Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

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:

For the First Time, Drug Use Tops Booze in Fatal U.S. Crashes

For the First Time, Drug Use Tops Booze in Fatal U.S. Crashes

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

Author: Shernide Delva

We know how devastatingly common alcohol-related car accidents are, but what about drug-related accidents? Turns out, drug-related accidents are becoming more common than those involving alcohol.

For the first time, drug use is topping booze in fatal U.S crashes.  Recent U.S data reveals that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk. Furthermore, marijuana was involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Among driver fatalities, 36.5 percent used marijuana followed by amphetamines at 9.3 percent, the study confirms. The study was based on the most recent U.S state data reported to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)

“People generally should get educated that drugs of all sorts can impair your driving ability,” said Jim Hedlund, a former NHTSA official who wrote the report. “If you’re on a drug that does so, you shouldn’t be driving.”

The study included any substance that can impair driving including:

In 2013, alcohol and drug traffic fatalities were at about 40 percent, with alcohol slightly higher, stated Hedlund.

Since 2005, the drug fatality levels have risen steadily. Before 2005, alcohol was detected in 41 percent of traffic deaths and drugs in 28 percent.  Hedlund said he was unable to find a direct link between the increased U.S. drug users, such as the opioid epidemic, to the rise in drugged drivers.

The number of U.S. deaths from opioids has massively quadrupled since 1999, with more than 33, 000 deaths in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Palm Beach County, a recent report from medical examiners stated a person died from an overdose fatality every 15 hours.

The increase in drug-related driving fatalities also coincides with marijuana legalization. In the United States, 29 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allow medical or recreational marijuana use. The reports state that marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 28 percent after the state legalized recreational use of the drug.

However, Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group, questions the correlation. Because marijuana can linger in the body for weeks, a driver might not actually be intoxicated when being tested, he said.

“I think you really need to take these kind of analyses with a pinch of salt,” he said in a phone interview with U.S. News

The report cautions that the data varies widely on how many drivers are tested and how they were tested.

What the Future Holds

Overall, the study brings up some important points. With the opioid epidemic hitting tragic numbers, and marijuana legalization increasing throughout the states, it is likely that drivers will have more than booze in their system.

Therefore, driving under the influence encompasses a lot more than just alcohol. Mixing alcohol with other substances is a major concern as this further impairs a person’s ability to drive. It also increases the risk of an accident and not only puts the driver at risk but also other drivers on the road. What do you believe should be done about this?

Driving under the influence of any major drug is a huge no-no. Please reach out for help if you are having trouble controlling your substance use. Do not wait. You are not alone. Call now. We want to help.

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

Author: Shernide Delva

As most know by now, the opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions.  In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. The leading cause of accidental death in the United States are opioid overdoses, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. When these drugs are abused, they present some of the same risks as heroin on the street. Furthermore, as prescription opioids are regulated, more and more people are turning to heroin making the risk of a fatal overdose even greater.

With all that said, how exactly do opioids affect the body? We wanted to explore several areas of the body and understand how opioid abuse specifically affected each area.  Whether it is prescription drugs or heroin, opioids affect almost every part of your body. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to your health. Read on further to learn how the body reacts to abuse of opioids. Treatment can put a stop to the risk and address issues that may have already arisen in the body.

The Effects of Opioid Use on the Body:

  1. THE BRAIN

    Painkillers are known to have side effects such as extreme drowsiness which can result in needing stimulant medication to counteract this effect. For example, heroin can elicit profound drowsiness. Abusers frequently experience bouts of ‘nodding off’ as they slip in and out of consciousness. Over time, the use of painkillers results in an increased risk fo major depression. Patients using painkillers for more than six months has a 50 percent greater chance of developing depressive episodes.

  1. THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

    Opioid overdoses can lead to a condition known as respiratory depression. It essentially means that breathing slows down significantly. The body goes into respiratory arrest and deprives the brain and body tissues of oxygen.

  1. THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

    Opioids affect the muscles of the digestive system making constipation common. This effect is due to the slowing of the digestive transit. The gastrointestinal motility and chronic constipation associated with opioid abuse can lead to more severe conditions such as small bowel obstruction, perforation, and resultant peritonitis. Nausea is very common among opioid users along with sudden, uncontrollable vomiting.

