The Veteran Mental Health Problem We Need to be Talking About

The Veteran Mental Health Problem We Need to be Talking About

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

When we talk about fighting the addiction problem in America and better understanding substance use disorder, we have to acknowledge those who are at a specific risk for suffering from substance use. Far too many American soldiers come home only to fight another devastating, heartbreaking battle.

With addiction being considered a mental health issue, it should be clear the contribution of overall mental health makes to causing substance use disorder (SUD) in many cases. Depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all mental health issues that often associated with addiction.

Some of those susceptible to mental health disorders and substance abuse are those who fight for the safety and freedom of our country; our Veterans. So we need to acknowledge the mental health issues that the men and women who sacrifice everything for this nation are suffering through. We need to talk about how to best understand these conditions, and how to best treat those in need.

Veteran Mental Health Disorder Statistics

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research:

  • 20% of Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or PTSD

  • 5% of Veterans in these two categories have suffered a traumatic brain injury

According to the U.S. Department of Federal Affairs:

  • More than 2 out of 10 veterans with PTSD also suffer from SUD

  • In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.

  • Almost 1 out of every 3 Veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD.

  • War Veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to be binge drinkers.

  • Among all U.S. adult deaths from suicide, 18% (7,403) were identified as Veterans of U.S. military service

Probably one of the most troubling statistics comes from a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which tragically revealed:

Only 50% of returning vets who need veteran mental health treatment will receive these services.

That is an extremely troubling number. It says a lot about how Veterans are struggling to get the help they need when you realize that only around half of them ever get it.

Veterans and Substance Abuse

One of the hardest issues to address when examining the veteran mental health issue is substance abuse and SUD. It is also one of the most important aspects of Veteran mental health treatment that need to be acknowledged.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that substance abuse among veterans is strongly connected to their experiences in combat and how they struggle to cope with these traumas. Various NIDA studies indicate that:

  • 25% of Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan showed signs of SUD

  • In 2008, active duty and veteran military personnel abused prescription drugs at a rate that was more than twice the rate for the civilian population

  • In 2009, the VA estimated that around 13,000 vets from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from alcohol dependence syndrome and require veteran mental health treatment for this problem.

PTSD and SUD

A lot of people, even those who are not Veterans but have experienced great trauma, use substances to self-medicate and deal with PTSD. Even for those who have never had an issue with substances or may never have even used substances, PTSD increases the risk an individual can develop a drinking or drug problem or SUD.

To make matters worse, PTSD and SUD can likely lead to other problems in life, including health. These Veteran mental health issues can often be associated with:

Ultimately, using drugs or alcohol in combination with PTSD might seem to make things easier, but will actually make them a lot worse. It creates a vicious cycle of numbing and re-traumatizing.

Better Treatment for Veteran Mental Health and Addiction

Many advocates for Veteran services, including the National Veterans Foundation (NVF), believe:

  • More funding needs to be allocated for Veteran mental health care services so that every veteran has easy access to this type of care.
  • Excessive wait times at local VA facilities need to be addressed in order to grant people the access they need to these services.

The NVF website states:

“We can no longer look the other way or continue to underfund the mental health care system that our veterans use.”

This should absolutely be a priority. Strengthening the system that provides mental health care not just to citizens who are suffering, but to our vets who have given so much and desperately need help, is crucial to saving lives from substance use disorder.

Not only does Palm Healthcare Company understand the importance of providing quality addiction recovery treatment, but we also know how important dual diagnosis treatment is for those who suffer from serious mental health conditions like PTSD or major depression along with addiction. Better treatment means addressing both conditions simultaneously, to help the individual heal holistically.

Palm Healthcare Company also knows how important it is to help those first responders and Veterans that put their lives on the line every day. That is why we are a proud sponsor of the Harrigan Foundation’s Annual Run to the Rescue 5K to raise money for the treatment of first responders and veterans.

To find out more about this event, visit the link here:

Harrigan Foundation’s Annual RUN TO THE RESCUE 5K

Mental health care and addiction treatment for vets is an important resource that can save lives and our veterans put their lives back together after experiencing trauma and hardship that causes PTSD and the devastation of substance abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling, you don’t have to fight alone. Please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

There are many national observances every month, all year round, that remind us of issues that may not always be on the forefront of our minds. These issues are typically not something everyone will put much thought into each day, but when we pause to acknowledge them for a few days at a time we may realize these are real problems that affect real people every single day. Some of these issues go unseen, like mental health disorders. One of these observances for the month of October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month.

