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Medication Assisted Treatment Pros and Cons

Medication Assisted Treatment Pros and Cons & The Stigma Behind It

Medication Assisted Treatment Pros and Cons & The Stigma Behind It

When it comes to getting sober from drugs and alcohol, the use of medications as a treatment intervention are often seen as controversial. The issue of using a drug in order to get off of another substance can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to certain peer support groups such as alcoholics anonymous, a group that tends to frown upon using drug-assisted interventions and adds fuel to this controversy. The case of medication assisted treatment comes with plenty of pros and cons, factors which should be properly weighed against the issue as a whole.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment?

Before we dive into the pros and cons of medication assisted treatment, it’s important to first define what medication assisted treatment is. Medication assisted treatment is the use of a pharmacological medication as a way to intervene in an individual’s substance use disorder. This treatment method is traditionally used in combination with other counseling and therapeutic modalities as a way to fully address a person’s condition.

Medication assisted treatment can be used with many different kinds of substances, particularly alcohol, opioids, and tobacco. Methadone has traditionally been used to treat an addiction to narcotics and is often the most controversial form of therapeutic intervention, as many individuals end up abusing Methadone, a substance which has many negative side-effects. Naltrexone is another substance used as a medication assisted treatment, as it is used to block the effects of opioids.

Suboxone, or Buprenorphine, is also used to treat an opioid addiction, as it blocks the effect of narcotics while reducing a person’s withdrawal symptoms. Chantix, or varenicline, is a medication which is used to treat an addiction to nicotine, as it reduces the urge to smoke, making the path to quitting smoker a potentially easier endeavor. For a wide variety of substances, medication can be used as an effective way to combat addiction and provide an individual with lasting results.

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The Pros of Medication Assisted Treatment

There are several positive factors to consider when it comes to using medication assisted treatment for substance abuse disorder. Many individuals experience success through some form of MAT, as these substances can reduce a person’s cravings and block the brain’s ability to experience the benefits of using a substance. For some patients, incorporating medication assisted treatment can increase the chances that one’s recovery will be sustainable. This is due to the way in which a drug reduces an individual’s persistent cravings, making it less of a struggle to remain sober.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medication assisted treatment can provide a person with a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. This is due to the fact that MAT can provide needed relief from constant physical cravings, allowing for a recovery to take effect much easier in many cases. It can also block the rewarding qualities of a particular substance, making the attraction of using a much less appealing prospect for most users.

The most common form of MAT comes in the form of treatment for addiction to opioids, such as heroin and painkillers which contain opiates. This is done to provide patients addicted to these substances with a method for normalizing brain chemistry, as their substance use addiction is a source of an imbalanced chemical makeup. The goal of an effective MAT program is one where an individual experiences a full recovery and has the ability to live a self-directed life of meaning and purpose.

According to SAMHSA, medication assisted treatment has been shown to improve overall patient survival, as well as increase retention in treatment. It has also been shown that this treatment method decreases opiate use as well as other criminal activities associated with this condition. It also can increase a patient’s ability to gain and maintain employment, as a sober lifestyle will make someone more likely to be responsible with their life. Additionally, using medication assisted treatment in women with a substance use disorder has been shown to improve birth outcomes within this segment of the population.

The Cons of Medication Assisted Treatment

As with other forms of treatment which involve medication, medication assisted treatment for substance abuse disorder can come with many unintended consequences and undesirable outcomes for the patient. A MAT will not necessarily offer the full solution to a person’s addiction, as there are often many factors which cause a person to become addicted to a substance. It can be alluring to believe that a simple pill will provide the needed sense of relief for an individual, but this is only a small part of the equation.

In order for a substance abuse treatment to be effective, it needs to efficiently address the reasons why a person developed an addiction to begin with. When it comes to the opioid crisis and other forms of drug addiction, one of the most common reasons people resort to using illicit substances is due to social isolation. This is when a person lacks a feeling of connection to other people in their life, creating a massive void in the process. Drugs can become much more appealing to a person without a positive support system in place.

Unfortunately, one of the big downsides to using MAT, specifically opioid blockers, is that they can contribute to lower levels of social connected-ness, engagement, and feelings of being loved. This undesirable outcome can be a significant setback for someone who is trying to regain a sense of their life, as connection with others is one of the strongest sources of support in the recovery process. If a MAT is used to help a person overcome their addiction to a substance, yet they experience a reduced connection with those in their life, it’s likely that the recovery process will be much more challenging and unpleasant, reducing the long-term odds for success.

Getting Help for Addiction

Medication assisted treatment may be a good fit for you, or it may not. For more information on addiction treatment and options available to you, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today.

OHR Provides In-Network Anthem BCBS Addiction Treatment in California

OHR Provides In-Network Anthem BCBS Addiction Treatment

In-Network Anthem BCBS Addiction Treatment in California

As a leading California drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, Ocean Hills Recovery is proud to announce we are now an in-network Anthem BCBS addiction treatment facility. This is important news as it means Ocean Hills Recovery can accept Anthem BCBS coverage with in-network substance abuse treatment benefits.  

Who is Anthem BCBS?

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) is an independent licensed provider of the BCBS brand operating as a subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Anthem has grown to become one of the largest health insurance and benefits providers in the United States. Today, Anthem serves more than 800,000 members in 14 states, including California.

