Out Of Town Treatment

When It Comes To Addiction Treatment: Stay To Closer To Home… Or Travel Out Of The Area For Treatment?

Here’s the scenario: Either yourself or a family member (or loved one) has made the COURAGEOUS decision to seek out professional treatment for their alcohol or substance abuse addiction.

Now the question becomes: Should this person seek out treatment close to home… or are there benefits to traveling out of state for treatment?

This is a question that comes up on almost every call we receive at our treatment center

There are many logical benefits to consider out-of-city (or even out-of-state) treatment centers, to include:

  • Experiencing a true “fresh start”

  • Creating distance between the person & areas where they “used”

  • Removing “easy access” to substances

  • Building new, healthy habits in a new environment

… and many more.

All of these are valid to an extent.

In addition to the “common sense” benefits listed above, there are scientific & psychology-backed theories supporting a change in one’s environment while undergoing substance abuse treatment.

Now… before I continue… 12-Step advocates (which includes myself) may be thinking: A change in environment is not the ONLY solution (or variable to consider) in long term recovery from alcoholism and substance abuse disorders.

The PERSON must undergo a profound inner change for success which is not (necessarily) ONLY accomplished by changing the environment he/she is in.

That said… let’s look at some of the psychology-based theory behind why this change of environment is (in my and other professionals’ opinion), a very good plan.

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We can’t talk about any recommendations on early treatment choices without covering two primary hurdles every substance abuser grapples with in early in recovery: 1) Cravings and 2) Triggers that lead to cravings.

A craving, simply defined, is a strong (almost overpowering) urge or desire for something.

A trigger is defined as a cue… possibly a person, place, thing, could be a smell, certain lighting, tv show, or anything… that brings about a memory of something.

So let’s combine these two nuisances and look at their role in a person in early stage recovery from a substance use disorder.

The Cue Reactivity theory proposes that a craving “is viewed as a multidimensional response to a variety of stimuli paired in the past with substance intake” (Kouimtsidis, 2000, p.299). [Which is a fancy way of saying: When a person with a substance use disorder encounters something (a cue) that is attached someway (a memory) to that person’s history of using… there can be a complex response to it.]

Examples of this reaction caused by a craving can be:

  • A sudden, irrational, & overpowering urge to use

  • Obsessive thoughts about a substance or use for a period of time

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Increased heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Feelings of euphoria or dysphoria.

The point is: Cravings are strong & extremely complex.  

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In fact, in early recovery, they are one of the most common causes of relapse.

They can be so all-encompassing, they’re routinely compared to “temporary insanity”, where all logical & rational thought disappears and the person seemingly loses control of their decisions/behaviors, making unpredictable/illogical choices such as going back to substance use and risking death.

And here’s the thing: Triggers can and will happen anywhere… and in some of the most unexpected ways.

A change of environment helps to reduce/limit them, but it doesn’t prevent them completely.

Circling back to the common-sense part of this concept… people in early recovery have a better chance of long-term recovery if they are able to avoid triggers and limit cravings as much as possible while they build the necessary skills and resources to abstain from mood-altering chemicals.

So yes, it is our opinion that it’s a healthy decision to ensure the person suffering from addiction removes themselves spacially & geographically (out of town) and create enough space between them & their usual “triggers”.

A treatment center that specializes in substance use disorder treatment, which includes a reputable, clinical component can help the sufferer manage both their reaction to triggers, as well as strong cravings.

In fact, this is a vital part of a successful treatment program whose sole focus is long term recovery for the sufferer.

Finally… you simply need to ensure they enroll in a safe and reputable treatment facility’s program.

Please feel free to call us at … or email us at … with any questions you may have about substance abuse treatment.

Kouimtsidis, C. (2000). Role of craving in substance misuse. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 13(3), 299-303-299-303.

Bouncing Forward

How Families Can Become More Resilient in the Face of Adversity

Beginning in the early 1980’s researchers began studying individual resilience. That is, an individual’s ability to withstand and recover from traumatic experiences.  Before this research, it was common to view people through a deterministic lens. The traumatic experiences he or she had survived informed and primarily determined the sort of person he or she would become.  In this view, if one were the victim of child abuse, they would go on to become a perpetrator themselves. Over time many experts recognized that this presumption was not born out in actual practice. Most who were the victims of abuse did not go on to become abusers, most people who survived great disasters natural or human-made went on to thrive in life.  This observation contradicted the established deterministic view and caused a surge of research into what is now known as human resilience. Viewed through the resilience lens an individual who has survived trauma is not regarded as “damaged” rather they are seen as having been challenged by life and as having the innate abilities to foster their healing. An entire new discipline within psychology is growing around these ideas.  

