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Acupuncture Can Improve Chronic Pain and Depression Treatment

Acupuncture Can Improve Chronic Pain and Depression Treatment

Author: Justin Mckibben

Using needles to heal addicts is nothing new. Those who practice and promote holistic healing are often familiar with the concept. In recovery, the needle can mean something totally different than what it meant in addiction. For some it opens up a new world of medical treatment they never knew was possible. Acupuncture itself is actually much more powerful than some may realize, and a recent study only magnifies the usefulness of going under the needle for chronic pain and mental health.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library now features a report where the researchers show there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect.

To clarify, a placebo is a substance or treatment with no active therapeutic effect. These kinds of treatment may be given to a person in order to trick the recipient into thinking that it is an active treatment, meaning the answer is all in the mind.

This new data suggests there is an active therapeutic element to acupuncture.

Clinic Trials: Acupuncture VS Pain

Professor of Acupuncture Research, Hugh MacPherson, helped bring together this research with a team of scientists from the UK and US. The data is strung together using the results of 29 high-quality clinical trials. These trials specifically reviewed patients treated with acupuncture, alongside standard medical care.

For most of the clinical trials, patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture and standard medical care were tested against those who were provided with standard medical care alone. The standard medical care includes treatment such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physiotherapy

Those examined were approximately 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of areas such as:

  • Neck
  • Lower back
  • Head
  • Knee

According to the published reports, the addition of acupuncture to complement standard medical treatment has a few powerful effects. Acupuncture was able to:

  • Significantly reduce the number of headaches and migraine attacks
  • Reduce the severity of neck and lower back pain
  • Reduce the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, which led to patients being less reliant on anti-inflammatory drugs

Clinic Trials: Acupuncture VS Depression

The teams report also includes a new clinical trial for the impact on depression. During these trials acupuncture or counselling was compared to the effectiveness of antidepressants and related medications.

Researchers sourced from 755 patients with depression in the North of England. The new study shows that both acupuncture and counselling significantly reduced the severity of depression. Not only did they reduce the severity, but the benefits were generally continuous for up to 12 months after the initial treatment. So the long-term implications alone are pretty exciting to see.

Professor MacPherson, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, has said:

“The front-line treatment for depression in primary care usually involves antidepressants; however, they do not work well for more than half of patients.

“In the largest study of its kind, we have now provided a solid evidence base to show that not only can acupuncture and counselling bring patients out of an episode of depression, but it can keep the condition at bay for up to a year on average.”

Professor MacPherson believes that because patients and health professionals can now make decisions on using acupuncture for treatment with more confidence, this new data provides a significant step forward in managing and treating chronic pain and depression.

Clinic Trials: True Acupuncture VS Sham Acupuncture

As stated in the beginning, many believed acupuncture’s benefits to be at least partially associated with placebo effects. With this doubt hanging over it, the uncertainty of it’s clinical effectiveness has stunted its growth.

Professor MacPherson says that this new research provides definitive evidence that acupuncture can work to treat chronic pain; that in doing so the reductions in pain are substantially more than those measured from what is called “sham acupuncture.”

Sham acupuncture is only for clinical trials for research purposes. This “sham” method involves inserting needles at the ‘wrong’ locations, or using non-inserted needles (fake needles) at the correct locations. Having data to attest that ‘true’ acupuncture has significantly more effect in reducing pain than ‘sham’ acupuncture offers evidence that it is not simply a placebo effect.

In Conclusion

This research also asserts that this kind of treatment is cost effective. With the value for money being rated as less than the threshold of £20,000 cost per quality of life year; a metric for measuring cost-effectiveness used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). MacPherson went on to state:

“There has been a question mark for many years over whether policy and decision makers should or should not provide wider access to acupuncture. Our aim was to bring together data from high quality clinical trials and provide a robust evidence base that will help reduce this uncertainty and support commissioners and health professionals in making informed decisions backed up with research.”

Professor MacPherson insists that not only is it more cost effective than medications, but acupuncture reduces pain levels and improves mood levels, which could reduce over reliance on drugs that can sometimes result in unwanted side effects, such as physical dependence or abuse.

