Tag Archives: alcohol

Addiction to Recovery: A Young Man’s Journey

addiction

Who better to inspire young men in the grips of addiction to take a leap of faith and embark on a quest of recovery then a young man. Addicts and alcoholics – seemingly by nature – feel disconnected from the world around them; such individuals convince themselves that no one else can understand their struggle. As a result, men and women battling the disease consider the desolate course they are on as being the only option. Even when friends and family encourage a loved one to seek help, their pleas can fall on deaf ears.

The sad and unfortunate reality is that too many people believe recovery is impossible. Alternatively, if it is attainable, thoughts of not having what it takes abound; they become convinced that their disease is too advanced or worse, they do not deserve freedom from the scourge of addiction. Driven by countless forms of guilt, shame, and regret, some will spurn recovery services and continue on a path typified by self-defeating and destructive behaviors.

In many ways, it is more onerous to encourage young men and women to seek treatment. College-aged persons have a difficult time believing that they meet the criteria for addiction, even in the face of life spinning more and more out of control. It is easy to persuade one’s self that you are too young to have drunk and drugged yourself to the point of developing a progressive, incurable disease. Young folk who’ve seen movies with recovery themes, picture older people sitting in circles identifying as addicts and alcoholics; when applying the images they have in their head to their reality, it can be grueling to relate.

Never Again?

There are some young people, meeting the criteria for a use disorder, who have a hard time reconciling with the fact that recovery means total abstinence. Explaining to someone in their twenties that a fulfilling and productive life depends on never drinking or drugging again (among other things), is news that some struggle to welcome. The disease, while inanimate, is always pushing people away from making decisions that are in one’s best interest. Even those looking up at the bottom of despair will put limits on the sacrifices they are willing to make to lead a healthy life.

Not everyone who needs addiction treatment is willing to admit it to him or herself. Perhaps the most significant paradox of addiction that people who appear to have lost everything think that they can stand to lose more before they surrender. The lengths a person will go to continue down a path toward almost certain death is astonishing. Even in the 21st Century, in a country devastated by an overdose death toll, addicts and alcoholics persuade themselves into thinking that it can’t happen to them; such people consider themselves somehow different.

Being unwilling to commit to a life of total abstinence or being too young, are just two of many reasons given by individuals to avoid seeking help; there are myriad excuses one can put forth to skirt making the courageous decision to seek help. If you are a young person who thinks himself too young-in-age, we implore you to think again. Please understand that thousands and thousands of young men are currently working programs of lasting recovery; they are both inspired and given direction by the young men who came before.

A Young Man In Addiction Recovery

Millions of Americans, many of whom are young men, are battling addiction and coöccurring mental illness. There exist treatment centers, fellowships, and support groups which guide these young men out of the abyss of self and into the selfless light of recovery. There are men in their late twenties with more than ten years clean and sober.

One young man in long-term recovery is an author, Nic Sheff. If you follow and read this blog regularly, then you are probably aware that Nic’s story is the subject of a new film in theaters now, “Beautiful Boy.” We covered some of the details of the film last month and are pleased that it is well received by both moviegoers and Nic and David Sheff. Recently, Nic sat down with actor Timothée Chalamet for a Q&A; Chalamet plays Nic in the movie. Please take a moment to watch and listen to Nic as he shares about his inspiring experience. If you are a young man dealing with active addiction, perhaps you will derive hope from the young man's experience with the disease and recovery. Nic rightly points out, “As long as there is life there is always hope.”


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.
With addiction, when you get sober, it’s not like your life just goes back to the way that it was before. Your life gets so much better than it ever had been,” says Nic during the Q&A. “It’s a really amazing life that’s possible sober. The fact that addiction is not a death sentence, and that the love that a family has is always there even after everything that we all went through, to have that love, in the end, is beautiful.

If you are new to recovery, Nic advises that you ‘take things slow and just hold on,’ things will not always be this way.

Young Adult Rehab Program

At PACE Recovery Center, the goal of our gender-specific, young adult rehab program is to equip our clients with the tools and skills to live healthy, happy, and balanced lives free from substances. If you or a male loved one needs assistance for a substance use disorder and/or coöccurring mental illness, please contact us today.

Alcohol Use Disorder Global Report

alcohol use disorder

To adequately address a problem, it helps to have all the facts. Simply put, the United States and much of the western world has a harmful relationship with alcohol. Both young and older individuals alike are significantly impacted by alcohol-related harm, disease, and premature death. Right now, millions of Americans and hundreds of millions more around the globe are struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). What’s more, the vast majority of people with AUD have never received any form of intervention or treatment.

A good many people maintain misconceptions about the impact of moderate and heavy alcohol use. It is easy to think that physical harm resulting from drinking occurs only after decades of consumption. However, wine, liquor, and beer have the power to kill in a relatively short time. Case in point: research appearing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) indicates that the number of 25- to 34-year-olds who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016 in the United States. Not surprisingly, men succumb at a far higher rate; men had a higher burden of age-adjusted mortality due to cirrhosis compared with women by a 2:1. Males lost their lives to hepatocellular carcinoma compared to women by a nearly 4:1 ratio.

