Tag Archives: drugs

Addiction Recovery Asks Us to Give Back

Addiction recovery involves taking care of yourself and then turning your attention toward helping others find the courage to do the same. It is a simple formula that can produce remarkable results. Seeking assistance, breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors, and working a program is a second chance. No one takes the journey alone; together we have an opportunity to strive for a productive future.

In the realm of Alcoholics Anonymous, there exist a list of 12 Promises. Number three reads as follows, ’We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.’ Instead, people in recovery learn from it; our past experiences serve as a reminder of where we hope never to be again. Men and women can share their story with heads held high to inspire courage in the newcomer.

Individuals who traverse addiction treatment and dedicate themselves to a program of recovery have enormous potential. Early on, people learn that if they stay the course they will have few limitations. College degrees, dream jobs, and starting families are some prime examples. No matter which path one chooses, there is a constant: long-term recovery depends on finding some avenue of giving back. Whether it be in the Rooms, or volunteering to share at a treatment center, each person’s story is the embodiment of hope.

Upon completing treatment, persons often decide to take steps to work in the field of addiction recovery. Their experience proves invaluable in serving as behavioral technicians, counselors, or doctors. However, there are other lines of work – outside of rehab centers – that people get into to “pay it forward.”

A Different Kind of Barber Shop

Naturally, not everyone desires to work in a substance use disorder treatment center. It is possible to help people struggling with addiction beyond rehab. Some individuals, who provide services that every person needs, are using their unique forums to help others overcome the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol.

Two young people in recovery who have a passion for cutting men’s hair also believe in the power of community. Luke Noreen and Rocco Danieli own and operate Over The Top Barbershop in Wakefield, Massachusetts, NBC 10 reports. On the surface, Over The Top appears to be similar to other urban barbershops. Although, closer observation reveals that more than hair is being cut in Noreen and Danieli’s business. These men are shearing the stigma of addiction plaguing people in their area, and helping others break free.

Mr. Noreen and Danieli are in addiction recovery. They do not shy from taking the risk of hiring people with similar stories. While most barbers display family photos on their mirrors, these two men feature pictures of young overdose death victims, according to the article. They both understand the dangers of substance use and relapse. At Over The Top, the overdose reversal drug Naloxone is on hand in case of an emergency.

Unfortunately, one of the barber chairs in the shop is currently unmanned. In the seat, there is a picture of a former employee named Dean who recently died of an overdose. Noreen and Danieli supported Dean in his recovery, and now they are helping Dean’s father overcome grief.

With the epidemic it is crazy out here I got I don’t know how many. This is happening all around us," said Danieli.

Giving Back In Addiction Recovery

Mr. Danieli is sober from alcohol now for three years, and he keeps his “Big Book” on hand at the shop. He’s played witness to the devastating effects of drug addiction on more than just people in the community. His brother is also in recovery, the article reports. Sadly, his two sisters are victims of fatal overdoses.

Being a barber is about taking care of the people.” – Anthony Hamilton

Co-founder, Luke Noreen, has a similar story to tell; although, his path involved drug use. He starting using as a teenager and almost didn't make it out; but, today he has a vision thanks to working a program. He has a future and helps others realize similar prospects.

We are always looking out for one another. We know everyone by their first name. We know their families. We know what their cousin is going through. We are making phone calls trying to get their friends their family member into a detox into a rehab," said Noreen.

Down the road, the two young men hope to do even more for their community. They envision a place to host meetings; where people can talk about the epidemic, without stigma.

"I was given a second chance, and I am not going to waste it. I want to help others," Danieli said.

Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, our clinical staff can help you or a loved one take steps to lead a life that is happy, joyous and free. We specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Please reach out to us today to learn more about our programs.

Adoption Trauma, Mental Illness, and Addiction

adoption trauma

A study from 2012, appearing in the journal PLOS | ONE, demonstrates an increased risk of lifetime substance use disorders in adopted adults. A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota found that adoptees are at 1.87 times more significant risk of developing a SUD, compared to non-adoptees. The research indicates that this demographic is also more likely to contend with other psychiatric disorders as well.

While the above study is somewhat dated, the findings are as relevant today as when they were first published. Why adoptees are at greater risk often comes down to adoption trauma. According to PsychCentral, “adoption trauma is defined as the shock and pain of being permanently, abruptly separated from one’s family member.” The article notes that this form of trauma can be exacerbated by the “societal expectation that it [adoption trauma] shouldn’t exist at all. The article’s author cites a keen quote on this subject.

Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” –Reverend Keith C. Griffith

It isn’t difficult to grasp some of the struggles that adopted people face. Introspection can lead some individuals to believe that they are unwanted or unloved. The question of where a person came from – the genetic breadcrumb trail – can loom large. Not knowing one’s biological parents can cause distress as people age. If such people don’t have a method of coping with adoption trauma they are at a heightened risk of problems in the future.

Adoption Trauma, Mental Illness, and Addiction

Loss can lead to grief, to anger. Even those who never knew their biological parents can mourn their loss. Internal suffering early in life and into adulthood can position someone to cope with mental anguish in an unhealthy manner. What’s more, adoptees – whose birth parents (one or both) have a history of substance use issues – are significantly more likely to have their own struggles with drugs and alcohol. An unstable adoptive home is also a factor that can precipitate a person developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Research shows that 4.5% of adoptees had drug-abuse problems, compared to 2.9% of people in the general population, Health Magazine reports. Moreover, 8.6% with at least one biological parent who had substance issues, had their own drug problems. The findings – appearing in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2016 – come from data on 18,115 adoptees born in Sweden between 1950 and 1993.

The link between adoption and mental illness often stems from insecure attachment styles. Young people who go into foster care or are adopted, or both, face many uncertainties. They are forced to adapt to many situations. Not knowing what the future holds or where a person will end up, for instance, can wreak havoc on one’s psyche. Insecure attachment styles include:

  • Anxious-preoccupied: a negative view of self and positive view of others.
  • Dismissive-avoidant: a positive view of self and negative view of others.
  • Fearful-avoidant: an unstable fluctuating/confused view of self and view of others.

Insecure, inconsistent attachment styles can result in mental health conditions developing, i.e., anxiety and depression. What’s more, such experiences can bring about unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance use. It is paramount that both mental health, and how a person copes, are addressed simultaneously for successful outcomes.

PACE Adoption-Related Treatment

Stigma accompanies both adoption and mental illness. The shame that many adoptees have about their past, the guilt that people have about their mental illness, can stand in the way of seeking help. While challenging, it is still possible to break through stigma and access treatment.

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped many adopted people find long-term recovery. We offer a track that caters specifically to adopted men who are struggling with mental illness. Led by Brett Furst, M.A., MFTI, our adoption-related treatment utilizes several specialized approaches to help clients address the underlying causes of mental health issues and addiction. Aided by a safe and supportive environment, PACE assists adopted men in fostering healthy, secure attachment styles.

Please contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you manage adoption trauma, mental illness, and addiction.

Addiction Recovery Comes First On Holidays

addiction recovery

Last week, we wrote at length about people in addiction recovery making flexible and adjustable resolutions. We also included a brief section about observing major holidays as one might any other day of the year. It is critical to avoid giving specific days of the year more power than they deserve. Stress and emotional turmoil can accompany holidays, but such feelings should not be an excuse to use drugs and alcohol.

Christmas is drawing near, and New Year's Eve is close behind. It is vital to go over some techniques for keeping your recovery intact into 2019. Each person working a program of recovery has tools at their disposal for coping with trying situations. For many people, being around family can precipitate mental strain. Fortunately, individuals who practice the principles of recovery can make it through any holiday.

Conversely, some individuals whose families are not currently a part of their lives are prone to melancholy. Active addiction steals much from a person. The choices one makes in service to their disease can result in familial estrangement. Having the knowledge that you are not welcome at a holiday gathering can lead to mental fatigue. Such people are more apt to start feeling sorry for themselves and are at a heightened risk of experiencing problems.

Protecting Your Addiction Recovery During The Holidays

Each individual in addiction recovery has different life circumstances, and nothing is set in stone. Recovering addicts' lives change regularly. One must do their best to manage and cope with family-induced stress or loneliness. It's possible to avoid recovery pitfalls during Christmas and New Year's, and your support network can help. Those who stay close to their circle and are honest about their limitations can stay on track. Below you will find some helpful tips for preventing relapse this Christmas and New Year's Eve.

