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:

How Do I Set Boundaries with My Addicted Loved One?

Dug and Heidi McGuirk Answer “How Do I Set Boundaries?”

A few weeks ago, we covered the dangers of enabling discussed in the Revolutionary Growth video, “How do I know I’m Enabling?” Dug and Heidi McGuirk explained enabling and how to stop doing it. The best way to stop enabling is through setting boundaries with your addicted loved one.

Furthermore, in the next video, Dug and Heidi McGuirk, who run the Revolutionary Family program for Palm Healthcare,  answer:

How Do I Set A Boundary?

After you have made the decision NOT to enable your addicted loved one, the next step is to set clear boundaries.  At this point, you have decided to no longer support their addiction.  Instead, you are determined to support their recovery and beyond.

To do this, you must set healthy boundaries, but how exactly does one set healthy boundaries?

First, it is important to remember you are setting boundaries, not ultimatums.

“It’s all about you. You can’t set a boundary to manipulate another person. That’s called an ultimatum. We aren’t doing an ultimatum. Those don’t work,” Heidi McGuirk says.

“We are doing a boundary which is people are going to do what they’re going to do, and you need to decide how you are going to experience what they’re going to do, and that’s it.”

It is crucial to take steps to ensure your addicted loved one knows where you stand. Do not become upset and argue with them if they do not abide. Do not tell them to simply stop their behavior. Instead, commit to your boundaries.

Dug and Heidi McGuirk’s steps to creating clear boundaries:

  1. Be Clear:
    Let your addicted loved one know what it is that you won’t tolerate and what your plan is if they do not abide.
  2. Use Direct Assertive Language:
    No “wishy-washy” behavior. Use very few words and let them know the consequences.
  3. Make Consequences You Will Follow Through On:
    Try not to make consequences that are unmanageable. Make consequences that you can commit and follow through on consistently.
  4. Check for Understanding:
    Make sure that they have heard you. If needed, have a cheat sheet to communicate more effectively.

How to Create a Boundary “Cheat Sheet”

If you struggle with communicating boundaries and consequences, Heidi and Dug McGuirk recommend carrying a cheat sheet that will help guide you through the process.

Cheat Sheet Example:

 “When you ___, I feel ___; I want___ If you___, I will___.”

Here is how the cheat sheet can be applied when communicating boundaries:

Cheat Sheet Applied for Drunken Behavior:

  • When you come home drunk, I feel nervous, scared and violated. I want to have a sober, healthy and safe home to live in. If you come home drunk again, I will leave for the night; lock the doors, ask you to get treatment, etc…”

Cheat Sheet Applied for Verbal Aggression:

  • When you speak to me that way, I feel assaulted, attacked, upset, frustrated, scared, and violated. I want to be able to have a rational discussion with you. I want to feel safe in our conversations together. I want to not be around that anymore. If you continue to speak to me that way, I will walk away, leave, hang up the phone, etc…”

The key is to follow through with the boundaries you set:

“You might have to leave, walk away, hang up the phone 25 times, but the key to this is to follow through because that’s really how you teach people how to treat you so make sure you’re prepared to do what you say you are going to do,” Heidi McGuirk says.

After some consistency, your loved one will know what you are going to do and when you are going to do it whenever they mess up. Eventually, all you will have to do is give them “the look, ” and they will know exactly where you stand.

If you want to read more about boundaries, download our free E-book “What is the Difference between Helping and Hurting?”

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The Importance of Commitment

Dug McGuirk explains this concept of “the look” using their toddler, Ellie, as an example. Often, toddlers know exactly what you are going to do because the boundaries were followed through with many times in the past.

“There’s sometimes the look or the countdown or the whatever. You do that a few times, and they know what’s going to happen because it’s been implemented,” Dug McGuirk says.

However, this awareness will only happen if you follow through with the consequences consistently.  Do not become lax with your boundaries. It is important it is to commit to boundaries even in weaker moments.

Heidi McGuirk describes how their toddler Ellie would receive a time-out every time she smacked her.  It was important Ellie knew this behavior was inappropriate. One night, right before bed, Ellie decided to smack her again.

Heidi McGuirk knew she was tired, in bed, and knew giving their daughter a time-out would be a major inconvenience. However, she realized this is exactly why enabling behaviors happens.

Often, the loved ones of addicts do not follow through with their boundaries because they are constantly tested during these inconvenient moments. It is important to follow through when tested during weaker moments so that your addicted loved ones knows you are serious.

“What I’m saying is the more that you practice your chops at holding your line, the less testing they’ll be” Heidi McGuirk states.

“Patience and Discipline are the parents of execution,” Dug McGuirk affirms.


 Overall, setting boundaries is a matter of knowing what you need and knowing how you want to experience your loved one’s addiction. The next part is committing to the boundaries you set. We know it is not easy. Therefore, if you have a loved one struggling with addiction, of if you are having trouble dealing with your loved one’s addiction, please reach out to us. We want to help. Do not wait.  Call now. 

