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Custom Addiction Treatment for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals often have demanding jobs and face great challenges at work. They are saving lives, after all. Most know when they need help with a substance abuse issue but often do not seek help. A common reason is lack of specific treatment programs for these professionals.

Here are 4 important reasons for customized substance abuse treatment programs for medical professionals.

Your license could be at risk

The state’s Licensing Board has total control over a healthcare professional’s ability to practice medicine. You may be in denial of your substance abuse problem but the Licensing Board will not see it that way. For them, the public’s best interest is important. You are at risk of losing your license.

Not seeking treatment is almost like throwing away your career, something you obviously don’t want.

Addiction specialists understand what you are going through

Specialists at a rehab program are trained and experienced in treating various types of substance abuse disorders – how the nature of each substance is different and how they affect the body differently. They also know how to wean the body off a substance and the individual withdrawal symptoms. Based on your specific condition and your overall health, they would customize a treatment plan, specifically for you.

Access to controlled substances is part of the job

Addiction treatment for healthcare professionals is unique because unlike others, who recover from substance abuse, they will have easy access to controlled substances, tempting them to start re-using. This makes the likelihood of relapse even higher than other individuals. The high degree of stress in the field of healthcare field and the easy access to medications can be a constant temptation.

For all these reasons, healthcare professionals dealing with substance abuse should find a treatment program that is customized to their needs. Seek help.

Odds of Dying from Opioid Overdose Surpasses Automobile Accidents

Death rate statistics in the United States now point to a startling turnaround with the likelihood of dying by opioid drug overdose surpassing the chances of dying in an automobile accident. Automobile accident deaths have long been the balancing point in conversations around the country. It is frequently said that a person has more chances of dying in an automobile than they do in an airplane. This is true.
You also hear that automobile deaths are the number one cause of preventable death. That is no longer the case, according to the Odds of Dying report put out by the National Safety Council (NSC). Opioids, their numbers say, are now the No. 1 preventable death threat in the United States.

The numbers are not only scary today, but the numbers have been on a rampage since 2011, coinciding with the arrival of street market fentanyl, which has proved to be as lethal as any illicit drug in the country. Put another way: The odds of dying by opioid overdose have probably not peaked yet. The problem, in part, is getting the message out to the public. “I can tell you without hesitancy, the general public does not like death rates,” Pain Medicine News quoted NSC statistics manager Ken Kolosh as saying. The aim of the NSC is, in fact, to put statistics in a manner in which the public can fully grasp their meaning. As such, the numbers are frightening, as they should be.

Opioids, their numbers say, are now the No. 1 preventable death threat in the United States

It breaks down this way: The U.S. population was approximately 326 million in 2017. The number of accidental opioid-related deaths came to 43,036 that year. Simply divide 326 million by 43,036 and you get one in 7,569, which are the odds of dying of an opioid-related overdose in the entire year. When you divide that by the average life expectancy, which is 78.6 years, you get one in 96. That’s the odds of dying of an opioid-related accident for someone born in the United States in 2019. Do the same numbers for other causes of death and you have heart disease, a one in six chance; cancer a one in seven chance, chronic respiratory disease one in 27, suicide one in 88. If born in 2019, the odds of dying in an automobile accident are one in 103.

Further, the odds of dying in an automobile accident have been improving over the last 10 years, while the odds of dying from overdose have been getting worse … and worse. According to the CDC, there were 47,600 opioid-related overdoses in 2017, which is 67. 8 percent of all drug overdoses. Are we done being scared? Absolutely not. But Pacific Bay Recovery is absolutely confident we have the team in place to turn your drug or alcohol addiction around.

Confidence and fear do not cancel each other out. We certainly know this is tough. We know this is difficult. We know you did not start out life seeking to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. We know how difficult this can be. We know this is scary, but we also know and abide by one absolute: Emotions can change. What if the source of your fear today – facing recovery – becomes a source of your proudest accomplishment in the future? We understand you are scared today, but how will you feel when you get back on your feet when you find you are no longer beholden to any mood altering substance or behavior?

