Addiction, Mental Illness and Cigarettes

Addiction, Mental Illness and Cigarettes photo of a man smoking in a dark room

Back in May you might remember an article we wrote about the dangers of smoking cigarettes in addiction recovery. Specifically having to do with the increased risk of relapse among smokers in recovery. In case you didn’t get a chance to read the post, we will give you a brief synopsis.

There is evidence suggesting that cigarette smokers in recovery are more likely to relapse on their “substance of choice.” Given that the goal of people in recovery is long-term abstinence, the findings are problematic, to say the least. If you regularly attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), you know that smoking is quite common. The last vestige of many people’s addictive past.

Those of you not in recovery, without a history of substance use disorder (SUD), may find that revelation odd. You might be thinking, ‘people are able to give up the heroin, but can’t kick the nicotine?’ Said people fought tooth and nail to be free of deadly substances, but are still holding on to cigarettes. Both addictive and deadly. Well, yes… It’s a common occurrence among people in recovery. Even with those who have undergone residential addiction treatment and are working a program of recovery day-in and day-out.

The Nature of Addiction

Regardless of which mind-altering substance, they are all addictive and extremely difficult stop using. Every case is different, but while every substance is hard to kick, some are more socially acceptable. Cigarettes are legal to use, and the toll they take on the human body is usually slower than “hard drugs.” People tend to have less of a sense of urgency when it comes to abstaining from tobacco. Even though it is killing you.

With that in mind, we would be remiss if we did not point out that smoking cessation is possible. Are you in recovery and still smoke, or started while in recovery (it happens more than you’d think)? If so, quitting can be extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Finding healthier ways to cope with stress is always ideal. Considering that people in recovery are committed to living a healthy life and avoiding things that could lead to relapse.

Perhaps you would like another reason to prime your desire to quit. It turns out that the tobacco industry has long been targeting people with mental health disorders. If you are in recovery from addiction, that means you, too. They have also been targeting people in high stress environments, such as the military.

Praying Upon Addiction and Mental illness

MTV’s Music Awards are being held this coming Sunday. At which time viewers will see a series of advertisements about the tobacco industry’s nefarious ways of turning a profit. As smoking rates have continued to decline in recent decades, research suggests that “Big Tobacco” has targeted the vulnerable, The Washington Post reports. The ads point out that around 40 percent of cigarettes sold in the U.S. are to people with mental health issues. Such as depression, anxiety or substance-abuse problems. What’s more, 38 percent of people who smoke in the armed services started after enlisting. Please take a moment to watch the both informative and disturbing ads below.

“As the number of smokers drops, the industry is finding it harder and harder to find those replacement smokers,” said Robin Koval, chief executive of Truth Initiative. “So the industry is targeting people based on their challenges in life, on who they are. It’s shocking and appalling.”

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“The real truth is quitting actually helps their mental condition,” said Koval. “Those who are addicted and quit smoking when in recovery are less likely to relapse. Depression, anxiety, all those issues are helped when people try to quit.”

Addiction Treatment

At 10 Acre Ranch, we encourage all our clients to give up cigarettes while in treatment. We know how difficult it can be. Quitting all mind-altering substances at once can be a lot to handle. But, in the long run, it will be worth it for both health and recovery reasons. If you are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, including nicotine, please contact us today. We can provide a number of tools to help you be free of tobacco, while learning how to live a life in recovery.

Rise in Men with Eating Disorders

a photo of a man with eating disorder eating hamburger and fries

The number of adult men being admitted to the hospital with an eating disorder has risen by 70 percent over the past six years, according to recent NHS England figures.

In the United States, 10 million men struggle with eating disorders – and these numbers don’t account for the cases that are underreported, not recognized or untreated due to stigma, shame or lack of education, say experts.

Just like addiction, eating disorders don’t discriminate and can affect people of all genders, races, ages, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, weights and body types.

“Pressure for body perfection is on the rise for men of all ages, which is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Images of unhealthy male body ideals in the media place unnecessary pressure on vulnerable people who strive for acceptance through the way they look,” said Dr. William Rhys Jones, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ eating disorders faculty, in a statement.

And while social media may be helping to bring more awareness to the issue, we’re still a long ways away. A lack of understanding and sympathy for men suffering from eating disorders remain a barrier, said Dr. Rhys Jones. “We must continue to address the ongoing gender bias around eating disorders so every man who is suffering feels comfortable to get help when they need it.”

