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Fentanyl Addiction Treatment California & Fentanyl Use Rates

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment California & Fentanyl Use Rates

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment California & Fentanyl Use Rates

The daily news doesn’t often report on the drastic drug-death occurrences related to fentanyl in California as it does so much more heavily on the East Coast. This is mainly due in part to the fact that the illicit use of fentanyl is a more prominent problem on the East Coast and the Midwest. Fentanyl addiction treatment California is growing, though, as illicit fentanyl use on the black market continues to spread.

While preliminary report data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that drug overdose deaths have declined in the last year– there’s a catch. Yes, a 5% drop in overdose deaths in 2018 is the first drop since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. But, the data also has found that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl are still on the rise. Experts worry there’s no reason to believe they’ll level off as the illicit use of fentanyl continues to grow.

It’s as if fentanyl took experts and clinicians by surprise in its power and devastation. Illegal fentanyl use is mostly an East Coast issue centered in the Northeast and slowly moving to the Midwest. However, the fear is that it will quickly overtake the West Coast as well.

West Coast Bound: There’s Room to Grow

Because there is a difference in illicit drug trafficking networks on the East Coast than there is on the West, fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs are heavily concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. In those regions, much of the heroin that fentanyl is mixed with is China white heroin, and fentanyl is laced for stronger highs without users even knowing sometimes. California’s illicit opioids, however, are met in large part by the Sinaloa Cartel, which mainly exports black tar heroin to the state. As the name implies, it’s harder to lace fentanyl in this type of sticky, viscous heroin.

California sellers realize that fentanyl is much more potent and addictive, but significantly less expensive. Experts believe it’s only a matter of time before it’s an epidemic on the West Coast and particularly in California. Researcher Bryce Pardo thinks there is certainly room for the fentanyl use to grow. Once it gets a foothold, he believes the market will be quickly overswept.

So it’s only a matter of time before the drug trafficking networks change, and make the spread of fentanyl a problem for the West Coast. Experts fear it could be even more significant than the heroin epidemic in scope, and it is already making its way to the West Coast at rapid speed. In 2017, an estimated 536 deaths in California were due to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, while just a year later in 2018, based on preliminary data, that number rose to 743. That’s a 39% increase and cause for alarm.

Fentanyl’s False Allure

As more focus occurs on the opioid crisis, heroin becomes more and more challenging to obtain. In many places in the United States, it’s disappeared, but it’s been replaced with the powerfully synthetic fentanyl. Today’s headlines tout that fentanyl has overtaken heroin as the primary source of opioid deaths. It leads one to wonder what the allure, however false it may be, really is.

Fentanyl was initially developed to be a potent prescription painkiller. Often used for those with chronic pain and/or who were suffering at the end of life, fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than the morphine from which it comes.

As sellers and users quickly began to see its inexpensive effects, it began to be laced into common street drugs for quicker, more potent highs.

The problem is that because it is so powerful, fentanyl results in quicker overdoses, often fatal. While you may initially believe your ‘euphoric high’ from the drug will be even more enhanced, fentanyl typically offers a rapid (if any) period of euphoria. This period of euphoria is followed quickly by significantly sedative effects. If you misuse fentanyl, you put yourself at risk of slower heart rates and breathing difficulties, difficulty walking and talking, slurred speech, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, passing out, and even death.

Long-term effects of chronic fentanyl abuse include weaker immune systems, gastrointestinal difficulties, and lifelong seizure disorders.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment California: There Is Help

Fentanyl is a powerful drug that has slowly but surely made its way to California. And, because it’s highly addictive and relatively inexpensive to come by, the deadly danger will inevitably spread throughout the state. Even though this is a relatively new drug to the West Coast, there is hope and help to be found at fentanyl addiction treatment California offered by Ocean Hills Recovery.

If you or someone that you love has become addicted to fentanyl, Ocean Hills has the compassion, experience, and holistic methodology that can save your life. The power of fentanyl is strong, but together with the caring staff at Ocean Hills Recovery, you can be stronger. You don’t have to worry about yourself or your loved ones any more second about the dangers of fentanyl. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today—we’re waiting to help.


adhd prescription addiction in college students

ADHD Prescription Addiction in College Students

ADHD Prescription Addiction in College Students

While we watch a worrying opioid epidemic continue to grow all across the country, experts fear another growing and looming threat, particularly seen in America’s college students. More and more, clinicians are seeing high school and college students in the throes of ADHD prescription addiction, and worry about potential health consequences as a result of the abuse and misuse of prescription stimulants.

ADHD Prescription Addiction: Study Drugs That Aren’t So Smart

Prescription medicines for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are relatively common in children and adolescents who have the disorder. But research suggests a growing number of young adults also being prescribed stimulants like Ritalin (from the methylphenidate drug class) and Adderall (from the dextroamphetamine drug class). Research suggests young adults and college students who have not been diagnosed with ADHD are ‘borrowing’ those drugs from their friends to “perform better” in school and life. Students find taking the stimulants helps them to stay awake longer, study better, and even lose weight, as side effects of the drugs can also include appetite suppression.

This is serious, as there are significant potential health (and judicial as well) consequences for those who misuse and abuse prescription stimulants. When used as directed, these ADHD prescription medicines do not typically pose serious health risks. When used without a prescription to stay awake and focus better, side effects include dizziness, nervousness, emotional instability, and mood changes and even psychosis, seizures, and hypertension.

ADHD Prescription Addiction: Gateway to Additional Abuse

While ADHD prescription medicines certainly make a difference in the lives of those who have ADHD, a growing trend on college campuses is to seek out ADHD diagnoses to get the prescription stimulants. In turn, college students are abusing them under the belief that the medicines will help them do better in school, and/or giving and selling them to friends for the same purpose.