If you never realized this was an actual observance, then that is kind of the point. The fact that this is enough of an issue to acknowledge for one month out of a year should speak volumes. The fact a lot of people don’t even realize it is happening says a lot too.

Let us be clear: this article is NOT to discredit or denounce the use of antidepressant medications. It is simply to acknowledge the importance of awareness and education.

So what does this observance mean?

#AntidepressantDeathAwarenessMonth

The purpose of National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month is to remember those who have been injured or killed as a result of antidepressant use. Part of this commemoration is to urge people to always report any adverse reactions while taking any drugs to the FDA, especially in cases that end in death. Depression is a common mental health disorder in the United States. In fact, recent data shows:

  • More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally
  • Approximately 16 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode in 2012
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18
  • 10%-20% of new moms will experience postpartum depression
  • 30% of college students report feeling depressed enough it disrupted their performance in school
  • 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment

Needless to say, depression is a prominent condition that impacts a lot of people across America. So of course, antidepressant medications are a valued resource in mental health treatment. However, excessive use of antidepressant medications or dependence on these drugs can lead to some devastating consequences.

Too often people joke about needing to “pop a Prozac” or “borrow a Zoloft” to relax, but these medications are nothing to play around with.

Antidepressants and Suicide

In 2016 reports came out about a suicide epidemic in America. According to the World Health Organization suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death in 2015, representing a 60% increase worldwide over 45 years! A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an estimated 9.3 million adults in the United States (3.9% of the adult population) reported having suicidal thoughts in that past year.

With such shocking statistics, researchers decided to examine data on suicides and the antidepressants associated with some cases. Of most of the medications the most disturbing revelations were those for:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

The review revealed that these antidepressants actually seemed to double the rate of suicide and aggressive behavior for adolescents and young people under the age of 18.

So drugs intended to treat depression actually increased risks of harmful side-effects. But even more disheartening is the fact the Big Pharma companies behind these medications were documenting “serious underestimation of the harms.” Meaning they believe drug makers misreported their findings from case studies. In many cases, researchers concluded more serious side-effects were being recorded as something else.

Side-Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressant drugs can be very useful, but they are still drugs and should always be taken seriously. Not only can antidepressants be detrimental to emotional stability, but they cause various physical side-effects as well.

Some of the more common side-effects of antidepressants include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability

There are other more serious health concerns that certain antidepressant drugs can contribute to as well, including:

Depending on the particular substance, some of these adverse effects of symptoms may differ. One should always speak with their doctor about the possible adverse effects of any medication and be sure to discuss all treatment options.

Be sure to consult your doctor before discontinuing any medications as well. Some of these medications can cause adverse effects when abruptly discontinued. Again, the point of this conversation is not to scare anyone away from antidepressant medications; it is simply to encourage anyone who may be taking these kinds of medications to be aware and make informed decisions with the help of your doctor.

Antidepressant Dependence

The connection between antidepressants and addiction isn’t as clear as other drugs. Doctors still debate the addictive nature of antidepressant medications, with most considering them non-addictive. However, it is possible to develop a dependence on antidepressants.

Antidepressant medications alter the brain’s chemical activity. So a lot of people use antidepressants excessively because they feel like they cannot function normally unless chemical changes in their brain activity take place. So while antidepressants may not be as addictive as other narcotic medications, people can depend on the drug to feel ‘normal’.

Antidepressant dependence commonly forms in people who never needed the drug for medical reasons. Some people receive an incorrect diagnosis of depression and thus end up on antidepressants. According to one study, doctors misdiagnosed almost 2/3 of patients with depression and prescribed unnecessary antidepressants. Still, others will abuse antidepressants for a psychostimulant-like effect.

The use of the drugs also becomes even more dangerous when combined with alcohol. People suffering from addiction to other drugs, including alcohol, also run a higher risk of abusing their antidepressants.

