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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:

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016

 

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Today, August 31, marks International Overdose Awareness Day. On this day, the goal is to raise global awareness of overdoses and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. This day is intended to acknowledge the grief felt by friends and family who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose.

The Shocking Reality

The tragedy of a drug overdose is preventable.  Today is a day to spread awareness to others about the disease of addiction.  Drug addiction is a global phenomenon; however, the United States, in particular, is facing a major drug epidemic. More deaths were reported from drug overdoses in 2014 than any other year on record. Deaths from overdoses are up among all genders, races, and nearly all ages. This is a disease that does not discriminate.

Out of these shocking numbers, three out of five drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Overdoses from opioids such as prescription opioids and heroin have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses from opioids killed over 28,000 people in 2014. Half of these deaths were related to prescription opioids.

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of drug overdoses increased a total of 6.5 percent. The year 2014 had a total of 47,055 drug overdoses in the United States. These numbers continue to climb as the prescription painkiller epidemic continues to be a major issue.

To spread the message of awareness, International Overdose Day focuses on commemorating those who have been affected by drug addiction. While today is intended to encourage the message of prevention, it also aims to encourage a message of hope.

Principles of Harm Reduction

The Harm Reduction Coalition affirms that “we will not end the overdose crisis until we place people who use drugs, along with their families and friends, at the center of our policies and strategies. “

The coalition aims to accomplish this task by ensuring that those who use drugs and their loved ones have access to information intended to treat and support them without the fear of stigma or arrest.

Furthermore, naloxone remains one of the most powerful tools in preventing opioid overdose deaths. Naloxone is a medication that works to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.  Recently, there has been a push to increase the access the public has to naloxone. In many places, naloxone can now be purchased via pharmacies like CVS, and even in school nurses offices.

Still, according to the Harm Reduction Coalition, the United States is in a state of emergency.

“ We can no longer accept incremental progress; we must demand urgent action to save lives.”

Five Areas Needing Improvement

The Harm Reduction Coalition calls for immediate action in these five areas to increase access to naloxone:

  1. Funding: Congress should fully fund the President’s request for $12 million in Fiscal Year 2016 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide grants to states to support broader naloxone access.
  2. Cost: The rising cost of naloxone by manufacturers in recent years is a deep concern. This increase threatens to limit the distribution of naloxone, especially by community-based programs that reach those most vulnerable to opioid overdoses. When prices increase, it directly increases the likelihood of more overdose deaths. Therefore, the coalition calls upon naloxone manufacturers and developers to price their products responsibly to ensure the best possible distribution.
  3. Access:Despite improvements in the access to naloxone, access remains limited and inadequate. Prescribers and health care professions play a vital role in ending the overdose crisis. Therefore, there should be an effort by all parties to develop guidance, education and training, resources, and support tools aimed at increasing awareness and access to the drug.
  4. Availability:Many states are working to make naloxone available through pharmacies through arrangements and agreements. These efforts should increase and broaden to ensure the widest availability of naloxone.  In addition, the Food and Drug Administration should develop, facilitate and expedite the regulatory pathways needed to ensure naloxone can be sold over the counter. Over-the-counter naloxone should be available to the market by 2018.
  5. Awareness: Despite the rising number of overdose deaths in the past decade, there still is not a national awareness campaign to educate the public and those most at risk about the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose. Countless anecdotal reports suggest that the lack of awareness is a critical factor in many preventable overdose deaths. Therefore the HHS and CDC must develop broad national awareness campaigns; that spreads information on how and where to obtain naloxone.

Ways to Raise Awareness

In addition to the guidelines suggested by the HHC, the International Overdose Awareness Day website aims to raise awareness through innovative technologies like there overdose aware app. The app raises awareness amongst those who are experiencing drug use and their families. The app shares information on what an overdose is, and the main overdose symptoms.

The website also has an area where those who have been directly affected by drug addiction overdoses can write a tribute to their story and grieve anyone they have lost. These tributes are where many share the impact drug use and overdoses have had on their family and friends.

