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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mental Health Resources In College

As we move through the month of August, many young Americans are preparing to head off to college. It is vital that steps are taken to ensure that new and returning students have access to support in times of need. Specifically, regarding mental health. It is quite common for problems with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder to arise during this stage in a person’s life. Without support via therapy and counseling, such students are at great risk of self-harm and the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. It is not uncommon for alcohol and substance use disorders to develop while pursuing higher education.

In modern times, there are several resources available to help students struggling with mental illness. Many campuses devote significant resources to outreach campaigns and the hiring of competent mental health therapists. Yet, despite the availability of such services, they are often underutilized by students. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health has found that 26 percent of students who utilized campus mental health services reported intentionally hurting, NBC News reports. Up from 2015, 33.2 percent had contemplated suicide.


Mental Illness On The Rise

Collegiate environments place huge demands on students. Having to juggle both work and class loads can be extremely trying for some people. Universities are seeing record numbers of students battling mental health issues, which is why it is critical that students be made to feel safe about talking with counselors. If people don’t share what they are going through, it is impossible to begin the treatment process. Untreated mental illness has long been a contributing factor in college dropout rates.

“What has increased over the past five years is threat-to-self characteristics, including serious suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors,” said Ashley Stauffer, project manager for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University.

More than three-quarters of all mental health conditions arise before the age of 24, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Please take a moment to watch a short video from NAMI to help students:

If you having trouble viewing the video, please click here.


You Are Not Alone

NAMI provides guides for parents whose children may be struggling with mental illness. Which could be of great benefit. The success of your child’s recovery depends upon your full support. Having open, regular discussions about your child’s mental state can go a long way in getting them the help they may require. And, potentially mitigate the risk of self-medication with drugs and alcohol and tragedy. Below you can find a few tips
  • Know the warning signs of mental stress and when and how to seek help. Check out the college’s resources.
  • Let your child know that mental health conditions are common — one in five college students — so they don’t feel alone.
  • Because of privacy laws, come up with a plan in advance for which information about mental health can be shared with the parent.


Treatment Works

Students who are unable to access mental health resources commonly turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. This behavior often leads to a co-occurring addiction disorder. It is quite common for young people with depression, et al. to develop substance use disorders during the college years. If you are living with an untreated co-occurring disorder, or your adult child is, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of recovery, while keeping in mind that continuing education is of the utmost importance. Through working a program of recovery, one will be in a far better position to succeed in college.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Addiction Recovery Demands Healthy Living

If you are working a program of addiction recovery, you know that success rests on more than just abstaining. Sure, drugs and alcohol were big part of your problems, staying away from them is vital. But, working a program calls for much more than that. Those who succeed at achieving long-term recovery, make significant changes in their outlooks and behaviors. If addiction be a life of pessimism, recovery then must be built upon optimism. Ever reminding oneself that any obstacle that arises will pass at some point. It is how you choose to handle adversity that will be the difference between continued recovery and relapse.

Those of you who have been in the “rooms” of recovery for even a short time have heard pithy sayings and acronyms. Platitudes that, while trite at times, are both true and can be helpful. "It works if you work it." "Keep it simple, stupid." "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (HALT)." Are a few examples. Each one valuable in their own ways.

Alcoholics and addicts are excellent at getting caught up in their own heads. Overthinking things, in some cases, right into a bottle. We tend to isolate from our peers, especially when we need support the most. People in recovery often struggle to focus on living a healthy lifestyle. And those who fail to treat their body as a temple in recovery often encounter problems.


A Healthy Addiction Recovery

The acronym H.A.L.T. is an extremely valuable tool. A reminder that one needs to be mindful of what they ingest, i.e. is the food I’m eating healthy? Am I consuming three meals a day? Am I being sure to not let my emotions control my actions? Do I spend enough time with my recovery peers outside of meetings? Or do I just rush home after the Serenity Prayer is said aloud? Do I make a conscience effort to get about 8-hours of sleep each night?

Some of those considerations may seem like common sense to somebody without a use disorder. Yet, for many people working a program they can be easily forgotten. When that happens, one's perspective can quickly shift from optimism to a glass half empty outlook. If such a course is not corrected, relapse can become a reality.

With health in mind, getting enough exercise can help one stay the course in recovery. When we feel good, we live good. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can significantly improve our outlook, helping us be of better service to others. A salient facet of addiction recovery is being there for our fellow alcoholic or addict. If we feel unhealthy, one focuses on their own wants and needs. Forgetting that this whole enterprise rests on fellowship.

Some of you reading this might not be able to exercise in the traditional sense of going to the gym. That’s OK. Just taking a 30-minute walk everyday can go a long way. If you need a low-impact activity, see if there is a public pool in your area. Taking the initiative with improving your health can greatly strengthen your program. Maybe you have a friend in the program who will join you in your endeavor for a healthier life, and recovery.


