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Friday, November 16, 2018

Meditation for PTSD Treatment

Prayer and meditation are vital components of many people’s recovery, especially among individuals utilizing spiritual programs centered on the 12 Steps. Such techniques help people in sobriety stay grounded, seek guidance, and remain accountable to a power greater than themselves. One could easily argue that spirituality is the glue that holds a person’s recovery together.

Given that addiction is a disease of the mind, a form of mental illness, it stands to reason that mediation can be a useful tool for people struggling with other conditions. Serenity is vital for anyone, to be sure, but is especially crucial for those who have difficulty dealing with the stressors of quotidian life. If one is unable to cope with stress, they are far more likely to resort back to drugs and alcohol for comfort. The same reality is real for people who meet the criteria for depression, anxiety, and bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

The Department of Defense sponsored an experiment to determine the efficacy of mediation as a therapeutic approach for managing the symptoms of PTSD. The study is essential for at least two reasons. 1) PTSD is a condition that affects many people with alcohol and substance use disorders. 2) Service men and women with PTSD are at high risk of turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms.

Meditation for PTSD

We observed Veterans Day earlier this week. With respect to the fact that many veterans are battling PTSD, we feel it vital to discuss practical ways of managing the condition. After all, many of Hope By The Sea’s clients are affected by co-occurring post-traumatic stress. While the debilitating mental health illness is most commonly associated with those who serve in foreign conflicts, the reality is that any form of trauma can preempt PTSD.

While exposure therapy – purposely recalling traumatic events and confronting emotions – is the Department of Veterans Affairs’ preferred method of PTSD treatment, it is not always effective, the Associated Press reports. The researchers involved in the DoD study say that meditation could be more useful for those who do not respond to exposure therapy. The study appears in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.

The research involved about 200 San Diego area veterans, each placed in one of three groups, according to the article. The researcher instructed one group to meditate; the second group received exposure therapy; and, the third group attended nutrition and exercise classes. Three months later:
  • 61 percent of the meditation group improved on a standard PTSD assessment.
  • 42 percent improved in exposure therapy group.
  • 32 percent improved in the nutrition and exercise group.
Thomas Rutledge, a Veterans Affairs psychologist in San Diego and study senior author, points out that a significant number of veterans will not subject themselves to exposure therapy or drop out. Determining the effectiveness of meditation, Rutledge says, “allows us to put more options on the table.”


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you are battling the PTSD symptoms and substance use disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea. Our dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder treatment program often relies on a combination of group and individual therapy, recreational therapy, nutrition and exercise, support groups, medication management, family therapy, and aftercare planning. We can help you or a loved one experience the miracle of recovery!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Mental Health in America 2019: Final Report

On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week or MIAW comes ‘The State of Mental Health In America’ report. The nation’s leading community-based nonprofit in the field of mental wellness, Mental Health America (MHA), is responsible for the accounting of mental illness in the United States. The report lets us know where we stand regarding the prevention, screening, and treatment of the psychological maladies plaguing millions of Americans. The organization states:

Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.

Of course, given the pervasiveness of mental illness in the U.S., MHA relies on the assistance of several affiliates in compiling of their report. The nonprofit would not be able to give us a prognosis of mental health throughout the country if it were not for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and, the U.S. Department of Education, which collects survey data. Below you will find some of the more notable findings.

Mental Health in America Final Report

mental health
First, let’s take a glimpse at some of the uplifting data from MHA. The number of American adults with mental health and substance abuse problems is down; the former, from 18.19 to 18.07 percent, and 8.76 to 7.93 percent for the latter. While the decrease is noticeably slight, it is worth remembering that each percentage point accounts for hundreds of thousands of people. Unfortunately, MHA discovered some troubling data regarding adult suicidal ideation; it is up to 4.04 percent from 3.77. Major depressive episodes in youth are also on the rise; the organization found an almost four percentage point increase from 8.66 to 12.63 percent.

“Sadly, our report shows that there have been alarming increases in adult suicidal thoughts and major depression in youth,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America, in a press release. “Despite mental health being something that more and more people are talking about - far too many people are still suffering. People are simply not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives - and too many don’t see a way out.” 

  • An estimated 9.8 million adults had serious suicidal thoughts last year, 200,000 more than the year before.
  • Severe major depression affects more than 2 million young Americans.
  • 10 years pass, on average, between the onset of mental illness and receiving treatment.
  • More than 24 million people are not getting treatment for a mental health disorder.
Mental health illness is treatable, and recovery is possible provided interventions occur. However, ten years between symptom onset and treatment is wholly unacceptable; when conditions go unchecked, symptoms get worse, and tragedy often results.

“Our children are crying out for help,” says Gionfriddo. “We must continue to improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns. We must address these mental health concerns before crisis and tragedy strikes—before Stage 4.”


Co-Occurring Disorder Recovery

While we specialize in the treatment of adults at Hope By The Sea, we are hopeful that events like MIAW and this new report will encourage parents and educators to have more conversation about mental health. The sooner discussions happen, the quicker treatment can commence.

If you are an adult struggling with substance use disorder or a co-occurring illness, please contact Hope By The Sea today to learn more about our program and the services we provide. We are confident that the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

The Hope By The Sea team would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our Nation’s veterans. We wish you a Happy Veterans day!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Addiction Recovery Podcasts Inspire Change

Looking for things to do in early recovery can be a daunting challenge. Recovery must always come first, naturally; but, men and women find that sobriety provides ample free time. It is vital that one choose how they spend their downtime wisely.