How are you spreading awareness of International Overdose Awareness Day? If you are struggling with drug addiction, do not wait for it to progress into an overdose. We can help you get back on track. Please call toll free.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

May Is National Mental Health Month

May Is National Mental Health Month

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

Since back in 1949, Mental Health America and other affiliate organizations all over America have led the charge in a collective observance of National Mental Health Month in May by actively reaching out to millions of people in the country to raise awareness, spread information and acknowledge those living with mental health disorders. Using media, local events and mental health screenings these movements take action throughout the month of May to spread the word about mental health as an issue everyone should care about.

As we highlight some of the activities and outreach programs happening this year, we want to challenge everyone to get involved.

#MentalHealthMonth

All together the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has put together a catalog of options to use as part of a social media toolkit to help raise awareness for #MentalHealthMonth. Included in their toolkit is a variety of hashtags, including the others listed below that correlate with the activities they encourage advocates to get involved with, including:

  1. #mentalillnessfeelslike

The official theme for 2016 National Mental Health Month is Life with a Mental Illness calls upon individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and videos. One way to connect with the movement is to:

  • Post on social media with #mentalillnessfeelslike
  • Submit stories or content to MHA anonymously

All posts will be collected and displayed at mentalhealthamerica.net/feelslike.

The idea is to let millions of people everywhere speak their own truth about their experience and perspective. It gives people an opportunity to share their struggles and triumphs, while also raising awareness as to the signs of mental illness to others who may not yet know what they are struggling with.

  1. #StigmaFree

Another way NAMI has helped with pushing for National Mental Health Month is their PSA pledge. In their call to action, they have said it is now time “for all of us to step up and change the conversation.” Found in the PSAs on their website are a few celebrity videos taking the pledge, including:

  • Mayim Bialik, PhD- American Actress/Neuroscientist
  • Torrey DeVitto- American Actress/Musician/Former Fashion Model
  • Clark Gregg- American Actor/Screenwriter/Director

In these videos, the celebrities speak on the stigmatized terms commonly attached to mental illness that are harmful to the people fighting to overcome these conditions, and challenge the viewer to take the pledge to be #stigmafree with instructions on making video pledges for social media.

Petition to Congress

In the wake of years of school and workplace shootings to private family tragedies, more and more people are pushing to take action in effectively recognizing and treatment mental illness in America. Despite the fact that nearly 60 million Americans live with mental illness, there has yet to be a comprehensive mental health bill passed through the United States Congress in 40 years!

NAMI has also helped push a petition demanding the passage of a comprehensive mental health bill this year, with legislation that is intended to:

  • Improve access to mental health services
  • Improve reimbursement for mental health services
  • Improve integration of mental health and physical health
  • Increase funding for mental health research
  • Provide vital early identification and intervention

On the NAMI website the petition is signed every few minutes, adding to tens of thousands of supporters pushing for the government to take innovative action in helping support those struggling with mental illness.

Everyone Makes a Difference

In a nation where 1 in every 5 Americans will be impacted by a mental health condition in their lifetime, there needs to me awareness and support. We are all impacted in one way or another; be it a family member or loved one. According to reports collected by NAMI:

  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences serious mental illness in a given year
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth between 13-18 years old experiences a severe mental disorder at some point
  • 1% of adults in U.S. live with schizophrenia
  • 6% of adults in U.S. live with bipolar disorder
  • 9% of adults in U.S. have at least one major depressive episode in the past year
  • 1% adults in U.S. experience anxiety disorder (including PTSD/OCD)
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition

The fight for better mental health treatment should be especially important to the addict. Out of the 20.2 million adults in America who have experienced a substance abuse disorder, 50.5% had a co-occurring mental illness.

For someone like me who has survived depression, drug addiction and suicide, something like mental health awareness treatment is critical. I know from experience that far too many people will go undiagnosed and untreated, and far too many will lose their fight before they find help.

Bringing education and understanding to shed light on the realities of mental illness and mental health treatment is something we should make a priority, not just one month at a time… but all the time.

Palm Partners understands the importance of mental health treatment when it comes to substance abuse, and dual diagnosis treatment is designed to acknowledge the overlapping nature of these disorders and create the right recovery plan to overcome the disease of addiction and confront issues with mental health. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.

Would Traffic Lights on Sidewalks Help With Distracted Walking?

