Tag Archives: Addiction Recovery

Recovery 2021: Stay Positive

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Christmas is now behind you, which means you only have one more major holiday in 2020. As we have pointed out in the past, navigating significant days of the year can be challenging in recovery. It’s vital to put your program’s needs before all else to protect your progress.

Many of us are looking forward to starting a new year. 2020 has been the most challenging year in living memory for every American. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated all of our lives in a myriad of ways; social distancing, isolation, and financial hardship have plagued millions of Americans. Many American’s mental health has suffered as well; the rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse have skyrocketed.

No one had a playbook for coping with a global pandemic. If you struggled in 2020, please know—you are not alone. Everyone has suffered in one way or another. Hopefully, you have managed to maintain a positive outlook despite the nearly 20 million cases of coronavirus and more than 300,000 lives lost.

It would be nice if we could say that everything will get better in short order; there is a vaccine, after all. However, experts tell us that it could be many more months before the average American can acquire a vaccine. As such, each of us must continue to practice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Please continue to wear face masks when in public, especially if you are traveling or are within six feet of individuals you do not live with currently. Regular hand washing and sanitizing can also help prevent the spread and contraction of the coronavirus. If we all do our part, we could see a drastic improvement in the coming months. Please remember, this too shall pass.

A Positive 2021 in Recovery

As mentioned above, 2020 has been the most challenging year on record; it’s understandable if your spirits are dampened. Most Americans have had to spend the holiday season away from their loved ones because of COVID-19. The most wonderful time of the year spent in isolation was anything but uplifting. It’s essential to do everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude.

Instead of thinking about everything we lost in 2020, think about how this year has made your recovery more robust. Every person working a program had to make drastic changes. Recovery depends on fellowship; this year, everyone had to join forces from afar to keep addiction at bay. Men and women learned that it is possible to stay accountable without seeing others in person. Thankfully, video conferencing provided a platform for attending meetings at home. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without computers and cell phones.

Each of you had to overcome unparalleled adversity in 2020. If you were able to keep your recovery intact, then your program was made stronger. You learned how to cope with hardship and put your recovery first despite a deadly virus spreading across the country. You have much to be grateful for today. It’s easier to stay positive if you practice an attitude of gratitude. Before the year ends, take some time to thank all the people who were instrumental to your recovery in 2020.

We have more challenging months ahead of us, but there is hope on the horizon. Keep putting your recovery first and do your best to stay positive. Don’t let negativity take hold of your life. If you find yourself feeling down, reach out to your support network for guidance. Others in the program will share how they have managed to stay optimistic amid hardship.

PACE: A Positive Attitude Changes Everything

One way to lift your spirits is to think about what you would like to accomplish in 2021. Perhaps you have already started thinking about resolutions; maybe you want to quit smoking or finish your education. Maybe 2021 is the year you would like to clear some of your debt or get right with the IRS. Anything is possible for individuals working a program of recovery.

Achieving your goals is aided by staying positive; let positivity be a driving force in your life. A positive attitude changes everything.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a male loved one struggles with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness. We offer specialized clinical treatment for men to address all components of addiction and mental health. We are adhering to all public health guidelines to ensure that our clients begin their journey of recovery in a safe environment.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center wish you a Happy New Year!

Addiction Recovery: Christmas 2020

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Working a program of addiction recovery teaches men and women how to overcome obstacles. Christmas is this Friday; it’s a holiday that can be challenging for those in sobriety. Many individuals in early recovery are celebrating their first significant holidays clean and sober. They must do all that they can to keep their program intact.

It goes without saying that this holiday season has been like no other. Many will have to contend with isolation and feeling cut off from their support network. During standard times, you might attend several meetings in person during Christmas. However, COVID-19 has made it difficult for many meeting houses to host in-person meetings. Fortunately, you can continue to put your recovery first despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Some, certainly not everyone, will decide to travel this week. Hopefully, such people will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect their health. The coronavirus is still out there, disrupting people’s lives. More than 18 million Americans have tested positive, and more than 320,000 lives have been lost. Please do everything in your power to prevent contracting the coronavirus.

