Two of the Things We Need In Order To Better Ourselves

Learn to trust othersAccording to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, studies show that the part of the brain associated with making good decisions does not optimally function without adequate rest and sleep. On the other hand, they found that the part of the brain that craves rewards is revved up. This can lead to a double whammy when it comes to making decisions about food.

The above study highlights our two needs when it comes to bettering our lives:

#1. The first need is to take time and make sure we get adequate rest. Again, this study confirms the need for us to get sleep and rest, and highlights the intricate connection between our bodies and our minds.

#2. The second need this study brings to mind is our need to learn to trust others. Oftentimes we’re told something, or are given advice we may not want to hear, but then find ways to dismiss the directives, because we believe we are somehow the exception – a belief that can stem from deeper issues. Uncovering these deeper issues that keep us from trusting others takes time, but in the meantime, it does not give us the excuse to not at least take steps to better ourselves.

Pope Francis Sends Message of Hope for Drug Addiction

pope-francis_2541160bCrack cocaine users represent 3% of the population of Brazil. The city of Rio estimates there are 6,000 crack users in the city alone.

On July 24, Pope Francis addressed a group of recovering drug addicts, family and hospital staff at the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisiin a working-class neighborhood of Rio, offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination. He also inaugurated a new wing of the hospital especially dedicated to crack cocaine treatment.

In his speech, which he delivered in Porteguese, the pope stressed the necessity of personal will in recovery.

“To embrace someone is not enough. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: ‘You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to.

The pope said that the answer to drug addiction was not a “liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America,” but solutions to the “problems underlying the use of these drugs.” These solutions include “promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.

The pope praised the hospital, which is operated by the Fraternity of St. Francis of the Providence of God, as a place where the “parable of the good Samaritan is made tangible. Here there is no indifference, but concern. There is no apathy, but love.”

Source: Catholic News

American Addiction Centers’ LGBT Specialty Group

It’s been estimated that 20 percent to 30 percent of gay and transgender people abuse substances, compared to about 9 percent of the general population. [1] Some contributing factors to this statistic include: stress due to the stigmas attached to sexuality; drugs used as coping mechanisms in the face of discrimination; education; and lack of equal healthcare options in substance abuse treatment. [2]

I’m proud to say that American Addiction Centers believes in providing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals with a specialty group focused specifically on issues faced within this population.

At Forterus’ Murrieta campus, clients who choose to attend the LGBT group will gain a supportive network of peers, as well as supportive staff that can assist them in their recovery needs, in addition to traditional addiction and recovery programming.

They will attend monthly meetings at the San Diego LGBT Center, where they will interact with the LGBT community.

Topics covered (in addition to drug and alcohol addiction):

  • Sexual Identity: embracing their identity
  • Depression/Anxiety/Co Occurring Disorders
  • Impulsivity
  • Social interaction
  • Overcoming every day challenges
  • Community integration

Call us today if you or a loved one is in need of LGBT-friendly support and treatment.

Sources:

[1] SAMSHA (2010)

[2] American Progress

NYC Mayoral Hopeful Comes Clean About Her Addiction

imagesChristine Quinn is Speaker of the New York City Council – the first female and first openly gay person to hold this prestigious position. And when she recently announced her candidacy to run for New York City mayor, Christine also opened up about her battles with bulimia and alcohol.

For a decade, Christine binged, purged and abused alcohol as she struggled with her mother’s cancer and subsequent death while she was in middle school. Loneliness and self-pity took control.

She told the The New York Times, “…the bad thing about isolation is I think it fuels more isolation.”

At the age of 26, Christine entered treatment in Florida after beginning her career in politics  following college. She has been sober and successful ever since, and married her partner last year.

“Asking for help, going to the rehab, dealing with bulimia, cutting back on drinking, getting drinking out of my life altogether — all of that helped me put the pieces back together.”

Do you have a story of hope to share? We’d love to hear!

Many People See Hope in the Affordable Care Act

large-iconLast week, we wrote about the overwhelming statistics: that only 1 cent of every healthcare dollar in the United States goes toward addiction, and only 10 percent of the 23 million Americans with alcohol or drug problems receive treatment.

Hard to believe, right?! And here are two more:

  • Almost four million individual insurance policy holders don’t have access to insurance for substance addiction or mental health treatment (The Department of Health and Human Services).
  • Nearly 1.2 million people who hold small group health insurance plans don’t have access to substance abuse and mental health care (The Department of Health and Human Services).

But many Americans see hope in the Affordable Care Act, under which more than 60 million Americans will gain access to previously unavailable substance abuse and mental health treatment by 2014. Under this law, signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010, substance abuse and mental health treatment are considered essential health benefits that must be equally covered along with other essential medical care.

More benefits:

  • In 2014, Medicaid will also offer coverage for substance abuse, which will help the remaining 27 million Americans with no insurance.
  • The law’s “parity” protection will cover an additional 30.4 million people, expanding options for those whose policies already offer some limited help for substance abuse and mental health disorders.
  • The law’s ten “Essential Health Benefit” categories will include substance abuse and mental health therapies.


