Tag Archives: substance use disorder

Addiction and Sadness Connection: Emotions and Addictive Behaviors

addiction

Positive emotions are beneficial for people in recovery; whereas, negative emotions derail one’s program and can lead to relapse. At PACE, we fully subscribe to the power of positivity and its impact on lasting addiction recovery. While we understand that life can be difficult, and challenges can elicit negative feelings, each of us has the power to alter our perspective and move forward productively.

At the core of addictive behaviors are several negative sentiments such as guilt, shame, self-loathing, disgust, anger, sadness, and fear. Some addiction specialists argue that the latter state of being is the crux of addiction. Those who hope to break free from addiction must work tirelessly not to let negative emotions run their lives.

It’s hard to see the sunny side of life when you are in the grips of despair, but no matter how dark your reality appears, there is always hope. Life doesn’t have to be the way it is always, and we humans have an enormous capacity for change both internally and externally. Right now, millions of people around the globe are leading healthy and positive lives in recovery, which means that you can too.

The road to a more positive life is not without potholes, and everyone stumbles from time to time. Still, it’s not the falling that matters; it’s the getting back up and trudging forward and never losing sight of your goals.

Even people with years of sobriety have less than ideal days. A myriad of factors can jeopardize one’s serenity, such as a death in the family or loss of employment, for example. Bad days are normal, but wallowing in misfortune is not, nor is it healthy—especially for people in recovery.

On this blog, we like to discuss the power of positivity on a regular basis; we believe it’s helpful for those in early recovery. The first year of sobriety is a rollercoaster ride of emotions – some good and some bad – and it’s vital not to let the latter take over. It’s easier said than done, but with a support network by your side, you can overcome any obstacle and the accompanying negative emotions.

Sadness In Early Recovery

Learning how to cope with negative emotions is something that many people discover in treatment. It’s vital to have such skills because negative emotions will crop up without warning and must be addressed immediately. One of the more common emotions that people in early recovery contend with is sadness.

You can be sad for a number of reasons. Men and women in early recovery are often consumed by regret. When the fog of drugs and alcohol clears, many have a propensity to look back on their using tenure with sadness. Some will even mourn the loss of the drugs and alcohol, even though they understand that such substances were detrimental.

If you find yourself in a funk and are feeling down, then it’s vital to take action and talk to someone you trust immediately. Such emotions can spread through the mind like wildfire, and the smoke created will cloud your vision for the future.

Always remember that the past is behind you and that you only have the power to change what you do today. Dwelling on the past and breathing air into negative feelings can lead you down a destructive path. It turns out that sadness is an emotion that researchers associate with addictive behaviors.

Sadness and Addictive Substance Use

A new study that mainly focuses on the use of cigarettes could also shed light on all addictive behaviors. Researchers from Harvard University sought to determine which role emotions play in addictive behavior. The findings – appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – indicate that sadness plays a significant part in triggering addictive behaviors.

The researchers examined four studies which all reinforce the finding that sadness leads to cravings more than any other negative emotion, according to the Harvard Kennedy School. The team believes that their results could help in designing more effective prevention campaigns.

The conventional wisdom in the field was that any type of negative feelings, whether it’s anger, disgust, stress, sadness, fear, or shame, would make individuals more likely to use an addictive drug,” said lead researcher Charles A. Dorison, a Harvard Kennedy School doctoral candidate. “Our work suggests that the reality is much more nuanced than the idea of ‘feel bad, smoke more.’ Specifically, we find that sadness appears to be an especially potent trigger of addictive substance use.”

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Adult males are invited to reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our evidence-based therapies for the treatment of addiction and mental illness. We offer specialized clinical treatment tracks to address all components of addiction and mental health. If you are struggling with alcohol, drugs, or a mental health disorder, our team of highly trained professionals can help you achieve lasting recovery.

Addiction Recovery: Coping With Anxiety

addiction recovery

A significant facet of addiction recovery is learning how to cope with feelings and emotions in healthy ways. In treatment, men and women learn techniques for managing unwanted feelings that can lead to cravings. Those who adopt practices like breathing exercises when they are feeling anxious are better able to manage their sensations.

While some people in recovery take prescription medications to mitigate their symptoms of anxiety, it can have a ripple effect for many individuals. Men and women in addiction recovery who have a co-occurring anxiety disorder are advised to avoid sedatives and tranquilizers. The most common prescription sedatives are benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium.

