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Friday, May 18, 2018

Actions Today for Mental Health Tomorrow

In observance of National Prevention Week, Hope by the Sea would like to encourage everyone to take actions today that will lead to a healthier tomorrow. Mental illness plagues millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Conditions most often arise earlier in life during adolescence and young adulthood; but, more times than not, mental illness goes untreated severely impacting people’s lives. It is vital that screening occurs, and young people feel safe talking about their issues, without fear of unfair treatment from society.

Encouraging people to seek help isn’t an easy task because of profoundly rooted stigma. No one wants a label from society, and nobody desires that others know them as someone who struggles with substance use disorders or a co-occurring mental illness like depression. We cannot say the same for an individual who is living with other incurable diseases like diabetes for instance; even though a person isn’t responsible for their mental health condition, they are often made to feel as though they have done something wrong. Casting unsubstantiated blame for experiencing psychological problems is unconscionable and needs to stop.

This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is spearheading multiple campaigns to get Americans, especially young people, talking about alcohol and substance use disorder, and other forms of mental illness. The purpose of NPW is to:
  • Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies.
  • Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health.
  • Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.


NPW 2018 #Dear Future Me!

The NPW Prevention Challenge is one event that everyone can take part in to help themselves and others make healthy decisions and seek help when necessary. SAMHSA invites you to share a #DearFutureMe post on social media, an interactive activity bringing together local prevention efforts. There are many ways you can go about the project, and the guidelines are relatively straightforward. On a personal level, you can use what you share today to help you in the future. You can find an outline on how to participate below and examples of what other people are submitting.

Participation Guidelines:
  1. Write a letter or draw a picture about the choices you’re making to live a healthy, happy life.
  2. Take a picture of your letter or record a video of yourself reading your letter.
  3. Share it on social media using the hashtag #DearFutureMe and #NPW2018.
  4. Tag a few friends so they can participate and add their Dear Future Me letter to the NPW conversation.
  5. Share any or all of the Dear Future Me videos on social media to encourage others to participate as well.
Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse:

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Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse:

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Hopefully, the videos above will motivate some of our readers to take part in NPW 2018: Dear Future Me challenge.


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders can derail your life, but recovery is possible. Please contact Hope By The Sea to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction, manage a dual diagnosis, and lead a productive life. We can provide you with tools for achieving lasting progress.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Non-Opioid Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl continue to be a scourge on society. Addiction rates have only gone in one direction for what is now two decades, despite the fact that is more difficult to acquire certain prescription drugs, at least from doctors. The need for expanding access to addiction treatment services is significant; those who cannot access care are unlikely to find recovery on their own. What’s more, due to the extreme physical dependence that accompanies opioid use, without assistance withdrawal symptoms are usually too much to handle.

When people attempt to detox or begin a program of opioid use disorder recovery on their own, they typically experience extreme discomfort. There are myriad side effects that accompany opioid detoxification, including nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle spasms/twitching, ague, muscular tension, aches and pains, yawning, and insomnia. Without medical assistance, the side effects of withdrawal are often too severe for an individual to manage. Coupled with extreme cravings, it is no wonder why OUD relapse rates are so high. Merely stated, relapse is almost a foregone conclusion of abstaining from opioids without help.

Fortunately, there are a few medications that can significantly help people with an opioid use disorder begin the journey of recovery. Some of the meds you have probably heard of, and if you have gone through treatment for OUD, then it is likely you took some of the available medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Addiction treatment facilities do not rely on methadone as much as often as they once did, opting instead for Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone). While Suboxone is useful and helps people manage acute withdrawal symptoms, if taken over an extended period the drug is habit-forming. It is vital the those who take the medication, do so with medical supervision.

Non-Opioid Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

opioid use disorder
Drugs like buprenorphine are a real lifesaver for anyone caught in the vicious cycle of opioid use disorder. While Suboxone can and does help people get out from under active addiction, the medication is not a panacea. One of the chief complaints about buprenorphine is that some people abuse the drug and if dependence on the drug arises, suboxone withdrawal can be challenging to overcome. It is safe to say that there has long been a need for a medication that can help people withdraw that doesn’t carry the same risk of dependence as the narcotics one is attempting to stop using. With that in mind, researchers continue to seek out such a drug.

Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride), according to a press release. The drug is a selective alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist that reduces the release of norepinephrine; research shows that Lucemyra mitigates opioid withdrawal symptoms. The findings come from two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of 866 adults meeting the criteria for opioid use disorder.

“Today’s approval represents the first FDA-approved non-opioid treatment for the management of opioid withdrawal symptoms and provides a new option that allows providers to work with patients to select the treatment best suited to an individual’s needs,” said Sharon Hertz, M.D., director of the Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Addiction Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 

Researchers found that Lucemyra, taken orally, was beneficial to those detoxing from opioids, the press release reports. More research is required to determine if Lucemyra can help children or adolescents less than 17 years of age, or babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you begin the process of recovery and provide you with the tools for achieving lasting progress.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Global Statistics on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illicit Drug Use

In the United States, the general public harbors a good number of misconception about the use of mind-altering substances. For myriad reasons it’s easy to convince oneself that moderate use of cigarettes and alcohol won’t lead to complications in the future; the same holds true regarding so-called “hard drugs.” Today, most Americans grasp that opioids of any kind are addictive and dangerous; however, while the risks of opioids are real, the majority of Americans fail to realize that the most hazardous substances are legal for adults, e.g., tobacco and alcohol.

