5 Healthy Habits For Lasting Recovery From Addiction

Addiction recovery is a process that isn’t over when you stop using drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t end when treatment ends, either. If you go home thinking you’re cured and not being mindful of how you live your life, you risk relapse. 

Fortunately, developing and following healthy habits increases the chance of recovery success. Here are five healthy habits for lasting recovery.

1. Take Care Of Yourself

Most people who struggle with addiction neglect their physical and mental health. A successful recovery requires a complete change in the way you live, and taking care of yourself is the place to start.

Substance abuse often stems from an inability to deal with stress. Practicing stress management techniques and reducing the stress in your everyday life can prevent relapse. 

Since physical health and mental health are closely connected, nurturing your body goes a long way to decrease stress. 

A few ways to take care of yourself every day include:

  • A healthy diet: Drink enough water and eat enough food. Avoid processed foods whenever possible and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating poorly or being hungry makes it harder to think straight and stand firm in recovery.
  • Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins (brain chemicals that make you feel happy). It also reduces blood pressure and stress hormones. Choose a form of exercise that fits you—walking, yoga, kayaking—anything that gets you moving and makes you feel better.
  • Enough sleep: Most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep per night. More or less than that can leave you tired, which makes it harder to handle stress and may trigger substance use. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body regulate sleep.

2. Connect With Others

If you attended an addiction treatment program, you probably participated in group therapy and support groups. Connecting with others is a vital part of getting out of the cycle of addiction.

When you’re isolated from others, you spend too much time with your thoughts. This can lead to many mental issues, such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Being with others can give you a different perspective and lend you support when you feel helpless. 

Join a support group or reconnect with friends and family (other than those who abuse drugs or alcohol). Don’t be afraid to let in new people who support your recovery. Individuals who’ve also experienced addiction can be a comfort as they know what you’re going through.

Be sure to surround yourself with people who are positive and uplifting—not negative people who bring you down.

3. Be Creative

Writing, art, and music are creative ways to express yourself and your emotions. Creativity can be an outlet for frustration or an act of self-discovery. It’s a great way to relieve stress.

Being creative isn’t just about producing a work of art. It’s about changing the way you live. Develop new hobbies that can teach you things, fill your time, and boost your self-confidence. Do things that fulfill you and give meaning to your life.

Depending on drugs or alcohol to have fun or feel happy can make it hard to enjoy life without them. The way some substances affect the brain’s reward center makes this especially true. But if you start doing new fun things in recovery, your brain will adapt and reward you for your healthier choices.

4. Be Mindful

Many addiction treatment programs teach mindfulness, which is the act of being aware of your thoughts and the world around you. 

Mindfulness encourages people to enjoy the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This means savoring good experiences instead of missing them because your mind is somewhere else.

It also means paying attention to the things you do and not acting impulsively, which gives you more control over preventing relapse.

In recovery, you can practice mindfulness by staying away from people, places, and things that trigger substance abuse. Having a structured daily schedule can help. When you have a plan, you’re less likely to be bored or anxious, and it’s easier to avoid old habits.

Being mindful of your thoughts is also important in recovery. 

Part of healing is self-improvement and making up for bad things you’ve done in the past. But if you only focus on the negative, it might raise your chance of relapse. You need to recognize your strengths, too. 

Building on your strengths can give you confidence, separate you from your addiction, and make you a stronger person overall.

5. Be Grateful

If there’s ever a time to be grateful, it’s when you’re in recovery. You’ve broken free from addiction and are on your way to something better. Be grateful for your life, your health, and the people who support you.

When you start feeling negative or hopeless, list all the good things in your life. You’ll probably find that there is more to be thankful for than you realize. Focusing on the good can uplift your mood and give you the strength to carry on in recovery.

Some people feel that they don’t deserve good things after the damage they’ve caused by their addiction. Now is the time to forgive yourself and be grateful for this second chance.

If you’re struggling with addiction and want to make a change, speak with a treatment specialist at ARK Behavioral Health today. Our rehab programs teach healthy habits to give you the best chance of lasting recovery.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2020 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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Brief Brain Snacks

In this episode, Can The Brain Recover From Addiction, we explore the brain’s recovery from addiction to substances, like opioids and alcohol, and whether our brains are capable of making a complete recovery from any damage sustained from substance abuse and dependence. Can the brain recover from addiction? In honor of Micheal McClendon, 13 years sober prior to his passing in September 2018. He will be missed. Created by: Amanda Cortex Edited by: Aaron Amygdala ———- Support the show by becoming a patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/briefbrainsnacks ———- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bbrainfacts Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/briefbrainsnack Instagram: http://instagram.com/briefbrainsnacks ———- References: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/bl…https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/bl…https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar…https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/…https://www.thelancet.com/journals/la…https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056… Images: Hammer – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi… Neuron – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi…

7 Ways Drugs & Alcohol Destroy Relationships

Maintaining a good relationship, whether it’s romantic or between family and friends, requires time and attention in addition to compassion and love. 

An unexamined relationship could have underlying problems that won’t become apparent until stress occurs, such as from financial difficulties or the emergence of drug or alcohol abuse. 

To help you avoid problems in your own life, or to recognize the signs of a fracturing bond, here are seven ways substance abuse can ruin relationships.

1. Secrets & Lies

When it comes to illegal drugs or using prescription drugs without authorization, your loved one may keep their use secret. Otherwise, they risk being shunned or stigmatized. 

In some cases, a person abusing alcohol or drugs will keep usage secret out of feelings of guilt and shame as well as not wanting to be judged. There is motivation to keep things under wraps, allowing secrets in the relationship to fester. 

