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Opioid Addiction Epidemic in America

opioid addiction

The American opioid addiction epidemic has been relegated to the back burner of late because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not to say opioid addiction and overdose are no longer on the radar; it’s that we’ve been caught up in COVID-19 statistics and our government’s plan to address the situation.

As far as public health crises are concerned, it makes sense that our focus has shifted to the coronavirus—it has stolen more than 220,000 lives in 2020 thus far. Still, the opioid use disorder epidemic should not be forgotten about, even if it’s challenging to focus on more than one public health crisis at a time.

For years, it seemed like opioid addiction and overdoses dominated the headlines; that nearly 100,000 Americans die of an overdose each year seemed like a primary topic of discussion. With each passing week, a new headline involving opioids would be seen having to do with misuse or a new lawsuit against those who profited from overprescribing. However, public attention has pivoted to COVID-19, which has led to more than one million deaths worldwide.

With the nation’s attention on coronavirus, many important stories are being overlooked. You may have missed specific headlines, like the one involving Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, has been in the limelight in recent years. The primary shareholders of the makers of OxyContin are infamous in America. You may be aware that Purdue touted OxyContin as not carrying a significant risk for addiction. The drug was promoted to prescribers as being safe, despite the steady rise in overdoses since the release of the drug in the mid-’90s.

Purdue’s Role in the Nation’s Opioid Crisis

Last week, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges related to its marketing practices, The New York Times reports. The company is looking at $8.3 billion in penalties, and the Sacklers have agreed to pay $225 million in civil penalties.

In recent years, thousands of thousands of lawsuits have been brought against Purdue Pharma. States, cities, counties, and tribes are all trying to hold the company and the Sackler family responsible for their role in the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. The vast majority of people using heroin today used prescription opioids like OxyContin first.

Research shows that 21% of high school seniors who misused prescription opioids and later received an opioid prescription, used heroin by age 35.

While this update is promising news, it’s unlikely that Purdue will pay anything close to the $8 billion; the company has already sought bankruptcy court protection, according to the article. However, the settlement could lead to the resolution of many of the thousands of pending lawsuits. The agreement did not end all the litigation against Purdue, nor does it preclude the filing of criminal charges against Purdue Pharma executives or individual Sacklers.

In a letter to the Department of Justice, relatives of opioid use disorder victims said the agreement falls short. What’s more, Massachusetts has scheduled depositions against some Sacklers for next month.

The D.O.J. failed,” said Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general. “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers, and I will never sell out the families who have been calling for justice for so long.”

Opioid Addiction During the Pandemic

Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers are the tip of the iceberg. Lawsuits have been filed against other drug companies, including prescription drug distributors that filled pharmacy orders despite evidence of impropriety. The opioid addiction epidemic is nuanced; many players were involved in the problem becoming this bad.

The pandemic has made matters worse, according to a new Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study. The research shows that misuse of fentanyl, heroin, and non-prescribed opioids are on the rise.

The findings indicate that the drug positivity rate increased 35% for non-prescribed fentanyl and 44% for heroin during the pandemic compared to the period before the pandemic (January 1, 2019-March 14, 2020 and March 15-May 16, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect storm for a rise in substance use disorders and other forms of prescription and illicit drug misuse. Stress, job losses and depression compounded with isolation and a lack of access to health services can trigger prescription medication overuse, illicit drug use, or relapses,” said co-author Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., Senior Medical Director, Head of Health Trends Research Program, Quest Diagnostics.

It was concerning to learn that the positivity for a combination of drugs was especially pronounced. Positivity for non-prescribed fentanyl and amphetamines increased by 89%, benzodiazepines (48%), cocaine (34%), and opiates (39%). The researchers point out that most overdoses involve concurrent use of benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine.

Our Health Trends data demonstrate the consequences of the pandemic, with dramatic increases of misuse of non-prescribed drugs at a time when fentanyl is also on the rise. Our nation is grappling with a drug epidemic inside a pandemic. Patients and providers need increased access to support services, clinical care and drug testing to stop drug misuse from claiming more lives,” Dr. Kaufman said.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapies to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to lead a positive life in recovery. We are standing by at 800-526-1851 to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment for men.

Early Recovery: Stay Close to Other Men in the Program

early recovery

In 12-Step programs, men work together with other men to achieve lasting recovery. The same is true for women. People of the same sex can relate more easily. Moreover, working the steps with someone of the same gender makes it easier to open up in early recovery—free from the distraction of the opposite sex.