Combining alcohol and antidepressants can cause problems such as:

  • Worsened depression or anxiety
  • Intense sedation
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Impaired coordination
  • Overdose

Abuse of antidepressants can lead to overdose. Symptoms of antidepressant overdose often include:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Safety before Stigma

Of course, no one should ever be afraid or embarrassed about taking an antidepressant medication. That kind of assistance can be an essential piece of someone’s balance in life, and there is no judgment.

In the realm of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it is important for people to understand the difficulties that others may face and accept that medical assistance might be necessary for some people to safely and comfortably grow while letting go of other dangerous substances. As long as people are willing to be mindful of how a medication effects them and take appropriate steps to protect themselves, recovery with the help of antidepressants is absolutely possible.

Approximately one in every eight adults in America take antidepressants, which are among the most commonly used medications. These medications can be life altering and important to overall health, but they must be taken seriously. This month we remember all those who have suffered through depression and been adversely affected by antidepressants. We remember those who lost their lives due to complications related to antidepressant medications, and we strive for better understanding and use of these medications to preserve lives.

Abusing prescription medications like antidepressants is extremely dangerous, and if you are trying to overcome an addiction or mental health disorder this can put you in even more danger. Getting the right kind of treatment can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

After Las Vegas Shooting: PTSD and Mental Health Must be Priority

After Las Vegas Shooting: PTSD and Mental Health Must be Priority

Just this past Sunday the nation saw one of the deadliest shootings in modern American history in Las Vegas. This immense and indescribable tragedy shocked the world as news reports and live footage filled the airwaves after a gunman opened fire with high-powered rifles at an outdoor music festival. At this point there are at least 58 dead and over 520 wounded, making it the deadliest mass shooting in recent history.

The heartbreak and weight of this tragedy truly cannot be put into words. The unimaginable loss is without parallel. Beyond those who lost their lives in such a senseless act of violence, the impacts this event has had on countless friends, families and loved ones are unfathomable.

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, mental health must be a priority. How we address and protect the psychological well-being of every American must be a very serious part of the conversation. We have to take a close look at how we are facing mental health, and support those who have been traumatized in the wake of such horrific events.

PTSD of Mass Shootings

The risks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is extremely elevated in situations like this. Research on mass shootings is not extensive but is sufficient enough to allow for some preliminary conclusions. One study examined 15 mass shooting events to review consequences of the incidents upon survivors. From these studies conclusion, researchers stated:

  • Prevalence of post-disaster diagnoses (predominantly PTSD) in these studies ranged from 10% to 36%
  • Much higher percentages reported sub-threshold PTSD
  • Very few participants reported no symptoms

One 1994 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that in the acute post-disaster period:

  • 20% of the men met criteria for PTSD after a mass shooting
  • 36% of the women met criteria for PTSD

The same study looked at those with post-disaster PTSD who also met criteria for another post-disaster psychiatric diagnosis, especially major depression. They found:

  • One-half of the women met the criteria
  • One-fourth of the men met the criteria

Experts say most people will recover fully from post-disaster PTSD within 6 to 16 months, but most still emphasize the importance of support.

Not only can those present at the tragedy be affected directly, but also those not present but connected to the location or individuals present can be affected vicariously. You don’t have to experience something so horrifying first-hand to suffer a severe impact. An attack like this can have deep emotional effects on those who witness the event, or even for those all over the world following the story.

Understanding PTSD

Part of dealing with the residual effects of tragic events and disasters is to understand how conditions like PTSD can impact people. PTSD can result in emotional, physical and even cognitive issues that some people may not know how to recognize or cope with.

Emotional Effects of PTSD Include

  • Shock
  • Terror
  • Irritability
  • Blame
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Grief or sadness
  • Emotional numbing
  • Helplessness
  • Loss of pleasure derived from familiar activities
  • Difficulty feeling happy
  • Difficulty experiencing loving feelings

Physical Effects of PTSD Include

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Startle response
  • Cardiovascular strain
  • Increased physical pain
  • Reduced immune response
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased libido

Cognitive Effects of PTSD Include

  • Decreased concentration
  • Confusion
  • Impaired decision making
  • Disbelief
  • Dissociation
  • Nightmares
  • Impaired Memory
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Reduced self-efficacy
  • Self-blame
  • Intrusive thoughts/memories
  • Anxiety

All of these things can cause other more personal issues. Some will experience difficulty with intimacy or social relationships. Isolation and alienation can develop at work, at school or even at home.

