Are Drug Implants the Future of Drug Addiction Treatment?

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One of the most common misconceptions about drug addiction revolved around the idea that addicts somehow lack a sense of self control and moral fortitude. However, decades of research and science have led experts to a deeper understanding of how addiction actually works. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences. Many people with addiction (or substance abuse disorder) have an intense, unrelenting focus on obtaining and using a certain substance, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, even to the point where it will take over their lives. Many addicts suffer job loss, homelessness, loss of personal relationships, and sometimes even legal trouble. Drug implants are a new development in the field of addiction treatment.

How addiction and human brain function are interlinked

People with a substance use disorder have chemically altered the wiring of their brain and how it functions, because of this many people have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. The majority of drugs work on an area of the brain commonly known as the “reward center”. When a person uses alcohol or drugs, chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. These chemicals are meant to train the brain for survival, increasing the likelihood a certain action will be repeated again in the future. Over time, with repeated use of drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to rely on this substance because it has been tricked into believing that it needs it in order to survive.

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Addiction tricks your brain into thinking it needs more drugs to survive or even function properly.

Additionally, the brain begins to associate certain things like people, places, or objects with this behavior and can be triggered even years after getting sober. This helps to explain why some people relapse after they have stopped using drugs or alcohol. Thankfully though, there are many treatment options available for those seeking help with a substance abuse problem.

How to find addiction treatment options for yourself, or a loved one in Riverside, California 

Making a quick search on Google for support groups will likely bring up hundreds of results for anonymous 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While these are offered in almost every city, for free, sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially for someone who is just getting sober for the first time. Alternatively, depending on the level of care needed, there are many drug and alcohol treatment programs available as well, such as medical detox, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, group counseling, and so on.

Factors to consider when trying to decide what level of treatment may be appropriate for you or a loved one will depend on many factors, such as: severity of addiction, type of drug used, quantity of drug being used, whether or not multiple drugs are being used at the same time, and how long they have been using drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists for a personalized plan today!

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Our addiction treatment specialists in Riverside, California are available to take your call 24/7.

Unfortunately, addiction treatment is not one size fits all. Otherwise, that would make solving this disease a whole lot easier, and though there may be many tried and true treatment options available for anyone who may be suffering from an active addiction, there are still ongoing studies and clinical trials with the intention of solving this problem. Their passion is to find alternative treatment methods for those individuals who are more likely to benefit from their application. One of the methods that are currently underway, and is actively being studied, is the use of implants to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. Below is a list of several different methods currently being studied that involve the use of drug implants that work to re-wire the addicted brain.

Naltrexone Drug Implants

Perhaps the most popular of this emerging field of science would be the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment of naltrexone implants for addiction. Naltrexone is used to help combat heroin, or other opioid addiction, as well as an addiction to alcohol. An addiction to heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, codeine, or Oxycontin, can be extremely dangerous. The safest, sometimes only, way is to attend a medical detox program. The same can be said with an addiction to alcohol. The problem with both these substances is that the cravings for the drug early on in recovery can be extremely intense.

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The Naltrexone implant works by slowly administering an opioid antagonist that helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Fortunately, the naltrexone implant works by delivering a consistent dose of naltrexone into the body for 3-6 months. It is usually implanted into the abdominal wall and has little to no recovery time after surgery. Additionally, there is no need for removal as the implant, resembling a pellet, will eventually dissolve after the allotted time frame. The important part of this medication is that it reduces the craving for drugs or alcohol by blocking the pleasurable effects substances send to the reward center of the brain, essentially re-training the brain to no longer associate drugs and alcohol with a pleasurable experience.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Another promising method for addiction treatment is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is also gaining popularity for the treatment of things like obsessive compulsive disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. This approach to treatment hopes to combat the underlying causes for cravings, addiction itself, and relapse. Deep brain stimulation will be the tool to essentially aid in the rewiring of a person’s brain. Typically, an implant resembling that of a pacemaker is inserted under the skin, with a wire attached to the brain. In some cases, though, a person can have a chip implanted directly in the brain. The electrodes they emit target specific areas of the brain, impacting the brain’s reward system.

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Deep brain stimulation targets certain areas of the brain with electric pulses that help to train the brain to operate differently.

