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Friday, March 16, 2018

Quitting Smoking for Addiction Recovery

There are a number of things that a person can do to protect their recovery from relapse. Some efforts are apparent, while other methods may not occur to some people when considering relapse prevention tools. Those who have been in the program for a time know that their recovery is contingent upon working a program of spiritual maintenance; included with that is attending meetings, working the steps with a sponsor or mentor, and being of service whenever and wherever possible. Individuals who follow the protocol above have an excellent chance of staying on course.

The program works if you work it, as the saying goes; but we would be remiss if we failed to share with you various to shore up your recovery. It’s vital to remember that even though addiction is a mental illness, physical well-being plays a significant role in matters of the mind. People who eat healthily usually feel better as a result, and when you feel better physically, it is easier to keep one’s mind from drifting astray. What’s more, taking some time throughout the week to exercise can do wonders for your mental health; again, those who take care of their body tend to feel better.

Committing to taking better care of yourself isn’t a small undertaking, our best intentions don’t always lead to establishing healthy routines. You have to dedicate yourself to changing your relationship with food and exercise to experience noticeable benefits. Furthermore, one must go about changing their routine carefully, ensuring that you don't do anything to the extreme. Too much of anything is never good, taking a moderate approach to changing lifestyle attributes is critical.


Beyond The Rooms of Recovery

Eating healthy and exercising is especially beneficial for people in recovery. Years of active addiction takes a severe toll on the body. Over the course of a person’s using tenure poor dietary habits develop that are challenging to break. Making a point to get to the gym is typically not the priority of most addicts and alcoholics. However, just because an individual has a history of unhealthy behaviors doesn’t mean they can't have a health-oriented future. After all, people abstaining from drugs and alcohol have already made a tremendous effort towards living a healthy life. If you adopt a program of recovery, then it’s likely you can incorporate some healthy traditions into your day-to-day life.

One of the echoes of the past that persists in many people's recovery is tobacco. Cigarettes are often the last thing people part ways with on the road to progress. Treatment centers always encourage clients to quit while in treatment, but not everyone manages to accomplish the task before discharge. If you are one of those people, please know that we understand how arduous smoking cessation is for most tobacco users. Although, just because you are still smoking doesn’t mean you can't accomplish the feat of quitting outside of treatment.

A motivating factor for quitting that many people in recovery are unaware of is the risk of relapse that researchers associate with smoking. Yes, people who smoke are significantly more likely to return to their drug of choice (DOC), compared to others who work the program with the same dedication but don’t smoke. If lasting recovery is your goal, then considering axing tobacco from your life is essential. The good news is that you already have tools at your disposal to help you quit, your program of recovery. Remember, everything you did to free yourself from alcohol or any mind-altering substance can also work with cigarettes.


Tapering Off Nicotine for A Stronger Recovery

People with interest in quitting can turn to their doctor for help, too. Medications in tandem with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques have shown a lot of promise in recent years. Even without drugs like Chantix, patches and gums can be helpful, too. Please note that smoking cessation products are, more time than not, most effective when utilized in conjunction with therapy or working a program like the 12 Steps.

Today, many people have begun relying on e-cigarettes to quit, given that vapers can lower their nicotine dose over time until they are finally free. Scientists are still debating the efficacy of nicotine devices, but reports show that e-cigs have helped many people. Interestingly, the FDA has presented a new tobacco regulation plan calling for lowering the amount of nicotine per gram of tobacco to 0.4 milligrams, The Los Angeles Times reports. Researchers say that the 97 percent decrease in nicotine content could help millions of Americans finally quit. We will see what happens with the FDA’s proposal, but wouldn’t it be ironic if less harmful cigarettes are what leads people to stop? Fighting fire with fire, in a sense!


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact Whiteside Manor. Our experienced staff can help you adopt a new way of living and give you tools for working a program of long-term recovery.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Overdose Deaths Decline In California

overdose death
Finding a glimmer of hope regarding the American opioid addiction epidemic is no easy task. Most of the headlines barreling around the internet, cable news, and in print deals with the enormous death toll. Other stories focus on stalled initiatives and toothless policies, inflated prices for life-saving drugs, and lawsuit after lawsuit. What’s more, attempting to make sense of the epidemic is difficult; there are so many elements to consider that are relevant to the crisis.

