Category Archives: Uncategorized

Recovery and the American Opioid Epidemic

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you were able to make it through Thanksgiving without incident. As we have pointed out previously, the relapse rate tends to elevate during significant holidays. If your addiction recovery was compromised, we understand how you are feeling.

Hopefully, you have already discussed your relapse with your sponsor or a trusted peer. It’s difficult to admit that you slipped up, but it’s essential to get back on the road to recovery immediately.

The shame and guilt that accompanies relapses can be paralyzing; such feelings tend to prompt people to continue using even though they know where it leads. Please do not let relapse morph into an active cycle of addiction.

You are not alone; many people experience a relapse in early recovery. What’s salient is that you quickly identify as a newcomer, talk with your sponsor, or a trusted peer, in private about what happened.

A relapse is not the end of the world, and it can be used as a valuable learning experience. Choosing to go with the opposite route, keeping the matter to yourself, will restart the cycle of addiction. This path may result in you needing to return to an addiction treatment center for more intensive assistance.

We hope that you navigated Thanksgiving without incident, but if you didn’t, then you are at a critical juncture. You have to decide whether you are going to be honest, or let the disease re-exert control over your life. Naturally, we hope that you choose the former. If you do not, then please contact PACE Recovery Center to discuss your options. We have helped many men get back on the road toward lasting recovery following a relapse.

An Exposé On The American Opioid Crisis and Recovery

For the remainder of this week’s post, we would like to take the opportunity to share a timely exposé about the opioid epidemic. While progress has been made in recent years in reining in the scourge of prescription opioid abuse, millions of Americans continue to struggle.

One publication that has dedicated significant resources to shine a light on this deadly public health crisis is The New York Times (NYT). Over the last two decades, the newspaper has published scores of articles covering practically every angle. Everything from how opioids became ubiquitous in America to legislation aimed at tackling the problem has been covered in recent years.

A couple of days ago, NYT released an article titled: “The Class of 2000 ‘Could Have Been Anything.’” At first glance, the title may be nebulous in meaning and appear to have little to do with the opioid epidemic.

Dan Levin covers American youth for The Times’ National Desk. He recently took a close look at one high school class that graduated right as the prescription opioid epidemic began to take hold of communities across America. Now twenty years later, Levin found that many of Minford High School’s Class of 2000, in rural Minford, Scioto County, Ohio, continues to wrestle with opioid use disorder.

There is much to unpack in the article; the author focuses on a select number of students who came of age in town that leads Ohio with fatal drug overdoses, drug-related incarceration, and neonatal abstinence syndrome rates. The students share how they were introduced to opioids in high school, and about how addiction changed the course of their life.

In 2010, Scioto County led the state in the number of opioid prescriptions— enough opioids were prescribed to give 123 pills to each resident.

A Devastating Toll, but Signs of Hope

While several students would succumb to their opioid use disorder, there are others who are now on the road to recovery. Jonathan Whitt became addicted to prescription opioids when he was 16; by 28, he was using heroin intravenously, according to the article. Whitt said that he was incarcerated many times and went to rehab on numerous occasions before choosing a new path. Today, Whitt has four years clean and sober.

The consequences started happening in college. By this point I was physically dependent on OxyContin, but it was very easy to tell myself, ‘I don’t do crack, I don’t shoot up.’ That messed me up for a really long time.” — Jake Bradshaw, Milford Class of 2000

Jake Bradshaw has been in recovery since 2013, the article reports. He is the founder of the “Humans of Addiction” blog. Today, Mr. Bradshaw works in the addiction treatment industry.

There are many more individuals who are highlighted in the story, and we encourage you to read the article at length. The two Milford alum are examples that recovery is possible, even after years of misuse and addiction. It’s critical to remember that the opioid epidemic is still in full force. Efforts to curb this most severe public health crisis are essential.

Since the Milford students graduated in 2000, some 275 people have died of an overdose in rural Scioto County, Ohio. Moreover, in excess of 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses across the country since the turn of the century.

Addiction Treatment for Men

Addiction recovery is possible for any man who desires it, but the first step is reaching out for support. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are one of the millions whose life has become unmanageable due to opioid use disorder. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapies to give men the tools for leading a productive, positive life in recovery.

Recovery During Thanksgiving: Maintaining Your Sobriety

recovery

You don't need to have alcohol for a good Thanksgiving. If you are in addiction recovery, alcohol will not only complicate your day, but it will derail your program. With the significant holiday quickly approaching, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for keeping your sobriety intact and have an excellent time as well.