And thus begins dependency. College students often believe that ADHD prescription drugs are just a step up from extra caffeine and not “that dangerous.” In reality, though, prescription stimulants fall in the same drug classification as DEA Schedule II medications because of their high potential for abuse that creates physiological and psychological dependence. This category is also the same classification in which you find codeine, oxycontin, and morphine.

Because of this, ADHD prescription addiction is just as possible as an opioid addiction in college students, and can even lend itself to the use of other drugs to combat side effects. Yes, stimulants keep you awake to study, but college students may then turn to other drugs like Valium or Xanax to help them ‘unwind’ and sleep some. The misuse and abuse make the probability of addiction to other drugs even higher.

Why Are College Students At Risk?

The workload of a college student is most likely far greater than one he or she ever encountered in high school. The thought of any medicine helping one focus more and stay awake longer is attractive to most students who are just looking to do their best. Many college students ‘self-diagnose,’ and initially believe they are merely addressing an issue that they didn’t recognize before. Others ‘borrow’ from friends with valid ADHD prescriptions and consider their ability to stay awake longer and study more is worth the misuse, and will only be temporary.

But stimulant misuse leads to addiction, and college students find themselves needing more to keep themselves going at the paces they’ve created. A recent study found that the abuse of prescription stimulants in college students is nearly 20%, and has risen significantly in the last decade and a half. Experts believe that it will only continue to grow, as a focus on opioid addiction seems to overshadow the real and valid concerns about ADHD prescription addiction and efforts to reduce them. This is sadly ironic, as more research continues to suggest that opioid addiction is on the rise in young adults who use ADHD stimulants.

Ocean Hills Recovery Can Help

If the ADHD prescription medicine you thought would help make life easier has now become an addiction that has made things more complicated, you’re not alone. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we see young adults and college students who have ADHD prescription addictions and are looking to break those chains. We can help you break the cycle of dependency on these drugs and offer you treatment and practical guidance to get you back on the road to the life you are ready to live. The one you were meant to live.

Sober Things to Do after Leaving San Diego Rehab Center

Sober Things to Do after Leaving San Diego Rehab Center

Sober Things to Do after Leaving San Diego Rehab Center

Picture this: you’ve started your recovery and you are walking out of the doors of a San Diego Rehab Center feeling like a new person. You’ve got a full team of people supporting you, knowing that you WILL be successful.

Where are you going to go? What are you going to do? It was emphasized that you can’t go back to your old habits and your old stomping grounds, so what is there to do in San Diego for the sober person?

During the early stages of recovery on your own, it’s important to stay busy. This way you can stave off the urge to relapse while you get used to your new life. Below are a few things to consider doing after you leave a San Diego rehab center.

Get Breakfast:

Places that are open for breakfast generally don’t serve alcohol, so the temptation to indulge won’t be there. Try Woody’s Breakfast and Burgers, their shorefront patio ensures that your views while eating your breakfast burrito are the best possible. 

Go to the Beach:

After enjoying your meal while watching other people enjoy the water, get in yourself! You can curl up with a good book, swim to your heart’s content, take a surfing lesson, or enjoy a nap getting some much-needed Vitamin D. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Go Surfing:

What better way to enjoy than the ocean than to get out there and ride its waves! San Diego has many surfing schools that can teach you all the tips and tricks you need to enjoy a day out on the water catching waves.

Do an Escape Room:

Get away from your reality, literally. There are lots of escape rooms in San Diego, and one close to Mission Bay is Quicksand Escape Room. Getting your mind off of your recovery at a San Diego Rehab Center and into your escape will be sure to help you get your brain working in new ways.

Rent a Hot Tub Cruise:

It can be hard to think of things to do with friends that don’t include alcohol. It’s easy to say you’re going to go out with friends and abstain while they are indulging, but the reality is harder. If you rent a Hot Tub Cruise, complete with slide, you can enjoy an afternoon cruising around the Bay hanging out with your friends in a 100% sober environment. Of course, you won’t even miss the alcohol with the views, the hot tub, the inflatable slide into the bay, and the company of your friends. 

Get in Touch with Nature:

There are few things better for your recovery than to get in touch with nature. Despite the city vibe, San Diego’s location allows for it be the prime spot for a nature sanctuary right in the middle of Mission Bay. Whether you’re looking for a bird sanctuary or do some whale watching. There are options right in the city for you to be reminded that nature is beautiful, and so is your recovery.

Begin Recovery Today at a San Diego Rehab Center

If this sounds like a life you could get used to, then don’t hesitate to contact Ocean Hills Recovery. They are the experts in making sure you have the support you need to be successful in recovery.

Ocean Hills Recovery is a rehab center located close to San Diego with expert insight into how to stay sober after leaving a San Diego rehab facility. Reach out today to understand how the staff at Ocean Hills Recovery can help you have the best recovery possible and make the changes necessary to live a fulfilling sober life.

body changes with heroin use

Body Changes With Heroin Use

Body Changes With Heroin Use

The abuse of heroin takes its toll on your body in many different ways. Heroin is considered to be one of the most addictive drugs, and it destroys your relationships, your career, and most obviously, your physical appearance. While the internal damage done by heroin abuse is life-threatening, it’s often the outward body changes with heroin use that people can see the most significant changes. And while looks can often be deceiving, the damage from heroin abuse is typically telltale and drastic.

Heroin Use On The Rise

As America focuses on the opioid epidemic and the impact it has on the country as a whole; an unfortunate and potentially deadly residual effect is a rise in the use of heroin. Experts believe this stems from government-mandated crackdowns on prescription medications and drugs, particularly painkillers. Heroin is similar to many prescription painkillers on a chemical level and often brings about similar effects in the body. However, it’s cheaper and more accessible, which makes it even more of a turn-to drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 80% of people who use heroin misused prescription painkillers before heroin use.