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Around the turn of this century, psychologists began looking into resilience within a family system.  This work has expanded our understanding of what constitutes a thriving family system in adverse situations.  Resilience within a family system enables the family to face and successfully respond to challenging circumstances and to grow as a family through these experiences.  The family resilience framework views each family member not only in regards to his or her capacity but also in light of his or her potential impact on the strength of the family as a functioning system.  Resilience is a skill that can be learned and refined within individuals and family systems. In this article, I will present a framework of skills and attitudes which if practiced can maximize a families ability to confront and overcome challenging crises situations, thereby assisting the family in facing their current and future challenges more successfully.  

Based on the work of Dr. Froma Walsh we will consider three broad categories of processes involved in a family resilience framework: family belief systems, organizational patterns, and communication processes.

Systems of Belief

Talking about the narratives we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves about our past, our present, and our future shape what we believe about ourselves as individuals, how we approach the world around us, and what options we feel are open to us.  Similarly, the stories a family tells one another about the family and its history shape the families systems of belief. This family belief system dramatically influences how the family views their shared history, their current situation, and their possible futures.  What a family believes will be a primary determinant in how they approach times of extreme stress.

Making meaning out of adversity

Looking past crisis to see what’s going on

Whether a family views a crisis as permanent, inevitable, and insurmountable or as temporary, comprehensible, and manageable may only be a matter of the stories the family decides to tell themselves about the event.  The shared story has a profound impact on the families ability to overcome the challenge and remain a connected family unit. Experiences are just that, things that happen, the meaning we decide both individually and collectively to ascribe to the state of affairs will largely determine how we can move past them successfully.   

Successful family systems have a sense of adversity as a shared experience and share a belief in the family’s ability to overcome the challenge together.  By relying on the family system, individual family members increase their ability to meet a crisis successfully. Also, by contextualizing and normalizing the distress of the family, the individuals can see their reaction and challenges, as well as, those of other family members as reasonable in the context of the current difficulties.  The understanding of crisis within the context of the family’s evolution allows them to see challenges as meaningful, understandable, and manageable challenges rather than viewing them as incomprehensible and insurmountable. By understanding obstacles as a shared challenge, normalizing the shared adversity, and understanding crisis as an essential experience within a family’s evolution we become better able to understand the experience and move toward exploring a more robust set of options for how to manage the situation. 

Keeping A Positive Outlook

Maintaining a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook for the future can be very challenging, this is never truer than in the face of great adversity.  If a family can maintain a positive outlook, it has a tremendous impact on the family’s ability to move through trouble successfully. The highest functioning families have been found to hold more optimistic views of life in general and appear more able to maintain this point of view during times of high stress.  

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By encouraging family members in times of stress, affirming for one another the strengths inherent in the family, a family system can bolster the positive attitude needed to overcome the current challenge.  Encouragement can counter the sense of hopelessness during these times and enable family members to act with courage and perseverance in surmounting a challenge. A focus on strengths and perseverance are calling cards of resilience.  

I have seen this demonstrated in my own life.  My wife was thirty weeks pregnant with our second child at the time that her water broke, this is far too early and was an immediate medical emergency.  My wife was on total bedrest for thirty days at the hospital to forestall delivery. Throughout this period of stress, she experienced the full range of emotions, as one would imagine.   We are fortunate to live in proximity to family and many friends. Over the thirty days I watched as each visitor affirmed for my wife that she was capable, they reminded her of other experiences she had been through that were very challenging and how she had surmounted those obstacles, and always encouraged her to continue to stay strong.  When she reflects on this experience, she reports how during times of greatest despair she would recall these conversations and how they provided the strength to make it through one more day.

Additionally, my wife will recount that her commitment to only focusing on the elements of the experience that were controllable enabled her to stay focused on positive actions she could take.  The research shows this is much more than a mental trick. Having a positive mindset is not about fooling oneself about potential risks or realities of a particular circumstance. Instead, it is about dwelling in the possible.  That is, the ability to take a realistic appraisal of a situation, what are the possible outcomes, and then focusing time, energy, and effort on creating the best possible resolution for a given set of circumstances. In the case of our family it wasn’t that her positive attitude and perseverance changed the outcome of my sons birth, but these traits enabled Aimy not to give up,  Her strength, in turn, inspired the rest of our family, allowing all of us to experience both the challenge and the good of the experience. When we look back on this time now we think of it not primarily as a challenging time; rather our family story is one of love, connection, and strength. We all agree that it was one of the most important experiences we have shared and that it brought us together as a family, and to top it off we were able to add another member to our family.

 

The Importance of Transcendent Belief and Affiliation

Finding a power to propel you

Traditionally most people were able to tap into inner resilience through religious affiliation and practice.  Many people still do, for those that don’t actively participate in a spiritual tradition, it is essential to understand what the mechanisms are within these traditions that allow people to tap previously unseen strength and resilience.  Research has found that attachment to ritual tradition, connections to a congregation, and a belief structure that extends beyond one’s specific place and time are the crucial elements.

