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Monday, May 28, 2018

Major Depressive Disorder In America

In light of it being Mental Health Month, we thought it necessary to discuss depression, the leading cause of poor health globally. Working in the field of addiction medicine, Whiteside Manor regularly treats clients living with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder(s). Depression accompanies alcohol and substance use disorders quite often, and it’s vital both conditions receive simultaneous treatment. Ignoring the dual diagnosis while in treatment is likely to result in relapse and a return to active addiction.

The origins of any mental illness are somewhat unclear; however, most experts tend to agree that a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and environment are the primary causes. In some cases, addiction precipitates the co-occurring mental health disorder. Whereas others use drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. The latter scenario frequently occurs, owing partly to the fact that many people are unwilling to seek help for their mental illness because of stigma. When one is left to their own devices, self-medication can seem logical.

The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 300 million people suffer from depression around the world. If you consider that the overwhelming majority of people with the affliction never receive any form of therapy, you can bet that many of those same people also struggle with an alcohol or substance use disorder. In the United States, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects more than 16.1 million American adults and is the leading cause of disability, according to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH). And, to make matters more concerning, MDD in America is on the rise.

Depression in America

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association conducted an analysis of the available data on commercially insured Americans. Naturally, the pool is smaller, so the figures are less than the NIMH findings; however, the BCBS findings highlight just how prevalent depression is in the U.S. among those with insurance. Below you will find some of the reports key findings:
  • MDD affects more than 9 million commercially insured Americans.
  • Since 2013, major depression diagnosis rose by 33 percent overall; and was up 47 percent among millennials.
  • Compared to people without the condition, those with MDD major depression are nearly 30 percent less healthy.
  • People living with MDD are seven times as likely to suffer from alcohol or substance use disorders than people without the disorder.
It is vital that anyone exhibiting signs of depression take steps to address the issue, especially if a use disorder is present. Drugs and alcohol only serve to exacerbate depressive symptoms, increasing the likelihood that a person will entertain ideas of self-harm. The good news is that there are evidence-based treatments available. Recovery is possible with the right help!


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and depression, 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.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fitness 4Mind4Body for Recovery

mental health
Mental health is just as important as physical well-being; in many ways, the fitness of the former is of more significant consequence. If you have completed treatment for addiction, then you are probably aware that both mind and body must be in concert with one another if lasting recovery is the goal. Human beings are made up of a series of complicated systems that are meant to work together in harmony. However, when a mental illness like addiction comes into the picture, everything changes.

Alcohol and substance use disorders are diseases of the mind that, when active, take precedent; everything else, physical and mental health, is put on the back burner. When individuals are busy fanning the flames of addiction they can’t be bothered with eating healthy, exercise, and spiritual maintenance. The disease is an all-consuming mental health disorder that demands the spotlight from its host, i.e., the individual suffering. Such people will go to extraordinary lengths, to meet the dictates of their disease; and they do so at a steep cost.

When the majority of people walk, crawl, or are wheeled into addiction treatment centers, their physical and mental health is at an all-time low. One of the reasons that an average length of stay in such a facility is 90 days is that it usually takes more than a month to nurse clients back to even a semblance of health. In most cases, everything is out-of-whack; individuals are vitamin-deficient and malnourished—the pillars of one's existence are in a state of atrophy. On top of teaching people what is needed to achieve lasting recovery, at Whiteside Manor we go to great lengths to stabilize clients' diet and physiology. We do this for two reasons, when people are healthier they feel better and will be more receptive to their education; second, we know that clients who continue to eat right and exercise after treatment, reduce their risk of relapse.


Mental Health Fitness

Again, when mind and body are simpatico, one’s ability to walk a path of long-term recovery is made more accessible. There are several ways you can promote sound physical, mental, and spiritual health; most of which involve little effort on your part. Now, if you are in recovery and haven’t put much stake in how you treat your body, it is vital that you don’t handle making changes impulsively. Balance requires moderation; doing too much, too quickly, can throw you into a tailspin and jeopardize your recovery. Baby steps are the safest way to adopt changes for the better.

