Author Archives: Summit Estate

Soccer Moms And Their Secret Addictions

The Secret Addictions Of Soccer Moms-Summit Estate Recovery The popular term “soccer mom” brings to mind a certain type of individual – a devoted suburban mother who spends a significant amount of time driving her children around town from one sporting event to another in her late model minivan or SUV. Soccer moms are polite, volunteer at school, believe in fair play, put their kids’ lives ahead of their own and rarely say the wrong thing. The term was popularized during the 1996 presidential election when at the time, political strategists believed soccer moms were mostly undecided swing voters who would influence the outcome of the election. This propelled them to tailor their message to a segment of voters who had never existed before. And, that’s how the parable of the soccer mom was born.

Perfection Comes At A Price

The truth is, the proverbial soccer mom is often an overburdened, stressed out working mother who is burning the candle at both ends. With single income households largely a thing of the past, many moms find themselves pulling double duty, working full time jobs while performing a full daily schedule of motherly duties. It’s not easy living the perfect life, maintaining a spotless household and being the ideal mom. No matter what anyone says, the majority of kids rely on their moms first and foremost. It’s an exhausting, never-ending, emotionally satisfying but draining job. For some soccer moms, perfection comes at a heavy cost. Relief from unrelenting stress can be found in a glass of wine or a bottle of prescription pills.

The most common mood-altering substances of choice are pain pills, stimulants and alcohol.

Each has its own particular reason for becoming a go-to drug. You won’t find too many soccer moms writing “score drugs/become an addict” on their daily “to-do” list. Unfortunately, many well-meaning moms casually descend into addiction without ever intending to, and sadly, many times without realizing what they’ve done until it’s too late. In 1966, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones wrote a hit song with “Mother’s Little Helper.” The lyrics describe a spread-thin mom who requires a pick me up to get her through her day. Fifty years later, the story hasn’t changed much.

Personal Addiction Stories Of Two Typical Moms

Here’s two prototypical moms and their stories of how they became addicted.

Busy Carol Needs A Lift

Carol is a programmer with a high paying job, two kids in grade school, a husband who works 55-60 hours a week at a law firm and a jam-packed schedule that keeps her on the go from six in the morning until eleven at night. Just when she thought she couldn’t possibly handle one more thing, her mother broke her hip in a car accident which required Carol to drive over to her mother’s house each night to check on her. It seemed that everywhere she turned, someone was demanding something of her. She wasn’t able to keep up the pace. Her level of exhaustion was making it hard for her to concentrate at work.

One day, on a routine visit for physical therapy for her mother, Carol asked the doctor if he could prescribe something for her exhaustion.

Rather than face the truth about her ridiculously overscheduled life and make the hard choices required, Carol opted to not rock the boat and maintain her supermom “A” rating. The doctor was only too happy to help and started her off with a Silicon Valley favorite, Adderall. The drug gave her a lift, made it easier for her to concentrate and it also seemed to lighten her mood considerably. Unfortunately, Carol discovered she could purchase Adderall on the Internet and save herself a trip to the doctor’s office. It wasn’t long before her Adderall experiment turned into Adderall dependence.

Active Lisa Needed Pain Relief

Lisa is a soccer mom who loves her kids and enjoys playing tennis and jogging. Her husband makes a good living running a successful family insurance agency started by his father. Lisa works part-time at the office about 10 hours per week. This allows her plenty of time in the afternoons for the kid’s activities and her own fitness pursuits. One thing about Lisa is she never does anything half way. When it comes to fitness, she pushes herself hard. She’s the top women’s tennis player at her club and she religiously jogs 15 miles a week to stay in shape. One afternoon, on a typical three mile run through the park, Lisa misjudged the trail and landed awkwardly on a slippery rock. She hyperextended her right foot and heard something go pop. The pain was excruciating. Her doctor prescribed Vicodin for the throbbing in her foot. Lisa had never experienced inactivity before and it really annoyed her.

She started to focus on the pain and nothing else. Lisa found she couldn’t wait for the next pill.

She quickly fell into the habit of taking more Vicodin than recommended. Before long, she was seeing multiple doctors for pain management and doubling up on her prescriptions and spiraling into addiction.

Millions Of Stories Of Addiction

Like Carol and Lisa, there are countless stories of mothers who have slipped into addiction and are afraid they’ll lose it all if they share their problem with a loved one. The reality is addiction can happen to anyone, and the first step in recovery is asking for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, don’t wait another day. Call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist.

Read About Addiction In Silicon Valley

Born Addicted: Baby Recovers
From Mother’s Heroin Addiction

Could anything be more heartbreaking than a newborn entering the world dependent on drugs? A recent article chronicled the crucial first eight weeks of life for a baby born suffering from withdrawal due to her mother’s heroin addiction. Weaning addicted infants off drugs is a difficult, intensive, multi-step process. Babies suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to adults, such as fever, aching muscles, tremors, diarrhea and sleeplessness, and to make matters worse, they have difficulty eating. Nurses give around-the-clock special care to these infants in recovery, holding them, speaking to them softly, playing music and doing whatever needs to be done to ease their pain.