According to PTSD United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support and resources for those suffering from PTSD:

  • 70% of adults (approximately 223.4 million people) in the US have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.
  • Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD.
  • Approximately 44.7 million people today either have struggled or are struggling with PTSD.

With PTSD, a lot of people actually turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Some will rely on substances as a form of relief when PTSD brings feelings of isolation or depression. However, as people try to numb or distract themselves from these feelings, they tend to create more problems through substance use.

Often times, the substances only fuel feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety.

Make Mental Health a Priority

This week, October 1 through October 7, is Mental Illness Awareness Week. There is no time like the present to discuss the current state of mental health across the country. Now is always the time to advocate for better support, services, and acceptance when discussing mental illness and mental health in America.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

  • 9% of all U.S. adults (43.4 million)qualified as having mental health issues in 2015
  • Approximately 20-21% of incarcerated Americans have a “recent history” of mental health issues
  • 70% of young people caught up in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health issue
  • 46% of people living in homeless shelters live with severe mental health issues and/or substance use disorders (SUDs)

In the aftermath of such profound tragedy like the recent shooting in Las Vegas, or even natural disasters like recently with Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria, there should be a very direct conversation about mental health. We should also work diligently to ensure that while the world grapples with opioid addiction and drug abuse, that more people don’t turn to self-medicating to fight feelings of loss, terror or alienation.

For all survivors of recent tragedies, or those affected indirectly, there are ways to take care of yourself and monitor your own mental state. Make your own mental health a priority. Protect yourself from destructive behaviors, and reach out for help in the wake of such emotionally compromising events as what happened in Las Vegas.

The national crisis hotline also offers confidential and free services 24/7/365 Call (775) 784-8090 or text ANSWER to 839-863

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those touched by this tragedy.

If you or someone you love is struggling with trauma, don’t let substance abuse make it all even worse. Drugs or alcohol are not the answer. There is real help out there. Please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

5 Big Ways America Can Overcome the Opioid Epidemic

5 Big Ways America Can Overcome the Opioid Epidemic

Drug overdoses killed 64,000 Americans last year. That is an increase of more than 20% than the overdose deaths in 2015. Those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 2000. Now nearly two-thirds of overdose deaths are from by opioids. Some are from prescription opioids; others are from illicit heroin or synthetics like fentanyl.

However, some are concerned that the action we have seen thus far is too little too late. The president’s 2018 budget only increases addiction treatment funding by less than 2%. That already includes the $500 million appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act. So needless to say, many recovery advocates worry that the resources are just not going to be enough.

If we look at the recommendations of the president’s opioid commission, and at other initiatives that have started to gain some traction across the country, we can find patterns. There are some concepts that consistently show up, and perhaps if we focus on these similarities, we can see why so many minds are thinking alike.

So here are 5 big ways America can overcome the opioid epidemic.

  1. Break the Stigma

In order to accomplish most of the things on this list, America first has to consistently fight to break the stigma of drug use and addiction. Misunderstanding what addiction is and how it happens only undermines progress to addressing it. If America hopes to overcome the opioid crisis, we have to be more willing to see it for what it is.

Right now the issue of addiction stigma is still a big deal. While we may have come a long way from how it was decades ago, there are still a lot of people who refuse to consider addiction as an illness. A lot of people still refuse to acknowledge the various factors that contribute to addiction, such as genetic predisposition and instead insist addiction is purely by choice.

If we can see how drug use affects people from all different walks of life, and for countless different reasons, we can then treat those suffering from more compassion. Finding more effective methods of treatment means having a better idea of what really causes addiction, and what feeds it.

  1. Support PAARI, NOT Punishment

Speaking of compassion, supporting PAARI and not punishment is a perfect example of letting go of stigma to work toward saving lives.

It is about time that all of America realizes that the old ways of the failed War on Drugs do not work. Thankfully, it seems a lot more people across the country now understand that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Harsher punishments and severe sentences have not deterred addiction, they only support stigma.