Many addiction professionals across the country consider the Affordable Care Act to be the most significant advancement in substance abuse treatment in decades, and the White House say it’s he largest of its kind in a generation.

Do you think the Affordable Care Act is good drug policy?

Only 1 Cent of Every Healthcare Dollar Goes Toward Addiction

shutterstock_135685916Only 1 cent of every healthcare dollar in the United States goes toward addiction, and few alcoholics and drug addicts receive treatment.

This heartbreaking statistic comes with another one: Only 10 percent of the 23 million Americans with alcohol or drug problems receive treatment! (1) This is due in part to the stigma attached to addiction, and the fact that many people who need treatment don’t have insurance – and it doesn’t help that many facilities across the country are at or near capacity.

Marjorie Yates, associate director for Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia, says for many individuals, treatment is “basically unavailable, and if it is available, the wait is so long that they can be dead by the time they get actual inpatient treatment.” In extreme cases, she notes some will illegally go to the emergency room and pretend to be suicidal, because that’s the only way they can get treated. (2)

Wait-lists can potentially be very harmful, especially in make-or-break situations. I’m proud to say that the facilities of American Addiction Centers typically have little-to-no wait-lists, ensuring as many clients are treated under our care as possible.

This week, we’ll be reporting on big news: the upcoming federal healthcare overhaul, which is slated to help millions of uninsured Americans become eligible for the insurance they so desperately need to recover.

Do you think we should be spending more of our healthcare dollars on addiction treatment?

Sources:

(1) National Institute of Drug Abuse

(2) Daily Progress

5 Signs Your Recovery is in Trouble

Recovery and rehabilitation is not about numbing the brain with medications or delusions, but with correct, effective information that helps foster a new mindset. Successful and lifelong recovery most often includes a few bumps in the road – relapse is common and to be expected – but there are ways to tell if you’re heading in the direction of relapse, and get back on track before that happens.

Courtesy of Psych Central, here are five signs you or your loved one may need to change your recovery strategy:

Refusing to ask for help.

“Refusing to reach out for help, whether that includes inpatient or outpatient treatment, counseling or self-help support groups, is often a sign that long-term recovery isn’t going to be a reality.”

Continuing to search for a quick fix.

“Although medication can aid in recovery, it is not by itself a long-term solution. Going to rehab or therapy can be immensely healing, but not if you’re just going through the motions. In other words, scrap the quick-fix mindset or run the risk of experiencing only a hint of what addiction recovery can offer.”

Making excuses for unhealthy behavior.

“You may not self-medicate with drugs but you may numb your emotions with food, dive into romantic or sexual relationships too early in recovery, or compulsively shop or gamble to get a rush. Because these behaviors provide relief at a time when you’re in desperate need, denial will set in once again and you’ll seek out ways to justify them.”

Believing your recovery is doomed.

“It’s true, drugs were fun (for a while) and recovery is hard (for a while). But if you talk to people in long-term recovery you’ll hear endless testimonies of how recovery is possible even in the most dire and seemingly hopeless situations and how wonderful life can be without drugs or alcohol.”

Thinking you’re cured for life.

“Recovery often gets easier over time, and working a program takes on different meaning many years in. But as a chronic disease, you’ll need to remain in tune with your feelings and relapse triggers and continue making healthy choices even when you feel invulnerable.”

Element in the Spotlight: Maintain the Life You Love

Essential Element #5 is “Maintain the Life You Love.” Maintaining the life you love – the life you want – involves several key factors: the anticipation of relapse; surrounding yourself with positive influences; managing triggers; finding a Higher Power; and focusing on your healing.

Anticipate relapse

If we hope to maintain a life we love, and free of addiction, we must prepare for relapses and have a good idea of how we’ll respond when they happen. Slip-ups are to be expected, and so it’s crucial to not be discouraged when they occur. Never give up in despair.

Surround yourself with winners

This one harkens back to Essential Element #3; in order to maintain the life you love, surrounding yourself with the right people is paramount. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight but constantly allow yourself to be around people who are overeat, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Instead, it’s best to seek others who are supportive of your efforts and goals. Watch out for people who say they support you, yet they continue to eat poorly in your presence.

Manage triggers

Maintaining a new life free of substances or compulsive behaviors means managing your emotional responses to the substances and temptations. Recovery requires a true, lifelong change in lifestyle. Emotions can be adversely affected by a wide range of things – from the smell of certain foods or the sight of a past partner, to an argument with a friend or family tragedy. Unmanaged emotional responses can be triggers for substance use and lead to more unhealthy habits. It’s how you respond to these triggers that can make all the difference between relapse and recovery.

Find a Higher Power

Whether through faith and prayer, spirituality or other means, it’s important you have something stronger than yourself upon which you can rely for inner strength while maintaining your recovery. That’s why we often hear those in AA, NA or other support groups talking about a “Higher Power.” Find what works for you.

Focus on yourself

Only when you focus on your own healing can you maintain the life you love, and perhaps help someone else in need.