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Healthcare must work collaboratively in order to fight opioid and chronic illness epidemics

Opioid-related Hospitalizations and Chronic Illness

Opioid-related hospital stays have risen steadily due to opioid abuse, dependence, addiction, and poisoning. Chronic diseases are also on the rise. 1 in 4 US adults lives with two or more chronic diseases. Since many chronic illnesses are treated with opioids, researchers set out to examine the association between the two.

The results, while maybe not surprising, were still staggering. 94% of patients with opioid-related hospitalizations had 2 or more chronic diseases.

Researchers studied patients 18 years and older from January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2015. They discovered the highest prevalence of opioid-related hospitalizations were among patients 35 – 54 years, followed by patients 18 – 34. The percentages of men and women were almost equal. The most prevalent chronic disease associated with opioid-related hospitalization was asthma, followed by obesity and liver disease.

With opioid addiction and chronic diseases on the rise and considered epidemics, one of the upsetting aspects is that they are treated separately by the healthcare system. Clinicians must develop strategies to prevent opioid abuse in patients with multiple chronic conditions.

 

Alternatives to help patients with chronic conditions

Unlike acute pain that will resolve within a limited amount of time, chronic pain needs more than an occasional visit to the doctor. The medical community is beginning to look outside drugs to help their patients get some relief.

Communication and Support

A pilot study recently looked at continuing care outside of office visits. As you know, if you follow the ARISE® Network, we’re huge believers in continuing care in order to set yourself up for success. This study looked at the impact of supportive text messages that offered guidance and encouragement. The results showed that the texts reduced the patients’ perception of their pain.

In another study, patients were divided into 2 groups; one group was put on a web-based self-management program with modules about coping with pain, communicating with providers, etc. and a second group was put on the same web-based self-management program with the addition of a weekly care management meeting with a nurse. They both proved to be successful, however, the 2nd group with a weekly care meeting yielded far better results than just self-management alone.

Shared Experience

Richard W. Rosenquist, chairman of the department of pain management at the Cleveland Clinic, believes patients with chronic pain benefit from attending organized programs run by a variety of medical specialists to keep up with treatment and self-care options. Part of chronic-pain healing is the shared experience.

ARISE® believes in comprehensive care for the whole family. When ARISE® receives a call from a person who is worried about a loved one, we bring everyone together. We know that together we are stronger. That’s why ARISE® is proven to be successful. If you or a loved one are looking for help, please give us a call. We will give you the tools you need to get healthy and stay healthy.

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Alcohol-related deaths more than doubled in past 2 decades

Deaths have doubled in past two decades

Alcohol-related deaths have doubled in the past 18 years, according to a recent study by the journal, “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.” The researchers believe the increase is even larger than they counted as they used death certificates to determine the cause of death and many times the cause of death isn’t apparent at the time the death certificate is completed.

Women had the largest increase in annual deaths

Nearly 1 million alcohol‐related deaths (944,880) were recorded between 1999 and 2017. While men have the highest rate of death, women had the largest increase in annual deaths. The prevalence of drinking and binge drinking didn’t change for men, however, women had a 10.1% increase in drinking and 23.3% increase in binge drinking. Other groups with a large increase in alcohol consumption were people aged 50+.

Family Support and Early Intervention

The ARISE® Network believes that one of the keys to turning this horrible statistic around is through early intervention. Research shows that kids who learn about drug risks from their parents are half as likely to use drugs as kids who haven’t had that conversation. It’s important to have open and honest conversations with your children so when they are faced with uncomfortable social pressures, they can feel more confident in their actions.

The other important step to early intervention is to look at your own generational family history. For example, the risk of addiction in future generations is greater if previous problems are unresolved. It’s time to do the work now to help your children and future generations. Let’s work on lowering those statistics, it all starts with us.

 

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Alcohol Addiction: Women vs. Men

In recent years, research shows that more and more women are addicted to alcohol. In fact, women born between 1991 and 2000 are reported to drink just as much as their male counterparts. While researchers used to assume alcohol had the same effects on both sexes and originally only studied the effects on males, they’re now learning that they were wrong.

Why are women drinking more?

Mommy Juice Meme

To attempt to explain the increase in women’s drinking, one theory points to increase in workforce participation. In 1950, women accounted for approximately one-third of the labor force; by 2015 that number jumped to 46.8%. That includes after-work drinks, business lunches over wine, and drinks at home to manage work place stress. Marketing companies have taken note and adjusted ads to focus on women.

On a cultural level, how many memes on social media have you seen of moms diving into their “mommy juice” to help get through the day? We also see images of “tough” women on TV knocking back whiskey while getting deals done. Have you ever counted the number of shots movie characters consume when they’re just “having a good time”? Most people would be admitted for alcohol poisoning if they drank that much in one sitting.

As women try to “keep up” with their male counterparts, their bodies, which naturally have higher levels of fat and lower levels of water, have a stronger physiological response to alcohol. This isn’t just happening to adult women – this is starting in high school and college.

Binge drinking affects female and male brains differently

Blonde woman drinking two glasses of rose

The CDC defines binge drinking for women as about 4 drinks in 2 hours. For men, it’s about 5 drinks. One in six adults binge drink around 4 times a month.

Deborah Finn, a professor of behavioral neuroscience and a research pharmacologist, examined the effect of binge drinking on the expression of 384 genes previously identified as important in addiction and mood disorders. She found that of the 106 genes regulated by binge drinking, just 14 were regulated in both females and males. Even more surprising, only four of those were regulated in the same direction and the top 30 genes differed markedly in each sex (Finn et al, insert year here).