The Heroin Epidemic

The recent dramatic increase in heroin use has had an unfortunate ripple effect that is being felt throughout the United States. Hospitals report deaths due to heroin have nearly tripled in the last three years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Often initiated by abuse of opioid prescription painkillers, heroin use is impacting all demographics, including even pregnant women and their babies. It’s a sad reality that some pregnant women suffer from addiction and continue to abuse prescription painkillers or illicit drugs like heroin throughout their pregnancy. The impact of the drug use can be significant and long-term. With the use of prescription opioids during the first trimester of pregnancy, there can be substantial heart problems, and fetal heroin exposure has been linked to a variety of serious complications, including preterm labor and even death. There are also painful withdrawal effects after birth and other serious health consequences for the newborn baby.

Addicted Baby Recovers From Heroin Addiction

As TheWashingtonPost.com reported, in Baltimore, MD, a newborn struggled through weeks of difficult withdrawal and the aforementioned symptoms after being born with heroin addiction. Her 31 year old mother has fought with being addicted to heroin for over 10 years. The hospital where the newborn fought for life, weaned her off of the toxic substance through constant and intensive care. Find out how the baby and mother are doing now by reading the full story: Read The Full Washington Post Article Here

Getting Help For Opiate Addiction During Pregnancy

Walking Through Flowers-Opiate Addiction Treatment Do you know someone who is pregnant and struggling with addiction to heroin or opioid prescription pain medications? This is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Help is available. The first step is reaching out for local treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A directory of local treatment programs is available on their website and is categorized by state with phone numbers you can call to obtain immediate help.

Opiate Addiction Treatment After Birth

Being a new mother is difficult enough without also struggling with addiction. If you or a loved one needs help with overcoming an addiction, call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist. Our caring and professional team will guide you or your loved one to a new life filled with hope and freedom from addiction! Learn More About What We Treat At Our Luxury Facility

How Opioids Surprisingly Overtook Prince – Featuring Expert Insight

How Opioids Overtook Prince_SummitEstate.comPrince was a fascinating character. He was a legend in the music industry. He won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe, seven Grammys and an Academy Award for Best Original Score in Purple Rain. He was alwo inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. But that’s not all. Prince was also known for leading a healthy lifestyle. He was a proud vegan and voted “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” in a PETA poll in 2006. Unfortunately, Prince’s remarkable life was cut short on April 20 at the age of 57. With such an abrupt and untimely death, many people speculated that drugs were the cause of death. Prince’s lawyer assured the public that this wouldn’t have been the case. Prince led a healthy lifestyle. He was not some drugged-out singer. Friends and family validated what Prince’s lawyer said. Chazz Smith, Prince’s cousin, told the Associated Press that, “I can tell you this: what I know is that he was perfectly healthy.” Journalist Heather McElhatton, who worked with Prince in the 1990s, said that the singer had “limitless energy” and that she never saw him drink or do drugs. So what happened?

Lethal Overdose Of Fentanyl

Autopsy reports verify that Prince died from a lethal overdose of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a drug that is used to treat severe pain. It’s remarkably potent and works similarly to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more powerful. Fentanyl can be a very addictive drug, but according to friends and family, Prince didn’t seem to be the face of an addict. Did Prince habitually use opioids, or was this something more recent? He was complaining of knee and hip pain from his past performances. Could this be the reason he was taking this drug? Who prescribed him the medication? If Prince did have a prescription, was it legitimate? In Minnesota, if an individual who illegally prescribed fentanyl and it causes death, they can receive a third-degree murder charge and 25 years in prison.

Not Your “Typical” Addict

With so many questions left unanswered, all we have are a lot of opinions surrounding Prince’s death. And with these come the stereotypes. Prince didn’t look or act like an addict. Those who knew Prince say he was an unlikely candidate for addiction. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • He had plenty of friends and family around him who weren’t using drugs.
  • He wasn’t in constant trouble with the law.
  • He was extremely particular with his looks. Prince was always well-groomed and clean cut.
  • He was a proud vegan, having given up meat in his 20s.
  • He had incredible drive. Many people who worked with Prince said they couldn’t keep up with his determination and motivation.

Erasing The Stereotypes

Prince didn’t fit the stereotype of an opioid addict. It’s possible that he wasn’t addicted and his death was just the result of an unfortunate, accidental overdose. It’s possible that whoever prescribed him the drugs was well-intentioned and wanted to help Prince with his knee and hip pain. But could it be possible that within the last few months or years, Prince did develop a dependency to opioids? He may not have started out with that intention, but as we know, opioids can take over extremely quickly. We need to lose the stereotypes and start recognizing this epidemic as a serious problem that affects all of us: our friends, our family, our neighbors, our coworkers and our idols. No one is exempt.