If you decide to travel this Christmas, please be sure to have a plan to protect your recovery. Having a schedule in place that includes the meetings you plan to attend will be helpful. Set check-in points throughout your day; checking-in with your sponsor or other members of your support network will help you remain accountable.

Never leave anything to chance in recovery. Those traveling may find themselves in situations that can jeopardize one’s program. Being in strange environments or in a setting where people are drinking could trigger a relapse. If you find yourself in a risky situation, get to a safe space or call for help immediately. Remember, the helping hand of addiction recovery is always just a phone call away.

A Lonely Christmas in Addiction Recovery

For those spending Christmas in relative isolation, it’s beneficial to still stick to your recovery routine as best as possible. Even if you’re not attending holiday gatherings, problems can still arise. You may find yourself feeling lonely or disconnected from your peers in the program. It can be easy to start wallowing in self-pity.

Take steps to avoid boredom this Friday. Again, it’s crucial to have a schedule. You will still want to attend meetings, even if you plan to participate virtually. At this point in the pandemic, you probably have experience protecting your addiction recovery by attending meetings online.

This Christmas Eve and Day, meetings will be happening around the clock. You may want to attend multiple 12 Step meetings on a given day. You can never participate in too many meetings. The nice thing about virtual 12 Step meetings is that you can hop online at a moment’s notice. If a problem arises or you begin to feel shaky in your recovery, open your computer or grab your smartphone and log on.

The more meetings you attend, the less lonely you will feel. Remember, isolation is no friend to recovery. We understand how challenging it has been to maintain a program of recovery this year. However, you know it’s possible through utilizing all the tools at your disposal.

If isolation starts to make you feel down on yourself, take a moment to compose a gratitude list. Think back on all the things in life you are grateful for to gain some perspective. Gratitude lists are highly beneficial tools; they remind you that you have many things to be thankful for even when you feel disconnected. Throughout the day, turn to your list to ground yourself.

Recovery is a gift. Never forget how far you have come, and you will be able to get through another day clean and sober. Take time to let people in your support network know how important they are to you. When you prioritize an attitude of gratitude, good things continue to happen in life.

A Christmas in Recovery

If you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center. The holiday season could be when you decide to break the cycle of addiction and change your life. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who are interested in turning their life around. Please know that we are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our clients.

Addiction Recovery: A Year In Review

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As the year inches closer to a conclusion, most Americans are looking forward to 2021. This year has been extraordinarily challenging, and life as we know it has changed drastically. We have all had to make enormous sacrifices in order to safeguard our health and safety. Those of you in addiction recovery have also had to change how you work a program.

2020 has been a year that technology has been indispensable; without video conferencing platforms, it would have been nearly impossible for most people to keep their recovery intact. Addiction recovery programs rely on working closely with others to make progress. If you are unable to connect with others, it isn’t easy to stay accountable. Smartphones and computers have become outlets of accountability.

There is no way of knowing when life will resume some semblance of normality. Thankfully, the fellowship rose to the occasion; countless men and women across the country organized thousands of virtual 12 Step meetings. You can now attend a meeting and share your experience, strength, and hope from your home or on a morning walk.

Take a moment to recognize the gift that is virtual Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Online 12 Step meetings are a novelty worth being grateful for today. In recovery, expressing gratitude is always beneficial.

Addiction Recovery: A Year in Review

The end of the year is an excellent opportunity to look back and acknowledge your progress. Every day clean and sober is an accomplishment, to be sure, but there are other things worth taking stock of as you close out the year. You can ask yourself, ‘have I practiced the principles of recovery in all my affairs?’

Are there areas of your life that could use adjustment? Are you on track to achieve your short and long-term goals? Are you doing everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude, even when times are challenging?

The truth is that there is always room for improvement, but it’s still worth your time to review your successes. Taking stock of your big and small accomplishments is empowering. The activity is a reminder of why you do the work—day in and day out.

Maybe you have celebrated a recovery milestone; perhaps 2020 is when you got a year sober, or perhaps it was five years. This might have been the year when you first achieved 30, 60, or 90 days of sobriety.

Not every milestone is measured in years. 2020 might have been the year that you began paying it forward by sponsoring. Carrying the message and walking others through the Steps for the first time is a significant achievement. Becoming someone’s sponsor is worth recognition; it’s a sign that you are fully enmeshed in a program of addiction recovery.