This problem may unfortunately increase over time. Someone with addiction winds up doing things like hiding illicit substances in the house, periodically leaving for inexplicable trips, and lying to the people they love most.

2. Mental & Emotional Abuse

Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, your loved one may insult the people around them and increase verbal attacks to the point where it becomes mental abuse. 

Such ongoing abuse leads to mental health problems and feelings of low self esteem, whether directed at a parent, child, sibling, or close friend. Healthy relationships are not sustainable under conditions of ongoing emotional abuse.

3. Physical & Domestic Abuse

Injuring another person physically while abusing alcohol or drugs is an unfortunate reality. 

Someone who is out of control and not entirely aware of their physical capabilities can do some real damage. This is especially the case in parent-child relationships. 

Aside from the physical harm from fighting, the relationship will be effectively ended if someone is arrested or put in jail for domestic abuse. 

4. Loss Of Income & Stability

Losing your job is a distinct possibility when drug or alcohol abuse interferes with your ability to meet work obligations. If a pattern of absenteeism or tardiness emerges, the employer may have to take steps to put a stop to the pattern. 

But when your judgment is clouded because of alcohol or drugs, you may not be able easily comply with your boss’ instructions to fall in line. 

In a perfect world, you manage to take a leave of absence from work and enroll in a drug rehab facility. In reality, a chronically absent individual winds up being fired. 

The resulting loss of income, as well as feelings of shame and embarrassment, puts additional strain on relationships and threatens stability within the household. 

5. Loss Of Trust

Without a basic level of underlying trust, a relationship can quickly go sour, whether between friends, romance partners, or family. A person caught in the grips of drug abuse may continuously lie about their whereabouts, activities, or the people they’re spending time with. 

Sometimes trust dissolves in the presence of alcohol or drug addiction because of a pattern of broken promises, letdowns, and disappointments. 

For example, a father is coping with severe addiction and proclaims he will attend his child’s next music performance or little league baseball game, only to not show up once again. This causes a rift of mistrust to grow between parent and child.

6. Emotional Distance

When one half of a romantic couple loses control over alcohol or drug use, fights may happen more frequently. The strain of fighting can itself motivate the person to use even more drugs or alcohol, further complicating the dilemma.

At a certain point, this increased fighting can turn into a vicious circle. Without some intervention, including acknowledging that addiction is the disease, the relationship is more likely going to deteriorate further. 

Although it can be difficult, loved ones have the power to speak openly about their feelings and help motivate the person to seek therapy and treatment.

7. Codependency

In a codependent relationship, there is a power imbalance and a lack of harmony. A codependent person will tend to focus on their partner’s needs, ignoring their own. 

The problem here is that the partner with a drug or alcohol problem is being enabled. This could look like bailing your loved one out of jail or making excuses for their absences at work or school that were caused by intoxication. 

It’s easy to see, for example, how a codependent person would lie to a boss about her husband being sick when it’s actually the case that he has passed out or has gone missing while out on a bender with friends.

Although we mention several extreme hypotheticals, being in a relationship with someone with addiction is difficult. The good news is that there is hope in recovery for the whole family.

If you have any questions about the drug and alcohol rehab programs available at Ark Behavioral Health, please connect with one of our treatment specialists today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2020 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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Todd Creager

https://toddcreager.com/ Todd Creager, a renowned marriage and relationship expert in Orange County, talks about 5 ways the alcohol can ruin relationships. From destroying the relationship with yourself, to inhibiting communication, alcohol is the most commonly abused substance and can create major barriers in your relationship. Learn more about Todd’s therapy and counseling services at https://toddcreager.com/. Based out of Huntington Beach, he serves the Orange County area – including Newport Beach, Irvine and Corona del Mar – with expert marriage and sex counseling services. TAKE ACTION: ============ Todd Creager, LCSW, LMFT Todd is a sex expert and therapist in Huntington Beach. He provides relationship counseling to couples throughout Orange County including Irvine, Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Seal Beach and Long Beach. (714) 848-2288. Join Todd on social: ============== Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Relationship… Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/todd_creager/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/toddcreager

COVID-19 Mental Health And Addiction Resources

The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a dramatic toll on virtually all aspects of life, from the economy, to employment, relationships, public health, and personal health. 

In the United States, more than 200,000 individuals have died of the coronavirus. As of October, hundreds of thousands of Americans are filing unemployment claims each week. For all of us, the pandemic has become a time marked by uncertainty, fear, and grief. 

According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40 percent of US adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use issues

Although much of the general population has admitted to feeling more anxious and depressed during the pandemic, those with substance use and mental health issues face unique challenges.

What’s important to know during this time is that everyone responds to stressful situations differently. There is no wrong way to feel or to react to the changes you may see around you, or in people you love. 

Since March 2020, numerous resource guides and directories have been developed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to fill the gaps the pandemic has created in access to care, social support, and ensuring quality and affordable treatment.

Here you’ll find information on:

  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and substance use
  • List of mental health and addiction resources
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about telehealth
  • caring for a loved one who is struggling

Why Are People Struggling More During The Pandemic?

Mental health difficulties that people are experiencing during the pandemic are not something that can be traced back to a single source. For most people, it’s likely a combination of factors.

The ways that people are impacted by sources of coronavirus-related stress can also differ depending on mental health history, the hardship they’ve personally experienced during the pandemic, and other personal risk factors. 