Expert Insight From The Summit Estate Team

Here at Summit Estate, we cannot ignore the opioid addiction problem. We work with individuals in recovery each day at our treatment facility. Our treatment team feels deep remorse for Prince and his friends and family after hearing the news about his accidental overdose. Tim Sinnott, MFT, LAADCr, Summit Estate’s very own Clinical Program Director has taken the time to provide additional insight on this issue:

Tim Sinnott, MFT, LAADCr-Clinical Program Director

Tim Sinnott, MFT, LAADCr-Clinical Program Director

For the past 30 years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to have worked in the addiction rehabilitation profession.  Over the decades I have worked with alcoholics and addicts from all social classes. The recent demise of Prince has brought more attention to the current epidemic of opiate overuse in America. Many people are surprised when celebrities become addicted.  Addiction (substance use disorders) is an “equal opportunity disease” that affects all classes of human beings.  The overwhelming power of today’s pharmaceutical opiates causes people who overuse them to become quickly addicted.

“Many athletes and celebrities are becoming addicted at alarming rates via prescriptions for medical issues.  If one is not careful they can become addicted very quickly.”

Prince was known to be someone who was healthy and lived a healthy lifestyle.  He was active, ate well, maintained a positive attitude, etc.  He also had chronic pain issues and medical procedures.  In a way, he was a prime candidate for opiate use disorder.  The fact that his use led to dependency and overdose is not that surprising.  In fact, it is happening more every day.

“The amount of opiate drugs prescribed today is alarming.”

Once people are using them for a period of time it is difficult to stop.  If the prescription is stopped, people often turn to street drugs which are easily available and less expensive.  Being a celebrity probably made it easier for Prince to continue to get prescriptions for quality pain medications. Medical professionals are real people too and they are in their profession to help people.  They can also be influenced by celebrity and their own codependency issues. It is unfortunate that people around Prince were a day late in trying to access help for the fallen star.  Treatment works and the success rates of treatment for substance use disorders are similar to treatments for asthma, diabetes and heart disease.  The trick is compliance to the treatment and continuing care plans.  Many celebrities and non-celebrities alike are in recovery.

“It is estimated that today there are 23 million people in recovery in the U.S.”

Celebrities tend to go to treatment centers that offer quality care and have greater amenities. They are usually attracted to holistic programs offering a body, mind and spirit approach to recovery. A key issue also, is that their anonymity and presence in treatment can be protected. Celebrities are usually more steadfast in wanting to protect their anonymity. I believe the most important factor in getting celebrities into treatment is similar to getting anyone into treatment.  It usually involves the family and support network.  Celebrities often wield great power and influence.  It takes a strong family member or manager to insist they get help for their addiction. If the celebrity goes into treatment, a good family program attended by the family and support network is of utmost importance.

“As far as the current opiate epidemic in the U.S. goes, it appears it is still continuing to rise.”

The phenomenon of chronic pain and its management needs ongoing assessment and scrutiny.  The overproduction and access to pain medication needs to be addressed at the national level.  Until our legislators and medical professionals put more stringent controls into place and more resources into non-prescription pain management mechanisms, we will continue to see this epidemic rise.

Opioid Overdose In Hollywood

Prince is not the only celebrity who has lost his life to opioids. Let’s take a look at some other famous individuals whose lives were cut short as part of this recent opioid epidemic. In 2014, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died at the age of 46 from a deadly interaction of heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine. In 2013, actor Cory Monteith died at just 31 from a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol. Whitney Houston shocked her fans when she passed away at age 48 after drowning in the bathtub. It was believed that she drowned because of complications from cocaine, a heart problem and possibly other drugs. Michael Jackson passed away in 2009 at the age of 50 from a lethal mix of prescription drugs. These are just a few of the most well-known celebrities who have died from an overdose in recent years. We encourage you to check out this website to get a better idea of the many individuals – musicians, actors, athletes – who have lost their lives to drugs and alcohol.

More Than Hollywood’s Problem

Of course, the prescription drug problem does not affect just famous people. It’s not solely a Hollywood problem. It’s not a poor man’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem. According to SAMHSA, nearly 2 million people had an addiction to painkillers in 2014. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with over 47,000 lethal overdoses in 2014, according to the CDC. Opioid addiction is at the root of this problem, with over 38,000 deaths coming from prescription painkillers and heroin alone. Back in the 1960s and 70s, heroin was a problem for low-income males living in the inner cities of America. It was much easier for mainstream America to sweep the problem under the rug because it was more contained. Today, heroin is a drug that has quietly moved into the affluent suburbs. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the opioid problem in our nation. It affects everyone in some way.

What Could Be The Next Big Drug?

