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Friday, November 15, 2019

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment Medication

In addition to opioids, the western United States is contending with a methamphetamine crisis, again. Meth or "Ice" is a highly potent stimulant; the product that people use today is much stronger than what was being used in the early 2000s at the height of the meth epidemic in America.

While the synthetic opioid fentanyl continues to be the deadliest drug across the country, last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that methamphetamine was responsible for more overdose deaths than any other drug in the western states in 2017.

This spring, we wrote about the resurgence of methamphetamine in California. We pointed out then that methamphetamine-related emergency department visits in San Francisco rose 600 percent between 2011 and 2016.

The national effort to curb the opioid epidemic has overshadowed the impact that other drugs are having across the country. On top of meth being far more potent than in previous decades, stimulant use disorder is particularly hard to treat. Unlike opioid use disorder, addiction professionals do not have medications to rely on when treating use disorders involving meth.

Many Americans are familiar with Subutex (buprenorphine) and Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone). Some are familiar with Vivitrol and Revia (naltrexone); all three drugs have proven to be beneficial in treating opioid use disorder, especially during detox and in the first few months of abstinence. Naltrexone is also used to help people with an alcohol use disorder; some patients report that the drug reduces cravings.

The point is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve a single medication for the treatment of meth addiction. However, some addiction experts are taking a closer look at naltrexone and the drug's potential to help people living with stimulant use disorders.

Naltrexone for Methamphetamine Addiction

methamphetamine addiction
Some research shows naltrexone as being a viable option for some people addicted to methamphetamine, NPR reports. Promising initial results from early studies has prompted several addiction specialists to experiment with treating meth use disorder with naltrexone. The research shows that naltrexone can reduce people's cravings for methamphetamine.

Dr. Keith Heinzerling, an addiction medicine specialist, is prescribing naltrexone off-label, in conjunction with other medications, according to the article. He contends that a combination of naltrexone, physician oversight, and counseling can be an effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction.

"I think there's a great opportunity to try naltrexone," Heinzerling says. "There's actually a decent amount of evidence that it might help, and if I had a family member [addicted to meth], I would recommend they try it." 

Dr. Heinzerling warns that significantly more research is needed.

Early studies are finding that the drug can be beneficial for certain people. A study published in Neuropsychopharmacology found that naltrexone is better than a placebo at reducing cravings. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are conducting a large, multisite study on the efficacy of combining Vivitrol (a longer-acting, injected version of naltrexone) with the antidepressant bupropion. Hopefully, research will lead to conclusive evidence that naltrexone is efficacious for meth addiction.

"The good news is that these drugs have been on the market for a while, so we know what side effects there are and the cost-benefits," says Psychologist Lara Ray, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and head of the UCLA Addictions Lab. "So, it's possible for providers to be making individual decisions for individual patients to educate [them] to consider off-label." 

California Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Please contact Hope By The Sea if you are struggling with meth or another type of stimulant. Our team of addiction experts relies on evidence-based therapies to help clients achieve lasting recovery. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have regarding our programs. Hope starts here, and the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Seeking Recovery for PTSD and Addiction

Sometimes the severest wounds are invisible. Such is the case for those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With Veterans Day on the near horizon, we must start a dialog about the behavioral and mental health disorders that plague many veterans.

Active servicemen and women and veterans are at higher risk of developing debilitating mood and substance use disorders compared to the general public. This is especially true for those who are subject to traumatic events. What’s more, individuals who experience trauma during active duty are apt to turn to drugs and alcohol if they lack the coping mechanisms for healthily dealing with their symptoms.

At Hope By The Sea, we have treated a large number of men and women whose combat service resulted in the development of PTSD and alcohol or substance use disorder subsequently. Mind-altering substances, prescribed or otherwise, can provide temporary symptom relief, but it’s fleeting. What begins as a means of escaping the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression can quickly morph into a co-occurring use disorder.

The good news is that dual diagnoses are treatable, and long-term recovery is possible. However, taking the first step toward healing is challenging for many of the people suffering. Mental illness stigmas and the United States military’s zero-tolerance substance use policies prevent active service members from seeking therapy. Pathologies persist and worsen; they follow men and women right into discharge and retirement.

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers support services for veterans and their families, they are not easy to access in many parts of the country. Some people must drive hours to get to the nearest VA hospital, so many will opt to ignore their issues and the problems progress as a result.

Addiction and Co-Occurring PTSD

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: National Center for PTSD reports that PTSD and substance use problems often go hand-in-hand with people who served in the military. The agency presents some startling statistics that cannot be ignored. Below are some of the more notable findings:
  • More than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD.
  • Almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD.
  • The number of veterans who smoke (nicotine) is almost double for those with PTSD (about 6 of 10) versus those without a PTSD diagnosis (3 of 10).
  • In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning veterans seen in a VA hospital have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.
  • War veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to binge drink (4-5 drinks or more in 1-2 hours).


Seeking Recovery Saves Lives

When individuals live with untreated mental and behavioral health conditions for long periods, their disorders worsen. Some will become frustrated with living in persistent agony and experience suicidal ideations. Sadly, many will follow through with suicide.

Seeking recovery can dramatically alter such people's life course. With help, men and women can learn how to manage their symptoms of PTSD without having to resort to drugs and alcohol. Moreover, they can also adopt a program of addiction recovery at the same time. Research shows that when people are treated for all presenting mental and behavioral health conditions, they stand a better chance of achieving lasting recovery. Failing to treat one disease can set people on a path to relapse at some point down the road.

