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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:

Why Offensive Stigma on Store Signs Sparks Outrage in Ohio

Why Offensive Stigma on Store Signs Sparks Outrage in Ohio

Author: Justin Mckibben

As much as I love where I come from, Columbus, Ohio has been through a lot recently. Ohio in general has seen some of the worst addiction and overdose rates in its history, and the state was actually sited as being #1 in opioid overdose deaths in the country. So of course there are very strong opinions about the devastation caused by substance abuse. Having grown up in Columbus, it is sad to see how the community is suffering. It is even more disturbing to see how some are reacting. When I came across this headline and saw the comments being made, not just by the store but from people in support of their remarks, it disturbed me deeply.

Now many across the state are in an uproar about the controversy that has been brought on by one convenience store in Columbus, Ohio. The owners posted hand-written messages around the store that are appallingly indifferent to the pain of the people in their neighborhood.

The signs of stigma…

West Broad Street in Columbus is a side of town I’m pretty familiar with, especially while in active addiction, so I’m sure that plenty of people have seen these signs. The Save Way Mini Mart on West Broad Street displayed the two notes that they hoped would dismay customers from stealing, but some patrons have found it insulting and offensive.

One sign, near the front door, says:

“Keep bags up front. Don’t stink! Take showers. Take care of your kids. Stay sober don’t OD. Nothing is free.”

The second sign was placed above a shelf holding cases of tin foil. Some will use tin foil to cook whatever substance, often heroin but not exclusively, before smoking or injecting it. This one states:

“Attention junkies, go ahead and steal a piece of foil to get high. Just please make sure you OD. Thank you.”

Yes, let this all sink in for a moment. Not just the fact that the word “junkie” is so destructive, but the content that follows is callous.

First thing is first, this is inexplicably ignorant to the reality that is shaking the world right now. With more people across America than ever being hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol, and higher rates of overdose deaths than ever in our nation’s history, how can people still believe these kinds of stigma?

According to WSYX/WTTE, a local news source, the store’s management would not speak on camera, but they told the news station they meant no offense, but also said the signs will not be taken down.

Really, no offense?

What is wrong with this picture…

This is wrong on so many levels, and I can’t believe I actually have to explain to some people why, but just in case I’ll give it a shot.

These signs insinuate statements that are so incredibly wrong on so many levels. To sum it up, these signs say:

  • All addicts stink/don’t shower
  • All addicts don’t take care of their children
  • All addicts are thieves
  • If you are an addict, you deserve to overdose (OD)

These are all equally as stigmatic and offensive, but that last part is just disgusting. The amount of indifference toward those in pain must be pretty intense for someone to willfully wish overdose onto someone else. To mock the despair and hardship of some while essentially telling them, and promoting to others, the idea that addicts deserve to overdose. Shrugging off the death of people who battle an insidious illness every day because they are “junkies” is repulsive.

Beyond that, the fact is these signs ignore what statistics have been telling us about addiction being more than just something impacting a certain demographic. These stereotypes are a huge part of the reason why it is taking us so long as a society to move forward.

Not all addicts are homeless! Not all addicts are absentee parents! Not all addicts are poor! Addiction touches the CEOs and stock brokers the same way it touches the unemployed and criminal. When we make such harsh generalizations of people who need our compassion we marginalize people who already often feel chastised, misunderstood or hopeless.

To those who comment…

Now as I said, when I first saw this story, the signs themselves we incredibly shameful, but the comments it received in support of this message and ridiculing addicts only compounded the issue. People who say that people ‘choose’ to be addicts and that they ‘choose’ to do drugs and ruin their lives.

It is baffling how some people still insist addiction is a choice. Even when the medical community recognizes it as a medical condition, people adamantly deny that it is a disease; when many regard it as a brain disorder, consisting of various psychological and physical factors. Yet people still go on about how it is the addicts fault because they chose that life.

Sure, people choose to do drugs, but we don’t choose to become addicted. That isn’t up to use. How many people drink and do drugs in their lifetime and don’t become addicts? More than anyone will ever know. A lot of you have probably had your share of experiments. So count yourself lucky, you didn’t have to walk the path many of us do. Stop being self-righteous; try being grateful.

The stigma is killing us…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently estimates that 91 Americans are dying of an opioid overdose every day! A true tragedy is that many people struggling with drug addiction never seek help because of the judgment they could face. They prolong their suffering as a result of blatant and baseless stigma, which can have a lasting impact. People are actually dying every day because stigma can discourage people from seeking help.

How many parents avoid getting help because of people who think addiction makes them horrible caregivers, or neglectful and absent? How many families are torn apart because the fear of how it looks to the world to be an addict? How many have died before they could get treatment?