Fentanyl is going to get a lot of attention in light of Prince’s death. As a result, doctors are going to be exceptionally careful about prescribing this drug. It’s also likely that the laws surrounding the illegal prescribing of the drug will be handled more severely. We may see the use of the drug decrease, but another drug will almost certainly gain momentum in the meantime. What could that drug be? Even with the various forms of designer drugs on the market as well as the legalization of marijuana in some states, many people believe that the next big drugs will still come from the opioid family. One drug on everyone’s radar is Kratom. Kratom is a controversial painkiller that’s described as being sedating and effective at taking away pain. Though it’s highly addictive, just as other opioid drugs are, it has a lower overdose rate. Kratom comes from a legal plant that has been used in Asia for hundreds of years. But as the prescription and heroin problems worsen, some users are finding Kratom to be a useful alternative. The drug hasn’t been a threat to the U.S. – until now. The DEA has put it on its list of “drugs of concern.” This is indication that Kratom will eventually be banned at the federal level, but in the meantime, some states are scrambling to ban the drug as well.

Addiction Follows No Rules

It’s clear that the prescription drug problem isn’t going away anytime soon. So many stories start with the average American family’s medicine cabinet or a legal prescription following an injury or surgical procedure. No one plans to be addicted. No one foresees handing over their lives to a drug like fentanyl. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that we need to recognize, accept and do something about. Education is crucial. Prince has left a legacy in so many ways. He was PETA’s biggest rock star. He had a passion like no other. He broke the stereotypes, and he was proud to do it. Prince was not one to conform, and his death reminds us of this. He didn’t fit the stereotypical norms of an addict. He was everything but that: healthy, happy, successful and surrounded by people who loved him. Prince died at the hands of a problem that has reached epidemic proportions yet still doesn’t get the attention or compassion it deserves. As we learn more about the circumstances surrounding Prince’s death, let’s remember that he didn’t look or act like an addict. Let’s open our eyes to this very real problem and be part of the solution.  

We need to share the awareness of opioid addiction and accidental overdose with anyone and everyone. Please share this insightful article with your colleagues, family and friends…You never truly know who may be secretly struggling. Share now!

How To Kick An Addiction While Building
A Career

Ways To Kick Addiction While Building A CareerDrugs, alcohol and work don’t mix. At one time, hiding a bottle of Scotch or a handful of pills in a desk drawer for an afternoon high was conveniently overlooked by employers. Today, addictions are surefire career killers. If you find yourself experiencing the torment of addiction while trying to hold down a serious fulltime job, you know you’re walking a treacherous tightrope. How many times can you call in sick or show up late for work before you get called into the boss’s office or the human resources department? How many excuses can you invent for your lengthy lunches or extended coffee breaks? As the work piles up and your performance dips down, you try to bluff your way through another miserable week at work hoping no one will notice you’re drowning with no hope in sight.

Addiction On The Job

Many hardworking career professionals suffer from the disease of addiction. Trying to navigate recovery and maintain your career path can be very tricky indeed. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 90 percent of alcoholics are functional. These include many high-paid professionals such as executives, physicians, entrepreneurs and even pilots. What all of these individuals have in common besides addiction is the ability to hide their struggles from coworkers, friends and loved ones.

“…more than 90 percent of alcoholics are functional.”

Overcoming The Denial Of Addiction

Many functioning addicts tell themselves that they’re ok because they pay their bills on time and are employed. Some drink only the finest wines or choose to use opioid painkillers prescribed from top-rated physicians. It’s easy to be in denial when you’re not on the streets struggling to find the cash for your next fix. It’s also a fact that high-functioning addicts often spend years or even decades in denial. The problem is often made worse by family or friends who either fail to recognize or choose not to confront the problem.

Ways To Maintain Your Career While Overcoming Addiction

The good news is that many individuals manage to sustain their career and even achieve greater heights of success when they embrace recovery. In fact, there are many treatment options for professionals who need help with drug abuse or alcoholism. Outpatient Programs: One option that is particularly beneficial for busy professionals is outpatient treatment that is scheduled around work and other responsibilities. An outpatient program offers personalized, on-going support as an individual continues in their career. Outpatient programs typically have a variety of treatment options that fit into a busy work schedule, including group and family counseling and 12-step meetings. Internet Recovery Forums: Another flexible option that can help you kick an addiction are internet-based recovery forums such as Recovery.org/forums and SoberRecovery.com/forums. Although these types of forums can help you stay positively focused and offer supplemental support, they are no substitute for tangible, professional addiction treatment.

Are You A Busy Professional Struggling With Addiction?

The first step in overcoming addiction is breaking through the denial and asking for help. There are plenty of other professionals just like you who have already asked for help and are now enjoying a more productive, balanced life free from addiction. You’re not alone. It’s time to take control of your life so that you can stay focused on your career, your family and the many other things that are truly important in life. If you’re ready to finally get control of your addiction, call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist. We focus on each individual’s personal needs and goals and create a customized treatment plan that will work.

Learn more about our San Jose outpatient drug and alcohol programs below.