It's hard to determine if progress is made, doing so requires scores of individuals and thousands of hours of research sifting through the data. The effort is made even more difficult by the fact that opioids designate any one of many drugs—prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opiates like fentanyl. Making headway in one area of the scourge may mean deficits in another, as is evident in new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New provisional data from the CDC gives some people optimism that at least some of the policies aimed at curbing the epidemic have bore fruit, PBS Newshour reports. In fact, overdose death rates were down during the last 12-month period ending in July 2017, in 14 states. Such figures should be a reason for thinking that the nation is on the right track. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that any optimism should be cautious, at best.

Opioid Overdose Death Declines

From July 2016 to the same month in 2017, overdose deaths fell in 14 states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. It’s likely that changes in prescription opioid prescribing practices lead to the drop in deaths in those states. However, while the report shows promise, other parts of the country saw increases in fatal drug overdoses—potentially stemming from a rise in fentanyl use.

The report reveals that during the same term, there was a more than 70 percent surge nationwide in fentanyl-related deaths, according to the article. There was a more than 30 percent increase in overdose deaths in Delaware, D.C., Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

“When the epidemic was driven primarily by prescription opioids, we saw a smoldering and chronically escalating problem,” said Alaska’s public health chief, Jay Butler. “Now we’re seeing outbreaks and clusters of death resulting from bad batches of heroin or counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.” 

Efforts to curb prescription misuse has without a doubt prevented many deaths. Such efforts should continue, and doctors need to utilize opioid-alternatives for pain management. It is worth mentioning that without naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, it’s unlikely that there would have been any decreases at all.

“It’s hard to imagine how high the death toll would be without naloxone,” said Michael Kilkenny, the Cabell-Huntington public health director in West Virginia.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Preventing premature death related to drugs in America is possible through common sense policies. However, the best way to tackle the root of the epidemic, the mental illness known as addiction, is treatment. Recovery is the best way to break the cycle of the disease, when people are not using opioids, the risk of overdose is zero.

At Whiteside Manor, we can help you or a loved one recover from opioid use disorder. We can provide you with tools to live a productive and healthy life in recovery. Please contact us today.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Genetic Links of Mental Illness

mental illness
The brain is complicated in a myriad of ways which complicates researchers' ability to discern why some people are affected by mental illness. There is a significant need to understand mental health conditions better, how they come about and what we can do to treat such conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Addiction is another mental health disorder that has long puzzled experts; why are some people predisposed to struggle with drugs and alcohol?

A correlation exists between substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. The connection is apparent in the addiction treatment industry; clients regularly struggle with more than one condition. What’s more, research shows that when co-occurring disorders receive treatment simultaneously, better outcomes are the result. Despite a link being present, science has yet to pinpoint the genetic precursors of mental illness, or why multiple disorders besiege people.

If scientists can determine a constant in people living with mental illness, it may one day lead to methods of prevention and treatment. Some researchers theorize that there must be a marker present in the brains of people beset by conditions of the mind, that isn’t present in "healthy" brains.


A Roadmap for Psychiatric Disorders

A new study appearing the journal Science reveals some intriguing clues about how genes impact one’s mental health, GIZMODO reports. Researchers analyzed data from previous studies which dealt with the genetic makeup in cadaver brains of people with a mental health diagnosis. The findings indicate many similarities in mentally afflicted minds that were not present in “healthy brains.” However, the research presents some exciting results that are not what you might expect.

As was pointed out previously, mental illness often comes in pairs. Patients regularly present with both alcohol and substance use disorder and conditions like depression. Believe it or not, the new analysis showed little overlap between the brains of alcoholics and people with other psychiatric disorders, according to the article. It could mean that depression and alcoholism are not genetically connected after all.

The international research team found similar findings in the brains of depressives, whose patterns of molecular activity didn’t line up with brains affected by other conditions. The study did see a congruent molecular signature in the minds of people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which was surprising considering the two mental diseases have inconsistent symptoms.

“We show that these molecular changes in the brain are connected to underlying genetic causes, but we don’t yet understand the mechanisms by which these genetic factors would lead to these changes,” said senior author Daniel Geschwind, a professor of neurology, psychiatry, and human genetics and director of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. “So, although now we have some understanding of causes, and this new work shows the consequences, we now have to understand the mechanisms by which this comes about, so as to develop the ability to change these outcomes.”