Addiction Treatment and Physical Health

At Hope by The Sea we emphasize the importance of healthy minds and bodies. Recovery depends on treating the whole patient. Addiction atrophies the mind and body, over the course of your stay we will work with you or your loved one to reverse the damage done. Upon discharge, a healthier client has a healthier recovery. Please contact us today to discuss treatment options.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Prescription Opioid Related Traffic Concerns

Most Americans, certainly adults, know that getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous. The substance can significantly impair one’s ability to drive, impacting cognitive function, response time and motor skills. Yet, and despite the risk of death and legal troubles, thousands of Americans get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol every day.

prescription opioids

With more and more states legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults, there is great concern about drugged-driving. There isn’t a strong detection method in place (short of blood tests) for determining if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Each year, people lose their life behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana, which means spreading the message about drugged driving is of the utmost importance.

Until recently, the use of marijuana was illegal in California. Except for medical purposes. Which means that people who drove "high" knew what they were doing was, if nothing else, against the law. With legalization last fall, people in California have raised concerns about the potential of an increased prevalence of drugged drivers. While such concerns are not without merit, there may be another class of drugs that should be of greater concern—prescription opioids.


Driving On Opioids

The clear majority of Americans know, or have heard, about the dangers of opioid narcotics and the staggering death toll associated with opioid overdose. Current estimates indicate that around 142 Americans die of an opioid-related overdose, every day. However, you might not be aware that overdose is not the only path to premature death when it comes to opioids.

Any of you in recovery for prescription opioids and/or heroin are aware of the side effects that accompany use. Such as severe drowsiness, often referred to as “nodding off.” It is not uncommon for people using opioids to fall asleep standing up. Keeping that in mind, the same is even more true when sitting down. Getting behind the wheel on opioids is never a good idea.

Some people who are prescribed opioids may not be aware of just how easy it is to nod off using this dangerous class of drugs. They get behind the wheel thinking they are doing nothing wrong, after all the drugs were prescribed a doctor. A deadly miscalculation. As is evident by a new study showing that the rate of traffic fatalities involving prescription opioids has risen dramatically, HealthDay reports. The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that traffic fatalities involving opioid painkillers rose seven-fold between 1995 and 2015.

Much like marijuana, there is not an easy way for police officers to determine if a driver is under the influence of opioids. Given these new findings and the staggering prescribing rates of painkillers, the need for roadside testing methods is great. Prescribing opioids went from 76 million in 1991 to nearly 300 million in 2014, many of the people taking such drugs are not addicts. Opioids are coursing through the systems of millions of drivers, who must be made aware of the dangers.

"The opioid epidemic has been defined primarily by the counts of overdose fatalities," said study co-author Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "Our study suggests that increases in opioid consumption may carry adverse health consequences far beyond overdose morbidity and mortality."

Opioid Addiction Treatment

The new study, together with previous research on the dangers of opioid use, is ample cause for concern. If you are taking opioids in ways other than prescribed, or believe that you have become dependent on this form of narcotics, please contact Hope by The Sea.

Our highly-trained staff is experienced in helping people with opioid use disorder break the cycle of addiction and get on the road to addiction recovery. You can reach us 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Coffee Covers Addiction Treatment Costs

Coffee and addiction recovery, well… they are tied at the hip, so to speak. Actually, it is hard to imagine a 12-step meeting without an urn of coffee. The caffeinated beverage serves three purposes: an incentive for newcomers to come in off the street, helping members stay alert and attentive, and making the coffee a commitment that people in early recovery can sign up for. Commitments being a good practice in accountability, and those who fulfill the obligation show that they are willing to go to any lengths to stay clean and sober.

While the drink is synonymous with meetings, its role in recovery doesn’t stop there. At the end of every 12-step meeting you can pretty much guarantee that some members will meet after the meeting at local coffee houses. It is quite common to see people at Starbucks with a copy of “The Big Book” sitting on the table. Sponsors speaking with sponsees, many a Fourth Step has been discussed over a cup of Joe.

The link between coffee and recovery has been taken to the next level in a Ventnor City, New Jersey. Not far from Atlantic City, a seaside metropolis known for vice, a cafe is using the profits from coffee and food sales to help pay for people in need of addiction treatment services.


Addiction Treatment Paid for In Beans

New Jersey is one of the many states in this country hit especially hard by the opioid addiction epidemic. Arguably, more people than ever need addiction treatment, although a significant number of Americans can’t afford such services. The Enlightened Cafe in Ventnor has offered a solution, using the profits from the organic cafe’s sales for addiction treatment scholarships, The Press of Atlantic City reports. In fact, the cafe is in the same building as a treatment and recovery center scheduled to open by the end of summer.