Ritual traditions have been prominent in every culture of which we are aware.  Rituals are employed to mark the significant transitions in life, moving from childhood to adulthood, partner coupling, the birth of children, death, and many others.  If not members of a tradition which includes these types of rites and rituals it can be crucial for a family to make a conscious effort to develop personal family traditions that celebrate these transitions.  Familial rituals can ease the stress associated with a change allowing members of the family to embrace significant life events instead of associating stress and negativity with these times.

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We have many sayings in common usage that illustrate the understanding that connection and community are essential elements of human life.  “It takes a village,” “strength in numbers” for example. In times of high-stress deep connections to a community provide relief from stress and other negative emotions associated with the current crisis.  We don’t feel alone and have opportunities to be involved in the lives of others taking the focus off our problems.

Religious traditions provide a framework of belief that extends beyond our circumstances and gives individuals the ability to understand their challenges within a broader context.  Being able to take this more comprehensive view helps to lessen the perceived stress of a crisis. When families are overwhelmed with crisis transcendent beliefs, and broad community connections enable them to imagine a better future, cope with stress, and encourage a full sense of their ability to move forward into the future.  These are crucial elements of resilience.

This concludes part one of this multi-part series.  In part two I will examine how our understanding of family structure, connectedness, and a families social and economic resources impact resilience within a family system.  

If we can help answer any questions or concerns please contact us through our website or by phone at 844-878-3221, we are here to help.

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell.


For those seeking help for substance use disorder don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

Addiction in the Age of Brain Science

Studying The Brain Functions

In this talk Markus Heilig presents new findings in the science of addiction, as viewed from a neuroscientific view point. Dr Heilig is a professor of psychiatry and the founding director of a new Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience at Linkoping University. His research group studies brain processes connected to stress and negative emotionality and how these contribute to psychiatric disorders including addictive disorder.

In this video Dr Heilig illustrates the role social exclusion plays in the addictive cycle. He begins the talk by illustrating that while early on in an addicts using history the brain’s reward center is primarily responsible for triggering using behavior, this is not the case by the time an addict is seeking help. At this point in the life cycle of addiction the individual is not being motivated by the brain’s reward center he or she is now being driven to action through the brain stress and aversion system. That is to say early on in someone’s substance use, they are trying to capture a good feeling, but by the end they are trying to avoid feeling miserable.  The stress and aversion system has been compromised in such a way that it is overactive. The addicts brain is super sensitive to feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear. Meaning that in the absence of a mood altering substance the addict is plunged into a state of misery.

Understanding The Damage

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This damage to the brain, and its particular instantiation is complicated by our very nature a social group orientated primates. For us, as humans, one of the most profound stressors is social exclusion, being marginalized. The particular problem for addicts in this respect is that their lifestyle creates, by its nature social exclusion. Acute experiences of these stressors drive craving. Intense craving causes relapse. Relapse begets behavior that results in social exclusion. This cycles is repeated over and over again. Dr Heilig states, that unless we can create an intervention in this cycle by offering alternative measures to diffuse the stress the addict has little hope of recovery.

While neuroscience may be a long way from “curing” addiction. As a discipline they have begun to take the problem seriously. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare we also take addictive disorder seriously. Our program is based on current neuroscientific research. We engage in physical exercise as a way to generate neuroregeneration within our patient population. In effect we are working to undo the damage to the brain’s stress and aversion system that has rendered it hyperactive. We do this in a community setting that is grounded in an effort to help our patients feel a real sense of connection with each other and with the staff. Working to minimize or eliminate feelings of social exclusion within our community. We are attacking the addictive cycle on at least two fronts each day.

As the science of addiction continues to evolve so will our program in lock step. We are committed to bringing to bear the newest advances for the benefit of our patients. We are currently working to develop a fully realized nutritional component to our program. This element of programing won’t simply be about nutrition for general health and wellbeing. Rather it will be a nutritional plan specifically designed to support and create neuroregeneration.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction please contact us.

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder please contact us today

Patient Brokers, Who’s Responsible and What Can be Done?: Part 1

By now I’m sure many if not all of you reading this are familiar with the terms “patient broker” or, “client broker”.  If you are not what the terms refer to is an individual who for a fee, paid by a treatment facility, will make a referral to that facility.  The way that this often works is that the broker “identifies” an addict in need of help, and then the broker starts calling treatment centers and negotiating a fee for placement.  These fees can be in excess of $5000 dollars per client. Thus referrals are made not based on clinical need, therapeutic fit, or really in any way meaningfully tied to the interests of the patient.  Rather these placement decisions are being made on the financial incentive for the facility and the broker. I want to spend a few minutes today sharing with you my thoughts on this problem and perhaps begin to describe a better way forward for our industry and our patients.

