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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Does Danger Lurk in Your E-Cigarette?

are e-cigarettes dangerousIn recent years, electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity, partly because it is believed that they pose less of a health risk to smokers. But are they really safe? Researchers at Penn State Medical School have uncovered evidence that these devices produce harmful substances that may, in fact, put users at higher risk of cell damage and cancer.

Highly Reactive Free Radicals Identified
The vapor from e-cigarettes had previously been shown to contain aldehydes in low levels. These compounds are known to cause oxidative stress and damage in cells. The Penn State study looked for different substances—highly reactive free radicals—which are a leading factor in cancer, coronary disease and lung disease caused by smoking. Although the results ranged from 1000 to 100 times less than the quantity found in cigarette smoke, the reactive free radicals were present in e-cigarette vapor.

“The levels of radicals that we're seeing are more than what you might get from a heavily air-polluted area but less than what you might find in cigarette smoke," said John P, Ritchie, Jr., one of the authors of the study. "The identification of these radicals in the aerosols means that we can't just say e-cigarettes are safe because they don't contain tobacco. They are potentially harmful. Now we have to find out what the harmful effects are."

A Growing List of Dangers in E-Cigarette Vapor 
Studies are showing that the vapors created by e-cigarettes are not as harmless as many users believe. While more studies are needed, researchers have identified harmful effects like these:

• Irritation of the lungs
• Increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases
• Health problems from nicotine use
• Allergic reactions to flavorings & colorings
• Carcinogenic aerosols in the vapors

Until further research is done, the safety of e-cigarettes remains up in the air.

Helping People Find Treatment from Coast to Coast
If you are addicted to drugs, cigarettes, or other substances, you need to find the right treatment program the first time. Coast to Coast Recovery has the interventionists and referral specialists who can guide you to the treatment you need, and there is no cost to you. Call us today at 800-210-8229 to learn about treatment options, insurance coverage, and family counseling from compassionate people who understand the worry and pain you are going through.

* Article source: Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "Potentially dangerous molecules detected in e-cigarette aerosols." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2015.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Changing Careers After Addiction Recovery

changing careers after addiction recovery rehabLife after addiction recovery looks very different from pre-rehab days—in its professional, personal, and social aspects. In some cases, clients need to pursue a totally different career field after getting clean, since their old professional life can trigger negative emotions or spark a stronger desire to begin using again.

The Importance of Your Career in Sobriety
While a proper focus on family, friendships and self-care is critical to sobriety success, clients also need to spend time considering their career path. Much more than “just a job,” your career helps you develop confidence, financial stability, and improved personal growth. Consider what you wish to be doing day-to-day as you plan your sober life for the next five, ten, or 20 years. Then, determine if you need to invest time and money in training, education, or job preparation in order to achieve your career goals. If workaholism or your former job environment was a key contributor to your addiction, it is even more critical that you make a change.

As you map out your career path and plan for your personal and financial future, remember:

Don’t rush into anything permanent. It is recommended that you don’t make any sweeping life changes during the first year of recovery, but it is important that you return to earning an income as soon as possible. When you are physically and emotionally able, take a part- or full-time job that allows you to provide for yourself or your family. During your free time, spend hours researching, talking with your counselor, and exploring more permanent career opportunities.

Build your resume. Recovery is an excellent time to revamp your resume to include the life skills you have learned during rehab. You may also wish to audit a college course or intern at a workplace to enhance your CV.

Explore your interests. There are many surveys and questionnaires that help you determine your personal and professional gifts and talents. Ask your addiction counselor about tools that can help you narrow down possible career fields based upon your interests and skill sets.

Coast to Coast Recovery Drug Rehab for Men & Women 
At Coast to Coast Recovery, it is our desire to help you experience total restoration during addiction rehab. A major part of this is planning for your career and achieving your professional goals. When you’re ready to commit to sobriety and begin a career “do-over,” call 800.210.8229 to discuss our treatment planning services or speak with an admissions counselor. Your best life is yet to come.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How to Stay Up When the New Year Gets You Down

depression during the holidaysWhen you are depressed, the warmth of the holidays leaves you feeling left out in the cold. By the time New Year’s Day comes around, the disengagement may be too much to bear. Statistics show that there is a sharp uptick in suicide rates after the New Year.

What Accounts for This Change? 
Mental health experts believe that depression, in one form or another, accounts for this increase in suicides right after the New Year. They point to these factors as possible triggers:

• Unrealistic expectations of family dynamics during the holidays
• A sense of not being able to fit in or enjoy the season
• Sensory overload brought on by holiday music, lights, & crowds
• Pervasive use of alcohol (a depressant) during the holidays
• Self-neglect
• Loneliness
• Anti-climax of returning to ordinary life

If You Suffer from Depression, You Are At Risk
When you are depressed, you may feel that the holiday spirit has passed you by. Here are a few tips to help you ward off depression and avoid the New Year let-down.

