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The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Opioid Alternatives: Should Doctors Weigh Other Options?

Physical therapist helping patient on exercise staircase.

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Author: Shernide Delva

Over the last decade, the increase in opiate painkiller abuse and heroin abuse has been alarming to say the least. The 2014 statistics state that a person dies every 4 minutes from a drug overdose or alcohol-related event. Prescription pain killer abuse is an epidemic in the United States and as a result, alternatives are being considered to prevent more and more people from developing a dependency to opioids. Are there better methods of managing chronic pain?

Many believe so and are pushing for a change. While opioid medications are effective at reducing pain, they are very addictive, and other alternatives should be looked at before doctors prescribe opioid medications.

So, what options are available? Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for pain relief that range from non-opioid medications to non-medicinal therapies. Discussing these options with your doctor can help provide you with a pain management program that has a lower risk for dependency.

The Best Opiate Alternatives

  • Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen
    Acetaminophen is a drug more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol. It is recommended as a first-line of treatment by the American College of Rheumatology. While scientists are not sure on how the drug works, most theorize the drug works by inhibiting the synthesis of chemical messengers called prostaglandins, which help to transmit pain signals and induce fever. This drug is non-addictive and can be very effective.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    NSAIDs are more potent than acetaminophen and include anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve. These drugs work by reducing inflammation; however they run a risk of risk of organ toxicity, kidney or liver failure and ulcers. Use in moderation for optimum success.
  • Corticosteroids
    Steroids inhibits nerves in the body and provide pain relief. The drawbacks to steroids are that they can potentially accelerate join destruction. Other side effects can include immune system suppression, gastrointestinal issues and psychiatric effects.
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitors
    Anti-depressants may be appropriate for nerve, muscular and skeletal pain. They also help with insomnia and anxiety. This is a great alternative because these drugs do not have the same side effects of opioids.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy requires more work from the patient but can be extremely useful in improving physical healing and relieving pain long-term. Physical therapy can be done in sessions and recommended exercises can often be done at home.
  • Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
    Acupuncture is an ancient art form that has been used for thousands of years. Some find acupuncture to be just as effective, if not more effective than medications. On the bonus side, it is a totally natural safe alternative to opioid medication.
  • Exercise
    Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons. Surprisingly, exercise has been shown to be healing for those with chronic pain. Low-impact exercises can help improve mobility and functionality. Activities like yoga and ta-chi can be helpful for many ailments.

Chronic pain affects millions. Whether we like it or not, pain is a real occurrence, and sometimes opioid medications may be the only option. However, if other alternatives and other methods of care can be promoted, it can help prevent the amount of patients suffering from dependence to these drugs. Often, taking a prescription opioid may not be the best option. As the prescription pain killer epidemic continues to gain media attention and  political awareness,more attention should be placed on prevention methods, as well as treatment.

Overall, ask your doctor to weigh the alternative options available. Together, both of you can decide the best method of pain management. What do you think? Should doctors weight other options? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

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Author: Shernide Delva


“If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.”
― AesopAesop’s Fables

Friendship can be a beautiful thing if done right.  Letting go of a friend can be harder than ending an intimate relationship, but sometimes there are friendships that are better to let go of than continue. When you have a friend that has the potential to affect your life in a negative way, it might be time to finally let that friend go.

When you first get negative feelings about certain friendships in your life, it can be difficult to cope with those feelings. Those in recovery should know that the people you spend the most time with influence you the most, so spending a large amount of time with friends that are engaging in negative behaviors can bring you down. Unfortunately, learning to let go of friendships is part of the process.

Friendships can be a blessing, yet staying friends with someone who is hurting you can be a downright curse. However, if you put yourself above others and understand what your needs are, you will know when it is time to cut a person out of your life for good.

Still, how do you know for sure? Below are seven signs that it could be time to end a friendship:

  1. They Complain About Everything

Negativity is never healthy. Even if you are having your best day ever, this person will find something to complain about. Maintaining optimism is very important, so being around someone that brings your down is definitely unhealthy.

Of course, it is always a good idea to talk about your concerns regarding their negativity, however if you find they are too stuck in their ways, it might be time to cease that friendship altogether.

  1. They Are Judgmental

We all pass judgments.  Judgments are necessary to make decisions in our lives. However, when we make judgments about things we know nothing about, that often leads to more harm than good. Judgments can come across very ignorant and rude.