Sources of stress related to the coronavirus pandemic might include:

  • changes in employment
  • housing instability
  • economic insecurity
  • grief/loss
  • domestic abuse
  • being an essential worker (or worrying about a loved one who is)
  • being high-risk for COVID-19 complications
  • substance use/mental health relapse
  • severed access to medical and behavioral health services
  • reduced social support
  • living alone 
  • uncertainty of the timeline of the pandemic
  • returning to school or work (for yourself or loved ones)
  • increased attention towards germs/spreading disease 

There are a whole host of social, economic, and cultural forces that have driven increases in mental health symptoms in the general population and those with pre-existing mental health issues. 

In addition to the pandemic, people are also currently grappling with stress associated with racism, racial discrimination, police violence, and the presidential election.

These various sources of stress can pervade our interpersonal lives, our professional lives, and our interactions with our individual communities and the nation at large. We can see these struggles show up in the workplace—physically, or on digital platforms like Zoom—in the home, on the streets, in educational settings, and in online interactions. 

You might find yourself and the people around you demonstrating a short temper, isolating from others, lashing out, and acting in other uncharacteristic ways. 

Not all of us feel comfortable sharing the ways we’ve been negatively affected by the pandemic. This is true whether this concerns the loss of a loved one to the coronavirus, or how the pandemic has influenced our mental health and coping habits.

What We Know About Mental Health And The Pandemic

Multiple health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have reported the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the United States and globally.

Effects On Mental Health In The General Population

Many people without pre-existing mental health conditions are reporting feelings of increased stress, anxiety, and depression. 

In early October, Dr. Joseph Gorden—the director of the National Institute on Mental Health—told CNN that this increase in mental health symptoms has previously been seen in the aftermath of other crises, such as 9/11 and extreme weather events. 

One difference with COVID-19 is that the crisis is ongoing, and extends beyond a singular event. The American Psychiatric Association, which surveys Americans every year, recently released their 2020 findings on the state of mental health in America, which included the following:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 adults say the coronavirus pandemic has been a significant source of stress in their lives
  • Two in three adults report feeling increased stress during the pandemic
  • Nearly one in five adults say their mental health is worse than this time last year 
  • More than 75 percent of adults say the future of the nation is a significant source of stress
  • Generation Z teenagers (ages 13 to 17) and Generation Z adults (18-23) are experiencing elevated stress and depression that may have long-term consequences on health and well-being

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which conducted a poll in July, many adults are also reporting increases in alcohol or drug use, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and worsened chronic health conditions. 

Effects On Mental Health In People With Mental Health And Substance Use Disorders

Trauma and stress can be major risk factors for substance use and mental health relapse. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s very reasonable to identify this experience as a form of trauma. Across the world, people are facing immense uncertainty, loss of life, and reduced access to supportive resources. 

While many sources of pandemic-related stress might be similar to those of the general population, the impact of this stress can have different implications for people with pre-existing mental health and substance use disorders. 

This includes people who have:

  • major depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • bipolar disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • psychotic disorders (e.g. schizophrenia)
  • eating disorders
  • substance use disorders

Compared to the general population, people with mental health and substance disorders might face unique challenges. 

These could include difficulties accessing mental health services (including medications), severed access to substance use services and related social services, and enhanced reactions to the lack of social support and isolation generated by the pandemic.

Mental Health And Drug Relapse

The effects of the pandemic may provoke drug or alcohol relapse, which can be troubling both for the individual struggling as well as those around them. 

This might increase tension in the household, or provoke significant worry and concern among loved ones who aren’t able to visit their struggling loved one due to safety concerns.

Effects of substance use or mental health relapse might include:

  • increased agitation or hostility
  • suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • domestic troubles
  • isolation
  • forgoing treatment (including medication regimens)
  • effects on work performance or studies
  • increased panic attacks or flashbacks

Increase In Drug Overdoses

Drug overdoses have also been on the rise, as reported by the American Medical Association (AMA). According to the AMA, more than 40 states nationwide have reported increased drug overdose rates in 2020 compared to 2019. 

This is significant, as the United States reached an all-time high in total drug overdose deaths in 2019, after seeing a decline from 2017 to 2018.

As reported by NBC, the month of May was the deadliest month for drug overdoses in five years. And according to national data from August, this year is on its way to reaching an all-time high in drug overdoses, with data already showing an 18 percent increase from this time last year.

During the pandemic, several barriers to treatment services—including harm reduction services, such as safe needle exchanges—have emerged, blocking pathways towards seeking help. 

People with active substance use issues may have also been cut off from their usual dealers. This might sound positive on the surface. However, this could very well lead to the sort of desperation that might result in seeking drugs from more dangerous sources, where drugs might be laced with other substances or otherwise put the drug user in danger.

Mental Health And Addiction Resources During COVID-19

As millions of people across the United States face greater stress and depression during the pandemic, many existing organizations—national, state, and local—have created and shared resources for mental health and substance use prevention.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of organizations that provide resources for people with mental health and substance use disorders, and their loved ones:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created an exhaustive resource page for mental health during COVID-19. 

The agency has compiled a comprehensive list of national helplines, and resources specific to families and children, teens, healthcare workers and first responders, and people in the high risk category for COVID complications.

General resources include:

National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a government-run organization and resource for individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance abuse. They have compiled a list of COVID-19 resources and resources specific to helping individuals with substance use disorders

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s leading grassroots advocacy organization for individuals and families affected by mental illness. They’ve released an extensive resource guide, featuring information on how to cope with stress, how to seek treatment, and seeking help for loved ones who are incarcerated.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a government-run agency that has released a COVID-19 guide for drug abuse treatment providers, individuals, and families affected by substance use and mental health issues. 

Among other things, this guide includes guidance on safely administering naloxone for opioid overdose, virtual recovery resources, and information on telehealth services. 

Mental Health America

Mental Health America is a leading national nonprofit organization that has created a COVID-19 specific resource page for individuals and their loved ones affected by mental illness. 

