Tag Archives: mental health

Recovery and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

recovery

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

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

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

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

mental health

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

Suicide Prevention Week 2020

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

suicide-prevention-day

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

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

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

suicide prevention month

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

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

You Are Not Alone—Recovery is Possible

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Treatment for Men

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

National Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery

National Recovery Month

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction During The Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Mounting Relapse and Overdose Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Recovery Month

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

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

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

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

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

Recovery Strengthened by Breathing Exercises

recovery

The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy is the definition of well-being. In these extraordinary times, we must strive to be well—mentally, physically, and emotionally. We are facing enormous obstacles due to the pandemic. People in recovery are perhaps more vulnerable now than ever.

It would be best if you kept your finger on your mental health pulse to ensure you do not slip back into harmful behaviors. Given all that’s happening, it’s only natural to be concerned. We have to remind ourselves of what we can control and what we cannot. We haven’t the power to change many things in life today.

Over the last several months, we’ve reminded our readers that “this too shall pass.” A common saying in the rooms of recovery, but one that can assist us when the day becomes dark. Thankfully, we are not alone; a fellowship exists that you can lean on if you’re triggered or symptoms of mental illness crop up.

Still, there are times when you might have to rely on your tools to overcome challenges. There are little things you can do throughout the day to preserve the gains you’ve made. Prayer, meditation, and mindful exercises will help you stay positive; a positive attitude changes everything.

Many of us are isolated from supportive peers, friends, and family. It’s not hard to feel alone and apart from the people we care for most. The coronavirus has proven a formidable foe, and there isn’t a concise prediction of when life will return to normal. Nevertheless, you have the power to keep your recovery intact. Men and women in mental and behavioral health recovery can see the other side of COVID-19 scourge even stronger.

Breathing for Recovery

It may be an inopportune time to make recommendations about how to breathe amid a pneumonic plague. Some 664,000 people have died from the coronavirus spreading across the globe. However, breathing is an excellent recovery aid for coping with stress.

Breathing can help you manage anxiety and depression, states of being that are the remora fish of the pandemic. Countless individuals are feeling discontent and frustrated. We all share the common trait of fearfulness because of the deadly virus and the havoc it has wrought on society.

Vestiges of the global outbreak, experts predict, will be higher rates of mental illness. What we do today might impact how we get through the days to come. You can improve your mental health by adopting breathing exercises, according to researchers at Yale University.

Mindfulness and Positivity

Research appearing in the Frontiers in Psychiatry shows that students who learn breathing techniques and emotional intelligence strategies are better able to manage stress and anxiety. Yale News reports that the practices also helped with depression and social connectedness.

In addition to academic skills, we need to teach students how to live a balanced life,” said Emma Seppälä, lead author and faculty director of the Women’s Leadership Program at Yale School of Management. “Student mental health has been on the decline over the last 10 years, and with the pandemic and racial tensions, things have only gotten worse.”

While the study focused on the efficacy of classroom-based wellness training programs, incorporating techniques for managing stress and anxiety is beneficial for everyone. Students taught SKY Breath Meditation, yoga postures, social connection, and service activities reported benefits in six areas of well-being: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive affect, and social connectedness.

If you are experiencing increasing anxiety and depression, please consider learning more about the above techniques. If you have gone through an addiction or mental health treatment program, maybe you learned about the value of yoga and breathing exercises for maintaining a positive attitude. Hopefully, you are still utilizing the practices.

Increased self-awareness and compassion are needed today. Please, do everything you can to achieve those noble goals. The downtime in the day is an opportunity for well-being techniques and to practice positivity. You can still be of service to your peers from afar.

I didn’t realize how much of it was physiology, how you control the things inside you with breathing,” said Anna Wilkinson, Yale ’22 B.A., who uses the practices regularly. “I come out of breathing and meditation as a happier, more balanced person, which is something I did not expect at all.”

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment for Men

Contact PACE Recovery Center if you are a male who struggles with mental illness or addiction. Our highly-trained team can help you begin the journey of recovery during this unprecedented time. We also offer a program designed for students: assisting young men with their academic pursuits. The PACE staff can help you find routine, structure, purpose, and accountability.