May is Mental Health Month! Right now is a perfect opportunity for making small alterations that promote overall well-being. Mental Health America’s (MHA) theme this year is Fitness 4Mind4Body; the campaign focuses on diet and nutrition, exercise, the “gut-brain” connection, sleep, and stress. Each day this month, MHA proffers challenges that you take to foster a healthier mind and body. You, too, have an open invitation to take part in the #4Mind4Body Challenge.  

When we talk about health, we can’t just focus on heart health, or liver health, or brain health, and not whole health. You have to see the whole person, and make use of the tools and resources that benefit minds and bodies together. That's why this year, our May  Mental Health Month theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body. We’ll focus on what we as individuals can do to be fit for our own futures – no matter where we happen to be on our own personal journeys to health and wellness – and, most especially, before Stage 4. 

Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health 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.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Saving Lives by Treating Addiction

addiction treatment
April in its 11th hour and all of us at Whiteside Manor hope that you were able to take part of one of the many Alcohol Awareness Month events. Just because the month is coming to an end doesn’t mean we can give up the fight to reduce the stigma so often associated with alcoholism or addiction of any type. After all, millions of Americans harbor fears about seeking treatment and working programs of recovery, and for a good reason; society has not been a kind friend to people struggling with mental illness.

The battle to decrease and end the stigma of addiction is a year-round endeavor; it is a task that calls on everyone to take a long, hard look at mental illness. Those who look at addiction objectively soon realize that anyone is eligible for the disease. A recent Associated Press-NORC Center survey reveals that a majority of Americans report having experience with substance abuse of various types, and 13 percent have had a relative or close friend die from an opioid overdose. Even if you only consider the above statistics, you can see that addiction is not an isolated occurrence affecting “other” people.

The truth is that we all stand to gain from more people seeking addiction treatment. The economic and life-cost associated with addiction is almost too impossible to grasp. There are around 20.5 million Americans mired in the disease of addiction; approximately 88,000 die of alcohol-related causes each year and over 60,000 people died of an overdose in 2016. Substance misuse costs the United States hundreds-of-billions of dollars each year. We all can have a hand in reducing the terrifying figures above by encouraging more individuals to seek help.


Saving Lives by Treating Addiction

Whiteside Manor asks that you join the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and its partners in observing National Addiction Treatment Week, April 23rd through April 29. This week, you’re invited to take part in a number of events focused on research-verified, evidence-based addiction medicine. ASAM’s goal: raise awareness that addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and more clinicians need to enter the field of Addiction Medicine in order to treat the nationwide epidemic.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “National Addiction Treatment Week supports ASAM’s dedication to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, and helping physicians treat addiction and save lives.” 

If you are unable to take part in one of the events this week, you can still use social media to spread the message about addiction and treatment. When people have the facts, they can understand better the gravity of the situation; and, as a result, are more likely to adopt a kinder opinion about the disease. When society treats individuals with more compassion, those afflicted are less likely to spurn treatment.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” —Mark Twain 


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, 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.

Friday, April 13, 2018

NCADD Combats AUD in April

Alcohol use, alcoholism, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment and recovery are on people’s minds throughout April as Americans observe Alcohol Awareness Month. Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the expressed goal during this time of the year is to help reduce the stigma associated with addiction.

Since alcohol is a legal substance, it is easy to forget the dangers of alcohol use, especially for young people. The fact that beer, wine, and liquor is for sale in most bodegas, gas stations and grocery stores gives the impression that drinking is relatively harmless. Kids see their parents drink but rarely associate any consequences with the behavior; so, they convince themselves that they too can consume alcohol without experiencing problems.

In most cases, teenage drinking doesn’t develop into a condition down the road. What’s more, it's possible that many young people could escape some of the heartaches of alcohol use if they got the facts early on. Education is a mighty powerful tool when it comes to preventing people from making choices that could irrevocably disrupt the course of one’s life. It is also vital that individuals feel able to discuss their struggles with alcohol without fear of stigma. If a person can’t talk about their addiction, recovery becomes an impossibility.


