Tag Archives: Addiction Recovery

opioid overdoses in az organ transplants

Increases in Opioid Overdoses in Arizona Lead to Spike in Organ Donations

Increases in Opioid Overdoses in Arizona Lead to Spike in Organ Donations

In recent years, drug and opioid overdoses in Arizona have steadily risen. Interestingly enough, so have organ donations. Seeking help from an opioid addiction treatment center today can help lower your risk of becoming another statistic.

So, What is the Connection?

It was once thought that harvesting organs from an individual who suffered from an opioid or drug addiction while they were alive, held too many risks for the patient who would receive said organs. However, researchers have confirmed through recent studies that prove organs from drug-addicted individuals have almost the same transplant success rates as organs from overall healthy individuals.

With the recent spike in opioid-related deaths, there has also been a spike in organ donations, creating a tragic but hopeful realization.  With the increase of overdose deaths, comes the increase of new life opportunities to patients waiting for new organs.

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opioid overdoses in arizona and organ transplants

If There is So Much Hope Found in These Studies, Why is This Seemingly Taboo?

First off, the opioid epidemic is a newer issue facing, not only in Arizona, but The United States as a whole. A recent study done by investigators at the University of Utah Health found that currently 110,000 people across the United States are lingering on organ transplant waiting lists. However, the increase in the opioid epidemic has paved the way for unexpected opportunities in increases of organ availability for donation.

The Annals of Medicine found that a major rise of organ donors who’s death occurred due to an overdose rose up to 13.4% in 2017, compared to the meager 1.1% that it was at in 2000. In Arizona alone, opioid-related deaths have seen a 74 percent increase in the last four years. These numbers suggests that with the rise in organ donations from drug-related overdoses, it could significantly improve our country’s organ shortage. Unfortunately, it also shows that there were a great many organs from opioid overdoses in Arizona that went unused before 2017, which could have saved numerous lives.

While these statistics are encouraging, there is a big question that remains.

Are These Organs Safe to Use For Transplants?

Up until recent years, it was not common practice for medical professionals to accept the use of organs from drug-induced deaths, as there were legitimate concerns for the success of the transplant and the patient who received it.

During an overdose, an individual can experience a drop in blood pressure, which reduces the supply of oxygen and holds the potential to affect the organs negatively. There have also been, and still are, potential risks of infection such as hepatitis C. Although there can be a slightly higher risk of those organs having hepatitis C, at only a 30% risk, it still scares off both medical professionals and patients. Recipients of these donors have shown through testing that patient and graft survival rates remain within the same percentage as those recipients who received organs from trauma or medical deaths.

Dr. Christine Durand from Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore has done numerous studies on this topic and states that; “While it is natural for patients to be concerned when they hear that an organ has an increased risk of infection, the tests for the disease are so effective that the risk is low — for HIV, it is around one in 10 000. For hepatitis C, there is a cure available to treat the recipient if an infection is passed on.”

While these studies were created to better understand the effects these specific types of transplants can have on the receiver, they also stand to offer more insight and knowledge for the patient. Even though having an organ transplant surgery is often necessary to continue having a quality of life, it can still be a daunting thing for any patient to consider. The topic can weigh even heavier when the fear of receiving an organ from a former drug user could mean. The United Network for Organ Sharing policy requires that patients be fully aware of any circumstances of potentially higher risk donations so they can best decide whether or not to accept it.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Can Help Prolong Your Life

While the spike in organ transplants is good news, the method to which they have become so readily available is not. An organ comes with a story unique and all its own. This new organ could hold the potential for a fresh start, a promise for a continued journey, and the hope of a healthy and happy life.

But, even before those organs are given to someone else, the person struggling with addiction has options available to them so that they don’t become another number in these staggering statistics.

If opioid addiction is prevalent in an individual’s life, they have ways to begin moving forward and beginning recovery today. There are numerous opioid addiction treatment centers within Arizona that offer a multitude of treatment options and programs. Don’t let the numbers and addiction dictate the journey. Make the decision for a chance at a new beginning today by calling Desert Cove Recovery.

staying sober during the holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holidays can be a fun time, recovering from substance abuse can put a damper on the festivities. It’s common for people to throw parties and serve alcohol or to have family gatherings that cause a great deal of stress. Staying on your path of addiction recovery at this time of year can be a real challenge as you navigate these situations. To get through this season successfully without relapsing, here are eight tips for staying sober during the holidays.

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  1. Surround Yourself with People Who Support Your Recovery

Support is crucial to a person in recovery at any time of the year. However, the holidays can be extra challenging. Surrounding yourself with family and friends who love you and who are wiling to help you remain sober will make things easier. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your close family and friends to help keep you accountable to your recovery. Most importantly, do not isolate yourself. This may only cause depression or relapse.

