What is the Social Model of Recovery and How Can it Help Addicts?

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In today’s fast-paced world where drugs seem to be increasingly more available as markets for illicit drugs persist even after years of policing, it is no surprise that people suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol have also increased in numbers. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone at home, away from family and friends, alcohol and drug abuse has seen a sharp increase in just the last six months. Drug overdose deaths have also increased substantially. The social model of recovery is an important component of most addiction treatment programs. With the lack of social interaction, how are people who are currently struggling or, inactive recovery able to find crucial peer support networks and resources? The problem is staggering, especially as alcohol and drug abuse only continue to rise.

Statistics on Alcohol & Drug Abuse:

 

The United States alone is estimated to have 21 million people who suffer from substance abuse problems every day.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5.1 million young adults ranging in age from 18-25 suffered from a substance abuse disorder of some kind in the year of 2017– that’s nearly 15% of the population in that entire age group. For adults over the age of 26, that number grew to 13.6 million people, while only accounting for 5% of the population within that age group. Even more interestingly so, was that for the elderly population, meaning anyone above the age of 65, the number of people who suffered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol rose to a number just over one million.

With numbers like that it would come as no surprise that someone may have either experienced their own substance abuse problems or knew someone that had. Even with those odds, many people also know that there is a chance for recovery. Programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are testaments that sobriety can be achieved given the right tools and knowledge. Many have been down that same path of destruction, caused by using drugs or alcohol, and there are those who have recovered, although many not without help. While addiction itself has been around for some time, it wasn’t just until recently that we began to understand how it all works.

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Isolation from others can do great harm to your mental health. Many who are struggling in isolation turn to drugs, or alcohol to cope with feelings of loneliness and depression.

Understanding the Root Causes of Addiction has Helped Shape Treatment Initiatives

What was first misunderstood as a problem with people having low morals, or a lack of self-control, we now know that is not the case at all. Addiction is a brain disease that is caused by chemical changes to the structure and the function of the brain. These changes can have a lasting effect, depending on the severity of use. This is one reason why many people who suffer from a substance abuse disorder are unable to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own, especially without getting help. As science got a better understanding of just how addiction worked, new therapies were being developed in order to help people who may be suffering. Today, the social model of recovery is one of the most widely practiced recovery techniques.

How The Social Model of Recovery Works in Addiction Treatment Programs

Using a social model of recovery can be defined in a number of ways. This technique takes a peer-oriented approach to relearn responses to challenges, stresses, and anxieties by experiencing the situation in a new way by observing a role-model. These types of programs also place a strong emphasis on things like peer-support, building strong connections, and holding each other accountable. All too often, an addict is also suffering from a lack of social support. A social model of recovery aims to build a strong community of support that encourages and promotes good changes in behavior, while also giving that person a sense of connection.

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Finding a connection to others can be an important aspect of addiction recovery. Peer support groups can help people actively engage with others.

These types of programs became popular in California, especially as a lower cost option to the more clinical rehabilitation setting that some addicts often find uncomfortable. As with every individual who suffers from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, their recovery program needs to be just as unique. For many who have struggled with addiction, the social model of recovery has been the option that saved them. Scientists and addiction specialists all seem to agree that the more social connection an addict has, (outside of their life that revolves around drugs), the better chance they have at achieving a lasting sobriety.

Humans have evolved as social creatures, and we begin learning from a very young age by watching what other people around us do. This makes sense, as there was strength in numbers and we had to learn to get along to form a working society. Unfortunately, “monkey see monkey do” may be one of the biggest reasons as to why there was an addiction in the first place. Many of us grew up watching our parents or siblings, not only that, but research suggests that genetics make up for anywhere between 40-60% of the likelihood that someone will develop an addiction. Needless to say, it could be very easy to understand how it would be a more successful approach to recovery, by learning how to live a life of sobriety through watching what other people in recovery are also doing.