Men in the first 365 days of recovery are entering the holiday season for the first time. Such people may not fully know what to expect, but it's safe to say that many have some concerns. Some will be around family members this Thursday, which means there may be questions about why they are not drinking.

While your recovery is nobody's business but your own, you may want to think about having something to say for any off-putting questions. Your closest family members may know you are working a program, but others may not. As such, the latter may encourage you to drink or inquire as to why you are teetotaling your way through the celebration.

It is reasonable if you do not feel comfortable divulging information about the path you are on. Having a script in the back of your mind can save you from having to answer uncomfortable questions. It may feel as though you're dishonest when, in fact, you are merely guarding your personal health information.

You can say that you are taking a medication that doesn't mix with alcohol. It's also okay to say that you are working on being healthier and that you are more committed to exercise and diet than drinking. There is a myriad of acceptable responses to explain away your alcohol intake. Talk to your sponsor to discover how they handle unsolicited questions about sobriety.

Recovery Comes First Every Day

Thanksgiving shouldn't be treated differently than any other day of the year. Those who work a program and are committed to a new path understand that recovery must always be priority number one. As the saying goes, 'put your sobriety first to make it last.'

It's challenging to prioritize recovery day in and day out, 365 days a year. However, the task can be even more arduous during the holiday seasons. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a time of added stress and unwanted emotions. Not everyone looks forward to the holidays, even if they are time for togetherness.

Many people in early recovery associate the holidays with unpleasurable memories. What's more, not everyone in early recovery has their family back in their lives. The thought of not being welcome at the family table can be hard to stomach. Fortunately, you have your support network to spend time with this coming Thursday.

Whenever a holiday comes around, you can rest assured that a member of your support group (homegroup) will be hosting a get-together. If you have not heard anything yet, ask your sponsor or share at your next meeting that you are wondering how others are planning for Thanksgiving. Your support network will be able to guide you on safe and sober ways to occupy your time.

On Thursday, please resist the temptation to isolate and ensure that you make it to at least one meeting. It never hurts to go to multiple meetings during a holiday, either. Do your best to start your day how you would any other day of the year, i.e., prayer/meditation, exercise, a healthy breakfast, reading, or step work. Know what meetings you plan to attend ahead of time!

Protect Your Sobriety

While it's best to spend your holidays in sobriety with other sober people, you may feel obligated to make an appearance at Thanksgiving dinner. People who plan to attend an event that involves alcohol should see if that can bring a friend for support, preferably someone else in the program. If that is not possible, and you still plan to attend, then keep your phone charged so that you can always reach out for help.

It's a helpful practice to show up a little late and leave early from holiday gatherings. Doing so can spare you from being cornered into answering unwanted questions and prevent you from being around drunk people.

You do not owe anyone an explanation for why you are leaving early. It also helps if you can be responsible for your transportation. Those who do not drive can benefit from making preparations to be dropped off and picked up by a friend in the program; this practice is an extra level of accountability.

Once you leave a holiday event, get yourself to meeting to decompress. There may be things that you saw, heard, or felt that need to be processed. At the very least, make plans with friends from your support network to close out the day.

A Safe and Sober Thanksgiving

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a safe and sober Thanksgiving. Never hesitate to reach out for support; always call before your fall. If you experience challenges, such a relapse, get to a meeting ASAP to recommit yourself to the program.

We invite men to contact PACE to discuss your options if you may feel like you need more significant assistance. We are available at any time to answer your questions and help you get back on the road to lasting recovery.

Alcohol Use and Depression Among Young People: Study

alcohol

Adolescence or one’s teenage years are a time of significant change in a person’s life. Young men and women undergo biological, physiological, and neurological alterations that can be challenging. Those who are exposed to drugs and alcohol as teenagers are at a significant risk of experiencing problems in young adulthood.

Young people in high school are no strangers to parties and underage drinking. They also have few inhibitions and are apt to make reckless decisions, especially when under the influence. Some youths may not even know yet that they meet the criteria for mental illness; and, when drugs and alcohol become part of the picture, it can exacerbate their conditions.

Research has long associated alcohol use with depressive symptoms; alcohol is a central nervous system depressant after all. Many people who struggle with depression – both teens and adults – will turn to alcohol as a means of coping. It’s a practice that can lead to comorbidity; a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis is when a patient meets the criteria for both alcohol use disorder and a mental illness like depression.