Does Anthem BCBS Cover Addiction Treatments?

Yes. In 2008, the Affordable Care Act required insurance providers, such as Anthem BCBS, to provide mental and behavioral treatment coverage as part of their core health benefits. The definition of mental health treatment services includes treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Anthem BCBS fully complies with the Affordable Care Act and provides coverage for both inpatient and outpatient services.

Until now, Ocean Hills Recovery was an out-of-network provider for Anthem BCBS. This meant many services that we offer were not covered and what coverage did exist was minimal at best.

With our acceptance into the Anthem BCBS network, patients are now eligible to have some or all of their substance abuse treatments covered by their health insurance plan. As an in-network provider, patients save money on deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket expenses, making it easier to get the treatment patients need.

Which Addiction Care Services are Covered by Insurance?

As a licensed BCBS operator and meeting the regulations found within the Affordable Care Act, your Anthem BCBS insurance policy provides coverage benefits for the following addiction services:

The amount covered by Anthem BCBS depends on qualifying for approved coverage and the type of plan the patient had at the time treatment is received.

What Plans are Offered by Anthem BCBS?

Anthem BCBS offers four different levels of coverage. The most basic plan is named Bronze while the highest coverage is provided under their Platinum plan.

  • BronzeDesigned to provide the lowest premiums, the Bronze plan provides for regular check-ups and preventive care. However, due to higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, members may be required to shoulder up to 60% of medical services, including substance abuse treatment.
  • Silver An increase in premium provides for broader coverage. With the Silver plan, up to 50% more coverage is afforded than under the Bronze option. Preventative care is covered in full without a deductible or co-pay. Patients’ out-of-pocket expenses are typically limited to 30%.
  • Gold Lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses closer to 20% can be expected with the Gold plan in exchange for higher monthly premiums.
  • Platinum Offered only in California, the Platinum plan provides the most coverage. Nearly 90% of medical expenses are covered with low to no-deductibles and significantly lower out-of-pocket expenses. Individual services, such as emergencies, are covered as regular doctor visits and preventative care.

For individual plans offered under the Affordable Care Act, your premium may also depend on your family income. Choosing the right plan will require careful consideration of your situation, needs, employment, and health. Please note that not all plans are available in all areas. Visit www.healthcare.gov for plan availability.

How Can I Verify Coverage with Ocean Hills Recovery?

Insurance is a complex product and can be difficult to navigate. As an in-network, Anthem BCBS addiction treatment facility, our admission counselors are ready to review and verify coverage on behalf of our patients. Every call is free and confidential.

There is a way to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. With Ocean Hills Recovery now accepting Anthem BCBS, patients can recover without the worry of the financial costs. Call today so we start helping you or a loved one start on the road to recovery!

**If you would like more information on insurance coverage for rehab, please give us a call or you can complete this form online!

Generational Trends In Drug Use

Generational Trends In Drug Use

Generational Trends In Drug Use

While today’s headlines feature the dangers of abuse of popular drugs like heroin and meth, the temptation to abuse drugs has existed for as long as the drugs themselves have. And while treatment options may have evolved, one fact remains: treatment is imperative to break the chains addiction hold over so many drug addicts.

Trends In Drug Use During The 60s

The 60s ushered in the era of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll, and it seemed like certain demographic groups drifted toward certain drugs. Marijuana seemed to be the drug of choice for most who considered themselves ‘hippies,’ while lower-income and urban city drug addictions were often founded in heroin abuse. The 60s were also when the LSD era began, fueled by a Harvard professor named Timothy Leary.

The hype from the 60s era (think Haight-Ashbury days) would lend many to believe that that decade was the decade for illegal drug abuse and addiction, but that’s not exactly the case. A 1969 Gallup poll showed that only about 4% of adults had even tried marijuana and 43% of adults felt it was a drug that high school kids experimented with.

But a movement was coming…the Rolling Stones had a hit in 1966 talking about valium being Mother’s Little Helper, and the Beatles helped usher in a shift in drug use and addiction that the world watched with mouths agape.

Trends In Drug Use During The 70s

The 70s brought about more hallucinogenics and barbiturates, with possibly the most popular poster child for heroin addiction being John Lennon. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono began their addiction with marijuana, but by 1969, heroin ruled their life. Bandmate Paul McCartney said in an interview that the rest of the band was shocked by the couple’s heroin use because the rest of the band considered it too far out.

And while Lennon spent the next several years showing the world the travesties of drug addiction and failed attempts to get clean, drug use and addiction increased significantly. Whereas just ten years before only 4% of adults said they’d used marijuana, by 1978, 66% of Americans recognized marijuana as a serious problem and 35% showed significant concern about harder drugs—barbiturates, hallucinogenics, psychotherapeutic and pain killers.

With good reason. The 70s allowed recreational drug use to grow and by the late 70s, cocaine began its course of being a problem of epidemic proportion. While drug dealers may have started the enticing marketing of cocaine initially in urban youth cultures, by the 80s Cocaine use was just as much a sign of ‘success’ as it was a blight on urban populations.