Staying Positive Matters

With all the challenges we’ve faced this year and continue to push through, it’s easy to become disillusioned. Working a program of addiction recovery can be complicated by outside influences such as losing a job; tens of millions of Americans are currently out of work. Maybe you lost your job this year and have found it challenging to maintain a positive attitude. Perhaps you find it challenging to see some higher plan in the adversity you face.

It’s understandable to look back at the previous 350 days and despair. However, you must continue to put your addiction recovery first despite hardship. It’s critical to do everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude, especially when it’s darkest before the dawn. Simply trusting that the sun also rises will help.

Times are hard for countless Americans right now, but we are in this together. This too shall pass, remember that and you will be alright. We know it’s trying to keep a sunny disposition when facing adversity, but a positive attitude changes everything.

If you keep putting your addiction recovery first and your best foot forward, an opportunity will present itself eventually. Now more than ever, it’s essential to lean on the fellowship for support and guidance. If you need help, ask for it; trust and believe that another member will rise to the occasion.

Some men see things as they are and say why—I dream things that never were and say why not.” —George Bernard Shaw

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

One of the unfortunate byproducts of 2020 is a significant rise in drug and alcohol misuse. What’s more, more people than ever are battling anxiety and depression. Hardship begets despair.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Addiction Recovery Centers Receive Funding

addiction recovery

In early addiction recovery and beyond, individuals are advised to avoid all mind-altering substances—including legal drugs. In recent years, many states have voted in favor of legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes, even though the drug has no accepted medical purpose and has a high potential for abuse.

In total, 15 states have legalized recreational marijuana; four states passed recreational marijuana legalization measures earlier this month. While ending cannabis prohibition may be a step in the right direction criminal justice-wise, people in recovery need to remember that legal does not mean safe.

Many relapses have come about from thinking that marijuana will not lead to a return to drinking or using other drugs. If you are determined to keep your recovery intact, then please continue avoiding any substance that has the potential for abuse.

Legalizing Drug Use

On November 3, 2020, a number of states passed marijuana-related measures. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voters approved the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, USA Today reports. Both South Dakota and Mississippi passed medical marijuana initiatives; such legislation has now been passed in a total of 36 states.

Oregon took legalizing drug use a couple of steps forward. Having passed recreational marijuana use legislation some years back, now it’s legal to possess small amounts of more harmful drugs.

Oregon voters approved Measure 110, making it the first state to eliminate criminal penalties for cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine possession. Measure 110 expands addiction services using the state’s marijuana tax revenue. Those found in possession of such drugs will be given a $100 fine, which would be waived if the offender seeks an assessment from an addiction recovery center.

I think Oregonians made it clear that they support a more humane, effective approach to drug addiction,” said Anthony Johnson, one of the measure’s chief petitioners. “We took a huge step for funding more treatment and recovery services, and for ending racist drug war policies.”

Naturally, opponents of Measure 110 contend that the initiative goes too far. They fear it will lead to increased drug use, especially among young people. The bill’s opponents argue that it could also lead to more overdoses.

Expanding Addiction Recovery Centers

One of the essential facets of Measure 110 is the reallocating of funds to expand or strengthen addiction recovery centers throughout the state, according to the article. The measure directs the Oregon Health Authority to redistribute marijuana tax revenue to funding for addiction treatment and recovery services.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office says the funds will also be used to expand evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment services. What’s more, the marijuana tax revenue will go towards providing housing for individuals with substance use disorders and overdose prevention education.

”It’s clear that the current approach of arresting and jailing people for their drug addiction has failed, and that people realized that Measure 110 was ultimately about people, not drugs,” said Johnson. He adds:

It’s about what do you want for your loved ones. Do you want them arrested, jailed and saddled with a criminal record? Or do you want them provided recovery services.”

Addiction Recovery Services for Men

It will be interesting to see how Measure 110 plays out in Oregon. Doing away with criminalizing drug use could result in more individuals seeking assistance rather than keeping their problems a secret. Most Americans agree that non-violent drug offenders do not belong behind bars. In the near future, we could see other states following Oregon’s lead on drug use.