Would Traffic Lights on Sidewalks Help With Distracted Walking?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Have you ever bumped into something or even someone because you were too busy using your smartphone? If you have, you are not alone. Nowadays, smartphone users have become accustomed to walking down the street without taking notice of their surroundings.  Because of this reality, a city in Germany has decided to embark on an interesting experiment. Germany will soon add traffic signals on sidewalks that will enable pedestrians to gauge for traffic flow without having to look up from their devices. That’s right; Germany is installing traffic signals because it would be absurd to expect people to, you know, pay attention?

Sarcasm aside, smartphones are becoming a major problem when it comes to texting while driving, and even texting while walking. It may seem like a minor issue to walk and glare at your phone, but people have actually died from it. Over the past few years, there have been increasing numbers of pedestrians who have either come very close to getting hit or who have been fatally hit by a car because they were lost in the glare of their cell phone screens.

In Augsburg, Germany, traffic signals will now be over the course of the pedestrian sidewalks.  Reports indicate that the lights will be visible from meters away which many say will have the added benefit of helping city cyclists.

“It creates a whole new level of attention,” city spokeswoman Stephanie Lermen stated in The Washington Post.

To some, the concept may seem like a unnecessary waste of money. However, Lermen believes the contrary is true. A recent survey in several European cities found that 20 percent of pedestrians were distracted by their smartphones. Young people are especially vulnerable because they are more likely to risk their safety for a quick look at their Facebook profiles or WhatsApp messages, the survey found.

Could it be overkill? Maybe. Still, there is no denying that distracted walking can have tragic consequences.  For a while, pedestrian fatalities were going down. Between the mid-70s and early 2000s, pedestrian deaths declined to around 11 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Now, the numbers have jumped 15 percent climbing to 4,735 fatalities in 2013. That breaks down to 1 pedestrian death every two hours!

Cell phones are a major culprit of these accidents. The percentage of pedestrians killed while using cell phones has risen from less than 1 percent in 2004 to 3.5 percent in 2010. The numbers continue to soar as more apps are created, and more kids are being born in a smartphone-dependent society.  Also, the numbers of pedestrians injured while on their phones have doubled since 2005.

Clearly, there is a need to encourage young people to pay attention to their surroundings. Philadelphia has made some changes to help combat the problem. They came out with the campaign, “Road Safety, Not Rocket Science” that tried to influence the younger generation in a fun way. Their slogan was “pick your head up, put your phone down.” The campaign focused on giving people “mock tickets” for using their phone instead of being focused on their environments. Although the tickets were not real, they allowed people to be aware of their behavior.

Phone addiction is a topic that has been thrown around quite a bit the past few years. Although the concept of it is still controversial, the truth is, many people find it unreasonable to be without their phone for long periods of time. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that being in the present is the most important thing for your health. Try to put the phone away for a moment and instead, take in all your surroundings.

Using your phone all the time may be tempting, but it is dangerous. Pledge to stop distracted walking and get your friends involved. You never know whose life you could change.If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

7 Signs You’re Hiding Your Depression

7 Signs You're Hiding Your Depression

Author: Shernide Delva

Depression can occur at any time, but sometimes we choose to ignore it. Some of us would much rather fall apart on the inside, rather than admit to needing help. While you may look tough and confident on the outside, on the inside, you could be fighting an internal struggle. Even more interesting is the fact that many of us are so good at hiding our depression; we do not even realize we are really depressed. Does this sound like you?

If it does, you are not alone. You can feel secure knowing that 350 million people are affected by depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s really sad but oddly comforting?

Regardless, there are too many people in the world who are depressed who are not getting help simply because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. Perhaps people have made you feel weak or guilty about feeling that way. We live in a world that promotes having a tough exterior over admitting to vulnerabilities. Now is the time to change those perceptions.

Knowing the signs of concealed depression is the best way to find out if you need help.  Many people, myself included, try to hide their depression and tell themselves they are over dramatic and weak. However, that is not a healthy way of coping. This list will help you understand whether or not you have a deeper issue that needs addressing. Look out for the following seven signs both in yourself, and the people you care about.

