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All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

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:

What Causes an Eating Disorder and How Do You Treat It?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Over the weekend, I watched the movie To the Bone starring Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins. The film took us inside the life of Ellen, a 20-year-old woman who has consistently struggled with an eating disorder.  She enters a residential treatment program with several other women struggling with eating disorders.

The film received a plethora of controversy as many thought it was triggering.  However, after watching the movie, I felt it did an excellent job of allowing the viewer to understand the urgent and severe nature of an eating disorder. Often, films only focus on how little the patient is eating or how much weight they have lost. Yet, this is only a small component of having an eating disorder. Eating disorders go much deeper psychologically, and weight is simply part of the problem.

While the movie does an excellent job explaining what it is like to have an eating disorder, it does not explain what causes eating disorders in the first place. Eating disorders are complex with a broad range of variables.

Treatments for eating disorders vary in efficacy. There is no one size fit all treatment. This is elaborated in the movie as we watch Ellen transfer from one treatment center to another. Finally, she ends up at a treatment center she connects to and has a great therapist played by Keanu Reeves.

Often patients deny the severity of their condition at first. The lack of seriousness only progresses the disorder further. For example, in To the Bone, the women struggle to understand why their eating behaviors are considered abnormal. In fact, they believe that their compulsive eating behaviors are necessary to their survival. The idea of eating any other way is difficult to grasp.

Furthermore, patients lie about the severity of their condition which hampers their treatment options.

Most clinicians agree eating disorders stem from a variety of factors:

These factors range from:

Biological Contributors:

It is possible there is a genetic link that causes eating disorder. Significant studies on depression and anxiety allow reason to be hopeful.  Many people had anxiety and depression prior to the development of their eating disorder. Eating disorders can be a reaction to mental illnesses, in an attempt to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Anxiety can be controlled through food restriction and purging. Symptoms of an eating disorder can elevate the mood as sufferers rely on their weight to fit in with society. Since depression and anxiety have a genetic component, there could also be a clear genetic connection to eating disorders.

Neurobiological Contributors:

Neurobiology is a branch of biology concerned with anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. When it comes to eating disorder, individual ones like anorexia nervosa over activate the inhibition control networks and under activate the reward systems. When looking at bulimia nervosa, there seems to be a dysregulation of both the inhibition control networks and reward pathways. These abnormalities are common among eating disorder patients. However, it is uncertain whether these abnormalities are the result of eating disorder behaviors, or if these abnormalities were present prior to the development of an eating disorder.

The Psychology of Eating Disorders

Needless to say, there is a strong psychological component to eating disorders. Most of what we read regarding eating disorders discusses the psychological component. Psychological elements of an eating disorder range from familial, relational, cultural and social. Most researchers agree that eating disorders and psychological disorders are co-occurring.

Some treatment processes focus on behavior and cognitive changes. These treatments include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT,) Family Based Treatment (FBT,) and others.  However, there is more research needed on how to treat the behaviors rather than solely focusing on the cause. In addition, families need to understand the root of eating disorders in order to understand how to best respond to them.

Overall, the reality is there is so much to be learned when it comes to eating disorders. Eating disorders are a result of a variety of factors. Furthermore, just like addiction, eating disorders are not a choice. People with eating disorders need treatment. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, mental illness or addiction, please call now. You do not have to do this alone. 

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Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs?

Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs?

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

Part of being a parent is wondering what trouble your kids might get into. This is especially true as children become more independent as teens and young adults. Parents worry about how their kids are doing in school, if they are surrounding themselves with good influences and of course, if they’re doing drugs. It seems like there has never been a more appropriate time to be concerned about teenage substance abuse. Parents today are witness to the devastation and despair caused by the opioid epidemic. While teen drug use has always been an issue, it is more frightening than previous years with overdose deaths at such an alarming rate. What are the signs? How serious is teen drug abuse? Is your adolescent addicted to drugs?

Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs: Teen Drug Abuse Stats

It is not that shocking that teen drug abuse is such a concern for parents. Substance use disorder currently affects more than 20 million people in the United States.

In 2015, more than 33,000 people in the United States died from accidental overdose. According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future College Students and Adults survey, young adults from 18-25 are the biggest abusers of:

The survey also shows young adults use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons more than any other age group. One report showed that nearly 44% of high school students admit to knowing a classmate who sells drugs. When ask what kind of drugs, students stated:

  • 91%- Marijuana
  • 24%- Prescription drugs
  • 9%- Cocaine
  • 7%- Ecstasy

Experts from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) state that while illicit substance abuse has shown some decline, prescription drug abuse has done more than enough to fill the void.

Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs: Those at Risk

If there is one thing we have learned without question from the opioid epidemic, it is that the old archaic mentality that substance use disorders were only experienced by people living troubled lives is anything but true.

Anyone and everyone are at risk. No race, nationality, social or economic background can exempt someone from the potential for addiction, even teenagers. It doesn’t matter if you grow up in a small town, a suburb or a bad part of town. It doesn’t matter if you are homeless or if you inherit a fortune, you still are eligible for addiction.

