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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Young People Avoiding Drugs and Alcohol

More often than not, addiction and mental illness take hold of individuals in high school. The formative years of one’s life are exceedingly difficult for many; drugs and alcohol can provide them with psychological relief and a sense of social acceptance. While most young people do not develop problems with substance use, a large number will have issues as they age.

Growing up in America has changed a lot in just a short period. The advent of social media has both connected and isolated youths from each other. The pressure to look a certain way, to be a specific type of person, and to have a social following that extends far beyond the classroom is high. A young person’s need to fit in can drive him or her down a path that is hard to escape.

While it’s a fact that progress has been made by way of prevention efforts, there is still a large number of youths who use drugs and alcohol in hazardous ways. Since addiction is first noticed in early adulthood, it is challenging to pinpoint how many high schoolers are struggling. Please take a moment to watch a short infographic video from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Partying Without Drugs and Alcohol

drugs alcohol
Teenagers often have their first introduction to drugs and alcohol at high school parties. Wanting to fit in and a desire to be rebellious can cause youngsters to accept offers to try mind-altering substances. It is a typical story that often leads to severe issues down the road.

Many young people have the misconception that if they do not drink or drug, then they will be looked down upon by their peers. That may be true in some cases, but by and large, it is not. More teens do not use mind-altering substances than those who do. Still, the pressure to be “a part of” is intense, and it can influence young people to make unhealthy decisions.

We are happy to report that some high schoolers are reinventing what it means to party. Instead of throwing house parties that involve binge drinking, there are kids having fun without drugs and alcohol. A high school student in South Carolina hosted a party for more than two hundred students to rebel against peer pressure, WYFF reports. Dean Geraci, 17, invited students from six area high schools to his sober bash in Mount Pleasant, S.C. His message is that young people do not have to break the law to have fun.

“We were talking about how a lot of teenagers feel pressured into thinking they can only host a party if there’s alcohol, drugs,” Geraci said. “I’m just trying to hope to inspire more people to think, ‘Hey, I don’t have to be pressured to have a certain substance at my party in order for kids to come to my house and have fun.’” 

Dean also uses social media to reach peers who may be struggling with mental illness or addiction. This story is evidence that some American youths are working together to redefine what it means to “fit in” in high school, without relying on drugs and alcohol.


Southern California Young Adult Addiction Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, we help young adults transition from addiction to lifetime success. We have designed a program that addresses the unique needs of young people and gives them the tools for leading a productive life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Returning to Recovery After a Relapse

The 4th of July is behind us, and we hope that everyone in recovery was able to keep their sobriety intact over the holiday. At Hope By The Sea, we know just how challenging it is to keep urges to use at bay during significant times of the year. So, if your sobriety date remains unchanged after yesterday, then it means that you are working the program.

Holidays are challenging, to be sure, but getting through them can be a source of both pride and gratitude. Responding to triggers in a healthy manner is extremely difficult; it is much easier to succumb to the temptation to use than to not. Sometimes the urge to use is so powerful that a relapse can seem inevitable, but if one uses their tools and follows direction, a return to use is preventable.

The program teaches men and women how to protect their program. Aided by a support network and some general guidelines, one’s disease is kept at bay for another day. People in recovery learn that there are danger zones to avoid, i.e., bars, parties, and old acquaintances who do not share similar goals. They discover that sobriety can withstand risky days of the year by sticking close to a support network.

Those who made it to the other side of Independence Day without drinking or drugging had a plan going into the holiday. Such persons knew where they would be and who they would be around from sunrise to bedtime. Moreover, their recovery took priority; meetings were attended, several in some cases, and no aspect of the day was left to chance.

If any of the above sounds familiar to you, then it’s probable that the Fourth came to an end without event. Unfortunately, a significant number of people slip each year on the 4th of July; however, that does not mean that all is lost.

