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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Alcohol Use-related Cirrhosis Among Young Adults

Alcohol can do irreparable damage to both mind and body if something does not happen to change unhealthy relationships with the substance. Despite the fact drinking in America is—relatively speaking—a past time; the average American has little clue about the dangers of that which they imbibe. Myths and misconceptions surround all mind-altering chemicals; however, legal substances tend to bring about the most confusion for people.

It makes sense if you think about it, if alcohol is legal how dangerous could it "actually" be? Research tells us that only 15 percent of drinkers will develop an addiction, so for most people alcoholism will not be their lot. Despite the risk of alcohol use disorder being somewhat slight in the grand scale of things, it is still possible for alcohol to cause significant harm to even moderate drinkers. Unfortunately, most individuals—particularly teenagers and young adults—are unaware that drinking can cause life-threatening problems in a short period.

Young people often drink in ways that are problematic, typically drinking as much as they can as fast as they are able. The practice is known as binge drinking; and, some would argue the behavior is synonymous with college life. Male binge drinkers consume 5 or more drinks, or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. Those who choose to drink in such a manner are mostly non-alcoholic, although the behavior often precipitates or is a marker of alcohol use disorder. While binge drinking usually begins in college, in many cases it persists long after the mortarboard is thrown in the air.


Cirrhosis of the Liver

alcohol use disorder
Most people are familiar with liver disease or cirrhosis; and, they associate it with end-stage alcoholism. After years of habitual heavy drinking, organ damage is a foregone conclusion. While it’s true that doctors regularly diagnose older alcoholics with cirrhosis, it is possible for younger adults to develop the condition, as well. If more young people were aware of the little time it takes to bring about liver disease, then maybe they would curtail or curb the practice of binge drinking altogether.

New research, published in the British Medical Journal, indicates a significant rise in deaths from liver disease in the United States, NBC News reports. In fact, since 1999 deaths from cirrhosis of the liver rose by 65 percent; and, annual deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) doubled (11,073) during the same period.

Perhaps most concerning from the research is that the most notable increase in deaths from liver disease is among millennials, according to the article. Liver cancer and cirrhosis can result from both obesity and heavy alcohol consumption, and researchers believe that those two factors are behind the dramatic spike in such conditions among young people in recent years.

“Surprisingly, it only takes about 10 years of heavy drinking to actually lead to cirrhosis,” said liver specialist Dr. Haripriya Maddur of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She adds, “So when people start drinking in college and they start binge drinking, that can actually lead to end-stage liver disease at a much earlier age.”


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If your use of alcohol has created severe problems in your life—physically, mentally, financially, or socially— it is possible that you meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. At Hope by the Sea, we can help you stem the tide of alcohol addiction and provide you with tools for leading a productive, healthy life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our various programs. The miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tackling Opioid Use Disorder in San Diego County

When it comes to expanding access to addiction treatment services, are states and counties doing enough? While answering the above question is simple, there are several factors to consider; and, it is safe to say that the vast majority of people who require addiction treatment are unable to get the care they need. What’s more, of those who do receive treatment, it is evident that most do not acquire the level of care necessary to bring about long-term results.

Millions of Americans struggle with opioid use disorder! Health experts estimate that some 2.1 million Americans are living with opiate addiction, but it’s likely that the number of opioid addicts is more significant than is reported. Still, millions more meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder and alcohol is a factor in roughly 88,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Providing evidence-based treatment to tens of thousands of people in each state continues to present a real challenge. One of the noteworthy barriers standing in the way of mental health services is a severe lack of funding on both the Federal and State level.

California, like most states, has had a real struggle providing the millions of alcoholics and addicts the care they need. Those who seek help from state and county services wait great lengths of time to get beds in treatment centers, and many opioids addicts do not survive the waiting period. It stands to reason that at least some 1,882 people who died from opioid overdoses in 2017 in California, were on waiting list for treatment.

Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System

opioid use disorder
Last year, 272 San Diegans perished from opioid-related causes. The current wait time for care in a San Diego County-funded opioid inpatient treatment program is 14 days, according to KPBS. In an attempt to cut the length of time addicts must hold on for a bed in a county residential program, San Diego County officials are implementing the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System.

Over the next three years, a more significant amount of federal Medicaid funds will be directed toward addiction treatment services, from $54.6 million to $179.6 million, the article reports. The hope is to see a 30 percent increase in the number of people receiving care at county-funded centers. More than 11,300 people in San Diego County accessed treatment at such facilities last year. Officials expect to see a noteworthy slash in wait times for a bed, as well. The Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System is meant to slash the 14-day wait to just 24 hours.

