Category Archives: Uncategorized

What You Learned In Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment

On January 1, 2018, the State of California begins a new chapter regarding marijuana. The drug is legal to use for adults over the age of 21 after the holiday season comes to an end. The change in legality may not seem like a big deal, after all, a medical marijuana program has been in place for two decades. California became the first state to allow doctors to recommend cannabis for specific health conditions in 1996. However, broad legalization for recreational purposes could create problems for some people, especially those in recovery.

Cannabis use laws in California are of particular interest to us at PACE Recovery Center—with our specialty being addiction treatment. We are aware that young adult males are a demographic long associated with high marijuana use. Legalization could have the unintended effect of encouraging people in recovery to think that a little “pot” use is harmless. People without a history of cannabis misuse may convince themselves that the drug will not be a sobriety breach.

It’s entirely vital that those in recovery from any form of addiction understand the inherent dangers of using marijuana. Just because your drug of choice (DOC) is alcohol, doesn’t mean that cannabis is fair game. Many an alcoholic has experienced a full-blown relapse because they thought of a little weed smoke as harmless. It’s not just people with alcohol use disorders, either; hard drug users often scoff at the addictive nature of weed. True, fewer people reach the depths of despair from cannabis use, compared to other “harder” drugs. Nevertheless, such realities don’t imply the drug is safe.

Recovery Work Going Up In Smoke

Smoking pot is a sure way for people in recovery to find themselves returning to their DOC. If you’re regularly attending 12 Steps meetings, then there is good chance you have heard where cannabis use leads. It doesn’t matter which substance precipitated requiring addiction treatment; no mind-altering drug is safe. Addiction is a severe mental health disorder, and substance use is merely a symptom of the overall condition. Introducing any euphoria-producing drug to your body can cause severe problems in your life, and jeopardize your recovery program.

Whether you have 30 days or 30 years sober, you’ve have invested much into turning your life around. Using marijuana will cause all your hard work in recovery to go up in smoke. Legality shouldn’t impact your decision to partake in cannabis use; mental health pays no mind to the laws of man. Case in point: despite alcohol’s legality, the substance is highly addictive and takes more lives than any other vice. In spite of marijuana's benign nature, use can lead to dependence, addiction, and other health problems.

People in recovery who decide to use THC (Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol) products are at even higher risk of experiencing problems. More times than not, recovering addicts and alcoholics return to their drug of choice after using cannabis. It may not happen right away, but smoking weed will cause the minds of people with use disorders to crave their DOC. Usually, it’s a question of when, not if, regarding a return to more dangerous mind-altering chemicals.

Ask Around

If you’re still relatively new to recovery or fresh out of addiction treatment, we hope you grasp what’s at stake. Getting to where you are today required tremendous courage and even more effort, breaking the cycle of addiction wasn’t an accident. If you are living in California, some of your peers may be excited about the “green tide” coming into port. If they are not in recovery, using marijuana is their prerogative; if they’re in the program, keep your distance.

People in recovery contemplating using the drug come January should consult others with more recovery time, first. Chances are, such people will share relapse horror stories that began with something innocuous like cannabis, like cases when a little bit of pot resulted in a drug of choice relapse. Your older peers may tell you of former members who never made it back to the program after using marijuana.

Please remind yourself of what you learned while in addiction treatment. For starters, yours is an incurable disease! Without continued spiritual maintenance and steadfast dedication to total abstinence, everything you’ve tirelessly worked for could disappear. While relapse is a part of many people’s story, there are no guarantees of making it back to the rooms. Anything you can do to protect your recovery’s survival, the better; avoiding marijuana falls on the list of such things.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

Again, young adult males use marijuana more than any other demographic. As a result, such people often find themselves in the grip of cannabis use disorder and require assistance. If your life is unmanageable due to marijuana use, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in the treating young adult males with substance use disorders. Our experienced team can help you break the cycle of addiction and self-defeating behavior. Life in recovery is possible; we can give you the tools to make it a reality.

Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

addiction

Opioid use disorder has the potential to impact any one’s life, as is evident by overwhelming addiction rates and an ever-increasing death toll. Prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioid use is a complicated problem to address; on the one hand, pain must be treated adequately, while on the other hand, such drugs wield deadly power. If the nation is to find a solution to this public health crisis, it will be in the realm of responsible prescribing practices and addiction treatment services expansion.

If you have been following the epidemic, and efforts to address opioid use disorder, then you are probably aware that in the grand scheme of things there has been limited progress. Prescription drug monitoring programs designed to curb doctor shopping and help physicians identify opioid-dependent patients are underutilized. A large number of doctors are resistant to prescribing guidelines from government health agencies. Legislation passed to address various aspects of the scourge, while sensible and likely to reap progress, lacks the appropriate funding to fulfill such goals.