Early recovery is a challenging time. Anything you can do to mitigate the risk of distractions will aid you significantly. There is a reason why it’s suggested to avoid dating in the first year of recovery. Few people are equipped to keep their program intact and juggle the needs of a romantic relationship in early recovery.

What’s more, if a relationship runs into problems and a break-up occurs, it can be an impetus for relapse. If you can avoid romantic entanglements in the first year or until you’ve worked all the steps, you will not be sorry. Doing so will allow you to put all your energy into laying a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

A straw poll of people at meetings would reveal that relationships are right next to resentments in being a leading cause of relapse. In many cases, a toxic relationship begets resentment that is a catalyst for deciding to drink or drug again.

If you are new to working a program, devote your energy toward fostering friendships with other men in the Rooms. Other men in the program will be the people who are there for you when you face challenges. Another man will also serve as your sponsor; he will show you how to work the steps and stay sober one day at a time.

Sticking With Other Men in Early Recovery

There will be plenty of time down the road to think about romance. Early on, your focus must be on adopting new behaviors and practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs. What’s more, early recovery is time to learn how to be friends with others in healthy ways.

When in the grips of addiction, practically everyone you associated with had something that serviced your disease. Now, you are looking for people who are also serious about their program; other men who have what you want—those whose lives are on the right track because of their recovery.

Look for individuals whose daily actions for recovery inspire you to keep doing the next right thing. Stay close to the men who put their recovery first in every aspect of life. Recovery requires eternal vigilance; it can never come second.

Early recovery is a time when your addiction is working tirelessly to reassert itself in your life—to retake its former position on center stage. It’s easy to get off track and to become distracted. Ensure that you are around other men in the program when you are not working or in meetings.

Develop a deep-bench of supporting men in recovery; such relationships will help you stay on course. In COVID-19 America, it’s vital for men and women in recovery to stick together. Preventing relapse during these challenging times must come first and foremost.

Whenever you find yourself struggling, call another man in the program and ask them for help. You might be surprised how beneficial picking up the phone can be. Make a call before you fall. You are not alone.

We Help Each Other Stay Sober

Reaching out for help when you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed helps you and the person you lean on for support. You never know, the man you talk to might be having a hard time too. Your call or meeting with that individual helps them stay sober as well.

A sponsor helps you stay sober, and you help him stay sober too. A sponsor cannot keep their recovery if they do not give it away. Interconnectivity or fellowship is the life-blood of the program.

You make progress each time you join forces for recovery in a meeting or one on one. Staying connected with the people in your deep bench is the key to reaching new milestones.

If you’ve been isolating because of COVID-19 or otherwise, please do not hesitate to reach out. Addiction thrives in isolation, and alcoholics and addicts cannot afford the luxury of solitude. Take advantage of video conferencing platforms to remain an active participant in your recovery.

Orange County Gender-Specific Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we show men how to work together toward a common goal. Our gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment are the ideal launching point for any adult male who’d like to better their lives. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Mental Health Services Investment Around the Globe

mental health

World Mental Health Day was last weekend. The World Health Organization (WHO) called it “an opportunity to kick-start a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.” The global public health agency called on governments to invest more heavily in services for mental illness.

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is behind us, but raising awareness is a year-round movement. The more we discuss mental health, the better; public discourse erodes the stigma, which often stands in the way of recovery.

Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.

WHO points out that more than 75 percent of people living with mental illness and substance use disorders receive no treatment in low- and middle-income countries. In light of COVID-19, more people than ever are struggling with symptoms of mental illness. Those same individuals are also facing challenges and barriers to treatment.

COVID-19 has disrupted access to mental health services, and WHO shares that it was hard enough for people to receive assistance before the pandemic. A new survey conducted by WHO confirms that accessing care has been disrupted or halted due to the global public health crisis.

Mental Health Service Barriers

The WHO survey indicates that 93 percent of countries worldwide are not supporting people with mental illness and substance use disorders. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said:

We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching.”

The WHO survey found:

  • 67% of countries saw disruptions to counseling and psychotherapy.
  • 65% saw disruptions to critical harm reduction services.
  • More than a third (35%) reported disruptions to emergency interventions for severe substance use withdrawal syndromes.
  • 30% reported disruptions to access for medications for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.

“We estimate, and preliminary information is telling us, that there may be an increase in people with mental, neurological and substance abuse-related conditions that will need attention,” said Devora Kestel, Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.

The survey highlights the need for more mental and behavioral health funding. While 89% of countries reported that mental health support services are part of their pandemic response plans, unfortunately, only 17% have allocated additional funding to meet the need for assistance.