In the world of addiction, pain and depression are often simultaneous with substance use disorder. Many people who battle with addiction also fight to overcome depression, and countless people have become addicted to opioids as a result of prolonged dependence on prescription pain medications. As we move toward more innovations in prevention and intervention, innovations in treatment are more important than ever.

For years Palm Partners has believed in the healing power of acupuncture and offered the opportunity for people struggling with substances to have access to this powerful resource on their path to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now!

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

A Powerful Story from the Face of Addiction

A Powerful Story from the Face of Addiction

Author: Justin Mckibben

Wednesday evening, 9 Frederick County residents in Area 31 in downtown Frederick went in front of a camera. But this wasn’t any ordinary photo shoot. Not some promotion for a new shoe or the next big diet plan. These 9 brave individuals went under the spotlight to divulge some of their darkest memories of addiction, to spread home for recovery.

The filming is for a new video on recovery awareness. Stories like these of struggles and survival are incredibly powerful.

The Face of Addiction

The project has the title “I Am the Face of Addiction.” This in-depth film is intended to showcase progressive and empowering narratives from individuals in recovery. Ultimately, the hope is to inspire other residents of the area struggling with substance abuse.

The dream behind the film and a lot of the work put into it comes from Pam Knight, a Libertytown resident. When talking about how the project came to be, Knight stated:

“We just want to break the stigma of the term ‘drug addict,’…This is a major epidemic, but there are still so many people who are too ashamed or too embarrassed to admit ‘my life is out of control.’”

Knight, a former special education teaching assistant at Linganore High School, has her own history with addiction. That history puts her in a unique position to know the power of perspective.

Accidentally Addicted

In active addiction, at face-value Knight’s life seemed flawless. Her husband, Daniel, owns a successful hair salon in Frederick. The couple has three adult children and three grandchildren. To some this sounds like the American dream, but many wouldn’t know there could be nightmares behind the scenes.

Under it all, Knight was hid a pill addiction for years. She says it began in 2011 after falling off the bleachers at her son’s high school football game. After she was prescribed Vicodin for pain, she began taking more and more. While in the beginning she said the pills made her feel “like Superwoman,” she later describes the experience of addiction as “purgatory.” Knight stated,

“Towards the end, there was no high anymore. You have to have it to make your brain feel normal. The first thing I would do in the morning is pop my pills.”

It didn’t take long before Knight graduated from Vicodin to Percocet. After experimenting with opiates she began doctor-shopping to obtain prescriptions. She admits that her final years of addiction she found herself buying pills off the street.

Her drug of choice was Roxicodone — known as “Roxys” on the street — an opioid-based painkiller. She would purchase quantities of 30 milligram tablets and take multiple doses at a time. Knight said,

“If I didn’t have them, I would get horrible shakes.”

Seeing the Signs

Knight’s husband and her oldest daughter, Loren Maxwell, admit that Knight’s gradual descent into addiction was easy to brush off in the beginning. The signs were somewhat there, but not easy for her family to see for what they were.

Her husband Daniel said he would notice days when she seemed especially manic or sweaty, but Knight always had an explanation.

Maxwell said her mother’s ability to function made her addiction harder to spot. Many people don’t acknowledge the dangers of ‘functioning addiction’ because they don’t understand it.

During this time the family said the signs were simple to dismiss unknowingly or miss altogether. Now that Pam Knight has gone through recovery, Daniel Knight said,

“I see them everywhere.”

Family Fight Knight

Like many people have experienced, the fight with addiction can often be a family affair.

Knight’s youngest son, Connor, was also struggling with addiction at the same time as his mother. Like Pam Knight, Connor said his problems started with the opioid painkillers prescribed for his football injuries. His struggles with opiates graduated much quicker. At 17 years old, Connor first snorted heroin with a bandmate, and his progressive addiction took off.

After years, both Pam and Connor finally found a new chance through rehabilitation at treatment centers in Florida.

Pam has been sober for three years; Connor for 11 months.

Inspiring Others

Pam Knight’s motivation for sharing the gritty details of her experience for this film is to show that recovery is possible. Knight currently speaks in Frederick County Public Schools as an advocate for addiction recovery. She says she hopes to screen the finished video for these audiences to spread more of this story.