In a way, that reality makes the prospect of your teenager getting mixed up in drugs more frightening, because the old mentality of “don’t hang out with the wrong crowd” doesn’t really apply anymore. Any crowd and every crowd can get mixed up in this.

Truthfully, teens are exposed to substances in so many ways, but there are also a lot of ways to spot use and try to address it as early as possible.

Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs: Warning Signs

Knowing the warning signs of addiction can save lives, and ensuring it is addressed through every possible channel is key—even at a yearly doctor’s appointment. Many doctors are being trained to identify the signs of early drug abuse and ask questions about substance use disorders. When you are still wondering- is my teenager addicted to drugs- then you can try to look at signs such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Changes in grades
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Trouble at school or work
  • Changes in friends
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms, including shaking, seizures, personality changes
  • Hiding drug use
  • Using substances in private

According to mental health experts, some of these symptoms can also be signs of a mental health disorder. The best course of action when a parent begins to detect some of these signs would be to have a conversation with their teenager. Having a dialog can create opportunities for education, prevention and intervention.

Is My Teenager Addicted to Drugs: Helping VS Hurting

If your teenager is struggling with a substance use disorder there are a number of things you can do to help. There are also some things that parents institutionally do that can ultimately be harmful. Family members are always used to playing different roles, and often times parents want to be as supportive as possible. The important distinction family members all need to learn is the difference between helping and hurting.

As parents people typically lean toward one side or the other. They either want to be protective and enabling, or they chose to use ‘tough love’ to try and force their family members to get clean.

To learn more about how to handle the difficult emotions and situations parents and family members face with an addicted loved one, download our FREE e-book

“What is the Difference Between Helping and Hurting”

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It is important to be compassionate and supportive. It is also important to set boundaries with your addicted teenager. Understanding the self-destructive behaviors of individuals who struggle with addiction will help you to avoid enabling those risk patterns. This knowledge also helps parents and families members to be more constructive and caring when it really matters.

Addiction doesn’t just affect the person who is drinking or drugging, it affects all those that are close to that person. Emotionally, physically, financially, the toll can be significant. The Family Program at Palm Partners is designed to help parents, significant others and family members of addicts. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now!

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Study Proves the ‘Friendship Bench’ Program Improves Mental Health

Study Proves the ‘Friendship Bench’ Program Improves Mental Health

Author: Justin Mckibben

Remember the movie Forrest Gump? If not, I am so very sorry. Spoiler alert: it’s about a southern gentleman (Tom Hanks) who tells the incredible story of his amazing life to total strangers while waiting on a bench. He taught the world that life was like a box of chocolates, and that going for a run once in a while will change your life.

While on that bench, Forrest shares a lot of himself, and it has a pretty deep impact on some of the random folks he sits next to. Not to mention all the people watching the film who were moved by the experiences and emotions he shares.

Well this whole idea of making friends on a bench and soothing the soul by opening up to the strangers you sit with has taken new life in a place very, very far from the little park in Georgia that Forrest found himself in. The ‘Friendship Bench’ program in Zimbabwe is changing lives for those struggling with mental illness. A recent study proves that even just sitting on a bench and talking to a new friend can improve your mental health symptoms.

The Beauty of the ‘Friendship Bench’

The program is carried out by Zimbabwean lay health workers, who give brief but effective psychological treatment to the public. Instead of a big medical office, you find them conducting their problem solving therapy sessions on simple wooden seats. These health workers, or community “Grandmothers” carry out this practice with a personal touch in several major cities in Zimbabwe. The benches themselves are located on the grounds of health clinics.

The lay health workers are trained to listen and support patients living with common mental disorders such as:

The beauty is in the simplicity of the system, and the fact that it is showing to be so influential for countries where access to modern mental health treatment is limited or even nonexistent.

Studying this Solution

The study of the ‘Friendship Bench’ was published in JAMA. As a randomized controlled trial funded by the Government of Canada through Grand Challenges Canada, multiple sources contributed to the trials, including:

  • The University of Zimbabwe
  • The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • King’s College London

After a six month period, following six weekly sessions of “problem solving therapy” on a ‘Friendship Bench’ with a health worker, data showed a significant difference. The severity of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts was noticeably reduced. This is based on locally validated questionnaires:

  • The Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ)
  • Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD)

The Big Results of the ‘Friendship Bench’

According to the research:

  • 50% of patients who received standard care still had symptoms of depression– Compared to only 14% who participated in the Friendship Bench (based on PHQ)
  • 48% of patients who received standard care still had symptoms of anxiety- Compared to only 12% who received Friendship Bench care(based on the GAD)
  • 12% of patients who received standard care still had suicidal thoughts- Compared to 2% who used the Friendship Bench program(based on SSQ)

The Friendship Bench intervention was also shown to be well suited to improve health outcomes among highly vulnerable individuals. Out of all the ‘Friendship Bench’ program participants:

  • 86% were women
  • Over 40% were HIV positive
  • 70% had experienced domestic violence or physical illness

With CDN being granted $1 million in funding from Grand Challenges Canada earlier this year, the ‘Friendship Bench’ program has since been expanded to 72 clinics in the cities of Harare, Gweru and Chitungwiza (total population 1.8 million). The plan is for this growing movement to keep expanding. In 2017, the team plans to focus on extending the model to other vulnerable populations, including youth and refugees.