Trends In Drug Use During the 80s

One of the iconic remembrances of the 1980s may be former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” campaign. Her husband, President Ronald Reagan, initiated the first ‘war on drugs’ as ‘crack cocaine’ was a national problem. It wasn’t just an issue for youth, though the growing numbers of youth turning to drugs like crack were scary. A Gallup Poll in 1986 found that 42% of Americans believed that ‘crack’ and other forms of cocaine were the most serious problems of society at that time.

It’s easy to see why—popular movies like Better Off Dead and Airplane glamorized the use of ‘snow’ and cocaine easily was the drug of choice for the 80s financial boom Wall Street-ers who equated the ability to buy the drugs with power. Unfortunately, those who bought into that glamorization realized only when it was too late how addictive the drug was, and to what lengths people would go to in order to obtain it. So strong the pull of drugs during the 80s was, President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986. In 1988, the Act was amended, giving stiffer penalties to those who peddled the drugs, and finally putting into place more resources for treating those who’d fallen to addiction.

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generational trends in drug use

Trends In Drug Use During The 90s and 2000

The end of the 20th century still had marijuana use as a popular gateway drug, but efforts to wage a war against cocaine use seemed to be somewhat fruitful. In fact, a Gallup Youth survey showed that marijuana use dropped from 1981 to 1999 and in 2016, the National Institute on Drug Abuse claimed that the ‘trial’ uses of marijuana, inhalants, LSD, methamphetamines and even cocaine have dropped.

That decline, however, made way for the growth of heroin and ‘club’ drugs like ecstasy and crystal meth. Despite the paranoia, delusions and overdose dangers these drugs brought, their addictive properties made abuse rates grow, and deaths due to overdose increase as well. The United States also began to see the dangers of opioid abuses, particularly prescription opioids, and this led to the current opioid crisis the country continues to face.

Trends In Drug Use From 2000 to Present Day

While a 2017 Gallup poll found that Americans are more likely to support the legalization of marijuana (64% approve of it being legal) and are using marijuana both medicinally and recreationally, a 2018 Gallup report claims government statistics show that there is progress in tackling the epidemic of illegal drugs.

That said, the Health Resources & Services Administration suggests that this country is in the middle of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, with 166 people a day dying from opioid-related drug overdoses. The CDC estimates that almost 70% of the drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, and the number of overdose deaths that involved opioids was six times higher than it was in 1999.

What Do These Trends in Drug Use Tell Us?

What all these generational trends in drug use tell us is that while the drugs of choice may evolve through the decades, the temptation to use, and consequentially the vulnerability to abuse and become addicted consistently exist no matter the year.

As long as there are drugs to be abused, sadly, people will fall to addiction and need help getting their lives back together. That’s where the compassionate care and treatment options that Ocean Hills Recovery offers make life-changing impact.

The Time To Change Your Life Is Now

If you’re struggling with addiction and want to break the bondage that addiction has held you in, the time is now. Ocean Hills Recovery is staffed with professional, certified and caring people who want to walk this road with you to put you back on the path you were meant to be in this life. They want you to spend the next decades of your life free from addiction and all the damage and danger that brings, and all you need to do is reach out to them so they can begin helping.

Don’t let any more time pass by. Call them now and grab hold of your freedom from addiction!

opioid use and driving

Opioid Use and Driving

Opioid Use and Driving

As all narcotics affect the brain, body, functions and daily activities of the average human being, the after effects and shock waves are still rolling in from all directions. One affected area is driving. As the use of opioids spread, many are trying to get a grasp on the less obvious areas of collateral damage in the fight against this epidemic. When it comes to mixing opioid use and driving, there are a lot of factors and hidden risks in one of the activities that many people participate in daily. 

What is an Opioid?

It might first help to define what classifies a narcotic as an opioid. An opioid is a compound similar to opium in its addictive properties and physiological effects.

Depending on what type of opioid is being looked at, some are illegal and some are prescription. When prescribed, they are primarily used to address pain and pain management. This is where the danger comes in because opioids are highly addictive, yet once prescribed, the user may see themselves as doing nothing illegal; once the prescription wears out, the user may turn to heroin under the guise of staying pain free and then an addiction sets in surreptitiously. 

Different Types of Opioids

According to the National Institute on Drug abuse, there are several types of opioids, including:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine

Opioid Use and Driving: A Developing Problem

The problem of driving while on opioids is a difficult one to pin down because of the fact that so many people have prescriptions and are consuming opioids legally. Also, as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage society, the target on what is considered impaired driving is constantly moving; many officers and drug counselors are scrambling to keep up with the evolution of the problem. It is a multi-layered, complex question with few solid answers. But law enforcement still has to protect the driving public at large. 

Initial Beliefs

Before opioid use and abuse became an epidemic, the initial belief was that most opioids were medically prescribed and not recreationally abused. According to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the affects of opioids on a driver were mild and far below the impairment threshold of blood alcohol concentration. Drowsiness and sleepiness could occur and use of caution would be wise. But beyond that, driving was not impacted in any major way. 

New Studies; New Thinking

 As the opioid epidemic spread, many law enforcement officers noticed drivers under the influence of opioids during traffic stops or car accidents and had to start re-evaluating standards and procedures in their handling of such cases. 

There is a noted rise in common errors when drivers were found to be using opioids. These include:

  • Failure to remain in lane
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Reduced alertness
  • Reduced lane-tracking ability

Failure to remain in the lane is the most recurring problem, as it affects more than 55 percent of opioid users behind the wheel. On a more pointed, serious note: use of prescription opioids more than doubles the risk of fatal 2-car crash initiation.

