Weekend was just celebrated across the country.

It has been 84 years since Bill Wilson had a conversation with another alcoholic, Bob Smith, about a solution. Each year, recovering alcoholics and addicts acknowledge the importance of that meeting and the program that followed.

What started as two alcoholics working together to never drink again no matter what is now a community of millions of people. Bill W. and Dr. Bob’s fortuitous friendship led to an untold number of connections of a similar nature.

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we help adult men get to the root of their behavioral and mental health issues. Men work together and form lasting bonds with each other; in doing so, they learn the importance of community.

We offer several programs to address the unique needs of each client adequately. Please contact us today to learn more about our services and to begin creating a plan for finding long-term recovery.

PTSD Awareness Month 2019: Treatment is Available

PTSD

Addiction and trauma often go hand in hand; many people cope with post-traumatic stress by self-medicating. Severe physical or mental injury can lead to troubling symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, avoidance, hypervigilance, anxiety, and depression. When PTSD goes untreated, men and women look for relief; alcohol and illicit drug use often become people’s remedy.

As many individuals know, using mind-altering substances to cope with symptoms of mental illness is a slippery slope. What starts as a method of quieting one’s mind can quickly morph into an alcohol or substance use disorder. Moreover, self-medication typically worsens the symptoms people are trying to ease.

Americans most often associate trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with combat; those who witness the horrors of war can face lingering effects. However, mental wounds can arise from any experience that an individual lacks the ability to handle. Many factors can play a role in why some develop a condition and others do not. When it comes to average citizens, surviving abuse, natural disasters, and sexual assault can result in post-traumatic stress. It is vital that people who are suffering from psychological distress or re-experiencing trauma seek help immediately. The condition can progressively worsen over time, especially if drugs and alcohol are involved.

Signs of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest in several different ways; it also affects people on a spectrum severity. Everyone experiences fear when they encounter scary or dangerous events; and, what they experience may bother them for a time. Still, most people are not haunted by troubling events and will bounce back to their usual self eventually.

Unfortunately, many men and women continue to experience psychological problems stemming from trauma. About seven or eight of every 100 people will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lays down the criteria for receiving a PTSD diagnosis. An adult must have all of the following for at least one month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts).
  • At least one avoidance symptom (e.g., staying away from places, events, or objects).
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (e.g., being jumpy, tense, or angry).
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms (e.g., trouble remembering aspects of the trauma, negative thoughts, guilt or blame, or anhedonia).

PTSD Awareness Month 2019

Encouraging people to reach out for help regarding their difficulties with trauma is vital. Millions of Americans can benefit significantly from obtaining professional advice. But, like any mental illness, stigma often prevents those men and women from seeking treatment.

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Now is the time to get the message out: treatment is available, and it works. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and several organizations are asking for everyone’s help; together, we can end the stigma and empower those struggling to seek professional assistance.

During PTSD Awareness Month, and throughout the entire year, help raise awareness about the many different PTSD treatment options. You can make a difference in the lives of Veterans and others who have experienced trauma. Everyone can help.

If you would like to get involved with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Month, please click here. The VA offers several materials to guide your messages about treatment and recovery.

Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment

People who have PTSD are between two and four times more likely to struggle with addiction than their peers who do not have the disorder, the journal Clinical Psychology reports. Individuals who are battling both PTSD and addiction must consult with treatment centers that are equipped to treat both conditions simultaneously.

Long-term recovery rests on addressing the dual-diagnosis along with the addiction.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center today to learn more about our men’s gender-specific treatment center. Importantly, one does not have to be diagnosed with a substance misuse disorder to participate in the PACE Mental Health Program. We are standing by to answer any questions you may have for yourself or a loved one.

Addiction Messaging and Seeking Treatment

addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines addiction as compulsive use of a mind-altering substance despite adverse consequences. Scientists characterize brain disorders involving the use of drugs and alcohol as compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse outcomes.

In the field of use disorder treatment, the disease model of addiction is the standard today. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) support the disease framework. In 2015, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and George Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) co-authored a commentary defending the disease model.

The two NIH Institute Directors defend their position by referring to current research. They point out how current studies show that chronic exposure to drugs and alcohol disrupt “critical brain structures and behaviors.” Dr. Volkow and Mr. Koob also cite research indicating that heavy, prolonged substance use impacts brain processes associated with:

  • Loss of control
  • Compulsive drug taking
  • Inflexible behavior
  • Negative emotional states

Volkow and Koob’s commentary states that the modern understanding of addiction has led to several advancements. The disease model and a better understanding of the processes of addiction have led to the development of brain stimulation treatments, behavioral interventions, and effective medicines, including:

  • Acamprosate
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Varenicline

In their defense of the disease model, the experts go even further. They said the framework has also had a positive effect on public policy. While the accepted understanding of addiction has been mostly positive, some wonder about the impact it has on patients. Does calling addiction a disease adversely affect people with use disorders? New research attempts to answer that question.

Addiction Messaging

Addiction is a complex disease of a complex brain; ignoring this fact will only hamper our efforts to find effective solutions through a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the underlying phenomena.” – Volkow and Koob (2015)

Alcohol and substance use disorder in the United States is an epidemic. Tens of millions of Americans struggle with the disease of addiction despite available treatments. Encouraging more men and women to seek help is vitally important.

There is evidence that many people do not respond well to messaging defining addiction as a disease. As such, they are less likely to seek assistance, according to research published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Calling addiction a disease does not have an impact on the people conducting the research. However, there is evidence that the label may adversely affect those living with the condition.

Researchers at North Carolina State University compared the effect of disease messaging to a “growth mindset message,” a university press release reports. The latter says that human attributes are malleable.

Those who work programs of recovery and accrue long-term sobriety show us that people can change even though they have an incurable condition. With assistance, use disorder can be managed, and relapse is preventable. However, while the new study may be about semantics, the finding(s) could guide efforts to steer people toward treatment.

When we began talking about addiction as a disease, the goal was to decrease stigma and encourage treatment,” says Sarah Desmarais, co-author of a paper on the work and an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. “That worked, to an extent, but an unforeseen byproduct was that some people experiencing addiction felt like they had less agency; people with diseases have no control over them.”

Steering People Toward Addiction Treatment

The study involved 214 men and women with drug and alcohol use problems, according to the article. One hundred and twenty-four were placed in a growth mindset message group. The other 90 participants received disease messaging. Participants in both groups read articles that included the respective messaging.

Growth mindset enrollees read about the many causes of substance abuse and how to manage addiction. The disease group learned about the addiction-related changes in the brain. Participants in the growth mindset group were found to be more likely to seek treatment, compared to the disease message group.

“Overall, our findings support moving away from messaging about addiction solely as a disease,” Desmarais says. “It’s more complicated than that. Instead, the finding suggests that it would be more helpful to talk about the many different reasons people become addicted.”

Southern California Addiction Treatment

Alcohol and substance use disorders are treatable, and long-term recovery is attainable. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to discuss our gender-specific programs. Our clinically sophisticated approach can help you or a loved one make lasting changes.

We can also help men who have co-occurring mental illnesses accompanying their use disorder. Our highly trained staff will treat both conditions simultaneously to facilitate better treatment outcomes.

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.

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