Depression and Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic

depression

Are you feeling angry, discontent, frustrated, lonely, and stir crazy? Are you consumed by fear of the unknown and bogged down by states of anxiety or depression? If the words above resonate, aptly describing your sentiments of late, please know that you are not alone. The majority of people in recovery from addiction, mental illness, or dual diagnosis feel the same way. We implore you; take stock in remembering that this too shall pass.

It’s been several months since we learned that a deadly virus found its way ashore in America. A short time ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the United States would become the epicenter of the most severe public health crisis in 100 years. Moreover, we didn’t know that life as we know it would change immeasurably. Nevertheless, here we find ourselves; all 328 million-plus of us.

COVID-19 is a deadly coronavirus sweeping across America. From Miami to Seattle, from Bangor to Huntington Beach, more than three and half million have tested positive. What’s more, 135,000 Americans‘ lives have been cut short. Each day, the death toll and the number of cases rises; it’s understandable that you have concerns. A pandemic is an unprecedented event for 99.99 percent of those living; there isn’t a playbook to turn to for guidance.

While we shelter in place waiting for the storm to pass, it can be easy to become trapped in the endless news cycle. Headlines are informative to be sure, but they are also troubling. Acting on instructions to change behaviors reduces disease transmission and also flips our lives upside down.

Pandemic-Related Relapse

We are all trying to get through each day without resorting to self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors to cope. In the process, we must acknowledge that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on society long after scientists develop a vaccine.

In our last post, we pointed out that a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical depression and anxiety. Alcohol use is surging; the same is valid for drugs. According to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, opioid overdoses may have increased 30 to 40 percent. She adds:

We know also that from some of the reports from the states that there have been increases in overdose fatalities, that there have been increases in patients relapsing that had already achieved recovery. So we are hearing these distress calls from throughout the country.”

If you live in a state hit hard by the coronavirus, you may be cut off from your support network. The only meetings of recovery you attend may be virtual. Hopefully, you’ve managed to stay on course toward progress despite the new normal. It’s not easy to keep your recovery intact in isolation, but it’s possible.

Fortunately, there are still resources at your disposal, even if they come from afar. Continue to practice the principles in all your affairs to get to the other side of this public health crisis without incident. The program teaches us that we have to live life on life’s terms to succeed; never have such words rang so true. In recovery, you are informed that anything can be overcome, provided you remember where you came from, and don’t lose sight of where you would like to go.

The Spell of Depression

It’s challenging to maintain a positive outlook when stuck at home and racked with concern. It’s possible to practice positivity, but a positive attitude is contingent on our behaviors; how you fill your day matters. Spending your days without purpose or in an unproductive manner will impact your well-being.

If depression and anxiety weigh you down, please talk to your peers or a professional about your feelings. Identify behaviors contributing to how you feel and make alterations as necessary. For instance, make daily walks a priority if you are feeling sedentary. Instead of binging too much Netflix, read more.

Books will transport you away from your negative thoughts. Memoirs and mindful texts abound, and there is no time like the present to check off boxes on your recovery reading list. If you are struggling with depression, you may be interested in a new book on the subject.

Essayist and literary critic, George Scialabba, has battled depression for decades. His latest text gives readers an up-close and personal look at the condition. Scialabba’s How To Be Depressed also provides those who contend with depression some helpful tools. The University of Pennsylvania Press writes:

Unlike heart surgery or a broken leg, there is no relaxing convalescence and nothing to be learned (except, perhaps, who your friends are). It leaves you weakened and bewildered, unsure why you got sick or how you got well, praying that it never happens again but certain that it will. Scialabba documents his own struggles and draws from the insights that may prove useful to fellow-sufferers and general readers alike. In the place of dispensable banalities—”Hold on,” “You will feel better,” and so on—he offers an account of how it’s been for him, in the hope that doing so might prove helpful to others.”

Southern California Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating men suffering from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one struggles with a mental health disorder, our highly qualified team of specialists could help bring about lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the healing process.

Mental Health and Loneliness Epidemic in America

mental health

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.

Substance Use Disorders and Adoption

substance use disorders and adoptionWhen kids are adopted, it can be a life-changing event. Children who are born into unsafe environments or whose parents cannot or choose not to take care of them properly can benefit tremendously from being adopted into a caring, loving family. Being adopted, though, can also mean that the child experiences an underlying struggle between logic and emotion. Research has found a link between substance use disorders and adoption that is connected to that struggle.

