Tag Archives: mental illness

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.

Depression Rate Rises Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

depression

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

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

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

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

Anxiety and Depression On the Rise in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coping With Depression is Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health & Mood Disorder Treatment for Men

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

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

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

Mental Health and Loneliness Epidemic in America

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.

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.

Addiction Recovery: Clean and Sober Celebrities Inspire Hope

addiction recovery

Celebrities who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders experience many of the same problems as average citizens. However, unlike average Americans, moviestars’ and musicians’ addictions make the headlines. A lack of anonymity can lead to shame and disgrace that can hinder one’s ability to find addiction recovery.

Famous individuals who battle addictive disorders become controversial figures regularly. Stars may do things while under the influence that can mar their reputations irrevocably at times. Addiction jeopardizes many careers or can end them entirely if steps to recover are not taken.

Sadly, many beloved pop icons have succumbed to their disease or taken their lives. We are all familiar with movie stars, television actors, comedians, and musicians whose lives ended in tragedy.

While society mourns the loss of beloved celebrities and remembers the joy such people brought to the lives of millions, it’s also vital to acknowledge those who battled addiction and found recovery. Some even go on to share their stories with the world and inspire others to seek addiction recovery.

Numerous people employed in Hollywood are working programs and championing causes to help end the misconceptions about addiction. Whenever someone who is looked up to by millions of people shares their story, it erodes the stigma of mental and behavioral health disorders.

Some of you may have read articles about Brad Pitt’s road to recovery recently. He has openly shared about the impact alcohol had on his life, what it cost him, and how addiction recovery saved his life. In interviews, he’s mentioned how other celebrities helped him in recovery, such as Bradley Cooper. Pitt and Cooper’s honesty is not rare; many other cultural icons are doing their part to inspire hope in others.

Addiction: A Family Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate

Some of our readers may know that the multiple-Grammy award-winning artist James Taylor had a long battle with addiction. Perhaps you know that he sought the help of addiction treatment centers on several occasions and experienced many relapses before finding long-term recovery.

TIME published an article on Taylor recently that brings to light many of the factors that impacted his life. When James was a teenager, he was admitted to a mental health facility, according to the article. He says that music saved his life, but he would go on to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a nascent musician.

Addiction is a family disease. Like many people who are touched by alcohol and substance use disorders, Taylor’s family struggled with addiction too. His parents and all four siblings each battled with drugs and alcohol.

Taylor shared that he was addicted to opiates for about 18 years on an episode of Oprah’s Master Class in 2015. He finally found recovery and began working the 12 Steps in 1983 and has been sober ever since. That same year he released his 16th album, Before This World, which included songs that dealt with addiction recovery and salvation.

With more than 30 years of sobriety, James Taylor is proof that long-term recovery is possible even for the most severely addicted. Moreover, he does not shy away from carrying the message to those still in the grips of the disease.

The sooner you get over it, the sooner you get on with your life,” Taylor said. “The 12-step programs are the best way we’ve discovered, so far, for recovering from addiction.”

Finding sobriety has led other artists and actors to create works that shine a light on addiction and recovery. People are encouraged to seek help when celebrities courageously share and create music and films about the disease.

From Addiction Recovery to Relapse: The Way Back

As mentioned earlier, addiction can make a person into a controversial figure and take what’s most important from them, and such is the case of Oscar-winner Ben Affleck. The Argo director has been in the news lately a lot due to his divorce, apologizing for groping a talk show host in 2013, and his struggles with alcoholism.

Last year, he relapsed a few months after announcing he had achieved one year of sustained recovery, The New York Times reports. He acknowledges that alcohol use cost him his marriage to Jennifer Garner, the mother of their three children. While his recent relapse was a significant setback and source of shame, he has not given up on breaking the cycle of addiction.

It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Ben Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”

Addiction is a family disease for Ben Affleck; his father is an alcoholic just like James Taylor’s. He shares that his father sobered up when Ben was 19. His younger brother Casey Affleck has spoken openly about his battle with alcoholism and sobriety. The Afflecks’ aunt struggled with heroin addiction, and their grandmother and uncle both committed suicide.

Ben Affleck is back in recovery and is working. He stars in The Way Back, which opens in theaters on March 6, about a man in the grips of alcoholism. The main character’s life echo’s Affleck’s life in several ways.

In the film, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach. Cunningham, like Affleck, lost his marriage to drinking, the article reports. He will eventually end up in addiction treatment.

California Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to lead a healthy and positive life in addiction recovery. Our center utilizes evidence-based therapies to help men break the disease cycle.

Our Masters and Doctorate-level clinicians also specialize in the treatment of stand-alone and co-occurring mental illness. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about the benefits of gender-specific treatment and the PACE Recovery difference.

Depression and Cannabis Use Among Young People

depression

Last month, we shared with our readers about research that upended a long-held association between alcohol use and depression among young people. In the post, we were particularly interested in the link between binge drinking and depressive symptoms.

As we pointed out at the time, binge drinking among young men and women is on the decline. However, there’s been a significant rise in depressive symptoms among young individuals.

As such, researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health are no longer able to find a correlation between binge drinking and depressive symptoms. The findings of the study, the researchers suggest, indicate that the relationship between binge drinking and depressive symptoms is decoupling.

While the observations are uplifting news and can help experts redirect their targets for addressing both depression and hazardous alcohol use, there remains a clear link between substance use and depressive symptoms.