Funding Mental Health Services

A more significant investment in mental health services pays off. According to WHO, countries that allocate funds for providing services for mental illness and substance use disorder will see huge returns. For every dollar spent on evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety returns five dollars.

Before COVID-19 spread across the globe, depression and anxiety had a massive impact on the global economy. Each year, nearly $1 trillion in economic productivity is lost to untreated depression and anxiety. The above number is likely to increase exponentially due to life amid a pandemic.

In May, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that a third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety, depression, or both. It’s been more than six months, and we are still fighting the spread of COVID-19. We cannot ignore the psychological toll of coronavirus; investing in mental health services saves lives.

While it’s true, accessing care is more challenging of late, there are still resources available to people struggling with mental illness and substance use disorder. If you or a loved one are having difficulty, please reach out for support.

Gender-Specific Mental Health Program

Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our gender-specific programs for men living with mental illness or substance use disorder. We rely on evidence-based approaches for helping men to lead fulfilling and productive lives in recovery. We are available around the clock to answer your questions and to begin the admissions process. We are standing by at 800-526-1851.

MIAW 2020: You Are Not Alone With Mental Illness

MIAW

With National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month behind us, the focus on mental health continues. While it’s vital to remember that raising awareness about addiction and mental illness is a year-round effort, the first full week of October is of significant importance. National Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) runs from October 4 – 10.

Right now is an unprecedented time of isolation, and it is critical to remind people suffering from mental health disorders that they are not alone. One in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages everyone to take part in MIAW. The organization provides many avenues for participation, from sharing one’s story of recovery and hope and by posting mental illness-related content on social media platforms.

There are also mental health-related events throughout MIAW, including:

  • Tuesday Oct. 6: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
  • Thursday Oct. 8: National Depression Screening Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
  • Saturday Oct. 10: NAMIWalks National Day of Hope

At PACE Recovery Center, we hope you find time to help NAMI raise awareness about mental illness. Mental health disorders affect men and women around the globe. Depression alone impacts the lives of more than 300 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, depressive disorders are the number one cause of poor health worldwide. NAMI writes:

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

Getting Involved With MIAW 2020

You Are Not Alone is a year-long awareness campaign. NAMI invites people living with mental and behavioral health disorders to share their experience, strength, and hope. Doing so encourages men, women, and teenagers to ask for help before one’s condition worsens. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideations or commit suicide struggle with symptoms of mental illness.

When people affected by mental illness share their stories, they help fight stigmas that stand in the way of recovery for millions of Americans. The recovery community’s stories help the public understand that mental and behavioral health disorders are not a choice. As such, members of society are less likely to stand by or spread misinformation.

You can read some other people’s experience, strength, and hope here.

Mental Illness Awareness Over Social Media

This Sunday, you can also start posting to social media about mental health. You can create unique status updates to attach to infographics. You can also utilize NAMI sponsored posts, such as:

  • There is a lack of understanding surrounding people experiencing mental illness. That’s why @NAMICommunicate is sharing some of the most misunderstood aspects of mental illness each day during MIAW. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone, whether you have a mental health condition or not. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • There is no health without mental health #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • (10/10) Today is World Mental Health Day. We all have mental health challenges and if you are struggling right now, know that You Are Not Alone. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
  • Mental health can and should be a priority this election season. Visit NAMI’s new election website, vote4mentalhealth.org, and pledge to #Vote4MentalHealth.

More Facts About Mental Illness

Many Americans do not realize how common mental illness is, even when it affects someone they love. Since mental health is still a taboo topic to discuss, the ubiquity of psychiatric disorders is often overlooked. Below you will see a snapshot by demographic; according to NAMI, mental illness affects:

  • 37% of LGB adults
  • 27% of Mixed/Multiracial adults
  • 22% of American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 20% of White adults
  • 17% of Latinx adults
  • 16% of Black adults
  • 15% of Asian adults

Mental Health Treatment for Men

PACE Recovery treats adult men living with mental health and co-occurring disorders. Our team utilizes the latest evidence-based treatment modalities to facilitate long-term recovery. Mental Illness Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity to disregard stigma and reach out for assistance. We are standing by around the clock to field any questions you have about our programs and services. Please call 800-526-1851 for more information.

Addiction Recovery: A Positive Attitude Helps You

addiction recovery

As 2020 winds down, it may be challenging to look back without a sense of melancholy. Nearly one million people have died thus far worldwide; tens of millions have contracted COVID-19. Many members of the addiction recovery community have come face to face with the novel illness.