Addiction treatment exists, and it’s a useful means for turning one’s life around completely. Those who seek help from addiction treatment centers get introduced to a way of living that they once thought impossible. Sadly, many addicts and alcoholics don’t believe recovery is possible; it’s hard to see the light of change when in a perpetual cycle of darkness. People in the throes of addiction often resign themselves to thinking they will succumb to their disease. It’s for those reasons that everyone in recovery and the field of addiction medicine needs to do what they can to disabuse people of such notions.

Encouraging Addiction Treatment

If you are dependent on opioid narcotics, we understand what you are going through, and we’d like to say that there is hope. There are thousands of people around the country who have made helping others break the cycle of addiction their life’s purpose. Many of those very same people were once in the position you find yourself in today; they have first-hand knowledge of your struggle.

Getting out from under one’s disease and leading a life in recovery is only possible with the help of others, going it alone is not an option. Due to this reality, it’s common for people in recovery to dedicate themselves to helping others realize their dreams of a different life. When you decide to seek treatment, you will find out relatively quickly that many of the people employed by the center are in recovery, too. In effect, people who work at treatment centers are living proof that the program works, forcing one to think that maybe recovery will work for me as well.

Who knows maybe one day, having learned how to live a life in recovery in addiction treatment, you will pass the message along to others. You will be in a position to guide others out of the depths of despair into the light of recovery; and in doing so, strengthen your program. Naturally, there is much to do in between now and spreading the message that recovery works, starting with addressing your disease and the self-defeating behaviors that accompany the condition.

Making A Decision

No one can force another into treatment. Even if you could, the result wouldn’t likely be positive. Meaningful progress only comes about when a person decides to take specific steps for change. It’s not a choice that comes easily; people can talk themselves out of seeking help even when one is looking up from the bottom. Mental illness does not loosen its grip without putting up a fight, and it excels at sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of the afflicted. We could say that choosing to go into treatment is a leap of faith in a sense. However, there is living proof that walking blindly into a center of recovery will be fruitful in the long run.

Those of you with loved ones battling opioid use disorder should know that encouraging them to seek treatment will save their life and grant them a future. Over 2 million Americans are struggling with prescription opioid and heroin addiction, and over 50,000 people die of an overdose each year. The above numbers are expected to go in only one direction in the coming years, so the need for promoting recovery is more vital than ever.

If you are unsure about how to efficiently discuss recovery with your loved one, we can help. We work closely with addiction interventionists across the country who can guide you in how to talk about treatment with a loved one. Having a mediator in the room mitigates the risk of an intervention going south. Please contact us today to learn how PACE Recovery Center can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and help one learn how to lead a productive life in recovery.

Navigating Recovery This Thanksgiving With A Grateful Heart

recovery

The beginning of the holiday season kicks off this week, which means it’s time to count your blessings. Those in recovery must fortify their defenses and batten down their spiritual hatches if one’s program is to remain intact. One of the most effective ways of ensuring relapse doesn’t become part of one’s story over Thanksgiving is to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Expressing thankfulness and appreciation in every area of one’s life is significant to maintaining a program. If you have accrued some recovery time, then some people have been instrumental to you in achieving your goals. Nobody recovers on their own; we do this together. We’d be wise to remind ourselves of this regularly; we wouldn’t be where we are today without help.

Call to mind when you arrived in treatment, a shell of your former self. It’s likely you heard someone tell you that everything is going to be alright. Remember the first person in a meeting who reached out their hand to you and expressed interest in your success. There are, no doubt, several instances you can recall when a fellow in recovery offered their support, unsolicited. People who pay forward what they received gratis in the program is what keeps this remarkable enterprise going. You have or will do the same when the time is right, the cycle of recovery depends upon everyone’s participation.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recovery: Your Gratitude is Required

Making an effort to express your gratitude for others is not always easy. There are times when it’s hard to recognize all the good in your life and all the people who have your back. A helping hand is often gentle, words of support are sometimes just a whisper, but everyone owes aspects of their recovery to a higher power and specific individuals.

Even those of you who are new to the program know the importance of sharing your gratitude with others. It’s likely that your counselors and sponsor suggested prayer and meditation as a means for ensuring progress. Recovery is a spiritual program, once we realize that most things in life are out of our control, it becomes easier to open our hearts to a higher power. Such a “life-force will” is the glue that holds our recovery together, which means acknowledgment of that fact is vital. Only a power greater-than-ourselves can restore us to sanity, so we must continually turn our will and our lives over to that force. A daily commitment to be thankful for everything and everyone who had a hand in our progression.

In early recovery, many people struggle to converse with their higher power, for numerous reasons. After years of substance use and reliance on oneself for survival makes it difficult to accept help. A mindset of self-will and self-reliance makes it hard to believe that there might be something else designing the architecture of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean starting a dialogue is impossible; with practice and an attitude of gratitude, anything is possible.

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ― Maya Angelou

Allowing Gratitude to Carry You Through the Holidays

If you are a young adult, who is relatively new to working a program, you might be dreading Thanksgiving. Perhaps this Thursday is the first time you will be home since going through addiction treatment? If you are like most people in this situation, you’re preparing yourself for a salvo of questions from loved ones at the dinner table. It’s doubtful you are thrilled about the prospect of having to explain to your uncle why you can’t drink a beer with him. Describing both the core and the minutiae of a program that is not easily put into words probably doesn’t bring joy to your heart. Nevertheless, if you are going home there are things you can do to keep stress at bay.