Without question, the damage done by heroin use inside your body is significant and potentially deadly. Once heroin enters your bloodstream, it goes through various chemical reactions in your brain, and your body essentially behaves as if you’ve been given morphine. The heroin binds to opioid receptors and brings you the heroin high. Euphoric feelings and a decrease in anxiety and pain are common as your heart pumps the drug throughout your body. But while the half-life of heroin inside your body is brief (approximately two-six minutes), the outward and visible signs of heroin misuse are more readily noticeable and longer-lasting.

Continued after infographic: 

body changes with heroin use, heroin rehab center california

Body Changes With Heroin Use: Drastic Transformation

Typically, when you begin using heroin, there are not very many outward signs your friends and family may recognize. They may notice you seem euphoric but still somewhat sedate, and they may comment on your consistent fatigue. But because heroin is so highly addictive, the body changes with heroin—seen and unseen—come about rapidly and are drastic in nature.

Heroin Use Compromises Oral Health

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that the symptoms of tooth decay often known as ‘meth mouth’ (the result of meth abuse) were also characteristic of those who use heroin intravenously as well. Those who use heroin have more cavities, missing and/or filled teeth and more periodontal and gingival disease. The missing and decayed teeth are pronounced outward body changes with heroin use.

Heroin Use Compromises Oral Health

Skin Condition Deteriorates

The skin of heroin users typically starts off looking flushed and pale. Heroin lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and your skin goes from pale to yellow and aged without proper blood supply. Then, even more visibly, your skin begins to show cuts, bruises, and scabs. Most often exclusive to heroin users, dermatillomania is a condition that causes you to pick at your skin repeatedly. The many scabs on your face can lead to infection and scarring as well.

face changes with heroin use

Photo Credit:

Weight Loss and Malnutrition Are Prevalent

One of the most significant body changes with heroin use is your weight. Heroin decreases your appetite and affects your weight. You look malnourished because you are most likely not eating and the change in body shape is typically quite sudden.

Effects of Extreme Constipation 

Experts estimate up to 90% of heroin users suffer severe constipation, similar to those who suffer from opioid-induced constipation. Heroin use prevents your brain from giving signals for emptying your bowels. Heroin also paralyzes your stomach and reduces secretions from your digestive system, so you may not be able to go at all. Not only does this cause extreme cramping and pain, but it can also cause you to be frustrated, irritable, and anxiety-filled as seeking relief becomes more difficult.

Sexual Function Impairment

Research shows that for both men and women, heroin use impairs not only sexual bodily functions and ability but sexual pleasure as well.

Heroin Use & Insomnia

Heroin addiction typically ends up leaving you with insomnia. This insomnia affects your wakeful periods, your relationships, your cognitive functioning, and could even lead to psychotic episodes and hallucinations.

heroin use and insomnia

There is Hope After Heroin

The impact heroin use has on your body is significant. You see it every time you look in the mirror, and you know it’s not the life you were meant to live. The caring and compassionate staff of Ocean Hills Recovery can help you return to living a fulfilling life. We will customize a treatment program for you, and walk alongside you as you break the chains of heroin addiction and begin rebuilding your life.

The body changes with heroin use don’t have to be permanent, and you deserve the personalized and honest recovery help that Ocean Hills Recovery specializes in. Contact us today and return to the real you.


the doctors tv show followup, ocean hills recovery, jane carter, aaron carter, alcoholism, alcohol rehab

The Doctors TV Show Follow-up & Ocean Hills Recovery

The Doctors TV Show Follow-up & Ocean Hills Recovery

The Doctors television show invites specialists from health and wellness fields to work alongside Dr. Travis Stork and his team of doctors and dive into real-life stories. On the September 12, 2019, episode, Dr. Travis Stork and Dr. Judy Ho met with Jane Carter and her son, Aaron Carter, to discuss the severity of her drinking. Holly Wagner, VP and Program Director of Ocean Hills Recovery, was invited to be part of this show and was available to offer Jane help with her treatment.

Addiction is a complex disorder that impacts millions of people today. Holly was able to continue this important conversation by answering some questions about alcoholism and addiction treatment:

Jane tells Dr. Travis Stork that she consumes an entire pint of vodka when she wakes up in the morning, to get her moving, give her energy, etc. When someone talks about how much they are drinking or using a substance, how often are they under-estimating what they are consuming?

It is very common for a person suffering from addiction to underestimate the amount of alcohol or drugs they are consuming. This is not always the case, but sometimes this can be a mechanism of “minimization” of the problem, or in other words the way in which the addict can justify their use, or explain why the problem is “not that bad.”

I do not think this is the case with Jane, as she was very open and honest regarding her use of alcohol. However, it is very common to find discrepancies in the reported amount of use, versus the actual use. That is why at Ocean Hills Recovery, we complete an extensive assessment process. Our assessment process includes gathering a complete substance use and mental health history not only from the client, but we also interview family members to get their input and opinion on how much the client is using, their perception of the severity of the use, and the consequences the client has experienced as a result of their use.

It is imperative that we have an accurate picture of how much the client is using and precisely what substances the client is using as this information influences the treatment process and helps us determine the best method to safely detoxify clients upon admission to our program.

Aaron mentioned that Jane put the needs of her children before her own needs. How often do you see moms needing treatment?

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we frequently treat individuals that are parents, both mothers, and fathers. I would estimate that 30-50 percent of our clients are parents, possibly more. The unique model that Ocean Hills Recovery uses to address the whole family has demonstrated effectiveness and allowed the entire family to begin the healing process, not just the client.

