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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.
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