Buprenorphine Implants

Another implant meant to aid in the war against the opioid crisis is the buprenorphine implant. It was FDA approved in 2016 as a 6 month subdermal implant for the treatment of opioid dependence. Similar to the naltrexone implant, it releases a study supply of buprenorphine for 6 months. Although, they do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Keep in mind these drug implants are just a few of the alternative methods currently being researched. At its heart, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, with decades of research behind the current science, we are becoming better at solving this problem.

Christian Rehab in the Age of COVID-19

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In today’s world, thanks to the Coronavirus, it may seem like uncertainty and fear are behind almost every corner. Also commonly known as COVID-19, this virus has caused extreme unrest and panic across the world. Since being brought to all of the main media outlets and grabbing our somewhere back in the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has forced nations to shut down, causing businesses and government agencies to shut their doors to the public in hopes of flattening the curve. Since the virus has a high-exposure rate, and lives on surfaces for an extended period of time, only businesses that were deemed essential were allowed to stay open. Unfortunately, this has caused many problems of its own that are being felt across the globe.

COVID-19’s Effect on Drug Use And Relapse

One of the main issues being seen are the high percentage of relapse rates among people in addiction recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. This is due to a large number of reasons. Things like high unemployment rates and isolation due to cities being shut down and large numbers of people who are self-quarantining. Additionally, free federal aid is being granted, which may allow easier access to drugs, there have been closures of outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, there is no longer any access to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, etc. Unfortunately, due to the nature of coronavirus, people are being forced to self-isolate and they are being cut off from the important lifelines that help to keep them clean and sober.

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Options are available for Christians seeking drug rehabilitation in these trying times.

Although drug and alcohol rehab facilities, including those that are Christian based, have been forced to make some difficult decisions, they have also come up with some revolutionary ways to remain a valuable source to those in recovery who may still need it. It is through Christ that many are able to be saved, and in order to help God’s followers who may be in need, especially during this time of social distancing, is by offering remote drug and/or alcohol rehab.

Remote rehab is usually an outpatient program that is designed to fit the specific needs of an individual with the use of digital technologies, such as Facetime, Zoom, or Skype. This is great for anyone in the faith who still needs rehab treatment during this time. Below are some of the benefits that Christian-based remote drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer;

Increased Level of Privacy From Remote Drug Rehab

All too often it seems like nothing is ever kept a secret anymore. Well, with remote drug rehab you never have to worry about that again. It can help save you the potential embarrassment of someone seeing you while at an alcohol or drug treatment facility. Not only that, but being able to attend a counseling session, with a licensed Christian therapist one-on-one, through the internet, on your phone, computer, or tablet provides an increased sense of privacy as you do not have to leave the comfort of your own home. You could even attend your meetings in your pajamas.

More Flexibility in Addiction Treatment

It is pretty typical of outpatient programs to require their participants to attend classes on a specific day at a certain time, usually several times a week. This can be difficult to fit in with a busy schedule. Most of us know how stressful it can be trying to keep up with a high amount of demanding tasks in our everyday life. The good news is that remote rehab offers more flexibility.  Remote drug and alcohol programs will usually allow you to pick an available appointment that fits easily into the schedule you already have. A lot of times this is better than having to be somewhere, all the way across town at a certain time of day.

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Attending an outpatient drug rehabilitation program is easier than you think. Many of your meetings can now be done online.

Added Comfortability – Drug Rehab From Home

In addition to increased flexibility and added privacy is the enhanced comfortability of Christian based remote rehab. Gone now are the days where we have to decide what to wear to our next meeting or appointment. Instead, it has become easier than ever to get closer to God while in recovery as we can attend rehab, and do all of the other things that we need, and never change out of our sweatpants. Remote rehab lets you get the help that you need right from home, and you never have to worry what anyone else but what God thinks, because who cares what you look like when you’re just sitting on the couch at home?

Guaranteed One-on-One Time With An Addiction Specialist

Another great thing about remote drug rehab is that you are guaranteed to get more one-on-one time. Most outpatient rehabilitation programs require that you meet a few times a week with a group of peers who are also on the journey to sobriety. Although this can be great at times, it can also sometimes mean that you don’t get all of the feedback that you would like. The great thing with remote drug and alcohol rehab is that you are guaranteed to get more one-on-one time with your Christian counselor or addiction treatment specialist. This can be even more useful during a time where life is drastically changing on a daily basis for everyone. A little extra time with someone who truly understands, can make all the difference, especially in these uncertain times of quarantine.