How the Social Model of Recovery Helps Addicts

There are many reasons why the social model of recovery can be helpful to recovering addicts. These programs give them a chance to learn how to adapt to stresses or challenges in life without needing drugs or alcohol. These programs also allow the chance for a strong social support group to be built, one that will hold each other accountable and offer advice for dealing with whatever life may throw at them, all while staying sober. There are those who say that the opposite of addiction is connection, and for many that is true.

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Having a network of peers who actively encourage your recovery from addiction is an important component of a successful rehabilitation program. Call us to find out more.

As mentioned earlier, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is perhaps the most widely-known example of the social model of recovery. But sometimes, attendance to these programs just aren’t enough, especially very early on in recovery. That is why there are also many residential and inpatient rehabilitation programs for drugs and alcohol, regardless of your age.

Here at 10 Acre Ranch, we understand what it takes to lead a life that is successful in sobriety. We know that addiction is never one size fits all, and we offer many individualized programs that are tailored to fit the specific needs of any person who needs it. We even have programs for employers who want to help their employees who are struggling with the deadly disease of addiction. We believe in the power of social interaction and the benefit of learning from your peers, many who have been in recovery would say that they couldn’t do it without the help of the people in their recovery support group.

Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call, we will be here to help!

(877)-228-4679

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.

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

Can Brain Imaging Help Beat Drug Addiction?

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The word addiction itself comes from the latin phrase meaning “enslaved to” or “bound by”. Addiction is a disease of the brain that is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their everyday lives, such as job loss, relationship problems, or extreme poverty. People who suffer from this disease experience compulsive behavior related to using drugs and alcohol, they are unable to stop doing them even though they know it will cause further problems in life or keep them from bettering their situation entirely.

People with substance abuse problems have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. However, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will become addicted, there are many factors that can lead to someone developing an addiction, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors like peer pressure, and dynamics in the family and home. When someone begins using drugs or alcohol, a surge of chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, this chemical is released naturally in the brain when we experience pleasurable moments like eating a delicious meal or participating in your favorite activity. When a person continuously uses drugs or alcohol, our brains begin to rely on this surge of chemicals and it needs them in order to function properly.

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Disease is any condition that changes the way an organ functions, much like how heart disease permanently damages the heart. With prolonged and repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the brain begins to change over time, creating new pathways for these chemicals to go back and forth between neurons. This ultimately causes changes to the brain’s structure and the way the brain functions, some of these changes are even permanent. Drugs and alcohol change the brain in many ways but there are 3 areas that are most heavily affected.

Areas of the Brain Affected by Drugs and Alcohol

  • Basal Ganglia- This area of the brain plays an important role in positive forms of motivation and our habit forming principles. This area of the brain allows us to feel pleasure and when it becomes inundated by drugs and alcohol it becomes less sensitive to the natural reward system, making it difficult to feel pleasure without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Extended Amygdala- The extended amygdala plays an important role in producing feelings such as anxiety, irritability, and overall uneasiness, which are typically synonymous with feelings of withdrawal. With repeated use of drugs and alcohol, this area of the brain becomes more sensitive, causing the user to seek drugs and alcohol again to avoid these negative feelings.
  • Prefrontal Cortex- Perhaps the most crucial of all, this area of the brain plays an important role in the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. When drugs and alcohol are repeatedly used, it shifts the circuits from stress, to reward, to lack of impulse control, ultimately creating a situation where drugs and alcohol have taken over.

How Brain Imaging Can Help Fight Addiction

With the evolution of science, this has changed the model of addiction. What was once seen as lacking moral fortitude or the ability to control one’s actions, scientists and doctors now understand that it requires more than good intentions to fight this disease. Now widely recognized as a brain disease and cataloged as a mental health disorder, doctors and scientists have been conducting brain imaging studies in order to better understand how to effectively treat and manage this chronic disease.