There is a good reason for steering clear of benzodiazepines or “benzos” while you are in recovery. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and carry a significant risk of overdose if misused. If you are in recovery and also struggle with anxiety, then your doctor has probably recommended that you try alternatives to medicine.

Exercise and meditation have been found to reduce people’s stress and anxiety. Perhaps you have already incorporated such routines into your day to day life? If not, please consider taking a walk to clear your mind or engaging in mindfulness exercises when you are feeling anxious.

If the suggestions above don’t produce the desired effect, then you can discuss non-habit-forming medications with your doctor. Many antidepressants are prescribed by physicians off-label, as they have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

If you presented with an anxiety disorder in treatment, then it’s likely the center’s physicians prescribed you a non-addictive SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) such as Lexapro or Celexa. SSRIs have proven effective in treating generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Disorders, Benzodiazepines, and Addiction Recovery

While it’s possible for people in recovery to take addictive medications as prescribed and avoid relapse, doing so is hardly worth the risk. Benzos are particularly hazardous for individuals in addiction recovery for alcohol use disorder. Many alcoholics are unaware that both benzodiazepines and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. What’s more, they each activate GABA in the brain, which results in reduced anxiety.

People recovering from an alcohol use disorder who start taking benzos to treat their anxiety unknowingly activate the same neurotransmitters as alcohol. Many recovering alcoholics have relapsed on alcohol after receiving a benzodiazepine prescription. Aside from the risk of relapse, people in recovery who take benzos can develop a substance use disorder.

Drugs like Klonopin and Ativan are meant to be taken for short durations and in small doses. Continued use leads to tolerance and the need to take more of the drug to produce the desired calming effect. Before one knows it, they become dependent on their anti-anxiety medication.

Anxiety, agitation, and insomnia are common amongst men and women in early recovery. Unless one has a diagnosed disorder, such feelings will occur less frequently and may completely subside over time. Turning to benzodiazepines while in addiction recovery, prescribed or otherwise, to cope with temporary sensations can severely derail your program.

Long-term sedative use can become addictive. Substantial misuse can cause an overdose, especially when mixed with another mind-altering substance. What’s more, those who attempt to stop taking benzodiazepines require medically supervised detox. The symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include life-threatening seizures.

If you are struggling with anxiety or sleep problems, then you will benefit significantly from looking for alternatives to sedatives. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways is possible, and doing so will not only strengthen your recovery, it will make you feel more positive.

A Hidden Facet of the American Addiction Epidemic

We would be remiss if we failed to share that we have a problem with prescription sedatives in America. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that doctors are prescribing benzos at elevated rates, CNN reports. The CDC found that about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits resulted in a prescription for a benzodiazepine between 2014 and 2016.

Studies have shown that this type of central nervous system depressant is involved in overdose deaths quite frequently. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30 percent of what is labeled an opioid overdose is an opioid-benzodiazepine overdose.

This is a really undercovered story,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. “I think of it as the hidden element of our overdose epidemic that does need attention.”

Gender-Specific Substance Use Disorder Treatment

If you are an adult male who is struggling with benzodiazepines and a co-occurring anxiety disorder, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our dedicated team of professionals can help you adopt a program of addiction recovery. We rely on evidence-based therapies to ensure you are equipped to lead a positive life in long-term recovery.

Trauma, PTSD, and Substance Use Disorder

trauma

Trauma can dramatically impact the course of one’s life; if it is left unaddressed, adverse experiences can lead to premature death. A new report on mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that childhood trauma is a public health issue that we must address. The report shows that one in six people across the United States has experienced four or more kinds of adverse childhood experiences or ACEs.

Trauma can take many different shapes: neglect, abuse, familial separation (i.e., adoption), and exposure to mental health or substance abuse problems. Each person is different; an event may be more traumatic for one person than it is for another. There is no way to predict how an experience will influence a young person.

Author Junot Díaz, writing for The New Yorker in a piece titled: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma, said, “Trauma is a time traveller, an ouroboros that reaches back and devours everything that came before.” His writing lays out how an adverse childhood experience influenced everything, from relationships to employment.

In the field of addiction medicine, professionals are acutely aware of the correlation between childhood trauma and substance use and abuse. Paradoxically, many will use drugs and alcohol to cope with untreated trauma, but the practice has the unintended effect of placing such people at risk of being re-traumatized. It’s a vicious cycle, an ouroboros: a snake eating its tail.

