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Substance Use and Aging

by James Heller 21. April 2010 10:17
Dr. Jose Salazar, Director of Program Development at Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has written an article about substance abuse among older adults for Aging Today.  This is a great source for those wanting information about how the elderly fall into alcoholism or drug addiction over life issues, and the treatment they need.  With a growing population of aging adults, it helps everyone to be aware of possible alcohol abuse and drug abuse issues they will face.

Read the full article at this link:
http://www.agingtoday.org/at/at-311/pdfs/ATv31n1_Salazar.pdf

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides culturally sensitive alcohol and drug treatment to older adults.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Technology in Alcohol and Drug Treatment - Digital Signatures

by James Heller 21. April 2010 07:50
After years of suffering, and finally making the decision to enter alcohol and drug treatment, the last thing alcoholics and drug addicts want to do is wait.  Forms need to be completed, printed and signed, and all of that paper used can’t be good for the environment.  Digital signatures address both of these issues.

When alcohol and drug treatment centers stay current with technology in health care, the main goal is to improve patient outcomes.  Any new technology aims to provide better security, efficiency in treatment, and the ability to store and share information between staff professionals.  But even with efficient systems in place, paperwork can seem overwhelming to patients being admitted to treatment.

Many individuals entering alcohol and drug treatment require medical detoxification to minimize withdrawals.  The decision to enter treatment may have taken months, partially out of fear over alcohol, heroin, or prescription drug withdrawals.  Once they enter the doors of a facility, with no access to their drugs of choice, that fear makes every minute seem like an hour.

Suddenly, they are faced with a stack of paperwork that needs to be read and signed.  Before they are halfway through the stack, physical signs of withdrawal may begin to appear.  No matter how quickly an admissions counselor wants to proceed, this work needs to be done to ensure patient security and proper treatment.

Paper use is a problem in this process, as well.  If two professionals need to see a form at the same time, it means that copies need to be made.  Most of those copies are shredded after use.  Digital creation and storage of many forms minimizes waste, but there are still some that need patient signatures.  This still means that paper is printed, copied and shredded over and over again.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has addressed this issue by incorporating digital signature capturing into the admissions and counseling process.  Patients can now proceed through the admissions process without waiting for forms to print.  They can simply sign them using a digital signature pad during the admission interview process, effectively cutting the admission time in half.

When patients complete the admissions process, they are walked into a treatment unit with minimal paperwork.  This not only saves paperwork, but also provides better security for patients.  This is because their detailed information is only available on a secure network computer, accessible only to treatment staff.  It also means that two professionals can look at the same information simultaneously, without needing to make copies.

Our goal is to be completely paperless as a health care organization.  The ability to capture digital signatures provided a bridge over a big chasm that prevented us from reaching that goal.  This took some time to accomplish, but it was worth it considering that we made great leaps toward two of our goals.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles uses the latest technology to provide effective alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Boston University Alcohol Screening Tool

by James Heller 14. April 2010 12:35
A comprehensive alcohol screening tool released by the Boston University School of Public Health is available for public use.  This short questionnaire does more than simply determine whether or not individuals suffer from alcohol dependence.  It goes beyond that to assist those who may want to simply alter their drinking habits.

Most alcohol screening tools will assess users for alcohol dependence first, and then, if they are not, point them to informative content about alcohol abuse and dependence.  It seems more effective that a screening tool would assess for a range of problems from alcohol abuse to alcoholism, since there is a difference.

Alcohol abuse can cause legal, financial, and relationship problems even if it only occurs once, for example.  If someone who normally doesn’t drink heavily decides to drink in celebration one night and gets arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it could also cause problems at work and home.  While this scenario is rare, it does happen.  There are individuals who suffer alcohol related problems every day that result from a range of occasional abuse to alcohol dependence.

The alcohol screening tool by jointogether.org provides tailored information for anyone dealing with alcohol related problems in all ranges of use.  It will tell you if your problems are minor and what you can do to resolve them, or if you need to contact an alcohol treatment center immediately.  Then it provides a directory of local providers in your area.  The link below will bring you to the page so you can get started.


Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol detox and alcohol treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

by James Heller 12. April 2010 14:07

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a safe and effective method for alcohol and narcotic withdrawal and maintenance.  There is ample evidence suggesting that harm reduction strategies should be more widely available to those suffering from alcohol dependence and drug addictionTarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has taken note of these facts, and offers several medication assisted treatment options.

Traditional alcohol and drug treatment services help many individuals to begin a life in recovery and improve their lives.  MAT is utilized in medical detoxification at the start of treatment to minimize withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs.  This process is important since patients must be medically stable before beginning the process of recovery.

For some, though, relapse commonly follows traditional treatment.  This is generally due to alcohol cravings and opiate cravings that vary greatly from patient to patient.  Medications like Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Methadone help to minimize cravings so these individuals may begin the process of recovery, medically stable and in a receptive state of mind.

For more information, click the link below:


Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles offers many medication assisted treatment options.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.org.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Multi-Cultural Health Month

by James Heller 9. April 2010 13:51

California has designated the month of April as Multi-Cultural Health Month.  The focus for 2010 is on heart disease in men, the number one killer in the state.  Alcoholism and drug addiction can lead to heart disease in those who suffer.  Since the disease of addiction crosses cultural boundaries, Tarzana Treatment Centers is happy to participate in bringing awareness to the public about multi-cultural health care.

Any discussion about multi-cultural issues can be extended to include what are known as subcultures.  A subculture can be any group that shares concerns, values, traditions, and other areas of interest.  Effective alcohol and drug treatment requires knowledge of and specialization for certain subcultures because, even though addiction is the same for everyone, leading individuals to recovery requires empathy.

Focusing on subcultures is not about pigeonholing individuals.  The point is to be aware of cultural beliefs that come from being a part of a subculture, and to treat patients with sensitivity to those beliefs.  This helps to keep patients in treatment when relapse interventions are needed, and connects existing positive beliefs with the benefits of long-term recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles focuses on cultural sensitivity among staff in many ways.  Even though we only hire direct patient staff that has completed courses in treating patients from subcultures, we provide staff trainings on the subject.  There are rarely any language barriers, as well, since we have many staff members who speak various foreign languages.  Best of all, we provide specialized services for some cultures and subcultures.

Our highly regarded HIV services program has evolved over the past two decades.  The needs of gay and transgender patients in HIV treatment require special focus, especially when alcohol dependence or drug addiction is a factor.  Because of this, both staff and other patients attend education groups so HIV positive patients can feel comfortable and their privacy remains intact.

We also have a Native American alcohol and drug treatment track that brings culture and tradition into treatment.  Native American men still suffer a high incidence of alcoholism, which is often responsible for heart disease.  The program includes traditional sweat lodge ceremonies and in-house Wellbriety groups.

Other individuals who may require special attention are undocumented persons, women with children, veterans with mental health needs, those with hepatitis C or Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and senior citizens.  There are too many subcultures in America for anyone to relate to them all.  But since our staff is so culturally diverse, it is likely that all subcultures can feel comfortable with us.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides all of the services listed above and more.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Awareness Month - It's a Daily Thing

by James Heller 24. March 2010 08:18
Alcohol Awareness Month is more important to the general population than alcohol and drug treatment professionals.  The problem is as prevalent in our society today as ever.  So it is part of our duty to bring awareness to those who suffer, their loved ones, and to change stigmas that still exist.

In working with individuals who suffer from alcohol dependence, the disease can seem normalized.  The affect is a thought that the public as a whole understands the disease.  We, in treatment, are reminded this is not so when we meet new friends who show curiosity in the work we do.  It is often amazing that decades-old, yet false, beliefs still exist.  We must maintain the ability to convey the truth credibly throughout our careers.

While it would be nice if we could convince everyone that alcoholism is a treatable disease, especially alcoholics and their loved ones, we come to see it as an unattainable dream.  But that does not mean we should give up.  Providing facts plants a seed of information that eventually is confirmed when others know someone who suffers from alcohol dependence.

