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Friday, January 18, 2019

Organizations Fighting Addiction In America

Drug addiction in the United States continues to be at the forefront of national discourse. Time and time again, we at Hope By The Sea have covered breaking developments regarding addiction science, prevention, and treatment. We have shared with countless readers the hard realities that face Americans living with untreated use disorders and mental illness. One of our top priorities is to inform as many people as possible that addiction recovery is possible, and that seeking help improves one’s ability to heal significantly.

Addiction science and recovery modalities have changed in many ways over the years. Not long ago, there were few options for people battling mental illness. Today, there are several different programs one can turn to for help, thousands of evidence-based treatment centers, and 12 Step subgroups galore. The centers with distinguished reputations in providing families with relief from mental illness typically rely on a combination of specialized therapies to promote long-term recovery.

While treatment centers like Hope By The Sea are on the front-lines of the American addiction crisis, it is essential to highlight the efforts of several organizations that contribute to ending the stigma of addiction and promoting recovery. Such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Alliance On Mental Illness, and divisions of the National Institutes of Health like NIDA and NIAAA. We would also like to draw your attention to two other organizations who have made serious contributions to the field.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Center on Addiction Merger

Center on AddictionSince 1992, the Center on Addiction, a science-based, multidisciplinary organization has been dedicated to changing Americans understanding of and response to the disease of addiction. For more than a quarter century, the organization has been a vanguard of addiction research in their quest to develop methods for combating and treating the disease.

The organization has a fascinating history which is worth becoming familiar with, especially since the Center is merging with another vital organization dedicated to fighting the misconceptions surrounding use disorders. As of January 1st, 2019, the Center on Addiction and the Partnership for Drug-free Kids is now one. With the nation facing unprecedented addiction and overdose rates, the need for a coordinated effort is more significant than ever. Many of our readers, and particularly parents, are probably familiar with the Partnership's mission. As their website states, “We are the only national nonprofit committed to supporting the whole family as they address every aspect of substance use and addiction, from prevention to recovery.”

Over the years, The Partnership for Drug-free Kids has created helpful PSAs to educate Americans about both the dangers of substance use and some of the solutions. After careful considerations about how to be most effective in the ever-changing landscape of drug use in the United States, the two organizations felt they could be most effective through collaboration. Creighton Drury, CEO of Center on Addiction, writes:  

This merger is the result of a lot of deep reflection on both organizations’ parts, as well as a desperate need from our country for more leadership in the movement to end addiction. Last year, we witnessed a record number of deaths due to drug overdoses. That is unacceptable. To make a significant impact and save lives, we need more compassion and more innovation. By combining our two organizations, we now have the comprehensive tools we need to truly fulfill our mission: Center on Addiction is dedicated to transform how our nation addresses addiction.


The Miracle of Addiction Recovery Can Be Yours Too

At Hope By The Sea, we invite you to experience the miracle of recovery. We can assist you in taking back your life and teach you how to lead a life free from drugs and alcohol. Our center offers the clients a choice between several different recovery tracks—each one designed to meet the unique needs of each person. Please contact us today to learn more about our innovative addiction recovery and co-occurring disorder programs.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Parents of the Addiction Crisis are Citizens of the Year

Addiction is a family disease. Substance use disorders have a genetic link and the impact of the condition sends ripples throughout the entire family. Over the years, we have covered the American opioid epidemic; we have pointed out, accurately, the crisis we face is actually broader than a problem involving opioids. The nation is indeed in the midst of an addiction epidemic.

Aside from an ever-rising death toll linked to opioid use and misuse, other prescription drugs are stealing American lives, such as benzodiazepines. Heroin and illicit fentanyl are cause for significant concern, but research also shows that methamphetamine has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Moreover, since illegal drug manufacturers and dealers have developed a penchant for mixing drugs (e.g., fentanyl) nobody requested into drugs-of-choice, the risks of premature death are much higher.