  2. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

    The chronic use of opioid painkillers can lead to a syndrome that can increase your sensitivity to pain resulting in a condition known as hyperalgesia. Furthermore, opioid use may result in psychomotor impairment and an overall slowing of a person’s physical movements and loss of coordination.

  3. THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

    Opioid use affects the immune system which means you’re more vulnerable to getting illnesses or feeling under the weather. The opioid receptors regulate immunity so long-term opioid abuse can negatively affect this process.

  1. THE LIVER

    Most people are unaware of how many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, the same ingredient found in Tylenol. Excessive use of these drugs can cause liver damage from toxicity. Damage to the liver is an undeniable risk to taking excessive amounts of prescription painkillers like Vicodin. When you add alcohol to the mix— as many opioid-dependent users do—it makes a risky situation, even more,

Overall, opioids affect every part of the body, and we did not even mention the psychological impacts of drug abuse. Opioid use disorder wreaks havoc on your life and the life of those around you. Do not wait for the potentially life-altering consequences of opioid abuse to take its toll. Please call to speak to a professional treatment support specialist today. Please call now. 

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What is Alcoholism and How Does Treatment Help?

What is Alcoholism and How Does Treatment Help?

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

Alcoholism is a term that has been around for quite a long time, but over the generations it has been understood and treated in a variety of ways. Perhaps as the world and society evolves, so does the average alcoholic.

Either way you look at it, alcoholism is a very real threat. National surveys of recent years indicate:

  • Nearly 19 million people in the US abuse alcohol, or have an addiction to it.
  • In Europe, it’s estimated that 23 million people are dependent on alcohol
  • Estimates say more than two million deaths resulting from alcohol consumption a year internationally

History of Alcoholism

The term “alcoholism” was first used by a Swedish professor of medicine, Magnus Huss (1807-1890). Huss turned the phrase in 1849, to mean poisoning by alcohol. While today “alcohol poisoning” is a more direct classification, alcohol-ism is still a poison in the lives of those who is touches.

Huss distinguished between two types of alcoholism:

  1. Acute alcoholism

Huss’s definition says this is the result of the temporary effects of alcohol taken within a short period of time, such as intoxication. Basically, it is having too much to drink.

  1. Chronic alcoholism

This Huss calls a pathological condition through the habitual use of alcoholic beverages in poisonous amounts over a long period of time. A pretty innovative idea, and something that would be debated for over a century.

Since 1849, the definition has changed endlessly.

Alcoholism Defined

Establishing a definitive “alcoholism” definition is difficult as there is little unanimity on the subject. The reason for such a variety of definitions is the different opinions each authority holds, and the year the definition was formed. We have the strictest definition the dictionary provides:

  •  An addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol

We also have the concept presented by the book Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which gives stories of struggle and strength, experience and hope; the lives of many alcoholics who developed a manner of living through a plan of action rooted in 12 Steps. Here alcoholism is often described as a “physical compulsion coupled with a mental obsession”. The disease model of alcoholism has evolved overtime.

Early on 12 Step fellowships like AA were cautious about trying to label the medical nature of alcoholism. However, many members believe alcoholism is a disease. In 1960 Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, explained why they had refrained from using the term “disease,” stating:

“We AAs have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. Therefore, we did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. Hence, we have always called it an illness or a malady—a far safer term for us to use.”

These days, the classification of disease is commonly applied to alcoholism or addiction. Some have called them brain disorders. While some dispute the disease label, many believe it is the truest portrayal of alcohol addiction in the most severe form. The idea of alcoholism being a disease has been around since as early as the 18th century.

Many of the more up-to-date medical definitions do describe it as a disease. These definitions say the alcohol problem is influenced by:

  • Genetic
  • Psychological
  • Social factors

Treatment of Alcoholism

When asking how treatment for alcoholism is important, there are a few specifically important elements to consider. When it comes to health risks of trying to quit cold turkey, it can be a lot more painful or dangerous than you think. Also, lasting recovery has a lot more to do with learning new coping skills and behaviors than just giving up the substance.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when the central nervous system (CNS) becomes overly excited. Alcohol suppressing the activity in the CNS, so the abrupt absence of alcohol causes the CNS to jump into overdrive. In essence, your system starts overcompensating.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms include:

The severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from mild to very severe and even life-threatening.