Recovery is scary on day one. It’s scary on day two. It’s frightening for a while. We can help you get through those early fears and move on to a full, fruitful, healthy life in the future. What may seem scary, depressing and isolating today will look very different in the future. Recovery is about restoring hope. It’s about waking up every day with hope in your heart. Every day you have regained control of your life is a day of hope. You can win this struggle.

Don’t be a statistic. Call Pacific Bay Recovery, San Diego’s top drug and alcohol recovery program. Call 858-263-9700 today.

Is Marijuana addictive?

Marijuana or weed is one of the most intriguing and controversial psychoactive drugs. After the legalization of weed in many US states, the marijuana menace has increased, simply because it is legal and many people are curious to try it.

Marijuana is addictive and one of the most popular and commonly abused substance. While weed is an antidepressant, it also produces psychedelic effects in higher doses. There are two classified types of marijuana – one produces psychedelic effects and the other works as a depressant.

Despite its legal status and medical purposes, weed is addictive. For instance, it is one of the most commonly abused illicit drug among youth and adults.

So, if you wish to know whether weed is addictive, the answer clearly is “YES, it is!”

Marijuana users, especially chronic users, experience physical as well as mental health problems, including brain and memory malfunctions.

The short-term side effects of marijuana include –

• altered senses
• altered sense of time
• changes in mood
• impaired body movement
• difficulty with thinking and problem solving
• impaired memory
• psychosis, hallucinations, delusions (when taken in high doses)

Apart from the above-mentioned short-term side effects, marijuana can have profound effects on brain development, which makes it extremely harmful for children and adolescents. Pregnant women that use the drug give birth to babies with negative behavior and development issues.

MDMA Addiction Treatment

MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is known by many names – Molly, ecstasy/XTC, etc. It is a synthetic drug that has a stimulant and hallucinogenic effect on humans. It was initially used in the treatment of a number of psychological issues, but given its potentially harmful effects, it is not utilized as medicine. It has the ability to lower inhibitions, enhance a sense of interconnectedness, and create psychedelic effects, which is popular among teenagers and young adults, especially in the party culture (“raves”).

MDMA effects start kicking in within an hour or so after taking a single dose and include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, a general sense of well being, decreased anxiety, as well as an enhanced sensory perception. MDMA dramatically alters an individual’s mood and perception, and its effects are similar to those experienced after taking amphetamine and hallucinogenic drugs. However, there are some users who report undesirable effects immediately, including anxiety, agitation, and recklessness. It can produce a variety of adverse effects, including nausea, chills, sweating, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. MDMA overdose results in high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness, and seizures.

We have a team of highly experienced professionals fully trained in the management of MDMA abuse disorder

It is typically consumed as a white powder form which can be applied on the gums, snorted or smoked. But more commonly, it is mixed with other substances and sold as a tablet. There is a common misconception that Ecstasy/MDMA does not lead to addiction or dependence; it is actually opposite to that – It is highly addictive and chronic use leads to serious long-term, overall poor health, wellbeing and quality of life. MDMA addiction may also lead to the development of alcohol addiction and other drug and behavioral addictions, as polysubstance abuse is quite common. Long-term users of Ecstasy/MDMA can lead to tolerance, which is a key factor in the development of addiction.

As devastating as it is, MDMA addiction is fully treatable. It takes will power and determination of the patient, and with the support of loved ones and experienced professionals, recovery from this abuse disorder is achievable. It takes a team of highly trained psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and other mental health professionals who have a thorough understanding of this type of substance abuse disorder to comprehensively treat it. Each patient is unique – different background, medical history, psychiatric issues, social circumstances and physical profile, and the treatment needs to be bespoke, individually tailored with support for each individual. Treatment may include outpatient therapy, 12-Step support group, partial hospitalization or residential treatment, family therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), biofeedback/neurofeedback, hypnotherapy, recreation therapy, etc. We have a team of highly experienced professionals fully trained in the management of MDMA abuse disorder, providing the full gamut of treatment options customized for each patient so that they can have the best shot a full and lasting recovery.