The facility will offer:
  • 12-step Meetings
  • Peer-to-Peer Recovery Support Services
  • Family Support Groups
  • Community Yoga
  • Meditation Classes
Jennifer Hansen, co-founder of the Hansen Foundation and CEO of Enlightened Solutions, has been in recovery for more than two decades, according to the article. In this time, Hansen, along with her family, has opened detox centers, treatment programs and recovery housing opportunities in New Jersey. She understands the importance of get well jobs after completing an addiction treatment program, which is why The Enlightened Cafe is staffed by people in recovery.

“When you see someone get out of treatment, they really need to be working immediately for their recovery,” said Hansen. “We’re trying to staff the cafe with people in our sober living homes. When they get here to work, they’ve really come full circle.”


Communities for Addiction Treatment

Millions of people across the country need addiction treatment services. With respect to opioid addiction, an estimated 142 Americans are dying from overdoses every day, according to a report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. If people can’t get help because of costs, community members in other cities would be wise to follow the model of compassion that Jennifer Hansen has laid out. The epidemic is a societal problem, which means we all have a vested interest in seeing those battling addictions get help.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of recovery.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Prescription Opioid Use, Misuse, and Use Disorders

In the field of addiction we remain hopeful that good news regarding the American addiction opioid epidemic is on the horizon. Over the last couple years lawmakers and health experts have been working hard to get a handle on over-prescribing and patient opioid misuse and to help the millions of people who are already in the grips of an opioid use disorder. We have written about the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), for instance. This aims, among other things, to expand access to addiction treatment services across the country.

Lawmakers and addiction experts have pleaded with doctors to better utilize various resources, such prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has worked hard to emphasis the importance of safely disposing of one’s unused prescription opioids. For example, by sponsoring National Take Back Days across the country. Yet, many Americans still have no qualms about giving their unused pills to friends or family members.

With over hundred people dying of an overdose in the United States every day, it is hard to imagine what justification people come up with for diverting their medications. Nevertheless, it happens on a daily basis. A new survey revealed that more than 50 percent of people, who misused prescription opioids in 2015, got the drugs via family or friends, CBS News reports. Nearly 20 years into an epidemic and people are still diverting medications despite the nationally publicized attention highlighting the dangers. What’s more, in 2015 (some 15 years into the epidemic), more than one out of three average Americans used a prescription opioid painkiller. The findings of the survey were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


Legitimately Prescribed Opioids

There have been signs that fewer doctors are over-prescribing than before, but use and misuse rates have remained fairly stable. Despite efforts to reduce both. The survey showed that almost 92 million adults (roughly 38 percent of the population) took an opioid by legitimate means in 2015, according to the article. A large portion of those people are, in fact, not taking their opioids as prescribed.

"The proportion of adults who receive these medications in any year seemed startling to me," said study co-author Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. "It's an awful lot of people who take these, mostly for medical purposes, but within that a significant percentage end up misusing them." 

In 2015, 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids they received from people other than a doctor. With almost 1.9 million reporting full-fledged opioid addiction, at the time. If over half of the people who abuse prescription opioids obtained them from a friend or family member, it is a good indication that doctors should be limiting the number of pills and refills they are handing out. Almost 60 percent of all painkiller misuse was prescription free.

"That tells us there are a lot of leftover medications," said Compton. "In many cases, physicians could write smaller prescriptions, or avoid them completely for those who benefit from ibuprofen or acetaminophen."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Addiction often begins with someone experiencing pain. Maybe said person doesn’t have insurance, or the money to go see a doctor. So they turn to a friends and family for help. While this occurrence doesn’t always lead to addiction, the risk is extremely high. If an opioid use disorder develops, and one’s access to prescription opioids is cut off, a significant number of people have been tempted to seek out heroin. A drug that can carry an even higher risk of overdose.

If you are addicted to opioids, you are strongly encouraged to contact us at Hope by The Sea. Without detox and treatment it is extremely difficult to recover from the disorder. The longer treatment is put off, the greater the chance of experiencing a potentially deadly overdose. Please do not hesitate.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Binge Drinking Outside of College

Young adults in college have long been associated with the dangerous act of “binge drinking.” Which is when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours, according to National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Those who binge drink are at great risk of both physical and mental health problems, such as alcohol use disorder.

binge drinking
When you are young it is easy to delude yourself into thinking that nothing can hurt you. The mindset is further reinforced by what one sees their peers doing. Young adults say to themselves, ‘Well, at least I don’t drink as much as that person.’ But, it does little good to compare one’s drinking patterns to others. We are each unique when it comes to who will develop an alcohol use disorder. If you are binge drinking, and think it is OK because all your friends do too, please be advised. There are plenty of cautionary tales to show you that binge drinking is far from OK. It is quite the opposite, in fact.