Since addiction causes changes to the brain, there are differences when comparing brain image scans of a non addict to an addict. Areas like the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making, show major differences that can be attributed to the lack of self control in addicts and their inability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Using brain scans to help treat addiction has shown significant promise to recovering addicts and their families. Aside from the medical standpoint, brain scans help in many ways when it comes to recovery.

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How Brain Scans Help Recovering Addicts

  • Brain Scans Don’t Lie- Brain scans clearly show toxic damage and exposure that is caused by drugs or alcohol. These illegal substances negatively impact areas of the brain that play an important role in being able to control one’s emotions and critical thinking abilities, brain scans show the damage left by drugs and alcohol.
  • Brain Scans Reveal Effects of Drugs- Seeing as how brain scans don’t lie, it is much easier to understand the correlation between drug and alcohol use and the visible damage caused by them. Substances like marijuana and nicotine cause significant changes in brain function and even everyday things like sugar can impact the way our brains operate on a daily basis.
  • Brain Imaging Shows That There is More Than One Addiction- Through brain imaging, we have been able to gain a deeper understanding into addiction. Now, addiction can be broken down into different categories.
    • Compulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts
    • Sad or Emotional Addicts
    • Anxious Addicts
    • Temporal Lobe Addicts

Researchers have gained valuable insight into how to effectively treat and manage multiple types of addiction, instead of grouping them all together.

  • Brain Imaging Helps to Break the Stigma and Shame- For years, decades even, addiction was treated as a lack of will power and moral discipline. With the advancement of technology, brain scans prove that drugs and alcohol alter the structure of the brain. An addict who is suffering may also feel as though it is all their fault, brain imaging helps show that addiction is a disorder of the brain.
  • Brain Scans Help Remove Denial- Many people with addictions are in denial that they even have a problem. When an addict is confronted with a brain scan image that shows visible damage from drugs and alcohol, it is difficult to deny that there is an underlying issue.
  • Brain Images Help Families Understand- Much like when an addict is shown their brain on drugs, when a family member is shown the scans of loved one it can help remove any blame they place on each other knowing that addiction is a result of chemical and structural changes to the brain, not something they did personally.
  • Brain Scans Can Reveal Co-occurring Disorders- Another benefit when using brain imaging as an additional tool to combat addiction is that it can also reveal co-occurring disorders, such as traumatic brain injuries, depression, or ADHD. In order to heal from addiction, these issues also need to be addressed.
  • Brain Scans Give Hope- Being able to see that your brain is toxic can be a great motivator. Brain scans also make it easy to track the progress of an individual throughout their treatment plan and their sobriety. Using before and after pictures can help someone stay motivated by being able to actually see the healing of their brain.

With a deeper understanding of addiction, we hope to remove the stigma surrounding it. There is no shame in asking for help, if you or someone you know are addicted to drugs, reach out to us for help today! We have many treatment programs available designed to fit your needs.

 

(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

 

 

A Brief History of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment

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Throughout history, the use of illicit substances is documented as far back as the earliest of recorded human civilization. 5,000 year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs show us that people who suffered from alcohol addiction were cared for in the homes of other people. Both the ancient Greek and Roman empires carry records of not only people suffering from alcoholism, but also for those people receiving treatment in “public, or private asylums.”(1) The ancient Chinese civilizations also had problems with their citizens abusing opium, which was first imported from Great Britain. Opium abuse also gave westerners a sense of moral obligation to colonize the greater part of Asia and help them wean off of their addiction to opium. As such, the British government began compelling the Chinese to cut poppy production after the second Opium War.

In America the first instances of any substance abuse treatment were in the Native Americans’ ‘sobriety circles’. The European settlers of the 1600’s had brought alcoholic beverages to the Americas and soon they began trading alcohol to native tribes, sometimes for nefarious reasons. It is known that the European settlers would give chiefs gifts of alcohol before they negotiated settlement and trade deals, to loosen them up. It has been argued that the European settlers of the 1600 and beyond would often give alcohol to native populations to decimate them and make them conquered more easily. Members of many tribes attributed the alcoholic liquids to ‘bad spirits’. They would gather those affected in a circle formation to give them a sense of tribe and to try to repel those bad spirits. The 12-step program model is loosely based on the natives’ sobriety circles.