Childhood Trauma and Addiction

Traumatic events, at any point in life, can have disastrous consequences like the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, when traumas or ACEs occur during one’s formative years, the risk of experiencing more significant problems is much higher. A previous study from the CDC on adverse childhood experiences found:

  • For each ACE, the risk for early initiation of substance abuse increases two to four times.
  • Individuals with three or more ACEs have higher rates of depression, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and heart disease.
  • Men and women with five or more ACEs are seven to 10 times more likely to become substance abusers.
  • Almost two-thirds of intravenous drug users report ACEs in their history.

Trauma, whether it occurs as a child or in adulthood, must be addressed by professionals. Too often, the lingering effects of trauma are left untreated; PTSD becomes a person’s reality, and self-medication ensues. Drugs and alcohol can provide temporary relief, but the practice places people at risk of developing alcohol and substance-related issues. PTSD and addiction are common co-occurring disorders.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that about one-third of people exposed to trauma develop PTSD. Moreover, 75 percent of people in substance abuse treatment report having experienced abuse and trauma. While men are more likely to be exposed to traumatic events, women are at a higher risk of developing PTSD.

Veterans with PTSD and Substance Use Disorder

With Veterans Day around the corner, we must discuss rampant PTSD and substance use disorder (SUD) in the military. As we pointed out, exposure to adverse events can lead people down a precarious path. If an individual doesn’t receive care and support for their condition, then they are likely to resort to drugs and alcohol for temporary relief.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. What’s more, almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD has PTSD as well.

Fortunately, effective treatments exist to address both PTSD and SUD simultaneously. Those who experience trauma as a child or in adulthood, who develop use disorders can and do recover.

We have found that both posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use can be treated concurrently [meaning, at the same time].” — Ronald E. Acierno, Ph.D., Vice-Chair For Veteran Affairs and Executive Director Of The UTHealth Trauma And Resilience Center

Orange County Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

If you are struggling with PTSD, SUD, or both, then please contact PACE Recovery Center at your earliest convenience. We specialize in the treatment of men who face challenges related to addiction and mental health disorders. We offer several different types of programs to serve the unique needs of each client best.

Recovery begins with a phone call or email to an admissions counselor. Please take the first step: 800-526-1851.

Addiction Affects the Entire Family

Across the country, thousands of families have had to watch as an addiction epidemic stole their loved ones. Each time a young person falls victim to an overdose, it’s worth remembering that he or she is someone’s child. For every tragic story we hear about in the news, there are countless mothers and fathers nobody has heard of who are desperate to see their child find recovery.

When a teenager or young adult is in the throes of addiction, parents will go to extraordinary lengths to intervene. It is never easy; accepting assistance for addiction is something that many young addicts and alcoholics will resist initially. Mothers and fathers will try any number of actions to persuade their children to seek help. However, if a person is not ready to break the cycle of self-defeating and self-destructive behavior, then there is little anyone can do to affect change.

When a son or daughter refuses to seek treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, it is heartbreaking. Parents must stand back and wait until their child has finally had enough, or hit rock bottom, so to speak. Some will try tough love in the hope that if they no longer provide financial support, he or she will come to their senses about recovery sooner. However, sooner is a nebulous word; years of estrangement can pass before a person is ready to surrender.

In the interim of active addiction and recovery, some parents will look for support and guidance on the internet. Social media provides an outlet for sharing about the struggles that accompany loving an addict or alcoholic. Mothers and fathers share tips and guide one another on ways to help facilitate getting a loved one into recovery.

Mother Raises Awareness About Son’s Addiction

When a mother sent out a plea for help on Facebook, she had no way of knowing the response of support she would receive. Jennifer Salfen-Tracy of St. Charles County, Missouri, is the mother of an addict. Her son Cody had been struggling with heroin and methamphetamine at the time of her candid post, according to 5 On Your Side. Jennifer Salfen-Tracy posted:

The face of heroin and meth…… is reality for so many people and families in this world today. This may be long so i apologize. For my family and friends who know me know that my oldest son Cody Bishop is suffering from his addiction. I am hesitant on sharing but many people ask how things are going so I feel I should share. I have learned along this path that so many people and families deal with the same heartache but just do not talk about it…”

Cody was homeless at the time of his mother’s post; she did not know where he was and had not heard from him in a while. The post has more than 60,000 shares and 30,000 comments. She updated the post and added before and after pictures of her son; the images capture the toll that drugs take on the human body. In the update she wrote:

This is not just A problem that my family faces but almost everyone knows someone who has A drug/ heroin addiction. I pray for strength for those suffering and healing for their families and friends. FYI…. these pictures were taken 7 months apart. That is how fast someone is effected…. let’s get ahold of this issue America and help eachother. Thanks again for everyone’s love and support.”