There is a good chance you had the help of a family member in bringing about your recovery. Whether mom and dad drove you to treatment or financially supported your decision to get help, your family played an important role in your recovery. They may have questions regarding your mission to live life on life’s terms, which you can attempt to answer patiently. Or, you can just say that you are not in a position to explain something adequately, so you’d rather not. In early recovery, individuals often follow suggestions without fully understanding the value of the suggested behavior. In time, the real importance of an action will reveal itself, but for now, it’s alright not to have the answer.

If you find yourself having to field your family's questions, you won’t get as stressed if you remind yourself that their curiosity comes from caring, not scrutiny. No one in recovery can afford to let their emotions get the best of them during a holiday, the risks of doing so are profound. If a family member is starting to get under your skin, simply walk away and call your sponsor. If your distress doesn’t dissipate still, find your way to a meeting pronto; rest assured that many of the people you will find in that meeting share your current sentiments.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving

Whether you have one month or one year sober, you’ve much to be grateful for today. If you make an effort on Thanksgiving to share your gratitude with others, it will make the day go by easier. Remember your tools and the skills you acquired in treatment, and relapse won’t be a part of your recovery.

The gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe, sober, and happy Thanksgiving. We are proud of your accomplishments, and we hope that you are, too.

Addiction-Free Pain Management

addiction

The search for cures to the world’s most deadly diseases (i.e., cancer and addiction) is one that tends to result in more questions than answers. History indicates, time and time again, that solutions to medical ailments are hard-fought, often taking decades to make progress. Some 37 years have passed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began its quest for a cure to the human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). While there are medications that can keep HIV/AIDS at bay, a cure still eludes researchers.

We could say the same for many life-threatening health conditions leading to premature death, i.e., cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis C. The disease of addiction could also be added to the list of fatal conditions with no known cure. Like AIDS, recovery from addiction can be managed and maintained, but not cured.

It’s safe to assume that researchers are not on the brink of discovery regarding a cure for addiction. However, if a problem can’t be solved, then a temporary solution is to lessen the number of new cases. Finding ways to prevent individuals from going down the road of addiction is complicated by the method doctors use to treat pain.

Treating Pain Without The Risk of Addiction

Pain is a fact of life. At some point, all of us experience acute or chronic pain. The current means of treating either type of pain is prescription opioids. We don’t need to tell you the result of handling all-things-pain with opioids. Even when something non-addictive, like Tylenol, will work, doctors, more times than not (it seems) still fall back on drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin. The result? We now have more than 2 million opioid addicts in the United States.

At the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week in Washington, D.C., opioids was a significant topic of discussion. Pharmacologist Edward Bilsky, provost and chief academic officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, is moderated a panel on pain, addiction, and opioid abuse, NPR reports. One of the topics of discussion: alternatives to opioids in the treatment of pain.

We know a lot more about pain and addiction than we used to," said Bilsky, "But it's been hard to get a practical drug."

Bilsky highlights several areas of pain management that carry fewer risks to patient safety than opioids, such as:

  • Scientists discovered cone snail venom contains substances that act as powerful painkillers affecting non-opioid receptors in the brain. However, the one drug on the market is only administered by spinal column injection.
  • Drugs targeting specific brain circuits which increase or diminish perception of pain; some antidepressants have shown promise.
  • Researchers are also working on ways to erase memories of pain.

Addiction Via Chronic Pain

The definition of chronic pain is experiencing daily discomfort for more than three months. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that at least 25 million people suffer from chronic pain. Given that most of the individuals mentioned above receive prescription opioids, the risk of new opioid addiction cases is high. The need for opiate alternatives is tremendous, and hopefully, progress in the field is on the horizon.

The road to opioid use disorder often begins with chronic pain. When anyone uses a drug like OxyContin for months on end, dependence is inevitable. The hooks of opiate narcotics sink deep, even if one’s pain subsides the need for the drugs lingers on. Patients looking to break free from their painkillers struggle to do so on their own; fortunately, there is help available.

At PACE Recovery Center, an exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men, we’ve seen the devastating effect of reckless overprescribing. We know that people with opioid use disorder are prone to relapse if they do not seek assistance when seeking recovery. Our team of highly-skilled addiction professionals can help you (or a loved one) break the cycle of opioid addiction, and show you how life in recovery is possible. Please contact us today, regardless of which type of drug you are addicted (OxyContin or heroin). We can help.