Relapse is not uncommon in recovery, but luckily, it is completely avoidable. A return to use is troubling, and those who experience it can feel like all is lost; shame and guilt are byproducts of drinking and drugging, after being clean and sober for a time. However, the relapse is not as important as is what follows from it, and it is possible to bounce back with even greater resolve.

Returning to Recovery After a Relapse

Relapses occur when individuals start putting other things in front of their recovery. Those who do not put their sobriety ahead of all else put their program in jeopardy. The disease is always on the sidelines itching to get back into the picture. If one is unable or unwilling to appreciate that reality, then they are fundamentally poised to return to active use.

That is not to say that those who relapse are consciously inviting addiction in; many people who slip up have no idea that a relapse is imminent. It is often said that a relapse occurs long before the first drink or drug.

Men and women in long-term recovery are often able to predict who is on the way out. Those who are ripe for relapse tend to stop calling their sponsor as much; they attend fewer meetings throughout the week, let up on step and service work, and may start associating with people from the past.

When a holiday comes around, those same people who are less focused on recovery can delude themselves into thinking that they can go to a party and abstain from use. With their defenses down, someone offers up a drink, and the likelihood of accepting the proffer is high. Rather than leave or calling one’s sponsor, the soon-to-be-relapser convinces themselves that there is no harm in one drink.

If a relapse becomes part of one’s story, he or she has two options: continue using or recommit to the program. The former is a path to heartache and pain; the latter is humbling and requires courage. The thought of re-identifying as a newcomer in front of the group is hard to accept, and nobody wants to start from square one. However, it is possible to put pride aside, recommit to the program, learn from errors, and go on to achieve long-term recovery.

Many people with decades of clean and sober time have a relapse in their recovery history. Such people often utilize the lessons learned from the experience and pass on the knowledge to those who are new. Their slip up and what was learned from it help others avoid the same pitfalls. A relapse doesn’t have to be the end; instead, it can be a stepping stone to an even stronger recovery.

Southern California Addiction Treatment Center

Hope By The Sea helps men and women take steps toward fulfilling and productive lives in recovery. Whether you are seeking sobriety for the first time or are unable to bounce back from a recent relapse, we can assist you in turning your life around.

Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. The miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Opioid Overdose Reversals: Average People Save Lives

The topic of reversing overdoses is one that many people are familiar with these days. The life-saving drug naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, has become a household name across the country. Narcan can be administered to overdose victims and bring them back from the edge of death.

A large number of states have lifted the restrictions on acquiring the drug; many pharmacies will sell Narcan without a prescription. Narcan can be administered by laypeople who have had little instruction. Average Americans are acting as first-responders on the front lines of the epidemic. Some people call naloxone the “Lazarus Drug” after Saint Lazarus, who was resurrected from the grave.

Naloxone does not always work; there are no guarantees, especially with polysubstance overdoses and those involving potent synthetic opioids. However, the life-saving potential of the drug is high if it’s used in a timely manner, in many cases.

Naturally, some states have been more welcoming of expanding access to Narcan nasal spray kits. In California, efforts to get the drug into the hands of addicts and their families have yielded positive results.

Equipping Drug Users with Naloxone

overdoseData from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 28,466 people across the U.S. died from synthetic opioid overdoses in 2017, according to KHN. The most common synthetic opioid people are exposed to, both knowingly and unwittingly, is fentanyl.

These types of opioids are significantly stronger than heroin and common prescription painkillers. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin; Carfentanil, the most potent fentanyl analog, is estimated to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

California accounts for 12% of the national population and had 536 of the 28,466 synthetic opioid deaths — fewer than 2% of the total, the article reports. While fentanyl hasn’t been as big of an issue in California compared to other parts of the country, widespread naloxone access is credited for the minimal death toll.

Harm reduction workers and researchers agree that community organizations in San Francisco and Los Angeles distributing naloxone to addicts may explain California’s lower overdose death rates.