So, if you are a follower of God, and our Savior Jesus Christ, and you are struggling with an addiction, then do not worry. There is still hope, even in a time where it may not feel like it. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). There has never been a more powerful time to reach out for help. It may seem like the world has shut down, but at 10 Acre Ranch, we are still here to help you, in the name of the Lord. If you, or a loved one, have strayed from the path of righteousness, just know that you are not alone. Christ, our Lord, will always have a hand for you to reach out and hold.

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If you’re staying at home, many addiction treatment services are available from 10 Acre Ranch over the phone, or online. Call us right away!

 

(877) 228-4679

Sleep and Addiction: Is Sleeping Too Much Okay?

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Anyone who has ever gone through an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or anyone who has ever watched a loved one struggle with one, knows firsthand just how difficult that journey to sobriety can be. An addiction, or substance use disorder, can wreak havoc on all areas of a person’s life. It can cause financial hardship, deterioration in health, loss of one’s job, homelessness, death, etc. Addiction can also have a devastating effect on a person’s sleep. Some people end up sleeping too much, which can result in other problems for your ultimate recovery from your addiction.

Addiction is often defined as “a brain disease brought on by chronic drug use that interferes with and makes changes to brain circuitry and chemistry, and these changes lead to compulsive drug using behaviors.” These changes in the brain are also what lead to both long-term and short-term sleep difficulties. The connection between drug use and sleep often goes both ways; substance abuse can hinder a person’s ability to sleep, and subsequently, difficulty with one’s sleep can also lead to an addiction or substance abuse problem as people turn to them in order to help them fall asleep.

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Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms from an addiction can cause problems with your sleep schedule, which can result in over-sleeping.

Unfortunately, once someone achieves sobriety, this problem doesn’t just go away. During the first week of sobriety, most people experience some level of withdrawal symptoms, some more severe than others. While the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced can differ depending on things like that type of drugs that were used, the amount of drugs that were used, and how long the person has been using those drugs or alcohol, problems with sleep remain the most common withdrawal symptom regardless of what substances were being used.

Tips for Getting Good Sleep in Sobriety

If you are like millions of other Americans who are new to recovery, then here are a few tips to help you get restful sleep while still maintaining your sobriety.

  • Stick to a Schedule- If you used drugs or alcohol shortly before bed, then it can be even more difficult to fall asleep once you get sober as your brain is no longer sure when it is time to go to bed. Creating a new, and healthy, sleep schedule is essential to getting good sleep while sober. Going to bed at the same time every night will help let your brain know when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Have a Nightly Routine- While this may be difficult for those who work odd hours or those who don’t have a set schedule, doing the same thing each and every night before you go to bed will help ensure you fall asleep faster. Try doing a light exercise 30 minutes before you go to sleep, or read your favorite book for an hour. This will also help train your brain when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Eliminate Screen Time- Research has shown that electronic devices, such as computers, phones, or TVs, can have a negative impact on the quality of one’s sleep. Cutting back on the amount of screen time you have, at least one hour before bed, can greatly reduce the chance of disrupting the quality of sleep.
  • Create a Space for Sleeping- Limit the amount of extracurricular activities you do while in bed, such as checking your phone, watching TV, or stressful conversations with your partner. This will help train your brain that the bed is where you sleep, not for everything else.

These are just a few tips you can implement to help increase the quality of your sleep, especially early on in recovery.

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to help you maintain sobriety, early in your recovery from an addiction.

Effects of Oversleeping

While sleep is essential early on recovery, there is still a chance that you could be sleeping too much. There is a difference between getting the right amount of sleep needed to recover and simply just getting too much sleep to begin with. It may sound absurd at first because whoever thought you could get too much sleep, but it is possible. The amount of sleep needed can vary depending on the individual, but most experts agree that anything above 10 hours for an adult is considered to be too much.

Oversleeping can be a sign of many underlying issues, such as depression and heart disease. The effects of oversleeping are much like the effects of not getting enough sleep to begin with. Getting enough sleep especially while undergoing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is essential as the brain and body need this time to repair itself. However, a person can sleep too much. Here are a few side effects associated with getting too much sleep;

  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Depression
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Higher risk of overall mortality (death)
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Sleeping too much can become a problem in addiction recovery.

