Life expectancy in the US is dropping for the first time in a century!

For the last 100 years the average life expectancy in this country had been rising, but – for reasons unknown – the upward trend ended in 1999. From 2016 to 2017, the average life expectancy decreased from 78.7 years to 78.6 years – in short, people are not living as long as they used to.

Illegal and improper use of drugs may be a large factor contributing to the decline in life expectancy. Statistics show that, along with suicide, drug usage and related overdoses rates are climbing.
Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation’s health. These statistics are a wake-up call! We are losing too many people at a very alarming rate.

The demographics of those who are living the shortest lives, however, are surprising. It seems white men and women fared the worst, experiencing increases in death rates.

Meanwhile, drug overdose deaths skyrocketed between 2015 and 2017, particularly for adults aged 25 to 54. Men, in particular, seem to be faring worse than women in this regard.

According to a report by the CDC, suicides rose by an alarming 3.7% in 2017, with a 33% total increase between 1999 and 2017. The gap between rural and urban suicide rates also widened – this geographical disparity also showed itself nationally, with some states showing a significant increase compared to others.

Bringing together the opioid epidemic and the United States’ rising suicide rates, the statistics converge to paint a sad picture of the state our country is in today.

In some cities, already-stretched resources are unable to handle the increases in suicide and drug-related deaths and put the existing infrastructure under even greater strain. The costs in both dollars and human toll are rising dangerously with no end in sight.

The situation is so alarming that Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging more people in the U.S. to carry a drug that can be administered by friends and family to reverse an opioid overdose (Naloxone) and prevent death. The announcement was made in 2018 through a rare health advisory from Adams, the nation’s foremost doctor, and medical analyst.

A CNN article displays how fentanyl-related deaths have doubled in six months, and the CDC expects opioid overdose-related deaths to jump to an all-time high of 49,000 soon.

This is a very complex set of issues, with many contributing factors and no easy fix. However, this does not imply that nothing can be done to mitigate these concerning statistics. As a society, we must do all we can to sound the alarm and tell our friends, neighbors, and families about this silent epidemic.

The data points to the truth: there are too many people feeling alone and hopeless in our society. Time is ticking. In the great tradition of our country and forefathers, we must come together before this crisis consumes more people and more lives.

This is real. This is happening. Keep our nation’s health in mind and help us reverse this negative trend for the greater good.

7 Easy Ways to Recognize and Avoid Holiday Triggers

The holiday season is about to begin! Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away, and soon after comes the rush to find the perfect presents and host the best parties. Autumn colors will change to festive greens and reds, but the holidays aren’t always sparkling and festive.

For people struggling with addiction recovery, with the parties come the judgmental relatives and all-too-tempting cocktails. Not only that, but the financial pressures of gift-giving and even the lack of light can start weighing you down.

This volatile combination of external stressors and mental burdens – including anxiety, depression, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder – make attractive the thought of just one drink.

However, you don’t have to let your holiday problems lead to a relapse. Here are some tips to having a safe, sober, stress-free season!

1. Make a list of potential problems.

What’s scaring you this season? Is it your overly-nosy aunt, or perhaps all the things you need to do between now and the next family party? Or are you afraid that if someone offers you a glass of champagne, you can’t say no? Once you have your list, move on to the next step.

2. Write down potential solutions to those problems.

Break each one down! Come up with a list of prepared answers to common questions to save you the stress of having to answer on the spot. Write a to-do list and try to get a little bit done each day! You can even write down some ways to politely reject drinks if you don’t want to tell people you’re trying to stay sober.

3. Find a support system.

You’re not alone – many people are going through similar struggles over the holidays. Find friends, family, or even online community who you can confide in and ask for advice! You don’t have to tackle everything by yourself. This way, you can have a list of people who can offer advice or some comfort if you’re feeling particularly triggered or upset.

4. Learn the signs of a craving and ways to get past them.

Cravings last approximately twenty minutes. When you feel one hit, find something else to do – going to a quiet room and meditate, for example. Come up with a list of distractions that you can fall back on until the craving passes.

5. Bring your own snacks.

Hunger, stress, and fatigue – all can increase your desire to pick up just one more drink. To help prevent this, bring your own snacks to munch on throughout the gathering; it’ll prevent you from becoming too hungry, and is also guaranteed to be a safe snack for your recovery.

6. Set a budget.

Ask yourself how much you want to spend this season. Budget out the extra expenses, such as gifts, so you have a clear plan when going shopping. Over-spending can strain your finances going into New Year, so preparing as early as possible can help reduce stress and the risk of relapse.

7. Forgive yourself.

Remember, you’re not alone. Struggling with sobriety is natural, and mistakes happen – the most important part is to keep moving. If you take one step back, take two steps forward. Acknowledge your feelings, especially the negative ones. Don’t blame yourself for mistakes, but forgive them and move on.

Prepare for the holidays in advance! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. Reducing stress during this busy time of year can grant you peace of mind and help you stay on the road to recovery.