A friend who is overly judgmental may judge your behavior or even mock you for wanting to make a positive change. When you are making a huge change in your life, you need encouragement, not judgment. If your friend can not stop passing judgment, that is a sign to let that friendship go.

  1. They Don’t Listen

Listening is one of the most important characteristics a friend can have. You need to have someone who will listen to you when you are feeling down or just need to vent. Friends who do not listen tune you out, and churn at rapid rates when you tell them something.

If you have a friend who is more focused on themselves than they are on you that is a major red flag. Friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way street. A friend who only cares about themselves will only be interested in you if it pertains to them, or offers them some sort of benefit. Any friend like this is not a true friend at all.

  1. They’re Overly Critical

I am all for constructive criticism but being overly critical is a huge no-no. A friend who attacks or expresses disapproval can be extremely discouraging. You may feel insecure about talking about your struggles with that person.

There is a fine line between a friend who is trying to help you improve and a friend who simply wants to belittle your progress. Knowing the difference is the key. Once you acknowledge that your friend’s criticism is more destructive than constructive, it could be time to focus on friends who offer you more compassion and support.

  1. They Are Always The Victim

Friends that tend to blame the outside world for their own problems are not the healthiest to have around. In recovery, you learn to take control of your life and work on taking responsibility for your behaviors. Hanging around people who refuse to acknowledge their faults can be negative in your progress.

Friends who constantly complain about not having enough time or being “the victim” are not ideal to be around. Focus on friends who are proactive and goal-oriented. Your motivation is influenced by the inspiration you have around you. Surround yourself with inspiring people.

  1. They Are Not Trustworthy

Do you have a friend you would not tell a secret to?  That could be a sign to drop the friendship. Trust is a major component of friendship. If you have a friend who gossips a lot or tells secrets, it can be hard to trust them. Friends who are untrustworthy are a huge red flag. Let go of friendships that are disingenuous and focus on friendships that better suit your needs.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and good friends can transform you in the healing process. However, knowing when to let a friendship go is one of the most useful tools you can have. After all, you come first and your mental and physical health is of utmost importance.  Remember, you can always reach out to someone if you need help overcoming challenges in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

4 Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For You

4 Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For You

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Author: Justin Mckibben

As someone in recovery from one of the worst habits one could possibly have, drug and alcohol addiction, I can always be the first to admit that even once we get sober there are still plenty of bad habits to choose from, and there are plenty of everyday people who have some of these same bad habits without the prerequisite of a severe substance abuse issue.

Bad habits are not exclusive to anyone, we all have some pattern we run in our lives once in a while or chronically that just seems gross, annoying or even dangerous, but the truth is there are always two sides to every story. Some of the bad habits are actually good for you, to some extent.

  1. Chewing gum

This is definitely one I can relate to, and I’ve heard more than once that watching someone chew gum is not a pretty sight. However, there are those that advocate that chewing gum is a stress relieving activity with apparent cognitive benefits.

In the book Senescence and Senescence-Related Disorders, Kin-ya Kubo and colleagues noted that chewing gum immediately before performing a cognitive task improves task performance because chewing gum actually increases blood oxygen levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. This is an area of essential brain structures involved in learning and memory.

  • Another study by a research team lead by Yoshiyuki Hirano indicated:
  • Chewing gum boosts thinking and alertness
  • Reaction times among chewers were 10% faster than for non-chewers
  • Up to 8 areas of the brain are affected by chewing, particularly areas concerning attention and movement
  1. Fidgeting

Those little leg shakes or quirky foot tapping movements we call fidgeting might be annoying to people around you, or even you when they seem to go on all by themselves, but fidgeting actually expends energy and burns calories.

Fidgeting is one activity that falls into a category known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). A number of studies carried out by obesity expert James Levine at the Mayo Clinic have shown that fidgeting speeds up an individual’s metabolism by stimulating neurochemicals in the body, thus increasing the ability to convert body fat into energy, so individuals who fidget burn up about 350 kcal a day!

  1. Swearing

Most people (namely your parents) still consider that swearing (cursing/cussing) is a bad habit, even though now it is a lot more common than a few decades ago. Now while it can be associated with being rude or even downright disrespectful, research has shown that using bad words may be the cheapest painkiller on the &$%#! market!

Richard Stephens of Keele University (UK) recently pioneered and published a cuss-worthy study in Neuroreport. The results of the experiments by Stephens and his team compared individuals who swore to individuals that didn’t, and displayed the former could endure the pain of putting their hand in a bucket of ice-cold water nearly 50% longer than the latter.