Continuing education helps alcohol and drug treatment professionals to more effectively treat clients.  That same education can be used to bring awareness to others, in most cases using less clinical terminology.  When professionals convey information in an educated manner, they are more credible to an audience.

 April is a good time for Alcohol Awareness Month being that it is spring, and a time of renewal.  It is a chance to bring awareness to the public, in an organized fashion, which will hopefully lead to saved lives.  But since alcoholism is a year-round issue we should always be ready and available to share facts, on and off the job.

This is one area where it is okay to take work home as a professional in alcohol dependence treatment.  The benefits are great.  Not only might a life be saved by one conversation, but a troubled loved one may find comfort and freedom.  And even if your audience has no life connection with alcoholism, lifting the stigma of alcoholism, one person by one, helps to advance our cause.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides education to professionals and through our Youth Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services to prevent teen alcohol abuse.  It is part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Dependence

by James Heller 18. September 2009 07:15
Alcohol dependence can be progressive and deadly.  Alcohol’s effects on the body can be harmful if there is a repeated compulsive use.  A person may be dependent on alcohol because the person: craves alcohol, is unable to reduce or stop alcohol consumption, and has increased tolerance and experiences withdrawal symptoms when stopping alcohol consumption.

Alcohol dependence can have harmful consequences because of patterns it may create.  For example school and job related tasks may not get done due to a hangover or still being inebriated.  Legal issues can arise due to alcohol, like getting arrested because of drunk driving, and may also cause social and family problems. 

Although I don’t have this problem, I did see alcohol dependence taking over my father.  The alcohol dependency took over his life.  He was a functional alcoholic who went to work and took care of his family, income wise.  But, he was not there in his full senses to enjoy his five children being raised by our mother.  He passed away due to an enlarged heart, caused by his ongoing alcohol dependence.  The personal experience within my family and a good education gave me the knowledge I need to help others. 

The National Institute of Health mentions that thirty years ago not much was known about alcohol dependence.  Today the National Institute of Health informs that “The neural basis of alcohol dependence was clarified. Research showing that drinking is influenced by multiple neurotransmitter systems, neuromodulators, hormones, and intracellular networks provides evidence of a number of potential target sites for which new medications may be developed.”

-- Source: http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/AlcoholDependenceAlcoholism.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.


References

www.healthauthority.com/AlcoholDependence.htm

www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-sb01.html

Entering Alcohol or Drug Rehab

by James Heller 21. July 2009 09:59
When people seek alcohol or drug rehab, they know there is a problem.  But for the unfamiliar, the idea of getting help for drugs or alcohol can cause fear and embarrassment.  This is one reason that it is very important to risk no hesitation in entering rehab once the problem is identified.

It’s like removing an adhesive bandage.  The pain, fear and embarrassment, does not need to be severe, but it can be intense.  The duration of the pain is in the hands of the sufferer.  Getting help with alcohol or drugs in Los Angeles is like a fast yank of the bandage.  Not doing so is like a slow, agonizing pull.

At Tarzana Treatment Centers, for example, admissions staff can help calm fears very quickly.  And the embarrassment is soon relieved through an understanding of the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.  Due to drugs’ and alcohol’s effects on the body and brain, wounds need to be exposed to the alcoholic or drug addict before they can be healed.  And healing can begin immediately for those motivated.

Procrastinating over a phone call to rehab extends and intensifies pain in two ways.  First, the physical suffering due to alcohol and drug withdrawals only gets worse and occurs more frequently.  Second, legal, financial, and relationship problems continue to build, promoting the cycle of drinking or drugging to forget.

Tarzana Treatment Centers staffs addiction counselors in our alcohol and drug detox units so healing can begin before entering residential or outpatient rehab.  The is part of an integrated behavioral healthcare plan in alcohol and drug rehab.  We also provide help with alcoholism and drug addiction by making available mental health treatment, HIV/AIDS services, and Native American services.

At the first sign of alcoholism or drug addiction problems, please call Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles, California at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.