The above figures from the BMJ highlight just how dangerous heavy alcohol use and AUD are in this country. Nearly a thousand Americans between the age of 25 and 34 died prematurely due to liver diseases in 2016. It seems impossible to ignore such figures and the life cost to society. Alcohol, alcohol use disorder, and dependence is a worldwide crisis, even though evidence-based treatments exist. A sharp look at the analysis of available research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) should give us all pause.

Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health

WHO reports that an estimated 283 million people aged 15+ years had an alcohol use disorder around the globe in 2016. While AUD can affect both sexes, the majority of individuals living with the condition are men. WHO found that 237.0 million adult men and 46.0 million adult women had an AUD in 2016. At the same time, hazardous alcohol use led to 3 million deaths (5.3% of all deaths) worldwide and 132.6 million disability-adjusted life years.

At PACE Recovery Center, our specialty is the treatment of males presenting for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. When we look at the WHO report, it is evident that alcohol use among men and women varies widely and, as such, the costs affect men more significantly. Alcohol-attributable deaths among men make up 7.7 percent of all global deaths compared to 2.6 percent among women.

For those living with alcohol use disorder, the presence of an AUD at least doubles the risk of having depression (WHO cites: Boden & Fergusson, 2011). Risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts and completed suicide are each increased by 2–3 times among those with AUD (Darvishi et al., 2015). Alcohol consumption leads to major depressive disorders, according to two reviews (Boden & Fergusson, 2011; Fergusson, Boden & Horwood, 2009).

The relationship between alcohol and the onset of major depressive disorders is due, in part, to:

  1. Alcohol consumption leading to depression, and
  2. persons with depressive disorders being more likely to consume alcohol in larger volumes and in more detrimental patterns – i.e. the “self-medication” hypothesis (Bolton, Robinson & Sareen, 2009),
  3. the possibility of underlying genetic vulnerabilities that affect both the risk of depression and alcohol consumption.

Moving Forward

Three million people is a shocking figure, but it is probable that the total cost of life owing to alcohol use is even higher. The research on AUD and the prevalence of co-occurring mental illness like depression is a facet of the report that should guide future efforts to address mental health around the world. It is also worth noting that globally, more than 300 million people are living with depression; such men and women are at high risk of self-medication and developing an AUD as a result. The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health is nearly 500 pages long, and anyone who would like more detail than we provide here is welcome to click this link.

alcohol use disorder

The World Health Organization concludes:

With 3 million alcohol-attributable deaths in 2016 and well-documented adverse impacts on the health and well-being of individuals and populations, it is a public health imperative to strengthen and sustain efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol worldwide. A significant body of evidence has accumulated on the effectiveness of alcohol policy options, but often the most cost-effective policy measures and interventions are not implemented or enforced, and the alcohol-attributable disease burden continues to be extraordinarily large. The wealth of data and analyses presented in this report can hopefully provide new grounds for advocacy, raising awareness, reinforcing political commitments and promoting global action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery

If you or a family member is one of the 237.0 million adult men living with AUD, please know that evidence-based treatments exist. With the help of PACE’s specialized clinical therapy for men addiction recovery is possible. We equip men with the tools to go from early recovery to long-term sobriety. Please contact us today to learn more about our program.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Meth Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier

meth

Mind-altering chemicals, like drugs and alcohol, do just that, they change your state of mind. Naturally, each drug has its own unique effect and how a person responds depends on the substance in question. Any individual with a history of alcohol or substance use disorder has a first-hand understanding of what such experiences are like; however, few people with such pasts know what a particular chemical "actually" does in the brain, or to the most vital organ.

Those who’ve undergone treatment may have a cursory understanding of mechanisms like the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The term is defined as a filtering mechanism of the capillaries that carry blood to the brain and spinal cord tissue, blocking the passage of certain substances. When a person uses a mind-altering substance, the particular drug makes its way into the bloodstream and onto the brain. While not everything that enters the bloodstream can pass the barrier, the materials that lead to use disorders do; and, can cause damage in the process of crossing the threshold.

In a fundamental sense, the BBB lets healthy things into your brain cells and prevents anything harmful, like toxins from entering. Researchers at the Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering say that when drugs like methamphetamine pass the barrier, the substance increases the permeability of the BBB, Motherboard reports. Meaning, other harmful toxins found in the blood may find their way across, too.

Artificial Brains On Meth

Advancements in technology allow researchers to create artificial human brains involving the integration of human cell cultures into microfluidic chip platforms, according to the article. This process may sound complicated, only understandable to scientists; however, it is possible for non-specialists to grasp the concept. The research team at Wyss are using microchips lined with living human cells which are then introduced to drugs like meth, to observe responses and stimuli. The research findings appear in Nature Biotechnology.

“Our primary reason for choosing this drug is that it is one of the most addictive drugs responsible for thousands of deaths,” writes co-lead researcher Ben Maoz. “Given this tragic statistic, it is surprising that much is still unknown. Therefore, we sought to use this novel system to unveil the metabolic effect of meth on the different parts of the [neurovascular unit].”