First, develop tactics for attending family gatherings. Also, have a plan for weathering the blues that can come from not being in the company of relatives. A strategy for either for each must include attending meetings of recovery. Groups are held around the clock during every significant holiday. Prioritize catching a meeting both before and after attending family events. Those who are not expected at the Christmas dinner can use the free time to be in the company of recovery peers. People in addiction recovery will often host sober holiday gatherings, too. It is imperative to ask around and find ways to fill your holiday schedule.

Second, the holiday season is notorious for overeating and lounging around the house. Prioritizing self-care is helpful. People in recovery can never lose sight of the importance of maintaining their spiritual and physical exercise routines. Addiction recovery is about balance, and prayer and meditation help keep one's equilibrium. Individuals who exercise daily can benefit from finding time for light exercise on Christmas. Not giving certain days of the year power means sticking to one's normal recovery routine as much as possible.

Positive Attitude Changes Everything

Each person is at a different point in addiction recovery. Meaning, some people may not yet be where they want to be. The gifts of uninterrupted sobriety, after all, come when the time is right—not a moment sooner. In the meantime, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude regardless of having family in your life or not.

Those not yet where they would like to be in life can take comfort in recognizing the progress made thus far. Each day clean and sober is a source of pride. People in their first year of sobriety should be able to easily remember how unfortunate life was just a short time ago. The coming holidays may not look the way one hopes, but it will seem significantly better than what would be without recovery.

Whatever one's schedule looks like on December 25th or 31st, family time or not, everything will be copacetic if you keep doing the next right thing for your addiction recovery throughout the day. Remind yourself of the importance of maintaining an open mind. Be accepting of those around you and minimize expectations. Most importantly, remember that a positive attitude changes everything.

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ―Washington Irving

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are hopeful that people in recovery will practice the principles and utilize their toolbox for a safe and sober holiday. Please contact us if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder.

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.

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.

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.

Recovery Boys: Young Men Living With Opioid Use Disorder

Recovery Boys

Beyond drugs and alcohol, there is a meaningful life to be had for anyone provided however they are willing to make significant changes. We know this, we have seen it first hand at PACE Recovery Center; each year we help young men pull themselves out of the depths of despair and embrace a wholly new way of living. Males whose prospects for the future were exceedingly dim just a short time ago are today committed to doing whatever it takes to keep their disease at bay. Those same men are living examples of the power of recovery, and they serve as an inspiration to all who are interested in following a similar path.

When scrolling through news feeds of addiction-related topics, it can be easy to adopt the opinion that recovery is nearly impossible. Such is especially for some people when they see headlines about the almost two-decade-long opioid addiction epidemic, a crisis that has shattered families and stolen the lives of both young and old alike. With over 100 Americans perishing from opioid-related causes every day, and another 2.1 million people whose next use could be their last, it can be easy to become discouraged.

It is vital we balance the scales and dispel myths about addiction and recovery. And, the general public should know that for every tragic story, there is one of hope; with the help of detox facilities, treatment centers, and a daily program, men and women can persevere. This most deadly illness has a weakness, that of community, compassion, and empathy; working together with those who came before, people can overcome use disorders and find peace and serenity.

Recovery Boys

Encouraging people to take the leap from substance use to recovery isn’t simple, addiction has a way of persuading people to act in ways counter to their best interest. With that in mind, it helps if addicts first believe that recovery is possible and one way to accomplish the task of encouraging individuals to seek treatment is to show them stories of success. Documentary filmmaker and director, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, has made it her mission to light the way toward healing for many young men still “out there.” In her latest film, “Recovery Boys,” Sheldon follows four young men living with opioid use disorder as they chart a path out of the dark cave of addiction.

If you are familiar with her prior work about the opioid epidemic, “Heroin(e),” then you would likely agree that Sheldon aims to erode the stigma of addiction. “Heroin(e)” follows three women in Huntington, West Virginia, working on the frontlines of the epidemic. Some call Huntington the “overdose capital of the United States!" If you have not seen the Oscar-nominated film, you can stream it on Netflix.

While the spotlight focuses on empathetic people trying to save the lives of addicts in “Heroin(e),” Sheldon turns the lens on young men who do not want opioid addiction to be the end of their story in “Recovery Boys.” Like most people in early recovery, the four human subjects in Sheldon’s new film have many obstacles ahead, but watching them go through the process may inspire others to embark on similar journeys.