Increase in Adoptions

Researchers at Pew state that a record number of children in foster care are being adopted. In 2018, more than 63,000 kids were adopted from foster care, an increase of nearly a quarter from four years earlier. The percentage of children leaving foster care for adoption has increased from 21% in 2014 to more than 25% in 2018. A total of 135,000 children are adopted each year and there are currently 1.5 million adopted children in the US today. The increase in adoptions is good news in that these children are in more stable homes, but the increase is also in part a reflection of the devastating effects of the opioid crisis in this country.

Substance Use Disorders

Research has found a connection between substance use disorders and adoption, in that adoptees have a higher rate of substance use disorders than non-adoptees. The studies demonstrated an increased risk of lifetime substance use disorders in adopted adults. The odds ratios were found to be high for both abuse and dependence, of both alcohol and drugs.

In a separate study conducted in Sweden, researchers found that 4.5 percent of adopted individuals had problems with drug abuse, compared with 2.9 percent of the general population. Adoptees who had at least one biological parent who abused drugs had drug abuse problems at more than twice the percentage, 8.6 percent, of people whose biological parents did not have drug abuse issues, 4.2 percent.

Contributing Factors

Genetics and environment have been found to be contributing factors in the connection between substance use disorders and adoption as well. Genetic risk factors include alcoholic and psychiatric disorders in biological parents. Children who experienced fetal alcohol effects, alcoholic adoptive parents, and multiple pre-adoption placements were also more prone to substance use disorders. Psychological factors unique to adopted children also contribute to the increased rate of substance use disorders.

Adoption Trauma

One of the underlying causes of substance use disorders is unresolved adoption trauma, rooted in the shock and pain of being permanently separated from a person’s biological family. The birth parents as well as the child being adopted can suffer from adoption trauma. The level of mental and emotional challenges can depend on the child’s age and maturity level when adopted. Unresolved emotional pain arising from the separation can lead to an increased use of drugs or alcohol as unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms.

Awareness and Treatment

Understanding the underlying causes can help the adopted person become more aware of the potential for substance use disorders as well as prevention and treatment options. Recognizing early signs and symptoms and taking steps to get help can reduce the damage and increase the chance of recovery among adoptees who are experiencing an addition to drugs or alcohol.

Resources that can help the healing process include the adoption-related treatment program at PACE Recovery. Therapy can alleviate the adoption trauma and treat the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse. Treatment options can include Gestalt therapy, attachment-focused therapy, and emotion-focused therapy. Social skills training and specialized support groups can also benefit the adoptee significantly.

People who are adopted may feel rejected by their biological family or pained by their own history. Treatment focused on support, education, and advocacy can help them work through their vulnerability and fear, facilitating healing and healthy discussions about their adoption. Treatment for substance use disorders for adoptees must first address their insecurities and inconsistent attachment styles.

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

The professionals at PACE Recovery Center understand that the struggles you may encounter as an adoptee can manifest as anxiety, depression, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, including anger and substance abuse. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you have been adopted or an adoptive parent and struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. Our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Coping With Isolation

mental health

“This Too Shall Pass” and “You Are Not Alone” are familiar phrases to members of the addiction and mental health recovery community. It’s fair to say that we’re living in a time when such mantras are more valuable than ever owing to the pandemic.

We are wise to remember that no matter how bleak the societal forecast looks, we shall overcome this public health crisis eventually. Such words may offer little solace to millions of Americans, but we have to hold on to hope and maintain a positive attitude. Remembering that we are all in this together can help to that end. While we may be ordered to stay at home and shelter in place, keeping in mind that you are not alone is beneficial.

COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s life, and the spread continues, as does the rising death toll. Those most vulnerable to the effects of isolation – those living with addiction and mental health disorders – are facing significant adversity.

Isolation begets loneliness; people in early and long-term recovery struggle dealing with both seclusion and sadness. Fellowship is what makes 12 Step recovery so effective for abstaining from drugs and alcohol and making progress in every sector of one’s life. No longer being physically connected to your support network can wreak havoc on your program, provided you don’t take precautions.

Warding off the sadness that accompanies feeling alone does not come easy for those in early addiction recovery. It takes time to develop coping mechanisms for contending with the discomfort that comes from hardship. Adopting healthy coping skills begins in treatment, but they are strengthened when you put them into practice in real-world situations. A pandemic is the severest example of a real-world situation.