San Francisco paramedics administered naloxone to 1,647 people in 2018, according to data from the city’s emergency response system. What’s more, a Bay Area overdose prevention program, the DOPE Project, reports that laypeople administered 1,658 naloxone doses last year. If the numbers are accurate, it means that average citizens are saving lives on par with first-responders.

“People who use drugs are the primary witnesses to overdose,” said Eliza Wheeler, the national overdose response strategist for the Harm Reduction Coalition. “So it would make sense that when they are equipped with naloxone, they are much more likely to reverse an overdose.” 

It is possible that fentanyl-related overdoses in California may increase in the days to come; Kristen Marshall, manager of the DOPE Project, says more heroin users are seeking out the more potent drug. The heroin found in the western U.S. is predominantly “black tar:” a form of the narcotic that is less potent typically.

Southern California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Overdose victims are strongly encouraged to seek professional assistance following an event. The likelihood of experiencing another potentially fatal overdose is exceptionally high. Opioid use disorder recovery is possible with the help of detox and evidence-based addiction treatment.

Please contact Hope By The Sea today if you are struggling with opioid addiction and would like to take steps to recover. Our treatment team is standing by to field any questions about our program. The miracle of recovery can be yours too!

Friday, June 21, 2019

HBO Tackles Mental Health Stigma

The stigma of mental illness is a topic that we frequently discuss here at Hope By The Sea. Experts agree that having more conversations as a society about behavioral health and mood disorders lessens people’s fear of reaching out for help.

mental health stigma
Addiction, anxiety, depression, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder are treatable mental health conditions. Stigma is one of the most significant obstacles standing between men and women and treatment.

It is nice to see that several major companies and media corporations are now on board with addressing mental health. In recent years, Americans have been treated to several television shows and films that confront the subjects of addiction, mental illness, and stigma. Several actors, musicians, and A-list celebrities use their standing in the world to encourage average people to find support. The list of stars in recovery is long!

People often say that art imitates life, but there is a flip side to that coin. In many cases, life imitates art; meaning events in the real world can be inspired by creative works. Why can’t that be true for addiction and recovery, too? If someone is struggling with mental illness and watches a show about a character with similar life circumstances and is in recovery, it might empower them to seek assistance.

HBO has produced several series and movies that deal with subjects that are notoriously difficult to talk about in real life. They have programs about drug use in America and men and women’s battles with mental illness. The premium cable and satellite television network has enormous reach, and the company’s commitment to making quality programming ensures that they will deal with sensitive subjects carefully.

HBO Partners with Kindred for Mental Health Event

Between June 24-26, over 75 influential content creators and nonprofits will meet at the Ranch in Laguna Beach, Deadline reports. The topic of discussion at the gathering is mental health stigmas. The event is hosted and sponsored by Kindred, a social impact organization, in partnership with HBO. Among the list of attendees are:
  • Anthony Rapp, Star Trek: Discovery actor
  • Gary Gulman, comedian
  • Justin Cunningham, co-founder of Chance the Rapper’s SocialWorks
  • Ian Schafer, Kindred co-founder and CEO
  • Lina Renzina, The Ad Council
  • Larissa May, mental health advocate
Attendees will discuss how to use comedy to break the stigma and change our conversations about mental illness, according to the article. There will also be a focus on how social media affects mental illness; speakers will discuss the science behind mental illness and grief.

“Over the years, HBO has seen the impact storytelling can have on addressing important cultural issues like mental health. HBO originals like The Sopranos and In treatment, documentaries like One Nation Under Stress, and our upcoming comedy special, The Great Depresh with Gary Gulman all bring mental health to the forefront and make a difficult topic easier to talk about,” said Sabrina Caluori, EVP, Digital and Social Media at HBO. 

The Kindred Mental Health Quest, Mind | Matters event is the first in a series of events from Kindred and HBO. Other subjects the organization will touch upon down the road include criminal justice reform and diversity & inclusion.

California Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, our team of highly experienced professionals can help you break the cycle of addiction and address any co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today to learn more about the essential programs we offer. The miracle of recovery can be yours too...

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