There is a phenomenon that is occurring where baby boomers in their 50’s and 60’s are abusing drugs and alcohol in record numbers. In some ways we really have been a generation of excess. We came from a hard-working previous generation, where jobs were plentiful, the country was rebuilding after war time, and our parents wanted us to have what they were deprived of. We were raised with good values and a strong work ethic. We have also seen the fastest growth of technology than what the world probably ever imagined. When you think of how short of a period of time since electricity was produced, the first automobile, airplanes, telecommunications; from Morse code to hand held computers, it’s no wonder that we have come to expect results on an instant notice. Now; if we are not served food in less than five minutes, someone is apologizing to us. We have become a society that expects quick resolution to all of our country’s problems. We have been conditioned to this kind of society by how we approach simple tasks. If we want a light we flip on a switch and light is produced, if we want water we turn on a faucet which instantly produces it, if we want money we pull out a plastic card and run up credit or, debit it from our account. We also expect the same instantaneous results when we are not feeling well either physically or emotionally. We have become the first generation where we go to the doctor and tell him which drug we want to be placed on because we saw it on the television. Pharmaceutical companies have learned that they can market to us and we will storm the doctor’s office, expecting the latest drug that will take care of what ails us. Young people are abusing pharmaceuticals in record numbers and are quickly following in line to become the next addicted generation. We need to develop programs specifically to treat an aged population that is presenting itself for substance use disorders. Some of the same issues that youth blame use of drugs on, needs to be addressed. These include using out of boredom and a loss of self esteem to feelings of not being worthwhile. Problems unique to older populations are dealing with an aging body and coping without pharmaceuticals, finding new things to do and engage in, getting exercise and proper nutrition and developing support networks where they can process these issues without being shamed or discounted. There is an article in the Miami Herald that further discusses the prevalence of drug use in the Boomer Generation. Click Here for the Article.
For many people who are struggling with the new health care laws and how it may affect them; persons with behavioral health disorders, such as mental illness or substance abuse, need to know where to look for answers. I am enclosing a useful link which will direct you to potential resources. Some of these links may be on how to advocate for others, some may be for understanding the law and some may just include getting some much needed assistance. Please see the following link for assistance:
The months of anticipation are over, the lawn signs advertising support for candidates are coming down; when televisions are turned on, we no longer see an ad stating that one candidate is going to destroy America and the following commercial claiming otherwise. People can now breathe a sigh of relief as; the elections are over. Whether you are satisfied with the results or otherwise, we are Americans and we just exercised our right to engage in Democracy. No one was killed in the process, tanks did not roll out in the streets, the world did not stop revolving on its axis and the sun rose and set. Our job now is to go back to being Americans and hopefully coming to an understanding that we are all in this together. We are responsible for solving our own issues and problems. Many people long for the days when our political system was not completely polarized and our leaders engaged in; “compromise”, where it is about the people that the elected officials are supposed to represent in our country. Not special interests, not a one sided political agenda but, true compromise, with a give and take agenda. That is the scenario where; neither party gets everything they want but, things get accomplished and issues get resolved that are supposed to make our country a better place to live in.
Mental health and addiction professionals awaited in anticipation, because the outcome of the election meant a different scenario under each candidate. With the president being reelected, the Affordable Care Act is in the works to be implemented. For mental health and addictions this proves promising for our constituents, especially with the inclusion of the Federal Parity Act; which could grant benefits, not previously experienced by persons with mental health and substance abuse disorders for many years. Depending on the states setting up an insurance exchanges or facilitating ones with the federal government, Medicaid expansion could be expanded at 133% – 138% of Poverty which would make many eligible for services through mental health or substance abuse treatment. The unfortunate deal is that some states have not been inclusive of this benefit in their plan. This could cause severe financial stress to programs that have been marginalized by years worth of cuts due to the states financial hardships. Now is the time to advocate for the benefit with your representatives so they are protected for people who need them. Once a system has been destroyed, there is typically no rebuilding it. Programs that were grandfathered in with zoning laws could not afford to rebuild, people who have sat back and watched a system implode typically have no desire to recreate it and, once destroyed, it can not be rebuilt at the same cost as when it first was built. So again, this is the time to advocate for persons with mental health and substance abuse disorders so that we can have a healthcare system that will be proud of for years to come. We owe it to the people that we serve, we owe it to their families and we owe it to the communities that the people live in. A healthy society benefits us all.