At Hope By The Sea, we offer help for military personnel and their families too. Substance use and co-occurring disorders can develop in the loved ones of servicemen and women. The anxiety of having a spouse or parent in harm's way can lead some family members to seek unhealthy means of coping.

Southern California TRICARE Addiction Treatment

Men and women who have or continue to serve in the military will be pleased to learn that Hope By The Sea accepts TRICARE. The insurance program extends to veterans, certain reserve members, and their families. If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD and addiction, then please reach out to us immediately to learn more about our programs.

Hope by the Sea meets TRICARE’s extensive criteria for coverage, which means that we adhere to evidence-based treatment methodologies. Please contact us today to verify your insurance coverage, if approved, TRICARE coverage can significantly offset the cost of treatment. Hope By The Sea would like to wish veterans and their families Happy Veterans Day 2019.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Addiction Treatment in Rural America

In Southern California, there is an abundance of addiction treatment options for men, women, and adolescents. It’s home to Hope By The Sea, and scores of other facilities offering similar services. While the plethora of options is a windfall godsend for Californians and those who can afford destination rehab, there are millions of Americans living in rural areas who struggle to access care.

Those who follow the news surrounding the U.S. addiction epidemic know that rural America has been hit the hardest. Men and women living outside urban areas, who need addiction treatment services, struggle to access care. It goes without saying that each day a person is not in recovery, is another day that their life is at risk.

While both federal and local governments have diverted significant sums of money to expand access to addiction treatment services, many individuals have not benefited. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act are two pieces of legislation that authorized billions in funding to address the American addiction epidemic.

One of CARA's provisions is to launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country. Whereas the Cures Act authorized the money to make treatment programs more accessible, according to Psychiatric News. The law also funded the training of healthcare professionals in best practices of addiction treatment, and to research the most effective approaches to prevent dependency.

Still, more needs to be done to help people access to care in rural America. Fortunately, a new federal grant could provide much-needed relief to people living with substance use disorders in rural Missouri, KCUR reports. The $1.2 million grant is from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Treating Addiction in Underserved Areas

All doctoral students in psychology complete internships in the year before they graduate. The federal grant funds will go to doctoral students in psychology at the University of Missouri to learn to treat and prevent addiction, according to the article.

“This will enable us to give them a little something extra,” said Laura Schopp, chair of the university’s health psychology department. “Any psychologist who is dealing with these chronic health conditions is going to come up against substance use disorders and, particularly, opioid use disorders.” 

The funds will cover the cost of 21 new psychology internships at community-based health centers in rural areas. Psychology interns will be trained in diagnosing mental health problems (i.e., anxiety, depression, and pain) that can lead to substance use and addiction, the article reports. Moreover, they will receive instruction in treating substance use disorders.

Mental health disorders and co-occurring addiction is a common occurrence. Early intervention of mental illness can prevent patients from self-medicating their symptoms. Psychologists can prove to be instrumental in reducing addiction rates in rural America.

“What we hope to do is get in front of that by treating those conditions well and giving people behavioral support on the front end, so they don’t go on to develop opioid use disorder,” said Schopp. “Psychologists have a unique role to play in that we do a great job in pain management, we do a great job at behavioral health change.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid use disorder, then it is critical to seek treatment immediately. At Hope By The Sea, we help clients break the cycle of addiction, address any co-occurring disorders, and provide tools for leading healthy lives in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Depression: A Treatable Co-Occurring Disorder

Depression and addiction accompany each other frequently. A large number of individuals who seek treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder also contend with major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Those who hope to achieve long-term recovery must have both conditions addressed simultaneously. Treating one condition and neglecting the other increases one’s risk for relapse exponentially.

A co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis – also referred to as comorbidity – is common in the field of addiction medicine. Adults with severe mental illnesses like depression have high rates of co-occurring substance use disorders.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that roughly 50 percent of individuals living with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. Research indicates that 37 percent of people with alcohol use disorders and 53 percent with substance use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness. In total, 29 percent of men and women who meet the criteria for mental health disorders abuse mind-altering substances.

Addiction can precede the development of a co-occurring mental illness. Conversely, self-medicating to cope with a psychological disorder can lead to dependence and addiction. The order of development varies from patient to patient; however, the important thing is that both co-occurring mental and behavioral health disorders receive concurrent treatment.

National Depression Education and Awareness Month 2019

Many clients who seek assistance from Hope By The Sea for addiction also have co-occurring depression. It makes sense, especially when you consider that an estimated 300 million people around the world meet the criteria for depression. It is the most common mental disorder and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Talking about this most severe disorder and educating the public about treatment is a must. Those living with untreated depression function poorly at work, at school, and in the family.

Such people also contend with suicidal ideations, and the disease is commonly associated with suicide. WHO reports that nearly to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year; it’s is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

During National Depression Education and Awareness Month, we have an opportunity to share the benefits of seeking treatment with the public. Social media is a useful tool for getting the word out about signs and symptoms of depression. Many people are unaware that the way they feel is linked to depression.

You can help educate and empower men and women struggling with depression to seek support services. Please use #DepressionAwareness with your social media posts.

Criteria for Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), if you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms, then you may be suffering from depression:
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Please reach out for a professional diagnosis to learn if you can benefit from treatment.


California Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Seeking help for addiction and co-occurring depression is a sign of hope and strength. Please reach out to Hope By The Sea to learn more about our Dual Diagnosis program. Our team of highly trained professionals will develop a customized treatment program to address your specific needs. The miracle of recovery can be yours too.

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