Brain studies show that dependence on pain meds is not the same thing as addiction; in fact, dependence and addiction show up in entirely different parts of the brain. And chronic pain patients’ lives stand to be derailed by pain, NOT by addiction. So the opioid epidemic raises an ethical question for doctors: how to best meet the needs of chronic pain patients while using potentially addictive medications?
Nationally, alcohol consumption is down among young people. But wait! In 2015, more than two in five high school binge drinkers consumed eight or more drinks in a row, increasing the risk of alcohol-related dangers including homicide, suicide or alcohol poisoning. Take a closer look at the national numbers, and then look at what Sacramento County is doing to turn the tide on teens who drink too soon, too much, and too often
People used to ask, “Where are the jobs?” Now, in many parts of the country, they’re asking “Where are the job applicants?” The opioid epidemic is knocking employable people out of the workforce, crippling businesses and putting a damper on the economy. One possible solution: opening new drug treatment centers - not just for public health - but also to foster a reliable workforce so employers can keep their doors open for business.
The holidays can be joyful – and stressful. To help the holidays be healthy days, we offer these time-tested tips for those in recovery.
• Take good care of yourself. The holidays can be extra stressful, so be sure to create time and space for daily relaxation, meditation and mindfulness. Exercise, get some sunshine every day, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.
• View each day through a lens of gratitude. Write down your blessings each and every day.
• Spend time with your recovery community. The holidays can be lonely, so reach out to others – for them and for you.
• Make a list of people you can call who will provide support if your recovery feels shaky.
• Set the stage for sober celebrations. If your family members are big drinkers or have other addictions, you may choose to avoid the celebrations they host. Instead, invite them to celebrate with you on your terms in a setting that won’t trigger bad behavior from anyone.
• Bolster your support system. Reach out more often to your therapist, sponsor, spiritual advisor or support group.
• Find positive ways to celebrate. Spend time with people who bring you happiness and joy. Avoid people who bring you down and the gatherings where drugs or alcohol are the main event
• Give yourself the gift of freedom by getting rid of resentments.
• Make plans for parties. Build in accountability by making plans to check in with your support system before and after you go to a holiday party. Attend festive events with someone who supports your abstinence. Plan ahead for an easy exit by driving yourself or using a rideshare service like Uber.
• Tap into the spiritual base of the holidays. Focus on your relationship with your Higher Power, and the beauty of unselfish giving and service to others.