We offer family therapy group two times monthly in which children are welcome to come and participate to work through the family issues surrounding their mother or father’s use of drugs or alcohol. We also include family members in the treatment planning process and encourage them to be as involved as possible in their loved one’s treatment.

We strongly recommend that family members of an addict begin to attend Al-Anon meetings in their local home area so that regardless of the outcome or behavior exhibited by the addict, they can develop healthy coping mechanisms and have a source of support. Al-Anon is a twelve-step program designed as the counterpart to Alcoholics Anonymous for family members or loved ones of a person suffering from addiction. There are tremendous resources online, and there are Al-Anon groups all over the country. Al-Anon is free to attend to anyone who has a desire to learn how to cope more effectively with the addict in their life.

What can you say about functional addiction/alcoholism? At what point does a person start to lose function or how long can a person struggle with functional addiction before it becomes dysfunctional or too much to hide/control?

To me, the word “functional alcoholic” is a misnomer in the sense that if you really start to analyze the relationships and life of someone who is abusing alcohol, are they really living or are they just surviving?

Most people define functional as showing up for work every day; however, if you were to compare a functional alcoholic or addict with a person that is not abusing substances, chances are the addict will have a much higher frequency of missed workdays, tardiness, or absenteeism.

Often functional alcoholics will be binge drinkers, meaning they can stop drinking for long periods, but when they do pick up a drink, they drink to excess and incur the same type of consequences as someone who is a daily drinker. These consequences can include relationship problems, health problems, or contact with the criminal justice system for driving under the influence, as an example. If the addict continues to abuse drugs or alcohol, it is highly likely that at some point they will incur a consequence that cannot be overcome without help and they will lose the perception of “functionality.” Without intervention the ultimate consequence for continued drug and alcohol use is death.

Many addicts can continue to use for many years, particularly if they have people in their life that are enabling their behavior. Enabling is defined as caretaking a person’s needs such that they do not have to take responsibility for their own choices or consequences of their choices. Enabling behaviors may include providing financial support, housing, or bailing the addict out of situations that would typically result in consequences such as paying their bills, writing excuses for missing school or work, or assisting the client in avoiding contact with the criminal justice system as a result of their behaviors.

When someone is in a cycle of alcohol abuse, how difficult is it for them to stop on their own?

In my experience, it is nearly impossible for a true alcoholic to stop drinking on their own permanently.

As I mentioned previously, there are some alcoholics that binge drink and can go long periods without using alcohol; however, when they do drink, the result is disastrous. To achieve good quality sobriety, alcoholics need help.

Help can come in the form of twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and many have successfully stopped drinking after committing and joining the program in their local communities. For some, however, medically supervised treatment is required and recommended. It can be very dangerous, even fatal, for an alcoholic to attempt to detoxify their body on their own in an unsupervised environment. That is why at Ocean Hills Recovery we offer a medically supervised detoxification program so that if necessary, our clients can be prescribed medications during the detox process to alleviate the risk of complications such as seizures, heart attack, or other medical issues.

Aaron has struggled with addiction openly and now his mom is admitting to her struggles as well. How often do you see addiction running in families?

Addiction is defined as a “family disease.” This means that addiction not only affects the addict themselves but creates a pattern of dysfunction and maladaptive coping mechanisms for all members of the family. It has been proven that there is a genetic component to addiction which can be identified by specific genes and biological processes within the body. It is very common to see a pattern of addictive behavior run in families.

One of the ways in which an alcoholic can better understand their family history is to complete a genogram during the treatment process. A genogram is similar to mapping out a family tree in which the addict identifies family members from each generation and notes patterns of behavior such as addiction. This can be a helpful tool for addicts to understand the disease concept of addiction and realize that their addiction is not a personal shortcoming or a lack of will power, but a medical condition that is passed down throughout the generations of a family.

Is what happened on the show similar to what an intervention might look like?

Dr. Travis Stork and Dr. Judy Ho did a fantastic job on the show of getting to the root of the issues for Jane and her family. Their approach was similar to an intervention.

An intervention is not about blaming the addict for their behavior but outlining truthfully what is happening and the consequences that the addict is experiencing as the result of their alcohol or drug use. An intervention is conducted with love and empathy, expressing genuine concern for the addict and helping the addict to recognize consequences to their relationships and their health if they continue to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Not all interventions are successful, as ultimately, it is up to the addict to choose to accept help. Ideally, if an intervention is conducted appropriately, family, loved ones, and a group of professionals can set the stage to make it more likely or easier for the addict to say yes and to accept treatment.

It is not recommended that families conduct an intervention without professional advisement. There are guidelines and a strategy used to ensure that the intervention process remains healthy and does not devolve into a family argument.

Another benefit of having professional help is that the person conducting the intervention can act as a neutral third party and understand both the family’s perception as well as the experience of the addict so that the addict does not feel threatened or unfairly treated during the process.

When someone gets to rehab, what’s the first step?

At Ocean Hills Recovery, the first step in treatment is to complete a thorough assessment process. The assessment process consists of a complete history and physical conducted by a medical doctor or a physician’s assistant. During this initial medical assessment, the client will also be screened for possible mental health diagnoses or co-occurring disorders. If necessary, during the medical assessment, the client will be prescribed medication for a medically assisted detox.

The next assessment, completed on the second day of treatment, is a clinical assessment in which the client meets with a licensed intake counselor to review all aspects of the client’s life to gather a complete picture of the whole person. Topics discussed during the clinical assessment include substance use and mental health history, family history, past trauma, problems in living such as financial or employment concerns, involvement with the criminal justice system, and the client’s religious preferences. The clinical assessment also explores the client’s strengths so that those can be utilized to create a positive treatment outcome.