The viral post, while shocking to see and challenging to read, has a silver lining to it. Salfen-Tracy announced in an update that “Cody Bishop has been found and [is] currently in a rehab facility where he is starting his road to recovery.” She also created a Facebook page so that anyone interested can chart his progress in recovery: Cody Bishop’s Road to Recovery.

Salfen-Tracy’s decision to reveal her family’s struggle with addiction was a brave act. It is helpful in multiple ways. The more we discuss the realities of addiction as a society, the better able we are to show compassion and encourage other young men like Cody to seek assistance.

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment for Adult Men

Deciding to reach out for support is not simple, and it takes an enormous amount of courage. Those who do decide to make drastic changes and break the cycle of addiction can go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives. If you or an adult male loved one is struggling with addiction, then please contact PACE Recovery Center.

We offer several innovative, evidence-based programs that help clients get on the path to long-term recovery. We are available 24-hours a day to answer your questions and to help begin the treatment process.

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

depression

About 14.8 million adults in the U.S. are affected by major depressive disorder. Some 300 million people of all ages battle depression worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability around the globe.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating adult males living with mental and behavioral health disorders. Sometimes conditions like addiction and depression overlap; other times, men struggle with one or the other. If a client presents with co-occurring illness, then long-term recovery outcomes depend on treating both disorders simultaneously.

This week, we are going to focus on National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Every October, it’s vital to discuss the importance of depression treatment and recovery. Sharing facts about mental illness makes men and women feel less alone and can encourage them to seek help.

The risks are incredibly high when mental illnesses of any type are not treated. Depression is often a factor in suicidal ideations; suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

People who do not receive treatment are prone to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. Alcohol and substance use may lessen one’s symptoms initially, but worsen them in the long run. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Anhedonia
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Concentration problems
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week; hopefully, you had time to spread the message that people living with mental illness are not alone. Just because MIAW is over doesn’t mean you can’t continue raising awareness about mental health disorders. Please take a moment to get the word out about depression throughout October.

Men and women who face the realities of depression feel isolated; they often feel cut off from the rest of society. Moreover, stigma prevents individuals from seeking help for fear of reprisals from friends, family, and employers.

If you’d like to get involved with National Depression Education and Awareness Month, then please utilize your social media accounts. Each time you post something about depression, you empower others to seek assistance. When you post information about depression treatment and recovery, please use #DepressionAwareness.

People who are struggling with depression benefit from knowing that they are not a fault for their disease. The condition is far more complicated than just feeling sad. According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIH), depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Evidence-based therapies for depression are available. Long-term recovery usually involves a stay at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center, along with medications (i.e., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] and tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs]), psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Below you will find a list of common and effective psychological treatments for depression:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy [IPT]
  • Behavioral activation

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, there is help available. For those who are dealing with both depression and a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder, support is available as well. Immediate medical attention should be sought; depression is deadly when left untreated.

Seeking help for depression is a sign of strength. Those who take steps to address their mental illnesses can lead fulfilling and positive lives in recovery.

Gender-Specific Mental Health and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a male loved one is struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. Our team offers specialized clinical treatment for men to address all components of addiction and mental health. PACE’s exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, mental health, alcohol, and drug rehab helps men get on the road to long-term recovery.

Addiction and Adoption Link is Complicated

addiction

Practically everything can go right with a person’s upbringing, and addiction can still develop. Mental and behavioral health disorders are complex diseases that experts continue to study. Both genetics and environmental factors have a hand in who will be affected by alcohol and substance use disorders. Still, predicting who will struggle in adulthood is hard to foresee; this is especially true for the adopted.

In the United States, some 135,000 children are adopted, according to the Adoption Network. Another 428,000 kids are living in foster care, and many of them are waiting to be adopted. In 2016, the number of children waiting for a family was 117,794. The transition from foster care to adoption is often a protracted process; more than 60 percent of children wait 2-5 years.

