What is Kratom? Cutting Edge Treatment, or Addictive Drug?

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UPDATED APRIL 14TH, 2020

 

As the opioid epidemic rages in the United States, the Food & Drug Administration has issued new warnings about kratom. Many people have begun talking about this widely used, natural supplement and its benefits and potential risks. Native to Southeast Asia and a member of the coffee family, kratom is seen by many as an all-natural supplement to help in a myriad of physical and mental ailments. Some of the purported uses include treatment for:

  • Pain-management
  • Opioid withdrawal symptom relief
  • Depression
  • Obesity & high blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • As an energy boost
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Is kratom dangerous? Many scientists and government agencies say yes.

But many scientists and the FDA disagree with these claims. In a statement from September 11, 2018, FDA chairman Scott Gottlieb, M.D. claims:

Science and evidence matter in demonstrating medical benefit, especially when a product is being marketed to treat serious diseases like opioid use disorder (OUD). However, to date, there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal or other diseases in humans. Nor have there been studies on how kratom, when combined with other substances, may impact the body, its dangers, potential side effects, or interactions with other drugs.”

While there may have not been adequate study to substantiate either side of these claims, many leading scientists and addiction specialists are championing the concerns as expressed by the FDA.

To begin, the agency claims that kratom contains opioids, which is not entirely true, yet the relationship is virtually undeniable. Mitragyna speciosa is a tree related to the coffee plant, which is not from the poppy family, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some compounds found in kratom affect opioid receptors in the brain. Perhaps this is why many sufferers of opiate addiction swear by its usefulness in helping manage their withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the reasons for this are certainly indicative of the strong potential for addiction to kratom. Because kratom affects the same brain receptors as opioids do, it is essentially like substituting one opioid addiction for another one.

Kratom exhibits a high potential for abuse and can lead to further opioid addiction.

In a study published by Addiction Biology in June of 2018, one of the two psychoactive compounds in Kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine (or 7-HMG) has a “high abuse potential that may also increase the intake of other opiates”. The study showed that the other of the 2 psychoactive constituents, Mitragynine (MG) does not have a high potential for abuse and can actually decrease subsequent opiate intake. Since kratom is a plant, certain strains can be bred to intentionally have more 7-HMG than occurs naturally, so someone that uses kratom should be warned. The harvesting and extraction of the plant before it is packaged can also be adulterated to some extent. This could pose dangerous consequences to unsuspecting users of kratom extracts and supplements.

The safety of kratom is a major concern that has been taken into account by the FDA. In November 2017 the FDA claimed that kratom was responsible for 44 deaths since 2011. These reports hold true the assessment that kratom is an addictive drug, with a high potential for abuse that can create various health problems, including death.

These same government agencies are also warning that kratom can deter people from seeking medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as buprenorphine, naloxone and methadone. These substance abuse treatment medications are scientifically proven to reduce opioid dependence in addicts:

“Patients who were using opioid agonist medications at the 18-month interview were more than twice as likely to report abstinence as those who were not (80.0 percent versus 36.6 percent).”National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

With this evidence aside, many people are currently using kratom as a self-administered, step-down treatment for opioid dependence. They might think this will help them steer away from opioid drugs like heroin, yet there is no research-based evidence to back up these claims.

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Many people claim an array of benefits from kratom, yet the research is limited.

 

Kratom is fairly unregulated in the US and as a result potential dangers associated with the product certainly do exist. For instance, nine of the 44 kratom-related deaths the FDA claims in their report, were from a string of overdoses in Sweden, where a mixture of kratom and tramadol (4) was the culprit.

While the FDA tries to classify kratom as an opiate, they may be only partially right. Compounds in the plant affect the same areas of the brain as poppy-based opiates do. The compounds in the plant have been shown to trigger respiratory depression, much like opioids do. This affects the brains’ ability to tell the lungs to breathe and is ultimately how many people die from opioid overdoses. They simply quit breathing, which can result in their untimely death.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with kratom further prove its addictive properties.

Just like most other drugs, kratom can result in a chemical dependency, when taken over a period of time. When a person quits using kratom, they can experience painful withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of kratom withdrawal can include: anxiety, aggression, nausea, vomiting, irritability, depression and even seizures.