The Hydra of Our Industry

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Sly And Cunning

Patient brokers come in many different forms.  Many are individuals with no professional background in addiction treatment at all.  These individuals quite literally will troll 12 step meetings, local detoxes, and in some instances even the local skid row,  trying to identify individuals who are suffering from addiction and desperate for help. When they find somebody they approach them under the guise of being able to help them find treatment. Many represent themselves as working directly for treatment centers when in fact they do not.  They will assure the individual addict that they can get them help, that they can get them to a safe place, that they can help them get sober. When the addict, desperate for a new life, agrees to seek treatment, the brokers work begins. The broker will begin calling treatment centers.  Leading not with questions about the therapeutic validity of the facility’s work but with the insurance information. The most valuable are those with PPO insurance with out-of-network benefits. the line between this sort of activity end human trafficking seems murky to me.

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Not all patient brokers are this blatant, or have quite this level of amorality.  Many come in the form of professionals. Some are Therapeutic Placement Consultants, some are Interventionists.  Brokers of this stripe will charge a family anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars with the promise, again, of being able to help an addict to recovery.  After collecting money from the family and doing their work they turn around and “sell” the human being to the highest bidder. Often times in this sort of arrangement it is not on a per head basis.  Rather payment comes in the form of large year end “bonuses”. I know of one program that pays their “best” therapeutic placement consultant $50,000 at the end of the year. I try not to be a cynical person, but it is hard for me to see how a many thousand dollar payment would not influence placement decisions.   Many times these financial arrangements are not disclosed to the families of the addict. By not disclosing this information the family is not in a position to make a free and informed decision. I want to be clear that in no way am I alleging that all placement consultants or all interventionists operate in this way.  There are many highly competent, highly trained, and highly ethical individuals in both of these positions across the country. I have had the pleasure of knowing, and working with many.

The Buy-Side

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Bad Actors Ruin It All

The bad actors in the industry give anyone trying to do a professional job with high standards of conduct a bad name.  It would be very easy to just cast blame at the brokers and say that they are the problem. This, in my view, is not true.  They are without hesitation a part of the problem, but only a part. Another part of the problem are the facilities who work with these individuals.  In any transaction the “buy” side has as much culpability as the “sell” side. If collectively treatment centers refused to buy patients the brokers would have no one to sell to, and the problem would go away.  The persistent nature of this issue appears to be a reflection of an inadequate understanding on the part of treatment facilities of how to engage patients and their families in a meaningful way, how to create meaningful relationships with clinicians and other providers who are already engaged with the population of addicts.  In some ways it is a failure of innovation on the part of treatment facilities. As long as facilities continue to be willing to buy their patients there will be individuals willing to sell them patients.

 

Root Cause

I believe that the problem runs even deeper than these two aspects.  The true nature of the problem is associated with the stigma we as a community still have in regards to those suffering from addiction.  Many in our communities, in the face of the science attached, still want to believe that if an addict wanted to change enough they would.  As a consequence of this belief they view (often unconsciously) addiction as a moral failure, or a failure in character. As a result our communities are less concerned with how addicts are treated when compared to the care and concern we express toward other sufferers of chronic disease.  Can you imagine an oncology hospital “buying” cancer patients, or a memory specialist “buying” patients suffering from Alzheimer’s without public outrage? I have a hard time imagining such a situation. What then is the difference? All are chronic diseases, which cause massive destruction to the lives of the suffer and those tied to them by affection.  The difference, as stated above, is in the way society views these diseases. If we want to change the outcomes for those suffering from addiction we need to change the way, we as a society, view addiction. We need to end the stigma.

 

Moving Toward A Solution

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How do we move toward a solution?  The most immediate answer I see to this dilemma is to raise the bar of entry into the industry for professionals.  In any domain, a low bar of entry allows bad actors in. We need to adopt a standard of professionalism across the industry.  We need increased oversight and licensing requirements for those working in the field. By doing this we will make it harder for those with bad intentions to get in, we will be able to identify and stop them sooner, and will make it more transparent who can be relied on.  This will only happen when our industry demands it of ourselves. If we do this it will give us time to change the stigma attached to addiction. It will restore the public’s faith in us as a means of recovery for those suffering from addiction.

In the next part of this series we will be examining the proposed state bill in Arizona that is currently under consideration, and whether or not it will adequately address the problem.  In subsequent segments we will present interviews from each side of this issue. I believe that it is only in honestly facing a problem that we can begin to heal from it. We can and must do more.