Some people who are new to the program find the chapters of the day that are not spent in meetings, on the job, or doing program work with a sponsor or mentor difficult. When such people are free from obligations and quotidian responsibilities, they may grab a coffee or go to a movie with their recovery peers. In other instances, they may curl up on the couch to do some "Netflixing." Naturally, with few exceptions, while such activities are pleasurable, they are not necessarily conducive to furthering one’s recovery.

Reading books about mental health and recovery is a beneficial activity – there are many great titles to choose from – that can strengthen a person’s program. However, not everyone new to sobriety has much interest in reading; for them, program material is about all the reading they are willing to do. With that in mind, if you are someone working a program of recovery that isn’t a big fan of reading, we’d like to draw your attention to podcasts.

Addiction Recovery Podcasts

addiction recovery
In 2018, there are thousands of podcasts to choose from that can be accessed from smartphones or computers. Some of them are fascinating, covering myriad topics from politics to true crime. The media platform also gives experts in the field of addiction medicine and recovery advocates a forum to share wisdom and stories that can inspire more people to prioritize mental health.

There are many excellent podcasts to choose from, but we have created a list of four that have earned a five-star rating from listeners. So, if you find yourself tired of doing the Netflix shuffle this weekend, perhaps you’ll give one of the titles below a listen on Apple Podcast or Stitcher.

The SHAIR (Sharing Helps Addicts In Recovery) Podcast

Omar Pinto is an Addiction Recovery Specialist, NLP Life Coach, Emotional Healer, and Motivational Speaker. He will help you find joy and happiness in recovery and coach you on how to get sober and stay sober. This podcast showcases the most heartfelt and inspirational success stories of recovery from addiction. It will change your life. 

Counselor Toolbox – Tools for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery:

Counselors, coaches and sober companions help hundreds of thousands of people affected by Addictions and Mental Health issues each year. Learn about the current research and practical counseling tools to improve your skills and provide the best possible services. Counselor Toolbox targets counselors, coaches, and companions, but can also provide useful counseling self-help tools for persons struggling with these issues and their loved ones. 

Addiction Unscripted:

Shedding the negative stigma of addiction through the power of storytelling and our collective articles containing personal narratives, opinion pieces, and anything else related to addiction and recovery.

That Sober Guy Podcast:

Sober Guy Radio focuses on living a positive, healthy, sober lifestyle. As a person who has seen and personally experienced the effects of addiction first hand, founder and host Shane Ramer is dedicated to bring awareness to mental health, addiction, and substance abuse.


Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder

Welcome to Hope! We invite you to contact Hope By The Sea if you are battling alcohol, substance use disorder, or co-occurring mental illness. Our team creates tailor-made programs that are “just right” for you. The miracle of recovery can be yours too!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Opioid Detox On Display In America

Understanding what alcohol or drug detoxification is like would be difficult for anyone who hasn’t had the experience or worked in a center treating addiction. Some parents have had the troubling experience of watching their son or daughter withdraw. It is also probably fair to say that most persons' perception of kicking drugs or alcohol is based solely on what they have seen on television or film.

When people start using prescription opioids, obtained from a doctor, they rarely consider that they are at risk of addiction. Even after establishing a pattern of taking a pill before the recommended time, or worse doubling up their dose from time-to-time, many individuals are still convinced that dependence will not be their experience. What few realize is that tolerance and dependence can develop in a relatively short length of time. Such people don’t fully grasp that once the teeth of a use disorder sink in it is extremely difficult to put down the drugs.

Individuals with an opioid use disorder attempting to stop are in for an uncomfortable ride. Concerning opioids, symptoms of detox rarely result in complications that can be fatal. However, as any person in opioid use disorder recovery will tell you; opioid-withdrawal makes people wish they were dead. Fortunately, one can mitigate the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal with the assistance of medical professionals and certain medications. With help, individuals can get through the first, most difficult days of detox, without relapse and then go on to working a program of recovery.

What Does Opioid Detox Look Like


Source: Treatment Box Screen Shot
Re: the words above, many people feel ineligible for prescription opioid addiction, and yet millions of Americans are in the grips of an opioid use disorder. Perhaps if more patients saw what it is like to experience opiate withdrawal, then maybe they would think twice before using their medications in unintended ways.

A young lady named Rebekkah made the courageous decision to detox from heroin on film for the Truth Initiative. Like 80 percent of today’s heroin users, Rebekah's condition began with prescription opioids; in her case, procured from her doctor after suffering an ankle injury. She was just 14 years old. The cameras capture the early day of her detox and show the world what they may look forward to if they mess with opioids. She says:

“And I am the most camera shy person in the world. But if making my detox public is going to help somebody—even just one person—I’m all for it.”

The footage was turned into a PSA, please take a moment to watch “Treatment Box” below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

“She had been an accomplished dancer and athlete, and that was lost when her addiction took over her life and self-image,” writes the Truth Initiative. “Now Rebekkah is regaining control of both—courageously making her detox public in order to help other people while she works towards a new start.”


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Medical detox can help you or a loved one get through one of the most challenging parts of the recovery process. In the first few days of withdrawal, the cravings and sheer discomfort get in the way of people seeing the process through to the end; medical assistance is often the difference between relapse and recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our program; Hope By The Sea can help make the miracle of recovery yours too.

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