Millions of men and women working programs of recovery are proof that there is another way of life. If you are an adult male struggling with drug or alcohol use, we invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center. We offer evidence-based, gender-specific treatment services to help men turn their lives around.

Our team specializes in the treatment of mental illness as well. If your problem is something other than drugs or alcohol, please do not hesitate to reach out for support.

Addiction Recovery: A Positive Attitude Helps You

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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

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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 Community: Contact Tracing COVID-19

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Rampant unemployment in America, combined with the “stay at home” orders, affects countless members of the addiction recovery community. Moreover, many lack the ability to generate an income from home, which hinders them from supporting themselves in the weeks and months to come.

Now, is a time think outside the box employment-wise, and perhaps do some good towards putting an end to the pandemic. America is severely impacted by the global health crisis; more than 140,000 men, women, and children have succumbed to COVID-19-related health complications, and four million have tested positive. Each day the numbers continue rising in the United States.

At this point, countless individuals find that they lack purpose. What’s worse, requiring a cause can lead people down a dark path. According to multiple reports, many people in recovery have relapsed and returned to the disease cycle of addiction. Alcohol and drug use are on the rise, as are overdose deaths.

Many public health experts fear that 2020 could be the worst year in decades for heightened addiction rates and overdose. It doesn’t have to be the case, but these despairing times have left many people driving by fear, uncertainty, and finding it harder to continue down or start a path of recovery.

Those out of work might take steps to seek coronavirus employment and volunteering options to get out of their heads and stave off negative emotions. You feel better about yourself and maintain a more positive attitude if you have a sense of purpose, even when confined to your home.

Protecting Addiction Recovery and Saving Lives

By now, you have learned that of several things that can slow disease transmission and save lives. Wearing personal protective equipment, washing your hands, and avoiding large groups, to name a few examples. However, tracking down those who come in contact with the infected can prevent isolated outbreaks in communities across America.

Each of the four million people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 came into contact with others before their symptoms led to a diagnosis. Such individuals are also at risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus. It’s vital to track down everyone who is at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 further. To that end, states have begun seeking out those interested in helping contact trace coronavirus exposures.

If you are looking for ways to earn income following a job loss or would like to volunteer your time to help bring this unprecedented event to an end, please turn to the internet to find such opportunities. The experience can support your addiction recovery program and potentially lead to a future in public health work down the road.

The Golden State is witnessing a dramatic surge in new cases. In response, the state government created California Connected—the state’s contact tracing program. The initiative states:

Under this program, health workers will talk to those who have tested positive. They’ll alert anyone they may have exposed, keeping names confidential. They’ll check symptoms, offer testing, and discuss next steps like self-isolation and medical care.”

It’s not just health workers charged with tracing the spread of infection. Tens of thousands of Americans have applied to help. The New York Times reports that 100,000 to 300,000 tracers are needed. Contract tracers work from home typically; if interested, there is a lot of information online for joining the cause.

Addiction Treatment During a Pandemic

At PACE Recovery Center, we are taking significant steps to ensure our clients are safe and free from COVID-19 exposure. Please reach out to us today to learn more about our addiction and mental health treatment programs for men.

Pain Medication: Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

tolerance, dependence, and addiction

Overuse and abuse of pain medications continue to be major issues in the US. People who are prescribed pain medication for injuries or illnesses can develop a tolerance, dependence, and addiction to those drugs. While medications can help you deal with pain, they are not a cure and are designed only to guide you through a specific recovery period. Tolerance, dependence, and addiction happen when the pain medication is misused or overused.

Overdoses

Taking too much of a prescription medication or an illegally obtained pain medication can lead to an overdose. In 2018, more than 67,300 people in the US died from drug-involved overdoses. Death rates from opioid-involved overdoses rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 46,802 in 2018. Death rates from prescription opioid overdoses rose from 3,442 in 1999 to 14,975 in 2018.

Understanding Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

There is a difference between tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Tolerance means that you continuously need higher doses of the pain medication to achieve the same effect as when you first began taking it. Your body develops a tolerance to the effects of the pain medication and doesn’t respond as well unless you continue to take more. This can also lead to an overdose.