Outpatient Program

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Talking with CounslerCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is treatment modality offered within most professional addiction treatment programs. As a research-based treatment, CBT is both problem-focused and goal-oriented to help recovering addicts change harmful thought patterns.

Understanding CBT

How is CBT effective? One of the most common traits in alcoholics and drug addicts is destructive thinking or thought patterns. Without gaining an understanding of these, it’s very difficult to overcome the grip of addiction. Understanding or “cognition” of thought patterns is necessary for healing and overcoming negative thoughts and behaviors. With CBT, individuals work towards understanding patterns of behavior that lead to self-destructive actions and beliefs, as well as developing alternatives thinking processes that can be incorporated into everyday life.

How Is CBT Different Than Traditional Psychotherapy?

Unlike psychodynamic psychotherapy which is focused on working with a therapist to help recovery from a specific mental illness, CBT is problem-focused and goal-oriented to address the symptoms of mental illness. By exploring the thinking behind the self-destructive actions and beliefs, individuals with mental illness can alter thinking patterns to improve behaviors and coping skills. Sitting and ThinkingNegative thinking is a key component of depression and anxiety, as well as addiction. With all three types of mental illness, destructive thoughts are at play causing a sense of powerlessness and a lack of control. CBT works to recognize dysfunctional thinking and alter behaviors as part of a treatment plan.

How CBT Fits In With Addiction Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions can be relatively short, especially when compared with psychodynamic psychotherapy. Thus, it can be integrated into an addiction treatment program regardless if its 30 days, 90 days or longer. For many individuals entering treatment, there are underlying co-occurring mental health issues that can be helped by CBT. From the first days of treatment, individuals can start to work on recognizing negative thoughts, cognitive distortions and perceptions. From there, emphasis can be placed on psycho-education, skills training and cognitive restructuring.

The Benefits Of A Professional Treatment Program

One of the primary reasons why a professional addiction treatment program offers substantial benefits over going “cold turkey” is being able to access research-based treatment such as CBT that help support long-term recovery by changing negative thought patterns. Want to learn more about how a professional treatment program can help you or a loved one overcome addiction? Call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist

Why Spirituality Is Key To Effective Addiction Recovery

SummitEstate-SoulMind-banner-4-28-16According to a 2014 study conducted at Harvard, spirituality and brain activity are inextricably linked. The study found that mindfulness meditation could do far more than simply redirecting certain thought patterns. It actually changed the brain’s gray matter. Specifically, meditation resulted in “a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.” Because addiction impacts the brain in profound ways, this new knowledge holds enormous implications for the effectiveness of certain spiritual techniques used in addiction recovery.

An Unlikely Antidote

In 2002, international social work professors and researchers, Kris Kissman and Lynn Maurer, published an article in the Journal of International Social Work entitled East meets West: Therapeutic aspects of spirituality in health, mental health and addiction recovery. In it, they share that spirituality – the moral framework for giving meaning to life – can be a sort of “antidote to depression and despair.” They go further to say that “spiritual healing promotes wholeness and well-being, lacking when life circumstances create dejection that can result in self-medication, or the use of psychoactive substances to combat dispirited feelings.” For anyone who has ever felt the unyielding grip of depression or addiction and is ready to encounter change, hope of such an antidote is worth exploring further.Women In The Field From scholars to clinicians, experts are taking a closer look at practices that have been commonly used in Eastern cultures, and finding ways to incorporate them into the addiction recovery tactics used in the West. In a 2014 New York Times article, Dr. Lisa Miller, Director of Clinical Psychology and of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University’s Teachers College, wrote that “a personal relationship with a higher power is the most powerful form of protection against the ‘mystic consciousness’ of substance abuse.” Addiction recovery programs offer a space in which one can explore this personal relationship alongside professionals who are familiar with the multifaceted nature of addiction. One by one, the most highly respected authorities in the field of medicine are getting on the spiritual bandwagon because of the unquestionable evidence that brain and spirit are connected. In 2008, Pew Research Center published the transcript of a discussion held among a panel of neuroscientists. They spoke about how brain-imaging technology is telling us more and more about how we are affected by matters of the soul – “In observing Buddhist monks as they meditate, Franciscan nuns as they pray and Pentecostals as they speak in tongues, Dr. Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that measurable brain activity matches up with the religious experiences described by worshippers.” Addiction recovery experts are utilizing this knowledge, and it is proving to be quite effective.

Spirituality vs. Religion

Reaching Towards the Sky-Spirituality vs. ReligionThere’s a difference between spirituality and religion, so it’s important to distinguish between the two. Lance Dodes, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, clarifies this difference – “…up to about 70 years ago, the terms spirituality and religion were almost synonymous.  But since then, ‘spirituality’ has also been used to refer to a feeling or belief in the oneness between an individual and the universe, being in touch with one’s soul or inner self, and even simply a sense of personal well-being.  None of these newer meanings has a specific reference to a deity or to religion.” Others who have attempted to define the terms have said religion relies more heavily on a collective agreement to adhere to certain rules, while spirituality is more focused on individual experiences and the unique meaning that s/he derives from those experiences.