Opioid Use and Truck Drivers

Since CDL and trucks are a mainstay of the driving industry, law enforcement began to notice an uptick in the connection between truck driving infractions and opioid use. Before the epidemic, there was a failure to test properly for opioids in the truck driver’s bloodstream in favor of more obvious choices like alcohol or even simply a lack of sleep. But once the studies caught up, the results were not surprising. 

According to the American Addiction Centers, the long hours and inevitable fatigue that accompanies the truck driver’s lifestyle is a prime place for an opioid addiction to set in. Many drivers suffer from old injuries but still need to work. To deal with this chronic pain, many drivers turn to prescription opioids. Many drivers have longer routes, which leads to prolonged dosage and increases their tolerance for the opioids. The drivers often increase the dosage until an eventual addiction sets in.The US Department of Transportation (DOT) now requires any CDL driver to be drug tested after any crash involving a human fatality. Previously, the mandatory tests included alcohol, marijuana or cocaine. But as of January 2018, the new protocol includes mandatory testing for the presence of any opioids in the system. 

Obstacles

Time is the main obstacle to finding clear-cut numbers about opioid use and its affect on driving. There is thirty years of research behind statistics and facts about alcohol and driving violations. But the opioid epidemic is fairly new. And, with states around the country (California and Colorado, for example) continuing to legalize marijuana, traffic officers are having a hard time keeping up because many drivers may be influenced by more than one type of substance and they may all be legally bought or prescribed. Drug tests vary from state to state, and what worked to monitor alcohol levels won’t work for opioids. 

In any event, law enforcement agencies around the country are scrambling to find both the frequency and the severity of driving infractions while under the influence of opioids. If you or anyone you know is fighting an opioid addiction, don’t hesitate to contact Ocean Hills Recovery, where we have the people and the resources to put you on a better, cleaner path. 

repairing brain damage after addiction

Repairing Brain Damage From Addiction

Repairing Brain Damage From Addiction

It’s no secret that drug and alcohol addiction affects our lives in so many ways. From our day-to-day activities and our work and family life to the physiological and emotional tolls drugs take, addiction’s impact is tremendous. Perhaps the most considerable toll taken is that on our brain, as addiction to drugs and alcohol brings damage to our brains at cellular levels.

However, repairing brain damage from addiction is possible. More and more research continues to show that it’s best achieved when one is actively involved with a rehab program committed to not only break the cycle of addiction but also work on repairing brain damage from addiction as well.

What Does Addiction Do To The Brain?

Aside from the apparent changes in personality and behaviors addiction to drugs or alcohol brings to a person’s life, there are significant biological changes to the brain as well. Because addictive substances bring a high or euphoric effect to the user, the brain becomes more and more inclined to continue using, and addiction begins.

But, as addiction begins and grows, one can also experience brain damage from repeated drug use. The constant and increasing consumption of drugs or alcohol can bring on seizure, stroke and other neurologically damaging effects that can even make it more difficult to break the addictive cycle.

Yes, the damage addiction does on the brain can impair it so much that simply deciding to break the habit and quit using the substance is not enough to end the dependence. In fact, a recent study found that the brain damage done by excessive alcohol use does not necessarily stop just because one abstains from alcohol. The effects can be seen as long as six-months after consumption. That’s why it’s imperative to find a rehab program committed to not only helping to break the addiction but also repairing brain damage from addiction.

Addiction Affects the Brain’s Messaging System

Research has found that long-term exposure to drugs like methamphetamine can specifically alter the cellular transporters and receptors of one’s brain. Those receptors, or neurotransmitters, are the mechanisms through which the brain sends and receives messages. They are most responsible for a person’s mood, and actions, and when consistently exposed to addictive substances, can bring about anxiety, apathy, rage, insomnia, depression, and irritability in behavior.

Obviously, these behaviors can damage relationships with family members and friends, as well as within work and social environments, and abstaining from the substance can normalize the neurotransmitter activity. The problem is that there’s no set time after quitting the substance, and abuse can leave the lingering effects for up to 18 months before fully reversed. Drug rehab programs like those at Ocean Hills Recovery recognize this and know that support for long-term brain recovery is critical. 

A Rewired Brain from Addiction

Those addicted to drugs and alcohol most-often find the initial effects of the substance to bring them that ‘feel good’ reward to their bodies and brains. The high quickly turns to a low; the buzz is a hangover before an addict knows it.

And physiologically, our brains will crave those highs and buzzes and lead us to make decisions to bring them at whatever cost. The problem is that addiction and repeated substance abuse is what changes our brain’s circuitry – particularly the ones that control essential functions that control our impulses, our learning, memory and how we react to stress. This rewiring of our reward system is what is mainly responsible for the substance cravings one has.

Substance abuse also changes how our body reacts to pleasures and rewards and rewires the circuitry in our brain, making it even harder to find joy and reward in more ‘normal’ experiences. Because addiction does this, experiences like positive social interactions, food or smells, sex, and other enjoyable experiences don’t bring an addict the same pleasure and joy that they did before addiction. This makes it even harder for one to take the first steps to breaking the addiction and repairing brain damage from addiction.

This is yet another reason why finding a rehab program committed to your long-term recovery success is so important.

