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Meth Addiction is Trouble for Women

by James Heller 20. February 2014 11:30
Crystal meth has different effects on the lives of women versus men.  Aside from the physical damage it deals to the female body, there is a higher risk of mental trauma due to the behaviors that go along with meth use.  This makes it all the more important to educate youths before they get hooked, and to provide mental health treatment along with addiction treatment if they do.
 
 
We’ve all seen the disturbing before and after photos on the internet.  You would think those, on their own, would prevent young women from even associating with meth users.  But youth carries with it a feeling of invincibility and a “that won’t happen to me” attitude, which sadly turns the images into a joke among friends.  The outcome isn’t funny for the women in the pictures.

A more immediate consequence of meth use for women is what can happen to them in the midst of other users.  Instances of rape, serious injury, and death are higher than normal when a group of individuals use meth together.  The drug relieves users of inhibitions, making them feel like rules of good conduct don’t apply to them.  Couple that with feeling stronger and more agile, with a threshold for pain that is through the roof, and you have a game of tragedy roulette.
Maybe the knowledge that their security can go to zero at any second on meth, may just keep them from using even once.

If she survives time as an addict and hasn’t permanently damaged reproductive organs, brain tissue, her heart, liver, or lungs, a woman will have likely been traumatized at least once.  Many of them won’t even see forced sex as a past trauma, at first, seeing it only as a part of the lifestyle.  But as the addicted brain begins to recover and emotions rise to the surface, those and similar events can drastically inhibit recovery and may lead to a relapse.

At Tarzana Treatment Centers, we recognize these critical differences in how women respond to drug treatment.  Our women only programs utilize trauma-informed and gender-specific counseling techniques to improve treatment outcomes.  Eligible women can enter residential treatment with small children, allowing those important bonds to be strengthened.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
  
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

How to Work with Relapse

by James Heller 11. February 2014 15:16
Relapse is not the end of recovery.  It’s not recommended, either, and those of us who treat for substance use disorders can’t condone the behavior.  Still, it’s more effective to take a positive approach to recovery after a relapse than it is to be angry and condemn the addict.
 
 
Recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is an ongoing process, and abstinence is not a lifetime guarantee.  Most alcoholics and addicts relapse at least once before achieving long-term abstinence, if they make it.  Even short-term abstinence is a miracle for those who are heavily dependent on alcohol or heroin, for example.
When an individual with more than a few months of recovery relapses, those around them usually find it difficult to accept as being a normal occurrence.  It’s easy to forget how hard it was to get a loved one into treatment when life with them begins to feel “normal”.  The natural reaction for family members is to think they didn’t do enough, so anger and sadness result.

Going back to substance use does not mean an addict has given up, though.  It just means that progress has taken a step backward, meaning that something wasn’t addressed during treatment or coping skills need to be improved.  Both of these can be corrected with further counseling.  From this perspective, a relapse can be seen as a lesson rather than a failure.

Understanding this can reduce the anger among family members, and could hasten the trip back to rehab.  It’s better to lovingly encourage treatment rather than to react and increase pressure on the addict.  Of course the family of an addict needs to make it known that getting back on the road to recovery is the only acceptable outcome.  With a positive attitude, this can be done in a more loving tone that is more-likely to lead the addict in the right direction.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
 
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Let's Learn from Hoffman's Death

by James Heller 4. February 2014 14:09
Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014.  This generation lost a great talent, who delivered impeccable performances in Capote, Charlie Wilson’s War, and The Master.  Heroin addiction doesn’t care about people with the disorder, though, and it isn’t shocking when a life is lost.

Philip Seymour Hoffman 2011

Friends and associates in the entertainment industry posted their sorrow over the loss on social media.  Many of them said they were “shocked” while sharing other painful emotions. These were written by individuals who knew him well and who worked with him in the past.  

He had 3 children under the age of 11, and he was found dead because a friend went to his apartment to find out why he had failed to pick them up that morning.  According to a New York Daily News article, a mix of 50 full and empty bags of heroin were found there.  This indicates that heroin addiction doesn’t care about family members either, and it took a father away from his children.

Here is the final entry in Hoffman’s IMDb bio on 02/13/14:

On February 1st (sic-2nd), 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in an apartment in Greenwich, Connecticut. Investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and two open envelopes of heroin next to him. Mr. Hoffman was long known to struggle with addiction. In 2006, he said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that he had given up drugs and alcohol many years earlier, when he was age 22. In 2013, he checked into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days after a reliance on prescription pills resulted in his briefly turning again to heroin.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

No note was left in the apartment, so the going assumption is that the heroin overdose was accidental.  If that’s true, and we can accept that it is, he was at least intent on using a lot of heroin in the near future and probably believed that he could control dosages.  This is common thinking for addicts.  He thought he could live a normal life with his addiction in tow.  But addiction always takes the lead.  He may even have been looking forward to a great day with his kids all the way up to when his body succumbed to the heroin intake.  