Spirituality – A Lasting Road To Transcendence

Across disciplines, spirituality is being utilized as a dynamic tool that guides individuals toward an inner connectedness, awareness of oneself in relation to the universe, and a state of health and well-being. What we now know is that addiction is often the result of a person’s desire to have a sense of pleasure and well-being. One’s substance of choice offers a temporary and false sense of euphoria, or as Dr. Miller puts it, “a shortcut to transcendence.” A deeper understanding of this human need for transcendence is informing the development of mental and behavioral alternatives to patients. These alternatives hold hope for those who use substances to satisfy their craving for feelings of bliss and relief.

Spiritual Recovery – What To Expect

Meditating-Spiritual Recovery, What To ExpectFor those who choose to venture into the world of spiritual healing, some of the angst may be due to not knowing what to expect. Many of the methods involve what Kissman and Maurer refer to as “present-moment awareness.” By focusing on breathing, listening, and sharing stories, this “present-moment awareness” has the potential to correct distortions that exist in the thoughts of addicts, quieting the mind and opening the door to another way of coping with stress and worries. Here are some important things to remember:

  • Spirituality and Power – Addiction recovery is often about giving up reliance on personal will power, and surrendering to the power of the collective. This is why group processes are so effective. Spirituality takes this concept to another level by teaching patients how to not only relinquish power to control, but also how to “[join] with a higher power in order to increase personal power,” according to Kissman and Maurer.
  • Spirituality and Transformation – Successful and lasting addiction recovery involves personal transformation. Addicts who once identified themselves as weak or powerless learn how to reframe their identity. This change comes as a result of the metaphors and stories that are characteristic of many spiritual practices. The stories give voice to individual struggles, and provide the spiritual component of “interconnectedness between individuals” by “[breaking] the emotional isolation” that often fuels addiction.
  • Spirituality and Cognition – Our brains are fascinating, and have the incredible ability to focus on the past, the present, the future, or realms of thought that aren’t even real. Kissman and Maurer’s research reveals that “present-moment awareness… facilitates a cognitive focus on positive aspects of everyday life” which “clears the mind for self-nurturing and coping.” In a world where suffering and despair may threaten to take over, self-nurturing is a skill that can improve cognitive function. Spirituality can clarify the “cognitive distortions” that can trigger substance abuse.

Addressing The Skeptics

AA MeetingAlcoholics Anonymous (AA) has now been around for over 80 years. Since the program’s inception in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, scientists and AA enthusiasts have gone back and forth about the credibility and success rate of the program’s spiritually-based 12-step method. To be fair, collecting data and publishing the findings of AA groups in peer-reviewed medical journals has been quite difficult because of the expectation of anonymity that is the very basis of the groups’ operation. Even with this challenge, scientists have found ways to measure the success of the program. The numbers cannot be denied.  When discussing the skepticism that academicians have directed toward the spiritual components of AA, Thomas McClellan, Ph.D., Director of the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, says that because of the data, “professionals with such attitudes owe AA an apology.” Robert Fiorentine, Ph.D., Director of Research Training at the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center, agrees, saying that “recent evidence [indicates] the effectiveness of the Twelve Steps in assisting in recovery.” In 1998, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a study called Project MATCH, which looked at 21 personal characteristics that could serve as reliable predictors of how well people would do when engaged in specific types of treatment. The findings of the Project MATCH study were fascinating. A total of 806 clients were randomly assigned to one of three different treatments. When total abstinence – fully giving up alcohol – was the desired outcome, the spiritually-based 12-step method held a “statistically significant advantage” over the other 2 treatments – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy.

Learn More

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, exploring spiritual treatment options might be worth a try. If your interest is piqued, give us a call today to find out more about how we can support you through your own transformation.

How Bay Area Doctors Are Helping Create Heroin Addicts

Bay Area Doctors Helping Create Heroin AddictsIn the fast-paced, technology-driven Bay Area, it’s all about staying on top of your game and pushing through the pain. For many individuals, pain that comes after a sports-related injury or surgery is treated with opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or fentanyl. While these prescription medications are effective in treating acute and chronic pain, they are also highly addictive. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly two million individuals in the United States are currently addicted to narcotic painkillers. Many of these individuals innocently start using these drugs to treat a pain condition, but quickly find themselves unable to quit.

Painkillers And Heroin Going Hand-In-Hand

Heroin, like opioid-based prescription pain killers, are processed from morphine and extracted from the poppy plant. Addiction is very similar in painkillers and heroin, and many users of prescription narcotics move on to heroin to feed their addiction.