The study found that of the genes affected by repeated binge drinking, the females were associated with hormone signaling and immune function, while the males were with nerve signaling. These results will hopefully help experts find more ways to create gender-specific alcohol addiction treatment.

Gender-specific alcohol addiction treatment

three women smiling

Research shows that women addicted to alcohol have better outcomes when they participate in women-only

treatment groups. One reason could be that many women drink to relieve trauma or emotional pain, while men tend to drink because of social pressure. Sharon Wilsnack’s 1997 study found that oftentimes women who abuse alcohol were sexually abused in their youth.

Additionally, women face more cultural stigma for alcohol abuse than men do, which makes it less likely they’ll reach out for help. Children can also act as a barrier to a woman receiving treatment. Many mothers will forgo treatment if they can’t arrange alternate childcare providers, or if they’re worried about losing custody.

Considering all of this, it’s no wonder that many women feel safer sharing their stories with a group of other women, who often have similar stories and know where they’re coming from.

X vs. Y

The bottom line is women and men are different, all the way down to our gene expressions. Treatment centers must address these differences in order to successfully help people cope with their addiction.

About ARISE®

If you are looking for an intervention for yourself or a loved one or if you need advice on the best treatment center to fit your loved ones needs, please call our free service line at 877-229-5462 or email us. An ARISE® Intervention is an effective way to help your loved one enter treatment and recover their hijacked brain. ARISE® gets over 83% of individuals into treatment within 3 weeks, 96% into treatment within 6 months and 61% in recovery by the end of the year.

 

 

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Overcoming Community Epidemics from the Inside

You can’t turn on the news or open your local paper without being reminded of the opioid epidemic that plagues so many of our families and communities. Children are attempting and committing suicide at higher rates than we’ve ever seen. (Plemmons, 2018) Random violence in many towns and cities is on the rise. (Sanburn & Johnson, 2017) Community epidemics happen everywhere; they have no prejudice.

Major Events and Transitions

Major events or transitions in a community can create an imbalance of stressors and resources in the families impacted and the community as a whole. This is always worse when people are not prepared. The resulting stress can lead to an increase in substance use disorder and mental health challenges. It can also cause an increase in physical illness, and be the beginning of epidemics, widespread violence, marginalization and abuse of power, to name a few. Reading all of these news headlines can leave you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. We’d like to offer you another option: hope and resilience.

Helping Communities Heal

Dr. Judith Landau, founder of the ARISE® Network, is also the founder of the LINC® Foundation. With the LINC® Foundation she has worked with communities all over the world to help them heal from the emotional aftermath of war, drug and HIV/AIDS epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters. Like ARISE®, LINC® believes that individuals, families, and communities are intrinsically healthy and competent.

 

Many times in the aftermath of a community disaster, government and humanitarian agencies send professionals to “take care of the problem”. Inevitably, when they’re “done” (or more often, when funding and resources run out), they leave. At that point, communities can be subjected to additional instability as resources are ripped out from under them, with no plan in place for the community to move forward. Using the LINC® model, professionals are brought in to learn about the community’s strengths,

traditions, and sources of pride. They then work with local community members or natural change agents to serve as Family and Community Links between the professionals and the people who are directly impacted. They create safe spaces for people to heal and rediscover their resilience.

The professionals provide the process, but the plans, actions, and content are provided by the community; the people who know best what is needed. Professionals become redundant and the Links remain in place for long-term recovery and healing. They are trained to participate in the healing process, remain embedded in the community and work with the community to create long-term goals and workable tasks. In this way, when the professionals leave, the community is strengthened and able to continue their own work. This also better prepares the community for future challenges.

 

The Boston Miracle: Cutting Youth Violence by 79%

In this 2015 TED Talk, Rev. Jeffrey Brown shares how he basically stumbled on to using community links to help cut youth violence in Boston by 79%. It’s a fascinating talk worth watching. “An architect of the “Boston miracle,” Rev. Jeffrey Brown started out as a bewildered young pastor watching his Boston neighborhood fall apart around him, as drugs and gang violence took hold of the kids on the streets.” He worked hard to reach the kids on the streets. He tried different sermons at church to connect, but it wasn’t until he started walking the streets at night until the early hours of the morning that he actually began to reach them. He learned to stop preaching and start listening. Once trust was earned, he was able to bring community links together and things changed for the better – drug dealers sitting across from preachers, sitting across from police, all with the same goal: to make their community stronger and healthier.

“We stopped looking at them as the problem to be solved. We started looking at them as partners, as assets, as co-laborers in the struggle to reduce violence in the community.” ~Rev. Jeffrey Brown

If you’re interested in learning more about how Links work, check out Dr. Landau’s papers on her work in Post-War Kosovo, the AID’s Epidemic in Buenos Aires, and the 9/11 terrorist attack. If you want to learn why Dr. Landau regards addiction as resilience, visit her TedX talk here.

If you are part of a community or know of a community dealing with stress and turmoil and are interested in learning more, please check out the LINC® Foundation.

 

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Choosing The Right Treatment Center For Your Loved One

Usually when you need to make a BIG life decision, it’s nice to take some time to look at all your options. You write down your pros and cons or talk to people who have been in your situation and ask questions to help inform your decisions. You want to feel good and secure with your choice. Well, some big decisions don’t allow for a lot of time and everything gets compounded and feels like a big ol’ chaotic mess. A decision like, “which treatment center is best for my loved one?”

Who Can You Trust

If you were one of the millions who have watched John Oliver’s segment on the addiction treatment industry, you’re probably feeling like it’s the wild west out here.