It’s difficult to judge the honesty of an addict, especially one who has immediate access to his drug of choice and any place in the world to hide out and use it.  We don’t doubt that he was a decent person, but that’s beside the point.  It’s possible that he was nursing a habit for some time.  But let’s consider that he was clean for over 20 years, and take him at his word.

Addicts who relapse can’t use the same amount of a drug that they had used before they got clean.  They need to build tolerance again, which takes time.  But addiction in action is not logical.  If this was his first time using after some clean time, then his body could not have handled the amount of heroin his addiction needed to be satisfied.  This could still be the case if he had been using heroin for several months.  Sometimes the addiction just can’t be satisfied and the chase for a high results in tragedy.
With heroin use comes some noticeable physical and behavioral changes.  Anyone close to that person could notice that there is a problem.  Very few of them will say anything, though, when the addict is a celebrity or in a position of power.  This is tragic on two levels because the addict doesn’t get help and dies, and fans might gloss over the unnecessary end as being an accident.  Nobody learns about the horrors of heroin addiction from this scenario.

If Hoffman had been using for some time, then those who knew him should not have been shocked over the overdose.  This is certainly not meant to blame anyone, given that most Americans are just not educated about this drug.  Heroin may be good at filling a void in an addict’s soul, but it is downright dangerous to the human body.  Heroin addicts are destined for death if they don’t get help.  The addiction does not allow a person to regulate use and enjoy life.  Heroin is strictly a killer.

We need to learn from this and take action.  Heroin addiction is never in a casual state, and requires treatment.

Our facilities offer medical detoxificationoutpatient, and residential treatment for heroin addiction.  Treatment options include Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) using Vivitrol during abstinence or Methadone/Buprenorphine Maintenance for harm reduction after multiple relapses.  Many of our heroin addiction treatment services are covered by Medi-Cal or Medicare, for those who qualify, and we accept all forms of insurance.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
 
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Opiate Abuse is on the Rise in Vermont

by James Heller 14. January 2014 11:14
Opiate abuse in the state of Vermont has increased steadily over the past decade.  It’s become so overwhelming that the topic earned center stage honors during Governor Shumlin’s State of the State Address for 2014.  They are taking action, and we thought this presented a good opportunity to remind the public about opiate and heroin treatment options.
 
 
Vermont has seen a 770% increase in treatment for all opiates.  Heroin treatment has gone up 250%.  While it’s a positive sign that addicts are entering treatment in higher numbers, it also means that facilities are at capacity and waiting lists can reach 500 names.  Of all drugs, opiate addicts are at the highest risk for overdosing, so this is a big problem.

Governor Shumlin has proposed programs to help facilities with the backlog, and to educate youth before they try prescription opiates or heroin.  The full text of the speech is at this link:

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides services for opiate addicts that include medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) that includes Vivitrol and Methadone or Buprenorphine Maintenance.  Prescription opiate and heroin addiction has a broad range of severity, so several treatment options need to be available to ensure the best outcomes.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
 
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Valley Tele-Treatment Program (VTP)

by James Heller 26. February 2013 15:10
 
by Charles Yeh, MSW, ASW, CADC II, Project Coordinator
 
The Valley Tele-Treatment Program (VTP) of Tarzana Treatment Centers utilizes tele-communications (phone, e-mail, and video-conferencing) to assess for substance abuse issues, and provide immediate individual counseling if appropriate.  By making access easier and more comfortable, and by combining the role of brief intervention with treatment, VTP can better help individuals at crucial moments concerning the risks and harm related to substance use.  Participation may be as brief as one telephone conversation, or extend up to six months, depending on each individuals need.  
 
A first goal of VTP is to reach more individuals, and to reach them sooner, to provide individualized prevention and early intervention for alcohol and substance use before consequences become severe, or individuals become dependent on alcohol or other drugs.  Because it is not necessary for individuals to travel to our facility in person, the initial apprehension individuals may feel about speaking with a certified alcohol & drug counselor is greatly reduced.  A second goal of VTP is to make treatment more accessible for individuals at all levels of substance use severity.  Not only does VTP allow individuals experiencing physical or transportation barriers to more easily access treatment, the flexibility of the program offers broad effectiveness for treatment:

  1. Low risk for harm—VTP offers a safe and confidential way to explore present issues and help to access the options available for help
  2. Moderate risk for harm—VTP offers counseling to help build coping skills, and to facilitate participation in an ongoing supportive community for recovery
  3. Severe risk for harm—VTP offers interim counseling to help maintain motivation and commitment to recovery when individuals are still waiting to receive residential or onsite outpatient treatment
  4. Already in recovery—VTP offers continuing support to individuals going through a difficult transition
 
VTP services are available in English and Spanish, and are no cost for qualifying individuals.  If you would like to access services, refer someone, or learn more about VTP, please call (818) 654-3821, or email vtp@tarzanatc.org.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

If Doctors Would Diagnose Addiction

by James Heller 5. September 2012 14:10
If you consider that there are an estimated 22 million Americans with a drug or alcohol problem, you might assume that doctors regularly diagnose and treat them.  Reality is, though, that most doctors have never been trained to in addiction treatment, and usually treat only the symptoms of the disease.  Fortunately, some new treatments involving medications may change this sad situation.
 