Bay Area Doctors Overprescribing Prescription Painkillers

Doctor-Bay Area Doctors Overprescribing Prescription PainkillersUnfortunately, over the past several years, those specifically in the Bay Area who have died with opiates in their system, have dramatically increased, according to MercuryNews.com. This jump is driven by many causes, but easy access to prescription drugs by doctors who are overprescribing, is a main contributing factor. And when tolerance builds and the prescription ceases, many individuals turn to chemically-similar heroin, to seek the relief they need. Sadly, many doctors are unaware of the risk they are contributing to by giving certain individuals prescription painkillers. Those who have a history of substance abuse, an underlying mental illness or even a mix of psychological and environmental factors are at a substantially higher risk of becoming addicted to these medications. Even those who do not fall into any of those categories need to use caution when taking opioids. Once an addiction has set in, it can be very difficult to treat.

Are You Struggling With Painkiller Addiction?

Many people ask this question once they’ve habitually started taking painkillers prescribed by their doctor. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, someone who has two or more of the following 11 signs can be clinically diagnosed with an addiction.

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse And Addiction

  • Excessive or extended use
  • Unable or unwilling to reduce or stop use
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Obsessing over or spending an excessive amount of time obtaining, using or recovering from the drug
  • Increasing tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Continued usage despite experiencing physical or psychological damage
  • Hazardous behaviors while using the drug
  • Retreat from social activities or work
  • Continued usage despite conflict with others
  • Problems at home, work or school due to use

Consoling-Help For Prescription Drug Or Heroin Addiction

Getting Help For Prescription Drug Or Heroin Addiction

What may have started as a solution to treat chronic or acute pain can quickly become a life-threatening addiction. Whether you or a loved one are abusing prescription drugs or are already struggling with heroin addiction, help is available. Get answers to your questions by calling our 24/7 addiction specialists at Summit Estate now. Read More Newsworthy Industry Blogs

The Growing Addiction To Heroin In Silicon Valley

Circuit Board Silicon Valley- Heroin Addiction In Silicon ValleyAmidst the bustling Silicon Valley offices filled with driven startup executives and venture capitalists, there is a growing problem of heroin addiction. This reality came to light in 2014 when a Google executive overdosed on the drug while on his yacht in Santa Cruz.

The Trend Of Heroin Addiction In Silicon Valley

The trend in heroin use in Silicon Valley has been largely fueled by driven web developers and competitive entrepreneurs who are using the drug as a way to cope with their work-driven lifestyle. Tech workers at all stages in their careers are finding themselves struggling with addiction to heroin, as well as to other substances including prescription painkillers, stimulants and smart drugs. Some addiction specialists believe that the problem is much worse than what most people think, because many of these individuals are high functioning and very adept at hiding their problem. In Silicon Valley, it’s not uncommon to work for days at a time without sleep to get new projects and ventures launched. Yet, this comes at a cost. Many of these workaholics are drawn to drugs to keep them functioning. When it is time to take a break, it’s not uncommon for them to reach for a substance to unwind. Heroin is widely available throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and particularly in Silicon Valley where dealers are more than happy to sell it to tech workers with six figure salaries. Sadly, many tech employers also turn a blind eye to drug use because they are concerned more about results, than the long-term well-being of their employees. Find Out: Is Silicon Valley Addicted To “Smart” Drugs?

The Connection Between Prescription Painkillers And Heroin AddictionPills On Desk-Prescription Painkillers, Heroin Addiction

Across the United States, there is an increasing epidemic of both heroin use and prescription painkiller abuse. This is tied to the over-prescribing of painkillers, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Many heroin addicts start their journey of addiction as patients who are prescribed opioid prescription drugs for back pain or sports-related injuries. The progression of prescription painkiller use to abuse to heroin addiction is relatively common. For some, the need to take the drug quickly becomes necessary to function in the workplace. When pills become insufficient, or are no longer prescribed, often individuals begin smoking or snorting heroin and then eventually get to the point where they are injecting it because of their increasing tolerance.

Are You Or A Colleague Or Loved One Taking Heroin?

Heroin use has doubled nationally from 2002 to 2012. It’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are many individuals throughout Silicon Valley and beyond who are struggling with addiction to this powerful drug. Don’t battle addiction alone. Call for help. With a single call, you can take a proactive step to regain a positive life free from the grip of heroin addiction. Learn More About Our Prescription Drug Addiction Program

How Certain Ways Of Thinking Can Be A Trigger For Relapse

When it comes to sustaining long-term recovery after addiction treatment, it’s important to avoid those triggers that put you at greater risk of returning to drugs or alcohol. Much of the treatment process is about learning how to identify and avoid these people, places and things that can set off an urge to use. While, it’s obvious to avoid the bar that used to be your favorite haunt or stay away from those people who first turned you on to drugs, it’s not always easy to turn off thought processes that can trigger a relapse.

The Power Of Thoughts

In 12 step meetings, there’s a common saying that sums up the power of thinking in terms of addiction. “Your head is a dangerous neighborhood; try not to go there alone.”