Please take a moment to watch a short video for a basic understanding of the process:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

“Just like in the brains of people who choose to smoke meth, the BBB chips started to leak,” Kit Parker, professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, told Digital Trends. “That’s exactly what happens when you smoke meth — and why you shouldn’t.”

Developing a more concise understanding of how narcotics interact with the human brain can have enormous implications. The research may lead to more effective methods of treating addiction, according to the article. What’s more, the findings could help scientists discover new processes of transporting beneficial pharmaceuticals to the appropriate brain targets. Lead researchers Ben Maoz, Anna Herland, and Edward Fitzgerald are developing new Organ Chip platforms applicable to neuropathology research on stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

We took a game-changing advance in microengineering made in our academic lab, and in just a handful of years, turned it into a technology that is now poised to have a major impact on society,” said Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, who was not involved in the study.

Biologically inspired engineering may have near-limitless potential when it comes to studying the impact of psychostimulants on the brain, in real time. It also means that drug research – one day – may no longer require soliciting addicts and alcoholics in the grip of use disorders to participate in studies that involve using addictive substances.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Please contact PACE if you or a male loved one is battling alcohol or substance use disorder. At our treatment center, we address all components of addiction and mental health. Please call to speak to an admissions counselor who can answer any questions you have about our gender-specific, extended care alcohol and drug rehab for men.

Sobriety: Making Positive Life Changes

sobriety

Aside from being a highly acclaimed novella by Franz Kafka, metamorphosis is also a word that holds particular significance for people transforming their lives via programs of addiction recovery. A definition of the noun states a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into an entirely different one, by natural or supernatural means. If that doesn’t nicely sum up sobriety, and the effect it can have on an individual’s life, then what does?

If you read the novel in school or for leisure, you probably remember that at its heart the story is about a man’s struggle for existence. If you are in recovery, you don’t have to read Kafka’s works to understand how arduous altering a single solitary thing in one’s life can be, let alone changing everything. Recovery demands a paradigm shift in thinking, or to steal a line from an even more relevant book, donning “A New Pair of Glasses.” Committing oneself to a program of long-term sobriety gives people a different perception; when the fog of alcohol and drugs lifts, you see things with clarity. When you work a program, it can completely alter your perspective, attitude, and it allows for continual growth in positive directions. A true metamorphosis, in every sense of the word!

With active drug and alcohol use behind us, we choose engagement over isolation. When Self is no longer harboring illusions of total control, one can develop a relationship with something higher. And, that something – while different for each of us – guides us both inside and out toward making the next right decision. In recovery, people have the tools to face their problems with a positive attitude; rather than recoiling from life’s curveballs, we take action. Positive Attitude Changes Everything!

Starting Over In Recovery

Nobody can deny that changing the people, places, and things in life is a difficult task. Even more challenging, is that individuals in recovery also have to change how they look at just about everything. Gone are the days of feeling sorry for one’s self; it is no longer OK to hold other people responsible for how life is today. Recovery teaches us that we have to take responsibility for our decisions and be accountable for the outcome of our choices. Equally vital, placing emphasis on staying accountable to others.

For many people new to working a program, there comes the realization that they cannot take this journey alone—just one of many critical epiphanies. When the seed of recovery is germinating, individuals have the awareness that the way life was before is no longer tenable. One must be present today, always making an effort to connect with men and women in their support network. Such people have to strive to be of service to others; individual sobriety is not mutually exclusive from collective recovery.

Early on in the quest for sobriety, men and women have to come to terms with the fact that life will never be the same. People who you once considered friends and allies, start looking decidedly less so; if recovery is to grow, pruning some of the underbrush of one’s past is a must. People’s environments need to change too; in recovery, going to a bar to catch up with friends isn’t safe. Engaging in activities that are inextricably connected to past substance use often have to go as well. In some cases, that includes places of employment.

Journey to Sobriety

While we specialize in working with men at PACE Recovery Center, there is much wisdom that we can glean from women taking the journey to sobriety. Author Kristi Coulter made a critical decision recently about the line of work she was in; a choice which many men in recovery can probably relate. Before she earned recognition for writing about her life sober, Coulter held several executive positions with Amazon. Kristi held jobs that many people could only dream of, which is why it may come as a surprise that last February Coulter quit working in the tech sector. Now, she is thoroughly committed to writing about the new quest she is on—sobriety.

Coulter got sober in 2013. Since then she has documented her life on her blog, Off-Dry, Seattle Magazine reports. With five years free from alcohol under her belt, she published a collection of essays titled "Nothing Good Can Come from This" (released August 7). She tells Woolfer in an interview that the book is about “what happens when a high-achieving, deeply unhappy fortysomething woman gives up the ‘one’ thing she really thinks she can’t live without–wine–and has to remake her entire sense of self from the ground up.” She talks about working in the high-stress tech-sector, about how alcohol use and addiction is pervasive in the industry. Like many people new to sobriety, she began penning her thoughts. An essay that she wrote was picked up and led to a book deal. Coulter says she hopes her writing will inspire others to confront their relationship with substances.

I’d love for people to think, ‘What would my life be like after I got rid of the thing that I know I don’t need but [that] I can’t seem to walk away from?’”