Some people want to treat actions like this as no big deal. This writer thinks this is a pretty big problem. To suggest that a heroin addict, or any addict, deserves to overdose, or even die, for stealing tin foil… is insanely irresponsible and inconsiderate to the wellbeing of not just the afflicted individual, but the community.

Don’t let the stigma block you or your loved ones off from the solution. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help. You are no alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

The list of talented people who have struggled with addiction is incredibly long. It would take way too much time to list them all. Do creativity and addiction correlate with one another? Are creative individuals more likely to be addicts? That controversial question has been debated for decades.

For the most part, researchers have concluded that people whose abuse substances are not more creative or more successful as a result. Neuroscientist, David Linden of Johns Hopkins University, declared in an interview that there was not a connection between creativity and addiction. He stated that suggesting otherwise confuses coincidence with cause.

Addiction is a disease, not a shortcut to success. When looking at famous writers who were alcoholics, like Fitzgerald or Hemmingway, it is easy to assume that alcohol helped fuel their creative process. However, this is just a perception. Creativity does not stem from substance abuse, nor should substances be the source of your creativity.

Substance Abuse = Source of Creativity?

Dependence on drugs and alcohol should not be the source of your creativity. We should not glorify substance abuse as a means to creativity. In the book, “The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent and IQ,”  author, David Shenk states extraordinary talent and achievement come from “the combined consequence of early exposure, exceptional instruction, constant practice, family nurturance, and a child’s intense will to learn.” Essentially, your creativity and intelligence come from your inner will to succeed along with the role models and guidance you have in your life. Behind every successful talent is a teacher, coach or motivator pushing them along.

The problem is highly creative people find their minds are overwhelmed with data streaming in and out of their consciousness. The average person has a cognitive filter that filters this information as a means to survival.  The creative person, however, does not have this filter.  Highly creative people let more of this data in their mind. Therefore, they need to process and organize the increased information flow in untypical ways.

Unfortunately, because creative people think outside of the box and look at the world differently, they look at rules differently.  The term for this trait is cognitive disinhibition which an article describes as “the failure to ignore information that is irrelevant to current goals or to survival.”

The “rules are meant to be broken” mentality both produces creativity and creates destructiveness.  Creativity can result in risky behavior. It is risky because creative people justify their creative behavior when they create while using substances.

“Mind Expanding” Substances

Famous artists were thought to be more brilliant because of their liberal use of “mind expanding substances.”  However, time and time again, it has been proven that creative people are able to maintain their creativity without substances. Those in recovery find that their mind is clearer, making them more able to follow through on their natural creative impulses.

On the contrary, long-term substance abuse can permanently damage creativity. Extended drug use can affect the brain damaging it in ways that may not even be recoverable even after years of sobriety. Scary, isn’t it?
The first time a creative person abuses drugs or alcohol, they may find they can express themselves better. This may cause them to believe they “need” these substances to be creative. However, reactions like this are temporary. Also, creative people may be using substances to self-medicate mental health issues they have not addressed professionally.

Why Are Creativity and Addiction So Prevalent?

Now that we know there is not a direct link between substance abuse and creativity, why do so many creative geniuses deal with addiction? Most of this has to do with the genetics and traits that make someone predisposed to addiction. Those same traits are a prerequisite for creativity.

Studies reveal that 40 percent of addiction is genetically predetermined. While family history is no guarantee that someone will have a problem, there is a strong connection between the two. There are several genes involved in addiction risk. Experts have not identified them all, however, the ones we are currently aware of affect the release of the happy chemical dopamine.

Dopamine Depletion?

Addicts tend to feel pleasure weaker than the average person. Because of this, addicts abuse substances in an attempt to achieve the same level of happiness that others feel natural. There may not be a direct link between drug addiction or mental illness and creativity, but science hints at a connection between substance abuse and traits that are a prerequisite for creativity. A low-functioning dopamine system can make a person more likely to misuse substance and engage in risk-taking, novelty-seeking compulsions.

This same low-functioning dopamine system relates to creativity. Individuals who have struggled with releasing happy chemicals  their whole life may latch on to creative outlets like music, art, and writing to help re-generate that dopamine and process information better.

Overall, your risk for addiction is up to you. You have a choice to use healthier outlets to compensate for genetic factors that may put you at risk for substance abuse. Creativity should not have to be fueled by addiction. You have the ability to be a creative person without the use of drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. 

5 Basic Ingredients of Good Therapy

5 Basic Ingredients of Good Therapy

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Therapy is a great option for many people. However, it is important to know when you are receiving the best care possible. Many people who go to therapy are in a vulnerable state and feel they must stay with the therapist they go to. However, this could not be further from the truth. When you make the decision to go to therapy, it is crucial you find someone who you connect with and who you feel comfortable opening up to. You do not have to stick with the first therapist you find. Therapy is a relationship dynamic between two people, and not everyone will be the right match for you.