Coping With Mental Health Symptoms in the Face of Fear and Isolation

Fear is one of the driving factors behind both use disorder and mental health symptoms. With 1,084,983 infected Americans and the death of 63,686 of our loved ones, it’s right to feel afraid. The fact that the death toll in less than three months is higher than that of all the Americans who died while serving in Vietnam, 58,220, over two decades is cause for concern.

Public health experts assure us that we can stave off contracting and transmitting the virus by following the CDC and WHO guidelines. Some of those include wearing face masks and latex gloves (Personal Protective Equipment) while in public. The more challenging recommendations are sheltering in place and self-quarantining (if you have or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19). Adhering to the advice of the world’s leading health professionals should reduce some of your fears about contracting the coronavirus.

People living with mental illness or are in addiction recovery depend on connection with others. It’s critical that you continue attending your support groups and therapy sessions via teleconferencing and video conferencing. Call, facetime, or skype with people in your support network every day of the week, particularly if you are harboring negative thoughts.

Negativity can lead to ideations of self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors. If acted upon, you could slide backward in your recovery, lose progress, and potentially relapse. You can avoid all the above unfortunate byproducts of negative thoughts by digitally linking up with your friends and family.

The goal is to prevent fear, isolation, and loneliness from being the impetus for relapse or a resurgence of mental illness symptoms. Throughout the day, try to remind yourself that you are not alone, and this too shall pass.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

mental health

April was Stress Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month; both observances could not have come at a better time. For the one in five Americans living with a mental health disorder, support is needed now more than ever. The same is especially true for the one in 25 adults who contend with a severe mental illness.

It is worth reiterating how vital it is to stay connected with each other and show support for the 47.6 million Americans dealing with conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of our fellow members of the addiction recovery community also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

It’s fitting that the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone.” This month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will feature personal stories from people living with mental health conditions.

If you would like to share your story and help people feel less alone during these isolating times, then you can submit your story here. Your experience may brighten the lives of others who may be struggling to cope with our new normal. NAMI writes:

NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others, and educate the broader public. Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with the digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Even in times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is always here, reminding everyone that you are not alone.

Mental Health Treatment for Adult Men

If you or an adult male you love is struggling with a mental illness, then please reach out to PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific facility specializes in treating men battling addiction or mental health disorders. Our team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists help men get on the road to lasting recovery.

We want to share with you that our dedicated staff is taking every precaution to safeguard the health of our clients. If you would like to learn more about the COVID-19 response at PACE, then please click here.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences are with the millions of families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. We are hopeful that all the infected make a fast recovery.

Recovery: April is Stress Awareness Month 2020

recovery

This March and April are arguably the most challenging months that people in recovery have faced in living history. Millions of people’s lives depend on constant contact with a mutual support network like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).

Being seen and seeing others reminds recovering individuals that they are not alone. Attending meetings is an outlet of accountability that keeps one on track toward continued progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down; almost everything is different than a short time ago. Protecting your health and the well-being of others demands that we all “shelter in place,” practice social distancing, and use personal protective equipment (PPE).

We have no idea how long these protocols will continue. There are now 854,338 Americans infected with coronavirus; the nation is mourning the loss of 47,125 of our loved ones.

The restrictions imposed on the planet are stressful for each of us, but for those who rely on 12 Step meetings they are taking a nerve-racking toll. Countless people in recovery – regardless of their lengths of sobriety – are in a precarious position and must be more exacting than usual.

While some in-person meetings are still held across the country, people with pre-existing health conditions can’t risk exposure. A significant number of men and women in recovery fall into the above bracket. For such individuals, the internet and smartphones are the only access points to the recovery community.

Videoconferencing and teleconferencing are helpful, and we are lucky such tools exist. However, protracted in-person isolation takes a traumatic toll on a group of people whose program can be compromised by seclusion. Quarantine is stressful and frustrating; if the pressure builds up and isn’t released in a healthy way, the outcome could be a relapse.

Stress Awareness Month 2020

It’s both fitting and ironic that April happens to be Stress Awareness Month. April is always stressful because of taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15th. While forking over your savings to the IRS is worrisome, it pales in comparison to the fear of contracting a deadly virus.

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. The goal of the annual observance is to help people learn how to cope with stress in non-destructive ways. De-stressing is a target that each person in recovery must focus on, perhaps now more than ever.