Most treatment programs understand the importance of therapy at different levels. Group therapy helps people fighting addiction receive peer support. Individual therapy lets you work more intimately on these issues with a professional.

Holistic programs such as Palm Partners Treatment Program help you develop a personalized recovery plan to guide you in your treatment, setting benchmarks and goals while you are in treatment.

Some groups are more educationally-structured in order to teach you very important aspects for understanding the nature alcoholism, as well as ways to make major lifestyle changes. Holistic recovery is about more than surviving your struggle, but actually outlining a way you can thrive and move forward with healthy life skills. Finding the right treatment option can make all the difference in how you define your alcoholism, versus how you let it define you.

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The Connection Between Foster Care and Drug Addiction

 

The Connection Between Foster Care and Drug Addiction

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

Author: Shernide Delva

The narrative of the orphan child has never been a positive one. We’ve all seen movies about it.  Abandoned children struggle with mental illness, emotional distress and sadly, many fall into addiction. The nation’s drug-addiction epidemic is excelling the number of children enter foster care. Many states must take urgent steps to care for neglected children. Unfortunately, there are too many and the numbers only continue to rise.

The problem is addicts often neglect, abandon or mistreat their children. Several states such as New Hampshire and Vermont made laws to make it possible to pull children out of homes with addicted parents, or states increased budgets to hire more social workers to deal with the emerging crisis.

Other states like Alaska, Kansas and Ohio have issued emergency pleas for more people to foster neglected children, many of them infants, into their homes.

“We’re definitely in a crisis, and we don’t see an end in sight any time soon,” said Angela Sausser, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a coalition of public child safety agencies in the state.

Life as a Child in Foster Care

Sadly, these children grow up and have a high risk of having a drug addiction. According to a 2016 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 35% of older youth in foster care have a substance use disorder.

While there is no universally accepted cause of drug addiction, one theory commonly accepted is a relief from physical, mental, and emotional pain. There are emotions foster youth feel on a regular basis. Foster youth are ripped from their families and put into state care due to neglect or abuse. Those two words—neglect, abuse—result in an array of emotional and physical realities. These realities must be addressed.

Lisa Marie Basile was a foster youth from age 14 to 19. She is a successful edited and writer in New York who wrote the poetry book Apocryphal. She discussed her thoughts in an interview in The Fix:

“The narrative of the foster youth has been hijacked by this idea that foster youth are just losers. Like it’s inherent, expected. The thing is, something has been done to them. I wish more people understood the loneliness,” she explained.

The Numbers Are Now Increasing

For a while, the number of children in foster care was decreasing. The enormous increase in parental drug abuse is driving the number of foster care youth up at an incredible pace. As of 2014, the number was at 3.5%. In San Diego, more and more babies are in need of foster care placement, and many infants are born addicted to drug. Not only are these babies born experiencing withdrawals, they also have a long-term risk for medical, developmental, emotional and behavioral hardship. Furthermore, they are an extremely high risk for addiction.

There are programs out there to help these children, but they have to reach out for it. The first step is admitting the addiction. This is the exact reason why many addicts are stuck. Lisa Basile says she made her way through foster care without using, however once she reached college, she began to overindulge in drinking.

 “I drank a lot more than most college students. And that behavior—day drunk, wine for lunch—stayed with me for a while after college. It became less about partying and way more about numbing everything out so I could get through college without facing my tragedies.”

The Emotional Aftermath

The issue lies in the emotional toll the foster care process can have on these children. The National Institute of Mental Health states that that foster youth have a high risk conduct disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Youth with PTSD or conduct disorder are found to have the “the “highest risk for substance use and disorder.”

What is PTSD? PTSD is defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as “requir[ing] that children have experienced, witnessed, or learned of a traumatic event, defined as one that is terrifying, shocking, and potentially threatening to life, safety, or physical integrity of self or others.”

It is clear by this definition why foster children are likely PTSD sufferers and why they are more at risk for addiction rather than just drug experimentation.  Foster children are often born in situations where their basis needs are ignored and where their emotional wounds remained unhealed.

There is Hope

With the right resources, children in these situations can be granted the opportunity to change their future. Everyone involved plays a role. From teachers, therapists, volunteers and neighbor, the right person providing the right connection can turn things around.