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How Does Rehab Aid In Repairing Brain Damage From Addiction?

A 2010 review of studies took a look at what restoration of brain function and damage looked like after one abstained from the use of addictive substances. The analysis was done by the Department of Psychology and Center for Substance Abuse at Temple University and paid particular attention to recreational drugs like methamphetamine, cannabis, and MDMA.

What the research found was simply ceasing to use the substance did not immediately restore brain function and activity that the substances had affected. In fact, the data showed that even after six months of abstinence from substances, users still found themselves scoring lower on tests that assessed their verbal and motor skills as well as psychological tasks. The former users were compared to the abilities of those who had not used the substances, and the researchers found that improvement in those areas and more often occurred for users six-to-twelve months after they were no longer using the substance.

Obviously, the amount of time needed for brain repair to occur will be different in each individual. What won’t be different is the need for an experienced and compassionate program like that at Ocean Hills Recovery to walk those weeks and even months after as your brain rebuilds itself.

Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr. Lipi Roy says that because the brain is the most complex machine known to humans, the impact that addiction can have is tremendous. She says that addiction is a disease of the brain, a chronic medical illness and that once people with addiction get connected to the right treatment and recovery services, they have the best chance of restoring their brain functions and their lives.

 What Can One Expect Of Brain Damage After Addiction Repair To Look Like?

Once you’ve taken the first steps to break the cycle of addiction and regain your life, you’ll begin to see changes in executive functioning, as well as the restoration of neurotransmitter activity. Those around you will see less rage and apathy, and begin to see more stabilized mood swings. You’ll have fewer emotional outbursts and periods of depression and anxiety. Because of the impact on your brain, you may still find yourself craving whatever it was that held you in bondage.

Those cravings were most likely brought on by the damage to your brain’s fasciculus retroflexus and ventral tegmental areas – the brain’s self-control panel, so to speak. That’s where the experienced staff at Ocean Hills Recovery steps in and walks hand in hand with you as you battle the cravings and the damage done to your brain. The best way to fight those cravings is committing to an extensive treatment plan like the programs offered at Ocean Hills Recovery. Ocean Hills offers a unique treatment approach called Collaborative Care, which is a cutting-edge treatment design that pairs 12-step recovery with a bio-psycho-social model that is customized individually for you and your needs in fighting addiction.

There Is Hope for Repairing Brain Damage from Addiction

Ocean Hills knows that given the right set of supports and conditions, the brain is capable of healing itself. The staff works diligently to educate and support while giving your brain what it needs to go through neurogenesis in recovery.

Healing the damage caused by long-term drug use starts with controlling cravings and reversing the brain chemistry that was changed by the abuse. The treatment options at Ocean Hills were explicitly designed to help you through their program to rid your body of addiction, and more, help reverse the brain damage that’s occurred as a result of your addiction. It’s possible to restore brain cognition, but you have to be willing to take the first steps and make the commitment to restoring your life too.

avoid patient brokering in rehab business

Fighting Back: How to Avoid Patient Brokering in Rehab Business

Fighting Back: How to Avoid Patient Brokering in Rehab Business

Patient brokering is a serious issue that many people deal with in the rehab business. It can be dangerous and it is important to be aware of it. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid patient brokering in rehab facilities. Arming yourself with knowledge of patient brokering will help you learn how to avoid it.

What is Patient Brokering?

Patient brokering begins with a rehab facility hiring a third party to bring in patients. The third party tries to get the patient to the rehab facility and acts as if they are referring the patient.

The patients that are talked into going to the facilities are often under the impression that this is safe. They may think that the third party is giving them a suggestion. After all, they are attempting to help them get the help that they need, or so it seems.

In reality, the third party is benefiting financially from this situation. They are using the patient in need for their own financial gain instead of helping them to find the right rehab facility. Without proper care, a patient will likely relapse after their stay at a disreputable rehab facility.

Patient brokers are known to lurk around streets and anywhere else that drugs are known to be sold and bought. In these places, they are able to talk to multiple people who are prospective patients. Patient brokers have also been known to lurk the web, hiding in social media groups preying on those in need of help. 

Once a patient broker convinces a patient that they need help, they may refer them to an illegitimate facility. Unfortunately, they will not get the appropriate care they need for their addiction either. Finally, the patient broker receives a kickback.  

Why Does Patient Brokering Happen?

One of the main reasons why patient brokering occurs is because finding a rehab facility is such a new experience. In many cases, the patient has not had to find a rehab facility before. Because of this, they tend to trust others more easily.

If someone offers to help a patient find a rehab facility, the patient may allow them to do so. This third party can be very convincing, especially to someone who may be desperate or need urgent help. The third party is aware of this and uses the patient’s lack of experience to their own advantage.

Patient brokers do this solely for the money. Since they receive a kickback, they want to get as many patients into these illegitimate facilities as possible.

How Do Some Companies Prevent Patient Brokering?

Some of the best ways that companies can prevent patient brokering are by getting accreditation and by certifying their employees. Fortunately, there are additional ways that companies have been working to prevent patient brokering.

By keeping up with their staff, companies can make sure they are aware of everything that is going on. This applies specifically to referrals and recruiting. Both the staff and management come together and make sure they are on the same page. This is also a time for management to teach staff best practices and correct any potential issues before they become worse.