  1. Choose Holiday Parties Wisely

There are always a number of holiday parties you can attend during the holiday season, most of which will offer substances that you have worked hard at removing from your life. Even though you have started recovery from addiction, you do not have to decline all of the offers that you are given. However, it is smart to choose the ones where alcohol will not be the center of attention.

Avoiding gatherings that provide the greatest temptations will make things easier for you. Realizing that a few hours of partying are not worth ruining your sobriety is vital. Make sure to arrive with a plan so that you can leave when the urge to drink becomes too strong. You should come with a trusted friend who will agree not to drink as well. Make plans ahead of time not to rely on others for transportation. This will keep you from getting into uncomfortable situations.

  1. Keep Attending Meetings and Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holiday season is busy, it is not the time for you to take a vacation from your recovery process. Besides surrounding yourself with family and friends, it is important to keep attending regular sobriety meetings. Even if you are away from home for the holidays, it is possible to find and attend a local meeting in the area. Support groups contain people who are going through the same challenges. You can work together and help each other get through the holidays without relapsing.

  1. Give Back

Your recovery is like a rebirth. A way to make the most of this gift is to give back. Helping others during the holiday season is an effective way to remain sober as well. Your community is probably looking for volunteers to help serve a meal to the hungry or to decorate various parts of your town. These activities will give you purpose and will make you feel good about helping others. Lending a hand to other individuals is a way to show thanks for the people who have helped you along your sober journey.

  1. Be Honest with Yourself

Many recovering individuals are too confident in their abilities to remain sober at all times. However, even the strongest person can succumb to temptation. Do not think that it is possible to avoid relapsing when you are placing yourself in situations where alcohol is flowing. If you are at a party or event where most people are getting buzzed, you will likely fall victim to relapse. Although it is important to socialize during the holidays, it is vital not to make a habit of visiting bars or similar venues at this time of year. Being honest with yourself about your struggle with addiction is one of the best ways to fight against yourself.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is known to release endorphins in the brain. These endorphins make people feel happy and satisfied. This is why a person in recovery should establish a regular workout routine, especially during the holidays. Also, exercise can help you to clear your mind and to escape the chaos that the holidays may bring. Simply taking a walk to enjoy some Christmas lights can improve your mood and keep you away from triggers that can harm your recovery.

  1. Create New Traditions

If drugs or alcohol have haunted you for a long time and have prevented you from enjoying quality time with friends and family during the holidays, it may be nice to create new traditions. Now that you have decided to live a sober life, you will be able to spend memorable times with your loved ones. Host an alcohol-free decorating party or cookie exchange, plan a family game night, or go sleigh riding after you trim your tree. All of these activities can become a yearly tradition. They create positive feelings for everyone who is involved.

  1. Take One Day at a Time

Sometimes, people think too far into the future. As a recovering individual, it is essential to take one day at a time. Do not worry about the past or what is yet to happen. Live for the moment so that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Celebrate with family and friends without negative thoughts of relapse.

For more helpful tips to remain sober this holiday season, or to start your recovery journey, contact Desert Cove Recovery today.

decision to go to rehab arizona

What Happens When You Make the Decision to Go to Rehab Arizona

What Happens When You Make the Decision to Go to Rehab Arizona

It can be a scary situation to realize that going to rehab is the best decision for your life right now as you look to recover from an addiction that you’re suffering from. However, that is coupled with hop;, hope for a brighter future, one that includes feeling more in control of your life than is the case currently. One of the best things that you will learn when you go to rehab Arizona is that you’re not alone as you will see that others are struggling with the same types of things that you are.

How Life Can and Will Change When You Go to Rehab

One thing is certain: Your life will change as a result of entering rehab.

One significant difference that will come to your life is changing the focus of it from drugs to something else, something healthier. Up to this point, your mind has been clouded by its increasing focus on securing and taking drugs. It will take some time, but having your mind clear up and open up is going to have a tremendously positive impact on your life. And, as a result of this and the other impacts of rehab, you will very gradually develop a higher sense of self-esteem.

But perhaps the most important way that your life will change is from you being able to feel a much closer sense of what your true needs are and how to address them. This is often done through meditation or prayer. Fully experiencing emotions rather than trying to eliminate them through alcohol or drug use will also allow you to gain a much firmer handle on how to handle those emotions and what is the best for you and for others around you.

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How You’re Giving Yourself Another Chance

The feeling that you are not going to give up on yourself is a motivating experience, and that’s exactly what you’re doing when you head to rehab. It’s not going to be easy, but you’re giving yourself another chance to experience life as it should be lived, without alcohol or drugs controlling it.