This resource page offers general information about mental health and the coronavirus, as well as coping tools, screening tools, and informational sessions on mental health and COVID-19. MHA’s guide also offers resources specific to certain populations.

This includes mental health resources for:

  • Frontline workers
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  • LGBTQ+ communities
  • Caregivers
  • Parents

Psychology Today

Psychology Today has an online directory of clinical professionals, psychiatrists, and treatment centers across the United States. Through this website, individuals can search for nearby treatment centers and providers. 

Filters for accepted insurance, types of treatment, and preferred treatment modality are also available. This includes specific search functions for finding teletherapy services. 

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has moved their meetings online (also accessible by phone) to support current and former addicts across the country. Information about their meetings, how to get connected, and related resources are available here

Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous, like NA, is also offering free services for individuals impacted by cocaine use. This includes email support and voice-only online meetings. 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

The NIAAA has created a resource page specifically for people navigating the challenges of COVID-19 with a current or previous history of alcohol abuse and addiction. This includes information on virtual support meetings, frequently asked questions about alcohol and the coronavirus, and updates on alcohol sales.

National Support Hotlines For Mental Health, Abuse, And Addiction

Many national and local hotlines exist in the United States to provide support and treatment for individuals in crisis. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several leading behavioral health organizations have reported receiving enormous spikes in calls from individuals struggling with mental health and substance use issues. If you need immediate help for mental health or substance use-related struggles, you’re not alone.

For immediate support, consider these hotlines:

  • National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800-950-6264
  • Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • Veterans Crisis Line (National): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text: 8388255
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • Teen Line: 1-800-852-8336 or text “TEEN” to 839863

To find local treatment centers, treatment providers, and Telehealth services:

You can also check your state and county health departments to find localized resources and treatment. Many state and local health departments have existing substance abuse prevention and behavioral health departments. 

Local health departments may have additional information on how to report an overdose, where to find safe sharps disposal sites near you, and how to access social support services during COVID-19.

Are Mental Health And Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Open?

Many substance abuse and mental health treatment centers across the United States have remained open at full or partial operation during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure continued care during these difficult times. The types of services currently offered may vary according to the center. 

Early on in the pandemic, organizations like the CDC and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released recommendations for how to safely treat patients in psychiatric settings during this time. 

These recommendations pertain to certain safety protocols as well as guidelines for maintaining HIPAA privacy standards while delivering telehealth services.

COVID-19 And TeleHealth Services

Since March, many mental health and substance abuse treatment providers have shifted their services online or by phone to prevent COVID-19 exposure. 

Telehealth services have become one solution to the safety concerns of in-person interactions between providers and patients. Telehealth refers to digital health services that are conducted by phone, text message, live chat, or video.

Telehealth services may include:

  • primary care
  • mental health and substance abuse counseling
  • virtual support groups
  • psychiatrist appointments
  • low-risk urgent care
  • coaching services
  • physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • case management and care planning

How TeleHealth Works

The experience of telehealth services can look different depending on the type of service and the provider. Telehealth services can be delivered in real-time by treatment providers, or be recorded, stored, and later shared with patients. 

For individuals with mental health and substance use issues, common telehealth services include: counseling, virtual support groups, and other clinical services. These services are offered by both individual treatment providers—such as a counselor—and some rehab centers. 

Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have also moved online in some communities, and on a national and regional level. You can learn more about AA’s online options for United States residents here

Who Can Benefit From Telehealth?

Many of the same benefits that can be received through in-person services can also be received through telehealth. As reported by ABC News, telehealth may be most beneficial for people who are already engaged in care, says Dr. Caleb Banta-Green, a principal research scientist at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Younger people—including children, teens, and young adults—may also be more comfortable using digital communication platforms for telehealth. Generally, younger generations are more technologically savvy and are used to communicating with friends and others through digital communication.

Telehealth may also be beneficial for:

  • those in acute crisis
  • people who have relapsed
  • people who require regular monitoring for mental or physical health conditions

People who are seeking treatment for the first time, or are beginning treatment with a new provider, may struggle more with telehealth. 

This doesn’t mean that these first-time patients can’t benefit from telehealth. But it can be more difficult for new providers to assess patients over digital platforms and get an accurate representation of the state of a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Does Insurance Cover Tele-Health?

Insurers vary in their telehealth coverage policies. Where you live in the United States may also affect your coverage and telehealth availability, depending on state laws. 

Some private insurers and military insurers like Tricare have moved to cover some or all telehealth services the same as they would in-person services. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) also covers certain telehealth services. 

Medicare Advantage plans offer certain telehealth benefits in addition to those offered under original Medicare and are moving to expand.

To learn more about whether your insurance plan covers telehealth services, contact your insurance company or healthcare provider for up-to-date information.

Limitations And Challenges With Telehealth

Telehealth services have become a critical element of many people’s treatment and recovery plans. The use of these services, however, and gaining access to them has not come without its challenges. 

Challenges with telehealth services might include:

  • Cost: Not all insurance providers have moved to cover telehealth services the same as in-person. This means that many people who were previously able to receive coverage for certain services cannot receive the same coverage for services conducted digitally.
  • Learning curve: Not everyone is technologically savvy or comfortable receiving health services virtually. This has made it more difficult for some people to access treatment services during COVID-19.
  • Privacy concerns: Some people have concerns about talking about sensitive topics on certain digital platforms. This has deterred some people from accessing health services, and has complicated the process of delivering these services for providers.
  • Lacking Access to Computer/Wi-Fi: Lacking consistent or stable access to the internet has been a common barrier to care for people with mental health and substance use issues. This is especially true for low-income and homeless populations in need.