At the annual National Addiction Trade Association meeting in May NAATP Executive Director Marvin Ventrell said: A new and unwelcome breed of unscrupulous profiteers entered the addiction treatment field to the detriment of the consumer while at the same time sullying the good name of legitimate values-based providers. This occurs at a time when addiction is rampant in America and opioid overdose is at an historic high. This disturbing trend interrupts our country’s ability to deliver lifesaving health care to patients suffering from the disease of addiction and represents an ongoing threat to our work…” How are you supposed to know who to trust? You don’t trust reviews online because there’s no knowing if they’re real or not. We’re not talking about someone faking a review about a burger at a local restaurant, we’re talking about where to send your mom or son or your best friend. We’re talking about a life. So let’s get into it.

What to Look For in a Treatment Center

  1. Programs that are state licensed for all levels of care they provide. The state licensing authority will have a record of any complaints or violations that you can check on.
  2. Facilities that pledge accountability to a code of ethics. (A couple examples are the NAATP or NAADAC Code of Ethics)
  3. Medical and Clinical Personnel on staff. – Check the bios of the staff to make sure they have licensed medical personnel on staff. Also, the facility should be collecting in-depth medical history for your loved one in order to make sure their facility is the best fit for what your loved one needs.
  4. Facilities that use Evidence-Based practices. Be wary of companies that offer 100% guarantees of recovery.
  5. The more information they can provide about their staff and facilities the better. Some facilities like to hide their lack of experience behind fancy photos and luxury spas, but when it comes to helping your loved one, they know very little.
  6. Find out which facilities are covered in your network and provide detailed information about patient financial responsibility. Be wary if a facility is offering you no out-of-pocket costs with insurance.
  7. Treatment centers that involve family and loved ones. ARISE® is an Evidence-Based practice and believes that including family and friends helps in long-term recovery. We also believe in whole-family healing. The addicted individual isn’t the only person needing help.

Red Flag Warnings

  1. The promise of no out-of-pocket costs if you’re insured. This could be a sign of possible insurance fraud.
  2. Websites that have very little information about the facility and their history. Don’t be deceived by fancy photographs and luxury housing. Make sure you find out about their staff and qualifications.
  3. Any company that guarantees you’ll be cured or promises high recovery rates with no proof. You’ll find treatment centers stating 85%+ of people who attend their center recover, yet if you asked where they got those stats, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. Look for treatment centers that use Evidence-Based practices. Also, remember that addiction is a disease that requires continuous care. That’s why they call it “long-term recovery”.
  4. Referral sites offering treatment placement. It seems like the easiest place to go. You only have to call one number and they can place your loved one in the center that best fits their needs. Unfortunately, many of these referral sites or call directories place people wherever they get the biggest kickback regardless of what your loved one needs.

You’re Not Alone

This is an overwhelming time for everyone. There are people you can call. You don’t need to do this alone. Also remember you can always go to a meeting and talk to others who have been where you are.

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

  • NAATP Treatment Selection Guide
  • Al-Anon
  • ARISE Network (You can call the ARISE® Network for suggestions as well. We make no money from recommending someone to a treatment center. We want to make sure you or your loved one is finding the best fit for your needs. We have vetted every treatment center we recommend.)
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Help for Adult Children of Alcoholics

Help for Adult Children of Alcoholics

5 Steps to help your loved one and yourself

 

blond haired mother hugged brown haired daughter

After years of struggle, frustration, and sacrifice, your parent is celebrating one month of sobriety. This is the day you’ve only imagined in your dreams and even those you tried to quiet for fear of more disappointment. Maybe you’ve “fallen” for this before and you’ve learned to become numb in order to protect your heart, not to mention your mental health.

Yet, here we are. Your mom or dad is in recovery. What next? This can be a nerve-wracking and sometimes even exciting time. You’re not sure if you can be hopeful yet, maybe you’ll settle on “cautiously optimistic”.

1. First things first, let’s address Alcoholism for what it is – a disease.

Alcohol cravings occur in the unconscious part of the brain. They are not under conscious control and cannot be overcome with willpower. Understanding what your loved one is going through may help you address issues in a different way and not take things that are said as personally.

Since Alcoholism is a disease, relapses can happen. Your parent is learning to be sober and when you’re learning something, mistakes happen. They are re-training their brain. If a relapse happens it doesn’t mean treatment didn’t work or they’ve failed, it just means they had a relapse.

Learn what you can about their addiction and what it does to their brain.

2. Join a support group

Al-Anon has lots of meetings. Al-Anon is for anyone who is worried that a loved one has a drinking problem. You don’t have to do this alone and even better; you can meet with people who are going through what you are. The advice you receive here isn’t from people are just good at reading self-help books, they’re living it.

3. Move your loved one out of the center of the problem and toward whole family healing

A positive step forward in healing for yourself and your family is to address your parent’s alcoholism differently. Linking Human Systems suggests, “shifting the family perspective”.

In this example we’re going to show a Mother who is an alcoholic. In the first diagram, you can see how most families initially address the problem of dealing with an alcoholic. (POC = Person of Concern)

diagraming of shifting the family perspective focus on POC

In the next diagram, we’re going to move the POC, the mother, out of the center and have her join the circle with the rest of the family.

family perspective is on the addiction - diagram

 

Now “Addiction” is in the middle, we’re getting closer, but not quite there yet. What if we move “Addiction” outside the family circle and also add other circles of trauma the family has faced, like Grandma’s cancer and your uncle’s DUIs and your father’s unresolved grief from the sudden death of his best friend’s car accident?