If you have any questions, or are in need of assistance, please contact StepHouse Recovery today at (714) 394-3494 or toll-free at (888) 923-7623!

Why We’re Drawn to Celebrities and Addiction

Why are we so fascinated by celebrities? Everyone we know (and even those we don’t) have problems, and some of them involve substance abuse. So why do we clamor to read all about celebrities going through hard times? Is it a fascination with fame? Or some kind of voyeuristic itch we need to collectively scratch?

It seems every time we open our browser there is an article about Ben Affleck dealing with his battle with alcohol, or about a life cut too short, like Amy Winehouse. Even I have to stop and read when one of my favorite musicians, such as Tom Petty, dies of an accidental overdose.

Whatever it is, it can’t be denied that society has a driving need to know about the rich and famous at both their best and at their worst. Maybe it’s some comfort knowing that, at least when it comes to addiction, we are all created equal.

I feel that fame and fortune can be a dangerous trap. Many say adversity builds character – though, I have come to realize this is not true. I believe adversity reveals your true character and its flaws.

If you really want to reveal someone’s true character, see how they treat their fellow human beings once they have a lot of money and power. To see the results of this in action, just take a good look at our politicians.

I can’t say with absolute certainty why so many of our heroes fall prey to substance abuse, but I do know you don’t need to be rich, famous, or powerful to succumb to this epidemic we call addiction. It is an equal opportunity darkness that ravages whatever it touches.

So the next time you are reading about your favorite celeb and their struggle with addiction, please remember that there are also millions of families struggling with the same issue and trying to save their loved ones. Maybe you could take just a little time out of your day and reach out to someone you know that could need some help?

Addiction has reached epidemic proportions in our country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the cost of treating alcohol addiction alone in 2010 was $249 billion.

Addiction is affecting the famous and the not-so-famous, the young and the old. We need to shine as much light on this epidemic as we can, and if that means the use of a little bit of someone’s celebrity status to help spread the word, I am more than okay with that.

Why You Should Reach Out to Others

I want to tell you a story about a good friend I used to have named Jessie. When I first met him, he was your typical bright-eyed 9-year-old.

Full of life and curious about the world, he loved to play video games and be with his friends. I knew he came from a broken home and that he sometimes spent time with his father, who did not live at home with him, his mother, and two brothers. But, for the most part, to me, he was a typical child very happy-go-lucky.

Some years later, I learned that he had become homeless and addicted to drugs. I remember thinking that the boy I knew seemed far removed from the world of drugs and dependency. It was odd to me that this is where his life had taken him.

I am ashamed to say that, upon hearing this news, I did not try and reach out to him or his mother. I just went about my life as if I had never met him or spent time with him. I lost sight of the person he was and lost contact with him over the years.

I later heard he had died a tragic death at a very young age. I went to his funeral and paid my respects to his mother and surviving brothers, but it seemed a hollow gesture. I think about Jessie a lot more, wondering why I didn’t reach out to him.

I think to myself, why did I not keep in contact with him just to see how he was doing? Now, it is too late for me to re-connect with Jessie.  I look back and see it as a missed opportunity, but there is a very important lesson to be learned from this story.

Please don’t be complacent with your relationships or your old friends. Take time to pick up the phone – or, better yet, visit them see if they are doing okay. Not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

If anything good can come from this story it is that this should serve as wake-up call to all of us. I think we all suffer in silence and the world would be a better place if we shared a little more of our pain with each other. So don’t wait any longer – life is too precious and too short.

Take a moment and reach out to someone. It could save a life.

Why Short Term Treatment Does Not Work

The most important lesson I learned from my previous life as an educator is, ‘the way you are first taught to do something is how you tend to do it for the rest of your life.’ Think about this for a moment and let it sink in; say you had a young and inexperienced Photoshop Instructor when you first learned Photoshop. You may end up spending countless hours going through needless steps to get to your goal, only to realize there might have been an easier and faster way to accomplish your task. Simply following the steps which you were taught may cause you needless pain and consternation. It could take you years undoing these bad habits merely because you were taught improperly at the outset.

This is an important lesson to consider when talking about long term treatment in Orange County. How long should you take to break your unwanted behavior? How long have you been practicing the wrong lifestyle? The road to recovery is a process; perhaps it should not be tied to an arbitrary length of time. Maybe some people respond well to a 30 treatment program and in a perfect world that would be all that is needed.
As so many people keep telling me though the world is not a perfect place, so maybe, just maybe short term treatment is not enough for everybody.

Long-term rehab provides a safe place away from peers who may interrupt the process and environments that often interfere and disrupt successful sobriety. In long term treatment clients can focus on their recovery goals and develop the tools and coping mechanisms to support sobriety long after treatment is complete. Long term treatment in Orange County is a valuable option for those looking to reset their lives and take the time that it requires. Our expertise and experience with long term treatment in Orange County is something that can aid you in your recovery process and with any concerns you may have about the long term treatment recovery process.