Just shy of one year ago, a survey showed that Americans were among the most stressed-out people in the world. The Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report indicated that in 2018 men and women in the United States reported feeling stress, anger, and worry at the highest levels in a decade.

What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news, told The New York Times. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”

Gallup asked survey participants about how they felt in the previous day:

  • 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing stress during a lot of the day.
  • 45 percent felt worried a lot.
  • 22 percent – more than one in five – felt angry a lot.

Naturally, maintaining a positive attitude during this unprecedented event is no small hurdle. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to let the new normal of isolation jeopardize your program of recovery. There are many techniques for enhancing your positivity while sheltering in place.

Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to remind you that a positive attitude changes everything (PACE). You have the power to maintain a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.

Your recovery must always come first; call your sponsor and peers in your “deep bench” of support regularly. Attend meetings via the internet. Read recovery related materials and find ways to have fun at home.

If you find yourself becoming overly stressed, try to silence your mind. Meditation is an effective way to bring yourself back to a state of serenity. Exercise is another means of combating anxiety, worries, and pressure.

Being cooped up will ultimately lead to feeling stir crazy. Get outside and take at least a 30-minute walk every day. If you don’t have physical limitations, then go for a bicycle ride or a jog. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go to a gym to work out, nor do you require workout equipment at home. Pushups, sit-ups, and yoga can keep you physically fit and reduce your stress levels.

Any of the above suggestions can help you stay positive despite the pandemic. Staying positive will protect your recovery and keep your program intact until the storm passes.

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

One of the unfortunate byproducts of “stay at home” orders is that Americans are drinking and drugging at elevated rates. Moreover, these arduous past couples of months have impacted members of the recovery community significantly and led to many relapses.

If you relapsed, please get back on track before your situation worsens. It’s possible that you require professional assistance to get back on the road to lasting recovery. We invite adult males who are struggling with mental health and behavioral health problems like depression or addiction to contact us today.

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific recovery programs and services for men. Please reach out to us today to learn more and begin the healing process. Our dedicated team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists are following all COVID-19 protocols for protecting our clients.

Recovery Writing: Keeping a Journal Improves Your Mental Health

recovery

Mental health and physical health are of the utmost importance to people in addiction recovery. Anything you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and physical fitness will significantly improve your outlook on life. In recovery, a positive attitude changes everything.

Improving your physical health usually comes down to introducing exercise and a healthy diet into your schedule. If you completed an addiction treatment program, then you were probably advised to prioritize healthy living.

It’s likely that your counselors and clinicians shared with you the benefits of eating right and physical fitness. They probably explained that physical health and mental health are linked. Since people in early recovery are healing, they must do whatever they can to expedite the healing process.

Hopefully, you make a point of eating healthy foods and exercising three to five times a week. The latter does not require that you go to the gym; daily 30-minute walks can go a long way towards improving your fitness. Those who make fitness a priority feel better and thus are better able to maintain a positive attitude.

If you are working a program of recovery, then you know how vital it is to stay positive. Getting down on yourself or harboring negative emotions towards yourself and others will not benefit your recovery.

Naturally, there are several ways that you can bolster your mental health, aside from healthy living. Attending meetings, sharing, and working with a sponsor help to process your emotions productively. Such behaviors will help you manage and cope with stress in nondestructive ways.

There are also activities you can do at home that will aid you in achieving your goal of long-term recovery. Take journaling, for instance, those who journal benefit immensely from the practice.

Keeping a Journal in Recovery

Working a program of recovery teaches you ways of navigating the stressors of everyday life. Stress, as you well know, can derail your recovery if it is not managed in healthy ways. Coping with the obstacles of daily life is not easy for many people in early recovery. As such, men and women in sobriety must adopt practices that can aid in stress management.

You probably go to a meeting or call your sponsor when you are stressed out; bottling up negative emotions is detrimental. However, you may not always be able to catch a meeting or get a hold of a trusted peer. If you have a method for processing what is bothering you when you are alone, then you can keep stress from triggering you and prevent cravings from developing.

Journaling is an effective method of dealing with things that are bothering you. Those who journal are able to gain perspective and insight on how to navigate a challenging situation. What’s more, you do not have to be an excellent writer to benefit from writing, and there isn’t one way of journaling your thoughts.