In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from an overdose; more than two-thirds of the victims had opioids in their system at the time. In 2018, the death toll is likely to be about the same or higher than the previous year. In the tiny state of New Hampshire, overdoses took as many as 437 lives, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. While these figures should cause everyone to pause and consider how we got here and how we can resolve the problem(s), it is vital that we all think about surviving family members.

addictionAddiction, Loss, and Helping Others

Beyond the statistics of overdose deaths, real people are left to pick up the pieces of their life. Millions of people are reeling in pain due to the premature death of a loved one. When a family member with addiction is alive, many feel powerless; and, in death, such feelings often persist and can leave an indelible mark on the survivors.

Upon losing someone to overdose, each person has the right to handle the situation and find a way to move forward. For some, however, they are left with a yearning to help other families avoid the same outcome. Some parents have even gone so far as encouraging legislators to enact laws to better protect patients. It is for these reasons, and many more, that the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News named the Parents of the Addiction Crisis as its Citizens of the Year.

In a recent article justifying the decision to honor the parents of overdose victims, the author highlights the fact that some parents are organizing support groups and volunteering at recovery centers. After losing a child, parents are now disregarding the stigma of addiction and sharing their experiences in various media formats.

Susan and John Messinger lost their son Carl (24) to an overdose in 2014 after he relapsed, according to the article. Carl was in recovery, he was prescribed a cough medicine containing the opioid codeine; his parents say that Carl was unaware he was taking a prescription painkiller at the time. In fewer than 30 days, Carl relapsed and was dead from fentanyl exposure.

The Messingers joined forces with Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., to craft legislation to avoid similar situations in the future. “Carl’s Law,” introduced in 2016, requires pharmaceutical companies to clearly label medications that contain opioids and warn of the risks of addiction.

Unfortunately, the bill never passed but the fight to prevent overdose deaths continues for the survivors. The article honoring the parents left behind from overdose is too lengthy to mention all who help to end the scourge and promote recovery, but you can read it in full here.

Opioid Use Disorder Recovery

At Hope By The Sea, we specialize in the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. We offer several programs that can help men and women recover from opiate addiction. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss treatment options. We firmly believe that the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Identifying and Addressing Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use is a significant component of the lives of many people. In some ways, drinking is ingrained in the fabric of society. Despite the harm that can arise from use, it is socially acceptable to drink in a concerning manner. Millions of Americans binge drink each week, and while that doesn’t mean all binge drinkers have an AUD, a good many do meet the criteria.

According to the Global Status Report On Alcohol and Health, an estimated 283 million people aged 15+ years had an alcohol use disorder or AUD in 2016. It is likely that the number of people living with AUD is much higher, due to under-reporting given the ever-pervasive stigma attached addiction. Moreover, many people do not believe that their use of alcohol is cause for making changes.

alcohol use disorderDetermining if you require help for alcoholism is a subjective endeavor, in many ways. Everyone leads a different existence; we do not all share the same responsibilities and therefore do not suffer the same consequences from problematic use. And, not experiencing the adverse effects of drinking, doesn’t mean a person doesn’t have a problem. The point is that identifying who needs help and who does not is a difficult task, but there are guidelines for helping the process along.

Identifying and Addressing Alcohol Use Disorder

In The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, alcohol use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of alcohol use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by at least 2 of the following criteria over the same 12-month period:
  • Alcohol used in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  • Significant time spent obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • Craving to use alcohol.
  • Recurrent alcohol use leading to failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Recurrent use of alcohol, despite having persistent or recurring social or interpersonal problems caused or worsened by alcohol.
  • Recurrent alcohol use despite having persistent or recurring physical or psychological problems caused or worsened by alcohol.
  • Giving up or missing important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to alcohol use.
  • Recurrent alcohol use in hazardous situations.
  • Tolerance: markedly increased amounts of alcohol are needed to achieve intoxication or the desired effect, or continued use of the same amount of alcohol achieves a markedly diminished effect.
  • Withdrawal: there is the characteristic alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or alcohol is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
This time of year is when many people first come to realize that they may have a problem with alcohol. Originating in the United Kingdom, Dry January is a public health campaign promoting abstinence for January that is popular in America as well. While the goal is simple, don’t drink for 31 days, many people find the challenge exceedingly demanding. Many who feel a desire to abstain often find it an impossible task. Not meeting the challenge doesn’t mean a person has a problem with alcohol, but it should lead such people to explore their relationship with alcohol further.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 3 million people died in 2012 due to damage to the body caused by drinking. If you meet any of the criteria listed above, and attempts at abstinence have been unsuccessful, we strongly encourage you to seek professional assistance.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Please contact Hope By The Sea if your or a loved one’s alcohol use is problematic; we will treat you with the respect and care you deserve. Alcohol use disorder is a treatable condition, and the miracle of recovery can be yours too. Our affordable alcohol rehab can help you begin the life-changing process of recovery.