You may know someone who has contracted the coronavirus or passed away. If so: our thoughts and prayers go out to you. We also hope that your well-being and program have not been compromised owing to grief and mourning.

COVID-19 has tested and continues to test the addiction recovery fellowship. Not long ago, it would have been hard to imagine that millions of people in recovery would forgo in-person meetings for a digital option. Who could have dreamt that an untold number of men and women seeking a new way of life would attend their first 12 Step meeting via video conferencing?

Fortunately, members of the community have banded together for the common cause of recovery. You continue to meet the day by carrying the message (online) to alcoholics who still suffer—those unable to cope with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

It’s comforting to know that the hands of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous remain open to the newcomer. The new normal is far from ideal but there is a solution to be found. Support is always there for those who need it, including any one of the untold number of individuals who relapsed recently. Knowing that they still have an outlet to reconnect with the fellowship is uplifting.

Positivity: A Gift from Recovery

Undoubtedly, the last several months were taxing, and many have found cause to despair. Risk of contraction, mass layoffs, financial insecurity, and divisive sentiments come to mind when looking backward and presently. However, you have the power to decide how you perceive what is happening. You can choose to zero-in on life with a negative lens, or you can single out what’s positive today.

There is much to be grateful for of late. The tens of thousands of men and women in the field of medicine are a perfect example. It’s challenging to overlook their heroic acts—tending to and treating the millions of people impacted by the coronavirus. Every day, such individuals put on a face mask and go into the trenches to care for the infected. Remember that their selfless acts could have fatal consequences, but they suit up each day regardless of the risks.

The heroes of medicine are just one of the myriad examples of greatness shining today. We implore you to recognize the many beacons of hope lighting your surroundings. Observing acts of kindness is empowering and can inspire you to continue reaching out your hand to others. There is a comfort to be had in the realization that we are all in this together.

September is National Recovery Month: a time to acknowledge the gains made by millions of people across the country. It’s uplifting to remind yourself of the gifts that working a program gives to people. Commitment pays off; just about anything is possible and achievable in recovery.

Even those with a shorter length of sobriety – those in early recovery – quickly see their lives improve before their eyes. Recovery gives individuals the tools to be free from self-defeating and negative states of mind. With a positive outlook, one can seize the day.

A Positive Life in Addiction Recovery

If the pandemic has impacted your life and you have had difficulty seeing the bright side of late, please do not be discouraged. You do not have to work through your challenges alone. What’s more, it’s beneficial to discuss your hardships with your peers. The addiction recovery fellowship is always there when one needs it most.

Keeping negative thoughts to yourself will only serve to worsen an already challenging situation. Sharing what you are going through with others will help you. It will also help others who are experiencing similar hardships. Moreover, the feedback of others will quickly remind you that you are not alone. Knowing that others care will help you put negativity to bed and foster a positive attitude.

A Positive Attitude Changes Everything! Remember, if you still have your recovery, you still have much to be grateful for today. If you decide to harness the power of positivity, it will be easier to get through darker days. Take stock in the gains you make, no matter how small.

Recognize the milestones you make in recovery; getting through another day sober is a monumental achievement if you choose to see it that way. You can get through any challenge without drugs and alcohol in your life. This September, take time to celebrate the gains you’ve made in recovery—it will strengthen your resolve for continued progress.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson–

Gender-Specific Treatment Center for Men

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific addiction recovery programs for men. Please contact us today to learn more about our center and the evidence-based therapies we utilize. Our highly skilled team of professionals can help you begin a remarkable journey and set you on a path to leading a positive and fulfilling life in recovery.

Recovery Brain Heals Over Time: New Research

recovery

Early addiction recovery is a time of significant adjustment; learning how to live life without drugs and alcohol is only one aspect of a complex process. Most individuals new to recovery have been misusing mind-altering substances for a long time; some people used them for decades before making the decision to take certain steps.

It’s common for men and women new to working a program to struggle with patience; it’s said that the addict or alcoholic “wants what they want when they want it.” However, recovery is a process that takes time—one cannot expect to heal and change specific mindsets overnight.

If you are new to addiction recovery – in treatment or otherwise – please allow yourself a significant period of time to grasp and implement a new way of living. Your disease did not come about all at once; the same is valid for implementing a new set of principles and traditions.

Weeks and months can pass by before one feels a sense of equilibrium and achieving lasting recovery will require balance in all aspects of your life. It’s of significant value to understand the difference between acute withdrawal symptoms and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). While the former feelings and cravings may dissipate rapidly – one to two weeks generally – following your last drink or drug, PAWS can persist for months and sometimes up to a year.