Federal health agencies, treatment providers, and insurance companies are continuing to work on addressing some primary concerns of telehealth moving forward. Legislators are also working to remove barriers to telehealth services imposed by state laws and some insurance policies.

If you have questions about using telehealth with an existing provider, you may ask them directly to learn more about how to address applicable limitations.

Caring For A Loved One Who’s Struggling

Watching someone you care about struggle with mental health or substance abuse can be very stressful. With the pandemic making in-person interaction and check-ins more difficult, this can exacerbate the concerns of parents, siblings, children of addicts, friends, and romantic partners.

Taking care of yourself is the most important consideration if you are a caregiver. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you may very well struggle to care for someone else. Neglecting your own needs can also create additional stress and may lead you to become resentful and depressed about your current position.

Several of the organizations shared above offer resources specific to caregivers and parents. If you’re the loved one of someone who is experiencing a mental health-related crisis, your health and well-being matter, too. You deserve the same care and level of compassion you would show your loved one. 

For more information about mental health and COVID-19, please check the websites of the CDC, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and local treatment resources for ongoing updates. 

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2020 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) 13.4K subscribers Full LIVE segment of NIDA’s Science Behind Addiction with Actor Brandon Thomas Lee interviews and NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. Watch as they discuss addiction and recovery during COVID-19. This video can also be viewed at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/videos/copi… Comments on this video are allowed in accordance with our comment policy: https://www.drugabuse.gov/comment-policy

Detox Of South Florida A HIGH Quality Addiction Treatment Center

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At one point or another, we all know someone with substance abuse problems. However, it is sometimes hard to put your finger on. The behaviors build so gradually that it might not be obvious until it’s too late. If there is someone you love that displays the following symptoms, they might suffer from drug or alcohol addiction:

  • Lack of Energy and Motivation
  • Weight Loss or Gain
  • Neglect in Appearance
  • Odd and Sudden Requests for Money and/or Items Stolen from Home
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Falls and Accidents
  • And More

As much as we want to help them create a new life or bring back their “old selves”, it can’t be done alone. Addiction is a tricky issue that requires the aid of professionals. You find solace in the workers at drug and alcohol detox centers. There are many drug and alcohol detox centers across the nation and not each one will be right for everyone. However, each one will have a similar journey to sobriety.

What to Expect

First, a health care professional will perform an initial comprehensive assessment. This will help them understand the nature of the problem and choose the best route for their patient. They will ask about issues within the past year, then conduct a screening test like NIDA. Following the screening, the patient’s resulting risk level will play a major role in the type of treatment they receive. Risk level will measure as low, moderate, or high. Best Drug Rehab Centers in Florida use all of this information to form a path to sobriety.

Treatments

choose best addiction treatment Addiction Treatments can consist of medication, behavioral therapy, or a combination of both. Behavioral therapy can be individual, group, or a combination. It helps patients see life in a new light, reconsider their actions, and find support. However, this isn’t always enough. When medication is necessary for addiction treatment, each substance has correlating prescriptions to wean them off the drug. The most important task they accomplish is easing painful withdrawal symptoms. Here are just a few examples of what the patient might receive for: Alcohol

  • Disulfiram
  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate

Opiods

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Clonidine
  • Lofexidine
  • Buprenorphine

After stabilization, these drugs could be required for long term use. To maintain sobriety, taking a combination of these drugs might even be necessary. Although the length of maintenance treatment is controversial, it is proven to be dangerous for patients to quit taking medication. In addition to maintenance treatment via prescription medication, continual therapy and psychosocial services are also a good idea. Even after years of work to break the addiction, it can be very easy to slip into old habits. It is crucial that the patient has a reliable support network. Sobriety will not happen overnight and cannot be done alone. So where can you go for help?

Where to Go

Addiction Treatment is different for everyone and can be dangerous to attempt without professional help. Since every patient needs something different, there are several drug and alcohol detox centers from which to choose. In fact, there are roughly 15,000 drug and alcohol detox centers in the country. Regardless of where you choose to bring your loved one, there will be two main types of care:

Outpatient

Outpatient facilities are the most common and the best option for lower risk individuals. In these situations, patients report to the center each day but are able to return home at night. Consequently, patients have more freedom in outpatient services and are able to maintain everyday life. They don’t have to put their GED, college, work schedule, family, or other obligations on hold. In addition to retaining some degree of independence, outpatient drug and alcohol detox centers offer an environment safe from temptation.

Inpatient

Inpatient facilities are very similar to outpatient centers except that provide full-time supervision. Although they are less common, they are the best option for high-risk patients. It completely removes them from environments where they are likely to face temptation to old habits. Since many victims of addiction also struggle with other health issues, outpatient facilities offer full-time medical care. Although they are more expensive and reduce the patient’s independence, it is worth the effort in severe cases. The time and money spent on drug and alcohol detox centers could be a matter of life and death. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find help.

How to Choose a Detox Center

When deciding on the best drug and alcohol detox centers for your loved one, there are important questions to ask. During your search, you should also research and tour the facilities before your final decision. Throughout these tours, here are some crucial questions to ask to ensure the patient’s comfort:

  • Can the patient use a cell phone or computer?
  • Do you accept the patient’s current insurance?
  • Does the facility accommodate diet restrictions and preferences?
  • Can the patient have visitors?
  • What kind of resources and amenities do you offer the patient?

Asking these big questions could make the biggest difference in the journey to sobriety.