One thing that is essential to keep in mind is that you really can change. The same as the person that you are while battling your addiction might have be unrecognizable as compared to who you used to be, the person who you can be in the future also has the potential to be quite a change from who you are now.

And make sure to keep in mind that it’s never too late for you to take advantage of another chance. While nothing can be done about the past, everything can be done about the future, and you should take advantage of the years that you have remaining. For example, Roy Kroc was 53 when he started getting involved with McDonald’s and ended up buying it at the age of 59.

How You’ll Deal With Your Fears When You Go To Rehab Arizona

Of course, you will likely experience a variety of fears connected with going to rehab. However, it’s important to remind yourself that this is normal and that there are ways to deal with those fears and push past them.

One of the most common reasons why those who enter rehab experience fear is thinking about what the detox and withdrawal experiences are going to be like. Although they will most likely be unpleasant, you can trust in those who are overseeing you, that they will be closely monitoring you so that you remain safe throughout that trying process.

Another common fear for those in these types of situations is a fear of failure, a fear of not succeeding with the recovery process. Fortunately, just walking through the doors are strong steps in the right direction. Once there, remind yourself that your odds of success have gone up tremendously now that you’re receiving treatment and taking an active role in the recovery process.

It’s important to note that some people even experience a fear of success, thinking that they aren’t worthy of beating this addiction. However, you are worthy of beating it and can.

Another common fear is the fear of admitting that you are suffering from an addiction. Oftentimes, emotions like embarrassment or denial can be felt in these situations, but it’s essential that you note that anything that you are doing to overcome this addiction is a positive and something that will end up in a lot more positive emotions being felt than those. Once this addiction is overcome, you’ll be feeling emotions that you want to be feeling such as pride instead.

When it’s time to start working on overcoming the addiction that you or a loved one is looking to overcome, give Desert Cove Recovery a call, and we can help.

changes in alcohol abuse

Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

When it comes to all of the addictive substances available in the United States, alcohol is the one that is most commonly used. Statistics from the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence show that one in every 12 Americans suffer from alcohol abuse.

When someone is dealing with alcohol abuse, he or she is also dealing with the physiological changes in alcohol abuse. These can have devastating effects on different parts and functions of the body. Statistics show that 88,000 deaths a year are attributed to excessive alcohol abuse.

The effects alcohol can have on the body over time can impair everyday functions and impact vital organs. These include damage and functions involving the:

  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Brain
  • Heart

Let’s take a closer look at the physiological changes in alcohol abuse when it comes to these vital organs.

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Liver

The liver helps to break down and remove harmful substances from the body. This includes alcohol. When someone abuses alcohol, the liver can become inflamed, leading to disease. This inflammation leads to scarring on the liver referred to as cirrhosis. This destroys the liver, making it more difficult for the body to rid itself of toxins. When toxins and waste build up in the body, the consequences can be life-threatening.

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Pancreas

Alcohol abuse can also have damaging effects on the pancreas. The pancreas helps to regulate the body’s insulin levels and how it responds to glucose. When someone drinks too much alcohol, it can lead to an abnormal activation of digestive enzymes that the pancreas produces. This can cause an inflamed pancreas or a condition called pancreatitis.

When the pancreas isn’t working properly it can also prevent the body from making enough insulin to use sugar. This can cause extremes in blood sugar levels that range from levels either too high or too low. Either case harms the body and can lead to diabetes or other medical conditions.

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changes in alcohol abuse

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Brain

Excessive drinking and alcohol abuse impair a person’s judgment and reasoning. But, the effects on the brain go much deeper. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to frontal lobe damage in the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions, short-term memory, and judgment, among other things. When there is chronic alcohol abuse, there is also the risk of permanent brain damage.

Change in Alcohol Abuse & Your Heart

Alcohol abuse also puts life-threatening pressure on the heart. When a person drinks too much they put themselves at greater risk for:

  • Stroke
  • High-Blood Pressure
  • Irregular Heartbeats
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching & drooping of the heart muscle)

Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle. This prohibits the body from pumping blood effectively, leading to the problems mentioned above which can be life-threatening.

Other Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

Besides the impact alcohol can have on the organs, it can also lead to other health issues because excessive drinking lowers the immune system. This impacts your body’s ability to fight off disease and makes it more susceptible to illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Drinking excessively even just one time slows your body’s ability to fight disease, even 24 hours after being intoxicated.

The effects of alcohol abuse can also be seen in reproductive health. Alcohol abuse in men can lead to erectile dysfunction and a lowered libido. Women may experience irregular menstruation cycles or may stop menstruating altogether, leading to fertility problems.

Alcohol abuse can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers like:

  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Throat cancer

It can also take its toll on bones in the body, making bones even more fragile and at greater risk for fractures in the event of a fall. Muscle weakness, cramping, and even muscle atrophy can occur with long-term excessive drinking.