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Author: Shernide Delva  

Should Marijuana Be Used in Addiction Treatment?

Should Marijuana Be Used in Addiction Treatment?

Author: Shernide Delva

A California rehab is under scrutiny after it was discovered that the rehab incorporates marijuana in their addiction treatment program. The different uses of medical marijuana continue to raise controversy, especially when it comes to addiction treatment.

Therefore, the question remains:

Does medical marijuana have a place in addiction treatment?

The mission of the California rehab states: to help addicts stop abusing substances that are most harmful to them.  The rehab says marijuana is a tool to help clients along the withdrawal process, and if needed, aid in long-term recovery. While the treatment center boasts positive results, their stance on marijuana use is at odds with many in the treatment and recovery community.

But they are far from the first. Other treatment centers are considering a similar treatment philosophy. So, is it wrong to do so?  Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist and the author of “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” agrees with the philosophy.

“This stuff that emphasizes this morality, we don’t have anything else like that in medicine,” said Szalavitz, a former heroin addict, and AA member. “And the 12-step thing talking about ‘defects of character,’ that’s not exactly helpful for someone who already has a lot of self-hatred.”

“This whole idea that total abstinence is the only route to recovery has been incredibly damaging to the addiction field,” she continues.

This idea of “non-abstinence” treatment relates to a program known as harm reduction which accepts that drug use is a part of life. Instead of trying to get people to stop doing drugs, harm reduction focuses on improving overall safety through reducing the negative consequences associated with using drug use.

An example of a harm reduction program is safe needle exchange programs. These programs focus on providing addicts with clean needles that overall, reduce the risk of infections like Hepatitis C. Another example would be methadone clinics or suboxone maintenance programs. While controversial, these programs help in reducing the number of overdose fatalities.

Does Marijuana Curb Addiction?

Despite treatment centers using marijuana in addiction treatment, there are not many studies that confirm its efficacy. Research exists that suggests cannabis may be a helpful tool for opioid addiction. Marijuana is used in some treatment facilities to aid with long-term pain relief and opioid withdrawals.

Still, a major report published in January by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said that “only one randomized trial assessing the role of cannabis in reducing the use of addictive substances” exists.

Furthermore, many of the studies suffered from at least one research error. Mostly, the sample size was too small to make a solid conclusion.

“I think ideally you’d study it before you just go and do it,” Szalavitz said. “I think it’s an intriguing idea that we need more research on.”

Many experts argue the use of cannabis to treat addiction is absurd.

“Marijuana has exactly no role in the treatment of any mental illness, especially substance-use disorders,” Thomas McLellan, who founded the Treatment Research Institute and served briefly as the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama administration, told The Guardian.

Marijuana: A Gateway Drug?

Even if marijuana is not someone’s drug of choice, it is possible that cannabis use can trigger a relapse. Any mind-altering substance can lower a person’s ability to make rational decisions regarding their sobriety.

“People are more likely to seek their primary drug or alcohol when they are intoxicated or high,” says Anne Lewis, a clinical psychologist and licensed addictions counselor with Indiana University Health. “It lowers your inhibition, so you don’t care. We don’t make good decisions when we’re drunk or high.”

Therefore, even if a person does not have an issue with marijuana,  it may increase the temptation to use. Marijuana could make it harder to stay on the recovery path.

Chemicals in the Brain?

To explain further, one must understand brain chemicals. Cannabinoid receptors closely tie into the brain’s dopamine systems. These chemicals play a role in reward—motivated behavior. Blocking those receptors can assist people trying to give up smoking, alcohol, cocaine or heroin. However, the use of marijuana can trigger those receptors increasing the risk of a relapse.

While there are always success stories from clients who have used marijuana maintenance plans successfully, for the most part, the risks are great.

What are your thoughts? What do you think about treatment centers incorporating marijuana in the treatment process? Addiction is an epidemic of great proportions. The first step is seeking treatment.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

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Kate Middleton Talks about Motherhood & Mental Health

Kate Middleton Talks about Motherhood & Mental Health

Author: Shernide Delva

The Duchess of Cambridge continues to pave the way when it comes to standing up for mental health advocacy. This time, she addressed the hardships mothers faced. On Thursday, Kate Middleton discussed motherhood and mental health preaching transparency and even sharing her personal struggles with parenthood.

“Becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” Middleton affirmed in her speech.

“However, at times it has also been a huge challenge — even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not,” she revealed.

Middleton acknowledged her privilege and went on to speak about the unpredictability of motherhood. She shared that, most of the time, “you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family” — a goal that can easily “lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.”

Middleton also shared that two out of ten women will suffer from pregnancy-related mental issues, such as postpartum depression. She encourages mothers to be more open with one another and reach out for help when needed. She confirmed that physical health and mental health aren’t all that different, saying:

“If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor. Getting help with our mental health is no different— our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.”