The importance of a healthy sleeping schedule in addiction recovery

Just like with anything in life, having a proper sleep schedule requires a good amount of balance. While it is important to get enough sleep to ensure a successful sobriety, it is also important to remember that there is such a thing as too much. We know that this can be a struggle for many Americans, as nearly 70 million people in the United States all suffer from a sleep disorder of some kind. There has long been a connection between sleep problems and substance abuse disorders, that is because many drugs and alcohol disrupt that natural circuit in the brain. Not only that, but there is also a link between poor sleep and the rate of relapse. For those in recovery, and anyone else who might be curious, we hope that this information was useful to you!

If you, or a loved one, are new to recovery and are having a difficult time with getting the right amount of sleep, then please reach out to an addiction specialist today. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when you need it! We know what a huge struggle trying to get enough sleep can be, especially early in the road to recovery, that is why we are here and we are always ready to help! We wish you the best!

 

(877) 228-4679

 

10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder & Drug Addiction

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This time of year can be very difficult, especially for those who suffer from addiction, as holidays and moments of celebration are often considered to be triggers for those in recovery because of the social aspects of casual drinking or drug use during the winter months. What can make it even more difficult to remain sober during this time is when a recovering addict also suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or seasonal depression.

Addiction is characterized as a brain disorder and can often be coupled with other mental health diagnoses or mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For people who live with both a mental health disorder and struggle with addiction, just know that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with a mood disorder, such as SAD, also suffer from a substance abuse problem.

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People who suffer from mental health issues, are more likely to use substances, like drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Symptoms of SAD

If you are unsure whether or not you may be suffering from seasonal depression you can always speak with a mental health professional. Common symptoms of SAD include those of major depression along with several others. People who are suffering from seasonal depression may experience all or some of the following;

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Loss of pleasure in certain activities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Cravings for carbohydrates (unique to SAD)
  • Excessive daytime sleeping (unique to SAD)
  • Heaviness in arms and legs (unique to SAD)

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Researchers and doctors are still unsure about the exact cause for seasonal affective disorder but some factors that attribute to this condition include;

  • Biological Clock (Circadian rhythm)- As the days grow shorter around the fall or autumn season, we begin to lose sunlight, which can disrupt your body’s internal clock, causing feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin Levels- The reduced sunlight can lead to a drop in the brain’s chemical that affects mood, the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  • Melatonin Levels- The seasonal change can disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and moods.
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Changes in the weather can affect your mental health in very prominent ways.

10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

            If you are one of many suffering from the symptoms of seasonal depression and are wondering how to treat SAD, then do not worry, there are many treatment options available that can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

  1. Know the signs and symptoms- Knowing what is happening with you and your body can help greatly in managing the symptoms. If you begin feeling sad during the autumn months, being aware of your seasonal depression can help keep you from spiraling down a hole that seems impossible to get out of, simply just by understanding what is going on.
  2. Try light from a box- Light therapy is reported to be one of the most effective treatments for the “winter blues”. There are specialty light boxes or lamps designed to produce effects similar to natural light, helping to restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm and production of melatonin. Research suggests that sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, everyday, during the fall and winter months for at least 30 minutes can greatly reduce the symptoms of SAD.
  3. Get outside as much as you can- Nature is a form of therapy for almost any mental health disorder. So, try to make it a point to go on a at least a 10 minute nature walk every day, or as often as possible, regardless of the weather. Studies have shown that even short walks increase mood, along with other mental and physical health benefits. Not to mention, the sunlight you get from being outside is much more beneficial than that from a window, helping to promote natural production of serotonin and melatonin. Going outside around noon when the sun is brightest can help reap the most benefits in a short amount of time.
  4. Exercise regularly- Aside from talking a daily break in nature , trying to exercise regularly is especially important for people suffering from SAD. Exercise is a proven treatment for many forms of depression. Try combining your daily exercise with going outside to help decrease the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  5. Take vitamin D- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to SAD in at least one study, so doctors have begun urging patients to up their vitamin D intake, especially during the winter months.
  6. Caring for plants- Research has shown that gardening can help reduce feelings of depression. By caring for something small during the winter months, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  7. Stay Connected- Avoid the sometimes overwhelming feeling to remain reclusive during the cold months. Stay connected with your family and remain active in your support groups, such as AA, even when you feel like hibernating. Staying connected with your support group can help combat feelings of depression by getting you out of the house and by allowing you the opportunity to express out loud how you are feeling.
  8. Paint walls in lighter colors- Studies suggest that people who suffer from seasonal depression feel better when they are surrounded by lighter colors. Aside from the mood lifting ambiance, sometimes just doing the activity of painting alone can be a soothing process for someone with a depressive disorder.
  9. Keep a journal- Sometimes we have thoughts or feelings we are uncomfortable sharing with others, by writing them down we can begin to understand our emotions better. Writing down our negative thoughts or emotions gives us the opportunity to cope with them and feel as though we have gotten them off our chest, allowing ourselves the chance to fully process them. Plan on writing for at least 20 minutes a day, and try doing it before bed so that you can express the last 24 hours in as much detail as possible.
  10. Try aromatherapy- Essential oils can activate the same part of the brain that is responsible for controlling moods and our internal clock. Purchase an oil diffuser for your home or workspace, or try adding a couple drops in your bath.
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Understanding yourself and your mental health can greatly help you overcome the “winter blues”. Seek help before you become overwhelmed!