National Meth Awareness Day 2017

Meth Awareness: Some Facts and Statistics

November 30th is National Meth Awareness Day, an important day to remind everyone, especially those who suffer from the addiction what Meth can do to you. Even today, it remains one of the most dangerous drug addictions that are out there.

On this Meth Awareness day, we at Stephouse Recovery will provide you with information on this drug, the addiction and what can be done to treat it before it is too late.

Meth: What it Does

The drug Meth, or Methamphetamine, is a stimulant type of drug that increases certain activities and functions in the brain. The biggest reaction is the rise of dopamine in the brain which is a chemical messenger in the brain that links to pleasure. Because of these elevated levels they can cause the person using it to develop a “high”, a sort of euphoric sense of pleasure. Because of this feeling and wanting to experience it again over and over this drug is extremely addicting.

However, like with many drugs, the feeling doesn’t last and once the meth wears off the user experiences a “crash”, where they suddenly feel anxious, fatigued or depressed. Because of this, many meth addicts binge on the drug to prolong the effect of the “high” leading to drug dependence. This dependence can make the addict feel as though they need to keep taking meth as much as they need air to breathe.

Long-Term use of Meth can have permanent effects on the brain, specifically the dopamine-producing cells and the serotonin-containing cells. This can lead to permanent mental disorders and sometimes permanent psychosis for some users.

Another rather frightening side effect is physical changes like the rapid tooth decay called “meth mouth”, skin sores, weight loss, and infections.

Meth users can also develop emotional and psychological issues such as:

  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Trouble with verbal learning
  • Violent Outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Distractibility
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Movement, motor, and coordination issues
  • Mood disturbances
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Delusions

Meth Awareness: Best Course of Treatment

Meth addicts can be dangerous to themselves and others without proper treatment. The longer a meth addiction lasts the greater the need for long-term treatment. Depending on the amount of dependence an addict has withdrawals can be very difficult to overcome and require a prolonged detox regime.

In general, the sooner someone with a Meth Addiction gets enrolled in treatment the better chances at long-term sobriety. For addicts who are currently being processed by the legal system, alternative sentencing programs that get addicts into rehab are better than simple incarceration. They get the help they need and it saves money on tax dollars.

Meth Awareness: Best Course of Treatment

StepHouse Recovery has proven success in Meth Addiction treatment programs. With our one-on-one therapy treatments and proven detoxification programs, our clients are eased into the process of regaining and maintain their sobriety.

If you want to find out more about our programs or would like to reach out to us please call us at (888) 923-7623.

Addiction Myths that Are Just. Not. True!

There are many addiction myths floating around out in the world and many people, unfortunately, believe them. This is not only problematic, but it can also be dangerous! While there more myths about addiction than there are days in a year, we at StepHouse Recovery are going over five of the most common addiction myths, why they are wrong and some true facts about addiction.

Addiction potential is how quickly an addiction develops for a person from when they start using to becoming an addict. The potential for an addiction to develop varies from person to person. There is no exact formula to determine someone’s addiction potential. Some may use substances several times and not develop an addiction (it is rare but not unheard of). Others use only once and signs of addiction begin to surface.

It is not only the act using a substance or engaging in a behavior that develops an addiction (although it is a big part). Many other factors determine a person’s potential for addiction such as:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental Factors
  • Developmental Factors like family upbringing or past trauma
  • Psychological Factors like depression and anxiety

What You or Family and Friends Can Do

While no one can force an addict to go into recovery (save for a court order) they can help bring to light their addiction through carefully planned interventions. Even during recovery, supporting an addict in rehab with letters, visits (if the treatment center allows it) and encouraging them throughout the course of their recovery.

It also helps for those who play an active role in an addict’s recovery to educate themselves in addiction. There are many things for them to learn such as:

  • About the substance or behavior that is the source of the addiction
  • detox for substances and the withdrawals of stopping an addiciton
  • what entails rehab, the role a strong support system can do
  • 12-steps (if practiced) and what they entail
  • Relapse Prevention

What are the Signs that you (or someone you love) Have An Addiction?

With substance Addiction, the signs can be easy to spot. With behavioral addiction, because they do not involve drugs or alcohol may be harder to identify.

Before you start becoming paranoid that you may have a Social Media Addiction just because you check your Facebook everyday take a look at these signs of someone with an addiction:

  • Changing Relationships and more conflicts
  • Poor attendance and performance at work or school
  • Changes in sleep and energy levels
  • Loss of interest in activities you (or a loved one) previously enjoyed
  • Financial troubles
  • Facing legal problems
  • Failure to stop using or engaging
  • Higher tolerance (needing to use more of a substance or activity to get the same effect)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (irritability, headaches, fatigue, etc.)

Your One-Stop Resource for All Addiction Education

StepHouse Recovery has all the resources you need to learn more about all the real facts about addiction and recovery.

If you have any questions about addiction or if you or someone you know and love has an addiction please let us know by contacting us below or call us at 888-923-7623.