Addiction Recovery

At PACE, we take a dynamic approach to our men's addiction and mental health treatment program. We help clients face the underlying issues of their condition(s) and teach men how to discard self-defeating behaviors and adopt attitudes of positivity. Please contact us to learn more about how we can make the dream of recovery your long-term reality.

PACE Recovery Center is LegitScript Certified

legitscript certified rehabAt PACE Recovery Center, we are dedicated to providing men with the skills and knowledge for working a program of long-term addiction recovery. For people to break the cycle, adopt a program of maintenance, and continue to make progress after treatment, it is vital that they have proper guidance early on in the process. It is worth remembering that successful treatment outcomes depend upon helping clients understand that practically everything has to change if recovery is to prevail.

Seeking treatment, while vital, isn’t always as simple as typing “best drug rehab” into Google. With thousands of centers to choose from, how is a person to be sure that the selected center is the right fit? The quest for reliable recovery centers to advocate for your wellbeing is compounded by the fact that websites are often deceptive regarding their quality of care. A flashy website with all the right verbiage doesn’t always match what clients actually experience.

With more people than ever seeking addiction treatment services, it’s crucial that families can find adequately vetted centers. Some of our readers may remember that Google suspended addiction treatment and rehab centers from advertising on search engines and apps last fall. The moratorium is the result of various companies’ reliance on deceptive marketing practices, essentially praying on the vulnerability of addicts, alcoholics, and their families. So, with all the misinformation about what treatment centers can provide, how is a family to know they are in good hands? One new answer is LegitScript.

Trusted Names In Addiction Treatment

Typically, the most reliable treatment options are those with specific accreditations, like that given by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). A stamp of approval from CARF means that a provider meets rigorous standards of care and treatment practices. Merely put, a CARF-approved center means a client is in excellent hands.

Our commitment to providing potential clients assurances that choosing PACE is their safest option led us to undergo LegitScript's vetting process. A LegitScript monitored center is one that Google will allow to recommence online advertising, if they so choose, after the ban implemented in September 2017. The Portland-based company was only in the business of verifying the standards of online pharmacies and supplement providers. Now, in the wake of countless unscrupulous treatment providers’ online advertising, LegitScript adds addiction treatment to its wheelhouse.

Being LegitScript-certified means you can fully participate in online advertising, e-commerce, and payment processing programs with minimal disruptions. Many of the world’s leading companies require or recognize LegitScript Certification.”

 

PACE Recovery is Legitimate, Legal, and Trustworthy

We followed LegitScript's strict guidelines for certification, and PACE Recovery Center is now pleased to announce that LegitScript certifies PACERECOVERYCENTER.COM. After LegitScript reviewed our website and treatment practices, it was determined that we meet their “standards for legality, safety, and transparency!”

Along with our CARF accreditation, families can rest assured that their loved one is in the best possible setting for bringing about lasting recovery. If you are ready to take steps for leading a life free from drugs and alcohol, PACE Recovery Center can give you the tools and teach you how to cope with life on life’s terms. Please contact us today to learn more about our multi-pronged approach to men's addiction and mental health treatment.

Addiction Research Sheds New Light

addiction

There isn’t an alcoholic or addict who hasn’t asked him or herself, ‘why me, and not them? Why is it that when I drink, it affects me differently than most of society?’ This simple musing isn’t unique to the millions of people whose lives are turned upside down by addiction; researchers continue to probe for answers to an age-old question. What are the prerequisites for chemical dependency?

Even people with a rudimentary knowledge base of the known mechanisms for addiction understand there are many factors to consider. Three elements that are thought to play a significant part in the development of use disorders come to mind: biological, psychological, and social factors. The interaction between and an understanding of the bio-psych-social relationship helps clinicians treat those who contend with alcohol and substance use disorder.

When trying to get to the bottom of a mental illness like addiction, researchers attempt to make sense of the relationship between a person’s genetics and biochemistry; with mood, personality, and behavior; along with cultural, familial, and socioeconomic factors. All of which are worth considering, and attempting to understand these connections can help clinicians establish therapeutic targets for fostering recovery.

While making sense of the myriad factors that play a role in addiction is of the utmost benefit, such knowledge doesn’t wholly answer the question at the start of this article. It’s one thing to identify the similarities between addicts and how they differ from the general population, it is another thing altogether to pinpoint one item that all people who’ve struggled with substance abuse share. If only 15 percent of people who drink alcohol become “hooked,” mustn’t there be something under the surface consistent from one alcoholic to the next? In addiction research, whys often lead to more whys.

The Vulnerable Minority of Addiction

In short, psychiatrist Markus Heilig has a history of racking his brain about addicts and alcoholics. Helig spends a lot of time studying rats and mice, and their minds on chemicals; and he says that he and his fellow researchers have been going about it all wrong, The Atlantic reports. Markus points out that at the end of each rodent study the findings “will lead to an exciting treatment” for alcoholism. Unfortunately, Linköping University professor’s labor never bore fruit when transitioning from animal models to clinical trials; Helig became disillusioned for time, and then he made a breakthrough.