When you are dependent on a drug, it means that if you don’t have it your body will go through withdrawal. You can experience physical and mental symptoms in withdrawal. Some of these symptoms may be mild – for example, if you decide to give up caffeine, you may experience some level of discomfort. However, others can have life threatening consequences, such as would be the case if you stop using a prescription pain reliever without professional supervision.

Many people who take a prescription medicine every day over a long period of time can become dependent; when they go off the drug, they need to do it gradually, to avoid withdrawal discomfort. Dependence typically happens when you use a drug long-term (six months or longer) to manage pain associated with a medical condition. Your body builds up a tolerance to the pain medication and then you become dependent on it to maintain the same level of effectiveness.

Addiction is a chronic, treatable disease. When you continue to use a pain medication and do not feel as though you can stop despite any negative consequences you may be facing, you have an addiction. You can be dependent or have a tolerance for a drug and not necessarily be addicted.

Addiction can have devastating, life-long consequences if not properly treated. Also known as a substance use disorder, addiction results in compulsive behaviors as well as an inability to control the use of the pain medication. Although addiction and dependence are different, when you are addicted to opioids, you are also typically dependent on them.

Addictive Pain Medications

According to Dr. Karsten Kueppenbender, an addiction psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, “ninety-seven percent of patients don’t have a problem with opioids.” However, there are pain medications that can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Opioids decrease the perception of pain and create a feeling of euphoria for some people, especially those who take the pain medication even though they are not actually in pain. Opioids are typically used for the short term, to treat severe pain following surgery. They may also be used for some long-term pain, such as pain related to cancer and terminal illness.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (including brand name Duragesic)
  • Oxycodone (including brand name OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, and Roxicet)
  • Morphine (including brand name MS Contin)
  • Meperidine (including brand name Demerol)
  • Hydrocodone (including brand name Vicodin and Lortab)
  • Hydromorphone (including brand name Dilaudid)

At Risk for Addiction

Even though some people can safely take pain medications that are properly prescribed by their physician without developing a tolerance, dependence, or addiction, there are factors that can predict your vulnerability to becoming addicted to pain medication, including:

  • Family history of problem substance use
  • Misuse of other substances
  • Other risky behaviors (such as problem gambling)
  • Past history of problem substance use

Additionally, undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, such as depression, can predict an eventual reliance on substances for self-medicating tendencies that, in turn, only make the issue worse.

Contact PACE for Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

At PACE Recovery, we’ve helped hundreds of men enter into a life of recovery from opiate addiction through a combination of traditional and alternative therapeutic methods. If you are in the downward spiral of a pain medication addiction, contact PACE today to begin your life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Addiction Recovery Inspirations During a Pandemic

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During these challenging times, it can be a real struggle to find stories of inspiration in the realm of addiction recovery. Millions of men and women around the globe have been cut off from the support networks. What’s more, many people working a program have lost friends to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, 1,687,687 Americans have tested positive, and just over 100,000 have perished.

Still, life must go on for the courageous individuals who have dedicated their lives to recovery. Experience, strength, and hope are what is shared in the rooms of 12 Step recovery. Of late, the message has been carried in the digital world for the first time since the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous. For many, it’s been arduous to stay the course while in isolation, but countless individuals have shown it is possible.

When the community of recovering alcoholics and addicts faces adversity, they come together to support one another in any way possible. The helping hand of recovery is far-reaching, and there is nothing a committed person working a program will not do for their fellow peers. It’s fair to say that the coronavirus pandemic has mostly brought out the better angels of addiction recovery.

Thanks to video and teleconferencing platforms, the addiction recovery community has been able to continue putting in the work for a better life. While there has been an uptick in relapses in recent months, the majority of men, women, and teenagers have managed to maintain their commitment to lasting recovery.

Personal Milestones in Addiction Recovery

As you well know, nobody is exempt or immune to the disease of addiction. It does not spare people based on their background: rich or poor, black or white, and the young or old are all eligible to develop problems with drugs and alcohol. The same is true for celebrities.