  • Almost 2 minutes for those that swore
  • 1 minute 15 seconds for those that said a neutral, non-swear word instead

The researchers speculated that swearing might trigger our natural “fight-or-flight” response by downplaying a weakness or threat in order to deal with it, but the stipulation is that swearing may only be effective in helping reduce pain if it is a casual habit, with the researcher warning that swearing is emotional language but if individuals overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment, and is less likely to help alleviate pain.

  1. Daydreaming

I was the most happy to read this one, since I basically live in a perpetual state of daydream. Creative types can be like that, there’s not much else to it. Sometimes daydreaming can occupy up to 1/3 of our waking lives, it can become nightmarish and evolve into anxiety, and generally is often viewed as a sign of laziness or inattentiveness.

So when I saw something that said the “executive network” in our brain is highly active when we are daydream, I knew there was a reason why I stayed stuck in my imagination most days.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was conducted by Kalina Christoff established the presence of rigorous activity in numerous brain regions while daydreaming, including areas associated with complex problem solving, to the point where these regions were even more active during a daydream than during routine tasks.

What is possible is that when we use conscious thought our thinking becomes too rigid and limited, so daydreaming is an important cognitive state in which we can navigate our attention from immediate tasks to unconsciously think about problems in their lives.

Eric Klinger of the University of Minnesota also supported the amazing positive attributes of the daydream, asserting it also serves an evolutionary purpose by triggering reminders of additional concurrent objectives when we are doing something else so that we do not lose sight of them, like it opens a little memory or hope to remind us why we are moving forward.

Sure, the present is where beauty often lives, but that doesn’t mean that the beauty in our deepest daydreams is any less real or necessary.

Some of the things we do the world tells us are irritating impulses or harmful habits, but in reality some of these things are the things that keep us growing and evolving, or serene and grounded. Feel free to fidget and embrace those twitches and subconscious tactics once in a while… I’ll be here daydreaming.

Habits haven’t yet “hijacked” the brain circuits that play a part in addiction, such as memories, emotions, and impaired decision-making; all of which are not yet intricately linked to the substance or the behavior as they are with a full-blown addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling from a habit that has become a dangerous or deadly addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Sports Injuries Increase the Risk of Drug Addiction

Sports Injuries Increase the Risk of Drug Addiction

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Author: Shernide Delva

The benefits of playing sports are endless.  Any form of physical activity is good for the mind, body and spirit. Team sports teach you accountability, social skills, leadership, among many other traits. Growing up, I was involved in playing soccer and basketball. I was an average player at best, however, I learned so much about myself being involved in sports. I pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of, both mentally and physically.

However, the biggest danger of playing sports is getting injured.  Injuries and sports go hand and hand. A study even revealed that athletes could have a greater risk of developing a dependency to drugs due to their high risk of injury.

See, it starts off quite innocently.  An athlete suffers an injury and is prescribed an opioid painkiller to ease the pain during the healing process. The next thing you know, that same athlete finds themselves with an addiction to painkillers.

A recent article delves into this addiction crisis in sports. A Maryland doctor admits he sees this occurrence on a daily basis. What starts out as a simple sports injury leads into abuse of powerful, narcotic painkillers. And when the pills run out, teens often turn to a cheaper alternative: heroin.

In the article, Conner Ostrowski is used as an example. Conner was a varsity team wrestler with plans to attend college on a full scholarship. Suddenly, Conner’s plans were derailed when he suffered a life-changing injury and cracked the base of his spine during a match.

As you can imagine, this was very devastating for Conner. Conner was told he could never wrestle again. As a precaution, his mother told his surgeon not to prescribe him opiate-based medication. Addiction ran in the family, she said. However, Conner’s pain consumed him. Soon, he even became depressed.

A family member who had extra Percocet pills offered Conner a full bag. The rest, as explained by mother, Andrea Wildason, was history:

“So he took the Percocet, and you know, all the anxiety and the depression and the racing thoughts in his brain, he sort of went, ‘Ah,’ you know, and his back pain went away after one pill.”

Percocet is a highly addictive opioid. Conner went through the bag quickly and tried to find more at school, but he could not afford the high street value cost, so he turned to a cheaper alternative: heroin.

“He was sleeping, nodding off all the time, and he was angry. He became mean,” Wildason said.

Conner’s story is all too common. A 2014 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found boys who participated in organized sports have higher odds of being prescribed opioid medication, putting them at greater risk of drug abuse.