Owing to the protracted length of PAWS – usually psychological and mood-related issues – the longer one stays in treatment, the better. When PAWS is left unchecked by professionals, it drastically increases one’s risk of relapse in the first year of recovery.

Scanning the Addicted Brain

The early stages of addiction recovery can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and mental turmoil. It’s vital to stick close to a support network to protect your recovery from acting on uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

Fortunately, the brain bounces back from the ravages of prolonged drug and alcohol use. Over time, you start feeling better, and it becomes easier to tolerate cravings.

In recent years, scientists have conducted studies using positron emission tomography (PET) scans. The type of imaging shows how well tissues and organs are functioning. Researchers scanned the brains of addicts and alcoholics before and after stopping use. The images revealed marked changes in brain functioning in relatively short periods.

recovery

The imagining shows the dopamine transporter levels – an indicator of dopamine system function – in the brain’s reward region. As soon as one removes drugs and alcohol from the equation, the mind begins to heal, and research shows that the brain dopamine transporter levels return to normal function in time.

While the brain scan above deals with methamphetamine use, the same changes were seen when people abstained from other substances. The fact that the brain has an exceptional ability to heal from prolonged alcohol and drug use is salient, and it shows that the damage done is not permanent.

Alcohol Use and Brain Recovery

New research dealing with alcohol use came back with some positive findings. What’s more, the study shows that the brain recovers quickly after taking the last drink, Yale News reports. The findings appear in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

At Yale University, researchers scanned the brains of people with alcohol use disorder. The scans were conducted one day to two weeks after their last drink. The researchers found disruptions disparities, among people with AUD’s, in a brain network associated with decision-making.

The more recently an alcoholic had their last drink, the more significant the disruption. Increased disruption was linked to a higher likelihood of returning to drinking. Such alcoholics will compromise their recovery, and begin drinking heavy again. The researchers found decreased disruption in activity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and striatum, the longer one abstained. The findings mean that more extraordinary lengths of abstinence make people more equipped to prevent relapse.

Rajita Sinha, professor of neuroscience and senior author of the study, says the brain scans can “help reveal who is most at risk of relapse and underscore the importance of extensive early treatment for those in their early days of sobriety.” She adds that a better understanding of brain disruptions in the brains of alcoholics could lead to new medications that can help people in early recovery.

For people with AUD, the brain takes a long time to normalize, and each day is going to be a struggle,” said Sinha. “For these people, it really is ‘one day at a time.’”

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment for Men

If you are or an adult male loved one is struggling with alcohol use, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We rely on evidence-based therapies to help men recover and live positive lives.

Recovery and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you had a peaceful Labor Day weekend. We understand that many Americans in recovery are still out of work—furloughed or on permanent leave. As such, these are stressful times for a large percentage of the population. We also hope that you continue taking steps to safeguard your mental health and protect your progress.

We shared some alarming data regarding the dramatic increase in the number of Americans experiencing one or more adverse mental or behavioral health conditions. Being Recovery Month, we would be remiss for not reminding people – inside the rooms of recovery and out – that they are not alone.

Many people are struggling with symptoms of mental illness—some individuals for the first time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions linked with the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those surveyed, over 30 percent struggled with anxiety or depression; there is a significant chance that some of the respondents are still contending with symptoms.

Any mental illness must be addressed. The dangers of ignoring symptoms of depression and anxiety can result in self-medication or worse. Unfortunately, the CDC survey revealed that 10.7 percent of respondents reported having considered suicide in the 30 days prior.

mental health

While the survey was relatively small, 5,412 adults, it’s probable that the findings are the bellwether of a more severe problem. COVID-19 cases have bogged down our entire health care system. It’s more challenging for medical professionals to assist those struggling with mental illness. When a person’s psychological distress symptoms – whether it be trauma- and stressor-related disorder or depression – is unmitigated, then adverse outcomes are practically a given.

Suicide Prevention Week 2020

September is Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. What’s more, this is Suicide Prevention Week and this Thursday is World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10, 2020).

suicide-prevention-day

The Each Mind Matters campaign asks organizations to focus on the intersection between suicide prevention, alcohol and drug use, and efforts that foster resilience and recovery. The initiative provides many resources that mental health and addiction recovery advocates can utilize.

Individuals can also get involved in the effort to promote hope, resiliency, and recovery. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) invites you to share resources or your story to increase awareness on this “highly taboo and stigmatized topic.”