When alcohol is introduced to a developing brain, there is no way to predict the outcome. Some youths will use the substance sparingly, at parties, for instance, whereas others may make a regular practice of drinking. The latter may also engage in hazardous ways of consuming alcohol, such as binge drinking.

Binge drinking occurs when a female consumes four alcoholic beverages or more in two hours. For men, binge drinking occurs at five drinks during the same length of time. Those who binge drink are at risk of “blackouts” and alcohol poisoning. Generalized impairment of neurocognitive function accompanies heavy alcohol use; young people under the influence are at a significant risk of injury.

Binge Drinking and Depression Amongst Young People

While scientists have correlated binge drinking and depressive symptoms in young people for some time, new research paints a different picture. Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health published a study that upends traditional thinking on the above subject.

A team of researchers analyzed data from 1991 to 2018 and found that binge drinking alcohol among U.S. adolescents significantly declined, according to Public Health Now. However, the findings indicate that since 2012, depressive symptoms among U.S. adolescents have dramatically risen.

The former is good news, and the latter is cause for concern. Still, perhaps the salient finding is that the researchers could no longer associate binge drinking and depressive symptoms among adolescents.

Comorbidity of depression and drinking is among the bedrocks of psychiatric epidemiology findings—until now. Our results suggest that we need to be re-thinking the connections between mental health and alcohol among young people,” said Katherine M. Keyes, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman.

Like many studies of this type, Dr. Keyes and colleagues utilized Monitoring the Future surveys. They look at responses from 58,444 school-attending 12th-grade adolescents to reach their conclusions.

The connection between depressive symptoms (i.e., agreeing with the statement “life is meaningless” or “life is hopeless”) and binge drinking decreased by 16 percent from 1991 to 2018 and 24 percent among girls and 25 percent among boys, the article reports. The findings suggest the relationship between binge drinking and depressive symptoms is decoupling. Dr. Keyes found that:

The declining correlation between binge drinking and mental health is occurring during a time of unprecedented decreases in alcohol consumption among U.S. adolescents and increases in mental health problems. Therefore, the relationship between substance use and mental health may need to be reconceptualized for ongoing and future research.”

Alcohol Use and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment for Young Men

If you are a young man who is struggling with alcohol use disorder, depression, or both, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment for men.

Our team of masters and doctorate-level clinicians can help you or a loved one break the disease cycle and begin a life-changing journey of recovery. We utilize evidence-based therapies to treat each presenting behavioral and mental health disorder simultaneously.

Cannabis Use Disorder on the Rise

cannabis

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis with voter approval of Proposition 215. Thus began a tidal wave of more liberal views regarding the most popular illicit drug in the country. Today, medical marijuana programs exist in 33 states, D.C. and almost all U.S. territories.

Medical cannabis effectively opened the door for recreational marijuana use campaigns to gain traction. Many states have decided to go against federal guidelines and legalize adult-use without people requiring a recommendation from a physician. Currently, 11 states and D.C. have passed laws permitting nonmedical cannabis use; California voters approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016.

If the trend continues, more states will pass legislation for both medical and recreational “pot” use. In the next decade, we may even see the drug be decriminalized federally. While ending prohibition is probably the best possible route for the country to take, it’s still important to remember that marijuana is not benign.

In recent years, legalization and decriminalization led to more research on the short and long-term effects of cannabis use. However, there is still much that scientists do not know. What is known is that the drug can wreak havoc on developing brains and carries the potential for addiction. Research appearing in The Lancet estimates that 22.1 million people suffer from cannabis dependence worldwide.

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 1.8 million Americans 18-25 met the criteria for cannabis use disorder; the survey showed that 1.7 million Americans 26 or older have a marijuana use disorder. Nearly 4 million people had a marijuana use disorder in 2016.

Cannabis Use Disorder Rates are Concerning

Over the past two decades, the United States government has been fixated on reining in the opioid epidemic. The death toll from overdoses, millions of people actively caught in the cycle of an opioid use disorder, generations children removed from their parents; as well as, the fallout out and societal impact of the epidemic is a significant cause for concern.

While efforts to address opioid misuse and addiction must continue, we must not lose sight of the fact that millions of Americans are struggling with cannabis use. Preventing marijuana use initiation is no simple task in light of the fact that many Americans harbor misconceptions about the drug. Young people, especially those residing in permissive states, need to understand that legal doesn’t mean safe.