HERE ARE 7 SIGNS OF CONCEALED DEPRESSION:

  1. You have lost interest in everything you were once passionate about.

    Many people who suffer from depression find that activities that meant the world to them at one point mean absolutely nothing to them now. For example, if you once enjoyed playing music, you may find the idea of playing an instrument exhausting and emotionally draining.  If you once were super fit and into sports, you may find the idea of going outside a bore. There is a Regina Spektor song called Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori which has the lyrics:

    It’s hard, it’s hard
    To live, to live
    It’s hard, it’s harder
    Than it’s ever been before
    Things that used to comfort me
    Don’t comfort me anymore

    Essentially those lyrics describe what the feeling is like. You feel as though activities and things that once gave you pleasure no longer comfort you anymore.  If this feeling does not go away, you could be depressed. People who are depressed try to engage in things they once enjoyed in the past, however, they no longer find those activities pleasurable. If you feel this way, now is the time to get help.

  1. You’re super low energy. Everything is draining.

    One of the biggest indicators of depression is a lack of energy. Feeling depressed is very exhausting to the mind and body. In addition, your feelings of depression may affect your sleep patterns making you feel MORE  tired. Feelings of hopelessness and despair plague the mind and result in exhaustion. One way to combat this is through eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water. Try exercising, socializing and getting fresh air even when you don’t want to. Try not to over-schedule your day as that can also be overwhelming. Take it one day at a time.

  2. You’ve seen changes in your weight and eating habits.

    Are you gaining or losing weight uncontrollably? This is a common symptom of depression. Concealed depression can result in overeating or a loss of interest in food.  You may not even notice at first, but a sudden change in weight can be a major warning sign of depression. Watch out for this sign especially if you have a history of depression in your family. Weight change can be unhealthy so try not to eat (or skip meals) based on your emotions. Instead, seek help.

  3. Insomnia or Hypersomnia: You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.

    Patients who suffer from insomnia have triple the chance of developing depression. It is possible that your feelings of depression are a result of lack of sleep. Talk to a professional about tools you can use to improve your sleeping habits. While a few nights of restlessness is nothing to be alarmed about, not being able to sleep over a long period could point to more severe circumstances. If you notice this happening often, it is time to reach out for help. On the other side of the spectrum, if you find yourself oversleeping or craving sleep, you may be trying to escape your problems instead of face them. Seek help instead of ignoring the problem.

  4. Abusing Substances to “deal.”

    People often use substances to escape their mind and emotions for a short period. However, it can be easy to become addicted to substances if they provide an easy solution. Over time, this behavior can become addictive. Many addicts who abuse substances avoid admitting to their depression and instead state they are using drugs for other reasons such as to “relax” or “let loose.” If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. Do not feel ashamed about coming out with having a problem.

  5. You never admit when you are feeling depressed.

    People who hide their depression are experts at covering up their true feelings. Often, they feel it is a hassle to bother others about their problems. They usually feel embarrassed about feeling bad in the first place, which makes the problem worse. If you find yourself wanting to push through your depression rather than face it, take a step back. Many people who have concealed depression never reach out until it is almost too late. Do not wait to get to that point, get help now while you still can. Covering up your feelings is not worth it.

  1. You prefer to be alone than with people.

    I am naturally an introvert so find I love spending time alone, however when it becomes excessive,  it is something to think about. If you find yourself not wanting to do ANYTHING around people, you may be hiding an internal issue. People with depression tend to want to isolate themselves from others. They turn down social events in order to spend time alone in their room. If this sounds like you, you may be concealing your depression and need to reach out for help. Being around people can be a good thing if you learn how to cope.

Overall, depression is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If you are experiencing any of the signs above, please get help. Do not let your depression result in you participating in unhealthy behaviors to cope. Seek help from a professional and find ways to move forward. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

You Can Be Infected With Mental Illness

You Can Be Infected With Mental Illness

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

There is a school of thought that is based on the concept of mental illness not being like the old fashioned concepts of a broken or defective brain, and even straying away from the conceptions of having developed by trauma or stress in adolescences, and more closely linked to bacteria and infections. What makes this such an intriguing idea is that if this is correct, that means mental illness could not only be contagious, but it could also be more easily treated.

Understanding PANDAS

One example is the diagnosis of Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci (PANDAS), which is a condition that was first proposed in 1998 that linked the sudden onset of psychiatric symptoms to strep infections. PANDAS represents a remarkable branch of medical exploration that has been gaining acceptance in the past few years, though not without controversy.

With PANDAS a strep infection causes parts of the brain that help regulate motion and behavior to get caught up when the body reacts to the infection, mistaken for bacterial invaders by cells that try to destroy them to protect the body. This leads some doctors to believe that if you can eradicate the inflammation it will signal the immune system to stand down, restoring normal brain function.