Helig excels at making rodents alcoholics; he can even treat and potentially “cure” their alcoholism. With alcohol in the cage, practically every rat or mouse develops a problem with the substance. Whereas, every human can access alcohol if they want and 85 percent don’t experience problems. Why? The answer appears to be “options.” Researcher Eric Augier, whose previous work involving cocaine and mice, gave the rodents more than just the cocaine option, adding sweet nectar to the menu. Helig, together with Augier, et al., used Eric’s technique; they gave rodents the choice of alcohol or sugar water. Eureka!

Remarkably, rodent trial after rodent trial produced results consistent with humans; only 15 percent of rats choose alcohol over sugar. Even when deterrents are in place (i.e., bitter tasting, electro-shocks accompanied doses), 15 percent of rats drank regardless.

Embedded in the criteria for diagnosing alcoholism is that people continue to take drugs despite good knowledge of the fact that it will harm or kill them,” says Heilig.

Once they were able to establish correlations between human and rodent behavior, the next task was determining why 15 percent are vulnerable to addiction. What was different in the brains of the minority?

Amygdala, GABA, and GAT3

Scientists know that there is an association between the primitive brain and addiction, and have known this for some time. Notably, the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens—regions of the brain involved in processing emotions and fight-or-flight behavior—researchers hold are underpinnings of addiction. Helig and Augier looked for gene variations in six areas of the brain thought to have a role in use disorders, according to the article. Five revealed no apparent differences; however, the researchers found something in the amygdala.

The team noticed that in the amygdala of alcoholic rats exhibited indication signs of low activity in several genes linked to a neurochemical called GABA. In the brain, particular neurons produce and release GABA into neighboring neurons to prevent them from firing. After which, the neurons producing GABA use the GAT3 enzyme to pump the molecule back into themselves for recycling. This cycle occurs in everyone's brain, but in the alcoholic’s brain something unusual happens.

Helig’s team found that the gene that makes GAT3 is much less active in the amygdala of alcoholic rats, and makes only half the usual levels of GAT3. The shortage of the pump enzyme causes GABA to accumulate around the neighboring neurons, rendering them inactive. By reducing GAT3 in the amygdala of non-alcoholic rats, Helig was able to turn them into rats that now preferred alcohol over the nectar. The researchers then looked at postmortem brain tissue samples from alcoholics and found low levels of GAT3. The study suggests GABA-influencing chemicals could lead to helping people manage their addictions.

Curing alcoholism in rats is not important,” says Helig. “What’s important is what this looks like in humans with alcohol addiction.”

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

The above research is very significant and will guide future research. A better understanding of the biological mechanisms of addiction could lead to new treatments that will aid counselors as they help clients cope with the psychological and social factors that can disrupt recovery. Alcohol use is a severe problem in the U.S., and research published this week shows a 65 percent increase in deaths from cirrhosis of the liver in the U.S. since 1999. What’s more, the most significant growth is among millennials; cirrhosis-related deaths are rising 10 percent a year among people aged 25 to 34.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center to start the process of healing if you are a young adult male living with an alcohol use disorder. Our gender-specific, addiction treatment center for men is the perfect place to begin the life-long journey of recovery.

Taking Addiction Recovery to New Heights

addiction

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is a crucial facet of addiction recovery. In order to turn your life around you must exercise commitment and fortitude; sticking to a program is trying at times, and the slightest of obstacles can place your recovery in jeopardy. It is vital to remember—at any stage in a person’s quest for self-care—that the use of mind-altering substances is but a symptom of a more significant issue: an inability to take life as it comes, essentially. Take away the chemicals, and there still exist multiple aspects of one’s life that lead a person to begin looking for an antidote to the issue of Self.

More than half of people living with use disorders have a dual diagnosis, which means they are contending with conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. When psychological comorbidity is a factor, individuals seeking recovery will find achieving their goals next to impossible unless the co-occurring illness is addressed along with the addiction. The good news is that people who seek treatment for alcohol and substance use have an opportunity to deal with every aspect of their mental health. At the time of discharge, clients are better equipped to manage their depression for instance, through utilizing tools to help cope with their symptoms.

People who do the work in treatment will find that they no longer need to rely on their old methods for coping with life. With continued professional therapy, participation in a program of recovery (i.e., 12 Steps or SMART Recovery®), and an influential group of peers to support you along the way, long-term recovery is made possible. Of course, people can have all the things mentioned above and still run into problems, particularly in the first months after treatment.

Helping Recovery Along

Those who take measures to go above and beyond, whenever possible, position themselves not only to make progress but to make it last. If you have completed an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, then you have an excellent foundation for building a new life. In treatment, you learned that you will always be a work in progress; and, what you do moving forward and every decision that you make must be in service to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The days of selfish and self-centeredness and self-harm and self-defeating behaviors have to be behind you, if the seed of recovery is to grow.

In the early days, weeks, and months of working a program, one must face difficult feelings that arise head on without chemical assistance. In treatment, many safeguards keep dangerous types of thinking in check. Being surrounded by people working toward similar goals and a team of addiction professionals—many of whom are themselves in recovery—act as safeguards to acting on cravings and triggers. After treatment, one must be quick to replicate the layers of support provided while in rehab.