Eating Disorders and Addiction
Many men suffer from disordered eating and substance abuse disorders
. For example, some abuse heroin and cocaine to boost weight loss or over-the-counter medications to suppress appetite. Roughly one million American men have become dependent on steroids, using high doses for years, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. What’s more, food and body image struggles commonly surface during early recovery, after the substance abuse has ceased.

Disordered Eating During Recovery
At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand that substance abuse can often go hand in hand with disordered eating. Along these lines, we offer our male clients dual diagnosis treatment as well as nutritional therapy. To learn more, call: 877-228-4679.

Tips for Choosing a Sponsor

a photo of a beautiful lady thinking about choosing a sponsor for her loved-one's long term sobriety

Finding the right sponsor is critical for your continuing sobriety and, for many, it’s one of the most important relationships ever made in recovery. This is why it pays to carve out some time to figure out the best possible choice for you and your long-term sobriety. Of course, you’ll want to choose someone whose recovery you respect and admire and who you can relate to and trust.

It also goes without saying that your sponsor should have at least one year of sobriety under his or her belt. You also want to choose someone of the same gender and/or someone you wouldn’t potentially be attracted to. The reasoning behind this well-known guideline: You don’t want to risk romantic involvement and/or relapse. Most experts advise against dating for at least the first year of recovery.

Beyond these sponsor “rules,” there are some solid considerations that should be top of mind when choosing a sponsor. Here, we take a look at a few:

  • Your sponsor should have a sponsor. Choosing someone who has worked the steps themselves and is under the guidance of another sponsor is always a good idea. This will ensure accountability.
  • Your sponsor should be able to devote time to you. While having more than one sponsees likely means that person is reliable and trustworthy, it might also mean that he or she is spread too thin. Especially during early recovery, you’ll need to know that your sponsor is realistically available to call you back or meet up. Along these lines, once you do pick your sponsor, be sure to set up some communication ground rules.
  • Your sponsor should enjoy life. An important part of lasting sobriety is building a life that’s better than the one you had while in active addiction – and your sponsor should serve as a living example. Ask yourself: Do I admire his or her recovery and new sober life? Does this person smile or laugh or seem genuinely positive? These questions are crucial to choosing a good sponsor.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never feel trapped in your sponsor relationship.  Your needs may change at different stages of recovery and, if you’re not getting what you need, don’t be afraid to search out a new sponsor.

12 Step Integration at 10 Acre Ranch
Our rehab integrates 12-step tenets from programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) into our group therapy approach. This helps guide our clients during recovery and ensures they have a solid support network post-rehab. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.

Addiction Treatment Recovery Vaccine

heroin vaccine spoon and syringe

At the beginning of the summer we discussed a topic of the utmost importance regarding addiction. A vaccine for heroin and other opioids. A drug that could influence one’s immune system to keep opioids from passing the blood-brain barrier. Effectively removing one’s ability to get high or overdose on an opioid. If you are thinking that this all sounds like science fiction, you would only be half wrong.

In fact, using animal models scientists have been able to accomplish the aforementioned task. But, given that, there are several other phases of research needed before such a drug could go to market. Specifically, human trials are needed to bear fruit before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will give its approval. A requirement that could be a long way from fulfillment. So, how close are way to seeing a vaccine for deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl? The answer to that depends on who you ask.

Health and Human Services (HHS) vs Reality

With 142 Americans succumbing to opioid overdose every day, there has never been a greater need for a vaccine. While such a drug would not cure addiction, it could have a salient effect on overdose rates. Earlier this week, HHS Secretary Tom Price talked at a press briefing about the potential for an opioid vaccine, stating:

“The numbers are absolutely daunting — 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015; 33,000 of those approximately related to opioids. The numbers in 2016 are no better, and the numbers in 2017 are even worse than 2016,” Price said. “One of the exciting things that they’re [The National Institutes of Health -NIH] actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect.”

Please take a moment to watch a short video of the press briefing:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Unfortunately, Dr. Price’s optimism may be premature. There are three more phases of trials needed before an opioid vaccine could hit the market, CNN reports. A requirement that could go on for several years. If the opioid addiction epidemic has showed us anything, it’s that time is not on our side. Many more Americans with untreated opioid use disorder will perish before such a drug is available. Assuming it makes it through human trials.

“It’s a long process, and it takes years,” said Dr. Ivan Montoya, acting director of the Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Sometimes, the translation from animals is not necessarily the same in humans.”