That’s what the next diagram shows.

So what are we looking at now? For one thing, we’ve brought out the family “secrets” and laid them out. Once you do that you take away some of their power. The other thing that happens when you put the trauma on the outside is your family can start to heal. You can address these issues through communication and empathy and focus on your resilience. Secrets fester, the truth sets you free. Now you can change the story and talk about your family’s resilience in the face of hard times. Look at what you’ve overcome, look at your strengths. You’re still here!

shifting the family perspective back on the family - diagram

 

4. Keep your lines of communication open

Ask your parent if there’s anything you can do to help. It may be that they want you to do less. Sometimes when someone we love is struggling, we feel like we need to carry the whole load, but in the end, they may improve faster if they take back some of the work. It can be hard to let go after working so hard for so long. Listen to them and let them know that you’re there.

Another thing to remember is that your parent is going through withdrawal. Symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, depression, and disorientation. Don’t take things they may say during this time personally. Their brain and body are working hard to heal.

5. Manage your own anxiety

You’ve spent so much of your life solving and smoothing over your parent’s problems. Now they are working to get sober and you feel guilty because you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. You think, how dare I feel hopeful and if I let my guard down for one minute, it could all come crashing down. You need to take the minute. Take a day. Take what you need.

Self-care isn’t just for “perfect people” who get massages once a week and post pictures on Instagram of them drinking green juice while looking beautiful and relaxed holding their smiling children who must always be angels. Self-care is for you. It’s especially for you. You who couldn’t even think of the last time you’ve had five minutes to sit alone in silence. So do it. Be as strict about your own well being as you are with everyone else’s.

“Doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of a nervous breakdown. ~Author Unknown

 

Learn more about the ARISE® Network and our Continuing Care Services

The ARISE® Network offers Continuum of Care Services that can help your parent and your family through the most vulnerable parts of the recovery process. If you would like to learn more, feel free to email or call us.

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Am I an Alcoholic?

black and white photograph of a woman sitting on a bench

Reflection in The New Year

For some it’s exciting, another opportunity to chase down goals, for others, it can be scary and overwhelming staring down another year of struggle.

One quick search on online message boards and you’ll find post after post with the same question, “Am I an alcoholic?”

These posts are filled with shame and confusion. Parents talk about how they don’t want to be a disappointment to their children. Spouses mention not wanting to talk about it with their partner because they don’t want to disappoint them. There are posts from college students wondering if they could be addicted to alcohol even if they’re only 22 years old. We constantly get calls to our service line asking about how to approach a friend or family member because they are too anxious to call themselves. Or, they are just unaware that others worry that they have a problem.

Addiction to alcohol is not defined by a certain amount or what kind of alcohol a person drinks.

Someone who is addicted to alcohol has a strong desire to drink as often as possible. The craving is so strong that willpower alone can’t stop it. This is not a question of “just say no!” Addiction is a disease and is no more likely to stop than pneumonia without treatment. We never expect someone with a broken leg to “man up and run the marathon.” This is a disease that affects the brain and, the craving is driven by the unconscious brain. It is not under conscious control.

If you’re giving up healthy activities and relationships to maintain your drinking habit, it may be time to look for help.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has a self-test you can take. Regardless of the answers, if you’re googling, “Could I be an alcoholic?” it’s best to meet with a healthcare provider for a full evaluation. Our website also has self-tests and also a test for others to take to decide whether their concerns about you are justified.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

Some symptoms of alcohol use disorder, the precursor to full-blown addiction and definitely requiring attention and treatment, include:

  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Blackouts
  • Trembling Hands
  • Flushed skin
  • Increased tolerance to substances
  • Heightened secrecy

Many people try to quit cold turkey and get upset when they can’t fight the cravings. They feel like they’re weak and just need to try harder, but alcohol cravings occur in the unconscious part of the brain.

As scary as this time is, it’s important to know that you can get sober and life can get better. Remember as alone as you may feel, there are people to support you. Even if you think you’ve pushed away your family and friends, you can find support at AA meetings and online. Many people who are struggling with alcohol addiction are surprised to find out that even though they may be estranged from their family or ashamed to ask for help, many of their family members and friends want nothing more than to support them and help them on their road to recovery.

Meet Peter and Sarah

I want to introduce you to two inspiring people, Peter and Sarah, who sat down with us last year to talk about their interventions. They have both been through the ARISE® Continuing Care with Intervention process. Peter is a musician who had been struggling with alcohol and pills for years. He had gotten to the point where he knew he needed help. He called the ARISE® Service Line and told us he wanted to do his own intervention. In Sarah’s case, it was her family who called ARISE® for help.

Whether this is the first time you’ve reached out, or the 20th time, there’s always hope

We want you to remember that you’re not alone and that there are others out there who have been where you are and are now living happy and sober lives.

If you would like to learn more about the ARISE® Network, you can call our free service line (877-229-5462) or send us an email.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~C.S. Lewis

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7 Actions for People in Recovery who are Struggling

Carrying the Weight of the World?

We all carry our own personal trauma and stress in day-to-day life.

Many of us also struggle with the “weight of the world”, and boy does that world feel heavy right now. With huge divisions between nations and within our own country, not to mention natural disasters striking around the globe and in our backyard, we have a lot weighing us down.

Times like these can cause feelings of anger, fear, and hopelessness. They can also bring back the demons we thought we had better control of. For a person in recovery, it’s a scary time when the fight to remain sober gets tougher.