Not everyone is ready to speak openly about their struggle with mental illness and suicide, and that’s okay; that may be the case for you. If so, you can make a difference in many ways; social media can be a tool for letting others know that they are not alone.

suicide prevention month

NAMI has scores of infographics and helpful wording that you can appropriate for use on your social media pages. Sharing about the ubiquity of mental illness and suicidal ideation lets those who are still suffering know that how they are feeling is not uncommon. Armed with knowledge, one might be more amenable to reaching out for help. For instance:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences a mental health condition in a given year.
  • Nearly 50 million Americans manage a mental illness each day.
  • Suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition.
  • Half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • 75 percent of people who die by suicide are male.

You Are Not Alone—Recovery is Possible

Untreated mental illness and suicide is a year-round priority. Given that 2020 is one of the most challenging years for Americans in living memory, it’s even more vital to stay connected with one another.

When we take the time to reach out or share our experience and hope for one another, we affect change and save lives. No matter how difficult life becomes, suicide is never the answer. Together we can espouse mental health treatment and recovery; we can let men, women, and teenagers know that they are not alone. NAMI writes:

Now, more than ever, we need to find ways to stay connected with our community. No one should feel alone or without the information, support, and help they need. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.

Please take some time this week or month to get the message out about treatment and recovery. Reach out to a friend or family member who you believe is struggling this year. A small action can make an enormous difference in the lives of others.

Mental Health Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or someone you care about struggles with mental illness or addiction. Our evidence-based treatment programs for adult males can help bring about lasting, positive changes in one’s life. National Suicide and Recovery Month is an ideal opportunity to begin a remarkable and healing journey.

National Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

National Recovery Month

It’s fair to say that National Recovery Month couldn’t have come at a better time; millions of Americans are struggling with addiction and mental illness—inside the rooms of recovery and out. We have to remind men and women that help is available, and that substance use treatment and mental health treatment works.

The last six months have been exceedingly challenging for countless Americans. What’s more, it will probably take years to quantify the impact of SARS-CoV-2. Tens of millions have lost their jobs, causing enormous financial strain at home. Many of us have lost loved ones or live in fear of losing someone dear. Moreover, the emotional stress packed into coming face to face with a pandemic has severely affected people living with addiction and mental illness.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countless people around the globe. To date, 26 million cases have been reported worldwide, and as many as a million individual lives are lost. Sadly, the United States continues to have the highest figures. Some 6.12 million Americans have tested positive, and we’ve lost almost 200,000 men, women, and children to the virus.

COVID-19 is a traumatic event on a global scale. Just as people turned to drugs and alcohol during the Great Recession and the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, the same is proving true right now with the pandemic.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), sounded the alarm months ago about a rise in drug use and overdoses. The head of NIDA also said she was “hearing the distress calls from throughout the country” regarding relapses among those that had already achieved recovery.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction During The Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey towards the end of June. Yahoo News reports that the pandemic was a factor leading to increases in alcohol use and depression cases. Researchers found 40.9 percent of participants had one or more adverse mental or behavioral health conditions.

The CDC survey showed that 31 percent struggled with anxiety or depression. Compared to the same time last year, anxiety symptoms increased threefold and depression fourfold. The survey indicates that 26 percent of participants had symptoms of trauma- and stress-related disorder.

Perhaps most salient, the CDC points out that lockdowns and overburdened healthcare systems make it challenging for state and local governments to respond to the uptick in mental and behavioral health disorders. The authors write:

Addressing mental health disparities and preparing support systems to mitigate mental health consequences as the pandemic evolves will continue to be needed urgently.”

Mounting Relapse and Overdose Crisis

Dr. Volkow’s announcement that opioid overdoses may have increased 30 to 40 since the pandemic began is reflected in separate data-gathering projects. The Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), located at the University of Baltimore, confirms that drug overdoses are spiking across the country, NPR reports. ODMAP found that 60 percent of participating counties reported an increase in drug overdoses.

Data from more than 1,200 agencies nationwide submitted to ODMAP shows that overdoses have increased by roughly 18 percent. What’s more, many communities are in dire need of assistance to address the spike. The ubiquity of fentanyl makes a desperate situation even worse—particularly for those in recovery who lack tolerance for the potent opioid. For such individuals, a relapse can be a death sentence.

Jennifer Austin, a substance abuse disorder coach, points out that men and women in recovery depend upon structure and fellowship. Naturally, state and local-mandated lockdowns have made working a program of recovery troublesome for many individuals. Isolation is not a friend to recovery.

The longer people had to isolate it was relapse, relapse, overdose, relapse, overdose,” Austin tells NPR. “I’ve had people who I’ve never worked with before reach out to me and say, ‘Jen, what do I do?'”