Take care of yourself. If you are under treatment, don’t neglect your medication. Eat well, try to keep to your regular sleep schedule, and take care with your personal grooming. Remember that alcohol is a depressant, so steer clear of it at holiday gatherings.

Keep holiday expectations modest. Scale back on spending, entertaining, decorating, and social functions. Trying to do too much increases stress and anxiety.

Be realistic about yourself and your family. Don’t expect dysfunctional family relationships to change just because it’s Christmas.

Give yourself permission to say “no”. When holiday activities become overwhelming, it’s okay to opt out. Prepare an excuse ahead of time, so you won’t feel on the spot if you need to leave.

Change things up. Make a new holiday tradition or take a trip. Volunteer at a church or the Salvation Army. Spend time with people you are comfortable with.

Practice gratitude. Make this a daily mindfulness exercise. It will help you to keep perspective and remain realistic in your expectations.

Get help. Depression is a serious mental disorder, so don’t take it lightly. Reach out to a counselor, support group, or suicide helpline if you start to be filled with dark thoughts.

Your Coast to Coast Resource for Depression Help
Depression and other co-occurring disorders can take away your joy of living and lead to serious consequences like social isolation and suicide, especially during the holidays. Seeking treatment and sticking with it can help you want to live again. Coast to Coast Recovery Centers are dedicated to helping you find the right treatment the first time. Our goal is to erase the stigma that is attached to mental illness and provide proactive, constructive ways to manage your condition. Before you go too far down the joyless road of depression or co-occurring addiction, call 800-210-8229 and let one of our interventionists walk you through your possibilities for treatment and recovery.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fending Off the Holiday Blahs

avoid depression during holidaysAs much as we build up the holidays as a time of anticipation, gathering with family and friends, and experiencing the joy of generosity, it is not uncommon to feel down and depressed during this time of year. The holiday blahs may result from the season not living up to expectations—or the reminder that life’s problems seem much bigger than they did when we were young and na├»ve. Family gatherings can become contentious, and commercialism can taint the beauty of giving. For men and women in addiction recovery, the heaviness of the holidays may be even more substantial as we try to develop new traditions and mend broken family relationships.

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness or hopelessness this holiday season, keep these tips in mind:

Listen to your body. Sleep when you are tired, give your body the healthy foods it needs to thrive, and prioritize exercise over shopping stress. When anxiety engulfs you, take a moment to do some deep breathing exercises. Breathe in slowly for five seconds, hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds, and release your breath slowly over a five-second period. This simple exercise reinvigorates your body and focuses your mind.

Live in the present. Enjoy the moment rather than running frantically toward some imaginary finish line. Listen to the birds; take a walk; listen to music that inspires you.

Offer a random act of kindness. Pay for someone’s coffee or helping them load gifts into their car. Donate to a food or gift drive to benefit those in need, or greet a stressed-out retailer with a smile and friendly word. Many of those around you are also facing stress or depression during the holiday season, and you can make a difference in their day.

Get help when you need it. While sometimes we just have a passing case of the holiday blues, it’s important to recognize when real depression has set in. Depression can be a very real part of addiction recovery, and you may need professional help to make it through the coming weeks. Call your therapist, talk to your sponsor, or enroll in a rehab program if you are tempted to relapse or isolate yourself during the holiday season.

Coast to Coast Recovery Drug Rehab for Men & Women
At Coast to Coast Recovery, we walk with clients throughout every season of life as they pursue sobriety and treatment success. Don’t let your addiction-related holiday depression go unchecked. Speak with a member of our credentialed addiction team, or call today to enroll in our treatment planning and consulting services: 800.210.8229.
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Our goal is to help you get it right the first time, so you or your loved one can achieve lasting sobriety. This is largely dependent on selecting the best match for you and your circumstances.

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While we specialize matching you with the right program, it is critical that you own your decision to get help. To ensure that this happens, we (1) present our recommendations, (2) give you the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns, and (3) give you time to weigh the options. Why? Because choosing a program that suits your lifestyle and personal values increases the chances that you’ll achieve sustained sobriety.

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As your program comes to an end, Coast to Coast addiction professionals help you take the next step into aftercare and beyond. Stressful lifestyles, co-occurring conditions, and dysfunctional family situations act as relapse triggers, so it’s critical that you develop a detailed plan for life after rehab.

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