Addiction Treatment Recovery Vaccine

Addiction recovery is not a cure for this most serious illness. However, those who utilize the various programs of recovery protect themselves from relapse. It is not a guarantee, to be sure. Although, in a way, going to treatment and working a program of recovery is an antibody for preventing recidivism. Working a program can be considered a vaccine, but its effectiveness depends on the individual. Their ability to stay honest, willing and able to practice the principles of recovery in all their affairs. Day in, day out.

It is hard to say if the opioid vaccine will ever become a reality. In the meantime, those looking to save their life must turn to recovery. It is their best shot of breaking the cycle of addiction and avoiding fatal overdoses. If you are in the grips of opioid use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today.

Addiction and Mental Illness Help for the Homeless

photo of a homeless man

There is no telling where substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders will take you. In most cases, nowhere that would be considered ideal. People who seek help for addiction are, in many cases, destitute and are perhaps living on the streets. Homelessness and addiction can often go hand-in-hand. And with limited resources, getting off the streets and into recovery can be a real challenge.

It is not uncommon for people living on the streets to walk into the rooms of recovery. Usually at 12 Step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Those who stick around can access resources that will help them change their lot. Members may be able to assist such individuals with finding temporary housing and employment. Thus, allowing them to get back on their feet while they are learning to live a life in recovery.

There are others, though, whose co-occurring mental health disorder may make it more difficult to accomplish such goals. Requiring state assistance, such as social security benefits. A number of people who have battled addiction find a way to keep their home and job. Whereas some people’s addiction and other forms of mental illness made it next to impossible. There are millions of Americans living on the streets, today. With a little support, they can find a way to live a fulfilling life.

SOAR With SAMHSA

As was mentioned earlier, one’s untreated mental disabilities can make it hard to hold down a job. Making it impossible to pay bills. It can be a real challenge to recover without a roof over one’s head, and food in the stomach. A vast number of homeless people have mental health disorders, helping them access social welfare benefits is vital.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration launched the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program in 2005. The goal was to assist homeless individuals navigate the arduous process of applying benefit programs Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Since the program was created, more than 27,000 Americans have gained access to SSI and SSDI benefits through SOAR.

“SAMHSA’s SOAR Technical Assistance Center helps states and communities increase access to these benefits for people with behavioral health disorders who are also experiencing homelessness, as well as for those returning to their communities from jails and hospitals.”

Those who have access to financial assistance are in better position to succeed at working a program of recovery. Managing both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Getting Addiction Help for A Loved One

Do you have a loved one whose addiction has brought them to the depths of despair? Living without hearth or home? Perhaps your loved one has resigned him or herself to a life of addiction. Thinking that recovery is not possible. They are not alone, many a recovering addict and alcoholic once thought that way, too. However, recovery is possible and it works. It is a difficult process to be sure, and requires (often) the full support of one’s family.

Please contact 10 Acre today to discuss options for helping your loved one find the miracles of recovery. The longer their condition persists as is, the greater the danger of tragedy.

Study: Smoking Pot Hurts Your Heart

a photo of a lady with marijuana addiction smoking pot

We already know that marijuana can be addictive — about nine percent of  those who smoke pot will become addicted, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

We also know that some people experience an acute psychotic reaction (disturbed perceptions and thoughts, paranoia) or panic attacks while under the influence of pot. Marijuana also has negative effects on attention, memory and learning — and it can certainly hurt your lungs. In fact, regular users have been found to experience similar breathing and lung problems as tobacco smokers.

A recent study shows that smoking pot might also be hurting your heart – upping your risk of hypertension, according to researchers from Georgia State University. Marijuana users were more than three times likely to die from high blood pressure than non-users. And, for each year of use, their risk increased by four percent, according to the study.

“Marijuana stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increases in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen demand,” said lead author Barbara Yankey.

Caring for Your Heart in Recovery
Getting help for your addiction is perhaps the best thing you can do for your ticker. You might also want to consider adding these heart-healthy steps to your long-term sobriety plan:

  • Quit smoking. Ask your doctor to recommend a smoking cessation plan.
  • Get your numbers tested, including blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Prioritize sleep. Six to 8 hours per night is the goal.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Consult a healthcare professional about your ideal range.
  • Limit salt, sugar and processed foods.
  • Add fatty fish – salmon, herring, sardines or tuna – into your diet.
  • Make exercise a priority. Strive for 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
  • Meditate daily. Try to meditate the same time each day so it becomes a habit.
  • Manage stress. Experiment with a few relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing.