The Need for New Methods

Forgive me if my math and comparison is a little off, but I tried to put all this in perspective.

Zimbabwe has a population of 15 million. 25% of the primary care patients suffer from depression, anxiety or other common mental disorders. In a country with 15 million, there are only 10 psychiatrists and 15 clinical psychologists!

In comparison, (hypothetically) if even only 1/4 of the population of Zimbabwe suffers from a mental health disorder… That is still 3,930,000 people. Even if you could split them up between 25 mental health professionals evenly, it’s still 157,200 patients per person!

26.2% of adults over 18 in America suffer from mental health disorders. That’s 57.7 million people out of 318.9 million people (population as of 2014). If the United States had such a cripple mental health care system, it would be catastrophic.

At the end of the day, holistic treatment is all about healing mind, body and spirit through innovative and effective strategies. The value of sitting down with another human being and getting the support and therapeutic connection we need is paramount. Therapy can come in all shapes and sizes, and developing a unique and personalized treatment program can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

$50,000 Jackpot Winner Denied Funds Due To Drug Money Connection

 

$50,000 Jackpot Winner Denied Due To Drug Money Connection

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Imagine winning a $50,000 jackpot only to be told you cannot keep the money…

Dreadful, right?

Well, that scenario just happened.

In Illinois, $50,000 lottery winner Tykisha Lofton will no longer be able to cash in her winnings. The state forfeited her jackpot because they determined the lottery ticket was bought with drug money. Illinois strictly bans winners from collecting lottery earnings if the ticket was purchased using money earned illegally.

A Sudden Change of Heart

At first, a judge ruled Lofton would be allowed to claim her winnings. The judge felt honoring the forfeiture clause would have been too harsh. However, the government of Illinois overruled that decision and ultimately the state will keep the winnings instead.

If Lofton had cashed in her ticket, she would have received a lump-sum payment worth more than $35,000. Unfortunately for her, she will not be taking home a dime.

Conflicting Stories: Who Bought the Ticket?

Authorities became suspicious when the stories behind who had bought the lottery ticket were constantly changing. Initially, Lofton told authorities she bought the lottery ticket with babysitting money.

However, in 2014, police raided the home she lived in with boyfriend Terrance Norwood. Norwood was sentenced last October on charges of drug dealing, drug possession, and armed violence. Lofton was present when the raid took place, but she insisted she was unaware her boyfriend dealt drugs.

The stories between the couple continued to conflict.  Norwood said he had purchased the lottery ticket hoping it would be a way out of buying and selling drugs. Lofton then told authorities her boyfriend bought the ticket, but she was the one who scratched off the winning numbers. She also continued to state she bought the tickets with babysitting money. Authorities soon realized the stories were not adding up and were likely fabricated.

The case made it to a Macon County judge who ruled the ticket was probably bought with drug money; however, the judge decided to reward the lottery earnings anyway. The judge felt using the forfeiture laws to take the sum away from the couple would be too harsh.

State Courts Overrule County Decision

When the state appeals court found out about the ruling, they overruled the decision.

“Because of the direct link between the lottery winnings and the funds used to purchase the original ticket, the winnings can reasonably be considered ‘proceeds traceable’ to Norwood’s illegal drug sales,” wrote the appeals court.

Ultimately the state appeals court felt it would not send a good message to let Lofton and her boyfriend continue to gain from winning earned from the selling of drugs.

Other Crazy Drug-Related Lottery Stories

This is far from the first time lottery winnings and drugs have been mixed. In 2015, Ronnie Music Jr., 44, won a $3 million Georgia Lottery jackpot but didn’t give up his day job of trafficking meth. Instead, he invested the money into his meth business. Music Jr. pleaded guilty in July to federal drug trafficking and firearms charges. He is yet to be sentenced but could face up to 10 years behind bars.

Furthermore, a 2002 British lottery winner, told The Sun in 2013 that he blew all of his £9.7 million ($14.4 million USD at the time) jackpot winnings on cocaine, prostitutes, and a lavish lifestyle. The man was Michael Caroll, and he now makes about $300 a week in a cookie factory. Despite his change in earnings, he admits he lives a much happier life these days. He stated he would have been “dead in six months” if he would have continued the lifestyle of drinking and drug taking.

All of these crazy lottery stories confirm that problems do not always disappear with money. In fact, they often become worse. Addiction and mental health affect all walks of life, and an increasing paycheck does not make the problem go away. You have to make the decision to change. We are here to help you on that journey. We have the tools to guide you to a healthy sober life. Do not wait. Call toll-free now.

   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

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