Seeking Help from Arizona Alcohol Treatment

For those who may be abusing alcohol, realizing the need for help may be most difficult.  Desert Cove Recovery, Arizona alcohol treatment facility, is here with a variety of treatment programs. For more information, contact us and one of our highly trained staff members will contact you. Let us help you get on the path to recovery and better overall health.

friends don't believe you are addicted

What to Do When Your Friends Don’t Believe You’re Addicted

What to Do When Your Friends Don’t Believe You’re Addicted

It can be easy to hide the truth from people we love the most. Perhaps you are partaking in drugs and your friends don’t believe you’re addicted. Many times, our closest friends want to offer support when no one else does. Other times, they offer insight and perspective that is needed the most. When you hide your addiction from those friends, you are creating a wedge in your relationship that can be hard to rebuild.

Your friends honestly care about your welfare and if they knew all the facts, they would encourage you to seek help. But people struggling with addiction are very adept at concealing their problems. They hide drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances from others. Or, if the conversation makes an uncomfortable turn, they are very skilled at redirecting things. If all else fails, those struggling with addiction will continue to deny any sign of dependence on a substance.

As a result, even close friends, spouses, or roommates may not know there is a problem at all. Or, they may not know how bad things are.

Even if your friends don’t believe you are addicted, no one knows you better than yourself.

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A Brief Self-Assessment: “Do I Need Rehab?”

Admitting you have an addiction is the first step in addiction recovery. You are in the driver’s seat, and no one else will be able to go to addiction rehab for you. So, even if friends don’t think you are addicted, you are in the best position to make this important decision.

Before starting this assessment, it is important to be honest with yourself. Many addicts have practiced denial so much before others that they are in denial themselves. No one else will know the outcome of this assessment, so there is every reason to be honest with yourself.

Driving While Under the Influence

Some people know they are not in full possession of their mental or physical abilities before they get behind the wheel. Perhaps they respond by taking the back-way home or driving well below the speed limit. Or, perhaps they drive home from bars, parties, or other places and do not remember the route they took.

If you have driven under the influence more than once or twice, regardless of whether you got caught or anyone got hurt, you may have a problem.

Substance-Related Health Issues

Alcohol use is a good example. After even a short period of abuse, many people begin experiencing liver problems, blackouts, and anemia.

Typically, addiction is the only cause for issues like these. There may be some element of genetic predisposition, but not very much of one. So, health problems are one of the clearest signs that you may need rehab regardless of what your friends say.

Legal Problems

Many legal issues may be directly related to substance abuse, such as DUI, drug possession, or public intoxication. You are the only one who can accurately say whether the issues was a one-time mistake or the sign of something more serious. These are the only two possible interpretations.

Other times, the relationship is indirect. Most people make very bad decisions when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substance-related legal problems are much harder for anyone, including your friends, to detect.

Harming Yourself or Another

Before you skip past this part of the rehab assessment, think it through. The harm does not have to be physical and does not have to put anyone in the hospital. Emotional outbursts hurt others, and hurt yourself, just as much as physical violence. Furthermore, even if the act did not cause visible injury, it is still a violent act.

Why You Use the Substance

Many people start using drugs to experiment or to get through a difficult patch of life, such as a relationship break-up. After you know how the substance affects you or long after your boyfriend left, are you still using alcohol or drugs?

On a related note, take stock of the amount you use. If it has increased significantly and you still have basically the same high, you might very well be an addict.

If the results of this assessment disturbed you in any way, even if your friends don’t think you’re addicted, you should reach out to a professional for guidance. The next step could be a low-key session with a nearby counselor, inpatient substance abuse rehab, or something in between. Whatever that next step is, we are here to help. The trusted staff at Desert Cove Recovery will work with you to start your recovery from addiction. You do not need to face this alone.

sharing addiction story, breaking anonymity

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

When life’s circumstances don’t go as we originally intended, it’s easy to feel guilty about choices we’ve made leading us to where we are today. Many people who file for divorce, declare bankruptcy, or have a substance abuse issues blame themselves for their problems. Harboring that guilt and embarrassment may make sharing your addiction story very difficult.

Very few worthwhile endeavors are also easy, and that includes telling others about your battle through addiction. Just remember that you are not the only person who has been down this road. Some twenty million Americans are addicted to a non-tobacco substance, and only about 10 percent of them seek treatment for their illness. If your story inspires one of these people to make the call, sharing your addiction story was more than worth it.

Talking about abuse is important to recovering addicts as well. Statistics vary widely, but there is no doubt that serious relapse is a problem. Once again, if your story keeps just one person in recovery, you should tell it.