It’s not difficult to imagine that waiting years for placement, sometimes in less-than-adequate living conditions, can be traumatic. Even those who are adopted at birth can face significant challenges as they age, despite being cared for by a loving family.

Many adopted children are born to parents with histories of addiction, thus increasing the risk that the child too may experience problems in the future. Children removed from families due to neglect or abuse face their own set of challenges as they age. They often lack the coping skills to deal with stress. Lingering trauma can precipitate the development of mental health conditions and self-harming behaviors later in life.

The Trauma of Adoption

The links between trauma and addiction cannot be overemphasized. People who experience trauma at any stage of life are at risk of problems. This is especially true when a traumatic event occurs earlier in life. Being relinquished from one’s family can take a toll on young people who often are ill-equipped to make sense of their situation.

We must remember that leaving behind family and friends, even when one’s home life is toxic, can give a boy or girl feelings of abandonment. Such sentiments are compounded by becoming a ward of the state or by being adopted by a strange family. Who could fault a child for feeling helpless?

Inconsistent and insecure attachment styles are prevalent among adopted children. Even though life was chaotic with birth parents, many children yearn to be reconnected. This fact can make it difficult for children to connect with their new families. Adopted children may struggle to form relationships with their peers due to insecure attachment styles. They may fear rejection and have concerns that their new family is temporary.

The above circumstances can result in several issues, including anxiety and depression, emotional dysregulation, and difficulty connecting with others. Unable to cope with emotions and feeling cut off from society can lead to developing unhealthy coping mechanisms or a desire to escape. If not physically, then mentally via the use of drugs and alcohol.

Assume that all children who have been adopted or fostered have experienced trauma.” — American Academy of Pediatrics [“Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope with Trauma.”]

Adoption and Addiction

Childhood trauma – adoption-related or otherwise – can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance use disorders are also highly comorbid with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mood-related psychopathology, according to Depression & Anxiety. The process of adoption is traumatic alone. If you consider that the precursors of adoption are often physical and emotional abuse, it’s not hard to see why many adoptees develop substance use disorders.

Parental substance use was the documented reason for removal of almost 31 percent of all children placed in foster care in 2012, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). Moreover, the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect shows that that percentage surpassed 60 percent in several states.

A genetic predisposition to addiction, trauma, and other co-occurring issues together significantly increase the risk of addiction that adoptees face. Once an alcohol or substance use disorder develops, it exacerbates the other concerns. The mind-altering substances may alleviate one mental health disorder symptoms initially, but they will make matters worse down the road.

Adoptees living with addiction and co-occurring mental illness must seek professional help. Ideally, they will seek out a treatment program that specializes in adoption-related issues.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Treatment

Males are adopted at higher rates than females. As such, many adopted men are struggling with addiction, mental illness, and other adoption-related issues. At PACE Recovery Center, we offer a specialized track that caters to the unique circumstances for adoptees struggling with mental health conditions.

Led by Brett Furst, M.A., MFTI, our program addresses the underlying causes of mental health issues and addiction in adopted men. We can give you or your loved one the tools to heal from mental health issues or substance use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about PACE Recovery Center’s adoption programming.

Mental Health Program Requires Funding

mental health

Health care is not free in the United States. Those who do not have insurance are unable to acquire elective services, even if they are potentially life-saving. Mental health care, whether it be for addiction or depression, is no different; many people do not get help because they lack financial resources.

In recent years, mental illnesses of the behavioral health and mood disorder varieties have come into the spotlight. Rising overdose and alcohol-related death rates and suicide have forced millions of Americans to take notice. Preventable “deaths of despair” have given many individuals cause for concern.

The reality is that there are not enough treatment centers, nor funding to provide evidence-based mental health care. Millions of Americans, many of whom are living in affluent parts of the country, are suffering needlessly. The situation is even more dire in rural America, where there may be one center or just a handful of mental health and addiction specialists for a radius of hundreds of miles.

Men and women who need assistance are unable to access it, and recovery is just out of reach for countless people. When one considers that we live in the most prosperous country in human history, facing the hard truths about mental illness is both perplexing and troubling.

In the last decade, lawmakers have introduced, passed, and signed into law legislation meant to increase funding and expand access to mental health care. The list of bills written to stem the tide of untreated mental illness and increase access to insurance parity include:

  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
  • The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) of 2016

Mental Health in America

Over the past few months, we observed several awareness campaigns focusing on addiction and mental health. June is PTSD Awareness Month; May is Mental Health Month; April is Alcohol Awareness Month; March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month; and, February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

Whenever we cover the subject of national observances, pointing out the statistics is critical to catch people’s attention. Tens of millions of Americans are battling untreated mental health disorders. Those who would like to get assistance find it exceedingly challenging to do so. The human cost of not being able to find support is high; each day not in recovery can end in tragedy.