Addicts and alcoholics in early recovery have many thoughts racing through their heads. They also are still contending with the wreckage of their past, which can lead to negative emotions and stress. Jotting down how you are feeling and the root of it can help you chart a course toward a more positive outlook.

It’s important to distinguish that journaling is not keeping a diary, which is good news for men who may feel like writing about your feelings is not a masculine activity. Many men in recovery journal every day, and it has no impact on masculinity. What’s more, journaling could be boosting their physical fitness.

Journaling Can Boost Your Immune System

F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist in New York City, wrote a fascinating article on the subject of journaling for NBC Think recently. Barth discusses the myriad of benefits that can come from journaling. Besides boosting your mental health, Barth cites studies that indicate journaling may impact one’s physical health.

Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, points to two different studies that show that journaling is beneficial to the immune system. The belief is that journaling reduces stress, which boosts the immune system, therefore improving your physical health. Diane Barth writes:

The conclusions drawn by both studies were that daily writing about emotionally significant experiences can improve our immune system, probably in a way not totally different from exercise, which is by reducing the chemicals that stress releases in our bodies.

One study, published in JAMA, involved participants who are living with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The other study included HIV-infected patients.

As we pointed out above, journaling is helpful for any gender. Barth mentions in her piece that John D. Rockefeller, General George Patton, and Winston Churchill kept journals. It’s fair to say that all three men dealt with enormous amounts of stress at different points in their life.

At PACE, we encourage you to give journal-writing a try when next you feel stressed. If you are already keeping a daily journal, then keep it up as you continue to strengthen your recovery.

California Gender-Specific Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Are you or a male loved one contending with a mental health disorder, alcohol or substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder? If so, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our various evidence-based programs for men. We can help you begin the journey of healing and provide you with the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please call 800-526-1851 if you have any questions and to discuss treatment options.

Recovery Specialists are Needed in America

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we like to do our best to focus on uplifting aspects of addiction recovery. We want to share stories about individuals who have risen from the depths of despair and gone on to lead productive lives in sobriety. Unfortunately, there are times when we would be remiss if we didn’t share startling statistics about young people in America. Hopefully, by doing so, we can encourage lawmakers and the public to effect change.

A new study shows that death rates from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease, and other causes rose over the past decade for young and middle-aged adults, The Washington Post reports. The research – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – indicates that overall life expectancy in the United States has fallen for three consecutive years.

In the field of addiction medicine, we are acutely aware that the U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented addiction epidemic. What’s more, mental health conditions such as depression affect a significant number of young people. To make matters worse, only a small percentage of the millions of affected people receive evidence-based treatment like that which we offer at PACE.

It’s [death rates] supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries,” said the lead author of the report, Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong.”

Woolf points out that the American opioid epidemic, not surprisingly, is a driving force in the decrease in American life expectancy, according to the article. Tens of thousands of adults die of overdoses each year, but overdoses are not the only culprit in the decline. Mental-illness related suicide is playing a significant role as well.

Opioid Workforce Act

opioid workforce act

Efforts to increase access to evidence-based therapies for mental and behavioral health conditions saves lives. There is a problem though; there is a dire shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

When Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) learned that approximately 21 million people needed treatment for a substance use disorder in 2018, they decided it was time to take action, Forbes reports. The lawmakers were even more troubled when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) informed them that only 11 percent of the 21 million were able to access treatment that year.

In response to the staggering treatment disparity, the lawmakers conducted a review that found part of the problem was the lack of trained physicians equipped to help people with mental and behavioral health disorders. In an effort to effect change, Senators Hassan and Collins authored a bill that aims to “provide Medicare support for an additional 1,000 graduate medical education (GME) positions over five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.”

Introduced this summer, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 has already garnered the support of 80 organizations.

As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Recovery Treatment

The fact that the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine are behind the Opioid Workforce Act is beneficial. The secured support should help both lawmakers get the bipartisan piece of legislation through congress. When combined with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, we may finally be able to reign in this most deadly public health crisis.

If you are a young man who is struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorders, or any mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center offers many evidence-based programs that can help you turn your life around. Our clients benefit from working closely with master’s- and doctorate-level clinicians, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. We invite you to reach out at any time to speak to our admissions team about how PACE can help you or a loved one. 800-526-1851

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