Mental Illness In Young Adults

young people in a group supporting each other's mental health

If you are a young adult, there is a good chance you are getting ready to start or have just started the fall semester. You may even be a freshman, heading away from home for the first time in your life. Unchaperoned! This is an important time in a person’s life, one that should be cherished — in between studying and class. For most people who pursue higher education, the time literally flies by. Before you know it, graduation has come and gone and off you go to the workforce.

College days are also a time when you will come to find out who you are, in good ways and bad. Your strengths and weaknesses will come to the surface quickly without the aid of mom and dad nearby. Hopefully, you are heading off to school having a relatively healthy relationship with alcohol. It’s a substance that can hardly be avoided during this time in one’s life. Certainly, you saw some partying in high school, but there was always some parental oversight. And, the risk of getting caught, as well as the fear of punishment, keeps most teens in line.

Without fail, some heading off to college for the first time have already developed unhealthy ties to substances. Whether it be alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or all three. It could mean that you had a healthy appetite for socialization. Or, it could mean that the seeds of addiction were planted at a young age. Just that the problems of addiction have not borne fruit yet. Hopefully, it’s the former scenario. Being away from home can give one’s addiction room to grow exponentially, creating a host of problems. Issues that will need to be addressed sooner, or later. What’s more, addiction is not the only mental illness that can appear up during the college years.

Mental Illness Away From Home

A significant number of college students struggle with untreated mental illness, in one form or another. In some cases, students battle addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Such a reality presents many obstacles to one’s chance of success in college. More times than not, mental illness is cited as the cause for dropping out. Fortunately, mental illness does not need to spell the end of one’s education. There are resources available on campus that can help students, with mental health disorders, keep their symptoms in check. In turn, avoiding tragedy and strengthening the chances of making it to graduation.

While the stigma of mental illness is still a very real thing, there are many more options for students today. College campuses have resources available and people students can talk to, mitigating the risks of self-harm and self-medication. It is quite common for students to develop addiction due to untreated mental health disorders.

In fact, right here in Southern California UCLA is taking mental illness seriously. The university is offering free mental health screening to all incoming freshman and transfer students, CNN reports. Such services can make all the difference in increasing a student’s chance for success. Potentially keeping them from turning to an unhealthy means of coping with the stress of college.

“To our knowledge, no other university has ever attempted screening of this nature and scale,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Students who choose to participate will be screened for depression and related traits — anxiety, mania and suicidal tendencies. And we will offer help to those who need it.”

Mental Illness Treatment

If you are a young man reading this, there is a good chance you are not attending UCLA. However, colleges across the country are placing greater emphasis on mental illness. If you are not feeling stable or are struggling with substances to cope with how you are feeling, talk to someone. Letting it go unchecked can eventually have grave consequences.

Perhaps you are getting ready to head off to school and you know that you have a condition that needs treatment. Drinking and drugging on regular basis, in conjunction with the symptoms of depression can be dangerous. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch to discuss your treatment options. We are fully equipped to help you recover from co-occurring mental health disorders.

A Primer on PAWS

photo of a man experiencing feelings of irritability

Do you feel like you’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions for days? Are you struggling with sleep, irritability, anxiety, brain fog or extreme cravings?

As your body heals from addiction and your brain chemistry returns to normal, you may experience emotional and psychological symptoms known as PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (protracted withdrawal syndrome). Drugs linked to PAWS include alcohol, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, opioids and stimulants.

What are the Symptoms of PAWS?
The symptoms of PAWS can vary depending on the substance of abuse as well as the duration of active addiction. In general, most people won’t experience all of the symptoms (and especially all at once).

Symptoms can come and go as the body continues to heal. You can expect to feel progressively better the longer you abstain from your substance(s), but there may also be times when you feel depressed or anxious for no apparent reason. Hang in there; this is normal and brighter days are ahead. Learning to recognize the symptoms of PAWS is perhaps your best defense. This way, you can have a plan should these symptoms strike without warning.

Below are a few PAWS symptoms to keep on your radar:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Alcohol or drug cravings
  • Impaired executive control
  • Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure from anything beyond use of the drug)
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Dysphoria or depression
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained physical complaints
  • Reduced interest in sex
  • Extreme drug cravings and obsessions

More Tips for Managing PAWS

  • Be kind to your body, mind and spirit. This means making an effort to get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise, mediate and find time for relaxation and fun.
  • Seek support: Lean on your addiction counselors and/or peers who can help keep you moving forward despite the symptoms of PAWS. And don’t be afraid to use humor to help you heal; laughter is a powerful remedy for the frustrating highs and lows of recovery.
  • Stay patient and positive: It takes time to heal and for your mind and body to recover, so do your best to remain calm and relaxed and to focus on the world of possibilities ahead now that you’re free of drugs or alcohol.