“Right now we have somewhere between 40 and 45 percent of people who complete their treatment but we got to be better than that. We got to be able to show that they’re actually achieving good outcomes in terms of their life, in terms of staying sober over the long haul,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of Behavioral Health Services for San Diego County.


Southern California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

At Hope by the Sea, our addiction treatment clinicians and counselors rely on evidence-based practices to help people overcome opioid use disorder. If you are one of the more than 2 million Americans struggling with this most severe condition, please reach out to our team as soon as possible. We can field any questions you may have, 24 hours a day.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Making Friends In Recovery

Recovery teaches you that your old friends will no longer suffice; as a matter of fact, you learn that many of the people with whom you had relationships in addiction were not your friend. The people you used drugs and alcohol with are more likely acquaintances of circumstance. After you pull mind-altering substances out for the equation, the individuals you are left with are unlikely to resemble what one might define as a friend.

Once you adopt a program of recovery, a commitment is made to do virtually the opposite of everything you did before. Working a program means no longer frequenting the places you associate with substance abuse; it is doing away with anything and everything that can precipitate a relapse; and, perhaps most importantly, it means that in place of your old "using" buddies that you insert a group of individuals that care about your well-being.

Cutting ties with people from your past isn’t natural; in some cases, you have to say goodbye to the people you care about that are not ready to embrace recovery. For some people, severing connections calls for breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend. It isn’t easy to move forward with anything mentioned above, but if you are serious about long-term recovery, it is vital that you protect yourself from the people in your past that may jeopardize what you are fighting for today.


Friends Conducive to My Recovery

It is possible that there are people from your past that you did not use drugs and alcohol with, men and women who are affirming and stand behind your recovery. Such people can remain in your life and should; many addicts and alcoholics have two diametric groups of peers in their life: those who want the best for you and those who want something from you. The latter must go!

With that in mind, now that you are in recovery you are probably working a program that involves meetings. Such events are a perfect opportunity to seek out and foster healthy friendships. Socializing is one of the reasons your counselors in treatment told you to get to meetings early and leave late. It is the “meeting-after-the-meeting” that brings about lasting connections with your peers in recovery.

Please take time to meet the people you are recovering with and get to know them intimately. When you introduce yourself to people in meetings, they are likely going to want to spend time with you outside of the rooms of recovery. You may have the desire to turn down invitees to open yourself up to others, but we strongly recommend that you avoid the temptation to refuse the entreats of your peers in recovery. Taking people up on their offer to socialize could be the beginning of a life-long relationship with an individual who may one day help you avoid relapse.


Addiction Recovery

Hope by the Sea, located in San Juan Capistrano, California, offers evidence-based services to help you or your loved one recover from addiction. Please contact us to learn more about our program and how you can take steps for a future that is free from drugs and alcohol.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hope by the Sea Accepts TRICARE

Hope by the Sea is pleased to announce that we now accept TRICARE insurance! Formerly known as the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), TRICARE is a health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System, providing civilian health benefits for U.S Armed Forces military personnel, retirees, and their dependents (usually up to the age of 26).

Addiction and other forms of mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, affect a significant number of enlistees and veterans. Without proper treatment, recovery is unlikely due to the complex nature of mental illness. What’s more, people struggling with untreated post-traumatic stress are at a heightened risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol; over time, this behavior can lead to dependence, addiction, and substance use worsens the symptoms of the PTSD.

In fact, post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the more common co-occurring psychological illnesses that accompany addiction. It is absolutely vital that both the use disorder and dual diagnosis receive simultaneous treatment.


Treating Co-Occurring Disorders Takes Time

Evidence-based co-occurring disorder treatment is an involved process that can take several months. Naturally, getting the care you need can be a serious financial undertaking, so most people rely on their insurance to help cover some of the cost. Mental health services coverage will vary depending on which plan you have, but TRICARE coverage for treatment can include:
  • Mental Health Services
  • Medical Detoxification
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Residential treatment, provided that substance use disorder isn’t the primary diagnosis.
Here is a short video that outlines the TRICARE Mental Health Benefits:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

TRICARE Coverage

Understanding your TRICARE benefits may prove challenging for you and your loved ones. We can assist you in determining the limitations of your TRICARE coverage; please contact us at your earliest convenience. We are here to advocate on your behalf.

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33171 Paseo Cerveza
San Juan Capistrano
CA 92675