Actions That Can Help

If you have significant sadness and/or re-stimulated unresolved grief there are some basic actions that will help.

Here are a few:

  1. Put words to what you are experiencing, both on the inside and physically.
  2. Take first things first. This allows you to counter feelings of getting overwhelmed by doing the next clean and sober thing.
  3. Restore hope and faith in whatever ways work for you.
  4. Work to achieve balance in your responses. Don’t catastrophize or minimize.
  5. Pray and meditate.
  6. Exercise, eat well, and get extra rest.
  7. Attend extra sober support meetings.

It is important to keep talking and reaching out. If you don’t know where to turn, or you have a loved one struggling right now and aren’t sure what to do next, please call our free 24/7 service line (877- 229-5462) and we can connect you with someone to help. You don’t need to do this alone.

The ARISE® Network believes in empowering individuals and families to access their resilience to overcome even their biggest struggles. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website. For more information on relapse prevention, you can find more information here.

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The Opioid Epidemic’s Devastating Effect on 2 Million Americans

The opioid epidemic is here, and the numbers are chilling. Opioids are affecting more than 92 million Americans as of 2015 with over two million reporting that they are addicted to opioid-containing drugs. And that number is rising.

Unfortunately, the number of adults who are prescribed opiate-containing drugs each year is very large. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine uncovered that over 38 percent of adults in America were prescribed opioids in 2015. No longer is opioid misuse most prevalent in rural areas; the epidemic is hitting suburbs and urban areas just as hard.

The unfortunate reality of opioid addiction in rural areas is that there is limited access to emergency care in the event of an overdose, and the doctors in these areas aren’t as well-equipped to deal with addictions.

 

A Cry for Help

The epidemic has reached crisis levels as the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction asked President Trump to declare a national emergency this July. Not only would this declaration drive home the severity of the problem, but it could also inspire legislation that would support easier access to addiction treatment.

142 Americans die each day from opioid addiction. If the president acts on the Commission’s recommendations for easier access to in-home addiction care and mandates that all law enforcement carry naloxone (a life-saving drug that reverses opioid overdose), that could go a long way toward improving overdose numbers.

 

An Over-Prescription Problem

The heart of the issue lies in the over-prescription of opioid pain killing drugs. A new government study suggests that the United States should help curb the excessive prescription of opioids and instead focus time and energy improving access to other pain management techniques.

The study also revealed the opioid abuse is more common for low-income Americans or those without jobs or health insurance. Unfortunately, people aren’t learning about the risks associated with opioid abuse because they aren’t under primary care supervision.

 

Big Pharma’s Contribution to the Opioid Epidemic

So, how did prescription painkillers become so prevalent? A lot of it has to do with how effective the drugs are. Often, a prescription painkiller is the only thing that can help with the residual pain from an invasive surgery. For some people, opioids are the only way to manage their illnesses and give them quality of life.

Unfortunately, these painkillers are also highly addictive and can be very habit-forming. The government has kept them very lightly regulated so that people who need them can get easy access to them. However, this has also allowed them to become easily abused. In 2014 the number of people who died from opioid abuse exceeded the number of Americans who were murdered that year.

Pharmaceutical companies have mostly added fuel to the fire of opioid misuse, even lobbying to keep drugs lightly regulated. In fact, these companies can outspend many groups who are trying to tighten regulations on drugs; keeping them easy to access and keeping them in the hands of people who are addicted.

What’s Being Done to Help?

Overall, legislation on the topic of opioids has been slow and mostly ineffective, and Americans are suffering. Access to treatment will be the key differentiator in the fight against opioid addiction. You can read more about the federal plans to combat opioid abuse, including developing abuse-deterrent opioids, improving Health IT, and enacting other medical coverage changes.

ARISE Network seeks to make a difference in the lives of those affected by opioid abuse. We empower change in the lives of the people we help, and our intervention process has been extensively researched and studied by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Our process has a demonstrated 83% success rate within three weeks.

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“Why I Will Say No To Drugs And Alcohol” – A Reflective Essay

September is National Recovery Month, and there is no better time to share personal stories of recovery and triumph over addiction. This story comes to us from 14 year old Antoinette Hastings, who wrote this essay because she felt called to share her personal experience on how having a parent with an addiction has effected her life and family. She felt this story could help to prevent others from feeling alone if they were going through the same thing, or help to reach someone who might also be slipping into the depths of addiction.

Why I Will Say No To Drugs and Alcohol

When I was little I lost my mom. I don’t mean that she died, I mean it in the most literal way possible. My mom was lost- searching for a happiness that my dad and I couldn’t give her and to find that happiness she turned to drugs. This is why I lived without my mom for the first half of my life. This is also why I will never use drugs.

It all started as a dare. My mom was a teenager and her friends had found a weed plant. That’s how it always starts, as something that seems fun. You never realize how not fun it is until you’ve gone too far. You can probably guess the rest of this story, she met an older guy and one thing led to the next and BAM there I was. My parents tried marriage but my mom’s addiction drove them apart so my dad raised me on his own.

My whole life I have seen the things that drugs cause someone to do. They draw you in and suck away your soul until you’re just a walking corpse. I watched my mom slowly get the life drained out of her and every time I got a visit from her I didn’t realize how that visit could be my last. Since I was just a little kid I only saw how fun and beautiful my mom was, I didn’t see the terrors she represented.