Disease Education at 10 Acre Ranch
During our group therapy sessions, residents learn to recognize and manage post-acute symptoms, so they are not caught off-guard and are less prone to relapse. To learn more about our addiction program features, call today: 877-228-4679.

Overdose Death Impacting Life Expectancy

woman suffered from drug overdose

In the 21st Century those of us living in America expect to live robust lives. Far longer than once thought possible, thanks to advances in medicine and a better understanding of healthy living. Fewer Americans smoke cigarettes across most demographics. And when people are diagnosed with certain forms of cancer the prospects for recovery are at times good. While average life expectancy has been steadily increasing over the decades, one variable has been tipping the scale—overdose death. Specifically, opioid overdose death.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that American’s relationship with opioids has been approaching critical mass. We have steadily seen the number of premature deaths rise to greater heights with each passing year. There were more deaths in 2016 than in 2015, and overdose deaths are expected to surpass last year, in 2017. Overdose death is now the leading cause of premature death in America. And, believe it or not, these deaths are impacting figures on average life expectancy – for the worse.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shed some light on this subject. The researchers found that our life expectancy increased overall, from nearly 77 years to 79 years, between 2000 and 2015. However, the nearly two-decade spate of overdose deaths trimmed that expectancy by 2.5 months, HeathDay reports. Dr. Deborah Dowell from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention points out drug overdoses have more than doubled. With opioid overdose cases, more than tripled during the same time.

Reducing Overdose Death

“[U.S.] life expectancy is now lower than in most high-income countries,” said lead researcher Dowell, noting this as the is first decrease since 1993 at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Studies like these don’t do much to save lives, but they do give society some perspective. With over 50,000 Americans dying from overdose every year, action is desperately needed. Failure to address this epidemic with greater urgency will result in greater death tolls with each subsequent year. Perhaps what is most troubling about all of this is the fact that treatment works, and recovery is possible. Yet, the majority of the more than 2 million opioid use disorder cases are never treated in any way.

What’s worse, doctors are often unable to read the writing on the wall when it comes to their patients. It’s no secret that physicians in the U.S. are only required to have minimal education in addiction and treatment. The majority of doctors are not even licensed to prescribed certain drugs that help opioid addicts strive for recovery. It is one thing to increase access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. But, if overdose victims are not steered towards recovery, history is bound to repeat itself.

“There is an urgency to this problem,” said Dr. Adam Bisaga, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “The tragedy is, we have medication to treat opioid addiction. But death rates keep going up.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment

It doesn’t matter which form of opioid one uses, prescription painkillers or heroin. The risk of overdose and potential death is clear and present. To make matters worse, these are not easy drugs to abstain from due to the severity of withdrawal. However, as Dr. Bisaga points out, there are a number of meds that can help with withdrawal and treatment process. Dramatically increasing one’s ability to achieve long-term addiction recovery. If you are an adult male who has become dependent on opioids of any kind, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We can help you find recovery.

Dealing With Depression and Addiction

young man with depression sitting near a river during sunset silhouette

For many men, depression and addiction go hand in hand – and it’s a dangerous duo. One study found that men with alcohol dependence had rates of depression three times higher than the general population. And that number is even higher if you’re dealing with bipolar disorder.

What’s more, studies show that both people with depression and people with a substance use disorder have about a 10 percent lifetime suicide risk, respectively. When combined, this risk skyrockets to about one in four. Depression is also one of the biggest predictors of relapse.

About 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression have an alcohol or other substance use disorder, and about 20 percent of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Yet it’s not always clear whether substance abuse or depression comes first. Depression may exist prior to substance abuse or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. We do know, however, that both conditions share a few common triggers, including:

  • The brain: Both substance abuse and depression affect areas of the brain responsible for stress response. In addition, early drug use can harm brain development, increasing a person’s risk for mental illness. It works the other way, too.
  • Genetics. Your genetics play a role in the development of addiction and mental illness as well as whether you’re more likely to experience both conditions, according to the NIDA.

Treating Addiction and Depression Together
Successful recovery involves treatment for both depression and substance abuse. At 1
0 Acre Ranch, counselors, social workers and addiction specialists work with you or someone you love to develop a specialized recovery plan to manage both diagnoses and to optimize the chance of treatment success. To learn more about our affordable dual diagnosis treatment program, call today: 877-228-4679.

