Tag Archives: Veterans Day

PTSD and Addiction Treatment for Veterans

PTSD

Veterans Day 2018 in the United States of America is Sunday, November 11; but, the country will officially observe the holiday on Monday. Each year, the Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center like to express our gratitude for those who serve bravely in the military. As a treatment center specializing in bringing the light of addiction recovery into the lives of young men, the coming holiday is acutely important. We understand that many people who come back from armed conflict overseas struggle in civilian life. The prevalence of mental illness among such people is high, conditions that include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress or PTSD, and substance use disorder.

The rates of substance abuse or use disorders for male veterans aged 18–25 years are higher compared to civilians, according to a recent study. Substance use disorders can precipitate the development of coöccurring mental illness or can emerge secondary to conditions like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is common among individuals who witness or experience trauma; without evidence-based treatment, men and women are more likely to self-medicate.

The order in which a psychological disorder presents itself pales in importance compared to the need for therapy. Veterans who are unable to access the care they need are likely to continue misusing drugs and alcohol. Continued substance abuse does little to ameliorate PTSD symptoms, leads to or worsens a substance use disorder, and significantly increases one’s risk of self-harm. Veterans who commit suicide have drugs and alcohol in the system regularly.

Young males, struggling with substance use and coöccurring mental illness like PTSD, are encouraged to seek help. Immediately! The more extended treatment is put off, the more deleterious it is to the individual.

PTSD Treatment That’s Right For You

A new study appearing in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that PTSD patients, including veterans and survivors of sexual assault, who have a say in the form of treatment they receive, fare better. The researchers found that patient preference in the course of treatment impacts the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy and use of antidepressants, according to a University of Washington press release. The study was the first large-scale trial of hundreds of PTSD patients.

This research suggests that prolonged exposure and Sertraline are both good, evidence-based options for PTSD treatment -- and that providing information to make an informed choice enhances long-term outcomes," said study lead author, Lori Zoellner, a UW professor of psychology and director of the Center for Anxiety & Traumatic Stress.

Analysis indicates that SSRI antidepressants and prolonged exposure therapy show promise in mitigating the symptoms of PTSD. However, the group of patients who were offered a choice in the type of treatment they receive exhibited:

  • Fewer symptoms;
  • a greater ability to follow their treatment plan;
  • and, some no longer met the criteria for PTSD two-years later.

Almost 75 percent of patients who underwent their preferred method of treatment, completed the program, according to the article. Whereas, fewer than half in the non-preferred group saw their therapy through to the end.

Dr. Zoellner and our team showed that we've got two effective, very different interventions for chronic PTSD and associated difficulties," said study co-author Norah Feeny, a psychology professor at Case Western Reserve University. "Given this, and the fact that getting a treatment you prefer confers significant benefit, we are now able to move toward better personalized treatment for those suffering after trauma. These findings have significant public health impact and should inform practice."

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Approximately 50 percent of veterans who need treatment for mental health conditions seek it, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. However, just more than half who receive treatment receive adequate care. Mental health conditions among veterans are no small issue; approximately 18.5% of service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD or depression. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, more than 2 of 10 Veterans with PTSD also have substance use disorder.

Studies, like the UW/Case Western, are vital and should help guide screening, diagnosis, and the determination of a treatment plan. It’s also worth mentioning that a large number of veterans are unable to access evidence-based treatment where they live. Such individuals can benefit from seeking help in another area. If you are a male veteran who is struggling with substance use disorder or coöccuring mental illness (dual diagnosis), please contact PACE Recovery Center.

Veterans Day 2018, we would like to honor two of our staff members who served in the U.S. Marine Corp, our Chief Operations Officer Sean Kelly and our Lead Resident Manager Victor Calzada. Additionally, our PACE team members Helen O’Mahony, Ph.D., Hisham Korraa, M.D., and Ryan Wright, M.D. all have extensive experience working with veterans with PTSD and substance abuse issues.

Again, the gender-specific environment at PACE enables men to share openly and without fear of judgment or social pressure. Our team works together with referring physicians and healthcare providers to create individualized dual-diagnosis treatment plans that emphasize continuity of care. Please call 800-526-1851 or submit a confidential online inquiry, to learn more about our innovative program for men.