In whichever modality (program) you subscribe to, go to a meeting and put yourself out there as soon as you can after rehab. Introduce yourself to people before and after the meeting. Ask those who you meet if you can get to know them better over coffee, for example. Get phone numbers, use them, and develop relationships with like-minded people. Those same individuals may one day talk you out of a relapse, which is nothing short of saving your life.

Service Gets You Out of Your “Self”

Going to meetings is crucial and fostering relationships is critical, but being of service to others can take your program to a higher plane. Addicts and alcoholics are prone to get lost in their head. If people in recovery stay busy in productive ways, they are less likely to harp on the past or spend too much time dreaming of a future yet to arrive. Being present is a pillar of addiction recovery! With that in mind, helping others is an exceptional method for staying in the here-and-now.

People who work a program glean quickly that service is invaluable to recovery. Meetings offer service opportunities, of course, but you can be of help to your peers in other ways, too. Merely talking to someone at a meeting who has less time than you, could be a move that keeps that person from acting on thoughts of using. Assisting someone with their “service commitment” is another way to affect change in your peers' lives. Providing unsolicited assistance is a useful way to comport yourself at meetings. What’s more, it feels wonderful to know that you have made other people’s day just a little bit brighter; a realization that makes you worry less about things in life that are out of your control.

You aid the greater community if time permits it, by looking for local volunteer opportunities. Houses of worship and community centers are ideal places to find ways you can help others. In the process of volunteering, you will have less time to worry about things that cannot change. Along the way, please remember to trust in what you were taught in treatment — trust in the process.

Addiction Treatment and Lasting Recovery

PACE Recovery Center, located in Huntington Beach, CA, is the ideal place to begin the life-saving journey of addiction recovery. We offer gender-specific treatment to men struggling with use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions who would like to overcome the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol and lead a meaningful and productive life.

Suicide Rates Steadily Rising In America

suicide

The majority of people with a history of alcohol and substance abuse wrestles with the life and death quandary of how — and whether or not — to live. It is probably fair to say that most people in recovery can remember a time when they gave some consideration to calling it quits (i.e., suicide) on the enterprise of existence. In the darkest hours of one’s addiction the mind is no longer an ally; and, it can be hard to move forward when an individual can no longer trust him or herself to make rational choices. A quote from William Burroughs, “every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage,” might tolerate an update; each person living with a mental illness, has inside himself a parasitic…

The desire to end one’s life is compounded too when attempts at sobriety fall flat; adopting a program of recovery is no simple matter, and those who might characterize themselves as chronic relapsers are apt to lose hope. If the term “chronic relapser” resonates with you, it is worth trying to keep in mind that relapse is part of many people’s story; there are a good many people with long-term sobriety who came in and out of the rooms of recovery for years before finally grasping what was necessary for lasting progress.

Those who were once the epitome of hopelessness find themselves, now, living fulfilling lives; what finally changed in each of the individuals mentioned above is subjective, but more times than not treatment reignites the fires of hope for a meaningful life. Such people ultimately find the courage to carry on, even when their disease tries to reassert itself, vying for the spotlight once again.

Suicide in America

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. —Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Vital Signs, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that the rate of suicide in the United States increased 28 percent from 1999 to 2016; almost 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016. In the last half-decade, we’ve seen many notable people succumb to suicidal ideations; attempting to understand why individuals who have everything (seemingly) would opt for deliberately killing oneself has had a lasting effect on all of us.

Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014. Nearly four years have passed, but doesn’t it feel like yesterday? It is difficult to not think about all the remarkable people that left indelible marks on society and then checked out prematurely. Even a cursory inquiry reveals several parallels between famous people committing suicide; mental health disorders are a foregone conclusion and, more times than not, substance use plays a significant role. And finally, the ever insidious stigma of mental illness continues to prevent people from getting help.

There is almost too much to consider when it comes to trying to make sense of the driving forces behind felo de se (Latin for "felon of himself"). The act of deliberate self-destruction is a discussion that we have to have, especially in the light of the recent deaths of fashion icon Kate Spade and culinary raconteur Anthony Bourdain. In every sense, the Internet is abuzz with rumor and speculation regarding the untimely demise of both stars; and, in almost every case, that which people are focusing on misses the most salient point. Rather than blaming, we must center our attention on dismantling stigma and encouraging treatment.

Stigma is The Key

The topic of stigma is one that comes up often; in fact, this blog features several articles on the subject. The two recent suicides, occurring just days apart, demand that we discuss stigma at greater length. Some of the reports circulating the web right now include interviews with people close to both Kate and Anthony. One such instance is an interview between the designer's older sister, Reta Saffo, and the Kansas City Star; the other is an open letter from actress and activist Rose McGowan who was close friends with Anthony and his partner, Asia Argento.

In order, Reta Saffo tells the newspaper that Kate’s death was not unexpected. Saffo says that on numerous occasions she made attempts to get Kate into treatment, “we'd get so close to packing her bags, but — in the end, the 'image' of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out." Kate’s husband published an open letter in the New York Times stating that she was seeing a doctor for the past five years and was taking anxiety medication for a mood disorder but was not abusing alcohol or drugs. There seem to be differences in opinion regarding Kate’s relationship with alcohol; some fashion insiders claim that her drinking was significant.

