Tag Archives: COVID-19

Recovery 2021: Stay Positive

recovery

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 and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

addiction

Unemployment, social isolation, and uncertainty are words all too familiar to millions of Americans in 2020—owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless men and women have struggled to stay afloat during these trying times, especially for those who suffer from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders, which have come to be known as “diseases of despair.”

Recent polling data shows that:

More than half of the people who lost income or employment reported negative mental health impacts from worry or stress over coronavirus; and lower income people report higher rates of major negative mental health impacts compared to higher income people.”

Even those working a program of recovery have found it challenging to keep themselves on track. Relapse rates and overdose rates are up across the country. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports…suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.”

More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.”

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

When life becomes more difficult, people are more apt to turn to mind-altering substances to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This summer, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alcohol use and substance use disorders are on the rise this year as many people try to grapple with this new way of life. However, alcohol and drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors have been steadily rising for the last decade following the great recession.

Between 2009 and 2018, diseases of despair rose 170 percent, HealthDay reports. Alcohol use disorders increased in practically every age group. Substance use disorder diagnoses increased by 94 percent. New research suggests that diseases of despair can be linked to:

  • Economic Decline
  • Stagnant Wages
  • Fewer Community Ties
  • Unemployment

Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate of suicidal ideations and behaviors rose by 210 percent, according to the research appearing in the BMJ Open. What’s more, the researchers report that men had almost 50 percent higher odds of being diagnosed with a disease of despair than women. The new study included 12 million Americans.

Study author Emily Brignone – a senior research assistant – reports that it will take many years before we fully understand the pandemic’s impact on diseases of despair. She adds, however:

There is some evidence of COVID-19-related changes in diseases of despair, including increases in opioid overdoses and high numbers of people reporting suicidal thoughts. Diseases and deaths of despair represent an urgent public health issue, and the COVID-19 pandemic in some respects may exacerbate the conditions that give rise to these problems.”

Talking About Mental Health and Addiction

Evidence-based treatments exist, which can help individuals find recovery and get their life back on track. Addiction and mental health treatment work and people need to feel comfortable reaching out for help. Unfortunately, stigma still stands in the way of getting help for many Americans.

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer for the Well Being Trust, calls the new study a “call to action,” according to the article. He says helping people get back to work is one preventive measure against diseases of despair. He adds that employment could lessen the pandemic’s impact on addiction and mental illness rates.

More importantly, Miller says people need to be able to have conversations about addiction and mental health. He adds:

We have to look at how to embrace the hard conversations around mental health and addiction. We need to know how to talk to each other, and be empathetic and supportive.”

Talking about behavioral and mental health disorders isn’t easy. Reaching out for help takes much courage, but it saves lives. If you know someone who is struggling, please take the time to lend them an empathetic ear.

Behavioral and Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we treat men struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Our team relies upon evidence-based treatment to help men find the gift of recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Opioid Addiction Epidemic in America

opioid addiction

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

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

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

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

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

Purdue’s Role in the Nation’s Opioid Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opioid Addiction During the Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

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

Mental Health Services Investment Around the Globe

mental health

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Service Barriers

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

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

The WHO survey found:

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

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

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

Funding Mental Health Services

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

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

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

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

Gender-Specific Mental Health Program

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

Addiction Recovery: A Positive Attitude Helps You

addiction recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Positivity: A Gift from Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

A Positive Life in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Gender-Specific Treatment Center for Men

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

Using Social Media Responsibly During COVID-19

using social media responsibly during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you have fewer opportunities to venture outside your home to go to the movies or to have dinner with friends. You probably find that you do have more time to stay home and scroll through social media sites. As you post and read others’ posts, keep in mind that using social media responsibly during COVID-19 is important for your mental health and for your continued recovery.

Billions on Social Media

When you use social media, you are definitely not alone. A survey conducted in July 2020 found that more than half of the world now uses social media. There are 4.57 billion people across the globe who use the Internet, including 346 million who have just come online within the past 12 months.

COVID-19 on Social Media

During COVID-19, many people are turning to social media for news and updates. Even if you are not purposely searching for information on the coronavirus outbreak, more than likely you will find posts about the virus as you scroll through social media sites. A separate survey conducted by Gallup in April 2020 revealed that 46% of social media users said that “almost all” or “most” of what they see is about the coronavirus situation and an additional 37% said “about half” is.

In addition, over two-thirds of social media users say coronavirus-related posts that they see from public officials (70%) and news organizations (68%) are “very” or “moderately” helpful. Fifty-seven percent say the same about posts from family members and friends, while fewer say so about posts from neighbors (43%).

Social Media for Connection During COVID-19

You may be using social media during COVID-19 to reconnect with friends and family. The April 2020 Gallup poll also found that seventy-four percent of Americans who use social media say it has been “very” or “moderately” important to them personally as a way to stay connected with people who are close to them that they may not be able to see in person during the coronavirus situation. And 63% say the same about the ability to stay connected with people in their city, town, or local community. 