Something I learned from my mom is that my whole family has addictive tendencies. On both her side and my dad’s, so I’m pretty much genetically screwed. But that’s not the only reason I refuse to do drugs. I remember all the pain that my mom’s family and I were put through, wondering if we were ever going to get her back. I never want to put someone through that pain, I never want to break someone’s heart like that. I remember all the times that I lay on the ground crying for my mom. It’s hard growing up and not knowing who your mom really is, if she is even alive, if she really loves you. I still remember to this day how I held in my tears when someone asked about my mom. I remember how the kids would talk about my in hushed voices, saying that I would end up like my mom. I remember how it always felt like a part of my heart was off with my mom in whatever state she was in at the time. I remember how some of our family shunned my mom when she got better. I remember all the pain my mom’s past caused her, and I would never want that for myself, I could never want that for myself or anyone else.

So to this day I feel like I have a healthy fear of drugs. They ripped apart the normal I desperately craved, and I wasn’t even the one using them.

I want so much more for my future than my mom got. I want a college education, a job that I will love, and a family. I know that if I follow that path my dreams will be shattered, unreachable. So now that you know my story, now that you know my pain, now that you know my dreams, you have to understand… I will always say no to drugs.

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The Highway To Addiction: How Drugs & Alcohol Hijack Your Brain

The Beginning of Addiction

Not all addictions begin in the same way.

The introduction of a drug or alcohol addiction is not the same for everyone, whether in childhood, teenage years or even well into adulthood. Whether or not a person becomes addicted can be related to multiple factors including genetic, social, and environmental factors.

Addiction is a chronic, life-threatening illness, and with any illness, it is not something that anyone chooses to have. Addiction is a brain disease, this means that addiction actually changes the structure of your brain. There is no immediate cure or prescription for addiction.

Since addiction “hijacks” the brain there are long-lasting effects on both the brain and body, and the road to recovery is often much more complicated.

The Fast Lane to Addiction

Long-term addiction can lead to physical and psychological consequences.

Drug and alcohol abuse chemically alters the way the brain works – drugs and alcohol actually “hijack” your brain.

In his research article published in Nature Communications, researcher Dr. David Berlin states:

“Certainly, chronic exposure to drugs alters the prefrontal cortex, which governs motivation, inhibitory control and choice. But it also alters an area of the brain called the basolateral amygdala, which is associated with the link between a stimulus and an emotion”

When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the impulse to continue use substances is strong. The part of the brain that usually mitigates such choices is essentially bypassed. The body begins to develop a tolerance to the drug. Over time, the individual requires an escalating amount more of substance to sustain the desired feeling and reaction.

Understanding this helps us to see that recovering from an addiction is not about willpower or moral fortitude, and about the chemical composition of a hijacked brain.

A Detour to Relapse

It can be hard to understand why a loved one relapses, but you are not alone.

Dopamine plays a key role in addiction and relapse.

When using alcohol or drugs, the brain’s reward center receives stimulation by way of dopamine. Drugs and alcohol flood the brain with positive stimuli. The brain then connects this behavior with good feelings and pleasure. When a person retreats away from substance abuse, the pleasure center of the brain no longer receives this amount or intensity of dopamine.

When someone is recovering from drug and alcohol addiction they may feel sad, lonely or angry as their system adjusts to receiving fewer amounts of dopamine. At this point, their brain is still hijacked, and it is crucial for them to have a good support system in place.

Sustainability Through Psychological Recovery

There are many options if you or a loved one needs help beginning the path to recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. In-patient and out-patient treatment centers provide a source of support and guidance for your loved one and family. You could also consider utilizing the help of a skilled and qualified therapist or certified drug and alcohol counselor. There are also many free support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Life Ring, SMART Recovery and more.

ARISE Drug and Alcohol Continuing Care with Intervention Support

An ARISE® Intervention is an effective way to help your loved one enter treatment and recover their hijacked brain. ARISE® gets over 83% of individuals into treatment within 3 weeks, 96% into treatment within 6 months and 61% in recovery by the end of the year. Call our no obligation, toll-free hotline at 877-229-5462 or contact us now >>

 

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What is an Intervention & When is It Necessary?

Sad looking brown haired boy sitting in a chair next to two older men trying to comfort himThere are thousands of people who feel helpless as a spouse, child, or loved one suffers from an addiction, untreated mental illness requires help recovering from a traumatic event or other serious problem. If you have a loved one who is suffering – you are not alone. Addiction, untreated mental illness and trauma can take a toll on families and loved ones who may feel lost, hopeless, and be unaware of how to get help and the resources available to them.

One of the most effective resources, is often the most overlooked – an intervention. An intervention, by definition is an action taken to improve a situation. An intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. An intervention may be necessary if your loved one is struggling with untreated addiction or mental illness and you are looking for a safe, effective way to get them into treatment.

There are many styles of interventions, the three main styles used today include the ARISE® Model, the Johnson Model and the Family Systemic Model. During an ARISE® intervention a family support system is mobilized and the person of concern is invited to join the process in a non-threatening way. The goal of an ARISE® Intervention is to break the cycle of repeated disappointment and failure without the blame, shame or guilt that accompanies the disease. An ARISE® Invitation Intervention® is directed to getting your loved on into treatment with the least possible effort through a loving, compassionate and non-blaming series of family meetings.

image of the silhouette of many people in front of the ocean holding hands and raising them above their head in triumphIt is important that your intervention be directed and organized by a skilled and qualified professional known as an “interventionist” – if you are utilizing the ARISE® Model this person will be a Certified ARISE® Interventionist. The interventionist will guide the family members and designated friends in the organization of a series of intervention meetings, in the ARISE® model your Certified ARISE® Interventionist will continue to work with your family even after your loved one has accepted treatment – this is known as ARISE® Continuing Care and aims to assist all family members in healing and recovery. The family members will continue to receive help by learning to modify their mode of communication with each other, to stop any enabling behaviors toward the addicted person, to re-establish their own feelings of self-esteem and work towards their own recovery.