 

While all of these tips are useful, knowing when to get contact a professional for help is the most important. If you are having extreme thoughts of suicide or are having a difficult time with coping during the winter months, or in general, then there is nothing wrong with getting help. Speak with your doctor, who can potentially prescribe medications, or contact a counselor or therapist who can help you cope with the emotions of depression. If you are a recovering addict and find that you are struggling to stay sober, we are always here to help! Reach out to us today to begin specialized treatment.

 

(877) 228-4679

Who is to Blame for the Drug Crisis?

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If there’s one thing Americans of all backgrounds, religions and political affiliations agree on, it’s that the United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, one that is fueled, largely by opioids. While virtually everyone agrees that losing over 70,000 lives a year to the drug epidemic is a travesty, many people are looking to place blame where blame is due. Complicating things further it is no one person, place or thing that created the opioid epidemic. Many historical, socioeconomic and individual factors play a role in the crisis.

One reason people look to assign blame is they believe (sometimes rightfully so), that finding the one thing to blame is the first step to solving the problem. This may be partially true, but for an honest, successful solution to the drug overdose crisis, we need to look at every possible factor that plays a role in the growing problem. Being honest with the findings is the best way to address the multitude of issues that contributed to the crisis.

Illicit drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies are who most people automatically blame for the drug crisis.

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“Big Pharma” drug manufacturers most certainly played a role in the drug crisis, by overselling the benefits of opioids and downplaying the risks. Yet there are various other factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Of course the first place people look to when placing blame for the opioid epidemic is the drug dealers and manufacturers. Since President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971, our strategy for dealing with the problems drugs cause in society was to go after the supply chain. In the nearly 50 years since this war on drugs was declared, we are nowhere close to solving the problems drugs have created in our society.

Certainly, drug dealers and big pharma have played a major role in creating the drug crisis in the United States. Many companies (including, most notably Purdue Pharma), have been found in court to have lied about the safety and efficacy of their prescription drug products. In the late 1990’s, Purdue aggressively marketed Oxycontin to doctors, claiming the extended-release of opioids would prevent misuse of the drug. This formula allowed the giant pharmaceutical company to receive FDA approval to put more opioids in each pill and we all know how that turned out.

The reality of Oxycontin was that it is much more prone to be abused or misused. People who developed a dependency to opiates found that the extended release formula could be bypassed by crushing up the pills and either snorting the powder or injecting the drug directly into their veins with intravenous needles. Because the oxycodone pills are so powerful, an addiction to opioids could develop very fast. Once the prescription ran-out, the addicted patients were forced to move on to street drugs like heroin, just to avoid the excruciatingly painful opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Even when someone successfully quit using opioids, they are highly prone to experience a relapse. A 2016 study found that people who are in recovery from opioid addiction experienced at least a 30% to 70% relapse rate within the first 6 months of their recovery. Fortunately, as a response to this contributing factor, the same pharmaceutical companies developed medications to help treat opioid addiction. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) can greatly help ease painful withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction and they can greatly lower the rate of further relapses into substance use.

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Are doctors, physicians and other medical professionals to blame for the drug crisis? While some doctors ignored the warnings others may have been intentionally misled.