You may have already caught yourself heading down a dangerous path with your thoughts. Often, they can start with romanticizing using drugs or alcohol. You may think about the “good times” you had without clearly considering the reality of your addiction and the impact it has had on your life. This is referred to as euphoric recall, and it is dangerous thinking, indeed! Simply thinking of drinking or using drugs can start this process and enable thoughts to turn to cravings.

Fortunately, we all have the power to take control of our thoughts to avoid “thinking triggers” to turn into a relapse.

Ways To Manage Your Thoughts To Prevent RelapseSmall Changes, Big Difference-Ways To Prevent Relapse

The following simple, yet powerful tips can help you manage your thoughts and can serve as an important component of relapse prevention.

Follow The Thought Through The Logical Conclusion

One of the most powerful tips to avoid relapse is to take a trigger-promoting thought through its conclusion. In other words, consider the honest, real outcome of returning to using or drinking. Sure, it may seem like having a glass of wine is not a big deal and can help you unwind. However, one glass of wine could turn into two and easily into an entire bottle, a hangover the next day and disappointment in yourself and from loved ones who have been supportive of your recovery. It’s not wise to only consider the benefit of that glass of wine. In fact, it’s a trap. Work through the realistic path of what happens to allow your brain to realize that drinking or using is not a good idea.

Proactively Tell Your Mind To Stop

This is a technique that cognitive therapists often recommend to patients who are struggling with negative thinking. Yes, it is as simple as telling your mind to stop the thoughts. It may even be necessary to visualize a stop sign or other symbol of halting something. Then, move on to a way to distract yourself. This can be by reading a book, watching a movie, exercising, walking/playing fetch with your dog or talking with a friend.

Share Your Thoughts

Like the saying goes about the bad neighborhood, don’t go there alone. In other words, rely on your support system when you begin having negative thoughts. Talk them out with others in recovery. Go to a meeting. The key is not to ruminate on your thoughts alone which only causes them to grow. Disable your thoughts by sharing them with others!

Get Help Now!

Are you struggling with addiction and need treatment? Have you relapsed and want help returning to recovery? Don’t go it alone! Call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist. We’re here to help you live a life free from the grip of addiction.

Summit Estate’s Neuroscience Advisor, Dr. Blum: Pioneers Important Advancement To Treat Reward Deficiency Syndrome To Prevent Relapse

For millions of people in recovery, relapse is a frightening word. Though there are many reasons that individuals suffer relapse, one of the more interesting discoveries is that certain people are prewired genetically to have insufficient numbers of D2 receptors in their brains, which can lead to a lack of dopamine, a chemical in the brain, which in turn can increase the chance of addiction.

Summit Estate’s Dr. Kenneth Blum’s Advancement To Treat Reward Deficiency Syndrome

Dr. Kenneth Blum

Dr. Kenneth Blum, Chief Neuroscience Advisor

Summit Estate’s very own neuroscience advisor and pioneer in Reward Deficiency Syndrome, Dr. Kenneth Blum, PhD, has published an article on preventing relapse to reward deficiency behaviors titled “Hypothesizing Balancing Endorphinergic and Glutaminergic Systems to Treat and Prevent Relapse to Reward Deficiency Behaviors: Coupling D-Phenylalanine and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) as a Novel Therapeutic Modality.” In the article, Dr. Blum hypothesizes that a novel combination of D-Phenylalanine (DPA), an inhibitor of the enzyme known to breakdown endorphins, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), an amino acid-derived compound, will have synergistic attributes to induce dopamine release, as well as dopamine stabilization at the brain reward circuitry via different mechanisms. The hypothesis is that this combination will provide a safe and effective natural way to induce stable and relatively constant levels of dopamine for the millions of sufferers of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). Read Dr. Blum’s Full Article Here

The Importance Of Dr. Blum’s Hypothesis In Preventing Relapse

A relapse after recovery treatment can occur because addiction is a chronic disorder. There is no complete cure that eliminates the chance of a relapse. Rather, addiction must be managed. The rate of relapse depends on the addictive substance. For example, opiate addiction has a greater than 80 percent rate of relapse. Alcohol relapse can range from 30 to 70 percent. The chance of a relapse can also depend on certain factors and varies from person to person. Those who have RDS have a higher rate of relapse. As well, this is the case for individuals who suffer from mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. External psychological and social stressors can also contribute to a relapse. Even happy occasions such as holidays, weddings and celebrations can put someone at risk.

Summit Estate Is A Leader In Relapse Prevention

Watch our Relapse Prevention Counseling Training with Roland Williams: https://youtu.be/g8Qv4t3zzZ8

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is tempted to drink or use drugs again, time is of the essence. Treatment is required now to help better manage triggers and emotions that can lead to a relapse. Don’t wait for a relapse to happen or get worse. Obtain help and guidance from an addiction treatment specialist by calling us now. Summit Estate specializes in relapse prevention as well as dual diagnosis treatment for those suffering from both mental illness and addiction. Our relapse prevention counseling and real-world tools can help your or a loved one today. Call us now to learn more.