An intervention is not the “cure,” but the first step on the road to recovery. The ARISE® Network has Certified ARISE® Interventionists around the world who are prepared to help you and your family on the road to healing.

SOURCES:

http://www.associationofinterventionspecialists.org/what-is-intervention/

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Common Drugs & Their Street Names

Drug names can vary by region, state, and country, dependent on those who you talk to, each drug could be referred to by multiple nicknames, or street names – it can almost be hard to keep up with them all.

Drug abuse does not always happen out in the open, and most commonly occurs in secret from friends, family, and coworkers. If someone you know may be struggling with a substance abuse disorder or may be in danger from an overdose, it can become important to know which drugs your loved one has ingested. The following is a list of some of the most popular names that could be used when referring to these prevalent illegal drugs.

THIRTEEN COMMONLY USED DRUGS & THEIR CORRESPONDING STREET NAMES

  1. MDMA – Adam, Bean, Blue kisses, Candy, Clarity, Dancing Shoes, Disco Biscuits, Doves, E-bomb, Ecstasy, Egg Rolls, Eve, Hug Drug, Love Drug, Malcolm, Malcolm-X, Mercedes, Molly, New Yorkers, Skittles, Smartees, Thizz, X, XTC, Vowels
  2. Heroin – Aunt Hazel, Big H, Black Pearl, Black Tar, Brown Crystal/Tar, Brown Sugar, Chiba, China White, Chiva, Dope, Dragon, H., Nod, Tar, Scag, Scat Smack, White, White Lady
  3. Cocaine – Badrock, Base, Ball, Baseball, Bazooka, Beat, Big Rush, Blanca, Blow, Brick, C., Cola, Crack, G-Rock, Happy Trails, Hardball, Haven Dust, Flake, Icing, Monster, Nose Candy, Rail, Snow, Snow White, Stash, Toot, White Dust, White Powder, Yeyo
  4. Methamphetamine – Amp, Blue Belly, Crank, Cris, Christy, Crystal, Crystal Meth, Ice, La Glass, Poor Man’s Coke, Tweak, White Crunch, Wash, White Cross
  5. Alprazolam (Xanax) – Benzos, Blue Footballs, Planks, School Bus, Upjohn, White Boys, White Girls, Xannies, Xanabars, Yellow Boys, Z-bars, Zanbars
  6. Cannabis – 420, Blubbers, Blunt, Boom, Chronic, Dagga, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Hashish, Hay, Herb, Joint, Marijuana, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Skun, Skunk, Weed
  7. LSD – Acid, Blaze, Blotter, Blotter Acid, Boomers, Cheer, Doses, Dots, Flash, Hits, Lucy, Microdot, Purple Haze, Pyramid,Tabs, Trips, Smilies, Sugar Cubes, Superman, Stars, White Lightening, Window Pane, Yellow Sunshine
  8. Ketamine – Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Green, Jet, K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Super C
  9. Dextromethorphan – Dex, Drex, Orange Crush, Poor Man’s PCP, Red Devils, Red Hots, Robo, Rojo, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin, Velvet, Velvet Syrup, Vitamin D
  10. Fentanyl – Apache, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot, King Ivory, Murder 8, Perc-a-Pop, Poison, Tango & Cash
  11. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) – Blue Nitro, Caps, Cherry fX Bombs, Cherry Meth, Easy Lay, Everclear, Fantasy, Firewater, Gamma G, Gamma Hydrate, Georgia Homeboy, Grievous Bodily Harm, G-Riffic, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid E, Liquid X, Poor Man’s Heroin, Salty Water, Soap, Water, Wolfies
  12. Opium – A-Bomb, Aunti, Big O, Black, Buddha, Chandoo, Chinese Molasses, Chinese Tobacco, Chocolate, Cruz, Dopium, Dreams, Easing Powder, Gee, Great Tobacco, Gum, Guma, O, O.P., Pox, Skee, Ze, Zero
  13. Phencyclidine (PCP) – Angel Dust, Cliffhanger, Goon Dust, Happy Sticks, Embalming Fluid, Hog, Kools, Ozone, Peter Pan, Lethal Weapon, Rocket Fuel, Wack

If you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be struggling with drug use and addiction, knowing some of these street names could prove to be an invaluable tool. It is possible to get help without hitting “rock bottom” and ARISE® Drug and Alcohol Intervention can help your friend or loved one on the road to recovery.

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How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Entertainment or Addiction?

Problem gambling can begin with what seems like a fairly small, trivial act – a lottery ticket here, a slot machine there, the occasional cell phone or social media pay-to-play game, and gradually progress into an addiction. Millions of people engage in gambling without any major negative consequences other than the small loss of a limited amount of cash. However, there are millions of people who are problem gamblers or are addicted to gambling. The urge to gamble in those with an addiction is extremely strong and can be caused by any number of factors, such as the need to escape problems, depression, low self-esteem, or feelings of helplessness and guilt. To complicate matters, a person addicted to gambling can experience extreme highs and extreme lows in their struggle to find happiness through gambling.

Warning Signs

Image of two red dice on a green background being thrown with an overlay of white text of various gamlbing related words

As with most addictions, there are signs you can look for that indicate you or a loved one may have a gambling addiction.