Addiction Recovery: A Fellowship of Miracles

addiction recovery

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.” Those of you new to addiction recovery have undoubtedly heard that before. It’s likely you understand what it means: Don’t give up on working a program of recovery before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Anyone who has been in the program for a time will agree that there are no shortages of miracles in the rooms of recovery. Each person dedicated to sobriety is a miracle; resisting one’s programming takes tremendous commitment and fortitude. While there will always be difficult times (even in abstinence), the worst day in recovery is far better than the best day in active addiction.

mir·a·cle
ˈmirək(ə)l/
noun
A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

It stands to reason that we will all have a different opinion on what constitutes a miracle. Everyone is going to consider the unexplainable subjectively, and that’s OK. However, it’s nearly impossible to look at someone in recovery objectively without being inspired. Going from the depths of despair to the spiritual light of recovery, two realms diametrically opposed, is almost unbelievable. People who’ve been around a while have seen newcomers, once in a dismal state of being, turn their lives around via the principles of addiction recovery.

If you were to ask the same newcomers how their recovery was made possible, they might struggle to find an answer. Making sense of how recovery works is challenging in a society that turns to medicine and science for solutions. A group of men and women meeting daily to check in with each other, giving feedback and guidance when asked, can seem likely an unlikely method of promoting healing. It works!

You Are the Miracle of Recovery

When bad things are happening in one’s life it’s noticeable right away. When good things are happening, it’s often difficult to recognize. Early in recovery determining how one’s life has improved is challenging, miracles can be both subtle and elusive. Taking stock of one’s progress isn’t easy when you are new to the program but rest assured, if you are staying sober and doing the work a transformation is taking place. If you are willing to do the Work, are open and honest with yourself and others, it’s a miracle in itself.

After an extended period of going to meetings and doing step work with a sponsor you might realize that you are the miracle for which you were waiting patiently. Sure, the program might bring about getting the family back in one’s life, financial security, and anyone of a multitude of gifts; but the fact that you have gone a string of 24-hour periods without a drink is a miracle. It’s a real achievement if you woke up today and asked yourself how you can be of service to your fellows in recovery. Rather than setting a selfish course for your day, you are focused on how you can act selflessly, helping others achieve the common goal of recovery.

One of the most satisfying feats is getting through a day without thinking about using drugs or alcohol. Cravings and fixations wax and wane in recovery, but early on they can be pretty intense. As time passes, you will think about using less and less; instead of looking for an escape from daily life you’ll find a desire to be a part of your existence. Urges to isolate will be replaced by a yen for inclusion in the happenings of other people’s lives.

As Long as It Takes

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” — Paul Coelho

Nobody finds recovery by accident. When one’s life is discordant, a need for change is self-evident. Realizing that action is required to bring about such a change doesn’t always come quickly. People can toil in the misery of addiction for unconscionable lengths of time. When the choice is finally made to seek help and efforts are taken to bring it about, individuals experience their first miracle in recovery.

Much is required of any person looking to break the cycle of addiction and transform their life for the better. There will be times when you question why you are going to meetings day-in-and-day-out. You might find yourself doubting the miracles promised by your peers in the program, but for different reasons than you might think.

Perhaps you had the thought that the gifts of recovery would originate externally? If that is the case, you might consider changing your perspective. The real miracles of addiction recovery come from within, connecting with the spiritual realm is the gift, and in recovery, you are the miracle. You can see evidence of that when considering your existence before finding addiction recovery and after. The transformation may not be evident right away, in time all shall reveal itself to you—as long as you are willing to work the program for as long as it takes. Although, if you ask your peers who have been around longer, such realizations will come sooner than you think.

Taking Certain Steps for Addiction Recovery

Do you want something different for your life than living in a cycle of addictive and self-defeating behavior? Addiction recovery is possible, and we at PACE Recovery Center can help you realize the dream of serenity. Armed with tools and skills for keeping addiction at bay, you too can live a life of lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the transformative journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery Displacement Activities

addiction recovery

Deciding to seek addiction treatment and work a program of addiction recovery is not a choice that comes quickly. One’s disease is continuously at work convincing you everything is under control, despite the unhappiness characterizing your life. Committing oneself to a new way of existence requires remarkable courage; addicts and alcoholics are rebelling against their condition. Choosing to live life in a completely different way requires more than just putting down substances, changing everything is needed.

Young men whose lives became unmanageable due to this most severe mental health condition might struggle early in recovery. Coming to terms with turning your back on one’s previous way of life is often difficult to swallow. The realization that specific people, places, and things can no longer be a part of your life can be painful. However, if you are willing to go to any length to live in the light of recovery, good-byes are in order.

The disease is about far more than drugs and alcohol and one’s relationship with mind-altering substances. People in active addiction are unable to live life on life’s terms, one who struggles to cope with life’s demands. In many cases, such people are also dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders, like depression. When that is the case, drugs and alcohol can seem like the solution. After all, euphoria has been known to ease one’s troubled mind. Using drugs and alcohol for relief, over time, has the opposite effect. Once the source of happiness, now the source of misery.

A significant facet of addiction treatment is teaching clients about coping with obstacles that are beyond one’s control. Learning how to accept the things we can’t change is instrumental to lasting recovery.