Veterans Day 2016 -TAPS, PTSD and PACE

Echoes linger in the heart, long after its tones cease to vibrate in the air...Jari Villanueva

Veterans Day 2016 - TAPS

Veterans Day Bugler Arlington National Cemetery Veterans Day 2016 TAPS PTSD PACE
Bugler Arlington National Cemetery
Tomorrow November 11, 2016, our nation will celebrate Veterans Day. It is a Federal Holiday that is always held on the exact day...we do not move it to a nearby Monday to create a magical three-day holiday, we stay the course and call to mind those who have served in our military, as well those who have died as a result of that service. We reminisce the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. TAPS will be played at our National Cemeteries, the President will hear TAPS as he presents a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, and people will recognize the soulful melody of TAPS.

How much do you know about TAPS?

There is no doubt that if you were to ask someone "What is TAPS?" perhaps they would think of the 1981 movie TAPS, or they might associate it with an acronym of a present day organization; however, most will have some association to the  simple 24-note melancholy bugle call known as "TAPS." It is in fact the final call of the day at military bases...and interestingly was a Dutch command "taptoe" - to shut ("toe to") the "tap" of a keg."  For a clearer understanding of its origin, we are sharing a video from the History Channel.

Veterans and PTSD

In our world of today, we often hear people use the phrase "a call to action." TAPS, in its own way, is a call to action - end the day and begin rest. This past week we read with interest an article published by U.S. News and World Report: "A Call to Better Treat PTSD in Our Military Veterans." Here at PACE Recovery Center we offer dual diagnosis treatment for veterans and others who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recognizing its complications associated with addiction and suicide. It is a complex problem and one that calls for more research.  Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, points out in trying to understand why there has not been more dedicated PTSD research:
There are three reasons. First, the idea of psychological weakness is antithetical to military culture with its ethos of aggression and invulnerability – so military leaders were reluctant to recognize and accept its existence. In the interim, many soldiers were accused of cowardice, in some cases punished and even executed, for their infirmity. Second, mental disorders are not tangible and have no visible physical signs. Hence, they are not seen as real and are often ignored or minimized. Third, PTSD was considered to be a military problem and thus the responsibility of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
We will continue to follow this call to action and keep our readers informed.

PACE Recovery Center's commitment to treating veterans

Each year on Veterans Day we feature our staff who are veterans and those who have special training and experience in treating veterans. In 2013  and 2014 we introduced and focused on staff members Sean Kelly and Victor Calzada.  In 2015 we proudly recognized Matthew Johnson, Dr. Hisham Korraa, M.D., Dr. Ryan Wright, M.D., and Dr. Venice Sanchez, M.D. 
Clinical Psychologist Helen O'Mahony, Ph.D. Veterans Day 2016 TAPS PTSD PACE
Clinical Psychologist Helen O'Mahony, Ph.D.
This year the PACE team would like you to meet Helen O'Mahony, Ph.D. Dr. O’Mahony is a licensed clinical psychologist. She has worked in the mental health field for over 13 years. She has worked with all populations and specializes in dual diagnosis. Dr. O’Mahony runs experiential groups to help clients not just talk about their maladaptive patterns but to help them transform them. She received her BA and Masters from Boston University and moved to Los Angeles in 2001. While working as a program director at the Salvation Army located at the West LA VA campus she received a lot of experience working with veterans diagnosed with PTSD and substance abuse along with other diagnoses. She received her Ph.D. from California Graduate Institute at the Chicago School in 2008.

In closing...

PACE Recovery Center staff and the gentlemen whom we treat wish veterans and their families a peaceful and memorable Veterans Day 2016.  Be thankful, graceful and hold dear...
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky

PACE Salutes Veterans November 11, 2015

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.   Tecumseh
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located in Washington, D.C.'s West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. It commemorates those who served in the Korean War.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located in Washington, D.C.'s West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. It commemorates those who served in the Korean War.
Tecumseh is gone now over 200 years, but his words still echo when we consider the power of a nod of understanding and appreciation for the men and women who have served our country throughout times of war and peace. So again,  PACE salutes Veterans November 11, 2015: We will stop what we are busy doing, maybe just for a few minutes, and consider the sacrifices made by our veterans to build and protect our freedoms and those of other countries.

Understanding veterans with addiction and PTSD, at the movies...

Over the past couple of years there have been a number of movies about war and PTSD, such as American Sniper, Unbroken and Railway Man. Two of these movies dealt directly with the impact of PTSD, and while Unbroken didn’t deal with Zamperini’s alcoholism and PTSD many of his family members will attest to his suffering from both and receiving help for his addiction and PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the term we have used for the past few decades to describe what many veterans experience as the result of service in times of war and minor conflicts. Over the centuries, the definitive terms were hysteria, melancholia, battle fatigue, combat fatigue, shell-shock, or operational exhaustion. In 2015 The Wounded Warrior Project conducted an annual survey of 23,000 injured service members and found that three in four wounded veterans are dealing with PTSD. This month a film completed in 2014 is now more widely available to view in the United States - Of Men and WarAccording to The Hollywood Reporter,  “...the horrors of the battlefield come home to roost in ways that are both riveting and deeply disturbing in Of Men and War (Des hommes et de la guerre), a remarkable chronicle of Iraq War veterans suffering from the devastating effects of PTSD.” This month Of Men and War will have playdates across the United States, including Southern California. Learning from films can be personal, powerful, and provocative.