When you are not able to visit friends and family in person, social media can be a useful tool for keeping in touch. Using social media responsibly during COVID means, though, not sharing too much personal information online. Even when you think that only your friends can see what you post, messages can find their way through the virtual world to places that you don’t want them to go.

Manage Your Time

When you have nothing else to do, you may think there is nothing wrong with spending hours on social media. When you are using social media responsibly during COVID, you will limit your screen exposure, so it does not consume all of your time. Social media users spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on an average of 8 social networks and messaging apps. If you are spending more time on social media than on other constructive activities, it could affect your mental health.

Just the Facts

When using social media responsibly, focus purely on facts and verifiable information in the posts you read as well as your own posts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenon coined by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as a “pandemic of misinformation” has arisen on social media platforms. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have seen news and information about the disease that seemed completely made up, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

Social Media Overload

As you are using social media responsibly during COVID, you will find that spending less time online and focusing on verifiable facts rather than rumors can be beneficial to your mental health. A number of research studies have concluded that low levels of social media usage are associated with better mental health. In fact, it has been discovered that people who limit their social media use to half an hour a day have significantly lower depressive and anxiety symptoms compared to a control group.

One large-scale study found that people who are occasional users of social media are almost three times less likely to be depressed than those who are heavy users. Another study revealed that younger people who use social media more than two hours per day are much more likely to rate their mental health as “fair” or “poor” compared with those who are occasional users.

Mental Health Treatment for Men During COVID-19

The professional team at PACE Recovery Center specializes in helping men who are faced with mental health challenges, including trauma and PTSD related issues. We also work with those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol who are looking for a more fulfilling life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize you may need help now more than ever. We are open and have put in place a stringent set of protocols to protect your health and safety. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get started on your path to lasting recovery. Please call us today at 800-526-1851.

Recovery Community: Contact Tracing COVID-19

recovery

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.

Depression Rate Rises Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

depression

Men and women living with behavioral and mental health disorders such as depression face enormous challenges of late. The COVID-19 pandemic has put billions of people worldwide on high alert due to the knowledge that everything can change in the blink of an eye. An ever-present fear of contraction, loss of employment, communal division, intractable lengths of isolation, and loss of life has become the new normal.

People are suffering mentally and physically at unprecedented rates. What’s more, many find it exceedingly challenging to cope with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. If one is unable to manage symptoms, they are at a significant risk of adopting unhealthy behaviors and patterns such as alcohol and substance abuse.

At PACE Recovery Center, we have a first-hand understanding of what can happen when an individual lives in the depths of despair. We fully grasp the dangers that prolonged states of loneliness and uncertainty can have on those who battle mental health disorders.

While it’s still possible to turn to professionals and mutual-help groups for support, most people are unable or unwilling to reach out for the help they need. We cannot stress the importance of finding the courage to seek assistance, especially now.

Anxiety and Depression On the Rise in America

Even before COVID-19 became a part of the national vocabulary, depression was a severe public health crisis. In the past, we have shared that depressive disorders are the leading cause of poor health worldwide. Now, amid a global pandemic, it will probably not be a surprise to learn that anxiety and depression are on the rise in America.

In any given year, one in five Americans contends with mental illness. One-third of Americans are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. With roughly 3.5 million documented coronavirus cases in America and more than 130,000 COVID-19-related deaths, daily feelings of stress, loss, and fear are commonplace. Moreover, tens of millions of Americans lack the tools to cope with the new normal healthily.

It’s quite understandable the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause significant stress and psychological distress for a large proportion of the population,” says Maurizio Fava, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “And we know the rates are progressively increasing.”

In a June Massachusetts General Hospital press release, Dr. Fava explains how the pandemic has led to a rise in depression in America. The causes include but are not limited to:

  • Social Distancing
  • Infection Fears
  • Grief and Trauma
  • Financial Woes

The psychiatrist adds that unemployment, housing insecurity, and loss of community can be catalysts for depression. While Dr. Fava finds the increase in depression understandable, he also shares that there is hope in the form of mindfulness and telehealth for those suffering.

Coping With Depression is Possible

One of the most significant obstacles to finding recovery is stigma; judgments and public misconceptions stand in the way of accessing support. Shame is a roadblock during the best of times, but it’s compounded today by a bogged down healthcare system.

There is still a stigma to depression and anxiety. So many people experience this stress, anxiety and depression, and don’t necessarily talk about it,” says Dr. Fava.

Some may find it even more challenging to find in-person professional support of late. Still, anyone living with mental illness can take steps at home to combat their symptoms. Whatever your situation is, you can benefit from being mindful of well-being. Small actions can have a considerable impact on your ability to cope with fear, grief, and trauma.