Many of the mental health-related awareness months deal heavily with ending the stigma that prevents people from recovery. However, a lack of funding for life-saving support is just as harmful than society’s attitudes about mental illness.

It’s fair to say that most people lack the financial resources to cover the costs of all or some of their care. Which means that the burden falls on the state, county, and municipal leaders to ensure less-fortunate people can access recovery services. Expanding access to care requires money, and the necessary funds can only come from one place: taxes!

Free Mental Health Care Program

San Francisco is no different than any other metropolis in America despite being the epitome of opulence and affluence. The city has its fair share of homelessness, drug use, and people struggling with various mental health problems. However, unlike Cleveland or Indianapolis, San Francisco is in California—home to many of the wealthiest cities in the nation. The Golden State is the fifth largest economy in the world.

Silicon Valley is just down the way from San Francisco; if it were a country of its own, it would be the second richest in the world, The Mercury News reports. Many tech companies, CEOs, and execs call San Francisco home. At street-level, just beneath some of the wealthiest Americans penthouses and tech company offices, people are crippled by mental illness symptoms.

Interestingly, San Francisco lawmakers would like companies with well-paid CEOs to foot some of the city’s mental health bill, Reason reports. The Board of Supervisors introduced a motion last week that would place a new tax on “disproportionate executive pay.” Companies paying top executives 100 to 600 times the median compensation of their employees would pay an additional .1 to .6 tax on gross receipts.

In November, San Franciscans will vote on two measures that could significantly help people living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Six of the 11 supervisors support a disproportionate executive pay tax and a program called Mental Health SF. If voters approve both motions, the tax on CEO pay will cover some of the cost of a program that offers round-the-clock mental health services.

We have a crisis of people who are severely addicted to drugs and that have severe mental health illnesses that are wandering the street and that desperately need help,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

California Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, our team of highly trained mental health professionals specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We also offer programs for men who do not meet the criteria for substance use disorders, but they struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.

We invite you to contact us today if you or a male loved one requires mental health assistance. Please call 800-526-1851 now to learn more about our behavioral health treatment team and mental health programs.

Addiction Messaging and Seeking Treatment

addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines addiction as compulsive use of a mind-altering substance despite adverse consequences. Scientists characterize brain disorders involving the use of drugs and alcohol as compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse outcomes.

In the field of use disorder treatment, the disease model of addiction is the standard today. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) support the disease framework. In 2015, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and George Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) co-authored a commentary defending the disease model.

The two NIH Institute Directors defend their position by referring to current research. They point out how current studies show that chronic exposure to drugs and alcohol disrupt “critical brain structures and behaviors.” Dr. Volkow and Mr. Koob also cite research indicating that heavy, prolonged substance use impacts brain processes associated with:

  • Loss of control
  • Compulsive drug taking
  • Inflexible behavior
  • Negative emotional states

Volkow and Koob’s commentary states that the modern understanding of addiction has led to several advancements. The disease model and a better understanding of the processes of addiction have led to the development of brain stimulation treatments, behavioral interventions, and effective medicines, including:

  • Acamprosate
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Varenicline

In their defense of the disease model, the experts go even further. They said the framework has also had a positive effect on public policy. While the accepted understanding of addiction has been mostly positive, some wonder about the impact it has on patients. Does calling addiction a disease adversely affect people with use disorders? New research attempts to answer that question.

Addiction Messaging

Addiction is a complex disease of a complex brain; ignoring this fact will only hamper our efforts to find effective solutions through a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the underlying phenomena.” – Volkow and Koob (2015)

Alcohol and substance use disorder in the United States is an epidemic. Tens of millions of Americans struggle with the disease of addiction despite available treatments. Encouraging more men and women to seek help is vitally important.

There is evidence that many people do not respond well to messaging defining addiction as a disease. As such, they are less likely to seek assistance, according to research published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Calling addiction a disease does not have an impact on the people conducting the research. However, there is evidence that the label may adversely affect those living with the condition.

Researchers at North Carolina State University compared the effect of disease messaging to a “growth mindset message,” a university press release reports. The latter says that human attributes are malleable.