New research presents some startling figures about the rise of cannabis use disorder in the U.S. A study recently published in JAMA Psychiatry looked into the effect of legalization on marijuana addiction rates. Researchers analyzed survey data from 505,796 respondents; they compared use before and after the legalization of recreational marijuana. The study shows that between 2008 and 2016:

  • Cannabis use rose from 2.18% to 2.72% among Americans aged 12 to 17.
  • Frequent marijuana use increased from 2.13% to 2.62% among those 26 and older.
  • Cannabis use disorder rose from 0.90% to 1.23% among those 26 and older.

Cannabis use prevention efforts are a must. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that those who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a cannabis use disorder than adults.

Cannabis Effects Men and Women Differently

NIDA reports that women who use marijuana frequently develop a use disorder more quickly and are more prone to anxiety disorders. Men, on the other hand, are found to develop more severe cannabis use disorders and are prone to more antisocial personality disorders.

Cannabis use is so ubiquitous in the U.S. that many people are not even aware that they are dealing with addiction. Cannabis use disorder is marked by an inability to stop even though the drug interferes with aspects of his or her life (i.e., problems at work, school, and home).

Those who meet the criteria and attempt to stop on their own experience withdrawal symptoms. The signs of withdrawal usually begin within 24 to 48 hours of not using. The American Psychiatric Association lists the most common symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Anger, irritability, and aggressiveness
  • Heightened nervousness or anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness

If you are struggling with marijuana use, and have found cessation challenging, then please reach out for professional assistance. You are not alone; more than 100,000 Americans seek treatment for cannabis use disorder each year.

California Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in developing individualized treatment plans to meet the unique needs of our clients. If you are an adult male whose life is negatively impacted by marijuana use, then we invite you to reach out to learn more about our gender-specific addiction treatment programs.

Please take the first step by calling or emailing to an admissions counselor. 800-526-1851.

Trauma, PTSD, and Substance Use Disorder

trauma

Trauma can dramatically impact the course of one’s life; if it is left unaddressed, adverse experiences can lead to premature death. A new report on mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that childhood trauma is a public health issue that we must address. The report shows that one in six people across the United States has experienced four or more kinds of adverse childhood experiences or ACEs.

Trauma can take many different shapes: neglect, abuse, familial separation (i.e., adoption), and exposure to mental health or substance abuse problems. Each person is different; an event may be more traumatic for one person than it is for another. There is no way to predict how an experience will influence a young person.

Author Junot Díaz, writing for The New Yorker in a piece titled: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma, said, “Trauma is a time traveller, an ouroboros that reaches back and devours everything that came before.” His writing lays out how an adverse childhood experience influenced everything, from relationships to employment.

In the field of addiction medicine, professionals are acutely aware of the correlation between childhood trauma and substance use and abuse. Paradoxically, many will use drugs and alcohol to cope with untreated trauma, but the practice has the unintended effect of placing such people at risk of being re-traumatized. It’s a vicious cycle, an ouroboros: a snake eating its tail.

Childhood Trauma and Addiction

Traumatic events, at any point in life, can have disastrous consequences like the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, when traumas or ACEs occur during one’s formative years, the risk of experiencing more significant problems is much higher. A previous study from the CDC on adverse childhood experiences found:

  • For each ACE, the risk for early initiation of substance abuse increases two to four times.
  • Individuals with three or more ACEs have higher rates of depression, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and heart disease.
  • Men and women with five or more ACEs are seven to 10 times more likely to become substance abusers.
  • Almost two-thirds of intravenous drug users report ACEs in their history.

Trauma, whether it occurs as a child or in adulthood, must be addressed by professionals. Too often, the lingering effects of trauma are left untreated; PTSD becomes a person’s reality, and self-medication ensues. Drugs and alcohol can provide temporary relief, but the practice places people at risk of developing alcohol and substance-related issues. PTSD and addiction are common co-occurring disorders.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that about one-third of people exposed to trauma develop PTSD. Moreover, 75 percent of people in substance abuse treatment report having experienced abuse and trauma. While men are more likely to be exposed to traumatic events, women are at a higher risk of developing PTSD.

Veterans with PTSD and Substance Use Disorder

With Veterans Day around the corner, we must discuss rampant PTSD and substance use disorder (SUD) in the military. As we pointed out, exposure to adverse events can lead people down a precarious path. If an individual doesn’t receive care and support for their condition, then they are likely to resort to drugs and alcohol for temporary relief.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. What’s more, almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD has PTSD as well.