On numerous occasions, we have pointed out that addiction often goes hand in hand with co-occurring mental illness. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and bipolar disorder affect people living with use disorders regularly.

Some individuals develop a dual diagnosis for mental illness after prolonged bouts of drugs or alcohol use; whereas, others who already meet the criteria for a mental illness will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol resulting in the development of co-occurring behavioral health disorders like addiction.

Self-medicating mental illness is one of the leading causes of people developing an alcohol or substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol may alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness initially, but in the long run, the practice only creates more problems.

New research suggests that people living with depression are at twice the risk of using cannabis, according to Wiley. The findings appear in the journal Addiction.

Depression and Cannabis Use

In recent years, the public perceived dangers associated with cannabis use has declined significantly. The trend is likely partly due to the relaxing of marijuana laws, including medical cannabis programs and recreational use decriminalization. While it might be true that using pot may be a relatively benign behavior for average citizens, we cannot say the same for those with pre-existing mental illness.

The new survey-based study included 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older, according to the article. The researchers found that cannabis use in America increased from 2005 to 2017 among men and women with and without depression. However, the data indicates that people living with depression were approximately twice as likely to use marijuana in 2017 compared to those without the condition.

Even more concerning, the data shows that nearly one-third of young adults (29.7 percent) aged 18-25 with depression reported using marijuana in the past 30-day period. Among all persons over the age of 12, the prevalence of past-month cannabis use was 18.9 percent among those with depression compared to 8.7% among those without depression. What’s more, 6.7 percent of people with depression reported daily cannabis use. Whereas, only 2.9 percent of non-depressed people reported everyday use.

Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression. At the same time, the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression,” said corresponding author Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York.

Cannabis Use Disorder and Depression Treatment for Young Men

Young men who struggle with depressive symptoms and also use cannabis put themselves at significant risk. They are likely to worsen their symptoms of depression and often develop cannabis use disorders. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment for young men.

At PACE, our team of experts relies on evidence-based therapies to help men overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol, drug abuse, and mental illness. We are available at any time to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment center. 800-526-1851

Alcohol Use and Depression Among Young People: Study

alcohol

Adolescence or one’s teenage years are a time of significant change in a person’s life. Young men and women undergo biological, physiological, and neurological alterations that can be challenging. Those who are exposed to drugs and alcohol as teenagers are at a significant risk of experiencing problems in young adulthood.

Young people in high school are no strangers to parties and underage drinking. They also have few inhibitions and are apt to make reckless decisions, especially when under the influence. Some youths may not even know yet that they meet the criteria for mental illness; and, when drugs and alcohol become part of the picture, it can exacerbate their conditions.

Research has long associated alcohol use with depressive symptoms; alcohol is a central nervous system depressant after all. Many people who struggle with depression – both teens and adults – will turn to alcohol as a means of coping. It’s a practice that can lead to comorbidity; a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis is when a patient meets the criteria for both alcohol use disorder and a mental illness like depression.

When alcohol is introduced to a developing brain, there is no way to predict the outcome. Some youths will use the substance sparingly, at parties, for instance, whereas others may make a regular practice of drinking. The latter may also engage in hazardous ways of consuming alcohol, such as binge drinking.

Binge drinking occurs when a female consumes four alcoholic beverages or more in two hours. For men, binge drinking occurs at five drinks during the same length of time. Those who binge drink are at risk of “blackouts” and alcohol poisoning. Generalized impairment of neurocognitive function accompanies heavy alcohol use; young people under the influence are at a significant risk of injury.

Binge Drinking and Depression Amongst Young People

While scientists have correlated binge drinking and depressive symptoms in young people for some time, new research paints a different picture. Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health published a study that upends traditional thinking on the above subject.

A team of researchers analyzed data from 1991 to 2018 and found that binge drinking alcohol among U.S. adolescents significantly declined, according to Public Health Now. However, the findings indicate that since 2012, depressive symptoms among U.S. adolescents have dramatically risen.

The former is good news, and the latter is cause for concern. Still, perhaps the salient finding is that the researchers could no longer associate binge drinking and depressive symptoms among adolescents.

Comorbidity of depression and drinking is among the bedrocks of psychiatric epidemiology findings—until now. Our results suggest that we need to be re-thinking the connections between mental health and alcohol among young people,” said Katherine M. Keyes, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman.

Like many studies of this type, Dr. Keyes and colleagues utilized Monitoring the Future surveys. They look at responses from 58,444 school-attending 12th-grade adolescents to reach their conclusions.

The connection between depressive symptoms (i.e., agreeing with the statement “life is meaningless” or “life is hopeless”) and binge drinking decreased by 16 percent from 1991 to 2018 and 24 percent among girls and 25 percent among boys, the article reports. The findings suggest the relationship between binge drinking and depressive symptoms is decoupling. Dr. Keyes found that:

The declining correlation between binge drinking and mental health is occurring during a time of unprecedented decreases in alcohol consumption among U.S. adolescents and increases in mental health problems. Therefore, the relationship between substance use and mental health may need to be reconceptualized for ongoing and future research.”

Alcohol Use and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment for Young Men

If you are a young man who is struggling with alcohol use disorder, depression, or both, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment for men.

Our team of masters and doctorate-level clinicians can help you or a loved one break the disease cycle and begin a life-changing journey of recovery. We utilize evidence-based therapies to treat each presenting behavioral and mental health disorder simultaneously.

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