Kratom is an absolutely harmful drug whose dangerous risks far outweigh any perceived benefits. Poison control center calls concerning kratom increased ten fold from 2010 to 2015. Just like other drugs, kratom must be taken in higher and higher doses to produce the desired effects over any period of use. Your body can develop a tolerance to kratom much like it can for opioids.

Since the market is relatively unregulated, different batches of kratom can be wildly different from the next, even when it comes from the same brand. This is why many kratom consumers themselves, actually advocate for better regulation of the supplement. They want whole, pure leaf supplements that are not adulterated with other compounds, as these mixtures can be extremely dangerous.

While kratom exhibits a potential for abuse and addiction, many people still make illegitimate claims on the benefits of the plant. Some people are led to believe that it can help treat opioid addiction, then they find themselves addicted to kratom. Hopefully with more research being done, we can fully understand the potential dangers of this natural supplement.

What is Inpatient Drug Rehab?

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As an effective form of addiction treatment, inpatient drug rehab is intended to help individuals stop the often destructive, compulsive behavior of abusing drugs and alcohol. Inpatient drug rehabilitation involves living at a residential addiction treatment center, over a period of time. The average stay at an inpatient treatment center typically lasts from 30 to 90 days or more, depending on the severity of the addiction.
Ongoing treatment is essential to help ensure a full recovery from the devastating grip of an addiction.

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How to Cope with the Loss of a Loved One During Recovery from Addiction

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You may have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, a family member or friend while you’re going through recovery. You used to handle the stress from everyday life events by using drugs or alcohol. But now, you’re sober. If you are finding it difficult to resist temptations, or you’ve found that this is the hardest time you’ve experienced in trying not to relapse, let us assure you, you are not alone. Losing someone close to you is one of the most difficult parts of the human experience. It is no different for you or anyone else. It hurts… A lot! You probably don’t know where to turn next, but you know you have to stay sober throughout the pain and grieving process, so what can you do?

Understanding that the grieving process is an important part of recovery is a good start. While a person recovers from an addiction, intense changes are taking place in the mind and body. Changes are taking place within and all around the individual who is attempting to resolve their body’s physical and mental addiction. Grieving is a natural part of this process and simply accepting this fact is going to be inherently beneficial for you. The addiction likely caused trauma in your personal life, as with members of your family and other loved ones. Many of these problems are not addressed until a patient begins their recovery.

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Losing a loved one while in recovery from addiction can bring back cravings for drugs & alcohol. Have a relapse prevention plan in place.

When a major loss occurs in addition to these normal changes in the psyche, it can be one of the most difficult emotional battles in a person’s entire life.

The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. This loss could be from a sudden death, an illness such as a continued, unregulated addiction or even the loss of a relationship with someone you deeply cared about. When someone accidentally or purposefully leaves your life it can be devastating for even the strongest amongst us. These emotions can be overwhelming and life itself can seem unbearable during this most difficult time. These harrowing parts in your recovery can really challenge your resolve to stay sober.

Understanding the inevitable processing of grief and sorrow as a normal part of life, will help you over time and throughout your recovery.

Grief can manifest itself as one of the major contributing factors in a relapse. Losing a loved one through death or other unfortunate circumstances can create a high risk situation, even for someone who has been clean and sober for years. Using simple techniques to process difficult emotions and set backs can help you avoid a potential relapse.

The first and most important step to consider when faced with a stressful, painful situation is to ask for help. Call on the support of your close friends and family members. Even if they are grieving themselves, simply having the presence of someone who cares about you can give you a lot of strength.

Secondly, being honest with your emotions is essential to process the pain you may be feeling after the loss of a loved one. Your old response was to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. By now, you must realize that is not a healthy or productive choice anymore. You need to process your real emotions in a way that will help you grow and become stronger in your life. Cry if you feel like crying, it is okay to cry. Express your emotions in a safe manner, hopefully with the help of your family, friends or a support group. If you’re angry, let it out and let the world know you are angry. Just be careful to not express any anger you may have in a way that would be harmful to others. Try to keep it constructive with a goal of ultimate healing in mind.

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Loss is never easy to process, especially when you are in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction.