Methadone Addiction

Methadone is a painkilling, opioid drug. Opioids can be natural or man-made, pain-relieving drugs, prescribed to relieve pain and discomfort.

Methadone produces effects, similar to morphine but the effects tend to be longer-lasting. It is commonly used as a substitute to opiate like heroin and morphine. While methadone does not produce intense effects, it can still produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. However, methadone can still be abused, resulting in physical and psychological dependence, if not used properly.

Short-Term Effects
After an initial absorption, individuals experience drowsiness, which may make them feel lethargic. They also experience pain relief, euphoria and complete relaxation.

Continued use of methadone produces severe physical effects on the body, including –
• Sweating
• Nausea
• Constipation
• decreased heart rate
• pinpoint pupils

Behavioral changes include aggressive mood swings, increased anxiety and feelings of depression.

In the event of an overdose or dependence, users may experience –
• lowered blood pressure
• shallow breathing
• tremors
• itchy skin
• blue lips
• decreased heart rate
• extreme lethargy
• hard time recognizing whereabouts
• even a comatose state

Long-Term Effects
The long-term effects of methadone addiction worsen as the individual goes on using. Long-term use may produce effects, such as –
• severe respiratory issues
• cardiovascular problems
• memory loss and issues with learning
• poor judgement
• changes in personality or behavior
• poor physical hygiene
These issues begin to build-up with continuous injections and go on becoming severe.

Genetics and Addiction

Addictions or substance abuse disorders are a diverse set of common, complex diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. The environmental factors that predispose to substance abuse are well known, but the question is whether genetics play a role as well. It is becoming evident that there are shared genetic and environmental etiological factors at play. Genetic studies and other analyses are clarifying the origins of addiction and the role genes play in their development. This knowledge of genetic factors in etiology and treatment response can bolster the personalized treatment of these disorders and even prevent them.

Addictions are chronic and often relapsing psychiatric disorders with maladaptive and destructive outcomes that affect not only the individual, but also one’s family, community, and society. Just talking about alcohol alone, around 2 billion people consume alcoholic beverages and 76.3 million of these have an alcohol use disorder. The second most abused drug is tobacco, with 1.3 billion users worldwide. Approximately, up to 200 million people worldwide consume illicit drugs.

Studies reveal that an individual’s risk for substance abuse disorder tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative
Addiction is characterized by three phenomena, regardless of the type of agent of abuse: craving (preoccupation/anticipation), binge/intoxication, and withdrawal/negative effect. The initial stages are dominated by impulsivity and positive reinforcement that drive drug-seeking behavior. These are replaced by compulsivity and negative reinforcement in the later stages of the addiction cycle. Addictive drugs have been found to induce adaptive changes in gene expression in brain reward regions, leading to tolerance and habit formation. These processes are implicated in the development of relapse as well.

Genetics supposedly play an important role in determining which treatment modalities are effective in these patients. This can induce a paradigm shift in substance abuse disorder therapy as currently, the clinical options are untargeted and only partially effective. Inherited variation is thought to affect the initiation and maintenance of drug use, and new therapies and preventive strategies could be developed and better targeted to individuals.

Addictions have been found to be moderately to highly heritable. Family, adoption and twin studies reveal that an individual’s risk for substance abuse disorder tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative. These heritabilities are not the same across the board – it is 0.39 for hallucinogens, and 0.72 for cocaine. An important study (Virginia Twin Study) revealed that while familial and social factors play a stronger role in the initiation and use of nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis in adolescence, there is an increasingly greater role of genetics in the same as one grows older.

It must be noted that the underlying pathogenesis of these substance use disorders is complex, and while there has been some progress in unraveling the genetic factors that are linked to their development and to one’s response to therapy, there is still a lot that we don’t know about how genetic factors interact with environmental factors in the natural history of these conditions. But it is encouraging to see that this knowledge has the potential to guide prevention and management practice in this field.