Doctors who overprescribed opioids and other painkillers are also rightfully to blame for the drug crisis in the United States.

While it is certainly easy to blame drug dealers and multi-billion dollar corporations for the opioid epidemic, the problem equally rests in the interpersonal and professional relationships of patients and doctors in their local communities. A 2016 survey found that about as many Americans blame doctors for overprescribing opioids (34%) as they do the patients who abuse prescription painkillers themselves (37%).

Illicit drug dealers market street drugs like heroin, counterfeit versions of prescription opioids and various forms of fentanyl. However, according to SAMHSA data, fewer than 10% of prescription opioids are obtained from drug dealers or other strangers. Over 50% of the misused or abused pills come from family members or close friends, while only 25% are obtained with a prescription from a doctor or physician. While the problem of patients receiving multiple prescriptions from different doctors, this only represents 3.1% of the opioids obtained for non-medical use, whereas over 22% receive prescription opioids from only one doctor.

Our overall approach to pain management drastically changed in the 1970’s when pain became the “fifth vital sign”.

Before the 1970’s, the medical profession virtually ignored the importance of pain management in a patient’s medical care. The inclusion of the question: “was your pain adequately treated” on patient surveys brought about a sort of preoccupation within the medical community on how to provide adequate pain management. Pain became the “fifth vital sign” along with body temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate.

As a doctor, you certainly don’t want to see your patients suffer with pain symptoms. With a newfound focus on pain management, physicians and hospital administrators began aggressively treating pain symptoms, which led to a massive increase in opioid prescriptions.

We have to admit that opioids do serve as effective pain relievers and, when used appropriately, they can benefit the overall quality of health care services available in our society. Opioids do serve to benefit people who have recently undergone surgery, experienced a major bone fracture, cancer patients and other severely painful medical events. We cannot simply prohibit doctors from prescribing them appropriately.

Various forms of alternative pain management techniques are available, yet many doctors aren’t taught them in medical schools. The pharmaceutical industry provides massive funding to most of the medical schools in the US. This problem is compounded by the health insurance companies’ reimbursement policies. These policies make prescription opioids a much cheaper option for patients than other, alternative approaches to pain management, such as acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic techniques.

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Opioid manufactures, over-prescribing doctors, insurance policies and patients themselves have all played major roles in the drug overdose epidemic. Now that we know, it’s time to start fixing the problem.

While it is easy for people to simply blame “big pharma” as the culprits of the drug overdose crisis in America, we think that is simply just the tip of the iceberg. Of course the Sackler family from Purdue Pharma, along with other pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson seriously downplayed the risks associated with their products.

Currently, over 2,000 court cases against opioid manufactures are pending in the US. These cases rightfully assert that “big pharma” may have intentionally misled doctors into prescribing more opioids, which most certainly played a role in the creation of the opioid epidemic. Yet opioid misuse is a much more complicated issue than that.

Drug abuse typically coincides with strong feelings of hopelessness, depression and despair. The states that are the worst-hit by the opioid epidemic also suffer from the highest rates of joblessness and economic turmoil. Until we address all of the underlying causes of the current drug crisis in America, we are going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Overcoming an addiction is never easy, yet there are people who do it every day. 10 Acre Ranch offers a full medical detox and recovery program that can help you, every step of the way.

Please call us today to speak with one of our addiction specialists and we can get you, your family member or loved one the help they need right away. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Call now:

 

877-228-4679

 

 

The Importance of Peer Support Systems in Addiction Recovery

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When someone enters our residential addiction treatment facility in Riverside, California, we strongly emphasize a ‘social model’ of recovery. Our treatment program is unique, in that we strive to help our patients get ready for life outside of a professional addiction treatment program. Our residential, inpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs immerse the individual in a community of fellow people who have just began their road to recovery. This experience with peers in a supportive, compassionate environment helps our patients learn new skills to cope with emotional and social stress. The reactions to these situations are guided in a social atmosphere and are crucial to help our clients avoid potential relapse triggers that may occur later in their journey towards sobriety.

12 step programs and support groups still play a major role in modern addiction treatment.

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Men’s drug rehab in Riverside, California.

In recovery from substance abuse, 12 step programs like Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Narcotic’s Anonymous help create relationships, most importantly the relationship with a sponsor. This relationship will allow for a continuation of care and community support following a formal drug rehab program. These types of support structures help welcome newcomers and guide them through the early, sometimes turbulent stages of recovery.