Some rehab companies choose to only hire employees instead of contractors. Employees are required to abide by a company’s rules. Contractors work more independently and may be more likely to use patient brokering. These contractors are under less supervision and can get away with more.

In addition, rehab companies are eliminating quotas. Some companies have quotas for their employees to meet. This means that the staff gets desperate to bring people into the facilities. This prevents a healthy and warm environment at the facility. Some facilities have stopped setting quotas, which is helping them to bring in patients appropriately.

Not all companies have made these important changes yet. Hopefully, the problem of patient brokering will continue to diminish as more companies enforce policies to prevent it. With these policies and practices in place, more patients will receive the proper care they need.

How Can You Avoid Patient Brokering in the Rehab Business?

One way to avoid patient brokering in rehab is by choosing a reputable rehab facility. Look for a rehab facility that has the proper accreditation and licensing. Do your research to ensure that you, or your loved one, are going to the right place.

When it comes to patient safety and satisfaction, Ocean Hills Recovery does it best. Here, you can trust that the staff is accredited and licensed. They are caring and ready to help those struggling with addiction.

You will get the right care and support that you need from the staff at Ocean Hills Recovery. Since they are reputable, you won’t have to worry about patient brokering.

If you are looking for a reputable rehab facility and want to avoid patient brokering, give Ocean Hills Recovery a call today! If you have any questions, they would be happy to answer them and give you the information you need.

finding hope in addiction recovery

Finding Hope in Addiction Recovery

Finding Hope in Addiction Recovery

As addiction progresses, it can reach a point where the affected individual begins to lose hope that they’ll ever be able to overcome it. This state of hopelessness can lead to a deepened state of dependency, as it can be difficult to acknowledge any alternative possibility besides using.

But there is hope available to anyone suffering from an addiction, as there is an abundance of resources that are available to help a person combat this often debilitating condition. If you’re feeling hopeless about your present circumstances, here are some of the ways to find hope in addiction recovery.

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An Abundance of Rehab and Treatment Facilities

The rise of the opioid crisis and other forms of addiction have given way to an increase in the number of treatment programs available at an individual’s disposal. There are now a large number of treatment centers that specifically treat certain forms of addiction, offering individuals hope in the addiction recovery process.

The best addiction recovery programs help to facilitate and speed up an individual’s recovery by offering a wide range of treatments for this particular medical condition. Individuals seeking help can find a plethora of programs in the United States which offer compassionate and holistic treatment solutions.

The prospect of putting a serious addiction behind one’s self can be an extremely intimidating reality to face. Thankfully there are plenty of rehab and treatment facilities that provide realistic, proven answers to the root causes of one’s addiction. Often, it’s not just a matter of quitting a substance, one also has to come to terms with the reasons why they became addicted in the first place. An addiction can be the result of childhood trauma, a co-occurring disorder, or an increase in one’s overall life stress.

Understanding the reasons why we became addicted in the first place is an essential part of the recovery process, as it is key to avoid repeating the same decisions in the future. If our dependency is due to a particular trigger, an individual must undergo an intervention that is evidence-based. Fortunately, science has advanced in its understanding of addiction, providing individuals with a more informed and effective path to overcoming addiction.

Policies and Programs to Treat Addiction

Although the opioid epidemic has created a great amount of heartbreak and tragedy, it also has given governments the impetus to act and implement new policies and programs to help treat addiction.

Draconian drug laws still exist in many parts of the country, but we have recently seen a rise in the number of programs designed to target this particular medical condition. Many state and local governments have worked to create programs that can help to treat affected individuals, providing hope in addiction recovery to those who need it most.

The overall quality of care has improved dramatically for individuals seeking to undergo intensive treatment for their addiction. Recent developments in the addiction recovery field include things such as utilizing CBD to help combat withdrawal symptoms, embracing mindfulness practices as a helpful healing tool, and implementing a treatment plan which is compassionate and specifically addresses that individual’s particular life circumstances.

Medications and Recovery Housing Options

If a person is looking to address their addiction, they may also need a safe space in which to achieve lasting change in their recovery process. This is where something such as affordable and accessible recovery housing can play a vital role in the rehabilitation process.

Often, our close friends and family members can be a major trigger for our addictive behaviors, as they may encourage and help to facilitate a relapse. Utilizing a space that is intentionally meant to help encourage sober living can be an incredible method to overcoming an addiction.

In addition to a safe recovery housing option, medications can also be an essential component to help provide hope in the addiction recovery process. Whether it’s things such as Buprenorphine or less intense substances which help a person abstain from partaking in their addiction, medications can help provide hope to those who need more than just their own will power. Utilizing any form of aid which helps to provide lasting sobriety is worth exploring in one’s effort to live a clean and healthy life.

If the prospect of getting over your addiction has started to feel hopeless and you’re wanting to address the problem before it gets out of control, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to keep you focused on the path to recovery. We offer a solutions-focused approach that is structured according to each person’s individual situation. Relapse doesn’t need to be viewed as a failure, but it can only become a success if you decide to take the next step and address the problem. Let the caring clinicians of Ocean Hills Recovery help you jumpstart the recovery process and keep you on the road to sobriety.

does aa work

People are Asking: “Does AA Work?”

People Are Asking: “Does AA Work?”