Study: Opioid Epidemic Knocking Men Out of Workforce

Bottles of prescription medicine opioids

The opioid epidemic is having a negative impact on the U.S. workforce, especially for males, according to new research from well-known Princeton University economist Alan Krueger. In fact, the report, “Where Have All the Workers Gone? An Inquiry into the Decline of the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate,” attributes 20 percent of the drop in men’s labor force participation to the drugs.

Krueger examined county opioid prescription rates against labor force data, concluding that “the increase in opioid prescriptions [over the past 15 years] could account for perhaps a 0.6 percentage point decline in male labor force participation, which is 20 percent of the observed decline in this period,” reports Fortune.com.

In other words, opioid addiction was found to be one of the major reasons why men, ages 25 to 54, dropped out of the workforce or were unable to work or find work. And employers were found to be grappling with the effects, too, having a hard time recruiting and hiring enough workers. This was especially true in the areas where opioids were most often prescribed, Kreuger told Fortune.com. And prescriptions varied not because of differences in health but rather due to differences in medical practices.

More About Opioids and Addiction
Medications that are legally prescribed by a doctor for a legitimate medical condition can be the starting point for a person’s addiction or the relapse trigger for someone in recovery. Some of the more commonly abused prescription drugs include:

  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Adderall
  • Percocet
  • Xanax
  • Fentanyl

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction
At 10 Acre Ranch, we have worked with patients who were addicted to many types of prescription medications as well as non-prescription street drugs and alcohol. We have over two decades of experience helping men who are struggling with the disease of addiction. To learn more about our drug addiction treatment, call today: 877-228-4679.

Good Days, and OK Days In Recovery

Depressed cheerless boy sitting in the chair with professional psychologist working in the background with people during psychological recovery group therapy session

Sponsee: How’re you today?
Sponsor: Well, thank you. There are only good days, and OK days in recovery.
Sponsee: No bad days?
Sponsor: Only in active addiction.

The above dialogue may seem inane. But, that doesn’t make it any less true. Anyone working a program knows first-hand how bad one’s days can be. Having lived for years, made up of a seemingly endless stream of bad days. You know what it was like forgoing food to pay for drugs and alcohol. You probably remember how hard it was to keep track of the lies you told, or the energy you expelled. It is hard work manipulating others to serve a disease that is trying kill you.

On the other hand, those who work a program live by a code of honesty. No matter what, even when it hurts, we are honest with ourselves and others. To live any other way almost always results in relapse. In active addiction, you were isolated. Cut off from your friends and family, connections that for most people are what’s most important. Today, you find yourself in the company of fellows working towards a common goal. That of living life on life’s terms. You find yourself “a part of” rather than “apart from.” A member of a fellowship who cares about you and your success in the life-saving journey of recovery.

Please do not read the above hypothetical discourse as meaning that there won’t be trials and tribulations in recovery. There will be. Although, as long as your recovery is intact you will be able to overcome such occurrences. And, in traversing hardship without using, your program grows stronger. Aided not by mind-altering substances, but by the spiritual connection you have with others in your support network (sponsor and recovery peers).

Overcoming Hardships In Recovery

If you find yourself having a hard day, faced with adversity, turning to your higher power for guidance is advised. If you are new to the program that might be a challenge. Until your connection with the spirit grows stronger, rely heavily on the wisdom and guidance of others in the program. Like the lighthouse on a foggy night, they will guide you back to the harbor.

One of the main reasons people working a program are able to succeed in achieving long term recovery, is fellowship. We are all in this together. Something worth being grateful for, to be sure. When having a tough day, never shy from reminding yourself how far you’ve come and that for which you’re grateful. If you are clean and sober today, you have a lot for which to be thankful. In early recovery, fresh out of treatment, life is not always going to be rainbows and unicorns.

Your recovery tools and skills acquired might only take you so far with a certain situation. The wisdom of others should always be welcomed. But, people can only help if you are open and honest about what you’re dealing with. If they do not know, how can they help. This requires that you to share with another or the group what’s going on. Rest assured, nine times out of 10, someone else has dealt with a similar situation.

The Journey of Recovery Starts With Treatment

Those of you still in active addiction may have found some of this post hard to believe or understand. Your life is likely one bad day after another, and the only relief you can find is drugs and alcohol. If you make the brave choice to seek recovery, you will see early on in treatment the importance of your peers. You will see how your connection with a higher power and others in the program can save you from yourself. Which is nothing short of a miracle given all of our histories.

Your journey begins with detox and/or addiction treatment. If you are a male ready to discover the miracles of addiction recovery, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today.