Speaking of support groups, attending meetings on a regular basis will help you process your complex range of emotions in a more productive manner. Whether you return to outpatient meetings at a rehab clinic, or attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, this will help you let out your grief in a positive, productive manner. You will likely meet other people who have gone through similar situations before. This will help you feel supported and not alone in your sorrow.

None of these techniques are meant to completely cure or take away the sadness that comes with losing a loved one or member of your family. They will however help you process the emotions you experience through the grieving process without the use of alcohol or drugs. These techniques can be added to your go-to relapse prevention plan, in case the urge to use becomes too much to bear. The first step, (as it was before you entered recovery) is to ask for help. At 10 Acre Ranch, we can help you overcome your addiction and help you deal with recurring issues with addiction through a social model approach to treatment. Please let us know if we can help you.

(877) 228-4679

 

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.

4 Reasons Why Men Should Meditate During Recovery

photo of a man in gray long sleeve shirt and white pants sitting on green grass field during morning meditating

With guys like Russell Simmons and Hugh Jackman touting its benefits, meditation is becoming more and more mainstream among the male population. In the recovery community, however, addiction experts and clients alike have long realized the perks of this incredible practice for men.

“Meditation not only assisted me in overcoming my addiction, but also made me acutely aware of the emotional and psychological obstacles I was so desperately trying to avoid. It helped me to transition my pain into progress, and for the first time in my life I was able to accept myself for who I truly was — flaws and all,” wrote Quentin Vennie, who overcame addiction, depression, and an anxiety disorder, in a recent article for MindBodyGreen.com.

Pretty powerful stuff from a seemingly simple practice – don’t you think? If you’re still skeptical, we have a few more reasons why meditation should be part of your every day and overall recovery plan.

  • You’ll sleep better. You likely know by now that insomnia and addiction are bedfellows. In fact, studies show that rates are five times higher among those within recovery than in the general public.
  • You’ll fend off depression. Unfortunately, many men struggling with chemical dependency are also dealing with depression – and if both conditions aren’t treated together, relapse is more likely.
  • You’ll feel less lonely. Loneliness is yet another emotion that men wrestle with along the journey toward sobriety. And not only does it impact your recovery, but one study says it’s as dangerous to your overall health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
  • You’ll better control your anger. For many men, anger management is a big challenge during recovery. When left unchecked, anger can become hazardous to your health and sobriety. In fact, many experts cite untamed feelings of anger as a major relapse trigger.

Meditate Your Way to Better Recovery
Our daily mediation sessions help our male clients begin the day with a calm and open mind. And this state of calm can be revisited during the darkest hours of addiction recovery. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.

Becoming More Mindful: Living Life With Intention Through Meditation

photo of a man meditating on top of the mountain

Did your addiction begin as a way of escaping from life, the responsibilities of adulthood and the emotions you didn’t want to face? If so, you’re not alone. Life can be stressful and challenging at times, but using drugs and alcohol can only make things worse.

That’s why many addiction recovery specialists work with clients to help them practice mindfulness through meditation. It can help you learn how to embrace your thoughts, feelings and emotions and process them in a healthy way.

Using a series of relaxation techniques, students learn how to become more comfortable with their experiences – and themselves during sobriety.

Want to learn simple meditation strategies for beginners? Here are three tips to get started!

(1) Start small. Just like anything else, you can get better with practice. But, ease yourself into it. Set a goal to practice five minutes a day for the first few sessions. That way, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and give up too quickly. Consider setting a timer on your watch or your phone to keep track of your progress.

(2) Get comfortable. Pick a spot in your home where you can sit comfortably on the floor – away from furniture and other belongings. If you have hardwood floors or tile, consider placing a yoga mat or towel on the floor to provide a little bit of cushion. Sit down in a pose where you feel relaxed. Be sure to sit up straight with your spine upright and close your eyes.

(3) Clear your mind and focus on your breath. One goal of meditation is to reduce the clutter in your mind and simply enjoy a quiet stillness. To help relax your mind, focus on the nature of your breath. The sound of breathing in and out. There is no need to control the speed or the depth. Simply try to concentrate on the repetition of your inhale and exhale.

Meditation is a great tool for recovery. It’s free, portable and provides a wealth of health benefits – supporting a strong mind and a healthy body.