Some Reasons Sharing Your Addiction Story is Important

Your recovery story is not just about a personal journey. Elements of your long, hard journey resonate with many other people in the recovery community. Understanding these facts makes it easier to overcome guilt, embarrassment, or whatever else is holding you back. If you need some specific reasons, here are just a few:

Making it Real

Your recovery story is not really a story until you share it with others. Once you open up and share it, the whole experience becomes more real to you and to them.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Funeral eulogies are not just for broadcasting nice things about the departed. Many people have multiple and confusing feelings about their lost friends and loved ones whom they lost to addiction. Only preparing and telling the story helps them make sense of everything.

Making a Contribution

These shared experiences help us find strength in times of great need. When you share your story, you are creating an atmosphere where others feel comfortable to tell theirs as well.

Strengthening Your Resolve

Sharing your story gives you more of a stake in your recovery. If we know people are watching, we tend to watch our steps a bit more closely. Furthermore, as mentioned, your story could well be the catalyst which drives someone to seek help.

Note that some of these reasons are about other people, and some of them are about you. Your story has the power to impact more people than just yourself.

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How to Share Your Addiction Story

For some people, speaking or writing in front of an audience is second nature. But for many others, such actions may be harder than rehab. Desert Cove Recovery staff is here to help you share your story.

Many people start with anonymous online comments on addiction-related blogs or news stories. Or perhaps, you can start by liking recovery stories online. By using social media, sharing your addiction story can be safe and anonymous. Such comments have a cathartic effect for you, and they may have an inspiring effect on others.

Posting a comment or blog on our Facebook page may be the next step. People who are interested in addiction and recovery issues will see the post. It is like preaching to the choir. These public comments in a non-threatening environment are a good way to not only help yourself and inspire others, but also help build community.

When you are ready, post on your own blog site, Facebook page, or other social media account. People outside the addiction/recovery community will hear what you have to say. There may be some negative feedback, because people are not always empathetic. But such posts enable you to connect with your circle of friends in a very meaningful way. And truthfully, some people post negative comments on anything they see! Try not to focus on the naysayers, and instead remember what you have accomplished by beginning your recovery.

If you need help finding your voice or getting the words right, reach out to us or find fellow recovering people in recovery for help. Remember, you are not the only one who has problems in this area.

Finally, consider an informal speaking engagement at a local support group. Sometimes, that just means speaking up when you have the chance. Other times, that could mean being a guest speaker for a group. These things can be very intimidating for many people, but you have already come this far. Taking this next step will complete this part of your recovery.

Recovery is not easy and is not limited to your activities at a treatment facility. Recovery is hard and requires lifelong effort. For both yourself and for others, recovery should include sharing your addiction story. If you are struggling with any aspect of a substance abuse problem, you can always count on Desert Cove Recovery for help.

suicide and opioid addiction dual diagnosis treatment centers

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Important note: This article addresses suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A disproportionately large number of U.S. residents have committed suicide while using an opioid. By definition, we are witnessing an epidemic. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are seeing an increase in patients as they themselves effort to understand the connection between suicide and opioid addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released alarming numbers during the spring of 2018. Their study determined almost 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016 alone and discovered an increase of suicide every year since 1999.

The U.S. Surgeon General has advised more Americans use opioids than smoke cigarettes. Considering the U.S. purchases 80% of the world’s opioid medications and prescriptions have increased 300 percent in a nine-year time frame, this makes sense.

Together, it appears opioids and an increasing suicide rate may indeed be linked.

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suicide and opioid addiction linked dual diagnosis treatment centers

An Increasing Suicide Rate

The relationship between suicide and substance abuse is a complicated one. While suicide is closely correlated with depression, use of either legal or illicit drugs increases the risk substantially. A 2013 study by the CDC revealed which types of substances were found in those who committed suicide. The leading six substances were:

  • Alcohol – 38.2%
  • Antidepressants – 35.3%
  • Benzodiazepines – 31.3%
  • Opiates – 26.8%
  • Marijuana – 16.6%
  • Anticonvulsants – 11.9%

Use of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. However, substance use is only one half of the equation.

In isolation, it would easy to pin a large portion of suicides strictly on substance abuse. But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most suicides, substance abuse is the cause or the result of one or more contributing conditions.

The CDC completed a study reviewing the mental reports of both medical examiners and law enforcement officials from 27 states in 2015. They acknowledged there may have been other circumstances involved in any single suicide report, but the result sheds light on the types of problems individuals may have been facing prior to their passing:

  • 42% reported relationship problems
  • 29% faced a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks
  • 22% had physical health problems
  • 16% were confronting job or financial related issues
  • 9% tackled criminal legal problems
  • 4% lost their housing

The study showed that just over one-quarter (28%) of suicides had reported known problematic substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between the CDC’s statistics of the substances found in the bloodstream with the contributing factors is important. The connection underscores the role substance abuse plays in scenarios where the abuse was not a determining factor in the suicide.