Drug Rehabilitation with Pain management

There are many causes of chronic pain – injury, accident or illness. One of the biggest healthcare crisis of our times is the opioid abuse crisis. Opioids are typically prescribed for severe and/or chronic pain, to which the patient ultimately develops tolerance and becomes addicted. However, an integrated approach that includes pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, individual counseling, and group support, can be the right choice for patients suffering from chronic pain. Drug rehab with pain management includes this approach for the effective treatment of chronic pain.

According to a recently published study, patients who suffer from drug addiction and chronic pain tend to receive inadequate pain control compared to non-addicted patients. Doctors in rehab facilities may be hesitant to provide opioid pain medications given their predisposition to addiction. However, these patients deserve adequate relief is the pain is severe, the same way as any other patient. Drug rehabilitation for chronic pain is an approach that treats the patient’s substance abuse without compromising pain control.
Drug rehab with pain management focuses on not only the substance abuse and pain control components but also other facets of health
Chronic pain can debilitating — physically, emotionally and socially. The end results of under-treated pain can be isolation, depression, substance abuse or worse, suicide.

Chronic pain is actually underreported. Many patients suffer from it and assume it as a part of growing old.  Adequate pain control can dramatically improve their quality of life and functionality.

It is true as well that prescription painkillers can be abused. These patients are vulnerable to getting addicted as they develop tolerance to them. This is why it is extremely important to provide them with pain in a controlled setting with careful monitoring. Patients undergoing drug rehab are in a structured program under careful supervision and it is important to provide them with adequate pain relief and monitor them for warning signs of abuse.

 

Having said that, giving alternatives to opioids for pain relief is advisable in patients with a past or current history of substance abuse. Some of the non-opioid options for pain relief, with varying degree of strength and efficacy, include buprenorphine, psychological counseling and behavioral modification, massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and herbal therapy, physical therapy, etc.

Psychotherapy can help identify negative behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to addiction, but it is not an actual pain relief method. Drug rehab with pain management focuses on not only substance abuse and pain control components but also other facets of health, such as nutrition, exercise, etc. As drug addicts tend to ignore these, addressing them is likely to help them regain physical and mental health. Pain should not be ignored. It should be addressed by the right clinicians and a personalized plan for pain relief should be sketched out keeping in view the unique history and health status of each patient. A comprehensive approach is likely to yield successful results in the recovery process of the patients and improve their overall quality of life.

6 Tips to make Recovery Easier

For many people with addiction issues, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the daily triggers and pressures. These pressures can further trigger ineffective behaviors and responses, such as going back to the same substance and risking relapse.

Here are some simple yet highly effective tips to reduce the risk of relapse and make your recovery journey easier.

Have illnesses treated

Your physical health is as important as your mental and emotional health. Stay on top of your health and talk to your doctor whenever necessary. Take your medications as prescribed.

Eat healthy

Eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Minimize the intake of junk and processed food. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and reduce intake of salt and sugar.

Avoid substances that affect your mood

Substances, legal or illegal, that can affect your mood or your ability to cope effectively should be avoided.

Balance sleep

Follow a routine of going to bed and waking up at regular times. This will help you feel rested and refreshed while maintaining your mood.

Stay active

Stay active and exercise daily for at least 20- 30 minutes. You do not need to go to a gym necessarily, to exercise. Any form of exercise, such as walking, jogging, running and yoga, is good.

Build mastery

Do at least one thing every day that makes you feel competent and have a great sense of self-worth. It could be as simple as baking a great cake.

Use these 6 tips maintain your physical, mental and emotional health. They help you reduce your vulnerability and be prepared to face more emotional situations better.

7 Signs of addiction in your loved one

Looking after a loved one who is struggling with addiction is a difficult task. T can leave you overwhelmed and frustrated. The road to recovery is long and full of challenges and helping someone get there requires awareness, patience and understanding.

Here is a quick look at the early warning signs of addiction in people around you, and what you can do to intervene.