Those who work programs of recovery and accrue long-term sobriety show us that people can change even though they have an incurable condition. With assistance, use disorder can be managed, and relapse is preventable. However, while the new study may be about semantics, the finding(s) could guide efforts to steer people toward treatment.

When we began talking about addiction as a disease, the goal was to decrease stigma and encourage treatment,” says Sarah Desmarais, co-author of a paper on the work and an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. “That worked, to an extent, but an unforeseen byproduct was that some people experiencing addiction felt like they had less agency; people with diseases have no control over them.”

Steering People Toward Addiction Treatment

The study involved 214 men and women with drug and alcohol use problems, according to the article. One hundred and twenty-four were placed in a growth mindset message group. The other 90 participants received disease messaging. Participants in both groups read articles that included the respective messaging.

Growth mindset enrollees read about the many causes of substance abuse and how to manage addiction. The disease group learned about the addiction-related changes in the brain. Participants in the growth mindset group were found to be more likely to seek treatment, compared to the disease message group.

“Overall, our findings support moving away from messaging about addiction solely as a disease,” Desmarais says. “It’s more complicated than that. Instead, the finding suggests that it would be more helpful to talk about the many different reasons people become addicted.”

Southern California Addiction Treatment

Alcohol and substance use disorders are treatable, and long-term recovery is attainable. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to discuss our gender-specific programs. Our clinically sophisticated approach can help you or a loved one make lasting changes.

We can also help men who have co-occurring mental illnesses accompanying their use disorder. Our highly trained staff will treat both conditions simultaneously to facilitate better treatment outcomes.

Co-Occurring Mental Illness: Eating Disorders and SUDs

co-occurring mental illness

February 25 – March 3, 2019, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week or NEDA. It is vital that people across America open up a dialogue about food, body image, eating disorders, and co-occurring mental illness. Such conditions include Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). As many as 20 million women and 10 million men will contend with one of the above disorders at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life, regardless of age or gender. Moreover, a person can have an unhealthy relationship with food even if she or he does not meet all the specific criteria for one or more of these complex bio-social illnesses. Naturally, there is much stigma surrounding conditions like AN or BN. Experts refer to these cases as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder or OSFED. Any eating disorder, like most other mental health conditions recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), can be fatal if left untreated.

Mental health conditions involving food intake or body image are many. Disordered eating can go unnoticed for years due to societal pressure to look a certain way. What’s more, even those who appear to be at the peak of physical fitness can be suffering from an eating disorder. Many professional athletes place enormous dietary restrictions on themselves or have them imposed by coaches. In many sports, being lighter can mean a competitive edge against an opponent, i.e., cycling, gymnastics, or horse racing. Many professional athletes require assistance.

Male Athletes With Eating Disorders

While most people associate eating disorders as conditions usually affecting women, men struggle too. Millions of males, of all ages, battle with eating disorders at some point in their life and many of them are athletes. This week, Soledad O’Brien probed the dark side of athletics for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. O’Brien points out that a third of people struggling with an eating disorder are men; she goes on to highlight how athletes are at a heightened risk.

What makes you a great, elite athlete can also make you ‘great,’ if you will, at having an eating disorder,” O’Brien shares with Men’s Health in an interview. She adds, “I think what can first be read as commitment eventually becomes dedication gone horribly wrong.”

Please take a moment to watch a clip on the subject from Real Sports:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Eating Disorder and Co-Occurring Mental Illness

Some people meet the criteria for both eating disorder and co-occurring mental illness. Anxiety, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder plague many people who struggle with eating disorders. Fortunately, a full recovery from an eating disorder and dual diagnosis are possible. It is vital that such individuals receive treatment for each condition simultaneously for successful recovery outcomes.

The National Eating Disorders Association shares that up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders abused alcohol or illicit drugs. The most commonly misused substances by persons with eating disorders are alcohol, laxatives, emetics, diuretics, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. Furthermore, some 35 percent of people with substance use disorders or SUDs also have a co-occurring eating disorder.

co-occurring disorder

Please watch a short video on the subject:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

It is critical to keep in mind, substance use disorder can follow disordered eating or the other way around. In the video, Amy Baker Dennis makes clear that substance abuse problems can affect people after they undergo eating disorder treatment. She makes clear that people with binge eating disorders (BED) are particularly vulnerable to developing substance use disorder. Up to 57 percent of men with BED also have a co-occurring substance abuse problem.

