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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

National Addiction Treatment Week 2018

This April was a busy month for everyone working in the field of addiction medicine. If you follow our blog, then you know that Alcohol Awareness Month takes place every year at this time, as part of broad effort to educate young people about the dangers of substance use and the options available for individuals living in the grips of addiction. The most effective way to save lives is through efforts to end the stigma of addiction and encourage those affected by it to seek treatment, without fear of social ridicule or consequences.

The findings of the most recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey, which includes 1,054 adults, reveals views about addiction that should be some cause for concern. While most people (53 percent) consider prescription drug addiction as a disease and 13 percent have lost a relative or close friend to an opioid overdose, less than 1 in 5 Americans say they are willing to associate closely with someone, who is addicted, including friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

It is unlikely that anyone could find a comparable figure concerning another disease, such as diabetes. The AP-NORC survey is a clear indicator that We still have a long way to go regarding addiction. Some other findings of interest are worth relating, such as:
  • 32 percent say opioid addiction is caused by a character defect or bad parenting.
  • Forty-four percent say opioid addiction indicates a lack of willpower or discipline.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents favoring a “crackdown” on people misusing drugs.
A silver lining: two-thirds say policy-makers should expand access to addiction treatment.


National Addiction Treatment Week 2018

addiction treatment
There is little doubt that expanding access to addiction treatment will save lives. People can recover from mental illness and lead productive and fulfilling lives, as long as they have encouragement and help in doing so. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), et al., designates April 23rd through April 29th as National Addiction Treatment Week. ASAM would like everyone’s help in raising awareness that “addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and more clinicians need to enter the field of Addiction Medicine in order to treat the nationwide epidemic.”

Throughout the week events are taking place all over the United States and online (via webinars) to educate people about the merits of addiction treatment and what it takes for people to get into the field. One of the aims this week is to work toward decreasing the stigma of addiction to increase access to evidence-based addiction treatments.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. 

In fact, we can all have a hand in chipping away at the stigma of addiction and encouraging those suffering to seek help. You can take to social media this week, using the hashtags: #TreatmentWeek or #TreatAddictionSaveLives

Twitter Example:

Millions suffer from the disease of addiction, yet only 1 in 10 receive treatment. We must raise awareness that although addiction is a disease, treatments are available & recovery is possible. #TreatmentWeek

Facebook Example:

In the United States, over 20.5 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder, yet only 1 in 10 people in the US with the disease of addiction receive treatment. #TreatAddictionSaveLives


Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

We hope that everyone will join Hope By The Sea in helping end the stigma of surrounding mental illness. If you are suffering from 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 long-term recovery.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Addiction Treatment Drug and Alcohol Screening

Drug and alcohol testing is a component of addiction treatment for obvious reasons. People who seek help at such facilities are at significant risk of relapse and in some cases do slip despite constant monitoring. Those who do not fully grasp the mechanisms of addiction may find it hard to understand why someone would pay for treatment only to continue chasing a high. The paradox is not an oversight of people working in the field; instead, it is a testament to the cunning, baffling, and powerful nature of the disease.

Those who require treatment have to contend with a mental illness that is continuously motivating people to use drugs and alcohol, once again. There is a saying that while you are in the rooms of recovery, your disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot; the condition is regrouping and waiting for an individual to slip up. It is for that reason that lasting recovery depends on eternal vigilance and commitment to the program.

Just because a person knows they need help and manages to seek it out, doesn’t mean their disorder will stop looking for weaknesses, especially in early recovery. When people are new to working a program, cravings and temptations to use are exceedingly strong. Constant monitoring is necessary to help people avoid the trappings of drugs and alcohol, especially at non-residential treatment facilities where clients go home at the end of the day. A lot can happen over the course of an evening. With that in mind, treatment staff will regularly test clients for drugs and alcohol in the form of urine analysis, or UA. While this type of testing works, many people find it difficult and some find it humiliating.


The Potential Future of Drug and Alcohol Screening


addiction treatment
What makes UAs more desirable than blood or saliva testing, is the fact that specimens don’t need to be sent off to a lab. Even though the former method of measurement is more obtrusive than blood and saliva screens, it is justified given that it is significantly less expensive. As we trudge along in the 21st Century with smart technologies abounding, it makes sense that scientists would develop ways for helping people stay on track in recovery without having to make friends in the restroom.

In fact, researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) created an ultra-low power injectable biosensor that could be used for continuous, long-term alcohol monitoring, according to a press release. The tiny chip lives just beneath the surface of the skin and can receive power from a smartwatch. It can provide a higher level of accuracy than a breathalyzer and clients cannot tamper with it easily like the patch sensors that exist.

"The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a routine, unobtrusive alcohol and drug monitoring device for patients in substance abuse treatment programs," said Drew Hall, an electrical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who led the project. "This is a proof-of-concept platform technology. We've shown that this chip can work for alcohol, but we envision creating others that can detect different substances of abuse and injecting a customized cocktail of them into a patient to provide long-term, personalized medical monitoring,"


Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

If you are suffering from 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 long-term recovery. Recovery is possible, and we can help you make it a reality.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stimulant Use Disorder in America

Did you know that American soldiers had easy access to stimulant medications (Benzedrine), otherwise known as “pep pills,” going back to World War II? It’s true, and you can probably deduce the reasons why, to stay alert and be better able to concentrate when tired. The practice of essentially prescribing "speed" to members of the armed forces persisted through the Vietnam War.