Daily Readings, Reflection and Meditation

Morning meditation at 10 Acre Ranch begins with group members reading day-by-day books. After each client reads an entry, the group shares about how the reading applies to today’s treatment challenges. The overriding goal of group and individual meditation is to cultivate peace and achieve a state of calm that can be revisited during the darkest hours of addiction recovery. To learn more, call: (877) 228-4679.

Prioritizing Your Mental Health in the New Year

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In the New Year, a lot of people are investing in resolutions to lose weight, exercise more often, quit smoking and go to the gym on a regular basis. While it’s always a good idea to pay more attention to your physical health to prevent chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, why not take the same approach to take care of your mental health, too?

All too often, individuals with behavioral health issues like anxiety and depression wait until they start to experience the physical symptoms of those conditions before seeking help. But, with the right self-care, you can reduce your risk of developing some conditions. And for those starting a new sober lifestyle, taking a holistic approach to total body wellness can also protect your sobriety since you’ll be less tempted to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

While there are a lot of factors that contribute to behavioral health issues and some are out of your control (like genetics), you can make a few lifestyle adjustments that can help you feel better and more in control of your emotions.

3 Strategies to Actively Support Your Mental Health

(1) Spend time with nature.

Have you ever had a rough day and spent some time outdoors and wondered why it made you feel so much better? How the great outdoors boosts our mood isn’t entirely clear, though it is well documented. In a study conducted by Stanford researchers, people who walked for 90 minutes in a quiet area outside showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

(2) Be aware of how you are dealing with stress.

Chronic exposure to stress can actually change your brain chemistry making you more susceptible to common behavioral health issues like anxiety and depression. While you can’t completely avoid stressful situations, you do have a choice in how you react. Talk to your addiction recovery team about developing a list of stress-relieving activities that might work best for you including mindful meditation, yoga and talk therapy.

(3) Surround yourself with positive people!

There are specific things you can do to protect your mental health and you might be surprised to learn that simply being around those with a positive and grateful outlook can also do wonders for your mental health too.

If you’re starting the New Year with a few resolutions, consider adding a few that are designed to help support your overall health – mentally, physically and spiritually.

Get Help at 10 Acre Ranch

At 10 Acre Ranch, we know that behavioral health and substance use disorders often create a vicious cycle, as the symptoms of one disorder can exacerbate the symptoms of the other. Fortunately, there are ways to treat both disorders, regardless of which came first. At 10 Acre Ranch, our highly-trained staff works with male clients to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses mental health and substance use disorders to reduce symptoms and to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery. To learn more, call today: (877) 228-4679.

The Dangerous Connection Between Alcohol and Anger

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Consistently abusing alcohol for many years can have serious and lasting effects on your body. Long-term overconsumption of beer, wine and liquor is often associated with cirrhosis, pancreatitis, cognitive impairment, thiamine deficiencies and memory disorders.

Plus, it also puts your emotional health at risk too. While alcohol affects everyone differently, for many, it increases their risk of experiencing emotional outbursts, violent behavior and excessive anger. And, if you don’t arm yourself with healthy coping mechanisms, allowing feelings of frustration and aggravation to go unchecked can increase your risk of relapse for those working on a path to addiction recovery.

Given that alcohol and anger are so interlaced, learning how to control your anger and respond to challenging situations in a healthy way is critical for those on a path to sobriety.

If you are building a new sober lifestyle, the following includes a few strategies to help keep your emotions in check.

(1) When you get tense, think about what you are about to say. In a disagreement with your spouse? See a post on social media that makes you upset? Chances are, if you are getting upset, you likely know it. The next time you feel your blood pressure rise, take this into consideration. Think before you speak, or better yet, tell the other person that it’s not a productive time to talk and make plans to discuss the issue after you’ve had time to cool down.

(2) Get a fresh perspective. If you are upset about a situation or how someone treated you, it’s easy to get into a tailspin of anger and frustration. Sometimes the best way to keep your anger in check is to simply talk to a friend who can provide an objective opinion. They may be able so share a different viewpoint that you may not have considered.