The Exploding Use of Opioids

During the late-1990s, prescription opioid pain relievers were introduced to the general public in mass. It was promised these drugs would not be addictive or habit forming. The pharmaceutical companies were wrong.

The rate of opioid overdose has risen ever since opioids arrived at the corner pharmacy. In 2015, the CDC reported 33,000 deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone, illegally manufactured synthetics, and heroin.

Almost 225 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2015. The CDC study from the same year found approximately 2 million Americans were suffering from prescription opioid substance abuse disorders. The statistics of opioid misuse are staggering:

  • 21% – 29% of prescriptions for chronic pain are misused
  • 8% – 12% of prescribed opioid patients develop an opioid use disorder
  • 4% – 6% of those who misuse opioid prescriptions move onto heroin

Although the sheer number of annual opioid prescriptions has begun to decline, their misuse continues to increase. And as the number of prescriptions decreased, we may begin to see increased heroin and illicit opioid use in the coming years. Consider the following growth in opioid overdoses:

  • 54% increase in large cities in 16 states
  • 70% increase in the Midwest 2016 to 2017
  • 30% increase in 52 surveyed regions in the U.S.

We are in the midst of a public health crisis. The consequences of which are being felt by individuals, families, employers, and entire communities. Finding the link between suicide and opioid addiction will go a long way toward solving this immense problem.

Connecting Suicide and Opioid Addiction

Overdoses, caused by any substance, can often be difficult to evaluate. Was the overdose accidental or were the drugs consumed with a purpose – suicide?

What we do know are the increases in suicide risk associated with an opioid misuse. For men, the suicide risk nearly doubles if they were known to have an opioid use disorder. For women, there has been found to be an eightfold increase in the risk of suicide. Yet in most cases, the final factor causing an overdose is never known.

Opioid addiction is extremely powerful. The fact that 80% of first-time heroin users were misusing prescription opioids first supports this claim. And regardless of how many of the 115 daily opioid overdoses are attributed to suicide, any number larger than zero is too many.

The likelihood of suicidal thoughts can increase upwards of 60% when while taking an opioid. There are studies indicating death by suicide is 13 times more likely in opioid and injection drug users. More evidence that combating opioid addiction’s role in the nation’s suicide crisis cannot be overlooked

The Role of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Admittance into rehabilitation centers increased 400% in the decade prior to 2010. As more research is conducted and more is learned about the relationship between suicide and substance abuse, the greater positive impact dual diagnosis treatment centers will have on their patients.

Dual diagnosis takes a coordinated approach to mental health disorders and substance abuse. By using a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, patients with co-occurring disorders are much more likely to find long-term success after receiving treatment. Traditional treatment centers are becoming much better at identifying individuals who are suffering from two or more conditions. And if dual diagnosis treatment isn’t available, such facilities are fortunately opening on a regular basis.

After completing programs offered at dual diagnosis treatment centers, individuals will effectively be able to manage both disorders. If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with suicide and opioid addiction, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing and help is no further than a phone call away.

stigma of addiction, scottsdale treatment center

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

The stigma of addiction brings a heavy burden to people who are suffering with the problem. These people often feel “marked” with defects that keep them from living sober lives. This can lead to feelings of shame and helplessness. Luckily, there has been a reduction in the negative imagery that goes along with this condition.

How Has This Stigma of Addiction Been Reduced?

This country is experiencing an enormous rise in its drug addiction rates. However, more and more people are speaking out and sharing their stories. Even celebrities in Hollywood have come forward to shine a new light on recovering from addiction. Along with being outspoken in interviews, Demi Lovato speaks through her music. She released a song that discusses her struggles with sobriety. She explains that the road to recovery is not easy for anyone and that there is no shame in the battle.

Recently, Lovato suffered a setback. She was admitted to the hospital after an apparent overdose. Instead of negative comments and statements from the public, there has been an outpouring of support and positive energy. Thanks to social media, her relapse has given people from all walks of life the courage to speak about their similar problems and to offer sympathy to the suffering music star and to others who are in the same position. Lovato has shown that celebrities are human and have the same flaws as other people. It is a great opportunity to knock down some walls and to fight the stigma that is attached to addiction.

Music has allowed Lovato to use lyrics as an outlet to explain the bumps on her journey and to apologize for her mistakes. She wrote in detail about her failures ad this has built trust with her fans. It has allowed other drug users to understand that relapse happens and that it is possible to get back on the right path and to avoid the negativity that often surrounds the shame of addiction. As more and more people offer support, the stigma should continue to decline.