Once these assessments are completed, the client will also be assessed by a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner to determine if there are underlying mental health disorders and if psychotropic medications may be necessary to help the client cope with disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar.

The goal of the extensive assessment process at Ocean Hills Recovery is to use the information obtained to develop a comprehensive treatment plan using a collaborative process in which the client and their family have input into setting realistic goals in conjunction with the primary counselor for the best possible treatment outcome.

What does medically supervised detox mean? When does a person typically need it?

Medically supervised detox means that our Medical Director Dr. Alejandro Alva and his team oversee the client’s treatment throughout the detox period and beyond. It can be unsafe to detox from certain substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (prescription drugs) without the assistance of medications designed to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms, seizures, heart attack, or other medical complications.

It is not recommended that anyone attempt to detoxify their body at home without the supervision of a medical professional. Whether or not an individual requires a medically supervised detox is determined based on the following factors: drug use history, specific substances being used, amount and frequency of substances being used, age, body weight, and medical history are all considered in determining the need for supervised detoxification.

How involved can family members be in the process? At what point are they allowed to be a part of treatment (if allowed)?

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we encourage the involvement of the family throughout the entire treatment process. Once a client is admitted to our program, their primary counselor will contact the family to conduct an interview in which the family can give input and opinion regarding their loved one’s substance abuse.

We also offer family group therapy sessions two times monthly in which family members can come and complete a process facilitated by professional licensed addiction counselors. During this family group process, family members will also have the opportunity to interact with other families so that they can observe similarities to their own family and realize that they are not alone.

Often families experiencing addiction feel shame and may feel like no one understands what they are going through. It is incredibly valuable for them to come and experience the healing and education that occurs during our family group sessions. The process is very structured, and each person participating is given “homework” to prepare their thoughts in advance. We begin the group by speaking about hurts or resentments. Next, we process things we would like to ask forgiveness for, and finally we end the day with loves and appreciations in which the family can express gratitude to each other.

Throughout the treatment process, the family can receive progress updates from the primary counselor if they wish, and if the client consents to the sharing of this information. Additionally, once a client has completed specific tasks and earned the privilege for off-campus passes, the client can have the opportunity to spend time with their family immediately following the family group sessions and on Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm.

What does addiction treatment look like?

The treatment program at Ocean Hills Recovery is designed to treat the whole person. Our program offers treatment at all levels of care which include the detox process, residential treatment, partial day treatment, and intensive outpatient and outpatient programming.

 Through our assessment process, we determine the appropriate program for each client on a case by case basis at the time of admission. We match the client with a primary counselor that is best suited to address their specific needs. There is a collaborative treatment planning process in which the family, the client, and their primary counselor outline goals and tasks designed to achieve those goals so that the treatment is focused and success can be measured by achievements along the way.

The treatment program at Ocean Hills Recovery is a twelve-step program, and participation in the outside twelve-step community is mandatory. Clients are required to obtain a sponsor, and the idea is for them to develop relationships with other sober people that will persist and provide support well beyond their actual time in treatment.

At Ocean Hills, we want to teach our clients healthy coping skills and how to socialize and have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. We offer yoga classes and the opportunity for our clients to exercise at a local gym three times per week. There is catered food provided that is planned and reviewed by a licensed nutritionist, and we can accommodate any special food requests such as a low sodium diet, diabetic-friendly foods, gluten-free, or vegetarian options.

We also attempt to engage our clients in the community by scheduling activities once a week that may include a day at the beach, attending a museum or local sporting events, and around the holidays we participate in feed the homeless events to give back to our community.

What happens after treatment? What kinds of support are available to someone after treatment?

When the client’s treatment experience is nearing completion, the aftercare planning and discharge process will begin approximately 7-10 days before the client’s planned exit date.

The aftercare planning process consists of making arrangements for the client to continue to receive services or care if necessary. For example, this could involve setting follow up appointments with a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, or a therapist in the client’s home area so that they may continue to be monitored, receive medication refills if necessary, and to continue working through personal issues in a supportive environment.

The client will also complete a relapse prevention plan with their primary therapist in which possible triggers for substance use are outlined, and specific actions to take when the client may have a craving are outlined.

The relapse prevention plan also includes a list of support persons and their phone numbers the client can call if they are experiencing the urge to use, along with a schedule of the twelve-step meetings, date, times, and address, that the client plans on attending.

Sobriety is about the maintenance of the behaviors learned during treatment, and we attempt to make the transition and return to life as seamless as possible for our clients by setting them up with adequate support when they return home.

In addition to our recommendation that clients continue with their twelve-step participation, medication compliance, and follow up appointments as needed, there are many online resources available to clients as well. There are online meeting forums and chats so that the client can make connections with other sober persons regardless of their location or the time of day.

What’s the best way to help someone who is struggling with addiction?

The best way to help someone suffering with addiction is to do something. By doing something, I mean that the addict needs to know that help is available even if they are not ready to accept the help right away.

We cannot force or coerce an addict to seek help, but as family and professionals that care, it is our responsibility to remind the addict that they are loved; they are worthwhile and can have the opportunity for help if they desire it. I have found that help is best accepted if it is offered in such a way as “when you are ready” here are the resources or options that we have found for you.

Printing literature or information about possible treatment programs and leaving it with the addict to review on their own time can be helpful. I know many addicts that found a brochure, a printout, or a phone number that was given to them by someone that they did not utilize right away. But, when they hit their point at which they were willing to seek and accept help, the resource was there, and they were able to call and get help right away on their own terms.