Study: Men with Gambling Addictions Likely to Have History of Trauma

photo of a man's hand holding playing cards at the casino

Men with gambling addictions are more likely than their peers to have experienced childhood traumas, and treatment needs to address this underlying stressor, according to a new study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Roughly 23 percent of study participants reported witnessing violence in the home and 9 percent suffered physical abuse in their childhood homes, noted researchers. Less than 4 percent of non-problem gamblers, on the other hand, were abused and 8 percent witnessed violence.

The link between gambling and substance abuse has been long-studied and researchers also found several other mental health risk factors, including:

  • 35 percent of pathological gamblers had serious financial problems.
  • 29 percent had been convicted of a crime.
  • 20 percent had lost relationships.

“The findings add to growing evidence linking stressful life experiences to the development of addictions,” said Julia Poole, a researcher at the University of Calgary in Canada, told Reuters Health. “This means that enhancing effective emotional regulation strategies among gamblers who report a history of childhood adversity may help gamblers utilize more-effective coping strategies and live a life free from their addictions.”

Compulsive Gambling: The Signs
Problem gambling is often referred to as the “hidden addiction,” notes the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG). This is because, unlike alcohol or drug abuse, there are rarely outward signs or physical symptoms. The NYCPG says answering yes to many of the following questions may indicate that gambling has become or is becoming a problem for you or someone you love:

  • Are you or a loved one haunted by bill collectors?
  • Do you or a loved one gamble to escape worry, boredom or trouble?
  • Do thoughts of gambling disrupt your sleep?
  • Do you or a loved one ever gamble longer than originally planned?
  • Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations cause you or a loved one to gamble?
  • Do you or a loved one celebrate good times with gambling?
  • Have you ever had self-destructive thoughts because of problems resulting from gambling?
  • Have you or a loved one lost time from work or school due to gambling?
  • Do you hide the rent/mortgage or food money because your spouse, partner or other family member gambles it away?
  • Do you or a loved one borrow money to finance gambling or to pay back gambling debts?
  • Does your spouse, partner or other loved one promise faithfully that she or he will stop gambling, yet continues to gamble?
  • Have you noticed a personality change in a loved one as his or her gambling has progressed?
  • Is your spouse, partner or other loved one away from home or unavailable to the family of long periods of time due to gambling?

Getting the Help You Need
If you are showing signs of gambling addiction and a substance use disorder, it’s important to know that help is out there. At 10 Acre Ranch, our counselors, social workers and addiction specialists can develop a personalized dual diagnosis treatment plan to help you manage both addictions. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.

Join The Voices of Addiction Recovery

Addiction and Recovery Blog

If you are working a program of addiction recovery, you have a lot to be proud about. You have, even those of you new to the program, have come a long way from where you were. In the grips of a progressive illness with generally dismal outcomes. Some of you may have even surpassed most people’s idea of rock bottom. You might even say you were looking up at the bottom. Addiction is a take no prisoners mental illness, people with a disorder, if left untreated, will likely die as a result. It is for that reason that anyone working a program of recovery has so much for which to be grateful.

If you have undergone addiction treatment, then you know that your disease is nobody’s business but your own. You know the program that is saving your life is an anonymous program. You also know that there are many things that prevented you from seeking treatment for as long as you did. Usually, at the top of that list of reasons is the social stigma that has long been a black cloud over addiction. The belief that addiction is not a disease, but rather a moral failing among individuals with weak will. The power of such societal beliefs should not be underestimated.

Due to the prevalence of social stigma, many addicts and alcoholics go without treatment. Even if they can easily access or afford addiction treatment services, many will put it off. It is a decision that is often fatal. Many addicts die of an overdose before they ever have an opportunity to give recovery a chance.

Ending The Stigma of Addiction Requires Everyone

The program you are working is anonymous for good reasons. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a role in ending stigma by speaking out. There is no time like the present to let the world know that recovery from this mental illness is possible. September is National Recovery Month, a time to raise awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders. And a time to recognize the millions of people actively working programs of recovery.

The theme this year is Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) asks that both individuals in recovery and their family members share their personal stories and successes. By doing so, it could encourage a significant number of people to give recovery a chance. If you are interested in sharing your story, please click here. Below is an example of a courageous individual in recovery:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

You may not be at a point in your recovery that you are willing to share your story with society. That is OK. Some people might not ever be comfortable to do so, which is also just fine. You can still have a role in spreading the message that addiction is a mental health disorder. And that recovery is possible by continuing to live by the principles of addiction recovery. Paying forward what was given to you gratis.

Recovery is Possible

If you are a male who is still caught in the vicious cycle of addiction, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We know it is a hard decision. We know that your disease will always try to convince you that there isn’t a problem. Even when you know there is. Maybe National Recovery Month, and the inspiring stories of brave individuals, can be the catalyst for your own recovery.