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is the most widely-known 12-step program for those who are struggling with alcohol addiction. It’s known world-wide for its step structure, and for the many success stories from those who have gone through the 12-step program. But, does AA work? Or, is there a benefit to looking deeper at individuals, and their specific needs throughout the recovery process? Ocean Hills Recovery believes so, and has found great success in their approach to their unique 12-step recovery program that combines several effective therapies.

Is AA The Only Way?

The famed 12-step program from Alcoholics Anonymous is a globally recognized, faith-based structured program that helps alcoholics live their lives without alcohol and the ravages of addiction. Success estimates based on peer-reviewed research, however, show about 5-10% of AA participants remain sober, while addiction experts cite between 8-10%. Because of the anonymity of the program itself, it’s hard to say exactly without asking members. A membership survey done in 2014 showed that 24% of surveyed respondents were sober for 1-5 years, 13% were sober for 5-10 years, 14% were sober 10-20 years and 22% were sober for 20 or more years.

Ocean Hills Recovery works to make recovery rates much higher with individual assessments and a program structure that doesn’t just focus on AA’s 12-steps, but whole individuals and their needs. In fact, a large-scale study published in 2006 showed that there is no single medication or treatment strategy effective in every case of alcoholism addiction, and therefore, individual treatment plans need to be just that: individual.

“Does AA Work?” Isn’t The Right Question

The caring and compassionate staff at Ocean Hills know how important alcohol recovery is, and how no two alcohol addictions look the same. Often the question “Does AA Work?” is asked, but Ocean Hills believes the better question is “What works best for each individual?” Whether it’s detox, counseling, pharmacological interventions or a combination of several different things, the staff at Ocean Hills is ready to customize specific treatment plans that go well beyond the 12 steps and give recovery skills for a lifetime.

A 12-Step Program That Looks At Whole Individuals

The 12-step program that Ocean Hills uses is a completely unique program that was designed with individualization in mind. Its cutting-edge structure combines medical, therapeutic, spiritual and psychological approaches to the treatment plans for clients. Whether a 30-, 60- or 90-day residential program, the staff at Ocean Hills works with clients to bring them through recovery from beginning to end and allows for adjustment along the way. The experienced treatment team uniquely designs this Collaborative Recovery program and tailors it to each client for maximum success.

The Ocean Hills Recovery Focus

Ocean Hills Recovery focuses on what will make an impactful difference in the individual’s life. After detox, the 12-steps they will guide you through will focus on more than just the steps—they’ll also be accompanied with counseling that will give coping skills and strategies to not only get through the steps of the program, but in life. With an emphasis on requesting help, making good choices, personal responsibility, apologizing to those hurt and staying away from those who hurt you, Ocean Hills knows that true recovery is attainable. They understand that before you can reach the twelfth step—helping others to come out of addiction and into recovery—you have to get there yourself.

The Steps to Recovery Are Available

That’s why they know your first step is the most important step: much like the first step in the AA program, you have to admit that you have a problem that you are not able to control yourself. When you do this, and are ready to acknowledge that there is someone who can help you deal with your addiction, the first place you’ll want to turn is to Ocean Hills Recovery. They’ll help you with an inventory of yourself and your needs so they can help you come to terms with how you became addicted, but more, how you’ll leave addiction.

And while you’ll have to be ready to face any negative traits that may have led you to addiction, you can be confident that the staff at Ocean Hills will work with you to replace those traits with healthy, positive ones that will lend themselves to you leading the life you were meant to live. Addiction free, and ready to spend the rest of your life healthy and in a position to help others.

The question really isn’t, “Does AA work,” but more, “Are you ready to get serious about recovery from addiction?”

Ocean Hills Recovery knows the time is now, and their program is the one for you. Contact them today to get started on a rehabilitation program that is custom-designed for you and your success. Make the call; they’re waiting for you to get your life back.

are dreams about relapse normal

Are Dreams About Relapse Normal?

Are Dreams About Relapse Normal?

After recovering from substance abuse, having dreams about relapse and using again can feel terrifying. It takes a great deal of effort to become sober, so the last thing anyone wants is to go through a relapse – or even entertain the thought of it. While this type of dream is horrible to experience, it is actually quite normal.

How Many People Dream About Relapsing?

Studies show that these disruptive dreams are more common when people are just starting out in recovery. Individuals with a history of severe substance abuse are more likely to have this type of dream. An estimated one out of three people who undergo addiction treatment have this kind of dream at the beginning of the recovery process.

This type of intensive dream is extremely traumatic for people who have stopped using drugs. Even though someone has made the decision to quit, they can still have distressing dreams about using drugs or drinking alcohol. Scientists know that these kinds of dreams about relapse are quite normal, but they are still uncertain about the exact effect they have on the individual.

Scientists are still working to figure out what role these dreams play in someone’s chances of actually relapsing. While the dreams seem to gradually go away over time, many people have relapse dreams years after they become sober. For some, these dreams are disconcerting and distressing. Unfortunately, the stress caused by these dreams can even make someone more likely to relapse, so it is important for individual’s to get help right away and find the right recovery support.

How Do These Dreams Work?

For the most part, relapse dreams go through a fairly similar pattern no matter who has them. After becoming sober, the individual has a dream that they are drinking or using drugs again. They begin to feel guilty, ashamed or panicked because of their dream.