Use Disorder Treatment

At Whiteside Manor, we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and start down the road of recovery. If you are struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder, we are fully equipped to address both illnesses simultaneously. Please contact us today.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Shatter the Myths® With NIDA

This week, addiction experts are coming together to set young people straight about drugs and alcohol; they aim to Shatter the Myths® about drugs and alcohol. Teenagers who do not have the facts about substance use are more likely to make choices that will derail the course of their lives. Most young people understand that drugs and alcohol can lead to problems but still choose to engage the dangerous practice anyway. It’s paramount that scientists impart their wisdom to teens and young adults before casual use morphs into a more severe condition, such as a substance use disorder.

In recent years, research like the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, has shown promising results in the area of adolescent substance use. The 2016 study indicates a steady decrease in past-month alcohol and cigarette use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 1996 to 2016. Prescription opioid use among 12th graders has also declined; a particularly salient find considering the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic are devastating the United States. Since the start of the survey (1975), students report the lowest rates of heroin use.

Past year illicit drug use among 12th graders in 2016: marijuana/hash (35.6%), amphetamines (6.7%), tranquilizers (4.9%), opioids other than heroin (4.8%), hallucinogens (4.3%), synthetic marijuana (3.5%), sedatives (3.0%), MDMA (2.7%), cocaine (2.3%), salvia (1.8%), and inhalants (1.7%).


Facts About Drugs and Alcohol

Surveys like the MTF, give experts targets to address with young people regarding substance use. While the 2016 findings are a good sign that most young people understand the inherent dangers of drugs and alcohol, there are still a significant number of teens and young adults holding on to misconceptions.

National Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week (NDAFW), is brought to you by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As mentioned above, the goal of addiction scientists across the nation is to give young people vital information about addiction and Shatter the Myths®. Perhaps you have time today, or during the weekend, to catch an event in your area? NIDA and NIAAA would also like you to join them in disseminating drug and alcohol facts on social media using the #NDAFW.

We can all have a hand in reducing and preventing alcohol and substance use among young people. Below you will find a National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® promotional video, introduced by NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow and NIAAA Director, Dr. George Koob:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Use Disorder Treatment

If you are a young adult whose drug and alcohol use has become problematic, it is possible to recover from the alcohol and substance use disorder. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help, the longer you ignore your condition, the more likely you are to experience even more significant detriment. Please contact Whiteside Manor today.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pain in the Nation: Opioids, Alcohol, and Suicide

addiction treatment
The Trust for America's Health and the Well Being Trust released a report recently highlighting some rather dismal projections about mental illness in America. The authors of Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy, have cause to believe that the current trends are likely to get worse. In the next decade, 1.6 million Americans could perish from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Naturally, one of the primary driving forces of the stark estimate is the American opioid addiction epidemic.

Reports, like Pain in the Nation, are serious cause for concern and its projections should be used to encourage people to seek treatment for any mental illness. When people access substance-use-disorder-recovery-support-services, they can turn their lives around for the better. However, individuals are unable to confront psychiatric health conditions like addiction and depression on their own—psychosocial support is a must. As with any deadly health concern, time is of the essence. The report opens with:

The United States is facing a new set of epidemics — more than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides (2006 to 2015). Life expectancy in the country decreased last year for the first time in two decades — and these three public health crises have been major contributing factors to this shift.


National Resilience Strategy

While opioids are the focal point of most addiction-related discussions of late, alcohol is a heavyweight contender when it comes to premature death. The Berkeley Research Group’s analysis indicates the alcohol-related mortality rate spiked in 2015, with 33,200 deaths—a 35-year high, according to U.S. News and World Report. If those numbers aren’t bad enough, the researchers found that in the last decade suicides rose by nearly 30 percent.

We’ve discussed opioids at such length there's probably little need to remind our readers of the staggering death toll; the more salient talking point is what we do about the crisis our nation faces. The authors call for a "National Resilience Strategy;" one that leads to reductions in suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse, the article reports. The means of achieving such a lofty goal is prevention and treatment expansion.

"These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable," John Auerbach, president of Trust for America's Health told U.S. News. "There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol."


Addiction Treatment Is The Answer

Individuals in communities across the country must have access to screening so they can receive a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, effective treatments using evidence-based psychotherapies can then be implemented. If treatment is followed by psychosocial and recovery support services, people have the opportunity to heal and lead productive lives.

If you are battling alcohol and substance use disorder, now is the time to take actions that will lead to lasting addiction recovery. Whether you meet the criteria for addiction, or a use disorder that is accompanied by another form of mental illness (dual diagnosis), Whiteside Manor can help. Please contact us today to embark on the lifesaving journey of recovery, a quest that begins with addiction treatment.