Some have adopted the notion that these people brought their problems on themselves. The problem with that line of thinking is that people will get their needs met one way or another. If we do not treat mental illness we have untreated people that engage in criminal activity and we pay for them in jails or other forms of incarceration. We also pay for them when they show up in the emergency rooms and receive uncompensated care. People that live with mental illness have a life expectancy that is 25 years less than the average population. Pay me now, or pay me later; a healthy society does benefit us all.
Harbor Hall’s residential makeover continues. The dining room is completely finished and now has a washable floor in case of food spillage. We have also completed tiling the food pantry area, one bathroom and have moved on to dorm bathroom number two, to tile the floor, walls and showers. Tile will keep any water from going through the ceiling from the second floor and there are floor drains which also help to shed water. We are in the process of fixing up the night tech office that will include a service window for the administration of medications and shelves so the office will be neat and organized. Our next project will be to continue painting the residential dorm area and installing new furniture in the patient bedrooms. We have purchased heavy duty furniture that is currently used in the dorm of Hope College and our local Community College. We were impressed with the longevity of the furniture. It has a lifetime warranty. It has been in the dorm for 30 years at Hope College and we believe that it will look good and wear well. Our bedrooms will have new beds with a padded headboard and individual lighting so that patients can read in bed without disturbing other patients in the room. We have also fixed a few of the roofs on our residential building as well.
We also planted a commemorative tree in honor of long time foundation board member, Bob Ford, as he has just recently resigned from the board. We thank him for his many years of service and wish him well in his future endeavors.
As we move from summer to fall and the colder part of the year, think of what has changed in the life of a loved one who is struggling with the disease of addiction. The weather has gotten colder. The problem with the life of the addict is, without treatment, life becomes stagnant and the addict experiences the sameness that they always feel. Treatment gives the person an opportunity to live drug and alcohol free and move forward in their life.
Harbor Hall has started to take in many private pay patients because of our affordability versus many of the other private treatment centers in the State of Michigan. Please look at our cost comparison page and see the difference of our costs versus many other long term treatment facilities. If you have any questions concerning admissions, please call our Executive Director, Terry Newton at (888)-880-5511.
Helping a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol requires a lot of love and patience – and a fair amount of research. In addition to deciding whether your family would benefit from the services of an interventionist, you will need to carefully evaluate your drug rehab options.
If you’ve looked into drug rehab at all, you know it can be difficult to find the one that is best suited to your loved one. The sheer number of rehabilitation centers, compounded by the fact that they all make the same claims, can make the decision process overwhelming.
What features are truly important? How can you dig through the marketing talk to figure out what’s really being offered? Here are 10 must-ask questions for any drug rehab you’re considering:
1. Is the facility licensed and accredited?
Many drug rehab centers claim to provide a high standard of care. The best way to substantiate those claims is through objective third parties. Look for drug rehabilitation centers that have been licensed by the state and accredited by such national organizations as the Joint Commission and CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). These accrediting bodies require programs to meet rigorous standards of patient care and quality programming.
2. Does the staff have the credentials to provide expert care?
A drug rehab program is only as good as the people providing patient care. The therapists and staff will be the ones “in the trenches” with your loved one, exploring deep-seated issues and offering guidance on how to live a happy, productive, and sober life.
While life experience, particularly a personal recovery story, can make the staff relatable, it is also important that they have the qualifications to provide high-quality care. The treatment team should include licensed drug counselors and master’s level therapists, among other specialists. A favorable staff-to-patient ratio is another important consideration.
3. Does the drug rehab center treat co-occurring mental health disorders?
Most people who struggle with addiction also suffer from one or more co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or a personality disorder. While all of these conditions are highly treatable, they require a specialized type of care from a multidisciplinary treatment team.
Research shows that integrated treatment that addresses all disorders simultaneously is the only effective way to address dual diagnosis. Many drug rehab programs claim to treat dual diagnosis, but the ones that do so effectively will have special programming for dual disorder patients and access to a psychiatrist and other professionals.
4. What is the philosophy of the treatment center?
The 12-Step principles serve as the foundation of treatment at some of the most effective drug rehab programs. If the treatment center you’re considering doesn’t utilize the 12 Steps, find out why and if alternatives, such as SMART recovery and Life Ring, are available. Decades of research have proven the value of 12-Step programs, which provide a framework for lifelong recovery and offer meetings in most communities all over the world.
5. What kind of reputation does the drug rehab have?
There are few indicators of quality as reliable as the informed opinions of others. While online reviews can be dubious, programs that have made a good name for themselves in the community typically have been around for many years and have happy customers recommending their services to others. Those with strong reputations are also likely to welcome you onsite for a tour and provide names of alumni who are willing to share their experiences and advice.