Soldiers leaving on specific missions had permission to take dextroamphetamine (nearly twice as potent as the Benzedrine); 20 milligrams for 48 hours of heightened performance, The Atlantic reports. Few soldiers were following dosing instructions, and between 1966 and 1969, military personnel took 225 million tablets of stimulants—heavy use was rampant. For those of you familiar with stimulants, then you know dextroamphetamine by another name, Dexedrine; it’s the same drug today’s doctors prescribe for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“We had the best amphetamines available and they were supplied by the U.S. government,” said Elton Manzione, a member of a long-range reconnaissance platoon (Lurp).

Stimulant medications can be helpful in some situations with careful monitoring by a physician; however, in many cases, these drugs are misused, regularly diverted for nonmedical use. Naturally, these types of drugs carry a high-risk for dependence and addiction; what often begins as trying to gain an edge for studying or being able to stay alert at work, develops into a stimulant use disorder.


Motivations for Stimulant Misuse

stimulant use disorder
People most commonly associate drugs for treating ADHD with youths. While it is true that young people are more likely to receive a prescription, a significant number of adults take drugs like Adderall and Ritalin daily. Mostly with a prescription, but far too often without. A new study delves into the prevalence of stimulant use, misuse, and use disorders; the findings of the research appear in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

The majority of study participants (53 percent), as to be expected, report their primary motivation for use as needing help with alertness and concentration. The most common way people obtain stimulants for misuse is from friends and family (56.9 percent); interestingly, people who misuse these types of drugs more often meet the criteria for stimulant use disorder and were more likely to acquire their pills from a doctor. The researchers found:
  • Around 16.0 million adults (U.S.) used prescription stimulants in the preceding year.
  • 5 million misused prescription stimulants without use disorders.
  • 0.4 million had use disorders.
Those who misuse stimulants the most list cognitive enhancement as their reason for use; they are also found to be more likely to divert medications to other people.


Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

The desire to enhance mental function is something many people share, but efforts to do so can come at significant cost. Stimulant use disorder can derail people’s lives and without treatment outcomes are never promising. At Hope By The Sea, we can help you begin the process of recovery and teach you how to navigate life without the need of pharmacological narcotics. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Family Members Resistant to Addiction Treatment

Do you have a loved one currently in the grips of an alcohol or substance use disorder? If so, we understand the difficulties you face in helping your spouse or child help themselves recover. You’ve probably tried many things to encourage a family member to seek treatment, and hopefully, your tireless efforts finally bore fruit. Given that the majority of people living with active addiction never receive any treatment, there is a reasonably good chance that your loved one is resistant, too.

More than anything you do not want your loved one to become a statistic; you need to look no further than the news to grasp the stakes of addiction, especially opioid use disorder. For two decades now, the epidemic has cut people’s lives short; opioid overdose rates have only gone in one direction. Treatment is available, and it does work, but accessing it is often a challenge. What’s more, even when rehab is available for your loved one, it doesn’t mean they will be receptive to the idea; which is usually the case, at least at first.

There is a saying around the rooms of recovery, ‘addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful.' Naturally, you can read that in a number of ways; one way being that a person has a disease that is killing them and yet substance use persists. Help is available, but people refuse it and instead opt for continuing down a road of self-defeating behaviors and ultimately self-destruction. Therein lies the complex nature of mental illness.


Other's Addiction Affects Your Mental Wellbeing

If you have a family member whose life is unmanageable due to drugs and alcohol, do not give up hope. When all seems lost, and you find yourself living in darkness, hope is the torch that will light your way. A time will come when your loved will see that they can no longer continue living how they have been, but there is no way of knowing when that will take place. There may come a time when you have to say to the person in need of help, ‘I will no longer support you until you are ready to accept that you have a problem that requires treatment.’

Family members struggle with setting boundaries when it comes to the people they care most about in life. It’s mind-boggling when you think about it, the lengths people will go to help a family member, only to have their dreams of recovery come crashing down. The pattern can cause severe heartache and mental strife in lives of those who love an addict. When this occurs, the optimal option is seeking professional assistance.

Interventionists are people who can help bridge the communication gap you are experiencing. They have the tools and skills to help an addict or alcoholic see the big picture of their addiction and mediate any discussions between family members. In matters of life and death, emotions can get the better of people; people say things that make progress more challenging to achieve. After years of turmoil, it is hard to be objective; the interventionist is far enough removed from the situation, which makes what they say more likely to get past an addict or alcoholic's defenses. It is also worth pointing out that a significant number of interventionists are in recovery them self.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, we work closely with some of the top interventionists in the world. We can help you get your family member into treatment. Please contact us at any time to learn more about how we can assist you or your loved one. Treatment works; recovery is possible.

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