Now in America, there are nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across 31 states that have Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative programs (PAARI). These PAARI programs offer treatment for drug users who come to authorities looking for a way out. Instead of fearing the threat of arrest, people struggling with substances are encouraged to reach out to law enforcement in order to be put in contact with treatment options or recovery networks.

This revolutionary new mindset was inspired by a department in Gloucester, Massachusetts not too long ago. So far these efforts appear to cost much less and with better results than efforts focused on punishing addicts.

  1. Create Resources for Treatment

Today addiction medicine is an urgently needed specialty, but there is not much glory in it compared to other areas of medical work. One way the federal government could help create more resources for treatment is to provide tuition incentives for medical students to enter addiction-related specialties and work in underserved communities. By encouraging this kind of work, we further shed the stigma of addiction and shift the perspective to helping care for a vulnerable community.

But don’t just end with specialists.

By supporting things like Medicaid expansion, addiction and mental health treatment can be made available to more people who may not have access to healthcare under limited coverage. More state and federal funding can also be allocated by officials to help build or strengthen addiction treatment programs provided by the state.

  1. Enforce Mental Health Parity

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 actually requires insurers provide equal benefits for mental health and addiction treatment that they do with other medical therapies or surgery. Thus, the law means to make discrimination against addicts by insurers illegal.

However, some insurers defy this law by imposing illogical treatment limits or tedious authorization requirements. In other words, insurance companies are finding ways to cheat the system in order to avoid paying for addiction and mental health treatment.

America and our government must to better to enforce mental health parity. If we want people to get the treatment they need, we have to protect their right to treatment and assure that insurance providers won’t be able to skip out on the bill.

According to John Renner, president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, between 50%- 70% of people with substance abuse problems also suffer from a mental health disorder such as:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

With mental health and addiction so closely related, making sure those struggling with opioids and other substances receive care for mental health disorders or other co-occurring conditions it vital to lasting recovery.

  1. Preserve life

First and foremost; preserve life! This should always be a priority when facing any kind of epidemic. Regardless of the circumstances, the preservation of life should always be paramount. This is a discussion that has become crucial in the fight against opioids considering the need for life-saving medications and harm reduction tactics.

At the moment, first responders and emergency rooms do not have adequate access to Naloxone or Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to save lives. Both federal and state health agencies can negotiate pricing for naloxone and expand access. They can also encourage pharmacies that offer prescription-free access in some areas.

Another aspect of saving lives involves harm reduction strategies, which tend to be a little more controversial. Not everyone likes to support programs like safe injection sites or needle exchange programs. However, whether you think these programs enable addiction or not, these programs are proven to help preserve life. Between preventing the spread of infectious disease and providing a supported environment in case of overdose, these harm reduction models can prevent a lot of needless loss of life.

One indisputable precedence in the effort to overcome opioids is keeping people suffering alive long enough to get them treatment. The more people we can help survive opioid addiction, the more people have a chance of recovering.

Drug abuse and addiction is a devastating and deadly disease, and providing effective and compassionate treatment makes a lifelong difference. Part of solving the problem is changing the way we look at it and changing how we treat each other. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Palm Healthcare Company Presents The Pain Recovery Program

Palm Healthcare Company Presents The Pain Recovery Program

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

Palm Healthcare knows the importance of addressing the multi-faceted needs of the individual who suffers from chronic pain. This is why we created the Pain Recovery Program. A person in pain is not only concerned about reclaiming their own sense of well-being and functioning. They are also concerned about reclaiming their sense of purpose, independence, and direction to life.

Palm Healthcare Pain Recovery Program

The focus of the Pain Recovery Program is assisting that person in pain in reclaiming all aspects of their life. Palm Healthcare utilizes a comprehensive bio-psychosocial perspective while incorporating the latest holistic, traditional, and state of the art, non-invasive technology and interventions.

Individuals participating in The Pain Recovery Program are provided a variety of treatment options that include:

  • Medication management
  • Nutraceutical (vitamin) therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Massage
  • Muscle manipulation therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Biofeedback

Each person in The Pain Recovery Program will receive a personalized treatment plan based on comprehensive evaluations and the specific needs of the individual and their specific needs.