You are Stronger than Your Addiction

best addiction treatment program in south florida Even after addiction treatment is sought, it won’t be an easy ride. There will be a lot of heartache, stress, and times where you just want to give in. Often it seems like the bottle, needle, or straw is just part of who you are. That’s not true. You are not your addiction. An addiction to drugs and alcohol will place you in dangerous situations with dangerous people. Those people are not your friends. The drugs and alcohol are the only link in that relationship and it’s time to break it. Even if you don’t have a stable support system, you won’t have to do it alone. Professionals in drug and alcohol detox centers will not only help you break the addiction but help maintain sobriety too. There is hope. Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Find help today and rediscover the true “you” that addiction buried.

Source: https://detoxofsouthflorida.com/

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Drug and Alcohol Addiction During a Pandemic

1

COVID-19 pandemic has hit differently compared to many other epidemics that have occurred before. It will get marked in history as an era of pain, anxiety, panic, and depression. In case we survive this pandemic as we pray and hope for the very best, the world will be all changed.

This pandemic has impacted the restriction of social gatherings, thus no attending the churches, schools got closed, businesses are dissolving every day. And each new day there is an introduction to more and more restrictions which are stricter than the previous ones. This pandemic has even turned the economy upside down. Social distancing means sometimes we do not have to be close to our loved ones like before, It also means people are not even attending their jobs hence financially disabled.

Research says many people may turn into abusing drugs, also let’s only consider the rates of people who have lost their jobs in the United States currently. After the pandemic, we may face addiction more than even the economic crisis. Just like the coronavirus has affected the world both socially and financially also, it has changed the domain of recovery and addiction. The wave of anxiety and fear that is wafting during this pandemic has contributed to a lot of individuals holding back from continuing or seeking addiction treatment and therapies.

EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON THE ADDICT BODY

Generally. addiction affects the body of the user in various means, it weakens the immune system and also alters the functioning of the inner organs. For example, the long term and frequent use of alcohol cause inflammation, pancreatitis, liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, alcohol hepatitis and it’s known for causing various types of cancer and brain damage. These health conditions which are brought by alcohol causes the user to be more vulnerable to the COVID -19 symptoms.

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Prolonged abuse of opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone causes pulmonary and respiratory complications. Smoking of drugs such as marijuana or tobacco drastically weakens the lungs thus putting long term smokers into a risk of being profoundly affected by the coronavirus. According to the research from the national institute on drug abuse, they reported individuals with substance use disorder and smoker’s coronavirus is a significant threat to them. When COVID-19 infects an individual. It begins with weakening the cells on the lining of the lungs.

Thus the pre-symptoms of coronavirus are fever, headache, fatigue, and dry cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. The symptoms get more severe after the infection reaches the lower respiratory tract. An individual who has a healthy immune system may be able to recover from the virus when it’s in the upper respiratory tract. However, coronavirus may cause severe impacts in the body such as pneumonia, and bronchitis, in more severe instances which is rare COVID-19 may cause acute respiratory distress syndrome. A healthy individual can fully recover from COVID-19 however if an individual has health complications such as chronic diseases, pulmonary abnormalities then they are at a high risk of not improving or more vulnerable to get severe illness.

CORONA VIRUS IMPACTS TO INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL HEALTH COMPLICATIONS.

Before I even jump into the effects of COVID -19 to mental health patients, let me point out that mental health and substance abuse are closely linked. Thus approximately fifty percent of individuals with mental disorders are as a result of prolonged use abuse of substances.

When an individual has substance abuse disorder and mental health issues. the condition is referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Basing this conclusion on research, most individual’s abuse drugs to calm down and cope with their mental health. Some individuals confess that after using alcohol. smoking or other drugs, they get temporary relief from anxiety and stress, and they go in the state of nirvana ‘as they say. Fifty-three percent of substance abusers are said to have severe mental disorders, however, thanks to the rehabilitation centers, which offer services of treating the co-occurring condition. Actually, with the increased tensions and stress on the coronavirus, it’s the best time to seek treatment. The increase of COVID 19 pressure may lead to

  • Worry and fear of loved one’s health and individual’s health
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • More use of tobacco. alcohol and other drugs

Therefore individuals with mental disorders, should continue receiving treatment and pay attention to worsening or new symptoms. WHO has requested people to limit news about coronavirus, which may cause more anxiety and instead get information from the trusted sources. WHO recommends the caregivers, media experts, doctors and first responders to the COVID 19 patients that in the process they may experience emotional toll and develop secondary traumatic stress. Thus in case, they experience fear, social withdrawal, illness, fatigue or guilt they should pull away from the media and allow themselves time for self-care to unwind.

ACCESSING TO ABUSE TREATMENT DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

With the environment surrounding this pandemic such as the social distance, risk of substance use may increase, due to stress, isolation, and anxiety caused by COVID19. Therefore the addiction treatment should remain accessible.

OUTPATIENT TREATMENT

This program is for individuals with a mild addiction, they attend rehab during the day, but they go home. Upon arrival, they are screened for Covid-19 symptoms, in case they test positive they are isolated, and a telehealth treatment plan gets initiated. The patients who don’t have Covid-19 symptoms continue or begin addiction treatment while observing physical distance and sanitation.

VIRTUAL 12-STEP MEETINGS

This is a crucial stage for individuals who are in the recovery stage of drug abuse disorder such as the narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous. These meetings currently have stipulated measures such as physical distancing, and sanitary precautions, thus individuals no longer shake or hold hands and hugging. The 12 step meetings are still available through most individuals are afraid of attending them.

CONCLUSION

Even if most world activities have stopped, the addictions continue. Expert in addiction treatment is accessible, therefore if your loved ones or you are suffering from addiction, reach out in the rehab centers, don’t wait.