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Why Stigma Should Not Be an Issue

Is there a stigma related to cancer? Is there a stigma linked to having a heart attack? Like these physical ailments, addiction is a disease. It strikes people of all races and classes. Since no other health condition brings a negative stigma, drug addiction should not be the exception.

According to the American Medical Association, addiction is a disease that changes the way a person’s brain functions. Many drugs encourage the brain to release chemicals that bring feelings of pleasure. With continued use, these chemicals change the brain’s systems. This means that an individual will crave the substance. Brain changes can last long after an individual stops using, which leaves the person vulnerable to triggers that often lead to relapse. In many cases, a strong individual with the will to stop using is still left open to fall off a sober path.

Although seeking treatment is a smart way to gain sobriety, it is not a guarantee that the problems are over. Understanding the struggles of a user makes it clear that a negative stigma should not be placed on an individual who is trying to get clean.

How Stigma Prolongs the Problem

Many times, a user who experiences a negative stigma about his or her drug habits have a decreased likelihood of seeking treatment. Even when he or she admits that there is a problem, they may be afraid to come forward and to ask for help. It is essential to uncover a trusted medical professional so that a patient can receive solid advice and treatment. Researching a respected rehab facility is vital as well.

Our Scottsdale treatment center is filled with a compassionate staff. We understand the struggles and realities that addiction brings to an individual’s life. We are not afraid to help patients through the withdrawal process and to assist them on the road to recovery. We never judge or criticize, which means that the environment at our facility is nurturing and relaxing. Patients can feel safe, concentrate on the root of their problems, and learn how to avoid triggers that may cause relapses.

Thankfully, the stigma of drug addiction is becoming less damaging. However, we still have a long way to go. Society is starting to realize that addiction can affect anyone and relapse is not a sign of weakness. As in the case of Demi Lovato, it is important to support people with problems, especially when they decide to get help. To get started on a sober path, call our Scottsdale treatment center today.

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

The process of drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging for some people. When residents are at a rehab center in Arizona, they have the encouragement and support that is needed to be successful when they go home. There are classes offered at rehabs in Arizona as well as group and individual counseling sessions. However, finding a rehab that offers exercise as part of addiction treatment can be beneficial for many people who are dealing with addiction.

For many people, playing outside or walking on a trail is considered a form of recreation. For someone who is fighting addiction, it can be therapeutic. Exercise as part of addiction treatment allows for getting the mind healthy by focusing on activities that don’t involve drugs while talking to other people who are participating. Taking the time to get the body healthy, in at least a minimal way, can help to reverse any damage done by drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of the benefits that can be seen when exercise is offered as a part of addiction treatment:

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment Decreases Stress

A primary benefit of exercise as part of addiction treatment is stress reduction. When people rely on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stresses that they have in life, it can be difficult to take part in other activities that offer the same feelings.

Various forms of exercise increase the heart rate, relieving stress that is felt in the body for many residents in rehabs in Arizona. They can channel the stress that they have about issues with relationships and past situations in a manner that is often fun and refreshing.

exercise in addiction treatment

Exercise Helps Reduce Sleep Issues

Sometimes, people who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time tend to stay awake because of the high that they get from the substances. Exercise is a natural way to tire the body. Paired with planned activities at the rehab center as well as daily chores, exercise can often help residents who have had problems with sleeping in the past.

Once they begin to get a normal sleep schedule again, they can begin to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time the next day. This will help the body adjust to being functional in a healthy way once again.

More Energy from Exercise in Rehab

After exercising for a few weeks, residents at rehab centers can begin to see an increase in energy levels in the body. This increase in energy in a natural way instead of using drugs and alcohol can allow residents to focus on therapy sessions, classes that are taken, seeking employment, and interacting with the other people who are at the rehab center.

Exercise boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain and the other vital organs. As more oxygen circulates in the body and fewer drugs are introduced to the body, the person will be able to stay awake longer during the day and channel the energy that is built to positive tasks instead of those that are negative.

Mood Changes from Exercise

When there are no drugs in someone’s body, it can sometimes impact the mood that the person has during the day. There can be times of anger or sadness while the person is recovering in rehab. Exercise can help to stabilize the mood and even enhance the mood as the person begins to see the benefits of this kind of therapy.

While exercising, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals are responsible for feelings of happiness. As the person continues to exercise by walking, running, playing sports, or simply spending time outside doing something that involves movement, the endorphins will continue to be released. It usually doesn’t take long for endorphins to be released in the body, which means that residents in a rehab center can spend about 30 minutes a day exercising and have the rest of the day for other activities or resting and spending time alone.