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or your loved one is in need of help for substance use disorder please call us today @ 1.844.878.3221

The Evolutionary Foundation of Movement, and its Efficacy in Treating Substance Use Disorder

More Effective Than Any Protocol

Over the last twenty years increasing amounts of research has been done showing the link between exercise and a reduction in all sorts of symptomatic disorders.  It has long been known that exercise is beneficial for reduction in cardiac problems, diabetes, obesity, etc.  What we are now just beginning to understand is how exercise affects the brain.  Recent studies show that exercise is more effective than any other protocol at treating things such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, Alzheimer’s.  Diseases and conditions of the brain.  Much of this research has been done or inspired by the work of John Ratey.  In his groundbreaking book Spark! How Exercise Will Improve the Performance of Your Brain Dr. Ratey showed a link between a regular program and exercise and increased cognition in school children (among many other groundbreaking facts).  In this article I will briefly introduce these topics to the reader, as well as, highlight how Recover Strong takes advantage of this new science in our work of treating substance use disorder and other behavioral health challenges in our patients.  In the header of this article is a short interview of Dr. Ratey that can serve as an introduction to the Dr and his work.  If like me you find the science fascinating I have included at the bottom a much longer discourse on the science given by Dr Ratey at Google headquarters.

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Over the tens of thousands of years of our species evolution natural selection favored those in the population who were most active.  Some experts estimate that during our evolutionary period the average human ran ten to twelve miles per day.  If you were quick and could run far you ate, if you couldn’t you didn’t.  These simple facts charted a course for our species. Our brains developed along with our bodies and so for millenia have been adapted by and for movement.  Since the beginning of the industrial revolution (an incredibly short time period in evolutionary terms) human beings have been moving less and less, this has never been more true than in our contemporary western culture.  As movement has become less central to our daily lives we have seen an increase in the rates of all sorts of negative physical and mental phenomena.  As an example, currently between 35-40% of all adult Americans are obese.  Many of these phenomena, including obesity, have reached epidemic proportions.

How The Brain Is Effected By Exercise On Multiple Levels

The work of Dr Ratey has shown that exercise affects the brain in three primary ways.  The functioning of the brains systems, from a cellular level, and in terms of stimulation new cell growth.  We will look at each in turn.  When we speak of brain systems we are speaking about things like the attention system, the brain’s ability to pay attention to a task.  The memory system which is the mechanism that determines the brain’s ability to retain and recall information, and the motivation system which determines how much motivation we feel for a task.  These are not the only systems in the brain but should give the reader a good general idea of what we mean by systems.  Dr Ratey states, every study that has ever been done on the subject shows that exercise creates increased activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling these systems.  Second exercise causes a release of neurotransmitters and neurotrophins into the brain.  These brain chemicals are responsible for cell repair, and creating an environment within the brain which inoculates our brain cells from the ravages of stress, and time.  Dr Ratey , calls this “soup” of chemicals Miracle Grow for the brain.  Just as Miracle Grow fertilizes soil to encourage plant growth so to does the soup of neurotransmitters and neurotrophins encourage brain cell repair and growth.  The newest research (and by far the most exciting to me) shows that exercise creates neurogenesis, or the birthing and growth of new brain cells.  We have the ability through exercise to not only repair our brain but to actual improve our brain.   As exciting as these findings are the most amazing conclusion of the research is this, researchers have found nothing that contributes to the repair and creation of new brain cells than exercise.  Current research shows that exercise is a more effective treatment for depression than medications.  These are just two examples of the far reaching implications of this research.  

The Results By The Numbers

Much of the research done in this area has focused on two magic numbers, 45 minutes and 75% of max heart rate.  These are the dual objectives of any program designed to create neuroregeneration.  When an individual operates for 45 minutes or more at or around 75% of their max heart rate they are able to create within themselves a brain environment which is ripe for neuroregeneration and increased levels of neuroplasticity for a period of 2-3 hours.  This means for 2-3 hours post exercise they are able to learn more effectively, and in effect rewire their brains.  With our Recover Strong program on of our primary aims is to take advantage of this time period.  We begin the day with a work out that lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.  Immediately after the work out we engage in a process group, and then into other therapies which are determined from an individual clinical level.  The emotional and stress reducing impacts of the exercise last throughout the day, which is great.  We are on a daily basis, in effect, engaged in a process of rewiring our own brains.  Combining the controlled exercise experience with more traditional therapies has enabled our patients to engage in wholesale transformations.  The results, in many cases, are so profound that they need to be seen to be believed.  As we continue to develop this one of a kind therapeutic model we are planning to include nutritional elements, and additional cognitive methods to encourage neuroregeneration.  At Granite Mountain we are not try to teach our patients new skills alone.  Rather we are engaged in a process that allows our patients to heal their own brains, and transform their lives.  

 

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications and Market Development


If you or somebody you love is in need of help for substance use disorder, contact us today.

Why You Should Consider Going Out Of State For Treatment

When it is time to seek help for drug and alcohol addiction there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.  The decision whether to stay close to home for treatment or to go out of state can often be seen as a minor part of the decision.  I would urge the reader to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this decision carefully.  There are many important reasons to seek treatment away from home and some equally good reasons one may choose to stay close.   In this article we will examine these reasons in turn.  This should serve as a good guide for anyone concerned with this aspect of where to pursue treatment.  