Beginning 12-Step participation while in treatment, especially at group meetings held at the treatment program, and 12-Step attendance at the same time that one is enrolled in specialty treatment, are associated with better outcomes.”- NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Consistent participation is the key when it comes to any attempt at alcohol or drug rehabilitation. Addiction is a disease and just like any other disease, addiction can be treated with both psychological and medical treatment methods. While evidence based medical approaches to care have advanced the addiction treatment industry into the 21st century, a strong foundation of interpersonal support is still a critical component in helping people abstain from further substance use. Ongoing, consistent social support is essential to a successful recovery.

Peer support and 12 step groups are most effective in helping people recover from addiction when coupled with behavioral therapy and applicable medical treatments as determined by a medical doctor. Long-term sobriety should be the ultimate goal of any reputable treatment program. While some people’s lives have been saved through the tenants of 12-step programs, it doesn’t always work for everyone, in every situation. A custom, personalized treatment plan should be developed on an individual basis to ensure the best results. Most often, these plans of action will incorporate a variety of treatment methods to address the unique needs of each of our patients.

Peer support is available, outside of traditional 12-step program environments.

In many ways, recovery is a very personal experience that is different for each individual. Upon entering a drug rehabilitation program, you begin to notice your inward reasons for using drugs and alcohol, while finding ways to rebuild your life into the one you want from sobriety. Although much of your recovery is dependent on your personal willingness to change, the benefits of outside social support should not be underestimated.

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Support groups will help you continue your recovery from addiction outside of a treatment center.

Your family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors can be helpful in your recovery, but it is important to sever ties with those who may have had a negative influence on your life. This can often be the most difficult part of recovery for many people. Finding supportive, understanding, compassionate peers and family members to help you through your recovery is important. Many proclaim this as one of the primary benefits of 12 step programs. Surrounding yourself with positive peer influences can greatly help you navigate through early relapse triggers and develop appropriate responses to challenging situations. 12 step programs are a valuable resource that can help you find positive social contacts who understand your situation.

While unhealthy people and situations contributed to and helped enable your substance abuse, positive, healthy relationships can help create a sort of positive peer pressure to help you overcome your addiction. It is very likely in a support group to find others who have been where you are and they may be able to offer advice on your journey to stay clean.

Addiction can be an isolating experience. Know that you are not alone in your recovery. 

Talking about your life, your choices and experiences with like-minded individuals can greatly help you overcome the underlying reasons you developed an addiction in the first place. Cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention and other types of individual and group therapy sessions will allow you to talk through your problem and find solutions in a typical drug rehab setting. It is important to continue this work for a long period after you leave the care of an addiction treatment center. Research has shown a significant decrease in the risk of relapse among people who participate in peer support programs.

Facility in Riverside

Holding yourself accountable is another very important aspect of healing that will greatly lend to your sobriety. A support network can also help hold you accountable to your goals in recovery. These connections can be incredibly helpful through the everyday challenges you will face while attempting to maintain your sobriety. It should be very easy for you to be open and honest with your sponsor and other peers from a 12 step program. They will not approach your situations and challenges with judgment, so you can usually trust them. Even in the event of a relapse, your support group won’t give up on you. Relapse does not mean that you have failed at recovery. Addiction and mental health specialists now consider relapse to be a completely normal part of recovery from an addiction. We employ the social model of recovery to help you maintain your sobriety long after you leave our immediate care.

Finding professional help is a great first step towards a new life. Call us today to discuss your options and begin your journey. We are open 24/7 to take your call:

(877) 228-4679

Why Is Stopping Drugs So Hard?

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Addiction is a disease of the brain. Your brain is the control center of your body, affecting your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is hard because it changes the signals in your brain, which makes it difficult to feel okay without using the drugs. When you first take drugs you feel a high or a rush from the substance. But over time, the high is not as strong and you must take more and more of the drug to keep from feeling bad. This is what happens when you become addicted. Many people who are addicted want to quit and they think they can do it on their own.