According to the CDC, roughly 72,000 Americans died from an overdose in 2019, a five percent increase from the previous year. 2020 is likely going to be even worse; ADM Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says:

Every indication we have in terms of stress, in terms of surveys about increasing [drug] use during the pandemic, basically everything is pointed in the wrong direction.”

National Recovery Month

This year has been a trying one for all of us, but there is still time to make a difference. National Recovery Month is an annual observance to support people in recovery. Experts come together every September to educate Americans about substance use treatment and mental health services; both enable people living with mental and substance use disorders to “live healthy and rewarding lives.”

Throughout the month, webinars are replacing the typical in-person seminars to protect the well-being of participants. 2020 is National Recovery Month’s 31st observance; this year’s theme is, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections.” Please click the links for more information on webinars and events. We can all have a role in spreading the word about recovery at home using social media.

“Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them, that we all have victories to celebrate and things we may wish we had done differently. This is true of everyone and, as in most cases, we cannot do it alone.

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

National Recovery Month is an ideal opportunity to reach out for support. If you or an adult male loved one requires assistance with addiction or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center today to learn more about our programs. Our highly skilled team utilizes evidence-based therapies to help men get on the road toward lasting recovery.

Adoption Trauma | Addressing Abandonment & Attachment

adoption trauma

Adoption can be a positive life event. Most adopted children are well-adjusted and enjoy a stable family relationship. However, issues can arise in an individual who has been adopted. Abandonment and attachment issues can cause other problems, as a child grows and becomes an adult. Adoption trauma should be addressed constructively, along with addressing abandonment and attachment issues, to help the adoptee re-adjust and cope in a healthier manner.

Adoption Trauma

Trauma can occur because of an isolated incident or as a result of an ongoing circumstance that affects someone personally. Adoption trauma refers to the shock and pain of being permanently and abruptly separated from biological family members and can affect both the birth parent and the child who is being adopted, given the circumstances of the separation. The level of emotional and mental difficulty, as well as the long-term impact of adoption trauma, varies depending on the child’s age, maturity level, and other circumstances involved in the adoption.

Abandonment Issues

Research has found that a child who is placed for adoption may feel abandoned, even after being adopted. The child may experience symptoms of abandonment well into adulthood, including:

  • Aggression and angry behavior
  • Withdrawal
  • Sadness
  • Self-image problems
  • Daydreaming, as they try to make sense of their story and identity
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Nightmares

This sense of abandonment can also lead to interpersonal and relationship problems. The person who has been adopted, even if now living in a loving and stable home, has lost their birth parents as well as a sense of being biologically linked to other family members. The individual’s sense of loss may not be acknowledged or may be downplayed. Addressing abandonment and attachment issues is critical to helping the adopted person regain a sense of comfort and security.

Attachment Issues

Feeling abandoned early in life can lead to attachment issues in adults who have been adopted. Those early social experiences, including loss and rejection, create individual differences in security, which shape relational attitudes and behaviors. Being adopted may be associated with a sense of having been rejected or abandoned by birth parents, and of ‘‘not belonging.’’ Adoption may be linked with perceptions that the individual is unworthy of love and attention or that other people are unavailable, uncaring, and rejecting.

Reactive Detachment Disorder

A rare condition that can be part of a child’s adoption trauma, reactive attachment disorder (RAD) occurs when infants and young children who are subject to extreme neglect or abuse fail to establish an expected bond. A child with RAD, which is diagnosed from 9 months to 5 years of age, rarely seeks or responds to comfort when distressed, shows limited positive affect, and has unexplained episodes of irritability, sadness, or fearfulness in contact with caregivers.

Signs of RAD in infants and toddlers include a withdrawn appearance, a failure to smile, and a failure to react when parents or caregivers attempt to interact with them. Instead of seeking nurturing from a parent or caregiver, these children will attempt to nurture and soothe themselves. When distressed, they may calm down more quickly without the attention of an adult.

Substance Use Disorders

Adoption has been associated with increased cognitive development and cognitive competence; however, it has also been found to increase the individual’s risk for substance use disorders. A recent study found that the prevalence of any lifetime substance use disorder was 43% higher among adoptees (50.5%) compared to non-adoptees (35.4%). Lifetime prevalence rates of disorders involving legal substances were 41.0% (alcohol) and 25.4% (nicotine) among adoptees. In non-adoptees, the rates dropped to 27.5% (alcohol) and 16.1% (nicotine). Lifetime prevalence rates of disorders involving illegal substances ranged from 2.9% (opioid) to 13.2% (cannabis) among adoptees and from 1.3% (opioid) to 7.6% (cannabis) among non-adoptees.