Fortunately, effective treatments exist to address both PTSD and SUD simultaneously. Those who experience trauma as a child or in adulthood, who develop use disorders can and do recover.

We have found that both posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use can be treated concurrently [meaning, at the same time].” — Ronald E. Acierno, Ph.D., Vice-Chair For Veteran Affairs and Executive Director Of The UTHealth Trauma And Resilience Center

Orange County Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

If you are struggling with PTSD, SUD, or both, then please contact PACE Recovery Center at your earliest convenience. We specialize in the treatment of men who face challenges related to addiction and mental health disorders. We offer several different types of programs to serve the unique needs of each client best.

Recovery begins with a phone call or email to an admissions counselor. Please take the first step: 800-526-1851.

Addiction Affects the Entire Family

Across the country, thousands of families have had to watch as an addiction epidemic stole their loved ones. Each time a young person falls victim to an overdose, it’s worth remembering that he or she is someone’s child. For every tragic story we hear about in the news, there are countless mothers and fathers nobody has heard of who are desperate to see their child find recovery.

When a teenager or young adult is in the throes of addiction, parents will go to extraordinary lengths to intervene. It is never easy; accepting assistance for addiction is something that many young addicts and alcoholics will resist initially. Mothers and fathers will try any number of actions to persuade their children to seek help. However, if a person is not ready to break the cycle of self-defeating and self-destructive behavior, then there is little anyone can do to affect change.

When a son or daughter refuses to seek treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, it is heartbreaking. Parents must stand back and wait until their child has finally had enough, or hit rock bottom, so to speak. Some will try tough love in the hope that if they no longer provide financial support, he or she will come to their senses about recovery sooner. However, sooner is a nebulous word; years of estrangement can pass before a person is ready to surrender.

In the interim of active addiction and recovery, some parents will look for support and guidance on the internet. Social media provides an outlet for sharing about the struggles that accompany loving an addict or alcoholic. Mothers and fathers share tips and guide one another on ways to help facilitate getting a loved one into recovery.

Mother Raises Awareness About Son’s Addiction

When a mother sent out a plea for help on Facebook, she had no way of knowing the response of support she would receive. Jennifer Salfen-Tracy of St. Charles County, Missouri, is the mother of an addict. Her son Cody had been struggling with heroin and methamphetamine at the time of her candid post, according to 5 On Your Side. Jennifer Salfen-Tracy posted:

The face of heroin and meth...... is reality for so many people and families in this world today. This may be long so i apologize. For my family and friends who know me know that my oldest son Cody Bishop is suffering from his addiction. I am hesitant on sharing but many people ask how things are going so I feel I should share. I have learned along this path that so many people and families deal with the same heartache but just do not talk about it...”

Cody was homeless at the time of his mother’s post; she did not know where he was and had not heard from him in a while. The post has more than 60,000 shares and 30,000 comments. She updated the post and added before and after pictures of her son; the images capture the toll that drugs take on the human body. In the update she wrote:

This is not just A problem that my family faces but almost everyone knows someone who has A drug/ heroin addiction. I pray for strength for those suffering and healing for their families and friends. FYI.... these pictures were taken 7 months apart. That is how fast someone is effected.... let’s get ahold of this issue America and help eachother. Thanks again for everyone’s love and support.”

The viral post, while shocking to see and challenging to read, has a silver lining to it. Salfen-Tracy announced in an update that “Cody Bishop has been found and [is] currently in a rehab facility where he is starting his road to recovery.” She also created a Facebook page so that anyone interested can chart his progress in recovery: Cody Bishop’s Road to Recovery.

Salfen-Tracy’s decision to reveal her family’s struggle with addiction was a brave act. It is helpful in multiple ways. The more we discuss the realities of addiction as a society, the better able we are to show compassion and encourage other young men like Cody to seek assistance.

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment for Adult Men

Deciding to reach out for support is not simple, and it takes an enormous amount of courage. Those who do decide to make drastic changes and break the cycle of addiction can go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives. If you or an adult male loved one is struggling with addiction, then please contact PACE Recovery Center.

We offer several innovative, evidence-based programs that help clients get on the path to long-term recovery. We are available 24-hours a day to answer your questions and to help begin the treatment process.