Many of you may be aware that Elton John celebrated 29 years of sobriety last July—nearly one year ago. There is an excellent chance he will hold a chip commemorating 30 years in a couple of months. When he reached the momentous milestone, he wrote on social media:

29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”

You might also know that Elton John was instrumental in helping several famous musicians summon the courage to chart a path toward long-term addiction recovery – paying it forward – including Marshal Mathers. Better known by his fans as Eminem, the Emmy-winning rapper struggled with substance abuse for years. He has been open about his addiction recovery and has shared that his mother also battled drug use.

Last month, Eminem, 47, took to Instagram to share a picture acknowledging a personal milestone, USA Today reports. The picture displayed a 12 Year coin from Alcoholics Anonymous; in the caption, he wrote: “Clean dozen, in the books. I’m not afraid.”

The rapper did the same thing when he received an eleven-year chip. Each year he lets other young men know that addiction recovery is possible. He can be a source of inspiration to countless men around the world who are caught in the disease cycle.

Inspirations for Addiction Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand that men of all ages are struggling to cope with the pandemic. Many are relying on drugs and alcohol to get through each day. With some 40 million Americans out of work, it’s likely that despair will be the impetus for a large number of individuals requiring professional assistance.

Both Elton John and Eminem are evidence that the miracle of addiction recovery is within reach for all those who seek to lead a positive and productive life.

If you are an adult male who is currently in the self-defeating, downward spiral of alcohol or substance use disorder, we invite you to contact PACE today to begin a life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, but many states are taking steps to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. It is still unclear what impact the changes will have on the addiction recovery community. Naturally, going back to in-person meetings in the near future is welcome; however, we should be concerned about heightened relapse and overdose rates among people in early recovery.

We must be clear; the pandemic is not over. Some 1,570,154 Americans have tested positive, and 93,436 have died from complications related to the coronavirus, a 9 percent increase since May 15th. Each of us must continue practicing social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in public is still strongly advised.

It is still unclear how much longer millions of Americans will have to live in relative isolation, which we pointed out before is not healthy for men and women in recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you continue to take precautions to protect your physical and mental health.

As an aside, one of the unforeseen byproducts of the COVID-19 crisis was the effect it would have on the international drug trade, drug sales, overdoses, and the addiction treatment industry. Many of you are probably aware that drug trafficking into the country is much more challenging than it was just a few months ago.

Naturally, stay at home orders made it harder for drug dealers to meet clients on the streets. Heroin shortages resulted in the stretching of product with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine. We don’t have data yet, but it’s fair to wager there has been an uptick in overdoses in some parts of the country as a result.

Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic

Unable to access opioids from one’s usual dealer, many turned to new avenues of acquiring heroin and pills, NPR reports. Utilizing a foreign supply source may not seem like a big deal, but according to an addiction expert in Orange County, California, such changes are fraught with peril.

When they had to use another dealer, they would be getting a different strength. So they weren’t really sure of how they should measure it and how much they should use. So we started seeing a lot of overdoses and a lot of overdose deaths in the first couple of weeks of the pandemic.”

Travel restrictions at the southern border, and on flights from Asia or South America, have decreased the availability of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine significantly. Shortages led dealers to increase their prices exponentially, according to the article. With more than 35 million out of work and store closures preventing shoplifting, many addicts could no longer afford to purchase their drugs.

Many people sought addiction treatment services as one might expect, rather than face painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Jack MacEachern, who runs a Salvation Army residential drug recovery program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the pandemic has led to a decrease in relapse and overdose rates.

Reopening Could Lead to Relapse and Overdose

When a person detoxes and begins a program of recovery, their tolerance to opioids changes. When life returns to normal, and drug supply routes open back up, a number of those who got clean during the lockdown may decide to start using again. Such individuals may not understand that their tolerance is not the same, which could result in a spike of fatal overdoses.

The above concern has resulted in discussions about ramping up access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, a tactic that the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Elinore McCance-Katz, supports, the article reports. However, she says that such measures are complicated.

In some areas, first responders such as law enforcement do not want to administer naloxone because they’re afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus,” said McCance-Katz. “I found that very concerning because the option is that the person dies.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

Please reach out to PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male struggling with opioid use disorder. Opioid addiction is a treatable condition, and long-term recovery is possible with the guidance of professionals. Our gender-specific treatment center for men can give you the tools to break the cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behavior and help you begin a new life.

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