The event was hosted by the charity Best Beginnings, which showcased a series of films that focus specifically on maternal mental health.  Its website explains that some of the films aid in “understand[ing] your baby and support bonding, and support[ing] your baby’s brain development,” while 64 other short films work to “support your mental health during pregnancy and after your baby is born.”

Middleton has supported mental health charities in the past. Furthermore, she, along with Princes Harry and William, has a mental health foundation of their own. Their work on Heads Together exemplifies the sentiments Middleton expressed in her speech; “Mental health is just as important as physical health,” she asserted in a PSA for the group.

Her devotion to this cause, consistent message, and support of charities show that Middleton is a true advocate. It is crucial to keep the conversation going when it comes to mental health awareness and reducing stigmas. For many mothers, hearing Middleton share the same concerns provide a much-needed, optimism to the mothering experience.

Postpartum Depression

The CDC estimates that 1 in 9 women experiences postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings of postpartum depression exceed those of “baby blues” which refers to the exhaustion and sadness many women experience after childbirth. Postpartum depression was misunderstood for quite some time, but now more awareness has been made about the condition.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms of depression, but may also include:

  • Crying more than usually
  • Feelings of Anger
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Feeling disconnected from your baby
  • Worry about hurting your baby
  • Guilt about not being a good mom
  • Feeling unable to care for baby properly

If you think you may be struggling with postpartum depression, the first step is to talk to your health care provider. Depression is treatable, and there are a variety of treatment options available to help get you back on track. Please do not let this feeling linger for too long. Mental health is like any other illness. You should not feel any shame. 

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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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Painkiller Tax Proposed By California Legislators to Offset Rehab Costs

Painkiller Tax Proposed By California Legislators to Offset Rehab Costs

Author: Shernide Delva

In order to help offset the sky-rocketing costs of addiction and rehab, a California legislator wants to tax OxyContin, Vicodin and other prescription opioids. Should this be considered throughout the country?

Over the last few years, Los Angeles County has led the state when it comes to opioid drug overdoses. As a result, California lawmaker Kevin McCarty announced a new bill that would implement a 1 cent-per-milligram tax on prescription opioids to help offset the expense of rehab services.

“What we have here is a plan to create a surcharge of opiate sales in California and redirect all those moneys to provided needed services for the communities,” McCarty explained.

In 2014, more than 2,000 people died of opioid overdoses in California. In the United States, 91 people die of opioid-related causes every single day.

With this proposed law, taxes would be placed on opioid prescription wholesales, and could also impact prices for manufactures. However, some are concerned that the cost will be passed down to patients.

Emergency Room physician Dr. Stephen Kishineff was concerned that addicts who buy opioids illegally won’t be the ones shouldering the tax.

“Really the end users are going to pay for it because they’re going to pay for it in higher prescription costs or higher insurance premiums,” said Kishineff.

But he added the intention is good.

“As a society, it’s kind of a nice idea for a tax to be put on something that can be abused in order to help somebody who is abusing it,” Kishineff said.

McCarty estimates minimal impact on consumers, and if any, would be roughly a few dollars a month.

“So we think there is a real nexus between the opioid industry and the problem that we’re seeing out there on the streets. So this ties the two things together to address the problem,” McCarty said.

In the past, similar legislation was proposed at the federal level, but if the new McCarty bill becomes law, California would be the first state to enact such a tax on painkillers.

It is important to note that the funds from this tax would go towards funding rehabilitation services. The tax would be imposed on wholesalers, not at the point of sale, and would require two-thirds approval in the legislature.

“California’s opioid epidemic has cost state taxpayers millions and the lives of too many of our sons and daughters,” McCarty said in a statement. “We must do more to help these individuals find hope and sobriety. This plan will provide counties with critical resources needed to curb the deadly cycle of opioid and heroin addiction in California.”

If passed, the surcharge would raise tens of millions for county drug treatment programs. These funds would help the endless amount of addicts who lack the financial support to seek proper treatment.

Do you think a law like this could be effective?

If so, should other states follow suit? One argument is that a law like this opens the door for other prescriptions drug taxes. It also punishes chronic pain suffers who use painkillers in a safe, non-addictive way.

In the comment section of the article, several people argued against the tax, saying it posed an unfair punishment to honest prescription pain killer patients.

One commented:

“I say this proposal is ridiculous. I don’t use that medicine. I don’t believe people should be taxed because of others irresponsibility. If they want to overdose let them it’s their choice.”

Another commented:

“Rub salt in the wounds why don’t you! Unlike cigarette tax, this med tax would compound an already painful and difficult situation for those who really need it, because of those who really don’t…adding insult to injury!”


Clearly, this is a topic up for serious debate. What we know for sure is that addiction is a serious problem and treatment is necessary to overcome it. If you need help, please reach out to professionals. We are waiting for your call. Call now.

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