Mental Illness Alerts on HBO and the “It’s OK” Campaign

mental illness

Talking about mental health is paramount; we need to have discussions about mental illness to combat stigma and encourage people to seek treatment. Historically, Americans have shied away from conversing about mental health disorders, sweeping them under the rug in hopes they will disappear. However, with one in five American adults facing the realities of mental and behavioral health problems, we can no longer ignore this public health crisis.

Right now, millions of Americans are suffering in silence from mental illnesses; such individuals feel isolated and alone in their struggles. Many have trouble relating to their peers at school and at work. When individuals feel apart from society, they are more likely to engage in self-defeating and self-harming behaviors.

Connection is the key to keeping mental illness at bay; those who feel disconnected will often use drugs and alcohol to escape their feelings. The practice can lead to dependence and addiction, and self-medication puts people at risk of overdose. Conversely, when individuals feel like they have support and compassion, they can find the courage to take action and seek treatment.

Several recent national observances have highlighted the need for having conversations about mental and behavioral health disorders. As we pointed out last week, October is National Depression Education & Awareness Month. Campaigns to raise awareness about mental health get more people talking about the benefits of compassion and how it gives people the strength to seek help.

Advocating for mental health in the 21st Century goes beyond annual awareness campaigns. A number of companies are doing their part to open up discussions about mental illness. Television and streaming networks are among those who hope to encourage people to seek treatment and recovery.

HBO Tackles Mental Illness Stigma

The premium network HBO has a history of creating programs that deal with sensitive subjects. Several HBO documentary series have helped raise awareness about addiction and treatment in America.

HBO Shows like In Treatment and, more recently, Euphoria are two examples of series that deal with mental illness and addiction. The hit show Girls touched on mental health disorders as well; the main character Hannah struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Tony Soprano of The Sopranos battled anxiety and panic attacks. The network understands the importance of featuring characters in their shows who face the same problems as millions of Americans.

HBO has a new initiative to get more people talking about mental illness and encourage struggling men and women to reach out for support, The New York Times reports. The “It’s OK” campaign will involve beginning certain shows – that deal with mental health – with an alert that points out the challenges a character is facing.

The campaign will not only apply to new shows; the alerts will be applied retroactively to older shows like The Sopranos, according to the article. The alerts will conclude with imploring viewers who require assistance to reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

We are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised,’” Jason Mulderig, HBO’s Vice President of Brand and Product Marketing, said in a statement. “We are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.’”

In conjunction with “It’s OK,” the network is releasing a series of videos called “Doctor Commentaries.” The short videos feature Dr. Ali Mattu, a clinical psychologist, unpacking specific show scenes that deal with mental health disorders. The first episode is available; Dr. Mattu examines OCD in the show Girls. Please take a moment to watch below (please be advised, there is some adult content):


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

California Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Center

It’s a promising sign that HBO is committed to the awareness and destigmatization of mental health issues. Other streaming services like Netflix added disclaimers to their programs that deal with mental illness and suicide. Providing resources before and after shows that focus on mental illness can encourage men and women to seek assistance.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male who is struggling with behavioral or mental health disorders. Our gender-specific treatment center can help you begin the healing process and teach you how to lead a healthy and fulfilling life in recovery. If you meet the criteria for mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder, we offer a dual diagnosis program that treats both conditions simultaneously.

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

depression

About 14.8 million adults in the U.S. are affected by major depressive disorder. Some 300 million people of all ages battle depression worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability around the globe.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating adult males living with mental and behavioral health disorders. Sometimes conditions like addiction and depression overlap; other times, men struggle with one or the other. If a client presents with co-occurring illness, then long-term recovery outcomes depend on treating both disorders simultaneously.

This week, we are going to focus on National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Every October, it’s vital to discuss the importance of depression treatment and recovery. Sharing facts about mental illness makes men and women feel less alone and can encourage them to seek help.

The risks are incredibly high when mental illnesses of any type are not treated. Depression is often a factor in suicidal ideations; suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

People who do not receive treatment are prone to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. Alcohol and substance use may lessen one’s symptoms initially, but worsen them in the long run. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Anhedonia
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Concentration problems
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week; hopefully, you had time to spread the message that people living with mental illness are not alone. Just because MIAW is over doesn’t mean you can’t continue raising awareness about mental health disorders. Please take a moment to get the word out about depression throughout October.

Men and women who face the realities of depression feel isolated; they often feel cut off from the rest of society. Moreover, stigma prevents individuals from seeking help for fear of reprisals from friends, family, and employers.