Some individuals may find it hard to believe that the most significant cause of mal health globally is alcohol and tobacco, but it is the case. Part of the reason why it is easy to think that other substances like heroin and cocaine are the most significant cause for concern is due to the optics. Without fail, the news media covers the heavy toll opioids are taking on America each day; journalists proffer grisly statistics and anecdotes about the epidemic claiming roughly one hundred lives per diem. That’s not to say that reporting on the opioid addiction crisis is not a public service, everyone’s eyes should be open to this subject; although, society should be paying equal (probably more) attention to the costs smoking and drinking.

Most people’s introduction to vice involves cigarettes and alcohol; initiation typically occurs in high school or college. Due to the ubiquitous nature of liquor, beer, and wine it is difficult to gauge what is safe, meaning: how often and how much "booze" is OK? One need only attend a sporting event or meet friends at the pub on Friday to espy Americans engaging in unsafe drinking practices. Since people set personal parameters off their peer's consumption, it is a simple matter, in fact, to fool oneself into thinking that their relationship with alcohol is healthy. It is vital the public be made aware of the inherent dangers of even moderate alcohol use; perspective can spare individuals much heartache down the road.

The Dark Side of Alcohol and Tobacco Use

While your average American has no illusions about the dangers of tobacco, the same is difficult to say about liquor. What’s more, just because the Western World is wise to cigarettes doesn’t mean the same is valid around the globe. Even with falling smoking rates for decades here at home, tobacco is among the top three causes of preventable death. All told the mental and physical toll that legal substances take is catastrophic.

The Global Statistics on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illicit Drug Use: 2017 Status Report offers a snapshot of what causes the most harm and should help direct prevention and treatment approaches. One-in-seven adults smoke and one-in-five drink around the world, The Independent reports. Smoking and drinking are responsible for ten times more healthy life lost ( a quarter of a billion hours of life lost each year) than that of all illicit drug use combined, according to the research appearing in the Journal of Addiction.

“Smoking and alcohol are always well ahead [of illicit drugs], there’s nowhere that it even comes close,” said Professor Robert West of University College London, one of the report’s authors. He adds, “If we’re going to make the impact we really want on death rates, we need to address the cultural normality of it all.” 

Rather than give readers a rundown of which country is drinking the most or which is smoking the most, it is more salient to highlight Professor West’s point about “cultural normality.” Many people hold the belief (at least when it comes to alcohol) that imbibing is just a part of life. Some delude themselves into thinking that everyone drinks; such a mindset can lead one to believe that drinking couldn’t be that harmful. Yes, spirits are a part of life, but they are far from harmless; over 80,000 Americans die of alcohol-related illness each year. While most people do not develop an alcohol use disorder, over 15 million adults do struggle with AUD.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Any way a person cuts it, alcohol and tobacco are far deadlier than any illicit drug. It is paramount that lawmakers acknowledge the facts of the Global Statistics on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illicit Drug Use when shaping policy. Far too often, what begins as a rite of passage becomes a death sentence.

If you are struggling with an alcohol and tobacco use, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you begin the process of recovery and provide you with the tools for achieving lasting progress.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Honoring Addiction Recovery Nurses

May 6-12, 2018, is National Nurses Week! At Hope by The Sea, we would like to share our utmost respect and admiration for all men and women who show compassion to people struggling with any form of illness or injury. We recognize that nurses are often the unsung heroes of the medical profession, being tasked with the less glamorous side of caring for patients; and yet, without nurses and the care they provide recovery from any condition is unlikely, especially in the field of addiction medicine.

national nurses week
Anyone who's completed an addiction treatment program knows the vital role that nurses play in helping people recover from mental illness. RNs are often the first faces seen by clients in rehabs across the country; the kind and supportive words of nurses shared with patients are usually the ones that are remembered years later. In the eloquent words of Stephen Ambrose, “It would not be possible to praise nurses too highly.”

Through selflessly caring for patients and clients, nurses are an empowering force in the field of addiction medicine. Many people at the beginning stage of recovery have only ever known ridicule, judgment, and stigma; it is not uncommon for people to go to treatment and think that they will be viewed as failures by clinicians. Such people discover quickly  that they are surrounded by individuals advocating for their success. In many ways, compassion is what people struggling with drugs and alcohol need the most; when people receive kindness, they are more likely to be kind to them self.

Honoring Our Dedicated Team of Nurses

Clients of Hope by the Sea benefit from our caring and compassionate nurses. Our center benefits immensely from being headed by two people with extensive experience in the field of nursing.

recoveryIn fact, our Chief Executive Officer Penny Carlsen is a graduate of
Loma Linda University School of Nursing and worked for several years at Loma Linda University Medical Center on the Neurosurgery, Neurology and Rehabilitation Units. Penny’s daughter and the Chief Operating Officer at Hope by the Sea, Candy Carlsen, RN, has worked for years in the field of nursing. Candy was previously employed by the UCLA Medical Center in the neuro/surgical trauma ICU and also at Hoag Memorial in the cardiac ICU.

Please take a moment to watch a short video:

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Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you begin the process of recovery and provide you with the tools for achieving lasting recovery.

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