PACE is honored by the service of veterans and our psychiatrists’ specialized skills

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson
On Veterans Day 2013 we proudly featured two veterans who serve on our staff: Sean Kelly, now PACE’s Chief Operation Officer and Victor Calzada, A PACE Resident Manager. This year we want to also recognize Matthew Johnson, A PACE Resident Manager who served four years in the Marine Infantry and highlight our Consulting Psychiatrists who are experts in the field of addiction and skilled in working with those suffering from PTSD, including veterans. Dr. Hisham Korraa, M.D.Dr. Hisham Korraa, M.D. is a UCLA trained psychiatrist specializing in psychotherapy and medication management for adults and adolescents. With a heavy emphasis on addressing the individual, Dr. Korraa’s treatment focuses on variables that would impact the individual’s development and coping patterns over the course of the years. Dr. Korraa developed a special interest in helping individuals overcoming their chemical dependency issues and addressing underlying core struggles to focus on growth and health. Dr. Korraa works well with several different chemical dependency programs in Orange County including PACE Recovery Center and he maintains a strong relationship with his patients well after their acute recovery period. Dr. Korraa did his undergraduate training at University of Houston. He later graduated from Texas Tech School of Medicine. He then specialized in Psychiatry at the reputable UCLA/Sepulveda Training Psychiatry Program. Being exposed to several different facilities in the Los Angeles area (with much exposure to veterans in the greater LA VA and Sepulveda VA program), Dr. Korraa became well versed in PTSD and chemical dependency. In addition to psychopharmacology and individual therapy, Dr. Korraa is one of the very few physicians who also specializes in both the transcranial magnetic treatment of depression and deep brain nerve stimulation of obsessive compulsive disorder. Dr. Korraa has been awarded multiple awards over the course of the years. He has been recognized by his patients with several “Patient’s Choice Award” and “Compassionate Doctor Recognition”. He has also been recognized as among the best rated doctors in the area. Dr. Ryan Wright, M.D. PsychiatristDr. Ryan Wright, M.D. is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He completed college, medical school, and residency at the University of California, Irvine. While in college, Dr. Wright graduated Magna cum laude from the school of Biological Sciences at UCI, was invited to join the national honors society Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated from the Campuswide Honors Program at UCI. During medical school and residency at UCI, he received extensive training on treating a wide range of psychiatric disorders utilizing both medication management and psychotherapy. Dr. Wright worked extensively at the Long Beach VA treating veterans for post traumatic stress disorder. He successfully mastered the skill of using cognitive behavioral therapy to improve the quality of life of veterans after returning home from overseas. During his final year of his residency, Dr. Wright elected to spend a significant portion of his year working at a substance abuse treatment facility in Orange County in order to gain specialized training in the field of chemical dependency. This experience allowed him to treat psychiatric patients who have a co-morbid substance abuse diagnosis. Dr. Venice Sanchez, M.D. PsychiatristDr. Venice Sanchez, M.D.  received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continued her training at the University of California, Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program where she was recognized by faculty with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award as an acknowledgement for her dedicated efforts in education, the clinics and her work with her patients. Dr. Sanchez has had extensive training at multiple facilities under supervision of experts in her field, which allowed her to gain comprehensive knowledge and experience in treating a wide array of psychiatric disorders. Her work at Long Beach VA, Pat Moore Rehabilitation Center, San Diego Detention facilities allowed her to gain expertise in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. Dr. Sanchez realizes the significant need in women’s health, especially in treating pregnant and post-partum patients who are struggling with mental illness. She not only trained with a specialist at the Maternal and Fetal clinic at UCI Medical Center, she was also a forefront in opening up the first Women’s Mental Health Medication Management Clinic at Long Beach VA Veteran’s Hospital. Her passion for her field allowed her to diligently pursue the much needed training and experience in treating patients who have a co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis.