Reference:

Coronavirus presents new challenges for drug and alcohol addiction recovery

The substance abuse pandemic: determinants to guide interventions

Dr. Vikram Tarugu

Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.

Source: https://detoxofsouthflorida.com

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The Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

Robots performing surgeries? New hip joints “printed” on command? “House calls” made from hundreds, even thousands of miles away? What seemed like science fiction just a few years ago has become an everyday reality as technology is revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered.

Innovation changes health care for the better

Back in 2010, a video of a surgical robot sewing a split grape back together seemed so improbable, it went viral, garnering more than 5 million views [“Suturing a Grape,” YouTube clips (various uploads).] Fast forward to today, and robot-assisted surgery is firmly in the mainstream, used for gallbladder, prostate, gynecologic and kidney surgeries. The benefits of this minimally invasive technique are significant, including faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, and less patient down time.

3D printing, still in its relative infancy, is already making massive contributions in healthcare. 3D-printed joint components have been used in more than 100,000 hip replacement surgeries over the past decade, according to a GE Report from March of 2018. The next evolution for 3D printing will be even more spectacular, promising the ability to print artificial organs, blood vessels, and even synthetic ovaries.

At a time when there is a shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas, telehealth is becoming a viable alternative to an in-office visit.

Virtual medical providers enable doctors to treat millions of Americans each year through internet and telephone consultations. That’s based on estimates from a recent J.D. Power study from July 2019, which found 9.6% of the adult population has used telemedicine in the past year. More than 75 percent of hospitals use telehealth services, too, as noted by the American Hospital Association Fact Sheet dated February 2019. Patients can consult with a doctor via phone or video, and receive diagnoses and prescriptions. Some employers use telehealth to provide virtual health clinics for employees.

Managing the cost

While such health innovations are exciting, they come at a cost. That’s where supplemental insurance can play a key role, enabling employers to offer a benefits option that provides added financial security over and above traditional health insurance. Beyond financial security, supplemental insurance also offers employees peace of mind.

“Employees are increasingly shouldering the high cost of medical care, especially when it comes to new medical solutions,” says Teresa White, president of Aflac U.S. In fact, 85 percent of employees see the need for supplemental insurance benefits to cover such costs, according to the Aflac WorkForces Report.

Adding to the challenge is the complexity of what’s covered and what isn’t under traditional health insurance.

“Health care today isn’t simple,” says Virgil Miller, Aflac EVP and chief operating officer. “Some consumers are confused by their benefit options and what their health care plans cost and cover. Our annual Aflac WorkForces Report found that just 39 percent of employees have a full understanding of their health insurance policies.

“And with medical debt being the most common reason people fall behind on bills, supplemental benefits such as Aflac’s should be a priority on every smart preparation checklist. Aflac helps cover the expenses health insurance doesn’t.”

Innovations improve insurance, too

Customer concerns like these led Aflac to create online tools like its easy-to-use critical illness calculator. “The calculator makes it easier for consumers to understand typical out-of-pocket heath care expenses and how Aflac’s critical illness coverage can help cover the costs health insurance doesn’t cover,” Miller says.

Aflac sees technological innovation as essential in serving its policyholders. To provide good customer service, Aflac worked with several industry experts on a technique called journey mapping to understand the various touch points and pain points customers have. “Through journey mapping, our customer experience teams created reliable road maps of where we needed to take our technology in the future,” adds Keith Farley, vice president of innovation for Aflac.

One byproduct of this research is an advanced mobile app called MyAflac. With the MyAflac mobile app, policyholders can handle myriad healthcare-related tasks, ranging from filing a claim to signing up for direct deposit of their insurance payments, right from their phones. Combined with Aflac’s One Day PaySM initiative, it helps get payments into the hands of policyholders faster than ever. “Our goal is to help policyholders worry less about finances and focus more on recovery, which can lead to better health outcomes,” adds Miller.

Innovation is woven into every level of Aflac’s culture. Farley points to My Special Aflac Duck as a perfect example of this. “This isn’t just a toy, it is a high-tech robot that interacts with children, helping provide them with comfort as they move through their cancer treatment. As a company, we have been blown away by the response,” Farley says.

The company has invested millions of dollars into this program including donating to cancer research, developing the duck and giving away more than 5,000 of them to pediatric cancer patients at more than 220 hospitals in 47 states.

Innovation is also at the heart of how Aflac designs its benefits policies. Aflac’s cancer policy, for example, helps policyholders take greater advantage of cutting-edge medical techniques. “Genetic testing helps identify potential health risks and help people understand and prepare for potential risks. Screenings can also save lives. Aflac’s cancer policy is designed to reflect the evolution of patient needs and challenges, and it helps cover modern approaches to prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care,” White says.

At Aflac, innovation is more than saving money and improving efficiencies. It is part of its mission to help employers support their employees to lead healthier and happier lives. At the end of the day, it’s about growing consumer trust and satisfaction, Miller says.

One Day PaySM is available for certain individual claims submitted online through the Aflac SmartClaim process. Claims may be eligible for One Day Pay processing if submitted online through Aflac SmartClaim, including all required documentation, by 3 p.m. ET. Documentation requirements vary by type of claim; please review requirements for your claim(s) carefully. Aflac SmartClaim is available for claims on most individual Accident, Cancer, Hospital, Specified Health, and Intensive Care policies. Processing time is based on business days after all required documentation needed to render a decision is received and no further validation and/or research is required. Individual Company Statistic, 2019.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999

By Anita CampbellCEO, Small Business Trends

Source: The Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

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https://www.job-applications.com/afla… An Aflac benefits consultant talks about the interview process, interview questions, how to get a job and what its like to work for Aflac.