While it is important to give your therapist a chance to help you, it also is important to know when something is not working. After a while, if you feel you are not getting the results you want, it may be time to look for someone new. The important thing is not to give up and continue therapy. Once you find the right person, changes will inevitably follow.

An article in Psychology Today listed basic ingredients of good therapy. Here are five that stood out:

5 Basic Ingredients of Good Therapy

  1. Therapy is Not a Friendship.
    Your therapist should not feel like a best friend. Your therapist may be friendly, but ultimately they are not your friend. If your therapist feels more like a friend than a therapist, that is a problem. Therapy is different from a friendship because the two of you will create a plan, purpose, and goal together. You do not “hang out” with your therapist. You and your therapist will work together toward a mutually negotiated goal.   Every action of your therapist should be directed only towards helping you. Your therapist should not be using your time to take care of their needs. If you find your therapist is using therapy time for anything other than helping you, then what they are doing is not good therapy.
  2. Good Therapy is Evidence-Based.
    Good therapy should involve keeping good records. Your therapist should be generating hypotheses and testing them. Your therapist should be updating their knowledge and correcting their mistakes. Good therapy should seek to foster help and nourish change. If your therapist promises to “change your personality,” then they are not practicing good therapy. The art of good therapy is to use evidence-based treatment to help their client. Good therapy should not ignore scientific data, knowledge or evidence. Good therapy should recognize that the evidence wins out in the end.
  3. Therapy Affirms Your Self-Worth.
    Good therapy looks to facilitate sound mental health. Mental health is a process you should use in pursuit of your chosen goals. Good therapy should not focus on judgment. Others have already judged most people for their troubles. A good therapist should not push judgment onto their clients. Instead, they should support you. You should be receiving a healing experience. Your therapist should offer you understanding, empathy, attention, acceptance and encouragement.  Therefore, if your therapist questions your moral character, wealth or ethnicity, they are not a good therapist. A good therapist should honor every client, regardless of how the therapist feels about the individual. Needless to say, good therapy does not condescend, abuse, manipulate, lie or cheat.
  4. Therapy Should Focus on You Doing the Work
    Your therapist should not feel like your parent. A therapist should not take too much credit for their client’s success. The client has to want to change and want to do the work. Factors such as hope, motivation, and social support will determine the outcome of therapy more than the therapist can. All therapy, in a fundamental sense, is self-therapy. You have to want to do the work for the therapy to work. If you feel like your therapist is taking too much control that is not a good sign of proper therapy.
  5. Therapy Encourages Independence
    The ultimate goal of therapy is to move forward. Therapy should focus on gaining independent decision-making skills. You should not let your therapist interfere with your entire decision making. On the contrary, your therapist should help you learn how to make the right decisions on your own. A bad sign of therapy is when your dependence on your therapy increases over time. Therapy is not about handing out solutions to problems; it is about teaching you to solve problems on your own.

If you are seeing a therapist and feel unsupported or feel you are not getting what you want from it, do not feel ashamed to reach out for something different. The goal is to help you change your behavior for the better. There are people out there that can give you the guidance you need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. 

Doctors Who Receive Big Pharma Money Prescribe More Brand Name Medications

Doctors Who Receive Big Pharma Money Prescribe More Brand Name Medications

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Doctors are supposed to have our best interest at heart. Unfortunately, when money is involved, that might not always be the case. In fact, a new report found a direct relationship between payments doctors receive and the medications they recommend to patients. Physicians who receive payments from medical drug and device makers tend to prescribe more brand-name drugs than generic medications.

ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning independent newsroom, published the report titled “Dollars for Docs” after analyzing physicians who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions in Medicare Part D, the government prescription drug program that covers more than 39 million Americans.

The report looked at payment data from pharmaceutical and medical device companies in 2014 and compared that data with medications prescribed by physicians using Medicare Part D during the same period. “Payments” include anything from meals, royalties, promotional speaking, consulting, business travel and gifts. Sure enough, their analysis discovered the more money doctors receive from the medical industry; the more likely they are to push brand-name medications over generic versions.

To be fair, this study was not intended to encourage disdain for the medical industry and greedy doctors. Rather, this study was to analyze the data and research the facts to either confirm or deny suspicions that the public has raised. The medical industry gets scrutinized on a daily basis for being influenced through financial means. This study is the first to confirm one aspect of that suspicion..

Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, further elaborates by stating the report is less about proving that industry patients sway doctors to prescribe certain drugs, but that it “again confirms the prevailing wisdom … that there is a relationship between payments and brand-name prescribing.”

Is there a difference?