Binge Drinking Among Young Adults

When most people envision binge drinkers, thoughts of the movie Animal House may come to mind. But, it is something that occurs outside of frat houses, binge drinking has long been pervasive on college campuses. Every year, universities spend a lot of time and resources attempting to educate young people about the dangers of heavy alcohol use. Despite the fact that young adults usually do not heed such advice, it appears that some may have gotten the message.

A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs shows that college binge drinking is declining, Science Daily reports. This is welcome news especially after years of rising binge drinking rates among college students. However, it turns out that binge drinking among young adults not in college is on the rise.

"A number of factors may have contributed to the recent reduction in binge drinking and its related problems among college students," says study author Ralph Hingson, SC.D., M.P.H., of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the NIAAA.

Hingson speculates that the decline is due to:
  • College administrators adopting interventions aimed at reducing harmful drinking.
  • Economic recession in 2008 meant less disposable income for students.
  • The passage of .08 BAC legal limit in every state by 2005.
Naturally, rising problematic drinking rates among young people not in school is of particular concern. There has also been more alcohol related overdose hospitalizations and deaths involving alcohol, among 18- to 24-year-olds, according to the article. Hingson says that rising alcohol overdose rates among 21- to 24-year-olds, could be the result of extreme binge drinking. So why the difference between college students and young adults not in school?

"Among young adults who aren't in college, there aren't the same organizational supports to implement interventions, and that may be contributing to why binge drinking is increasing in that group," says Hingson.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Not everyone who binge drinks is going to experience adverse health effects. But, compared to young adults who drink sparingly and in small amounts, the risks are far greater. Those who establish an unhealthy relationship with alcohol early on are far more likely to experience life problems down the road. Notably, the development of an alcohol use disorder and all the other physical maladies that come with the disease of alcohol addiction.

If you or a loved one is binge drinking regularly, there is a good chance that is has already begun to negatively impact your life. Having trouble accomplishing tasks or fulfilling responsibilities is an ominous sign that alcohol use disorder has already taken hold. If you are young and don’t think that you could be an alcoholic this early in life, please take our word that there are no age restrictions on alcoholism.

If you believe that you may have a problem with alcohol, please contact Hope by The Sea today. We can help you determine is addiction treatment is the best course of action.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reading In Recovery This Summer

How are you filling your free time? What do you do when you are not at work or at a meeting. Hopefully, if you are socializing it is with others working a program of recovery. Rather than friends from your past. Perhaps you have a hobby. Maybe you are part of a book club. Are you reading anything right now? Other than your Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, of course. Hint, Hint.

recoveryWhile you can never open your Big Book too much, there are times when you will want to branch out and utilize other materials relevant to recovery. There are, in fact, several great books that have helped countless people better understand their own addiction...and learn ways to maximize their potential in recovery. There are number of memoirs written by people in recovery who have relapsed, perhaps you can learn from the author’s program mishaps. Really, there is no shortage of great recovery related reading material, for both people in recovery and their friends and family.

A few weeks ago, we mentioned a new book about alcohol, alcoholism and the birth of recovery in America. Perhaps some of you went out and purchased the book, or downloaded it on your Kindle. Maybe it wasn’t your cup of tea. No worries, there are several books that might pique your interests.


Reading In Recovery

When you have finished your program reading for the day or week, it might be a good idea to turn the page. Listed below are some recommendations that you may find enjoyable. All of which pertain to recovery, but some are more specific to certain people.

For the Parents

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff: This is a book that comes up often among people who have a child battling addiction or people who want to get some insight on how their disease affects the family. David Sheff gives an account of his son Nic’s battle with drugs and alcohol. As well as the lengths David went to help his son find recovery.

Loving Our Addicted Daughters Back to Life: A Guidebook for Parents by Linda Dahl: A more recent publication geared towards the parents with daughters struggling addiction. A “go-to manual for parents seeking direction to help their daughters.”

For the Addicts and Alcoholics 

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff: A book that gives the flip-side of addiction in the family. Written by an addict trying to find a way out of the darkness of addiction into the light of recovery. Relapse was part of Nic’s story, demanding that he return to treatment again which he writes about what happens next in his second book We All Fall Down. In his second book, “Nic voices a truth that many addicts understand: not every treatment works for every addict. By candidly revealing his own failures and small personal triumphs, he inspires young people to maintain hope and to remember that they are not alone in their battles.”

Dry by Augusten Burroughs: In this memoir, the author of Running With Scissors gives an account of his battle with alcoholism. He writes about his intervention, treatment and helping another alcoholic friend find recovery.

“Think of your head as an unsafe neighborhood; don't go there alone.” ― Augusten Burroughs, Dry


Addiction Recovery

Hopefully, you will have some time this summer to consider the reads above. You never know what you might get out of them. If you came across this post, there is a chance you were looking for the ideal place to begin the journey of recovery. If so, look no further. Hope by The Sea can help you stem the tide of active addiction and teach you how living a life in recovery is possible. Please contact us today.
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