Health Authorities Know What’s Potentially Causing Vaping-Related Deaths

Topline: The CDC announced on Thursday that vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in skincare products that is dangerous when heated or inhaled, is a “very strong culprit” in the spate of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths have for months perplexed and alarmed federal health officials.

  • The CDC determination comes from a study that examined 29 samples from patients with vaping-related lung illnesses. All 29 of them contained traces of vitamin E acetate.
  • No other potential toxins were detected.
  • Vitamin E acetate is a chemical commonly found in skincare products, and it isn’t dangerous when applied to the skin or swallowed. But when heated and inhaled through vaping devices, the chemical can cause harm to a patient’s lungs.
  • Vitamin E acetate has been recently used in black market products containing THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, as a thickening agent.
  • But officials do not yet know exactly where the vitamin E acetate is coming from.
  • THC was found in 23 of 28 patients, including three who said they had not used THC products, while nicotine was detected in 16 of 26 patients.
  • Officials cautioned that there could more than one toxin causing the illnesses, and more evidence is needed to establish a causal link between vitamin E acetate and the injuries.

Crucial quote: “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the CDC, in a press call Thursday. “And the samples reflect patients from across the country.”

Key background: As of Tuesday 2,051 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported along with 39 deaths, according to the CDC. The cause of the lung injuries and deaths have prompted health officials to warn against vaping altogether and for state and federal lawmakers to mull or impose vaping sale bans.

Further reading: Read the CDC’s report on the study here.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Health Authorities Know What’s Potentially Causing Vaping-Related Deaths

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Vaping & E-Cigarette related illnesses & deaths have gathered significant media attention. Join Dr. Seheult of https://www.MedCram.com as he illustrates key points about vaping and E cigarette-related acute pulmonary illness & disease symptoms, diagnosis, CXR, and CT scan findings that we understand at this time. More information and studies are needed as vaping deaths and hospitalizations in 2019 continue to rise (some are calling it a “vaping epidemic”). See the second video in this series on the treatment of vaping associated pulmonary injury: https://youtu.be/7TO7Cfi_o38 Links to articles from the New England Journal of Medicine referenced in this video: Pulmonary Illness Related to E-Cigarette Use in Illinois and Wisconsin — Preliminary Report: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056… Vaping-Induced Lung Injury: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056… Instructor: Roger Seheult, MD Co-Founder of MedCram.com Clinical and Exam Preparation Instructor Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. Visit https://www.MedCram.com for top-rated medical videos, over 30 hours of category 1 CME and CE, and over 100 free lectures. MedCram: Medical education topics explained clearly including: Respiratory lectures such as Asthma, COPD, and vape / E cigarette related lung disease. Renal lectures on Acute Renal Failure and Adrenal Gland. Internal medicine videos on Oxygen Hemoglobin Dissociation Curve and Medical Acid Base. A growing library on critical care topics such as Shock, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and Mechanical Ventilation. Cardiology videos on Hypertension, ECG / EKG Interpretation, and heart failure. VQ Mismatch and Hyponatremia lectures have been popular among medical students and physicians. The Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) videos and Ventilator-associated pneumonia bundles and lectures have been particularly popular with RTs. NPs and PAs have given great feedback on Pneumonia Treatment and Liver Function Tests among many others. Dr. Jacquet teaches our FAST exam tutorial & bedside ultrasound courses. Many nursing students have found the Asthma and shock lectures very helpful. We’re starting a new course series on clinical ultrasound/ultrasound medical imaging. Recommended Audience – Medical professionals and medical students: including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, EMT and paramedics, and many others. Review and test prep for USMLE, MCAT, PANCE, NCLEX, NAPLEX, NBDE, RN, RT, MD, DO, PA, NP school and board examinations. More from MedCram.com medical lectures: Blog: https://blog.medcram.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedCram Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/+Medcram Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedCramVideos Subscribe to the official MedCram.com YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_… Produced by Kyle Allred PA-C Please note: MedCram medical videos, medical lectures, medical illustrations, and medical animations are for medical education and exam preparation purposes, and not intended to replace recommendations by your doctor or health care provider. #Vaping #ECigarettes #vapingdeaths

The Science Behind Ketogenic Diets, Or Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It

The internet is abuzz with anecdotes telling of the amazing benefits of a ketogenic (or “keto”) diet. Nothing new there, then, as every year is marked by the rise and fall of a new diet fad – most amplified by the social media echo-chamber but with little to commend them. This time, though, it caught my attention.  Not just because I am a modestly overweight 52 year old whose love for food and drink is slightly stronger than my desire to be skinny

Source: The Science Behind Ketogenic Diets, Or Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It

Opioids More Likely To Kill Americans Than Car Crashes — peoples trust toronto

The National Safety Council has reported that Americans are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than car crashes for the first time. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the overall rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. increased by 9.6 percent between 2016 and 2017 with the death rate from fentanyl skyrocketing 45 percent. The U.S. […]

via Opioids More Likely To Kill Americans Than Car Crashes — peoples trust toronto

Top Surgeon : How To Proporly Wash Out Your Bowels – Gundry MD

Millions of Americans suffer from low energy, digestive discomfort, and trouble losing weight. Many also experience achy muscles and joints, skin problems, headaches, and even frequent colds. “If you’re experiencing any of these health issues, the real problem may be Leaky Gut,” says Dr. Steven Gundry. According to Dr. Gundry — who has studied leaky gut for over 20 years — certain foods can cause tears in our gut lining. This, in turn, allows toxins to enter our body that lead to digestive discomfort, food cravings, fatigue, weight gain, and even more health issues…..

Source: https://thenewgutfix.com/leaky-gut-fix_181102A.php?n=rev