Other participants in the film also hope their contribution will inspire recovering addicts. A huge part of inspiring others is to help overcome addiction stigma. Statistically we know that far too many addicts prolong their suffering and lose their lives because they don’t know of a better option, or because they are afraid of the assumptions and stereotypes attached to addiction. Breaking those stereotypes is exactly why we need such powerful stories, such as Pam Knights. A mother, a wife and a miracle who has persevered through a great deal of difficulty. We celebrate her and the others involved in this project helping to reach out and change lives by showing people the true face of addiction is not always what you would expect.

Sharing your story isn’t always easy, but once you have a chance to rewrite your story it can be more powerful than you can imagine. It isn’t always easy to change that story, but it is always possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

National Recovery Month 2016: Family Stories Theme

National Recovery Month 2016: Family Theme

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

This September brings us another opportunity to talk about raising awareness for substance abuse, addiction and recovery with National Recovery Month 2016. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that actively spearheads public health efforts for progress in behavioral health. Along with other organizations and community leaders, SAMHSA helps to create events around the country for this very important topic.

History of Awareness

SAMHSA was created by Congress back in 1992 to make mental health and substance abuse services more accessible. However the origins of National Recovery Month go back even farther.

  • 1989

National Recovery Month began as “TreatmentWorks!Month” established to honor the work of professionals in the treatment and recovery field.

  • 1998

The annual observance grew into “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month” to include rejoicing in the accomplishments of individuals who are actively in recovery from substance use disorders.

  • 2011

This celebration evolved even further to National Recovery Month AKA “Recovery Month” to include all facets of behavioral and mental health recovery.

  • 2015

The theme for the 2015 National Recovery Month was:

“Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!”

Along with the theme last year’s events were organized to bring people together to share real life experiences of how recovery impacted their lives, while standing up against stigma of addiction and recovery.

The Theme for 2016

The theme for the 27th annual Recovery Month 2016 is:

“Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!”

This year’s theme highlights the value of family support throughout recovery. The theme also invites individuals in recovery and their families to share personal stories and successes to encourage and empower others.

Addiction is known as a “family disease.” This means that the family and friends of an alcoholic are often as sick as the alcoholic themselves.  Likewise, when someone finds themselves on the road to recovery, the family often gets the opportunity to be active and inspired in their journey.

Most holistic drug addiction treatment programs offer the opportunity to take part in a family program. This will put loved ones and family members in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.

We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.

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Recovery Month Event Schedule for Florida

In observance of National Recovery Month 2016 there is a vast calendar of events all over the country to raise awareness for this important cause. These events range from support groups and discussions to open celebrations. Lets highlight some of the upcoming events in the Florida area. Here are some of the events for the rest of September.

  1. ENEMY Album Release Party- Thursday, September 22, 2016

This is an open public event set to take place at Paradise Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The details have it listed as an entertainment event, and the description says it is benefiting the Face the Music Foundation.

  1. Recovery Sunday- Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recovery Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, Florida includes three worship services. As part of this event attendees will have a chance to see a brief video of a personal testimony about a family’s discovery of the Support & Addiction Family Education (SAFE) ministry and their personal journey. The showings are:

  • 7:30am- 8:30am
  • 9:00am-10:00am
  • 11:00am-12:00pm

In addition, display tables will be set up with free booklets about the disease of addiction and the recovery journey.

  1. TB Rays Recovery Month- Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays and BayCare Behavioral Health invite the community to celebrate National Recovery Month on Sunday, September 25, at 1:10pm when the Rays take on the Red Sox! The deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Lower Level Tickets are $20 ($45 Value). To reserve your seats call 727-940-2837 Monday through Friday between 8am- 5 pm.

This event will take place in Saint Petersburg, Florida from 1:00pm- 4:00pm. Sports fans should definitely check this one out.

  1. Block Party: Celebrate Recovery- September 30, 2016

That’s right, it’s a Block Party! This is a great chance to bring families and communities together to celebrate recovery! Free food is provided, along with a raffle ticket for your chance to win a few great prizes! The party starts at 5:00pm.

This is another open public event in Jacksonville Florida, with an estimated 200 attendees already. Look online to find more information about this rally for Recovery Month.

Find Out More

You can get involved, or find an event in your area, by checking out the SAMHSA website for National Recovery Month. You can also see inspirational PSA videos that emphasize the importance of family and community support in recovery.