In 1994, Susan Swedo, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, had a hunch that there might be an immunological explanation for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and through her research about the connection between basal ganglia and mental illness she developed the premise of PANDAS. Much remains mysterious, Swedo says, about the symptoms of PANDAS in a paper she wrote that actually first put a name to PANDAS. Children are typically those afflicted, and some kids actually hear voices or experience what is called “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome, which is described as wildly distorted perceptions of size and distance some liken to waking nightmares.

But obviously not all kids with strep get PANDAS. The average grade school student comes down with strep twice a year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Yet 1,999 out of 2,000 don’t develop PANDAS. So while Swedo’s research suggests the definite connection between the two, it does not seem to be the end-all-be-all.

Now researchers are exploring the possibility that inflammation, or an overactive immune system, can actually be related to mental disorders that include:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimers’ disease

According to Golam Khandaker a host of recent genetic and epidemiological studies have shown inflammatory markers are found in the blood of people who are depressed or who experience psychotic episodes. Khandaker studies inflammation and the brain, and is a senior clinical research associate at the University of Cambridge, in England.

History of Immunopsychiatry

Immunopsychiatry states that infection and inflammation can have a profound impact on the brain, and immunopsychiatry has been an abstract concept in the history mental health treatment over the last century. In the 19th century, mental illness and infectious disease were closely linked, but in the 20th century that connection has been outcast and struggled against psychiatric and neurological dogma. Now new comprehensions uniting the brain, body, and environment help doctors and therapists to understand the idea.

In the 1880s, German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin argued that mental illness and insanity were biological or genetic conditions, classifying a wide range of conditions under the umbrella term dementia praecox, or “premature dementia.” These classifications were tremendously influential at one point.

Then there was syphilis, something so common it was called “the disease of a century”. It’s a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum that represented this idea of the body and brain being linked in mental illness because beyond ravaging the body, late-stage syphilis victims often experienced what doctors at the time called neurosyphilis.

Neurosyphilis was a state described as manic and delusional, before paralysis and death. Right there was suspected proof of an infection causing psychosis.10% of patients in turn-of-the-century asylums were there because of neurosyphilis. An Austrian psychiatrist named Julius Wagner-Jauregg became the first psychiatrist ever awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1927 for an unconventional syphilis treatment that would be condemned as unethical today, but hinged on the idea of infection and the immune system being related to mental illness.

How it Happens

When you think about the big picture, behavioral responses to physical ailments make sense. When we have the flu, we feel it physically and emotionally. High fevers, usually signs of extreme inflammation, can cloud thinking and induce hallucinations, and our “sickness behavior” is just the body and brain working together to combat an infection.

But when inflammation persists, depression can become chronic. Over time, inflammation can do real damage to the brain. Other models for the link to inflammation, infection, and mental illness are Autoimmune diseases like:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Celiac disease

In these cases immune cells take aim at the body’s tissues and organs instead of fighting disease, attacking and destroying the organs with devastating consequences.

Epidemiological studies have begun to link autoimmune disease to mental illness, supporting the idea that misguided immune reactions can influence the brain. For example:

  • Schizophrenics often have celiac disease
  • Lupus sometimes leads to psychotic episodes

Everything from Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been connected to damaged basal ganglia, which are referred to as the gatekeeper between the brain stem and motor function and the upper brain, and when they are afflicted, it effects our control of some basic impulses.

Critics of PANDAS agree with the advocates in the idea that mental disorders like OCD, depression, or schizophrenia should be looked at as a set of symptoms with a variety of possible causes… and possible treatments. Factors like genes, environment, and immunity all contribute in a way that medical professionals are just beginning to understand and explore further.

Yet today, simply by knowing that some mental illness is caused by infections, doctors and scientists are returning to a holistic understanding of the relationship between body and brain. With this new holistic view of mental illness, there is the potential for amazing new treatments that could overcome crippling mental disorders.

The stigma surrounding mental health only holds people back from truly understanding what it means to suffer from a mental illness. People who are bound by a mental disorder are not outright mental defects, they are sometimes just at the mercy of a mind that has been weakened by physical infection, and there is always treatment out there. 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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