Foster children and addiction may go hand in hand, but that does not mean anyone’s situation is hopeless. There is not an excuse for changing your future. If you were brought up in an unfortunate situation, there is still time to shift the direction of your life. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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Could a Joystick Help Alcoholics Avoid Relapse?

Could a Joystick Help Alcoholics Avoid Relapse?

Author: Shernide Delva

Over the holiday season, I acquired a part time job working as a virtual reality demo associate. It was amazing to see the impact gaming software could have on a person’s life. I saw people in wheelchairs enjoy the feeling of entering a different reality. I saw senior citizens enjoy the immersion of climbing a virtual mountain or sculpting a cat. Technology like this helps take our imaginations to a new realm.

Therefore, when I read about a company using a joystick to help with alcoholism, it fascinated me. An ongoing study in Berlin is using joysticks and alcohol-related images to help prevent alcoholic relapse.  Some of the participants have said that the image-related therapy helped keep them sober.

Miriam Sebold is the study’s lead psychologist. In the study, participants viewed images on a computer screen and were told to use a joystick to push alcohol-related images away. They were also instructed to engage the joystick and pull images of water and other non-alcoholic beverages closer to them,

Researcher Hanna Lesch visited Charité University in Berlin, Germany where the ongoing study took place. She described the parameters of the study:

“Every click of a joystick results in a new pair of images,” said Lesch. “Pushing the joystick forward makes an image grow smaller. Pull in toward you, and the image grows. Sebold’s patients react strongly to images of alcohol and that is the basis of her training.”

Images of alcohol can sometimes make an alcoholic vulnerable. In the same way that Pavlov’s dogs reacted to stimuli related to food, alcoholics can react to stimuli related to alcoholic beverages. Non-alcoholics do not respond any differently to a glass of orange soda or a shot of vodka.

Lesch spoke with a study participant named Freddy while she at the facility. Freddy discussed how after his divorce, he began drinking daily—consuming at least two liters of beer and a few shots of hard liquor per day.

“I’ve tried to take a break from it more than a few times,” said Freddy, “but it was two, three days at the most. Then, I did some rehab, and then I did some more rehab. I was even in long-term rehab.”

Time after time, Freddy kept relapsing. Lesch understand that this is one of the “greatest hurdles” in the alcohol treatment world. The attempt to rehabilitate an alcoholic is difficult, and nearly 85% cannot stay away from alcohol.

Sebold elaborated:

“What it really comes down to is that this addiction is such a powerful illness, that again and again, you have these cases where the patients say, ‘I was dry for 10 years, and then I treated myself to a beer because I figured I could treat myself to something.’ Then, they relapse right back into this very strong addiction, where they’re drinking a bottle of vodka every day. These are very strong mechanisms inside their head that they have very little control over.”

To control these thoughts in the brain, they must learn how to rewire their thinking. In the experiment using the joystick, the purpose was to rewire the way the brain reacted to alcohol stimuli. In the case of Freddy, he found that over time, it was effective in reducing the temptation to drink.

Lesch described Freddy’s experience:

“During the training, Freddy noticed no changes in his own behavior, but then, he did. Whenever he saw a bottle of alcohol inside a store, he was reminded of the images he’d seen during the training.”

Freddy found that the test helped him stay away from the dark days of active alcoholism.  He was able to avoid temptation easier, and best of all stay sober.

“Freddy has remained sober and the 64-year-old was proud to say he was even able to land a normal job,” Lesch said.

Now that the joystick experiment has shown positive results, the future for more studies like this is endless. The hope is to use this same procedure for other addictions and compulsions.

“As soon as they find out exactly where and how this therapy affects the human brain,” said Lesch, “the discovery could help lead to the development of new medicinal-based therapies. For Freddy, participating in the study has been worth it. Today, he’s doing his best to avoid even talking about alcohol.”

While this is not the first joystick study ever done, it is a positive contribution to the pursuit of finding proven methods to keep alcoholics from relapsing. What other ways could gaming be utilized to treat addiction?

Alcoholism is a serious disorder and there is temptation everywhere. Alcohol is difficult to avoid in a society that glorifies it as a social tool. However, a person who has alcoholism should avoid alcohol at all costs. Addiction is a serious disease that ruins lives and destroys families. Do not feel defeated. There is a way out. Call now.

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