Happiness in Addiction Recovery

Those unhappy while in the throes of addiction might expect the reverse in recovery. The reality is that finding equilibrium and balance in your life takes time, addiction recovery is a process. Just because you extricated drugs and alcohol from your life doesn’t mean life with be smooth sailing right away. The wreckage of our past doesn't disappear because we got clean and sober. The damage done must be addressed, and will be at the proper time, but that isn't going to occur immediately. Painful memories will still linger over your head and inside you in early recovery.

If you follow the direction of those who came before you, life will get better in time. It’s paramount that you stick to the program, working the steps will illuminate your life. Although, you will have to work through many unpleasantries to get to the point of comfort. In early recovery, everything asked of you is foreign; at times, you may feel like ignoring your peers’ suggestions. It is crucial that you resist the urge to distract yourself from the task at hand—recovery. It will not always be easy to accomplish, especially in the times we find ourselves. There isn’t a shortage of distractions in this day and age, especially for young men.

You may find yourself wanting to put off a meeting in favor of television or playing video games, ignore the urge. In recovery, we must avoid anything that distracts from something essential to the program. The early months of recovery can feel like every choice you ever made led to the unfortunate disease of addiction. You may feel unhappy about your lot in life, but you’ve decided to make changes to rectify the situation.

Avoiding Distraction In Early Recovery

Many young adult males play video games on a regular basis, and there are concerns this behavior is addictive. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists online gaming as a “condition of further study.” The reference prompted researchers in the UK to do that very thing, which lead to some interesting findings. The research, published in PeerJ, didn’t determine if gaming addiction was a real psychiatric disorder. However, the researchers found that gaming may be a “displacement activity for people in an unhappy situation,” New Scientist reports. Regarding addiction recovery, their findings may show how young men might turn to games for mental distraction.

If someone uses gaming to meet basic psychological needs, this could become a problem if they are not able to satisfy these needs in real life,” says Daria Kuss, a cyber-psychology researcher at Nottingham Trent University, UK. “But to confirm this, we need clinical samples of people who are being treated for addiction in centres.”

While the verdict on gaming addiction is still out, research like this is useful to people working a program. Young adult males play video games more than any other demographic. It stands to reason that young men in recovery will turn to online gaming as a distraction from their feelings. This is not to say that people in recovery can’t play video games. If individuals are cognizant of why they’re playing, for occasional fun rather than displacement, it should not be harmful. Perhaps you are a young man in early recovery who plays video games regularly? If so, you may want to examine your relationship with the activity; “does gaming hurt my prospects for long-term recovery?”

Addiction Recovery

Are you struggling with addiction? At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you learn how to live life on life’s terms, one day at a time. Addiction recovery is not easy, but with continued spiritual maintenance your life will exponentially improve.

Addiction Treatment Commitment Laws

addiction

Opioid use disorder is a deadly manifestation of the disease of addiction. The condition leads to the premature deaths of over a hundred Americans, every day. In 2016, some 64,000 people died from overdose across the country — more are expected to succumb in 2017. An "epidemic" is perhaps the only word to be used in describing the severity of the opioid crisis in America.

As with most serious health conditions, finding solutions is particularly tricky. However, if experts and lawmakers agree on one thing it’s that addiction treatment is our best recourse. Substance use disorder treatment works, having helped a significant number of people break the cycle of addiction. Those who keep on the path of recovery can live meaningful and productive lives into old age. Without that type of assistance, there isn't a guarantee that an individual will survive to the end of a given year.

Encouraging people with opioid use disorder to seek treatment is more critical than ever. The rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil has dramatically increased the risk of overdose. More times than not, individuals are unaware that the heroin they just bought contains an iteration of synthetic opioid. They administer their heroin as usual, which under normal circumstances carries the risk of overdose, only to find that they bit off more than can be chewed. Synthetic opioids are exponentially more potent than what’s seen in the typical bag of heroin. So toxic that the overdose reversal drug naloxone often proves an ineffective antidote.

A heightened prevalence of synthetic opioids begs the question: Is it possible to protect opioid addicts from this invisible foe? That may seem like a simple question, but answering the poser is philosophical.

Are Opioid Addicts a Danger, to Their Self?

We could rephrase the above question to say: How can an addict be protected from their self? Hopefully, we can all agree that addiction treatment services are the most effective tool at our disposal. Individuals with opioid use disorder are no longer at risk of overdose when they are in recovery. Treatment is the surest way to develop the skills necessary for a program of lasting recovery.

Under ideal conditions, a person with alcohol or substance use disorder seeks help on their own accord. They see that the path they are on is only leading to one inevitable end, prompting them to make moves to correct course. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction is both cunning and baffling; even when someone knows they need assistance, they often resist. When that occurs, some suggest mandating individuals to treatment.

Persons exhibiting signs of being a danger to their self and others are often committed to psychiatric evaluation. The standard for commitment is 72 hours, giving clinicians time to assess the level of threat. After that period patients are usually released, but there are times where longer lengths of commitment are in order. Some people view opioid use, or overdose more specifically, as a form of suicide. With that in mind, there is an argument to be made for mandating addiction treatment. Court ordered addiction rehab is a practice that occurs more often than you would think.