We can all have a hand to starting conversations about eating disorders and co-occurring mental illness during NEDA. Please follow this link to learn more.

Co-Occurring Mental Illness Treatment for Men

In the field of addiction medicine, we know that people will often swap one use disorder for another following some time in recovery. Those at risk of one form of mental illness are at a higher risk of developing comorbidity.

If you are a male who struggles with mental illness, we invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center for support. With an accredited team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians and drug and alcohol counselors we offer treatment for mood disorders, personality disorders and mental health conditions including disordered eating and our mental health program for men can help you make lasting changes and go on to lead a productive life in recovery.

Addiction Recovery Opens Career Doors

addiction recovery

When mind-altering substances are out of a person’s system, and a program of addiction recovery is established, many will ask, “What’s next?” Of course, the answer to that question is purely subjective. What is certain is that whatever people in recovery put their minds to can be accomplished.

Another truism for a good number of people in recovery is that they can’t go back to doing what they did before they broke the cycle of addiction. After undergoing treatment, there are some who find their previous lines of work or study untenable when leading a life in recovery. That’s not to say that there are not sober bartenders, for instance, but it’s not challenging to see why certain types of employment could jeopardize progress.

There are also young men and women in sobriety who have never held down a job. There are others who started college only to have their disease stymie the endeavor. So, with few points to jump off from in life after treatment, it is only natural that young adults will consider working in the field of addiction medicine. Moreover, people in recovery learn early on that to keep what they have they must also give it away—pay it forward. What better way to give back to the addiction recovery community than to help others find serenity, too?

In fact, it is quite common for treatment alums to volunteer their services at the very center that had a hand in saving their lives. Such individuals realize that by staying close to the source of their addiction recovery, they strengthen the foundation of their recovery. Going back home – for many people – is not always the best option following treatment.

Giving Back to The Addiction Recovery Community

Over time, volunteers or just those dedicated to sobriety often decide that the field of addiction medicine is a viable career path. One can be a productive member of society, reciprocate the gift of recovery to other willing people, and safeguard their sobriety in one fell swoop.

As one would expect, working in the substance use disorder workforce will require some education; or, a lot of schooling depending on how far one wants to go. Doctors in recovery, after all, are not unheard of, which is again a testament to the door-opening potential of working a program.

It goes without saying that attending college to become a counselor or a medical doctor will cost a significant amount of money. Except for a small demographic in America, higher education will call for student loans; and, such debts can accumulate quickly. However, we have some excellent news for anyone who is interested in working in the field of addiction recovery and medicine.

The Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program can help addiction treatment clinicians repay up to $75K in student loans, in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder treatment services at National Health Service Corps-approved sites. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, writes:

The purpose of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program (LRP) (hereafter referred to as the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP) is to recruit and retain medical, nursing, and behavioral/mental health clinicians with specific training and credentials to provide evidence-based SUD treatment and counselling [sic] in eligible communities of need designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

A Career In Addiction Medicine

HSC SUD Workforce LRP participants have a choice between three years of full-time or part-time service. Those eligible will receive funds to repay their outstanding, qualifying, educational loans. One caveat is that those serving in a private facility are not eligible to practice half-time.

Dr. Gabriel Wishik, who works for Boston Health Care for the Homeless, took part in a loan repayment program from the same federal agency, according to MassLive. He points out that such programs do two things: help lure qualified candidates and increase the number of clinicians in a field that struggles to fill positions in many areas. He said, “there is a shortage at every single level in the treatment continuum.”

There are lots of competing career paths. It’s one way to get people into this career,” he said.

People in their first years of addiction recovery who have an interest in working in the field can benefit from looking to the HSC SUD Workforce LRP. At PACE Recovery Center, we encourage our clients to pursue higher education and know that men in their first years of recovery can make excellent substance use disorder technicians and clinicians. In fact, we have current team members who were once PACE Recovery Center clients.

PACE Academy

We understand that that pursuing higher education in recovery can be complicated; university culture, for instance, can put a person’s sobriety at risk. With that in mind, our PACE Academy program helps young men in early sobriety pursue their dreams and protect their sobriety. PACE Academy also provides Certified Alcohol Drug & Alcohol Associate credentialing for those interested in working in the field of addiction medicine.

Please contact us today to learn more about how you can reach your recovery and academic goals at Pace Academy.

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