In colonial America, Benjamin Rush, the father of modern psychiatry was the first to attribute addiction as a type of mental illness and therefore one that could be treated. This was the first time addiction was seen as anything different than the stigma of a moral failing. In Rush’s mind, alcoholism was a chronic disease that could be treated with various techniques. Those techniques became very hot properties, as every form of experimenter and entrepreneur wanted to try to profit off of the treatment of this disease. This led to some practices that we now know today to be very harmful such as electro shock therapy and injecting the body with various substances like gold, silver, mercury and arsenic. This injection therapy was the brain-child of Dr. Leslie Keely and while that method was unorthodox, and just plain wrong, one of his ideas, a 31-day stay at a treatment facility is the foundational drug and alcohol abuse treatment models primarily used today.

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History of mental health treatment techniques and substance abuse therapy.

These substance abuse treatment centers were a huge step in understanding addiction and the ability to treat it as a disease.

Along came the era of prohibition and the temperance movement thought they had a major victory in reducing alcoholism in the United States. Prohibition however, was a colossal failure. Alcohol use continued to rise and after thirteen years, the 21st amendment was ratified to help fight organized crime and allow citizens to continue to consume alcohol legally. After just 2 short years, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous. In the formation, they channeled the concept of the sobriety circles from the Native Americans and also were the first to use the 12 steps in recovery. These steps were a pathway of different techniques, geared towards living a life free from alcohol or drugs. AA remains today as the most commonly used resource for someone looking to steer away from substance abuse.

Many people have found the help they need in AA or their offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Still, others criticized the use of the ‘higher power’ and surrendering to being powerless against their addictions. As this was the classic AA model, today there are alternative versions of the program for agnostics and secular considerations of the twelve-step program.

The Minnesota model really cemented the version of the substance abuse treatment facility that we know and understand today. In 1948, this model incorporated the principles of the 12-step program, but added family involvement within a 28-day inpatient stay. AA was attended both during and after the inpatient stay. They also believed that addicts could help each other through their recovery so the hospital was staffed with both medical professionals and trained resource personnel that were usually recovering addicts themselves. This treatment model was instrumental in suggesting that alcoholics and other addicts were not morally inept and instead had a physical disease that was treatable. The stigma of substance abuse continues to this day, but more and more are becoming increasingly understanding of the concept of addiction as a disease, instead of a moral failing.

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During the early years of substance abuse treatment, many experimental methods were adopted and tested.

One example was the United States Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. This farm legitimately had good intentions in helping addicts recover from their disease. They were among the first to use methadone to help heroin addicts, a practice that continues with success to this day. The Central Intelligence Agency however found an unnoticed resource with the farm, using it to conduct early experiments with LSD on their patients. The Federal Government decided to turn its work with substance abuse to the states in 1975.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment has come a long way since then, and science is still progressing to more effectively treat those in need.

Medications have been developed to help fight substance abuse and are showing great promise. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) programs are being used today to fight the current opioid epidemic. These medications help the patient control and manage their withdrawal symptoms, which is a reason many don’t want to quit their addictions. A recent move towards an evidence-based approach to recovery has advanced rehabilitation facilities in a positive way. This approach uses scientific verification to prove the success of their treatment or rehabilitation programs. However, there are still a lot of recovery centers that try to take advantage of addicts, as they are seen as a vulnerable and marginalized group.

Progress in psychology and psychotherapy have shown addiction specialists a deep connection between mental health and substance abuse. Today virtually all alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs use a combination of social, psychological and medical treatments.