   

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Getting away from it all

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

First let’s examine the reasons someone may want to go out of state for treatment.  The first reason that comes to mind is that leaving home will separate an individual from environments and relationships that may be toxic  Addiction does not develop in a vacuum.  Whether its proximity to the bars one frequents or many of the relationships that have created emotional and other challenges for an individual, staying close to home can prove problematic for an addict.  If one seeks treatment geographically remote from home they have effectively removed these potential challenges, at least for a time.  This in many cases makes the commitment to recovery easier.  The distance can also help provide individuals with a different perspective on many of the relationships in their lives, helping them to make more health decisions when considering returning home post treatment.  

Proximity as a Barrier to Success

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Next, if someone decides to go out of state for treatment it becomes much more difficult to decide to leave treatment.  If one is close to home and leave treatment he or she can just go home.  On the other hand if an individual finds themselves in another state they may have to purchase plane tickets, arrange rides, etc.  All of these barrier make the choice to leave treatment more difficult.  Once one has committed to go out of state and have arranged travel these costs are an investment that can not be recouped if they decide not to go or not to stay.  Sometimes these simple barriers are the very thing that encourages an individual to stick it out through the tough times and ultimately find recovery.  

Privacy Concerns

The third consideration is that going away for treatment gives an individual increased levels of privacy.  When staying in one’s home town for treatment it is much more likely that he or she will run into someone they know either in the community or even within the treatment program.  The individual may not be able to determine when and how they will disclose their new way of life to those they know.  These privacy worries can be a major distraction to some clients.  If an individual chooses to go out of state he or she will effectively eliminate these concerns.  

    No Distractions

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Another consideration are the normal day to day distractions of work and family life.  There is nothing inherently wrong with work and family.  In fact for many these form the very essence of a meaningful life.  That said at the outset of the journey of recovery many find it beneficial to get away from it all so they can focus on their recovery for a time.  If one goes out of state to a brand new environment they can anticipate having far less distractions than if they stay close to home.  Having a period of time where the sole focus of one’s life is their recovery can be immensely beneficial.  

A Greater Chance for Success

All of the reasons mentioned above, and several not mentioned result in one simple fact.  The likelihood of success is greater for an individual who goes away from home for treatment.  Every time research is conducted it is found that individuals who go away for treatment have a much higher likelihood of recovering from addiction.  Recent research indicates that there is a 12-15% chance greater likelihood that an individual who goes out of state for treatment will complete their program.  When dealing with addiction and the pain and suffering it causes why wouldn’t we do everything within our power to maximize the chance for success and lasting recovery?

    Proximity to the Love of Family

Above I have enumerated many of the reasons why one would seek to go to treatment away from home.  I would be remiss if I did not include some of the very good reasons for staying close to home for treatment.  The first and most important reason, the proximity of loved ones and family.  Having family close can be a major source of support and inspiration for someone who is new in recovery.  This is of course assuming that family is safe.  Many facilities offer family programs that range from informational, and inspirational, to truly therapeutic.  If family is near they can participate in these programs with the addict.   

“In-Network” or “Out-of-Network”

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Cost is of course an important consideration when making a treatment decision. Several insurance carriers prefer to have patients stay “in-network” when seeking treatment.  Networks are often geographically driven (especially in the case of HMO, and state funded insurance).  Staying in-network for treatment can have a profound impact on the cost of treatment.  How important this consideration is to a family is impossible to gauge from the outside and is a decision each family must make in light of their current financial realities.  

As a final thought, the decision of where to seek treatment is multifaceted, there are many important issues that must be considered.  Geographic proximity is a very important one.  I have tried to present some of the reasons for going out of state, and for staying close to home.  Every individual situation is unique and requires careful consideration before ultimately making the very important decision of where to begin the journey of recovery.  There is no one right answer for all.

If you or a loved one is considering your treatment options an would like an open and frank conversation about how to make this decision please contact us we would be happy to help.

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell

VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or someone you love is in need of help for substance use disorder please don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We understand and we are happy to help.

What To Expect During The Alcohol Detox Process

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

We have received many questions lately through our website, social media, and intake line related to the process of alcohol detox. As a result I thought I would write an article laying out the detox process as it relates to alcohol use disorder. I will endeavor to cover the stages of detox, the symptoms associated with each, and some tips on how to make the process easier. 

I would like to start by stating some facts which are germain to the topic.

  1. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.  Almost 90,000 people a year die of alcohol related deaths in this country

  2. 1 out of every 3 emergency room visits in the United States is related to alcohol use

  3. More than 17.6 million Americans suffer from some form of Alcohol use disorder

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

The above statistics make clear the scope and nature of the social problem that alcohol use disorder presents. It affects every community in our country, and many families. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol use disorder know that you are not alone, and that help is available if you want it.