Addiction-Related Civil Commitments

The practice of asking the courts to protect individuals from him or herself is happening across the country. Parents, at their wit's end, will turn to the judge and plead for help in saving their child’s life. In fact, over 30 states have laws allowing for addiction-related civil commitment, The Washington Post reports. There were more than 6,000 civil commitments in Massachusetts last year, alone. While it can be easy for some people to see the benefits of mandating treatment, the policy may not have the desired outcome.

Michael Stein at the Boston University and Paul Christopher at Brown University examined this subject. They wrote an opinion piece warning that the efficacy of civil commitment is unknown, potentially doing more harm than good. They bring up three valid points worth consideration:

  • Research is lacking and there isn’t any evidence that civil commitment saves lives. Those forced into treatment may just bide their time until release. With diminished tolerance, the risk of overdose death is particularly high.
  • Given that civil commitment is a response to the level of imminent risk, shorter stays may be warranted. How can a judge be tasked to decide what length of stay is most effective for a given individual?
  • As the number of civil commitment instances grows, greater funding will be needed to pay for beds and facilities.

Stein is chair of health law, policy, and management at the BU School of Public Health. He is the author of “The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year.” Christopher is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

We need studies to guide the crafting of new commitment laws and the revision of existing ones. How long should commitment last? What services should be required during commitment that increase the chances of a safe release back to the community? Without data, judges will face desperate parents and their children and continue to direct commitments one by one, restricting civil liberties without knowing whether they are reducing overdose deaths or if the clinical and public health resources are justified.”

Even without science to back up the effectiveness of civil commitment, it’s relatively easy to see problems. It’s well established that mental illness doesn’t respond well to force. Compassion is considered to be the most effective method of encouraging people to seek treatment. Mandates imply that an individual has done something wrong. Mental illness is not a crime, over 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder.

Despite the fact that commitment is not a criminal charge, it’s likely that individuals subject to it will feel punished. It may not be a criminal charge, but it’s a decree backed by the force of law. If one violates the terms of the commitment, it’s probably safe to assume there will be repercussions. There are many different roads one can take to find addiction recovery, force and ultimatums have rarely led to beneficial outcomes.

Consider an Intervention

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer a multi-pronged approach to our men's addiction treatment program and philosophy because we understand that our clients are complex beings. Having a place where men can delve into their underlying issues, which have caused them to resort to substance use and self-defeating behaviors, is the core philosophy of PACE.

Often accepting treatment is prompted by an intervention. Should you need guidance in arranging an intervention for your loved one, call our team.

Addiction Recovery In An Environment Hostile to Abstinence

addiction recovery

Young people in recovery have several different forces to contend with, compared to those a little bit older. Some of the apparent obstacles include navigating the drinking and drug culture pervasive to young adulthood. Most teenagers look forward to coming of age, escaping the oversight of one’s parents. As well as, making their own decisions, partying with their peers without fear of parental admonishment—some would call it a rite of passage. However, for people coming of age whose down spiral into addiction has already begun, such freedoms are fraught with peril. Unless an introduction to addiction recovery commences, one’s early twenties are typified by heartache and disappointment.

Coming to terms with one’s addiction is not easy in young adulthood. It’s impossible to avoid posing questions to one’s self, ‘Why me? Why can’t I drink like my peers?” These questions are easier asked than answered; even if you did have the answers, it wouldn’t change anything. If you have been touched by the disease of addiction early in life, it’s best not to reason why. What’s important? Acknowledging that a problem exists and commencing to work on the problem. When one’s search for meaning ceases, your only recourse becomes clear—recovery. Those who seek it, honestly, undergo what can only be called a transformation on a mental and spiritual plane.

Young adults who set a path for recovery find spheres of opportunity open up. What was impossible a short time ago, is now within reach because of one’s program. Those who stay on a course for recovery find few limits to what is achievable, especially young people. Self-betterment requires more than working spiritual maintenance; higher education is the complimentary catalyst for achievement. Breaking the cycle of addiction unlocks the doors of possibility, college opens and lets you through—pursuing any conceivable dream.

Obstacles to Young Adult Addiction Recovery

At PACE, we prepare young men for the obstacles to addiction recovery, including a college culture unsympathetic to sobriety. Just because you are working a program doesn’t mean the gravitational pull of drugs and alcohol will vanish. College is equal parts learning both beneficial and harmful behaviors; campuses are rife with substance use, after all. We teach our clients proven relapse prevention techniques, how to stay clear from dangerous environments. Naturally, the college substance use culture is the farthest from being an ideal environment.

Young people in the Program must be vigilant in protecting their sobriety. While in school there are forces that will attempt to throw you out of orbit. It’s vital that you choose a school that values the needs of young people recovering from use disorders. Of the 20 million students who embarked upon higher learning this fall, recovering addicts and alcoholics are a minority. Meaning, from the start, you need to find peers who share your goal of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, scores of university campuses have addiction recovery support programs now. CRPs (college recovery programs) significantly improve one’s ability to avoid the pitfalls of their mental illness. They offer peer-to-peer support, counseling, and group meetings. Equally important, CRPs facilitate sober social activities providing young people an avenue to have fun in recovery.