If you’d like to get involved with National Depression Education and Awareness Month, then please utilize your social media accounts. Each time you post something about depression, you empower others to seek assistance. When you post information about depression treatment and recovery, please use #DepressionAwareness.

People who are struggling with depression benefit from knowing that they are not a fault for their disease. The condition is far more complicated than just feeling sad. According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIH), depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Evidence-based therapies for depression are available. Long-term recovery usually involves a stay at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center, along with medications (i.e., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] and tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs]), psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Below you will find a list of common and effective psychological treatments for depression:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy [IPT]
  • Behavioral activation

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, there is help available. For those who are dealing with both depression and a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder, support is available as well. Immediate medical attention should be sought; depression is deadly when left untreated.

Seeking help for depression is a sign of strength. Those who take steps to address their mental illnesses can lead fulfilling and positive lives in recovery.

Gender-Specific Mental Health and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a male loved one is struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. Our team offers specialized clinical treatment for men to address all components of addiction and mental health. PACE’s exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, mental health, alcohol, and drug rehab helps men get on the road to long-term recovery.

Recovery Repetitions and Helpful Mantras

recovery

Addiction recovery, among many other things, is about repetition. Long-term sobriety depends on a person’s ability to adopt a new mode of living. Discarding old behaviors and negative mindsets while creating different traditions that don’t involve the use of alcohol or drugs is critical.

Following and sticking to a healthy path takes an enormous effort in early recovery. Keeping temptations and cravings at bay is just one of several obstacles the newly sober face. At times, it can seem like there’s something around every corner lying in wait to derail one’s progress. Which is why developing structured patterns of living that mitigate the risk of making wrong turns is invaluable.

When people finally accept that they have a disease that needs tending each day, they do whatever it takes to nurture their recovery. The first year is about following a blueprint for success that was drafted by countless men and women. The hard mistakes made by generations before gave us a formula for making continued progress. Those who trust the process and stick to the program find no ceiling to what’s achievable.

Over time, one’s new approach won’t seem novel at all. Adhering to and prioritizing the needs of one’s program becomes natural. Men and women will no longer wonder if they will make a meeting or call their sponsor each day. Reaching out a hand to the newcomer will be second nature and being of service wherever and whenever becomes standard operating procedure.

Promoting a Positive Mindset in Recovery

Again, the road to long-term recovery is repetitious. Engaging in the same or similar daily activities, so they become a reflex is vital, but arriving at that point isn’t without difficulty.

At times, calling one’s sponsor will seem like a quotidian struggle. In the first year of recovery, it is common to get burnt out from attending meetings, day in and day out. Sharing in meetings will feel like an impossible task some days. Hearing other people share, ever listening for the similarities and not the differences, can be exhausting.

While it’s not unhealthy to feel frustrated with the program’s redundancies, rebelling against such feelings is paramount. Frustration will foment spiritual unrest and negative thoughts if left unchecked. Interestingly, one of the most repetitive aspects of the program is also a tool for combating annoyance. For example, recovery sayings, maxims, and mantras, such as Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS).

In meetings of the 12 Step variety like Alcoholics Anonymous, acronyms and repeated quotations abound. Some can be found in the Big Book or other 12 Step-related texts, while others arose organically in the group and were then passed along from one member to the next. Have an attitude of gratitude, turn I wish into I will, and progress, not perfection are prime examples.

The newly sober will hear the above sayings innumerable times just in the first year alone, borderline ad nauseum. Platitudes and maxims might seem annoying at first, but when repeated to one’s self in times of difficulty, they can pull a person out of a funk.

Utilizing the Mantras of Recovery

If you become disinterested in being of service, even though you know it’s beneficial, then try focusing on being more self-aware. Combat your disquiet with subtle reminders like:

  • The healthy person finds happiness in helping others.
  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
  • If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.

You have probably heard the above lines before and have incorporated at least one into your quiver of recovery sayings. If not, write them down and memorize them; they are helpful to have in your back pocket when feeling unmotivated.

Perhaps you have found yourself bothered by another member of the group and no longer wish to see him or her? While you do not have to like or relate to everyone, your distaste for someone hurts you the most.

Address the problem by talking to your sponsor, rather than deciding to no longer attend a meeting; they may be a member of your homegroup, after all. Discussions will lead you to discover the problem’s root; in these scenarios, people usually find that the issue is internal, not external. Your sponsor may drop another helpful saying on you, albeit with a touch of levity perhaps. He or she may say, “If you like everyone in AA, you’re not going to enough meetings!”