Alcohol Facts: Did You Know?


  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
  • More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
  • A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
  • Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
Source: NCADD


Parents Can Help Their Kids Help Themselves

Information about the short and long-term effects of alcohol use might dissuade or delay initiation. It doesn’t do any good to have illusions about alcohol; most people drink at some point in their life; and, in the majority of cases, they do so as responsibly as possible. However, young people often lack the skills to make right decisions, and alcohol makes them even more likely to put their lives at risk, i.e., binge drinking and driving under the influence. Those who binge drink as a teenager are likely to continue into adulthood; the practice, over a period, can lead to dependence and alcohol use disorder.

Parents can take steps to mitigate the risk of their child making destructive decisions. Armed with facts, compassion, and understanding mothers and fathers can protect their children from forming unhealthy relationships with alcohol. The theme of Alcohol Awareness Month this year is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” This month’s events focus on:

“educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.”


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, 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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Opioid Use Disorder Public Meeting

opioid use disorder
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is perhaps one the most significant problems of our times, at least here in the United States. With over 2 million people battling with prescription opioid-related addiction and over half a million individuals abusing heroin, the need for greater access to substance use disorder services is monumental. As you can probably imagine, practically every public health agency has made opioid use disorder the focus of their attention.

What better way to address a dangerous problem than to talk to the people that the issue affects the most, individuals living with OUD. With that in mind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are teaming up to learn more about patients’ perspectives on OUD during a public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

The agencies are interested in effects of opioids on patient health and well-being. The FDA and NIDA want to know how opiates have had the most significant impact on daily life and their experience with addiction treatment for OUD. An essential question involves the barriers that people face accessing opioid use disorder treatment.


Your Thoughts on Opioid Addiction

If you are struggling with opioids, or are currently in recovery from OUD, your input could be extremely beneficial to health policy makers and addiction experts. The public meeting will focus on two topics:  

Topic 1: Symptoms and daily impacts that matter most
  1. Of all the ways that OUD negatively affects your health and well-being, which effects have the most significant impact on your daily life? Examples of negative effects may include:
    • Effects of using opioids, such as confusion, constipation, or other symptoms;
    • Effects of opioid withdrawal, such as nausea, diarrhea, or other symptoms;
    • Effects of opioid “cravings;”
    • Impacts on your ability to function in your personal or professional life;
    • Emotional or social effects; and
    • Other potential effects.
  2. How does OUD affect daily life on the best days? On the worst days?
  3. How has your OUD changed over time?
  4. What worries you most about your condition?

Topic 2: Perspectives on current approaches to treatment

  1. Are you currently using, or have you used in the past, any prescription medical treatments to treat your OUD? Such treatments may include buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, and others that your healthcare provider has prescribed. If so, please describe your experiences with these treatments.
    • How well have these treatments worked for you? How well have they helped address the effects of OUD that are most bothersome to you?
    • What are the biggest problems you have faced in using these treatments?
    Examples may include bothersome side effects, challenges getting the medicines, concern about stigma, and other possible problems.  
  1. Besides prescription medical treatments, are there other treatments or therapies that you currently use to address your OUD? If so, please describe. How well do these treatments or therapies help address the effects of OUD that are most bothersome to you?
  2. Of all treatments, therapies, or other steps that you have taken to address your OUD, what have you found to be most effective in helping you manage your OUD?
  3. What are the biggest factors that you take into account when making decisions about seeking out or using treatments for OUD?
  4. What specific things would you look for in an ideal treatment for OUD?
If you had the opportunity to consider participating in a clinical trial studying experimental treatments for OUD, what factors would you consider when deciding whether or not to participate?


Public Meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Opioid Use Disorder

When: April 17, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (registration begins at 9:00am)  
Where: FDA White Oak Campus 10903 New Hampshire Ave. Building 31, Room 1503A (Great Room) Silver Spring, MD 20993

For more information, registration, and webcast information, please click here.


If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid 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.