If Saffo view is accurate, that concerns about brand and image stood in the way of Kate seeking treatment, it something that millions of people can relate to today. Being “branded” as mentally ill prevents people from seeking the care they need; without treatment, such people are exponentially more susceptible to suicidal ideation and making good on their intentions. The case of Bourdain, it seems, is something altogether different.

Men Don’t Ask for Help

In an interview, Bourdain gave to addiction expert, and father of an addict, David Sheff (Beautiful Boy), Anthony says he struggled with cocaine and heroin since he was around 13-years old. When asked about getting clean in the 1980’s, he reveals a less-than-orthodox approach to recovery; while he gave up the coke and heroin in rehab, Anthony never wholly turned his back on marijuana and alcohol. Instead, he tells Mr. Sheff:

I reached a point where I thought, This is horrible. I’m not saying it’s any particular strength of character or anything like that. I’m definitely not saying that. This notion that I’m so f*cking tough and such a badass that I can kick dope without a 12-step program—that’s not what I’m saying. I don’t hold myself up as an example or an advocate or as anybody, okay? I made my choices. I’ve made f*cking mistakes. I made it through whatever confluence of weird, unique-to-me circumstances—I’m not going to tell anybody how to live, how to get well or any of that sh!t.

In the end, though, it wouldn’t be heroin that killed Mr. Bourdain; instead, a decade's long battle with depression, likely compounded by the use of alcohol. In McGowan’s open letter at the behest of Asia Argento, Rose points out that Anthony was the product of a generation that solves problems on sheer will alone. Hubris, perhaps?

Don’t Let Stigma and Pride Stand In the Way of Recovery

The life-and-death problem of whether, and by what method, to exist was likely on the minds of both Kate and Tony. Countless people will offer insight into their suicides; some will get things right and others will not. We will never know for sure what was going on in the troubled minds of the above icons, and that is OK. Moving forward, we all must set ourselves to task in reinforcing the possibility of recovery; Our mission is to encourage people to look past the barriers to treatment and fight for their lives. There is no shame in asking for help!

Anthony was 61, the same age my father was when he died. My father also suffered from intermittent deep depression, and like Anthony, was part of a “pull up your bootstraps and march on” generation. The a “strong man doesn't ask for help” generation. I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor's advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt … Anthony's internal war was his war … There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting. —Rose McGowan CC: Asia Argento

Help is available to all who can bring their self to surrender. Each time a person seeks help the stigma of mental illness becomes weaker and snowball recovery is a real possibility. When people seek treatment and find recovery they empower others to do the same; a life in recovery is not perfect but the joy of striving for something meaningful outweighs the alternative.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Life is complicated, made even more challenging when substance use and misuse accompany mental illness; but, you are not alone, treatment works, and recovery is attainable! If you would like to begin a journey of lasting recovery, PACE Recovery Center can help. Please contact us today.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

If you have suicidal ideations, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

PTSD Awareness Month: Learn, Connect, and Share

PTSD

June is PTSD Awareness Month; we can all help those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a severe iteration of mental illness that requires treatment and daily maintenance; those who recover rely on a combination of trauma-focused psychotherapy, counseling, and non-narcotic medications. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of individuals living with the affliction never receive the kind of care they require; such persons are apt to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope which only serves to make the underlying condition more serious.

Those of you in recovery from alcoholism and substance use disorder are no strangers to trauma; after all, people’s active addiction often involves one uncomfortable experience after another. In some cases, traumatic experiences precipitate the use of mind-altering substances; in other scenarios, people’s substance use puts them into situations where experiencing trauma is almost a foregone conclusion. Human beings are capable of putting themselves at great peril due to mental illness; as a result, one both inflicts wrongs upon others or are their self the victim of another person's’ wrongdoing; in either case, being OK in one’s skin and sleeping at night is not an easy endeavor.

The painful incidents that occur during active addiction often lead to a vicious cycle; using leads to trauma and one of the reasons people continue to use is to quiet the internal echoes of one’s past discomforting episodes, and at a certain point, one loses sight of where the trauma ends, and they begin.

Trauma is a time traveller, an ouroboros that reaches back and devours everything that came before." —Junot Díaz

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

Not surprisingly, PTSD is one of the more common co-occurring mental health disorders accompanying alcohol and substance use disorder. While treatment is effective and long-term recovery is possible, people living with the afflictions like PTSD often struggle accessing assistance. Encouraging people to seek help is of the utmost importance, and society benefits when those struggling receive aid.

In order for individuals to get treatment we first need to discuss what the condition looks like; the signs manifest differently in each person, but the National Center for PTSD lists four symptoms:

  1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). You may have bad memories or nightmares. You even may feel like you're going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
  3. Having more negative beliefs and feelings. The way you think about yourself and others may change because of the trauma. You may feel guilt or shame. Or, you may not be interested in activities you used to enjoy. You may feel that the world is dangerous and you can't trust anyone. You might be numb, or find it hard to feel happy.
  4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. Or, you may have trouble concentrating or sleeping. You might suddenly get angry or irritable, startle easily, or act in unhealthy ways (like smoking, using drugs and alcohol, or driving recklessly.