As we continue to learn from our history, there is continual pressure for the substance abuse treatment industry to innovate and evolve with the trends and new discoveries science has offered. This pressure is guiding the treatment industry in the right direction, but there are still many who need help. If you or your family member or loved ones are seeking treatment, give us a call right away. We are open 24/7 and we can help you get the help you need.

(877) 228-4679

(1) White WL (1998) Slaying the Dragon. Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington

The 2018 Opioid Bill

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The United States Congress reconciled both House and Senate opioid bills aimed at reducing the deadly toll of the nation’s top health care crisis: the opioid epidemic.

In the SUPPORT For Patients and Communities Act, Republican and Democrat lawmakers came to a rare agreement between both parties. The drug overdose epidemic claimed 72,000 lives in 2017 alone and roughly two thirds of those deaths were from prescription and non-prescription opioids. The bill will now head to the Senate as the House of Representatives almost unanimously passed the bill in a rare, 393-8 vote. President Trump is expected to sign this legislation into law before the midterm elections.  This is a fairly large bill, that will cost the US billions of dollars but many argue that the bill doesn’t do enough to address the nation’s greatest public health issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bill that would cost the US tax payer $100 billion over the next 10 years, as she argues this is what is really necessary to fully address the opioid crisis.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act takes a wide approach to the opioid epidemic from law enforcement, treatment and public health care measures.

We will talk about some of the major policy changes in the bill and the full-text of the bill is available here.

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The 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was passed by United States Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

One of the greatest achievements of the new bill is a provision to allow Medicaid recipients to seek care at addiction treatment centers. The restrictions on Medicaid funding for substance abuse treatment had been long outdated and congress finally addressed this problem. Allowing Medicaid to help fund up to 30 days of inpatient rehab stays, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is going to help a lot of people get the help they desperately need. The bill authorizes a grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help communities develop opioid recovery centers. While the bill does address the lack of funding for increased access to treatment programs, many addiction specialists argue the bill does not do enough in this regard. While noting that the bill is not itself bad as it does a lot to address a multitude of issues, it is severely lacking on access to treatment, which many believe is the most important technique that could help solve the opioid crisis.

Another provision in the bill lifts restrictions on medications used to treat opioid use disorder and other types of addiction. This measure simply allows more medical practitioners to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine, used to help ease withdrawal symptoms in addiction recovery. As it stands today only 5 percent of doctors are licensed to prescribe this life-saving drug. Another medication, naloxone was addressed in this bill. One provision allows first responders greater access to the life-saving opioid antagonist which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The major law enforcement provision of the SUPPORT Act is aimed at the trafficking of drugs through the postal system. Fentanyl that is illegally imported from Mexico and China has been blamed for many of the opioid-related deaths in recent years. One package seized in Philadelphia last June contained 110 pounds of fentanyl, valued at $1.7 billion dollars. This was estimated to be enough of the dangerous substance to kill the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania two times over. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, so it is easy to smuggle large amounts of the substance through the mail system. This bill makes it harder for people to sneak illicit substances into the US from abroad. The bill will require packages coming in from foreign countries to reveal their contents and where and who they’re coming from. While the bill is broadly aimed at targeting illicit drug suppliers, it includes protection for individuals looking to import cheaper prescriptions from overseas. This was in direct opposition to pharmaceutical companies’ requests to include enforcement against importing cheaper prescriptions from other countries.

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The opioid epidemic kills nearly 200 Americans every single day.