When dealing with mental illness, it’s vital to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining good nutrition habits, recommends Dr. Fava. He adds that having an exercise routine can help you relax. People struggling with anxiety and depression can also benefit from mindful meditation and prayer.

Statewide “stay at home” orders have led to a dramatic increase in virtual support networks and telemedicine use. Dr. Fava points out that Mass General psychiatric providers now treat 97 percent of patients virtually. In March last year, only five percent of patients utilized telepsychiatry.

While research indicates that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person therapy, not everyone is responsive to the impersonal method. Fortunately, addiction and mental health residential treatment centers are still accepting new clients.

Mental Health & Mood Disorder Treatment for Men

If you are facing severe mental health challenges, you can benefit from a comprehensive treatment program. We strongly encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about PACE’s Residential Mental Health Program for Men. Our skilled team of masters and doctorate-level clinicians can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery.

Many men living with depression use drugs and alcohol to cope; thus, they are prone to develop a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder. Our supportive staff understands the difficulties you are facing today and can equip you with the tools to cope in healthy, non-self-destructive and defeating ways.

During these unprecedented times, we offer a full spectrum of programs from teletherapy to residential treatment for addiction and mental illness.

Mental Health and Loneliness Epidemic in America

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After months of living life in a unique way, it’s hard to quantify what the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will be regarding the American psyche. While several states have begun phasing into reopening businesses, life is hardly back to normal for people from every walk of life, including millions of members of the addiction and mental health recovery community.

If you have been following the endless COVID-19 news cycle, then you are aware that many of the states which made attempts to return to a semblance of life before the pandemic have reaped severe consequences.

The result of such actions – despite stimulating our economy – led to a dramatic surge in new cases and subsequent coronavirus related deaths. The Southwest and western states have been particularly impacted. Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California have all seen spikes in new cases in recent weeks.

While it’s challenging to predict what’s to follow in the coming days and months, most Americans will likely need to continue practicing social distancing and following stay at home orders. Experts continue to argue that the above actions are essential in slowing the spread of the virus.

With tens of millions of Americans still out of work, 2,442,395 people who’ve tested positive, and 123,092 coronavirus-related deaths, it stands to reason that we will all continue to contend with life in isolation. In previous articles, we’ve discussed the repercussions of prolonged separation from other humans. We’ve also talked about how loneliness can take a toll on people in recovery who depend on support networks for maintaining their program.

Loneliness Epidemic During a Public Health Pandemic

Many of you might find it hard to believe that, according to the most recent census, 35.7 million Americans live alone. Such individuals do not have the benefit of sheltering in place with friends and family members. Naturally, mental health experts have severe concerns about the stress caused by prolonged social distancing. Such professionals are particularly concerned about members of society with pre-existing mental health conditions.

A cohort of physicians from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School believe we could witness a significant spike in suicides in the near future, TIME reports. The doctors published an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine that pandemic-related isolation, stress, and a surge in firearm sales could exacerbate the decade-long suicide epidemic in America.

It’s worth noting that the United States was already contending with a loneliness epidemic long before COVID-19 arrived in America. A recent report from Cigna suggested that around 60 percent of American adults felt some degree of loneliness before the pandemic. Moreover, about 25 percent of women and 30 percent of men said they felt coronavirus-related loneliness, according to a SocialPro survey.

Loneliness, says Dr. Carla Perissinotto, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is “the subjective feeling of isolation.” While loneliness is not a mental health disorder listed in the official diagnostic manual for mental health disorders (DSM-), it usually goes hand in hand with many disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.

This is a huge topic, but it’s been kind of sidelined,” Perissinotto says. “Now everyone is forced to look at this in a different way. We can’t keep ignoring this.”

People in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Must Reach Out

Individuals who contend with mental health or addiction or both cannot ignore the toll that prolonged isolation has on their well-being. There are online resources available for attending mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, but virtual attendance may not be enough for some people.

If you are struggling with life in isolation or feel that it’s causing mental illness symptoms to emerge or worsen, please make a concerted effort to keep in close contact with your peers. Those living in isolation may also be feeling the urge to use drugs and alcohol to cope. However, acting on the urge to use will only make your current situation worse.

A relapse will make it far harder to weather the pandemic storm and could have disastrous consequences during these troubling times. Accessing therapeutic treatments and professional help is perhaps more challenging than ever. If you find yourself battling the desire to use, then you must contact your sponsor and other peers immediately to prevent a worst-case scenario from arising.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we fully understand how trying life is of late and that many Americans are living in isolation while contending with mental illness and active addiction. The professional team at PACE specializes in treating men who are in the grips of mental health disorders and alcohol or substance use disorder.

Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one get on the path to lasting recovery. Our team is available around the clock, and we are still accepting new patients. Please call us today at 800-526-1851.

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

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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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