Addiction is a deadly disease, and we cannot sit back and let an addict continue to harm themselves without feeling like we have given them every opportunity to get well. There is a difference between letting the addict know help is available to them and enabling behavior. It is vital for the family to maintain healthy boundaries with the addict and to not become overinvolved in problems created by the addict. However, it is not always a matter of “tough love” either and often these strict approaches of no contact or conversation with the addict actually create an environment of further isolation and depression for the addict. There is a way to offer help while still maintaining appropriate boundaries and without enabling. Al-Anon can be very helpful as a resource to families attempting to navigate the process of helping the addict in their life.



Beating the Mental Health Stigma with Dual Diagnosis California

Beating the Mental Health Stigma with Dual Diagnosis California

Beating the Mental Health Stigma with Dual Diagnosis California

The majority of people with mental health disorders in California never get treatment. Even though the government offers public services for mental health and substance abuse, fewer than 40 percent of individuals who suffer from mental illness receive any type of care. Mental Health America ranks California 31st out of 50 states for access to mental health care. The access measures include access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability. Dual diagnosis California treatment options create constructive recovery opportunities for people who suffer from psychological illness and substance abuse disorders in the state.

Making Mental Health Care Accessible in California

Lawmakers in San Francisco are trying to combat the problem of inadequate mental health care and find ways to make it easier for the community to get the mental health services that they need. In June, a motion was introduced to charge companies whose CEOs earn 100 times the median income of their employees an extra 0.1 percent gross receipt tax. The tax would subsidize a mental health service that would operate around the clock and offer instant care to citizens in crisis.

Even though there are laws in place to prevent insurance providers from limiting coverage for mental health care, many patients have to fight with their private insurance carriers to get benefits. Some patients turn to the Medi-Cal program for low-income residents because it’s more advantageous for people with mental health disorders.

Federal legislation exists to prevent discrimination from happening. But people with mental health issues struggle to get the help that they need. They are often saddled with pre-authorization requirements or rejected because their treatment is not medically necessary. Early intervention is key, and many clinics in California aim to give patients the skills, resources, and support to create a better life. Programs such as the one that has been proposed in San Francisco could help people get on the road to recovery quickly.

Why Mental Health is Important

Mental health doesn’t just play a role in how happy you are. It influences every aspect of your life, including the following:

  • Your interactions with others
  • The decisions that you make
  • Your productivity at work
  • The way that you handle stress
  • Your physical health

Mental illness affects people of every age group, including children. People who don’t receive adequate care can develop unhealthy responses to stress and overwhelm. They may try to self-medicate by using substances such as drugs and alcohol. More than 25 percent of adults with mental illness also suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

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Seeking Dual Diagnosis California Treatment Without Stigma

Unfortunately, the stigma that is associated with mental illness and addiction prevents many patients from seeking care. Some argue that it also hinders insurance companies from adequately covering people who struggle with these conditions.

People who are dealing with substance abuse disorder cannot be treated in a vacuum. Their physical and mental health concerns must be addressed at the same time. In rehab, patients with substance abuse disorders are often monitored as they go through detox, and as they continue down the road to recovery to make sure that they’re nourished and thriving. The same attention must be placed on their mental health needs.

In some cases, psychological illness drives people to use drugs. In other instances, substances change the chemistry of the brain, causing a mental health disorder. Regardless of which problem came first, it’s essential to treat both issues simultaneously.

Dual diagnosis California treatment helps people understand the basis of their addiction and process the emotions that are associated with their disease. This type of care does more than make problems disappear; it gives people and their families the resources for pursuing a fulfilling life. Too often, patients float around the system, receiving insufficient care that doesn’t get to the heart of their condition.

Dual Diagnosis California Treatment 

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we know that your addiction or mental health disorder is not a reflection of weakness or immorality. We help combat the stigma by offering dual diagnosis California treatment as well as other evidence-based care for individuals who are ready to kick their addiction once and for all.

Our team of licensed professionals will walk you through your journey so that you can finally find hope and success in recovery. Call us today to find out how you can get the help that you need.

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Beating the Mental Health Stigma with Dual Diagnosis California

12 Step Rehab Vs. Alcoholics Anonymous

12 Step Rehab Vs. Alcoholics Anonymous

12 Step Rehab Vs. Alcoholics Anonymous

When fighting an addiction to alcohol, the 12 step rehab program is one of the most popular approaches. While the 12 step method is most often associated with the framework of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) model, it is important to remember that it can also be used in a traditional rehabilitation center as well. In this article, we will take a look at the 12 step model: what it is, what each individual step is and the differences between working a 12 step rehab program versus a 12 step AA approach.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

The Alcoholics Anonymous program is one of the oldest forms of treatment for alcoholism. It is not meant to be a singular cure-all for addiction treatment, but rather a lifelong process and guideline for the best way to overcome life’s haunting difficulties. And the method is not just meant for the treatment of alcoholism—there are programs for addictions to cocaine and debt problems as well.

AA is typically held as a meeting where people come voluntarily. Meetings are regularly accessible in any city and are open to both members and walk-ins at any time. Within the context of regularly scheduled meetings and group talk therapy, AA is centered on the 12 step model.

The 12 Step Rehab Model:

The 12 step model is a combination of both personal beliefs and actions meant to guide users back to a centered approach to life that does not include alcohol. The 12 steps are heavily based on spirituality, though not necessarily an out-and-out religious approach. In fact, many teach that there is no wrong way to approach the 12 step program, as long as it is utilized to help each individual succeed.