Connecting Pain and Addiction

Part of overcoming pain while overcoming addiction is understanding how the two are so closely related. Patients who are struggling with one or both of these conditions often report adverse symptoms such as:

Chronic pain and substance use disorder (SUD) have similar physical, social, emotional, and economic effects on health and well-being; one can easily be confused for the other, while both can exacerbate each other.

Pain in the Brain

Chronic pain and addiction actually have many of the same exact neurophysiological patterns.

For instance: Chronis pain involves abnormal neural processing. Coincidentally, addiction results when normal neural processes are altered into dysfunctional patterns, including disruptions in:

The truth is, there is still a lot to learn about both of these conditions, including patterns of severity, the course of development and responses to treatment.

Emotional Responses

Gauging and effectively addressing emotional responses is also crucial to effective and lasting pain treatment.

Pain and Emotions

Continued pain can also cause emotional responses, such as:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive symptoms

Each of these experiences can even turn into more pain. Even after these psychological causes have been addressed the feedback effect can still cause pain in the body.

In fact, there are many studies that indicate pain treatment has worse outcomes when depression is a factor. Some experts say you can even predict how a pain syndrome will evolve based on the emotional status of the patient.

Emotions and SUD

With substance use disorder, the individual’s emotional state is a core cause of continuous drug use. People who use drugs often experience these same emotional responses like anxiety and depression as a result of isolation, social and professional hardships and other side-effects of their drug use. Not to mention the way certain drugs impact the brain. Emotional and psychological trauma can be just as severe for these individuals as physical trauma.

On the other hand, some people may already have a history of experiencing these emotional difficulties and actually be trying to treat themselves by abusing drugs. This feeds into the cycle of emotional distress and substance use.

Complicated Relationship

Both addiction and chronic pain fluctuate in intensity with time under different circumstances. Depending on what is going on in someone’s life, their pain may get worse or seem to disappear, just like an addiction may seem controllable for a time before hitting another harsh bottom.

Both often require ongoing management. But the difficulty can also be that these two conditions feed into each other in a very complicated, and at times toxic, relationship.

Treatment for one can either support or conflict with the other.

The Painful Cycle of Addiction

One of the many difficulties many people experience when trying to overcome addiction while struggling with chronic pain syndrome is that there is a cycle of pain- drugs- more pain- more drugs that seems inescapable.

For example- Narcotic medication typically prescribed for chronic pain may be an issue for someone with a history of substance use disorder.

But then if someone uses a narcotic prescription pain medication, such as opioid analgesics, it can create a physical dependence. Then when the substance is absent from the body the withdrawal symptoms set in.

Withdrawal and Pain

Withdrawal symptoms frequently lead to an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression, while creating even more physical pain. In turn, the anxiety and depression from withdrawal can contribute to that pain even further.

This pain and distress can provoke a severe obsession with whatever substance the individual was relying on to provide relief. In other words, the individual will crave the drug even more because they are not only experiencing the psychological distress from their brain lacking the drug, they are also experiencing a magnified sense of pain from the experience as well.

Again, the cycle of pain- seeking relief from the pain through substances- recurring pain- continued substance use making the problem worse. The Pain Recovery Program is about interupting this self-destructive cycle with new, sustainable methods of pain management.

The Importance of Treating Pain and Addiction

Substance use disorder in relation to prescription pain medication is widely misunderstood, and while some programs focus on treating the addiction, if there is no way of addressing the chronic pain it does not help the chances of successful recovery. Part of working with chronic pain patients struggling with addiction is education on both conditions while providing effective treatment opportunities simultaneously.

Providing pain management opportunities for the U.S. population struggling with substance use disorder is a unique challenge for many primary care physicians. That is why experienced professionals in the field of drug and alcohol addiction treatment are in a unique position to help.