PTSD, Self-Harm, and Suicide

Most people associate post-traumatic stress with combat; those returning from conflicts overseas often experience lingering effects from exposure to trauma. However, PTSD doesn’t just affect veterans, a noteworthy percentage of general public struggles with the condition, as well; in fact:

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%).

In the absence of treatment, people rely on using drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings of hopelessness, shame, and despair. While mind-altering substances may quiet one’s anxiety and depression, alcohol and substance use tend only to exacerbate the underlying condition. It’s worth mentioning again that self-medicating mental illness is a vicious cycle; the behavior is a sure path to addiction, self-defeating behaviors, and self-harm. There is a robust association between PTSD and suicidal ideation or attempts. If you or a loved one is contending with thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Encouraging PTSD Treatment

Greater understanding and awareness of PTSD will help Veterans and others recognize symptoms, and seek and obtain needed care." - Dr. Paula P. Schnurr, Executive Director of the National Center for PTSD

During June, the National Center for PTSD asks that everyone take some time to Learn about PTSD and the valid forms of available treatments; Connect with support services for yourself or a loved one—reach out for help; and Share what you learn about PSTD with the world via social media. When we work together to take the mystery out of mental illness, we can encourage more people to seek help.

At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one learn how to navigate life without resorting to drug and alcohol to cope with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Our highly qualified team of addiction professionals can address your co-occurring mental health disorders and teach you effective coping skills. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs.

Addiction Recovery: Summer Action for Winter Security

addiction recovery

Summer is knocking on the door, and most people are welcoming the uplifting season with open arms. The winter months are especially trying for some individuals working programs of addiction recovery; rain, snow, and cold weather are not conducive to warm feelings and thoughts, generally. If you also consider that a large percentage of men and women in the program struggle with a co-occurring disorder like depression, then you can probably understand that chillier months may contribute to dampening the spirits of some.

A good many people’s general outlook on life and feelings of worth seem inextricably linked to the weather. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, a fitting acronym) is a condition that plagues a significant population; SAD is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons which usually manifests between fall and spring. Naturally, those living with the disorder are likely to fare better in the Southwest; but, for those individuals residing in higher latitude environs, coping with the depressive snowdrifts of the soul during winter is a chore.

Those working programs of recovery whose psyche is sensitive to the weather must take measures to protect their recovery from fall to spring. Men and women who know that their feelings are susceptible to less hospitable climes must go above and beyond during the winter months to prevent relapse. Some of the tactics people employ to stay ahead of their seasonal depression are exercising, light therapy, psychological support via the program and professionally, and taking vitamin D. If you find it difficult, and potentially on the precipice of relapse when sunlight-deprived, it’s paramount to utilize some the above methods. At PACE, we are hopeful that recovering addicts and alcoholics were able to keep their SAD at bay this winter.

180° for Addiction Recovery

If your first year in recovery traversed the 2017/2018 winter and you found yourself struggling to keep afloat, it’s possible that you were not aware of techniques that could’ve helped. Perhaps the best way to prepare yourself for the many more cold seasons to come is taking a proactive approach during summer. Establishing a routine during this time of year will make life easier in 6 months. It’s worth noting that when you are feeling “down” it is difficult to motivate yourself, depressive symptoms beget depressive inaction. However, those feeling blue that get up and take a walk, exercise, and absorb available sunlight end up experiencing feelings of higher self-worth.

The weather is more approachable, now, and people in recovery will find it helpful to get outside and seize the day. Get outdoors as often as possible, exercise regularly, and eat foods conducive to a healthy mind and body. Did you know research shows that vitamin D along with marine omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are critical for serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain? People recovering from a use disorder and co-occurring psychological conditions can benefit from incorporating the above supplements into their dietary regimen. Since more than half of people managing an alcohol or substance use disorder also have a dual diagnosis, it’s fair to say that a good many people will find vitamin D and omega-3 useful to long-term recovery.

Before you make any significant changes to diet, first please discuss it with your physician and therapists. Anyone looking to be more active should also consider any physical limitations they may have before doing anything drastic.

Physical and Spiritual Fitness

Even if you are unable to hit the gym and weight train or commence doing cardiovascular exercises you can still do things to promote physical and spiritual wellness. Merely sitting outside with a book for a few hours or going for a swim can significantly improve how you feel, both inside and out. The more active you are during the summer months makes managing your anxieties and depressive symptoms next winter. The smallest of changes can produce essential benefits; when you encounter undesirable feelings next January, you’ll discover that you have tools to counter malaise.

It helps to look at addiction recovery as an agreement between mind, body, and spirit. The health of one affects the wellbeing of the other two; keeping active in the program and life, and with the aid of a healthy diet, is a recipe for long-term recovery. We encourage clients at PACE Recovery Center to place great stock in the physical and spiritual connection. Those who adopt healthier approaches are more likely to stay the course and make continual progress. We hope that anyone working a program takes advantage of the summer months to strengthen their recovery.

Addiction Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and show you how to make lasting changes in your life. We will also address any co-occurring mental health disorders that could complicate the recovery process. Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based programs of recovery.