I make this film not to victimize, pity or make excuses for individuals, but to uplift the stories of people who are actively trying to make change, no matter how big or small,” Sheldon said in a statement.

Please take a moment to watch the trailer:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

Many young men across the country believe that recovery is not an option. Some of those same people give recovery a go for a time only to relapse; when that happens, it’s easy to resign oneself to negative lines of thought about the prospect of change. Becoming discouraged is understandable, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to give up on recovery altogether. The fact is that there are thousands of compassionate people working in the field of addiction medicine, many of whom are healing from addiction too, who are committed to helping others adopt a program of recovery. Mental illness is treatable; we can break the bonds of the disease, and long-term recovery is achievable. Although to achieve the above ends, individuals must work together!

Due to the complexities of opioid dependence, long-term treatment is the most effective way of bringing about lasting recovery. If you are a young adult male who is battling an opioid use disorder, our team of highly skilled addiction professionals can show you how life in recovery is possible. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the PACE Recovery model.

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.

National Prevention Week: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow!

National Prevention Week

Preventing substance use initiation, also known as "first-time use," can spare many young people from experiencing significant challenges later in life. While most drug and alcohol prevention efforts target adolescents, we cannot overlook the fact that there is a remarkable number of individuals who use drugs and alcohol for the first time after leaving home for college. What’s more, the late teens and early twenties are when many young people develop unhealthy relationships with mind-altering substances.

Illicit drug and alcohol use is pervasive in high school; however, many teens can avoid situations that could precipitate substance use. Some parents can successfully impress upon their children the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis use; and, when young people fully grasp the potential consequences, they are more likely to make informed decisions.

There will always be teens who disregard the pleas of their parents and teachers to refrain from alcohol and substance use, and fortunately, the majority of such teens will not develop a use disorder down the road. Although, given that it is impossible to predict who will suffer from addiction later in life, it is critical that health experts, college faculties, and parents work together to prevent substance use initiation as long as possible. Furthermore, the use of drugs and alcohol can still cause severe injury or death even without the presence of a use disorder in an individual.

SAMHSA National Prevention Week (NPW)

A teenager or young adult can begin using drugs or alcohol at any time of the year; however, research shows that there are certain months that young people are more likely to start using mind-altering substances. For instance, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that college students most often use a drug or alcohol for the first time during June or July. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) believes that May is an excellent time to focus on prevention efforts. The hope is that as the school year or second semester comes to a close, young people will think twice before using drugs and alcohol.

The SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) reports that 2,100 to 2,500 full-time college students aged 18 to 22 used alcohol for the first time in June and July; compared to between 1,100 to 2,000 young people using alcohol for the first time during other months of the year. The organization finds that tobacco, marijuana, and inhalant use initiation among college students aged 18 to 22 peaks over the course of the summer, as well.

Each May, SAMHSA hosts National Prevention Week! Before young people break for summer, the administration helps schools and organizations host prevention-themed events aiming to strengthen the community, school, and family bonds that can shield adolescents and young adults from substance use. SAMHSA’s primary goals this week are to:

  • Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies;
  • Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and
  • Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.

NPW Prevention Challenge: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow!

Given that not everyone can take part in a National Prevention Week event in person there are other avenues of participation. There are several webinars up in the form of YouTube videos that you may find of interest. The NPW Prevention Challenge is another way young people can take a proactive approach to avoiding the trappings of drugs and alcohol. The theme for NPW 2018 is Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow. SAMHSA asks you to write a video letter to yourself and, if you feel comfortable, upload it to social media. You can find an example below:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

NPW 2018 Prevention Challenge: #DearFutureMe encourages others to take action today for a healthier tomorrow!

PACE Academy

National Prevention Week is an important event that can steer young people toward making healthy decisions. For some young people, however, the cycle of addiction is already in full force, and there is a need for more significant attention. There is a substantial number of college students struggling with drugs and alcohol who require treatment. Unfortunately, a remarkable number of people who need help are resistant to it because they don’t want to get behind in school. The good news is that individuals can address their alcohol and substance use disorder with only a slight disruption to their education.

At PACE Academy, we help young people break the cycle of addiction and equip them with the tools necessary for working a program of long-term recovery. We help clients working towards an associate or bachelor’s degrees at several community colleges and universities. At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one keep addiction from derailing one’s future; please contact us today to learn more about our programs.