Overcoming Your Marijuana Addiction
As one of the most affordable drug and alcohol treatment centers in California and the United States, 10 Acre Ranch specializes in helping men overcome their marijuana addiction. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.

Self-Medicating Toward Addiction

beautiful lady self-medicating toward addiction

Regarding mental illness, when it rains it pours. At least that is often the reality in the field of addiction medicine. To be clear, addiction is a form of mental illness with many symptoms, one of which is the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a disease of the mind that has no known cure to date, but there are effective methods of treatment. Upon completing treatment, those who redouble their recovery efforts via a program like the 12-Steps often have positive outcomes.

Again, drug and alcohol use is but a symptom. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Work which will mitigate the risk of relapse and spiraling back into active use. But, for a significant number of addicts and alcoholics, addiction is not the only mental health disorder on the table. It is extremely common for people meeting the criteria for addiction to have co-occurring mental health disorders. Often referred to as having a dual diagnosis.

Anyone working in the field knows firsthand the consequences of not treating both addiction and the dual diagnosis, together. This makes sense. Addiction is often precipitated by another form of mental illness, such as depression. The symptoms of untreated depression lead to the dangerous practice of self-medication. Which does the opposite of help, in any respect.

Self-Medicating Toward Dependence and Addiction

People whose anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression is left untreated, are essentially left to their own devices. Functioning under the cloud of depressive or manic symptoms is rarely tenable. In an attempt to quiet one’s troubled mind, drugs and alcohol often become the preferred method of treatment (escape, actually). The continued practice of using mind-altering substances to cope is a slippery slope to dependence, and ultimately addiction. People who engage in this practice actually convince themselves that the substances are helping. When, in fact, they are not.

Research has shown that illicit substance use makes the symptoms of one’s mental health disorder worse. Having the unintended effect of exacerbating the symptoms one is trying to keep at bay. The longer the act of using drugs to cope with mental illness continues, the more severe and often episodes occur. People living with a co-occurring mental health disorder are at great risk of harm. Every year, a significant number of people who meet the criteria for a co-occurring disorder take their own life. Therefore, it is so vital that people living with a mental health disorder are encouraged to talk about their condition. And by doing so, they become empowered to seek treatment.

So, just how common is mental illness in America? A new government report showed almost 1 in 5 American adults struggles with mental illness or addiction each year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) report indicates nearly 44 million American adults living with mental illness, HealthDay reports.

“The presence of [any mental illness] in every state reinforces that mental illness is a major public health concern in the United States,” the report noted. “Overall treatment levels remain low, and addressing the mental health of U.S. adults remains a concern for state and national public health officials.”

Treatment Is The Answer, It Works

While treatment rates are low, they are effective for most people who seek assistance. At 10 Acre Ranch, we have helped many men, from young adults to seniors, recover from co-occurring mental health disorders. If you are battling regular episodes of depression, et al., and are dependent on substances, please contact us today. We can help you break the cycle of addiction, while simultaneously addressing the co-occurring mental illness.

4 Common Meditation Mistakes

photo of a man meditating on top of a mountain

By now, you know that meditation is important for achieving and maintaining lasting recovery and finding joy in a life without drugs or alcohol.

To recap: It will help you reduce stress; give you greater self-awareness, self-acceptance and emotional control; improve energy and motivation to stay sober; and more!

Yet you may not be getting the most out of your practice. In fact, many people struggle with some common mistakes when it comes to meditating. Here are a few:

  • You haven’t experimented enough. While you likely don’t have the time or resources to test-drive every meditative morsel out there, you can do some homework in order to better understand some of the main types of mediation. Then, give one or two a try and see if one technique works better for you than the other.
  • You’re not consistent. Meditation needs to be practiced daily for it to make a true impact on your mental and emotional health. The easiest way to create this habit is by meditating first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed.
  • You’re expecting to completely clear your mind. You can’t stop your thoughts but you can learn to not react to them. Many experts say to think of yourself as an air traffic controller of your thoughts – allowing some in and others to pass.
  • You’re relying on external aids. A major part of meditation is learning to tap into your inner thoughts – without apps, music, or guided visualization. While these aids may help in the beginning, you may miss an opportunity for self-realization if you depend on them solely.

Daily Readings, Reflection & Meditation
Each day at the Ranch begins with morning meditation, which is a cornerstone of our program. Our credentialed therapists encourage clients to adopt a post-rehab meditation practice as part of a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.