6. Will treatment be tailored to the specific needs of my loved one?
Every drug rehab center has a core “program” as the guideline for treatment. But the best drug rehabs will then tailor this program to the specific needs of each patient, seeking out the blend of therapies that will give that individual the best opportunity for lasting recovery. As the patient grows in their recovery, the treatment plan adjusts to their changing needs.
7. Will my loved one be safe and comfortable?
Recovery requires rigorous honesty, a willingness to confront the past, and a great deal of soul-searching. While the work of recovery isn’t always comfortable, the experience of drug rehab can be.
A number of drug rehab centers offer all of the amenities of resort living, such as swimming pools, private rooms, beautiful views, and highly desirable locations. Some provide assistance with legal problems, interventions, and other services. It is also important that the drug rehab foster an environment of safety and support, where the patient’s privacy is well-guarded and their emotional security protected.
8. What types of therapies and activities are offered?
Typically, a drug rehab center that offers a wide variety of therapies (including gender-specific options) will give your loved one the best opportunity to find what works for them. Most programs offer the basics, including medical detox, individual, group, and family therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Other programs go a few steps further, offering art therapy, equine therapy, EMDR for trauma, experiential therapy, and others. Better yet, some programs will offer programming designed to treat mind, body, and spirit, including yoga, acupuncture, massage, and other holistic therapies. Make sure to ask about relapse prevention and continuing care planning as well long-term treatment options.
Also be sure to take into account the types of activities offered and whether they are a match for your loved one. Are there certain types of activities your loved one enjoys? Are they an outdoors person or more of a city dweller? Some programs promote outdoor recreation such as hiking or rock climbing, while others may schedule outings to theaters, shops, and local entertainment venues.
9. Does the program work with insurance?
Cost shouldn’t be an obstacle to getting quality drug rehab treatment. Even some of the most luxurious drug rehabs accept insurance and will work to maximize your benefits and/or create a payment plan.
10. Will I be part of my loved one’s treatment?
Family members and loved ones are an important part of drug rehab treatment. Whether entering short- or long-term treatment, the eventual goal is for the patient to return home to their family. In order for this transition to be successful, family members must learn about the disease of addiction and how best to support their loved one in recovery.
The best drug rehab programs strongly encourage family involvement throughout treatment. Although there may be a short “blackout” period when the patient is not in contact with family members during the first few days of treatment, the program should offer family therapy, visitation, and a family program through the rest of the patient’s stay.
Getting straight answers to these questions will simplify your life at a time when life is anything but simple. With this important decision out of the way, you and your loved one will have taken the first step in the incredible transformation that happens during drug rehab.
By David Sack, M.D.
Getting an addict into drug rehab isn’t always an easy task. Getting them to stay there can be even harder. Here are five of the most common reasons people leave drug rehab against medical advice, along with suggestions to help the addict stay committed to their recovery.
1. “Detox is too painful.”
Research shows that the first week of drug rehab is the time when most addicts ask themselves, “What the heck am I doing here?” Withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings and an unfamiliar environment can fill the addict with anxiety at the same time they are deprived of their primary coping mechanism: drugs. Some addicts rationalize that they felt better when using drugs and give up on rehab before treatment really begins.
Prevention Tip: Detox can be made more comfortable with medication and alternative therapies such as neurofeedback, acupuncture and massage. Even if the addict isn’t feeling great, they should try to get involved in as many treatment activities as possible.
Rather than isolating, their peers will help them realize they are not alone and see the hope that treatment brings. The earlier the addict develops trust and rapport with a therapist, the more likely they will listen to the therapist’s recommendations and push through the uncertainty.
2. “I’m not like these people.”
This is a common assertion made after the addict attends their first 12-Step meeting or group therapy session. It is the nature of the disease for addicts to think they are different, smarter or stronger than other addicts. This belief allows them to put up emotional walls between themselves and others and to avoid doing the soul-searching work of recovery.
Prevention Tip: If an individual would fare best in the company of like-minded peers, try to find an appropriate drug rehab program for their needs. Once in treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help the addict turn their focus on differences into recognition of similarities. Education about denial can teach the addict that their disease is driving them to rationalize leaving rehab.
3. “I don’t like it here.”
If an addict wants to go back to using drugs, they must find a justification to do so, both for their own peace of mind and to appease their loved ones who desperately want them to get well. Rather than accepting responsibility for their own recovery, they may place the blame elsewhere – often on the food, accommodations, rules, treatment schedule, staff or other patients.