(3) Take a break. Being angry in certain situations is a normal reaction – it’s when you let your feelings escalate uncontrolled that you get yourself into trouble. The next time you do start to feel irritated, take the high road and don’t get caught up in the situation. Take a walk outside, meditate or go to a local yoga class to clear your head.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at 10 Acre Ranch

One of Southern California’s most reputable rehab facilities, 10 Acre Ranch is an affordable alcohol addiction treatment center serving men 18 and over. We provide a comprehensive range of addiction recovery services based on a social treatment model. Our welcoming program gives residents an opportunity to participate in daily process groups, make positive behavioral changes, and prepare for life after recovery.

To learn more about our CA men’s rehab program and how we can help, call 10 Acre Ranch at (877) 228-4679 today.

Retraining Your Brain for Greater Impulse Control

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Have you ever experienced “buyer’s remorse”, jumped to conclusions or let your temper get the best of you – only later to berate yourself for not thinking things through? While there are only so many hours in the day to plan each next step, a repeated pattern of impulsive behavior can become a destructive force in your life that makes you feel out of control, erratic and unpredictable. Not a healthy way to live.

Controlling your behavior is an important aspect of living an emotionally stable and healthy lifestyle and it is a life skill that is especially critical for those on a path to addiction recovery. By training your brain to recognize the leading indicators of impulsive behaviors, you can apply those same skills to reduce your risk of addiction relapse.

Here Are 3 Strategies You Can Use to Become More Mindful and Less Impulsive Throughout the Day.

(1) Make a list of the impulsive behaviors that you want to correct. But, the goal here isn’t to strive for “perfection”. Just think about the types of behaviors you can change that will have the most positive impact on your life.

(2) Identify the triggers that lead to those impulsive decisions. For example, do you want to cut back on making impulsive purchases can start saving money towards a new car? Think about the people, places or emotions that typically are associated with spending money on things you don’t really need. Sometimes, the simple act of recognizing your behaviors can help you curb your impulsive instincts to react.

(3) Take a mental health break. If you do start to feel “wound up” and exposed to some of your impulsive behavior triggers, make the choice to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. Chances are, you’ll be able to calm down, become more mindful of your emotions and take a more rational approach to your actions.

Access Comprehensive Addiction Treatment While Addressing Behavioral Health Issues

Many individuals struggling with chemical dependency are also dealing with mental illness. When addiction co-occurs with other disorders, clients require a specialized addiction recovery plan. 10 Acre Ranch counselors, social workers, and addiction specialists can help clients manage both diagnoses to optimize the chance of treatment success.

To learn more about our CA men’s rehab program and how we can help, call 10 Acre Ranch at (877) 228-4679 today.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Doing Your Homework

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The only thing that is certain in life – is the uncertainty of life. That’s why you need to be prepared to handle the good surprises (seeing an old friend out of the blue) – with the bad (getting passed over for that big promotion).

While everyone experiences challenging circumstances from time to time, painful experiences like the loss of a loved one, can make it hard to bounce back and increase your risk of depression.

If you are diagnosed with depression, you should know that it is highly treatable – even as part of a co-occurring disorder such as addiction. While there are many therapeutic options available, many addiction recovery specialists recommend that clients participate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients challenge the patterns of negative thinking and destructive behaviors.

For those on a path to recovery, you can use some of the basic techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy to help shift your mindset and react more positively to life.

3 CBT Techniques That You Can Use

(1) Get practical about solutions. When you’re faced with a difficult situation, don’t just dwell on the problem at hand. Focusing on the negative will most likely just make you feel hopeless and powerless. Instead, think about the situation from a more rational perspective and write down five practical solutions you might consider to confront the issue.

(2) Set realistic goals. The next time you start to experience negative self-talk, consider if you are simply setting unrealistic goals for your personal and professional life and replace those with more attainable objectives.

(3) Challenge negative thoughts. One of the most powerful skills you can use to counteract negative thought patterns is to become more aware of negative thoughts and how you are framing up the situation. Are you thinking about the situation objectively “The traffic today was a little slower than most days” or in a distorted manner “No one in the town can drive!”

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at 10 Acre Ranch

CBT is a very popular treatment approach for both substance abuse disorder and mental illness. Let us help you or someone you love change those negative and unproductive thoughts and behaviors that can lead to addictive tendencies. To learn more, contact us at (877) 228-4679 to speak with a treatment specialist today.