When the individual wakes up, they often feel better because they realize it was just a dream. Unfortunately, this dream can also be stressful. The individual may question why they dream about using when they want to remain sober. They may also experience cravings following the dream.

While these kinds of dreams are overwhelming to go through, they tend to decrease as someone continues in their recovery process. The individual may still dream of using years later, but the overall frequency of the dreams will be much lower. Scientists may not know how dreams really work yet, but they assume that there is a reason why these dreams disappear as someone stays sober for a longer time period. Over time, they think that the individual’s body and mind adjusts to being sober. Withdrawal symptoms and psychological disturbances gradually go away as the individual learns how to live a sober lifestyle.

It is entirely possible that these relapse dreams are just another part of the healing process. After living with an addiction for months or years, it naturally takes the individual time to recover. These dreams might be another sign that the mind is starting to stabilize and develop a new way of approaching the world.

Finding Help and Preventing a Relapse

After experiencing these dreams, individuals may feel a lasting sense of guilt or panic. The dream may reawaken a desire to use drugs or alcohol again. Because stress and triggers are linked to relapsing, it is important that individuals seek help right away. By getting help, individuals can talk through their concerns and prevent a trigger from affecting their sobriety.

A counselor, rehab or trusted friend can help individuals work through difficult dreams and experiences during their recovery. If you are experiencing dreams about substance abuse or are struggling to stay sober, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. Call us today to learn about the many ways we can work to assist you on your path to sobriety.

opioid use speed brain aging

Does Opioid Use Speed Brain Aging?

Does Opioid Use Speed Brain Aging?

It’s no secret that there is a growing opioid problem in the United States. Statistics show that more than 130 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids. The impact opioids have on the body, including the brain, are dramatic for those addicted. The impact can be seen in nearly all brain functions, leading many to ask does opioid speed brain aging? Let’s take a look at the effects opioids have on the brain.

How Does Opioid Use Affect the Brain?

Scientifically speaking, opiates work by attaching to certain receptors in the brain and mimic the effects of pain-relieving chemicals that the body produces naturally. They relieve pain and work their way through the nervous system. Taken as a prescription to relieve pain, these drugs may not be dangerous. But, when they are taken differently than prescribed, illegally and/or in high doses, the body begins to react differently.

Opioids lead the brain to release much higher levels of dopamine, the chemical that makes the body feel good. Opioids affect the brain and its functions by producing a feeling of euphoria and making the body crave more to keep that feeling. As someone uses opioids, they need more of the drug to maintain that same high.

As the brain begins to think it needs these drugs to maintain that feeling, addiction occurs. When a person uses opioids, short-term effects on the brain include:

  • Confusion
  • Poor-decision making skills
  • Memory problems
  • Attention problems

Long-term effects on the brain include:

  • The brain loses its ability to control pain on its own
  • Anxiety and feelings of depression because the body becomes addicted to the drug and nothing else can give them the same high as using opioids
  • Brain damage
  • Speed of completing tasks

Signs of Brain Aging

Researchers have found that when people continue to abuse opioids, the front part of their brain is affected. This impacts how well the brain operates and how well it comprehends things. They have also found volume loss in the brain associated with long-term use of opioids.

While getting help in a recovery program can save your life, studies show that the effects of opioid use on the brain can last a lifetime. Researchers found that people who abused opioids continued to have cognitive impairments even after they stopped using the drug. This can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble finding the right words to speak
  • Anxiety
  • Slow speech
  • Hearing loss

Another interesting aspect when asking does opioid use speed brain aging is to look at the effects depression can have on the brain. Many people who begin to use opioids may be depressed when they start using or become depressed as a result. Researchers are looking into how depression can make the brain age faster. It has to do with synapses in the brain. They discovered that people who are depressed have a lower density of synapses than people who are not depressed. Since a greater amount of synapses is generally linked to better cognition, they are lead to believe that depression is making people age faster. The exact rate remains unknown as the research and studies continue in this area.

Is Opioid Use Affecting Your Brain Aging?

If you are experiencing any of the signs of brain aging and are using opioids there is a very good chance that your drug use is to blame, especially if you were generally healthy before you started using. If you’ve used in the past and have been sober, you may also be still dealing with the effects your drug use has had on your brain.

For those who are seeking help with their opioid abuse, there is plenty of help out there. Realizing you have a problem and need help is the first step. This is often the hardest part for many people.

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction

At Ocean Hills Recovery we have counselors on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call and begin your recovery process. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery is fully trained and experienced in dealing with opioid abuse.

After speaking to a staff member, the team will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Detox is often the first and most important step in dealing with an opioid addiction. A trained medical team will be on hand to monitor you as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Once detox is complete, the rest of your treatment plan will begin. This often consists of therapy sessions, both one-on-one and in a group, to help determine what triggered the addiction. This is vital so that you can avoid the people and places that lead to your addiction.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, you will also learn how to take on new hobbies to activate the pleasure points in your brain that are no longer being triggered by opioids. It is during this time that may patients find new passions and meet new people who share the same interests. The length of each program varies from patient to patient, as everyone’s addiction is different. Many patients also continue with outpatient therapy once their program is complete.

If you’re ready to take the first step in your recovery contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to speak to a counselor or fill out our online form. We are here to help you live the sober life you deserve.