The study also confirms that there is no real difference between brand-name and generic drugs. Generics go through the same FDA standards and often work just as well as name brands for a cheaper priced. Generics are simply not as heavily advertised, so consumers are unfamiliar with the names.

There are some exceptions, however. Dr. David W. Parke II, chief executive of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, explained in the report, that for conditions like HIV/AIDS, generics are typically not available or not nearly as effective. Some complicated conditions leave little room for non-generic options.

“In some cases, there are very appropriate and clinically valid reasons” for doctors who are outliers in their prescribing, he said.

Despite these anomalies, the results prove that as payments increase, brand-name prescribing rates increase steadily as well. For example, the brand-name prescribing rate of internal medicine doctors who received no payment was 19.8% compared to 30.1% for physicians who received over $5000 from medical drug or device makers.

The pattern is much high in states like Nevada where over 90% of doctors received, at least, one payment from a company in 2014. On the other hand, in other states like Vermont, less than 20% of physicians have received payment from a company. Regardless, this pattern is seen widely across the United States.

“You can debate if these payments are good or bad, or neither, but what isn’t debatable is that they permeate the profession,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

ProPublica also listed the top 50 companies that dispense payments and the highest earning doctors as part of its report. You can use their search engine to determine if your doctor has received a drug company payment.

Keep an open mind when it comes to treatment options. Often, generic options are just as effective as more expensive name-brand options. Speak up to your doctor and let them know you want to explore other medication alternatives. If you do not ask, you will never know.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

6 Warning Signs It’s Time to Change Your Life

6 Warning Signs it’s Time to Change Your Life

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Breaking out of routines, and changing your life can be the hardest thing you ever have to do. However, it can also be the most rewarding.

For most of us, it takes a big epiphany or emotional tragedy to finally change our ways, but the truth is often the signs of changing our lives appear way before those major life events occur. Instead of waiting for some huge sign to shift your ways, why don’t you ask yourself if it is time to change today?

Being stuck in the same career path year after year can be a miserable existence, especially if you have a passion that eats away at your soul. If you find yourself constantly depressed and miserable, now is the time to look within. Make a change, and put yourself first.

 6 Warning Signs it’s Time to Change Your Life:

  1. You Hate Going to Work.
    Hate going to work? Do you feel dread waking up in the mornings? These are all signs that you need to shift the direction of your life. You might be afraid of leaving a place that is secure, but years are going to fly by. Unless you come up with a plan to change your life, you will be stuck exactly where you are in the next few years. Dreading your work life is a sign to reflect on your current passions and career goals.  Now, not tomorrow, is the time to make a change. One of my favorite quotes is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Write down your ambitions and make a plan to change. It takes time, but each day is a chance to take action.
  1. You Focus Too Much on Past Regrets.
    “If only I would have gone to that college,” or “If only I would have sold my house before the market crashed…” “If only I would have saved more money…” 
    Looking back on past events in life is a major sign of trying to escape the now. It’s normal to reflect on some of the choices you have made in the past, however, keep your emotions in check. Do you take things as a learning experience? Every day is a chance to make the right decisions. Take advantage.
  2. You Are Jealous of Other People’s Success.
    Jealousy is another major sign that you are insecure and discontent with your own life. When we are happy, we want other people to be happy. When you are feeling stuck, you may start to feel jealous of those who are more successful. When that happens, it is time to reflect on the reason for the jealousy. Most likely, your mind is telling you it is time for a change.
  3. You Are Always Exhausted.
    Feeling extremely tired is often a sign of discontentment. You may feel like you are going through the motions, instead of living in the moment. Feeling tired and lethargic all the time often represents the struggle and hardships we are currently facing in our daily life. Instead of admitting defeat, find a way to get back on track. Transform your life by changing yourself from the inside-out.
  4. You Are Easily Overwhelmed.
    If you feel like you are juggling a million things, it could be time to breathe and reflect on what exactly you are doing. Of course, our daily responsibilities can become overwhelming, at times, but if it is a regular occurrence, it could be a sign that you are stifled and are craving change. Feeling antsy may be your body’s way of telling you to take time to really understand your life’s purpose.
  5. You Are Constantly Dreaming of the Future.
    Just like dwelling on past regrets is harmful, dreaming of the future constantly can be a sign of discontentment. Are you constantly thinking of goals you want to achieve, or even the next vacation? Our minds tend to focus on our passions and creativity. If you feel like you are always thinking about the kind of life you really want, rather than the life you have,  perhaps it is time to find a way to make that dream a reality. Change does not happen overnight, but even the smallest step toward change can increase motivation and reduce negativity.

Overall, it is important for us to pay attention to our mind and bodies. They send us signals on what direction to take next so we feel fulfilled. Let go of your past and live in the present moment. In recovery, it is important to recognize what drives you and what makes you feel the most satisfied. . 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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