Prevention Tip: In some cases, the addict’s concerns may be legitimate. Perhaps something can be done to make them more comfortable, such as changing roommates or switching therapists. Or perhaps another treatment center would be a better match, particularly if the individual struggles with co-occurring mental health disorders that aren’t being addressed.
It is always wise to stay involved with treatment and listen to a client’s concerns to determine whether they can be addressed or the individual is merely looking for an excuse to leave. In the latter case, it is essential for family members and other treatment professionals to present a united front, offering loving reminders about why the addict needs to complete treatment. Family involvement and family therapy aid in the process, but “rescuing” an addict from drug rehab merely enables the addiction to continue.
4. “I already know this stuff.”
In addiction recovery, there are certain themes that get repeated throughout treatment. This is because repetition is how we learn. Sometimes it isn’t until the second or third go-around that the addict truly embraces a particular recovery principle or gains new insight. In some cases, the addict may use this excuse to avoid dealing with the painful memories and feelings being explored in therapy.
Prevention Tip: There are many ways to show addicts that no matter how much they think they know, they can always learn more. These include having outside speakers share their stories of recovery, offering alternative therapeutic modalities that the addict hasn’t yet explored, maintaining a full schedule of recovery-related activities, and discussing the likely outcome if the addict follows through on their plan to leave.
5. “I can do this on my own.”
At some point during treatment, most addicts develop a type of confidence that is both healing and potentially damaging. After maintaining their sobriety for a while, they feel healthier than ever and are assured of their ability to stay clean. It is at this point that some believe they are “cured” of addiction and anxiously wish to return to their families and careers.
Prevention Tip: Research shows that the longer an addict stays in treatment the better their chances of avoiding relapse. Believing they “know it all” may be a sign of progress but is also a red flag that more education and treatment are necessary. Step-down levels of care (e.g., moving from inpatient to outpatient or a transitional living environment) allow addicts to test their new recovery skills with ongoing professional support.
In many ways, drug rehab is an exercise in faith. We ask addicts to draw on coping, interpersonal and distress tolerance skills they haven’t yet developed, based on the assurance of others that recovery is possible. Change is hard for an addict, but stillness can be even harder. With the support of family and a team of professionals, addicts can stay still long enough to experience the many rewards of recovery.
David Sack, M.D., is board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine. He is CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, a network of treatment centers that focus on addiction treatment, eating disorders, and dual diagnosis.
Click here for map:
The World Drugs report for 2012 is out and it shows that 230 million people around the world – 1 in 20 of us – took illicit drugs in the last year. The report also says that problem drug users, mainly heroin – and cocaine-dependent people number about 27 million, roughly 0.6% of the world adult population. That’s 1 in every 200 people. The report is published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and is full of fascinating stats – we’ve extracted some of the key ones for you in this visualization, created by Andy Cotgreave of Tableau. Click on the map to see how drug use changes around the world
• DATA: download the spreadsheet
Presented by William “Bill” White October 18, 2011; 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Dawn Farm in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I had to travel a distance to see Bill this evening and it was well worth it. Many know that I consider Bill White to be a mentor and I am fascinated by his breadth of knowledge of Addiction and Recovery in America and abroad. Here he discusses history of addiction and treatment in America and the new Recovery Movement.
Please click here for articles, papers and books by William White.
Satisfaction results for residential treatment services in the Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services Area
Provider Name Overall Satisfaction
Addiction Treatment Services – Traverse City 96%
Harbor Hall – Petoskey 99%
Sunrise Centre – Alpena 95%
Ten Sixteen Treatment Center – Midland 100%
These results were tabulated through Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services, who conducted independent evaluations of the programs that they contract with in Northern Michigan. This is a testament to all of the dedicated staff, throughout Harbor Hall, who work to insure that our clients are treated with dignity and respect.
This is a story that is worth telling. The Anonymous People is a grassroots movement to get people in recovery to advocate for others that are still out there suffering from the disease of addiction. It basically scolds us in recovery to say that; “By Our Silence, We Let Others Define Us – Susan Rook” I attended the Celebrate Recovery walk on September 15th on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. There I met Pat Taylor from Faces and Voices of Recovery, Gil Kerlikowske Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Ben Jones from NCADD of Detroit and others who came out to Walk for Recovery. We can share this story, we owe it to our fellow addict to spread this story. Please watch; “The Anonymous People.” Spread the word, Share the Story.