One college that has long understood the importance of catering to people in recovery is Rutgers University. In 1983, Rutgers began their student recovery program, The Chicago Tribune reports. The school has a dedicated residence hall for abstinent students, known as the Recovery House. Today, 150 colleges offer CRPs and 50 offer substance-free dorms to students.

Addiction Recovery Oasis

In the United States, Lisa Laitman, director of the Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at Rutgers University, points out, 30 percent of university students have substance use disorders, according to the article. “That’s a lot of students who need help,” said Laitman.

Laitman says that CRPs for young men and women in recovery are “a kind of oasis in the desert.” The more you can do to protect your recovery, the more likely you will be to succeed. For those planning to attend university this winter, we implore you to investigate what your college offers—recovery-wise.

If you’re young man with substance use disorder, whose ambitions include a college degree, please reach out to us. We designed our PACE Academy program with you in mind. We will help you break the cycle of addiction, provide you with the tools and support needed for successful outcomes. Alcohol and substance use disorder doesn’t have to keep you from fulfilling your dreams for the future.

Mental Health in the Workplace: Exercising Compassion

mental health

From National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month to Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), significant efforts have been made of late to shatter stigma and promote mental health treatment. We can all lend a hand in encouraging others to seek help. By promoting wellness, lives can be both mended and saved. It’s vital that such efforts continue, there is much work to be done.

On numerous occasions over the years, we have written about the importance of mental health parity, mental illness treatment and the negative impact that stigma has on society. We are all affected by the well-being of our peers, demanding that everything in our power is done to inspire others to seek help. Whether someone is suffering from depression, battling addiction or both; treatment works, recovery can become a reality for the millions of afflicted individuals.

Regardless of where you live or how old you are, the odds are that you know someone affected by mental illness. Or, you may be struggling yourself. With depression affecting more than 300 million people worldwide (just one of the many forms of mental illness), the odds are high. There are over 260 million living with anxiety disorders, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is next to impossible not to know someone touched by mental illness.

Mental Health In The Workplace

With such a high prevalence of mental health conditions, it stands to reason that most workplaces employ people affected. Unlike other typical illnesses, people with mental illness are far less likely to share what they are going through with an employer. Conversely, many employers are not keen on the idea of hiring people with mental health conditions. Creating closed-mouthed environments, one has to omit information to get a job. Then, has to do what they can to disguise their issues to keep it.

Obviously, it’s illegal to fire someone because of mental illness. But, that doesn’t mean that openly talking about it is typically welcomed in the workplace. This code of silence makes not only employees iller, but it also has an impact on the business itself. If someone feels that they can’t talk about what they are dealing with, they are less likely to seek treatment. For fear of repercussions to their career, individuals will do whatever they can to hide what they are going through on the inside. A trend that can have grave implications for the individual in the long run.

Without treatment and continued maintenance, people living with untreated mental illness will take desperate measures. Drugs, alcohol, and self-harm are conventional vehicles of coping with untreated mental health conditions. Behaviors that often lead to addiction, overdose, and premature death. Employers who promote environments of well-being can have a hand in reversing such outcomes.

World Mental Health Day

Some of our readers may remember that we discussed the topic of mental health in the workplace back in July? An exchange involving employee and employer. Yes, talking about needing time off for mental health, mirabile dictu, and it went unbelievably well. If you didn’t get a chance to read our post, below you can see the fantastic exchange:

Employee:

Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”

Employer:

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending e-mails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health – I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work.”

The above discourse can serve as an inspiration to everyone. We can all promote mental health in the workplace. Mental health in the workplace is the theme of World Mental Health Day 2017 (October 10, 2017). Depression and anxiety disorders, alone, cost $1 trillion in lost productivity each year, according to WHO. The organization would like to raise awareness for mental health issues, and the impact such conditions have on society:

Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains, not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work. A negative working environment, on the other hand, may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.”

Dual Diagnosis Therapy

AT PACE, we would like to acknowledge all the employers who treat mental health with compassion. You are a model for all employers around the globe, promoting the facts. Mental illness is treatable; kindness pays off in the end.

A significant number of the millions battling anxiety and depression also meet the criteria for addiction. When that is the case, treatment can be complicated. In such cases, long-term recovery is dependent on treating both the addiction and co-occurring mental health condition. If you are struggling with a dual diagnosis, we can help. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to begin the lifesaving process.

Winnie-the-Pooh’s Mental Illness: How to Treat Others (in spite of their “flaws”)

mental illness

All of us in recovery have a story. Our stories go back to before we began walking down the treacherous road of addiction. Many of us had, for the most part, decent childhoods. Growing up in houses full of love. Parents who bent over backwards to ensure we would be afforded every opportunity in life. After all, that is the role that parents are expected to take in a child’s life. Two people who teach you how to be a good person, to yourself and to others.