When an individual who has been drinking excessively decides that it is time to stop drinking it is seldom wise to undertake this process alone.  Rather it is advisable to place yourself under the care of a doctor or other medical professional.  It is perhaps because of the wide acceptance of drinking in our society that many underestimate the severity of the alcohol withdrawal process, thinking it “won’t be that bad”. Conversely the alcohol detox process can be one of the most challenging both mentally and medically speaking.  The withdrawal process from alcohol is most often characterized as having three distinct phases. They are:

  • Phase 1 typically begins from 6 hours to 24 hours after an individual last consumes alcohol.  The severity of the the symptoms during this phase will be determined by how long and how much alcohol a person has been consuming.  The typical symptoms of the first phase of withdrawal can include; nervousness, anxiety, headache, nausea, vomiting, tremors, loss of appetite, tremors, and mood swings.

The first phase of withdrawal can last for anywhere between 24 and 72 hours. 

  • Phase 2 typically sets in from 24 to 72 hours after an individual last consumed alcohol.  The typical symptoms of this phase can include; increased levels of mental confusion, irregular heart rate, difficulty breathing, muscle rigidity, increased blood pressure, and in some cases hallucinations.  It ought to be clear that this phase is potentially much more dangerous to an individual, and often requires one be under the care of trained medical staff.

  • About one out of three people enter into phase 3 of withdrawal from alcohol.  This phase is called Delirium Tremens (DT).  A person can enter DT anywhere from 3 days after cessation of drinking to as long as 2 weeks after last consuming alcohol.  This phase of withdrawal is the most dangerous and absolutely requires an individual to be in some form of inpatient treatment.  Some of the symptoms include; disorientation, dissociation, hallucination, Grand Mal seizures, and in some cases death.

If you or a loved one are considering cessation of drinking, consult with a medical professional and seek treatment. There are many medications available to help ease the symptoms of detox from alcohol, and a trained medical professional can help you to make sound decisions as to their potential to help. 

The withdrawal process from alcohol can be dangerous and the decision to undertake the process can be frightening.  However, if you or a loved one is in a position where life is becoming impossible it is important not to let the fear of detox keep you from transforming your life.  Many of us have been through it and when we look back believe it was the most important decision we have ever made.  It is my hope that this short article has answered many of the questions the reader may have regarding the process of detox.  If after reading this you still have questions or concerns please reach out to our team.  We are happy to help whether you utilize our services or not.  The most important thing to us is that you or your loved one gets the help they need.

 

Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell

VP of Communications & Market Development


If you would like to speak to a professional about treatment for you or your loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


1. CDC, Fact Sheets: Alcohol Use and Your Health (2018), https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm.

2. Lisa Mahapatra, 1 out of 3 ER Visits Are Alcohol Related (IBT: 2013), http://www.ibtimes.com/1-out-3-er-visits-are-alcohol-related-heres-what-patients-drank-charts-1395699.

3. NCADD, Facts About Alcohol (2015), https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol.

Here We Grow Again

A New Year, A New Center

Fourteen months ago today marked a new epoch in the history of Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare.  At the time we were very near the bottom.  As an organization we had lost our way. This was true financially, clinically, and most importantly spiritually/morally.  We had begun Granite Mountain with the pure intention of wanting to help those suffering from a disease, we understood only too well from personal experience, to a solution and a life of freedom.  Over several years this intention had been subverted through a combination of personal shortcomings and the environment pervasive in the treatment industry at the time.   It was at this point that the founding partners threw their hands up in desperation and looked outside the organization for a solution.

In December of 2016 the beginnings of that solution was found in the hiring of our CEO Jason Turner.  Jason came to the organization with a list of demands.  Not demands for himself, rather a list of principles that would become the guiding force of Granite Mountain BHC.  Principles like community, connection, commitment, and transformation became the bedrock and guiding lights of Granite Mountain.  We would, going forward, strictly adhere to the guiding principle of “doing the right thing for the right reason”.  This simple idea would guide all future decisions both big and small.  

Jason first re-imagined the therapeutic experience, with the introduction of the Recover Strong program. A one of a kind strengths based approach to the treatment of behavioral health disorders including substance use disorder.   As a team we then transformed the entirety of the client experience and re-conceived the basic nature of client staff interactions.  Discarding the basic assumptions of this relationship pervasive in the behavioral health field one of behavior modification and compliance.  Instead we focus on accountability with kindness and confrontation with curiosity.  This has revolutionized the day to day experiences of both clients and staff.

In the fall of 2017, with the therapeutic model on a firm footing and clients experiencing wholesale transformation in their lives the team knew they needed to transform the business operations and market development sides of the organization.  That is when Jason and I first began speaking and how I became involved with Granite Mountain.  (the full story of these organizational transformations is a story that needs to be told.  It’s telling however, is beyond the scope of this article.  Be on the lookout for our soon to be released video series on YouTube that chronicles this story and the full scope of our organizational transformation.)