Since each person is different, your loved one may exhibit all or only a few of the following symptoms of a gambling addiction:

  • Can’t stop gambling
  • Gambles with money that he or she can’t afford to lose
  • Does not gamble for mere entertainment, but for more harmful reasons (i.e. “if I could just win the lottery I would finally be happy”)
  • Attempts to regain gambling losses by gambling more
  • Gambles with increasing amounts of money and takes larger risks
  • Goes to extremes to find gambling money (theft, forgery, excessive borrowing, serious crimes)
  • Prioritizes spending time gambling above anything else (i.e. family, work)
  • Experiences negative emotions after gambling (remorse and frustration, decreased ambition)
  • Denies having a gambling problem or acts defensive when confronted about potential problem gambling

As the addiction continues over time, the Person of Concern experiences feelings of guilt, remorse and low self-esteem, which in turn, feed the urge to gamble. The severity of the addiction will vary from person to person and is measured by what and how much the person risks in order to gamble.

Because of the gambling addict’s destructive behavior, which is bound so tightly to his feelings concerning his own self-worth, skilled and professional help, both social and psychological, is indispensable in helping the person to recover. The love and support of the addicted individual’s family and friends will help immeasurably. Your loved one does not have to hit “rock-bottom” for you to seek help.

Tools for Recovery

Support Groups

One of the most effective tools for gambling addiction recovery is through support groups.

There are many support groups the world over – for example, SMART Recovery and Gamblers Anonymous, where those struggling with a gambling addiction can find support and fellowship. In these groups, the addicted individual will associate with people who share similar problems and are progressing along the road to recovery. Listening to the positive and negative experiences of others on the road to recovery from gambling addiction will reinforce the serious nature of this addiction, provide messages of hope and strength, and will hopefully motivate the addicted individual on their own road to recovery

Treatment Centers, Interventions & Continuing Care

It is also extremely important that the addicted individual seek professional help. A skilled and qualified therapist can help you or your loved one to identify the sources of their destructive behaviors, and replace those behaviors with more constructive ones. A therapist can also provide the addicted individual with coping strategies and the tools to resist the urge to gamble. The therapist may also work with primary care providers and psychiatrists to prescribe closely monitored medication to help the addicted individual. There are also many treatment centers that specialize in treatment process addictions, such as gambling, in which your loved one can enter into for 30, 60 or 90 days to help kick-start their recovery.

The Road to Gambling Addiction Recovery

Recovery is possible from gambling addiction. An ARISE® Gambling Intervention can help orchestrate a non-secretive, non-confrontational, intervention that will help get your loved one to recognize the seriousness of their problem, help your family heal, and pave the path for recovery.

 

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Codeine, Hydrocodone & Lortab – What are These Drugs & What are Their Differences?

SUBTLE DIFFERENCES

With the ever-growing opioid crisis you may be hearing drug names such as Codeine, hydrocodone and Lortab floating around news stories and conversation. Codeine, Hydrocodone, and Lortab are prescription painkillers. All three are generally in pill-form and when misused have a strong propensity to lead to painkillers addiction. These pills should be taken only when prescribed, as prescribed, and under the supervision of a physician.

Codeine, hydrocodone, and Lortab differ in their compositions. So, although they work similarly in the body to reduce pain, they are not identical, each prescription is composed of slightly different compounds.

It’s important to note that these medications should never be shared or taken without a prescription as they are highly addictive and can be deadly when used beyond the recommended dosage or without a prescription.

CODEINE & HYDROCODONE ARE OPIOIDS

Opioids are medications that reduce pain. They’re commonly prescribed typically for pain associated with injury, respiratory pain, or dental work. These drugs work with the nervous system to alter the body’s perception of pain and provide relief. Painkillers drugs, such as these, are often referred to as narcotic drugs which work to control mood or behavior.

Narcotic drugs can be highly addictive even when used appropriately, so they are highly regulated in the United States and in other countries around the world. If you or someone you know is prone to addictive behavior, it is advised to stay away from narcotics such as these as the risk of addiction to these pills is high.

It is also important to note that hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States today. While a very effective painkiller and can help those that might otherwise not be able to live without chronic pain live normal lives, it is also effective in relieving intense pain or even reducing a cough. However, the high experienced by many, can lead to abuse of the drug and subsequent addiction..

There are several strains of Opioids include heroin, morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. Many that abuse codeine and hydrocodone move on to use heroin, as it is a much less expensive option and offers a similar high.

LORTAB IS ACETAMINOPHEN AND HYDROCODONE COMBINED

Lortab is one of the many prescription name-brand drugs that is typically prescribed as a temporary pain reliever. You may recognize other name brand Hydrocodone drugs as: Vicodin and Lorcet.

Hydrocodone, a narcotic drug and opioid, combined with a mild painkiller like acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol or Excedrin), increases the potency of the hydrocodone.

CODEINE & HYDROCODONE DEPENDENCY

Codeine and Hydrocodone, when used frequently, causes a physical dependency on the drug itself. The more a person takes, the more a person needs to feel the effects of the drug. The “high” or “euphoria” that comes from the drug decreases with repeated use.

The body becomes accustomed to having the drug in its system to function and therefore craves the drug to feel stable. Since the body does not naturally need to drug to function, this is a high-risk place for the body to exist. When the body does not receive the drug, then the body will experience symptoms of withdrawal such as chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and diarrhea, to name a few.

If you or a loved one is battling with an addiction to Codeine, Hydrocodone, or other prescription drugs an ARISE® Drug & Alcohol Intervention can help.

SOURCES:
https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/factsheets.shtml

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