Get Healthy While in Rehab

When the body has more oxygen delivered to its vital organs, the body becomes healthier. The only way that this can happen is through exercise of some kind. People who are in rehab can take a daily walk or participate in an exercise class to begin seeing health benefits that are provided by some kind of activity each day.

After weeks of exercising, people can usually begin to see a decrease in weight and begin to breathe easier. Regular exercise also helps in the prevention of heart disease, the risk of a stroke, and depression. It can also keep the bones and joints healthy.

While exercise is known to be an important part of a healthy life, for those trying to overcome addiction, it can be even more important. If you are ready to make a change in your life, and begin your journey in recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

hepatitis c and opioid, addiction treatment az

The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The opioid epidemic is characterized by an increase in the number of people who misuse narcotics, including prescription painkillers and heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 115 people experience a fatal overdose from these substances every day in the U.S. Many who survive are facing a new challenge: hepatitis C infection. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, hepatitis C and opioid use are linked.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a disease that damages the liver. It’s spread through the blood and can cause liver failure or cancer. Doctors believed they were on their way to eradicating the disease through the use of certain medications, however, the rise of the opioid epidemic changed those expectations. The number of people with hepatitis C tripled from 2010 to 2015, according to CNN. Currently, approximately 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C.

The decade from 2004 to 2014 saw a 400 percent increase in acute hepatitis C as well as an 817 percent increase in admissions of people ages 18 through 29 who injected prescription opioids. Most people who had hepatitis C before the 1990s were part of the baby-boomer generation. People born between 1945 and 1965 were more likely to have contracted the disease from unsafe medical procedures or blood transfusions. The increase of hepatitis C in the younger generation points to a link between the disease and opioid injections.

Hepatitis C is Spreading Through Injected Drug Use

Twenty-eight percent of people who inject drugs are infected with hepatitis C every year. Reusing the equipment that’s used to administer opioids intravenously can quickly cause an outbreak.

Jon E. Zibbell PhD was in charge of the study that looked at the connection between hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic from 2004 to 2014. He found statistically significant increases in the rates of hepatitis C among opioid users who injected the drugs.

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hepatitis c and opioid, addiction treatment az

Many people start taking prescription painkillers orally. Over time, they transition to injecting heroin because it is cheaper and delivers a quicker high. New infections occur most often among these opioid users, many of whom are younger than 40.

In some states, the number of people infected with hepatitis C is double the natural average. Once many people within a community are infected, the disease spreads more rapidly because they share equipment.

Women in rural counties are three times more likely to have hepatitis C than women in urban counties, according to a CDC study. The study did not intend to compare opioid abuse rates with hepatitis C rates, however, Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, the study’s author, said that 5 times more infants were born with opioid withdrawal symptoms in rural areas than urban ones. One concern that experts have is that babies born with hepatitis C may not be treated because their mothers are unaware that they’re infected.

Catching Hepatitis C Before It’s Spread Further

Because many people don’t have symptoms or seek treatment, the actual number of people who inject drugs and have the disease is probably much higher than researchers have found.

It takes time for symptoms of hepatitis C to show up, therefore, many people don’t know that they’re infected until it’s too late. Plus, most people with drug abuse disorders don’t seek treatment for their addiction. Oftentimes, many people don’t know that they have hepatitis C until they receive a blood screening for a blood donation or routine exam.

By that time, liver damage may have set in. People who do have symptoms right away are more likely to get treatment that prevents the disease from progressing.

The FDA has approved several treatment regimens that can cure the disease. The problem is that many people who suffer from hepatitis C and opioid abuse disorder don’t get help. People who suffer from addiction may be compelled to take part in risky behaviors, such as sharing needles, even though they know about the dangers.

Jonathan Mermin of the CDC says that testing people who are at risk of developing the disease, which includes anyone who has injected opioids intravenously, can increase the effectiveness of treatment for those who test positive.

Free needle exchange programs have cut down on the number of people who use dirty needles. However, the stigma of drug addiction prevents many people from taking advantage of these programs or going further to attend rehab. Access to treatment is another obstacle that people with hepatitis C face.

Treating Hepatitis C in Addiction Treatment AZ Setting

Many rehab centers are staffed by medical professionals who can provide treatment for hepatitis C alongside therapy for addiction. At rehab, patients can be monitored to make sure that they administer their hepatitis C medication correctly, which is crucial for curing the disease. Because some hepatitis C treatments cause side effects such as depression, getting help at a comprehensive rehab center, such as our addiction treatment AZ, is important for managing psychological and emotional issues as well as physical ailments.

If you have hepatitis C and suffer from opioid addiction, call our addiction treatment AZ to learn how we can help you manage your substance abuse disorder as well as other physical and medical conditions. Treating the mind, body and spirit can help you succeed on your path to recovery.