Bringing Everything Together

These are all still works in progress.  We are not where we want to be yet, but we are far closer than we were.  We have many setbacks as we chart a new course for our organization and hopefully the industry as a whole.  We also enjoy many sparkling successes.  It is one of these successes that has motivated me to write this article for you today.  When I first came on board we were operating out of an old business plaza.  It had what we needed at the time, but was not a location from which we could really grow into ourselves.  Our clinical team was separated by geography from our Recover Strong program, both were separated from our housing.  In short it was not ideal.  We have recently relocated to Prescott Valley, and as you will see from the images attached to this article, have found our home.  

Our Recover Strong program is now at the literal as well as existential heart of Granite Mountain. Clients come to the center in the morning and can receive all their programing in one location. Our staff and clients can meet each day in one location and our open door policy is ever evident  as clients and staff  connect as fellow community members building bonds and friendships that can last a lifetime.  Our new building looks as if it was purpose built for us, though it was not.  For us, it is proof positive that doing the right thing for the right reason has its benefits.  

We will soon be having a grand opening and hope all will attend (if you are interested in attending please message us) and share our joy and excitement as we begin a new chapter for Granite Mountain.  Become a part of our community, and witness the transformation of our individual clients, staff, and our organization.  It is going to be one heck of a ride!

I leave you with this thought, that was given to me by one of my mentors, “the best is yet to come”.  This is true for us and for you.  Until next time my friends.

 

Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you would like to speak to a professional about treatment for you or your loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How to Identify Opioid Abuse and Addiction in Your Household

Identifying The Issue

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with any addiction is admitting or identifying when the addictive cycle has gotten a hold of an individual.  This is especially true when the individual is a loved one.  We all want the best for our loved ones, and hate to think of them as having a personal problem especially one they may not be able to solve on their own.  This tendency to want to see the best in those we love is a very natural tendency.  However when dealing with addiction it makes the identification of a potential or actual addiction issue even harder for one to spot. Simply said, we do not want to see what our senses are showing us. At extremes this can become denial of the reality in front of us. This is harmful to ourselves, our ability to function as well as not being helpful for the addict.

Breaking The Stigma Of Addiction

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Added to this is the persistent nature of the cultural stigma associated with addiction. Even today some in our community view addiction as a moral failing on the part of the addict. This is an outmoded view of substance use disorder and has no clinical or medical support. If however we were taught this view of addiction it can be easy to view our loved ones as failing in some respect or as having a moral or constitutional shortcoming.  If you gain no other insight from this article please believe these words, addiction is not a shortcoming it is a disease. Your loved one is suffering. If a loved one had cancer that was ravaging their body we would not look down on them as lacking the moral fiber to overcome the cancer. Rather, we would look upon them with empathy and compassion. While at the same time firmly insisting that they seek every known medical remedy for their disease. I urge every reader who has a loved one suffering from addiction to take this same point of view.  

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Spotting The Signs Of Opioid Addiction

As with cancer, the sooner we can identify a potential substance use disorder as it develops the easier it will be to solve the problem and help the individual to a full and speedy recovery. Unlike with cancer and other bodily diseases wherein the sufferer once diagnosed freely admits they have a problem. Substance use disorder is characterized by the seeming inability of the suffer to admit they have a problem. Due to this challenge I have undertaken in this article to list several early signs of an additive cycle. Please find below a descriptions of many of the early signs and symptoms of addiction. These should prove useful for the loved ones of anyone currently using opioids and other addictive substances.

  1. Unexplained or excessive absences from work or school

  2. Negative consequences at work or school

  3. Hyper emotional behavior

  4. Loss of interest in hobbies, activities that used to be important to the individual

  5. Withdrawal from friend and family relationships

  6. Important engagements are not attended

  7. Important commitments are not fulfilled

  8. The individual continues to use in the face of consequences

  9. Drugs , alcohol, and using behavior is a consistent topic of conversation

  10. Disrupted sleep patterns (Sleeps far more or far less than usual)

  11. Persistent financial problems (never enough money)

  12. Increased levels of secrecy about activities and lifestyle

  13. Minimization of responsibility when questioned about life circumstances

  14. Excessive itchiness of skin

  15. Persistent sniffles or runny nose

  16. Rapid weight loss

  17. Consistent defensiveness

  18. Inability to deal with normal levels of stress

  19. The individual looks paler than usual

  20. Loss of control over the amount of a substance (including alcohol) consumed

The above list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible scenario. It would be impossible to create such a list as the behavior patterns of people vary. Instead it is meant to give a rough picture of the emotional, mental, and behavioral changes that can be an early sign of substance use disorder.  If you are concerned that a loved one may be suffering from addiction seek a consultation with a qualified professional immediately.  The old saying of, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is never more appropriate than when dealing with addiction.  If in reading this article you find yourself wondering if you or someone you love has a problem please reach out to us right away.  We can provide a no obligation no cost substance use disorder evaluation that may save years of heartache for your loved one and your family, and in many cases may save his or her life.  We are here to help.


Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development