In closing…

PACE Recovery Center staff and the gentlemen whom we treat salute all veterans, remembering their sacrifices. Gratefully the enormity of these sacrifices is memorialized in monuments in our nation’s capital (see below) and throughout our country with national cemeteries that provide a final resting spot, a permanent salute to our veterans. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you are or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact Pace Recovery Center.
Iwo Jima Memorial
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial is a United States military monument sited at the back entrance to Arlington National Cemetery .
 
World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II.
 
Vietnam's Women Memorial
The Vietnam Women's Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the women of the United States who served in the Vietnam War, most of whom were nurses. It serves as a reminder of the importance of women in the conflict.

Honoring Our Veterans 2014

Flag and Flowers at the Vietnam Veterans MemorialEvery year on this day we stop to honor our veterans...

Yes, it is November 11, 2014. All of us will take a few minutes out of our day to acknowledge what each veteran of our Armed Services has contributed to our lives. Last year you may remember that we featured two of Pace Recovery's treatment team who both served in the United States Marine Corp - Sean Kelly and Victor Calzada. Today people will gather together to share memories, visit war memorials, stop by a Veterans Hospital to visit a loved one or just to be part of this day to say thank you.

A special poem

Years ago we came across a beautiful poem that was written in 1860 by William Whiting. We would like to share it with you today, and while it expresses gratitude to all sailors...it touches all those who gave part of their lifetime to serve our country.

The Watch

For twenty years, This sailor has stood the watch

While some of us were in our bunks at night, This sailor stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade, This shipmate stood the watch

Yes...even before some of us were born into this world, This shipmate stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen brewing on the horizon of history, This shipmate stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there, Needing his guidance and help, Needing that hand to hold during those hard times, But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for twenty years, He stood the watch so that we, our families, And our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety, Each and every night, Knowing that a sailor stood the watch

Today we are here to say:"Shipmate...the watch stands relieved. Relieved by those YOU have trained, guided, and lead Shipmate you stand relieved...we have the watch!"

"Boatswain...Standby to pipe the side...Shipmate's going Ashore!"

- William Whiting, 1860

 

Honoring Our Veterans With A Sincere Thank You

Veterans Day 2013

Today all over the United States most of you will take a few minutes to say thank you to a veteran. It could be your father, mother, uncle, aunt, grandparent, brother, sister, friend, neighbor...and, if you look around, you might find that one or more of your co-workers is a veteran! It is true. So often we can work side-by-side with a person and may never know that he or she served in the military, or perhaps is still in the reserves or National Guard.

PACE Recovery Center is honored to have two Veterans on staff

 
Meet Sean Kelly.  Sean is a Case Manager at PACE Recovery Center. Sean began working in the treatment field as an interventionist in 1995. He is a Chemical Dependency Counselor with a specialization in Mental/Co-Occurring Disorders. Over the last 17 years, he has helped hundreds of individuals seek treatment from drugs and alcohol. Sean is a proven expert in coaching individuals who are resistant to change seek long-term recovery. It is his hands on approach that is most valuable to the Clients at PACE Recovery Center. Sean’s gentle demeanor creates an environment for the Clients to connect with feelings and vulnerabilities that have prevented them from maintaining sobriety. Sean is also a Marine who proudly served our country. It is this background that helps him teach the Men of PACE Recovery Center how to accomplish goals, create discipline, and develop accountability. Sean’s own personal struggle with addiction allows him to meet the Clients where they are at in their own recovery, and help guide them on their recovery journey. Sean is an active member in the recovery community. His philosophy is to treat people with love, dignity and respect. It's this mentality that allows him to create an alliance, which allows for the therapeutic process to take place between him and his Client. This relationship empowers the Client to gain the skills necessary to recover from drugs and alcohol. Sean studied at Centaur University to become a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor.
Meet Victor Calzada Victor is a Resident Manager at PACE Recovery Center Victor joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school in 1995. He proudly served as a heavy weapons operator. While in the service, Victor was recognized for his, honor, courage and commitment. While serving in the United States military, he learned the important characteristics of working as a team. After his tour in the military, Victor worked for the Correctional Systems for 6 years as a Correctional Officer. Victory was known for his keen ability to listen and help them problem solve any issues they might have been experiencing. An area that Victor is passionate about is working with people who have substance abuse issues. Victor has had his own personal struggles with chemical dependency issues. He believe that the combination of opening our hearts and minds, with the right guidance, we can overcome our issues. He believes 12-step program is an excellent template to follow for a long-term recovery. In his spare time Victor enjoys spending time with my family. He is a proud father of 3 wonderful children. His hobbies are repairing electronics and restoring antiques.

Take just a minute to say "thank you" and remember to live your "thank you"

"As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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