The first thing, if you expect somebody is abusing drugs or alcohol, is to watch out for any significant changes in their life, such as

  • poor personal hygiene
  • strained relationships
  • financial problems
  • accidents
  • DUIs or legal problems
  • school or work problems
  • mood changes

Mood changes are more difficult to detect than a DUI or lost job but paying close attention can help you identify the issue. When it comes to illegal drug use, other signs to watch out for, include –

  • euphoria or frequent and sudden mood changes
  • nodding (chin on chest, sleepy, slow to respond) or eye rolling (the eyes start to roll back)
  • itching up and down arms
  • pinned pupils (you can see pinkish color on the bottom of the eye)
  • too many visits to the bathroom
  • flu-like symptoms, leg cramps, sweats, chills
  • irregular sleep habits
  • sudden loss of appetite and/or weight
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • empty small Ziploc bags or paper folded with waxy substance found lying around or hidden
  • straws cut in half, empty pens (for snorting), spoons missing
  • coins with traces of some powdery substance (looks like pills have been crushed with it)
  • dishonesty

If your loved one is displaying one or more of the above signs, here is what you can do. First, make it known to the person that substance abuse is unhealthy and unacceptable.

Find a rehab or recovery program where you can help your loved one seek treatment. It’s good to be open to various treatment programs, depending upon the needs of your loved one and the recommendations of the rehab. There are various treatment options available, such as inpatient and outpatient programs. Join a support group so that you understand you are not alone and you can discuss the situation with people who understand.

As much as possible, get involved in your loved one’s treatment and recovery plan, for instance, attending family counseling sessions. But remember that you cannot control their behavior, and it is not your fault. Recovery is always possible even if your loved one has suffered a relapse. Consult addiction professionals at a trusted rehab right away.

Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior, rendering the addict feeling helpless in coping with it. It takes a highly specialized approach to treat someone’s addiction. Addiction is a chronic problem and fixing it requires a long-term plan to stop using completely and recover their lives.

The goals for addiction treatment include getting the patient to stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and be productive in the family, at work, and in society.

An effective treatment program should identify addiction as being a complex but treatable disease and that the treatments need to be personalized, as no single treatment works for everyone. It is important to account for the fact that people need to have quick access to treatment. It needs to be a holistic program that effectively addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just the drug use. The program needs to be comprehensive, with a focus on counseling and other behavioral therapies. Medications are also necessary, especially when combined with behavioral therapies. Patients’ needs change, so the treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the current status.

When patients don’t receive treatment following detox, they are very likely to resume their drug use

Treatment should also address other possible coexisting mental disorders. Treatment sometimes has to be involuntary to be effective. Of course, drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously. It is also necessary to screen these patients for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as educate them on ways to reduce their risk of contracting these illnesses. Following treatment, a long-term follow-up is necessary to prevent relapse. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.

Medications and devices can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-existing conditions. Detoxification is the first step of the treatment. When patients don’t receive treatment following detox, they are very likely to resume their drug use. While medications are the mainstay option in detox, recently FDA granted the use of an electronic stimulation device, NSS-2 Bridge, for use in helping reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Medications are also helpful in relapse prevention. They can help to re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings. They are especially helpful in opioid, tobacco and alcohol addiction treatment.

These medications are used for the following addictions:

 

Opioids: Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®), buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine® , Sublocade™), and naltrexone (Vivitrol®).

 

Nicotine addiction: bupropion (Zyban®) and varenicline (Chantix®).

 

Alcohol: Disulfiram (Antabuse®), Acamprosate (Campral®), Naltrexone have been FDA-approved for treating alcohol addiction and a fourth, topiramate, has shown promise in clinical trials.

Behavioral therapies can greatly help these patients be aiming to modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use and by trying to increase healthy life skills.
Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling and include cognitive-behavioral therapy, multidimensional family therapy, motivational interviewing, etc.

Inpatient or residential treatment can be necessary in some cases, especially for those with more severe problems. Licensed residential treatment facilities offer 24-hour structured and intensive care, including safe housing and medical attention, and aimed at helping the patient live a drug-free, healthy and productive lifestyle after treatment.