So many people overlook the importance of having a strong system of support standing behind you in the recovery process. The role of family members and loved ones in an individual’s recovery is paramount, because it can provide a sense of love and security like no other. However, beyond National Recovery Month events, you can help inform people about the importance of family in recovery.

You can either stand on the sidelines of someone’s suffering, or you can get in the game and work with them for change. Reading through countless stories of families who fought together to overcome addiction, I think this is an awesome theme for National Recovery Month. And communities should think of themselves as a family. It isn’t just about the people in your house; your neighborhood is your home. Take care of your family out there too.

Recovery Month also emphasizes helping people find the treatment they desperately need. Making a difference can be as simple as making a beginning. Palm Partners wants to help.

Just as we said last year, thousands of people everywhere are growing and changing their lives through programs of recovery. Along with them, thousands of families are rebuilding and sharing their strength and hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call. We want to help. You are not alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Recovery Roommate Website Goes Nationwide

Recovery Roommate Website Goes Nationwide

Author: Justin Mckibben

People are strange when you’re a stranger. Being in recovery it can seem like we are a little extra strange to some, or not strange enough for others. So of course finding a roommate while in recovery can be a daunting task. For some people it is already difficult finding someone you can stand to live with. With a lot of people, searching through room-for-rent ads on Craigslist makes them just as anxious as trying to find a roommate in their halfway house.

Some of us just get lucky, and some of us definitely don’t. Of course with people who have a track record of bad behavior it isn’t easy to instantly establish trust. But now a new website is helping connect sober people with a desire to live in a house build on sobriety. All over America recovering addicts and alcoholics have a recovery roommate website to link up with new living arrangements, specifically for clean living.

MySoberRoommate  

A new recovery roommate website is called MySoberRoommate.com. It just launched online this past June and it already changing how sober people everywhere find roommates. MySoberRoommate.com was created by addiction therapist Jesse Sandler, LCSW, who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. His partner, Dr. Emily Churg, was also a key contributor to its development. Sandler is based in Los Angeles, and in an interview he said he was inspired to create a website that overcomes addiction recovery stigma. There are sober social media apps, but this is another place where likeminded people in recovery can connect.

So how does this recovery roommate website actually work?

Well, via their page users (who no longer use) can search and connect with sober roommates. It serves both sides, so if you’re looking for a place to move or if you want to rent a room in your own place.  So far, the website has already attracted nearly 1,000 members in just two months. And professionals in the recovery field are already seeing it gain traction among clients.

Filling the Space

Now that we touched on the ‘how’ we get to the ‘why’ of it. One aspect of the work Sandler does with his clients includes helping with the transition from inpatient rehab to a halfway house, then to their own place. When asked about the site Sandler said,

“I would sit with my clients in my office and we’d go on the Internet, and there was nothing out there like this. I was shocked to see that.”

The challenge with assisting with the transition from halfway house to a home is finding a roommate dedicated to sobriety. Sandler acknowledged that for many people, when they attend treatment they aren’t even in their home state anymore. Being out of town and on your own can make it difficult to connect with the local recovery community. So to add to that the intimacy of living with another person, finding a recovering roommate in the area can be very difficult.

“One of the most important components in maintaining sobriety is your living environment. When people in recovery move out of rehab or sober living facilities, the worst thing they can do is go back to the toxic living environments they were in before they got clean,”

Sandler told WestsideToday.com when discussing the importance of the recovery roommate website,

“The second worst thing is to live with people who are actively using. And the third is to live alone, which breeds isolation.”

He concluded, as many have before, that one of the best ways to improve the chances of staying sober is to surround yourself with people who are committed to recovery.

Moving In and Moving On

So far it appears the response to the recovery roommate website has been very good. Sandler stated,

“Several of my colleagues have reached out and told me that their clients used MySoberRoommate.com to successfully find a roommate,”

“We have received emails from several members telling us that they had a positive experience using the site.”

The MySoberRoommate team is currently trying to compile a catalog of stories about the “best bad experiences with a non-sober roommate” for an upcoming YouTube series. They are also planning to release the short video reenactments for these testimonials in the next few months. So moving on from just helping people connect, the minds behind this recovery roommate website are also trying to create creative and informative features online to help break the stigma and shed some light on how people in recovery really live.