Sports injuries, in many cases, are the gateway to drug addiction. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Edward McDevitt says stories like these are all too common. Doctors are eager to help athletes get back to the team quickly.

“As a team doctor, you want to help them, so you give them medication, but sometimes you give them too strong a medication or on medication for too long, and once they’re on it for a length of time, they get addicted to it,” McDevitt said.

He said physicians need to take some responsibility.

“We have to realize that we are sometimes the ones who are steering these people on the road to addiction. We have to talk about the dangers of these drugs and how they should be used for a very short period of time,” McDevitt said.

McDevvitt believes other less addictive options should be explored before prescribing addictive painkillers. Alternatives like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be very effective. Even physical therapy and ice can go a long way in treating an injury.

As for Conner, after several failed attempts, he is now three years sober.  The pain from his wrestling injury is still there but he has learned a valuable lesson.

“Pain doesn’t kill you. Addiction will, and he knows that. He knows that, and I hope everybody knows that,” Wildason said.

Parents should explore other pain relieving options that are less addictive.  If that does not work, carefully monitoring narcotic prescriptions and asking for a smaller dose could help prevent drug abuse.

What do you think? Are sports injuries contributing to teens abusing pain medications? Pain is a real thing, however knowing the dangers of addiction can help avoid a major problem. If you are struggling, it is time to finally overcome your dependence to opioid medications. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Spread Awareness: This Week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Spread Awareness: This Week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

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“Her body
Layers upon layers of flesh
Her body
Lacking nourishment
Craving Rest

Her Body
As vast as an ocean
Her Mind
Too shallow to appreciate the depth”

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: February 21-27 2016

Above is an excerpt from a poem I wrote called “Her Body.” The poem really delves deep into the seriousness of eating disorders. Personally, I believe it is critical for people to understand and learn about the complexity of eating disorders. Eating disorders can cause great harm if left untreated.

That being said, in case you missed it, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week. Throughout the week, NEDA and its supporters aim to bring awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders and increase access to treatment for those in need. Struggling with an eating disorder can be very daunting, and often those who have them are not even aware of the problem. Eating Disorders Awareness Week’s goal is to spread the message to both those who suffer and the loved ones around them.

This year’s theme for NEDA week is “3 Minutes can Save a Life: Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy.” The website offers a 3 minute survey that can help determine if you may have symptoms of an eating disorder. While the results are NOT an official diagnosis, it can help determine if you should seek professional help.

Eating disorders involve dark destructive behaviors in the effort to attain an ideal body image or seek control over one’s life. Eating disorders can cause depression and obsessive compulsive behavior. If left unaddressed, eating disorders can be incredibly damaging both psychologically and physically.

Types & Symptoms of Eating Disorders

From personal experience, I know how destructive eating disorders can be.  Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.

Here are just a few disturbing statistics regarding eating disorders:

General Eating Disorder Stats

  • Nearly 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
  • Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
  • Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • 25% of college-aged women admitted to bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder.

As you can see, these statistics are startling. With the influences of the media, the desire to be a certain size and look a certain way is continuing to affect people in a negative way.

Before we delve any further, let’s quickly define some of the more commonly known eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Severely limiting calories, leading to low body weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight, obsession with the scale

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Eating large quantities of food, followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain such as throwing up, using laxatives of excessive exercise
  • Feeling out of control and desperate because of unrealistic body image goals

Binge Eating Disorder            

  • Eating large amounts of food, yet not engaging in behaviors to prevent weight gain
  • Strong shame or guilt regarding binge eating
  • Eating to the point of discomfort and eating when not hungry
  • Eating alone because of shame

Other Types of Eating Disorders

  • Orthorexia– extreme or excessive preoccupation with eating food believed to be healthy.
  • Purging disorder- purging without binge eating
  • Night eating syndrome- excessive nighttime food consumption

There are multitudes of eating disorders out there, some less commonly known, however the one thing they all have in common is that they interfere with a person’s well-being and relationship with food.  Fortunately, the media has taken steps to prevent the onset of eating disorders. Fashion models even have guidelines they must follow to maintain a healthy body weight.

Still, having an eating disorder can be very depressing for many and lead to self-harm. This week, take time out of your day to examine your eating patterns and self-worth. Do you struggle with disordered eating behaviors? Perhaps it’s time for you, or someone you know,  to get on the right path to self-love.

It is so important for people to learn and understand eating disorders so they are able to help someone who is struggling. It is even more important to know when you are struggling with something yourself and need to get help. Do not be afraid to admit that you have a problem. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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