Here is an enumerated look at the specific 12 step rehab model:

  1. Admit your powerlessness over alcohol
  2. Believe that only a Power greater than yourself can restore your sanity
  3. Make a decision to turn your will over to God, in whatever form you perceive God to be
  4. Perform a fearless moral inventory of yourself
  5. Admit the exact nature of your wrongdoings to God, yourself and to others involved
  6. Be ready to have God remove all of these character flaws
  7. Humbly ask God to remove all shortcomings
  8. Make a list of all the people you have hurt and be willing to make amends to each of them
  9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, barring further injury to said persons
  10. Continue to take inventory of wrongs and prompt admittance of them
  11. Use of prayer and meditation to contact God and have the power to carry out His will
  12. At the completion of these steps, a spiritual awakening should follow and then try to carry these messages to both other alcoholics and into all aspects of your daily life

The 12 Steps Within Rehabilitation Treatment

Joining AA and using the 12 step rehab model within this system is very much at will; you can choose to get a sponsor and decide how often you would like to go. It is a much more freeform approach to recovery.

Using the 12 step program within a residential rehabilitation program is much more supervised and guided. Within Ocean Hills Recovery, the 12 step rehab program is one facet of a much more comprehensive approach that is tailored to fit the unique needs of each individual. Just as no two people are the same, we believe that no two addictions are the same.

The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery takes great care to make sure that all holistic needs are addressed. In Collaborative Recovery, your progress will be supported throughout the journey. We can recalibrate and readjust the plan as needed, depending on how the individual feels about their success and their goals. We also keep a close watch on biological, psychological and social factors as we administer the 12 steps.

Effectiveness of the 12 Step Program

The exact numbers behind the success of this model cannot truly be measured as many people implement this method within the safety of anonymity. However, the 12 step model is the most prominent and most prolific. Out of those who report using this approach, the success rate is very high. The promise of guidance and accountability is very attractive to anyone looking to recover from an addiction to alcohol. These factors contribute to building up a strong, consistent foundation of support necessary for navigating the many ups and downs of a recovery effort. The 12 step method helps many individuals to not only get clean but to stay that way.

If you or someone you know is interested in utilizing the 12 step model within a rehab facility, we highly encourage you to contact Ocean Hills Recovery. We have many options for blended treatment, as well as your pick of 30, 60, or 90-day residential treatment programs. Call us for more information.


setting boundaries in recovery

Setting Boundaries in Recovery

Setting Boundaries in Recovery

During recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction, part of staying sober is learning to set boundaries. Setting boundaries in recovery can help you make good choices and avoid people and situations that may put you on the wrong path. As you’re setting boundaries in recovery, you’ll learn when you need to say no and when you need to adjust your behavior. It can help you decide how you want to live your life, who you want to be, and how to take responsibility for your actions.

How Can I Set Boundaries in Recovery?

Setting boundaries in recovery is not about putting yourself in a bubble so that no one can hurt you. Doing this is not going to help you live in the real world where temptations exist. Instead, it’s about knowing how to create safe limits to let yourself grow.

One way to do this is to first think about how you want to be treated. What things are acceptable and what things are off the table? Jot down some ideas so that you can begin to internalize them and accept them. One boundary that needs to be on the list is that you will not allow yourself to be the victim of any physical or mental abuse. This is one boundary that should be non-negotiable.

Once you know how you want to be treated, set limits. This may mean only hanging out with sober people because choosing to be around those who drink or do drugs present a temptation. Perhaps setting limits means not associating with people when they’re angry or yelling. By not allowing yourself to interact when people are acting this way, you are also setting a boundary.

Setting boundaries in recovery can also help you adjust your behavior in certain situations. You don’t need to isolate yourself; you need to learn what your new limits are.

For example, you want to attend a family wedding, but know there’s going to be the right amount of drinking. You can still choose to go, but you can set a boundary that you’re not going to drink, and if things get out of control, you’ll leave. A big part of setting boundaries in recovery is learning how to do interact with others while staying true to your new lifestyle and beliefs.
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What Happens When You Set Boundaries in Recovery?

When you set boundaries, you begin to feel better about yourself. You’ve set rules about how you want to be treated and how you want to live your life. This can boost feelings of self-confidence and bring feelings of clarity.

Setting boundaries can also help you to resist temptation and remain on your road to sobriety. Learning to say no is also a big part of setting boundaries. You’re no longer doing things to please other people. You’re putting yourself first, which is a huge step in recovery.

You’ll also realize that you’re taking more responsibility for your actions because you’ve set the boundaries as to how you’re going to live your life. As all of these pieces come together, you’ll begin to live a healthier lifestyle. Setting boundaries is an essential part of the recovery process if you want all of your hard work to pay off.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we help people make healthy choices and teach them how to set boundaries in recovery. To start, you need to choose to get the help you need to battle your drug or alcohol addiction. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we have counselors available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have as you make this critical decision. Call us today or contact us online so that you can start living a healthier life.

dual diagnosis orange county why do i need it

Dual Diagnosis Orange County: Why Do I Need It?

Dual Diagnosis Orange County: Why Do I Need It?

Often, people come to rehab without realizing they have an underlying mental health concern. Once they have begun therapies and counseling, they may find that depression and anxiety have contributed to their addiction. This is why seeking help from a dual diagnosis Orange County rehab that is both reputable and accredited will benefit an individual in the long run.

In the world of addiction treatment, the prevailing opinion of today is that substance abuse and mental illness go hand-in-hand. The treatment of such joined disorders is called “dual diagnosis treatment” because each of the two disorders should be treated simultaneously.

The Link Between Addiction and Mental Illness

Since each individual is unique, it is not clear whether the mental illness or substance abuse comes first. Researchers in Australia, however, have shown that the comorbidity between the two conditions results from a range of factors, including:

  • Pre-existing neurological vulnerability, such as when substance abuse triggers a previous mental-health condition
  • The propensity of mentally ill patients to self-medicate, often because of the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment
  • The dysfunction of the brain’s reward circuitry where the patient only experiences pleasure while under the effects of the drug in question

Recent data from the Journal of the American Medical Association indicate that 53 percent of drug abusers, and 37 percent of alcoholics, specifically, have a severe mental illness. Further, 29 percent of the American people will show some symptoms of mental illness, substance abuse, or both during their lifetimes.