First, we need to acknowledge a few issues, including:

  1. People recovering from addiction experiencing pain are less likely to receive adequate pain management than anyone else.
  2. Insufficient pain relief is a substantial risk factor for possible relapse into substance use.
  3. It is crucial to distinguishing between patients who are seeking relief for legitimate pain and those who are seeking pain medication for recreational abuse
  4. Psychiatric and medical illnesses can complicate effective pain management

Experts believe that addiction specialists, in particular, can make significant contributions to the management of chronic pain in patients who suffer from substance use disorder. Addiction specialists can:

  • Help create safeguards to assure any pain medication is taken appropriately
  • Reinforce behavioral and self-care components of pain management
  • Help individuals with strategies to reduce stress
  • Assess patients’ recovery support systems
  • Help to understand and identify relapse risks

Chronic pain management can be a complex process. Experts say that the efficiency of treatment is amplified when all medical and behavioral healthcare professionals involved collaborate as a team. Palm Healthcare Company’s Pain Recovery Program is all about a united effort toward treating both conditions with a variety of experienced professionals and trainers.

Considering how urgent the addiction epidemic is, and the fact that many people struggling with addiction do suffer from chronic pain, it is so important to have programs like this available. Education, support and relapse prevention is the key. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder and chronic pain, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Palm Healthcare Measures Up to Addiction Treatment Outline for EAP

Palm Healthcare Measures Up to Addiction Treatment Outline for EAP

In 2015 the Journal of Employee Assistance published an article to help Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) looking for addiction treatment programs to recommend for their clients. Guess what, challenge accepted!

When we at Palm Healthcare Company took a close look at the outline provided by the Journal of Employee Assistance on methods of treatment, we were happy to note that our treatment programs fit the description perfectly.

It is important for employers and their assistance groups to have a clear and comprehensive idea of what an effective addiction treatment program looks like, so they can provide their employees with options for quality care. The Journal of Employee Assistance article goes on to identify some of the aspects of the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals should consider as vital for effective recovery. In order to make confident recommendations, Palm Healthcare Company also believes EA professionals should do all they can to understand all levels of care and the methods of treatment.

We understand and appreciate the power of information. Let us provide a detailed look, point-by-point, at how Palm Healthcare Company can best serve your clients by meeting the suggested specifications of the Journal of Employee Assistance.

Personalized Treatment

As stated in the article by the Journal of Employee Assistance, the current focus for treatment of chronic diseases like addiction is based on dynamic treatment, also known as adaptive interventions or multi-stage treatment strategies. The idea is to continuously evaluate the individual’s progress in order to adjust their treatment.

One-size-fits-all tactics fail to address unique life issues that are connected to substance use and addiction. Personalized treatment that is tailored to each individual’s specific needs is a crucial element to effective holistic treatment.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health have stated that the best programs provide a combination of services that take into account all aspects of the individual, including:

Palm Healthcare Company does not believe in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of treatment. We know that every person has their own unique experiences and circumstances. We all live and learn differently, so addiction treatment should take those differences into consideration.

Traditional Methods

Palm Healthcare Company, like most traditional programs, provides the basics of addiction treatment. Looking at the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals, the most traditional methods to look for include:

  1. Detoxification

All detox facilities are staffed with medical professionals experienced with treating those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Every individual is given a thorough intake assessment to ensure the safest and most comfortable method of medical detox is offered to fit each client.

  1. Behavioral therapies

Because addiction is about far more than substance use, behavioral therapy is extremely important to the recovery process. Not only do these sessions examine destructive behaviors, but they also assess the thoughts and feelings that might cause them.

  1. Life skills

As part of offering behavioral therapy, Palm Healthcare Company facilities also offer unique classes on building social skills and personal development opportunities.

  1. Psychoeducational

Palm Healthcare Company also believes that a crucial aspect of overcoming addiction is to understand it through educational, evidence-based therapeutic intervention. Classes are consistently provided explaining various aspects of addiction and mental health disorders so each individual can better understand and cope with their illness.

  1. Support groups and 12 Steps

Historically, group therapies and a sense of community has always been a big piece of addiction recovery. Opportunities to get involved with 12 Step fellowships and other support groups can help individuals to find a sense of community with others recovering from drugs or alcohol. Palm Healthcare Company programs consistently facilitate these options.

  1. Family weeks or weekends for those over 13 years old

The Palm Healthcare Family Program is a unique and empowering experience for individuals trying to overcome their addictions, as well as for their loved ones. Part of the family program is the Palm Healthcare Family Weekend which includes various events designed to educate family members and bring each other closer through connection and support.