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Productive Year In Recovery

Another year in recovery is ahead of us with the opening of 2019 this coming Tuesday. Which means each person working a program has an opportunity to sets some realistic goals for the 365 days to come. It doesn’t matter how much time a person is clean and sober; one can always find areas to strengthen while on the quest for sustained recovery.

It should go without having to say that no one works a perfect program of addiction recovery. All men and women keep doing the next right thing with the sincere hope of finding serenity. A person never “arrives” or reaches some type of finish line; people living with addiction never wake up and think to themselves, ‘Great, I’m recovered!’ No matter how strong a person’s program is, he or she will make mistakes or judgment errors from time to time. Again, all each of us can do is to continue striving to become the best version of ourselves ever.

So, if you have 5 days or 5 years sober, you can always find aspects of your recovery that can use some adjustment. In every person’s recovery, some adaptations can be made to make one’s program more resilient to the everlasting pull of the disease. With that in mind, change must be a process that happens when the time is right; decisions to do things differently should be made cautiously. And, always consult with your support network before making any significant alterations to how you conduct yourself in recovery.


Don’t Fix It, If Isn’t Broken


As 2018 winds down, it can be beneficial to take a close look at your program and recovery routine. Making a brief inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can provide you with a starting point for setting realistic goals for recovery in 2019. Ask yourself questions like:
  • Am I attending meetings often enough;
  • Sharing, when I’d rather be silent;
  • Calling my sponsor regularly;
  • Finding service or volunteer opportunities;
  • And, making a point of extending my hand to newcomers?
Naturally, each person can always do more, but with that in mind, it is valuable to have a grasp of your limitations. Sure, attending two meetings, seven days a week may strengthen one’s program, but it may take your attention away from other areas that need to be addressed. It is vital that people avoid taking on more than they can handle. Moreover, men and women must be honest about where they are doing enough (addicts and alcoholics have a penchant for perfectionism); if it seems like you are meeting your quotient in one department, then there is no sense in trying to fix something that is not broken. Instead, focus on those areas of your life that – you can clearly see – necessitate improvement.

If you rarely stay put after a meeting to introduce yourself to a newcomer, resolving to do the opposite is in order going forward. Take a moment and remind yourself how you felt when a perfect stranger showed an interest in your life when you were wearing the shoes of a newcomer. The wheels of recovery continue to turn because the community works together and pays forward the gifts freely bestowed. Recovery loses its potency if an individual takes what they need and keeps what they have learned to his or herself.

Once you have taken steps to assess your program’s vitality, ask a trusted peer or sponsor for their thoughts. Such persons may recognize something that you have missed, or they may point out that what you thought was a problem, is not. One’s list may be short or long, but what is crucial is that each person in recovery stays proactive.


A Safe and Sober New Year’s Eve

At Hope By The Sea, our dedicated staff would like to wish everyone who is working a program a safe and sober New Year’s Eve. We are confident that if you continue to practice the principles of recovery and utilize the tools and skills learned in treatment, you can make it into the new year without a relapse. Please keep your cell phone charged on Monday; attend meetings; and, stay close to your support network as much as possible. Those who do so can ensure that they start 2019 strong.

Please contact Hope By The Sea if you are ready to make your recovery resolutions a reality in 2019. We can answer any question you have about our program and help you take the first step to mind, body and spirit wellness.

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