It is also common for patients not to realize that they have one or more mental illnesses. In these cases, the expertise of counselors and medical professionals well-versed in dual diagnosis Orange County is invaluable. The advantage is obvious. One center can perform the treatments instead of having to send the patient from one place to the other and back again.

The Challenges

There are difficulties with delivering top-flight treatment for two conditions at once, such as poor medication compliance on the part of the patients, increased aggression and suicide risk, and possible incarceration for bad acts committed while in treatment. Fortunately, a treatment center like the dual diagnosis Orange County facility is usually on top of all that.

The chief problem with dual diagnosis and group therapy is that each person who suffers from both addiction and mental illness might be addicted to something different and suffer from various mental illnesses. Ocean Hills Recovery and its staff understand these complexities and have developed treatment programs that reinforce not only the benefits of group therapy but also the specialized individual attention that each person in therapy needs.

To start, Ocean Hills Recovery will do all the necessary screening and assessment to determine each patient’s medical condition, treatment needs, and outlook. We will then screen both for physical and mental ailments other than the addiction that brings each patient to us. Our trusted staff will consult with doctors and nurses to develop integrated treatment plans that are designed to help each patient be successful in throwing off the yoke of addiction and getting healthy.

The Importance of “The Transition”

Because our treatment center also partners with other agencies in Orange County, they can help prepare patients for their transition back to their normal lives after completing treatment. The centers work with the Orange County Social Services, the Orange County Employment Development Department, and other agencies. They teach patients coping skills as they look for new jobs, strive to get back lost jobs, and either find new housing or recover old housing. Such reinforcement of positive behaviors and forward-thinking is crucial for patients. They must feel as if someone is always “in their corner” so that they don’t feel alone and beyond hope.

Whether you have a mental health diagnosis or not, it is crucial to seek a reputable and accredited dual diagnosis facility like Ocean Hills Recovery.  Our trained staff is ready to help you get you gain control of your life once and for all.

california heroin rehab

What Happens in California Heroin Rehab?

What Happens in California Heroin Rehab?

Drug rehabilitation is not an easy process, no matter what the substance of choice is. However, going to a California heroin rehab can differ from attending rehab for other drugs. Heroin lasts much longer, and withdrawal and detox are a lot more complicated. Heroin is classified as an opioid is among the most addictive in this class.

The reason heroin is so much different from other drugs is that even small doses have profound effects on the body. According to Harvard Medical Center, the symptoms of a typical dose of heroin can last up to six hours. Once a person becomes addicted to heroin, the body physically craves the drug, and a cyclic pattern of addiction begins. A person using heroin endures painful physical symptoms once the drug starts to wear off an this leads the addicted individual to use more to alleviate the pain and intense cravings.

Despite how it feels, heroin withdrawal is rarely fatal, but the person going through withdrawals may feel extremely sick. For this reason, it is advised that a person dealing with heroin addiction seek the help of qualified professionals at a reputable California heroin rehab facility. Find out what to expect when undergoing treatment for heroin addiction.

The Heroin Withdrawal Process

When a person addicted to heroin decides to seek treatment, the beginning stages can be very challenging. Withdrawal from heroin occurs as soon as four hours from the last dose and produces severe flu-like symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person depends on factors like how long the person was using heroin, their weigh, other health conditions, as well as any other drugs or alcohol they have used. 

Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Runny nose, sneezing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mood swings, including increased aggression
  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms

Heroin withdrawal can last up to 10 days for most addicted individuals, but for those who have used heroin chronically for years, withdrawals can last for as long as 30 days. When a person decides to seek treatment for heroin addiction, it is advised that they do so with the assistance of a rehab facility specializing in heroin addiction treatment.

Detoxing from Heroin

As a person withdraws from heroin, the drug leaves their system, but the effects of use will still be present. For this reason, heroin detox in a rehab facility should be medically supervised. Though heroin detox is generally not fatal, medically supervised detox allows addiction treatment professionals to monitor moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms and intervene with medication if necessary. 

There are several medications used to help individuals beat their heroin addiction, and those medications can make the withdrawal process less stressful. Commonly used heroin withdrawal and maintenance medications include: 

Methadone: One of the most frequently used medicines for opioid detox, methadone can be started at the beginning of the detox process and is typically used as a maintenance medication following successful opioid treatment.

Buprenorphine: Used to shorten detox time, Buprenorphine also minimizes cravings for heroin and other opioids by reducing the euphoric effects of the drug.

Clonidine: This medication is used to treat the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Specifically, clonidine helps with muscle aches, agitation, and anxiety.

Codeine Phosphate: Used to curb cravings an lessen withdrawal symptoms, codeine phosphate is another commonly used medication for heroin withdrawal. 

Seeking Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Detoxing from heroin is not a process that should be attempted alone. But more than that, it’s only the first step. Getting rid of physical addiction is not enough for long-lasting recovery and it’s important not to solely rely on heroin treatment drugs for recovery. Ocean Hills Recovery, a top California heroin rehab, can not only help with heroin detox but also the transitional phase of dealing with what started addiction in the first place. 

Ocean Hills Recovery offers a  variety of effective treatment modalities to treat the whole person and help them maintain sobriety. The experts at Ocean Hills Recovery offer medically supervised detox, individual and group therapy, and comprehensive aftercare services. If you or a loved one need specialized addiction treatment services, look no further than the professionals at Ocean Hills Recovery.