Innovative Methods

However, the Journal of Employee Assistance notes that the more “novel yet effective” programs also include more innovative addiction treatment methods. These facilities go above and beyond the basic outline of services to provide holistic treatment programs. So how does Palm Healthcare Company match up to these recommendations?

  1. A range of therapeutic approaches

Again, Palm Healthcare Company does not believe in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treating addiction. Because not every form of therapy will be as influential for everyone our facilities offer a variety of therapeutic courses. Some of these include:

Palm Healthcare Company believes in utilizing cutting-edge treatment methods to create a more in-depth and personal recovery experience.

  1. Provide multiple levels of care

There are several reasons why having different levels of care can be a big deal for EA professionals seeking treatment providers. For one, different levels of care allow for different levels of contact with the outside world.

With partial hospitalization, intensive or residential levels of treatment there is a much more secure and controlled environment with daily schedules full of therapy options and courses. If the individual is approved for Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient treatment they can attend work for part of the day while attending classes periodically.

Palm Healthcare Company helps the patient choose the level of care that is best suited for their needs. Monitoring individual progress and adapting the aspects of treatment to fit their progress is an important way to personalize the experience and support the transition from addiction to independent recovery.

  1. Treat co-occurring mental health disorders

When an individual is struggling with a mental health disorder and substance use disorder the best method for them is dual diagnosis treatment. This allows the individual to address the addiction and the co-occurring disorder individually and simultaneously for a complete recovery.

Palm Healthcare Company understands that if someone only addresses one disorder without the other then they are more likely to have difficulty maintaining their recovery. These conditions tend to feed off of one another, and one going untreated can cause a relapse in the other.

  1. Address underlying issues related to addiction

Palm Healthcare Company also cares a great deal about understanding substance use disorder; where it comes from and how it influences the lives of those who suffer. Therefore, we believe in exploring each individuals experience to help them find out what underlying issues are connected to their drug or alcohol use.

Addiction is such a complex disorder. There is no one way that someone ends up addicted. While there is a genetic predisposition, there are numerous other factors that contribute to the development of substance use disorder. Because things like trauma and family dynamics play a big part in the development of addiction, an effective treatment program should also examine and address these issues if the patient is going to experience lasting recovery.

  1. Involve the entire family, including children

The Palm Healthcare Family Program is committed not just to offering brief visits with loved ones. Our Family Program is designed to:

  • Give the family essential educational information
  • Establish deeper connections between loved ones through recovery
  • Teach about emotional well-being and healthy boundaries
  • Offer life-changing breakthrough experiences
  • Create a strong support system

The Palm Healthcare Family Program is a FREE service offered by our facilities because we believe that family involvement is incredibly important for lasting and worthwhile transformation.

  1. Explore performance at work

Clients who are professionals are often very focused on how their substance use affects their career. Along with life skills and behavioral therapy, there is an important element of understanding how addiction impacts your professional life. Everyone from CEOs and executives to labor workers in every industry needs to be aware of how addiction affects the workplace.

Of course, EA professionals are more likely to recommend a treatment program that pays attention to addictions impact on the workplace. So teaching clients how to safely and effectively transition from treatment back to work is an important element of these programs.

  1. Examine legal and financial issues resulting from addiction

Our facilities also take pride in providing teams of skilled individual case-workers who consistently work on behalf of each individual to maintain their personal interests regarding legal issues or other concerns they may have. It is important that an addiction treatment provider has experienced staff members who understand the difficulties that can arise from substance use and know how to best support each individual with these concerns.

Working with the Workforce

All Palm Healthcare Company facilities provide the more holistic and effective approach through this criterion of additional services. We know that addiction is an illness that impacts every walk of life. It also impacts any career position in every industry. We work every day to provide safe, effective and personal recovery plans to every individual we come into contact with.

Another part of providing recovery options to professionals can be to allow EA professionals to get involved in the aftercare process. An EA professional can inquire about policies relating to communication with the source of the referral. If the appropriate consent is given, the EA professional themselves can even become an important part of the recovery team for helping create a discharge and aftercare plan.

Looking at these very important suggestions coming from the Journal of Employee Assistance we are confident in our dedication to providing revolutionary and holistic care above and beyond the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals. Palm Healthcare Company wants to support you and your clients to create a happier and healthier future. Please call toll-free now for more information.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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