However, our guides in early life had no way of knowing that deep inside their children something was amiss. Rather than a philharmonic orchestra, a syncopated jazz ensemble was on stage. The music sounded great, but it was off-beat. While there is certainly beauty in organized chaos, left unchecked the lines of discord and harmony become blurred. Truly, the number of variables that lead one toward the grips of addiction are numerous. Each individual case with unique roots, but the trees that would grow up were similar in appearance. Everyone recovering from addiction has unique experiences, but what brought us too surrender looked the same.

The signs may not have been picked up on early on. But, it can’t be denied that a significant number of people living with addiction met the criteria for mental illness. In one form or another, early on. Such conditions, and a lack of treatment, likely played a part in many people's’ path to drugs and alcohol. Verily, those touched by mental illness, but don’t have tools to cope or even talk about it, turn to self-medication. It doesn’t have to be in the form of substances, it can be behaviors as well. Patterns of risk-taking behaviors, specifically, resulting in co-occurring disorders.

What Does Winnie the Pooh Have to Do With People In Recovery?

When you were a kid, your parents likely read you children stories. Regardless of which decade you spent your childhood, A.A. Milne’s stories were probably read to you. Winnie the Pooh and his pals of the Hundred Acre Forest danced through your mind before falling asleep. We couldn’t see it then, but Milne was trying to reach us—even if it was inadvertently. You see, Milne fought in both world wars, which scared him. At the time “experts” would have called it bullet wind, soldier's heart, battle fatigue, or operational exhaustion. But, most people called it “shell shock;” what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder.

A new biopic ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin,’ explores A. A. Milne’s battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the creation of Pooh. Milne’s inspiration being his son and his toys, TIME reports. The Winnie the Pooh series has been dissected and has even been applied to schools of philosophy (i.e.The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet) over the years. Helpful for those in recovery, to be sure. Perhaps even more relevant to the field of addiction is a study from 2000, published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne.

In the study, Dr. Sarah Shea Read and colleagues started out with the intention of having a bit of fun. They assigned a mental illness to each character, using criteria from the DSM, according to iNews. Dr Shea claims that she hadn’t any knowledge Milne’s struggle with PTSD, at the time of the research. Milne’s characters were likely the author’s way of processing his own struggle with mental illness. Untreated mental illness, that is.

Concept of Comorbidity (Co-Occurring Disorders)

For some of you, decades may have passed since you read or watched something with Winnie the Pooh. Still, there is good chance you remember the attributes of the characters. iNews compiled some of the researchers’ insights on the characters:

Winnie the Pooh: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

This unfortunate bear embodies the concept of comorbidity [the presence of more than one disorder].
Most striking is his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As clinicians, we had some debate about whether Pooh might also demonstrate significant impulsivity, as witnessed, for example, by his poorly thought out attempt to get honey by disguising himself as a rain cloud.”

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Had he been appropriately assessed and his condition diagnosed when he was young, he might have been placed on an anti-panic agent… and been saved from the emotional trauma he experienced while attempting to trap heffalumps.”

Eeyore: Dysthymia – or ‘Persistent Depressive Disorder’

We do not have sufficient history to diagnose this as an inherited, endogenous depression, or to know whether some early trauma contributed to his chronic negativism.”

Tigger: Recurring Pattern of Risk-Taking Behaviours

We acknowledge that Tigger is gregarious and affectionate, but he has a recurrent pattern of risk-taking behaviours. Look, for example, at his impulsive sampling of unknown substances when he first comes to the Hundred Acre Wood. With the mildest of provocation he tries honey, haycorns and even thistles. Tigger has no knowledge of the potential outcome of his experimentation.”

Rabbit: Possible Narcissism

We note his tendency to be extraordinarily self-important and his odd belief system that he has a great many relations and friends. He seems to have an overriding need to organize others, often against their will, into new groupings, with himself always at the top of the reporting structure.”

Do Unto Others… The Stigma of Mental Illness

People living with untreated mental illness are often treated poorly by society. What people can’t understand, often frighten them. Impelling them to treat people in ways that they would never wish to be treated. Perhaps all of us missed the most important aspect of Milne’s stories. That it is O.K. to be different. That things happen in life that are beyond any one person’s control. And rather than ostracize and exile others, compassion and love can be what helps them heal.

Humans have a long history of treating those with mental illness as broken. Moral weakness, and a lack of constitution, drove them to insanity and vice. That has never been the reality, but if people are treated that way they will never find the courage to recover. Recovery is possible, so long is people are given the opportunity to do so—without fear of repercussion.

More than anything, the key to the books are their tone of love and acceptance and unspoken forgiveness in the Hundred Acre Wood,” said Dr. Read. “The stories provide lovely examples of how humans should behave.”

Many of us, upon finding recovery, were unaware that our addiction was inextricably linked to a co-occurring mental health disorder. We found that when our depression or anxiety was treated, achieving lasting addiction recovery was exponentially more likely to come to fruition. If you are a young male battling addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help.

You can watch the ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ trailer below:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.