While the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act does a lot to fight the opioid epidemic, there is still a lot of work to be done in the near future. The bill even authorizes research into opioid alternatives to pain management and penalizes drug manufacturers and distributors for overprescribing. A lot more could have been done to address the root causes of addiction and it should have offered greater access to outpatient treatment programs. However, while a lot of divisive partisan issues like funding were ignored in the bill, the Democrats and Republicans agreed on a lot of ‘second-tier’ issues that will definitely help save lives. Given the extreme divisiveness in American politics in the Trump era, this is a small political victory.  Thankfully, everyone finally seems to want to work together in fighting this urgent national health crisis.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment, Not Jail

Young man with beard, lost in the vices of alcoholism, smoking and drug addiction

If you are an alcoholic or are in recovery from alcohol use disorder, you are probably familiar with the “drunk tank.” For those of you who are not familiar with a cold cell at 3 AM, we’ll take a moment to explain. Drinking alcohol is not illegal in any amount; however, drinking too much alcohol in public and behind the wheel is a threat to personal and public safety. When a person who has over-imbibed comes face-to-face with the Law, the net result is usually a stay in the drunk tank. Drunk people go into holding cells at police stations until they sober up, the definition of sober varies by state and country.

In the field of addiction medicine, naturally we are averse to imprisonment for substance use of any kind. If you drive drunk, it makes sense that you do some time in jail to stress the point that you put your life and the lives of others at risk. Heavy fines usually help in cementing the point in one’s skull, but more times than not drunk drivers are repeat offenders—especially alcoholics. Hopefully, one’s DUI ends up being the catalyst that brings about change and lasting recovery; for that to occur, treatment is the best course.

Setting aside DUIs, those who drink too much and find themselves behind bars have the opportunity to sober up and reflect on making better decisions in the future. However, the drunk tank isn’t necessarily the safest place to promote circumspection.

Drunk Tanks Put People At Risk

Alcohol poisoning is a frequent recurrence among heavy drinkers, a condition that can be lethal. Whenever somebody crosses a threshold based on each person’s unique factors (i.e., tolerance and body weight), they are at risk of severe health consequences. Those who do not receive medical supervision can quickly lose their lives. What’s more, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning vary from case-to-case, meaning a police officer is probably ill-equipped to spot the signs. Merely throwing someone in the drunk tank for a brief lesson in civility is a slippery slope.

Last year, Corey Rogers (41) died in a Halifax, Canada, drunk tank, CBC News reports. Rodgers’ mother decided to make it her mission to end the practice of drunk tanks, examining various policies and procedures. Jeannette Rogers’ (Corey Rogers’s mother) cause has the support of addiction recovery and street health workers.

“People who are highly intoxicated don’t belong in jail,” said Rogers, a retired psychiatric nurse.

In other parts of Canada, police bring intoxicated people to “sobering centers,” according to the article. Once there, people high on drugs can get assessments, shelter, food, and access to other services. Law enforcement should opt to release a drunk person to a sober adult or a treatment center, before resorting to drunk tanks, said Archie Kaiser, a law professor at Dalhousie University.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If alcohol use has led to legal difficulties, it’s possible that you have an alcohol use disorder. Treatment is the most efficient way of breaking the cycle of addiction and learning how to work a program of recovery. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch for a free consultation.

Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer

At 10 Acre Ranch, we treat alcohol and substance use disorder 365-days a year. We see the havoc that substance use and abuse wreaks on people’s lives and do everything in our power to give clients the tools to work a program of lasting recovery. Our team of addiction professionals must consider the unique needs of each client to ensure successful outcomes. We know that while opioids remain in the limelight, alcohol use continues to affect more people negatively.

Alcohol misuse, such as binge drinking and long-term heavy consumption, often leads to use disorders. Mental health conditions of this type have no known cure, but we can treat use disorders, and individuals can maintain a program of recovery. Our mission is to show people who have already been touched by the disease that recovery is possible. However, we would be remiss if we failed to do our part in steering young people away from behaviors that lead to lifelong health problems or cause premature death.

Addiction is not the only byproduct of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Research continues to reveal how alcohol can negatively impact one’s health, short of alcohol poisoning and fatal car crashes. In fact, alcohol use (even when consumed moderately) can cause a host of health problems that can easily result in premature death. Young people must be made aware of the scope and scale of dangers associated with even casual alcohol use.