The question becomes, who would use a recovery roommate website to find their next place? If you’re new in recovery, or been around a while and just ready to start fresh, would you use an option like this to find someone to live with?

When you find the right people to live with they can end up becoming some of your biggest supports in recovery. However, you also have to remember that not everyone in recovery will stay clean. Try to stick with people who are doing the right thing, especially at home. Establishing a strong foundation in sobriety is very important to building a future in sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call us toll-free. We want to help. You are not alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Stand Up 2 Addiction: Comedians Help Families of Addicts

Stand Up 2 Addiction: Comedians Help Families of Addicts

Author: Justin Mckibben

Sometimes you just have to laugh through the pain. Laughter is even referred to as the best medicine. Well a group of professional funny-men thought this was a pretty decent philosophy, and decided to use their own work as comedians to inspire others, and to raise money and awareness for those suffering from addiction.

A comedy show in South Jersey that kicked off Friday, January 8th starred a cast of comedic advocates for addiction who took time to poke fun at themselves and their experience with addiction, making an effort to help the families of addicts.

Stand Up Guys

The nonprofit Stand Up 2 Addiction was hosted the show at the Broadway Theatre in Pitman. The proceeds from the event are to go to the promising charity cause, offering financial help to families with putting their loved ones through drug addiction treatment. On the bill were some featured names such as:

  • Artie Lange
  • Jimmy Graham
  • Steve Trevelise
  • Tim Grill

The show started up at 8 p.m. and the four comics named above who performed for the cause were all individuals who have personally dealt with the struggles of addiction from every conceivable direction. Some have had to overcome their own demons and substance abuse, and others had to be there to face the issues of drugs and alcohol with their family members, friends and colleagues.

Artie Lange is already notably famous for his time on the Howard Stern Show, and for working sketches on the comedy show MADtv. Artie Lange himself is a recovering drug addict who has made a point to be vocal about his recovery and even wrote about it in his book.

Family Affair

Jimmy Graham himself is a resident of Pitman, New Jersey. He founded the nonprofit and spearheaded the efforts to organize this event, and when interviewed about the show and the work he’s done for the families he stated:

“I’ve purchased food. I’ve paid utility bills.”

Graham added that he has helped “some people that I know but [also] other people that just heard about this. Strangers — but they’re not strangers, because they’re parents that are in the same situation that I am.”

Both of Graham’s sons struggled with drug use, starting with opioids and transitioning to heroin. Graham and his wife were so overcome with the despair and embarrassment often associated with addiction due to the stigma attached that they remained silent about the problem for a long time, and this is one of the big motivations behind these efforts now.

He talked about how he discovered his family wasn’t alone, and that there was more to addiction than stigma would have you believe.

“We started going food shopping at 11 o’clock at night. Instead of sitting there and telling the story in the soup aisle, we said, ‘Let’s do this later when there’s not so many people.'”

But then Graham started to notice he was shopping late to avoid attention and started seeing people he knew that were doing the same thing. It was then that he realized it was a much bigger problem than just their family affair.

Taking Action

Now, Graham’s sons are both in recovery and he is an advocate for addicts and their families, taking part in several levels of outreach including:

  • Speaking about drug addiction at schools
  • Running the charity
  • Doing community service work with one of his sons

This was not the first time Graham tried taking action in his area. Before he said he had even tried to fight the drug marketing in Pitman by placing lawn signs that read “Not in our town. STOP or LEAVE” in front of the homes of the drug dealers. This wasn’t so popular with the police or of course the drug dealers, but he kept at it. He made signs and sold them, using the profits to financially support families of addicts.

Graham’s newest venture to raise awareness and financial support will probably not ruffle as many feathers, but it will definitely have people talking. He said,

“I want to bring it out that, yes, we can laugh at this. We can laugh in the face of addiction, take its power, and turn it on itself and say ‘No. No more. Enough is enough.'”

Graham said he hopes to hold the comedy show benefit every three to six months. He has worked with several other organizations on a few different aspects of advocacy, and intends to keep pushing forward to make more progress for those who need it most.

Making a few jokes at their own expense and to emphasize their own experiences in an empathetic way these comedians are trying to make a real difference. Every day people struggle with addiction because they don’t know how to get the help they need. Thankfully so many men and women are out there committed to helping addicts change for life. 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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