Awareness of adopted persons and their adoptive parents to this risk may help in preventing the individual from using substances and in being alert to early signs and symptoms, providing the opportunity for a timely intervention to reduce the damage and increase the chance of recovery. These findings can also be useful for addressing adoption trauma, including abandonment and attachment issues, by providing education, prevention, and support for adoptees and their families.

Specialists in Adoption Trauma Treatment

The professionals at PACE Recovery Center understand the struggles you may encounter as an adoptee, particularly in regard to adoption trauma and abandonment and attachment issues. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you have been adopted or are an adoptive parent and struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. During these challenging times, our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe and healthy. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

The Relationship Between Homelessness and Addiction

relationship between homelessness and addictionHomelessness continues to be a significant problem in the US. Although the numbers had been trending down, in recent years they have been increasing again. A number of factors could contribute to a person becoming homeless. One of those factors is substance use. In addition, many people who find themselves homeless turn to drugs or alcohol as a result. So, the relationship between homelessness and addiction runs two ways.

Homelessness in the US

Over 500,000 people in the US are homeless on any given night. Approximately 65 percent are in homeless shelters, and the other 35 percent—just under 200,000—are unsheltered on the streets (in places such as sidewalks, parks, cars, or abandoned buildings). Homelessness almost always involves people facing desperate situations and extreme hardship. They must make choices among very limited options, often in the context of extreme duress, untreated mental illness, or substance abuse disorders.

The homeless include families and individuals. Of those individuals who are homeless, who make up about 67% of the homeless population in the US, over 260,000 are men and just over 106,000 are women.

Risk Factors

Severe mental illness, histories of incarceration, low incomes, weak social connections, as well as substance abuse problems each increase an individual’s risk of homelessness, and a higher level of occurrence in each of these factors may increase total homelessness. Of course, the vast majority of people with any of these issues is not homeless (even if all half a million homeless people faced all of these problems, there are millions of non-homeless Americans who face each problem as well).

Disproportionate Impact

The relationship between homelessness and substance abuse is complex, with studies suggesting that substance use can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness. Evidence indicates that substance abuse and overdose disproportionately impact homeless people.

A survey by the United States Conference of Mayors found that 68 percent of cities reported that substance abuse was the largest cause of homelessness for single adults. Substance abuse was also reported as one of the top three causes of family homelessness by 12 percent of cities.

In another study, 25 percent of homeless people surveyed, identified drug use as the primary reason for homelessness.

A study to determine the leading risk factors for homelessness among veterans indicated that substance abuse may have the highest impact on relative risk for homelessness in this population, even more so than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. And a 2015 study of found that the prevalence of homelessness in veterans with opioid use disorder is 10 times more than the general veteran population.

A study in Boston showed that overdose has surpassed HIV as the leading cause of death among homeless adults and that opioids are responsible for more than 80 percent of these deaths. Homeless adults, 25-44, were nine times more likely to die from an overdose than their counterparts who were stably housed.

Homelessness and Addiction

Alcohol and drug problems can be causes and consequences of homelessness, as well as co-occurring problems that complicate efforts for individuals to find stable housing. Although studies vary, research consistently shows over a third of individuals who are homeless experience alcohol and drug problems and up to two-thirds have a lifetime history of an alcohol or drug disorder.

According to the 2018 homeless point-in-time count, 111,122 homeless people (20 percent) had a severe mental illness and 86,647 homeless people (16 percent) suffered from chronic substance abuse. In addition, mortality rates among homeless persons are more than three times that of persons with some type of housing.

The Need for Treatment

Homeless people with opioid-use disorder experience significant barriers to treatment. Obstacles include social isolation, lack of available transportation, a fragmented delivery system, and complex treatment needs including co-occurring conditions.

Research has shown that integrated treatment that incorporates housing and employment components provides better health outcomes than the usual care for people who are homeless. Studies do confirm that with increased clinical support and connections to homeless services, including housing, homeless patients are statistically as likely as stably housed patients to successfully complete treatment programs. 

Addiction Treatment for Men in Southern California

When you are ready to seek help for your addiction, we are ready to help. At PACE, we know that addiction is a serious disease that can impact your life in many ways. PACE Recovery Center is focused on helping men in southern California who struggle with addiction take that first step toward the journey of recovery. The professionals at PACE can help you find structure, purpose, and accountability as you overcome your addictive behaviors. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.