Alcohol Use Linked Cancer

The Journal of Clinical Oncology recently published a statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) warning that even light alcohol use can result in cancer, The New York Times reports. The group says that women are at an increased risk of breast cancer and heavy drinkers are more likely to develop mouth, throat, voice box, liver, and colorectal cancers. This is the first time the group of cancer doctors has cited the risks of cancer associated with drinking alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines moderate drinking as having one daily drink for women and two for men, according to the article. That may not seem like much, but such people are at twice the risk of developing certain types of cancer, compared to individuals who abstain.

“The more you drink, the higher the risk,” said Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, the chief executive of ASCO. “It’s a pretty linear dose-response.”

The findings above are essential for several reasons, especially when you consider that young people don’t associate much risk with drinking from time to time. Alcohol is legal; which means teenagers and young adults believe the substance to be relatively safe. The ASCO statement could have a hand in leading to policy change one day in the future.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery

It’s crucial that everyone who drinks or will drink one day know the risks associated with drinking. Alcohol is a caustic substance that results in more health problems than any other drug. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, the sooner a person receives treatment, the better for all concerned. The more prolonged unchecked addiction, the higher the risks to one’s health. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch, today.

Addiction Treatment After Overdose

man lying in bed hospitalized because of drug overdose

It’s difficult for some people to grasp the driving forces of addiction. Upon hearing of someone’s overdose, one might think that an event like that would wake someone up to reality. Ideally, an overdose would be a catalyst for seeking help, assistance in the form of addiction treatment. There are instances when an overdose is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, prompting someone to seek treatment. Sadly, some individuals experience several overdoses before coming to terms with their situation. The realization: Seek recovery or perish from the disease.

In the wake of the opioid addiction epidemic, overdose is on most people’s mind. One doesn’t need to have a history of addiction to understand the gravity of the situation. Efforts to make the lifesaving overdose reversal drug naloxone more available have spared thousands of lives. However, a cure for overdose is not an antidote for addiction.

man lying in bed hospitalized because of drug overdose

When overdose victims are not encouraged and steered toward treatment, history is bound to repeat itself. A new study makes that reality abundantly clear, nearly 10% of revived patients dying within one year of the overdose. Half of them died within one month of being treated with naloxone, Morningstar reports. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The findings highlight the need for treatment after an overdose revival.

Addiction Treatment Is A Must

Some 140 Americans perish from overdose each day in the United States. Even more people are revived, and such individuals are at the pinnacle of despair. In such a state, one is more likely to see the value of recovery. The problem is that many OD survivors are not connected with addiction treatment professionals at the time. When faced with experiencing days of withdrawal sickness or using again, the latter is almost always the choice.

“Patients who survive opioid overdoses are by no means ‘out of the woods,’” says lead study author Dr. Scott Weiner. “These patients continue to be at high-risk for overdose and should be connected with additional resources such as counseling, treatment and buprenorphine.”

While addiction treatment services exist all around the country, in certain areas accessing help isn’t easy. If people can’t find a bed at a facility or have to wait, they are apt to return to using. More treatment centers are needed in rural America, where high rates of overdose per capita are occurring. The researchers shared a survey at the ACEP meeting, the findings of which were troubling:

“Virtually every emergency physician has seen firsthand the tragedy of opioid addiction,” said Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “The consequences of this epidemic are playing out in the nation’s emergency departments. Almost all the emergency physicians responding to an ACEP poll (87 percent) reported that the number of patients seeking opioids has increased or remained the same. More than half (57 percent) said that detox and rehabilitation facilities were rare or never accessible.”

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

Without help, the odds of overcoming opioid use disorder on one’s own are slim to none. Addiction treatment works and services should be available to people at the time of an overdose. If you or a loved one experienced an overdose recently, please contact 10 Acre Ranch immediately. We can help break the cycle of addiction and show you how a life in recovery is possible. Picking up the phone or contacting us online is the first step.