 
One big problem with alcoholism and drug addiction is that so many medical problems result from them.  Substance abuse negatively affects different parts of the body, depending on the drug being used.  Alcohol abuse, without exaggeration, harms every cell in the body.  To the untrained in addiction medicine, the symptoms of these abuses might appear as primary problems, only requiring common treatments.  For example, a doctor may prescribe specialized medication for a bleeding ulcer and schedule a follow-up visit.

Another problem with addiction is that alcoholics and drug addicts are not quick to admit their problems.  Even if a doctor asks about drinking and drug use habits, these patients will minimize or deny it.  Short of the patient arriving at 9:00am and smelling of alcohol, or having injection track marks up and down their arms, untrained doctors will not see a reason to investigate.  The answer is often accepted as true and the doctor looks to heal the symptom.  

The result is that alcoholics and drug addicts get temporary relief from negative symptoms of their disease, but don’t receive, at the very least, guidance from their doctors on how to prevent them in the future.  The worst result is that people die every day from the negative effects of alcoholism and drug addiction.  Most of them could have been saved had they been given early treatment for the primary disease of addiction.

According to this article, there is possible good news on the horizon.  There is an effort to attract doctors to the addiction treatment field, and to promote addiction medicine as a recognized subspecialty.  Medical treatment and new prescription drugs are proving to be effective means of helping addicts to recover.  Counseling for the psycho-social aspects of the disease is still important, but detox and craving reduction medications, like Vivitrol, have become very beneficial in the early days of recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol treatment for alcohol and opiate craving reduction, for example.  This follows medical detoxification, which is important to avoid the severe effects of withdrawals.  We have seen some great success stories from patients who previously struggled with relapse after their first Vivitrol injection.  

Imagine if doctors could diagnose addiction from the symptoms they normally treat.  They could make a referral to a detox facility, followed with Vivitrol for eligible patients, and maybe residential or outpatient treatment.  Patients tend to listen to doctors more than they would even to their most beloved family members.  Hopefully, the effort mentioned above can spread so more of those who suffer can get the treatment they need.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth 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 and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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 and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  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.

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Alcohol and Drug Intervention - The Treatment Ultimatum

by James Heller 18. May 2009 14:58
Even if an alcohol or drug intervention comes when problems are still manageable, an ultimatum to enter some form of treatment needs to be made.  The reason is simple.  Life problems will continue to mount for people who use alcohol or drugs as an answer to their problems.  A change needs to be made in their actions and thinking through intensive therapy.  

This is a task that requires time, patience, and knowledge.  Loved ones who may be compelled to help could find themselves frustrated, disappointed and angry.  Treatment professionals and people in support groups have the knowledge and experience that can make change happen.  Knowing what type of treatment to require of the individual is important.

Alcohol dependence and drug addiction will result in withdrawals upon cessation of use.  Entering residential alcohol and drug treatment, starting with medical detoxification, should be required of these individuals in an intervention.  Simply stopping the use of alcohol or drugs makes a relapse almost certain, and can cause physical harm or even be fatal.

When an intervention is attempted with a loved one at the first signs of trouble, or there about, the temptation is to just say “stop” and demand abstinence.  Nobody wants to over-react by suggesting the individual gets help, but everybody wants the problem to stop and not return.  It makes good sense to risk over-reaction, though, rather than risk worsening or recurring problems

In these cases, during the intervention, a 12 Step program or other support group should be required.  It might even be a good idea to require admission to outpatient alcohol and drug treatment to avoid future problems.  This is because at the core of every alcohol and drug problem is a lack of ability to cope with life issues.  At the very least, the individual will learn valuable tools in treatment that will make life better.

The information below is part of a guide from The Partnership for a Drug Free America which helps readers to plan an intervention.  Tarzana Treatment Centers can help with pre-screening adults and adolescents for admission before the intervention takes place.  So when the decision is made to enter alcohol and drug treatment, this will ensure that it happens immediately.

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What About Requiring Abstinence?
Some families tell the person to stop all drinking and drug use. However, complying can be difficult -uncontrollable alcohol or other drug craving, seeking, and use is the hallmark of addiction. If you decide to give an ultimatum, require treatment, not abstinence. People who engage in treatment will be better able to achieve abstinence, because they will be given the medical attention and emotional support they need to maintain abstinence over the long term.

-- Source: http://www.drugfree.org/Files/Intervention_Quick_Guide --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.