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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

 

Why Do I Keep Relapsing? 5 Ways To Become Stronger

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If you find yourself asking this question, either for yourself, a family member, loved one, neighbor or coworker just understand that a relapse is a very normal part of recovery. If you have been through a successful addiction treatment program, experienced a period of sobriety and fell into a relapse, please know you are not alone. Relapses are not uncommon and it does not mean you are a failure. Hope is always an option and there are many resources that can help you. How you react to your situation after experiencing a relapse is critical in your overall road to recovery. In this crucial time, forgiveness is an important factor to express to yourself or your loved one. Learn to forgive yourself or your family member for the recent relapse into substance use.  This is a better, more productive attitude to have that in the long run will help you or your loved one keep striving to maintain their sobriety.

 

Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapse doesn’t mean treatment has failed.”–National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

 

It is estimated that 40-60 percent of people who maintain sobriety through rehab, treatment and recovery will relapse into heavy use, while 70-90 percent will relapse and use again at least once. In the medical field, a relapse used to be treated as an uncommon thing but that has largely changed due to the advances in behavioral science and addiction therapy. Sadly, many addicts are stigmatized by society as hopeless drug fiends or treated with the perception that they are a bad person for their substance use. Many of us here in the addiction treatment industry are advocating a different perspective. With addiction being a curable disease, you could compare it to the relapse rates of people with other medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. The rate of relapse into these common medical diseases is close to the same as for people with a substance abuse disorder. Treating this as a medical condition will help ease the stigma associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

 

As we have seen the overdose epidemic explode in the United States, it is important for us to begin treating this as a serious medical condition, not a criminal activity reserved only for the ‘bad people’ in society. As you are reading this now, most of us know someone dearly who has struggled with some form of substance abuse. While we look to help those closest to us, deep down inside we know there is still a good person underneath the surface of their drug or alcohol addiction.

 


It is estimated that nearly 72,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2017. That’s close to 200 people each and every day. – Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


 

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Finding the right coping mechanisms and staying the course in recovery is the key to overcoming an addiction.

Warning: Your Drug Tolerance Levels Will Change

It is extremely important to note here that many who relapse will overdose their first time because they think they can do as much of the drug as they had been doing before they went through detox and a period of sobriety. Simply put, your body cannot handle as large an amount of the drug, even though they had built up a tolerance over their period of substance abuse. Your tolerance has changed through recovery and you might not be able to handle the “usual dose” as you have in the past and immediately die. We cannot stress this enough, so please keep this in mind throughout your post-recovery stage as most people do not plan to have a relapse.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual in recovery to actively want to change things in their life to help them maintain their newfound sobriety. This is a difficult path to navigate and there are many things you can do to help you avoid the temptation to relapse into substance use.

 

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Tips on how to overcome a relapse and not give up on your addiction recovery

Specific Risks to Avoid During Your Process of Recovery:

 

  1. Avoid drug-related ‘triggers’: Many in recovery can be tempted to relapse if they are around old hangouts where they used to purchase or consume drugs or alcohol. Even the sight of drug paraphernalia or a drink can be too much to handle for some. Also known as drug-related cues, these thoughts can come from a variety of places, depending on your individual situation. Most treatment programs will help you identify your potential triggers and help you formulate a plan to avoid them.
  2. Be extra cautious during the first 90 days: Most relapses occur during this crucial period of recovery. Your addiction doesn’t simply stop once your detox is completed. For many, addiction can shape your thoughts and behaviors for the rest of your life. The good news is the longer you stay sober, the easier it will be for you to avoid a return to your past substance abuse.
  3. Find help in a structured environment: Rates of relapse are much lower for people who participate in some sort of organized support group after their drug or alcohol detox. Relapse prevention or twelve-step programs like Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are great at helping people maintain their sobriety and offer personal help when you feel the urge to use again.
  4. Start creating healthy lifestyle habits: Studies have shown that even a mild amount of exercise can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms for recovering addicts. Eating healthy foods and thinking healthy thoughts are important to developing and rebuilding the self-confidence necessary to maintain your sobriety. Controlling your emotions and developing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with difficult situations can greatly increase your success in recovery and sober living.
  5. If you do relapse, don’t be afraid to ask for help (again): When a relapse occurs, know that there are a multitude of resources willing and able to help you break the cycle of your addiction. Sometimes treatment needs to be tried several times before the patient is fully recovered. Remember, relapse is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed about. Your family and loved ones will be happy you were honest and asked for help. Repeated attempts will work eventually and it will help you develop the desire for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

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.