Bothers with the program are typically menial. However, not facing perturbations can disrupt progress. If you put minuscule problems before your sobriety, it will not last. People who no longer put their recovery first are bound to slip, which brings us to our last helpful acronym. SLIP: Sobriety Losing Its Priority!

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

At PACE (Positive Attitudes Change Everything) Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to adhere to a program of recovery. Our safe and supportive environment is the ideal setting to restructure and gear your life toward achieving long-term sobriety. Please contact us today to learn more about our gender-specific addiction treatment center.

Addiction and Adoption Link is Complicated

addiction

Practically everything can go right with a person’s upbringing, and addiction can still develop. Mental and behavioral health disorders are complex diseases that experts continue to study. Both genetics and environmental factors have a hand in who will be affected by alcohol and substance use disorders. Still, predicting who will struggle in adulthood is hard to foresee; this is especially true for the adopted.

In the United States, some 135,000 children are adopted, according to the Adoption Network. Another 428,000 kids are living in foster care, and many of them are waiting to be adopted. In 2016, the number of children waiting for a family was 117,794. The transition from foster care to adoption is often a protracted process; more than 60 percent of children wait 2-5 years.

It’s not difficult to imagine that waiting years for placement, sometimes in less-than-adequate living conditions, can be traumatic. Even those who are adopted at birth can face significant challenges as they age, despite being cared for by a loving family.

Many adopted children are born to parents with histories of addiction, thus increasing the risk that the child too may experience problems in the future. Children removed from families due to neglect or abuse face their own set of challenges as they age. They often lack the coping skills to deal with stress. Lingering trauma can precipitate the development of mental health conditions and self-harming behaviors later in life.

The Trauma of Adoption

The links between trauma and addiction cannot be overemphasized. People who experience trauma at any stage of life are at risk of problems. This is especially true when a traumatic event occurs earlier in life. Being relinquished from one’s family can take a toll on young people who often are ill-equipped to make sense of their situation.

We must remember that leaving behind family and friends, even when one’s home life is toxic, can give a boy or girl feelings of abandonment. Such sentiments are compounded by becoming a ward of the state or by being adopted by a strange family. Who could fault a child for feeling helpless?

Inconsistent and insecure attachment styles are prevalent among adopted children. Even though life was chaotic with birth parents, many children yearn to be reconnected. This fact can make it difficult for children to connect with their new families. Adopted children may struggle to form relationships with their peers due to insecure attachment styles. They may fear rejection and have concerns that their new family is temporary.

The above circumstances can result in several issues, including anxiety and depression, emotional dysregulation, and difficulty connecting with others. Unable to cope with emotions and feeling cut off from society can lead to developing unhealthy coping mechanisms or a desire to escape. If not physically, then mentally via the use of drugs and alcohol.

Assume that all children who have been adopted or fostered have experienced trauma.” — American Academy of Pediatrics [“Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope with Trauma.”]

Adoption and Addiction

Childhood trauma – adoption-related or otherwise – can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance use disorders are also highly comorbid with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mood-related psychopathology, according to Depression & Anxiety. The process of adoption is traumatic alone. If you consider that the precursors of adoption are often physical and emotional abuse, it’s not hard to see why many adoptees develop substance use disorders.

Parental substance use was the documented reason for removal of almost 31 percent of all children placed in foster care in 2012, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). Moreover, the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect shows that that percentage surpassed 60 percent in several states.

A genetic predisposition to addiction, trauma, and other co-occurring issues together significantly increase the risk of addiction that adoptees face. Once an alcohol or substance use disorder develops, it exacerbates the other concerns. The mind-altering substances may alleviate one mental health disorder symptoms initially, but they will make matters worse down the road.

Adoptees living with addiction and co-occurring mental illness must seek professional help. Ideally, they will seek out a treatment program that specializes in adoption-related issues.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Treatment

Males are adopted at higher rates than females. As such, many adopted men are struggling with addiction, mental illness, and other adoption-related issues. At PACE Recovery Center, we offer a specialized track that caters to the unique circumstances for adoptees struggling with mental health conditions.

Led by Brett Furst, M.A., MFTI, our program addresses the underlying causes of mental health issues and addiction in adopted men. We can give you or your loved one the tools to heal from mental health issues or substance use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about PACE Recovery Center’s adoption programming.