Jeff Zacharias, President and Clinical Director of New Hope Recovery Center, is mentioned in Jamie Marich's new book, Trauma Made Simple.

According to Jamie: "My wish is that one day, every client with unresolved trauma can have the good fortune to work with someone like Jeff.  The reality is that so many trauma survivors in need of such a therapist with a health, optimistic attitude cannot find this connection."

Jamie discusses trauma in the LGBTQI Community: "There are several major issues connected to the LGBTQI community and trauma that we must consider, especially because the shame quotient can be so high for those presenting for services.  According to my colleague Jeff Zacharias, the owner and director of New Hope Treatment Center, an addiction treatment program that specializes in treating the LGBTQI community of Chicago, every client in their care has some sort of trauma.  This trauma can manifest in multiple layers, from dealing with homophobia, to bullying, to HIV infection and diseases, to dealing with unkindness from other gay people....However, the most intense layer of trauma that he [Jeff] tends to see with the LGBTQI population relates to dynamics surrounding family rejection and ostracism."

And Jamie discusses Jeff's advice to therapists:  "Jeff Zacharias, introduced in Chapter 5, believes we must encounter our biases about sexuality and strive to educate ourselves about experiences for which we have no personal frame of reference.  Jeff has declared, 'It's not enough to be tolerant; we have to be fully accepting of who people are if we are serious about helping them with recovery.  You've got to dig in, do your own work, examine your biases, and learn.'"

New Hope Recovery Center and Jeff Zacharias appreciate Jamie and her wonderful book, Trauma Made Simple.  You can order her book now.

Its that time again for Chicago’s only LGBTQ recovery weekend. It begins August 15th and continues until August 17th at the Center on Halsted. Chicago Roundup, Inc. is a volunteer-based organization for the celebration of 12-step recovery from alcohol and drug addiction within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community. This organization produces engaging events in a safe environment, affording participants the opportunity to have a spiritual awakening.

The Main Event - We Can Go Anywhere

  • Is a weekend-long gathering of LGBT’s celebrating recovery and those interested in finding out what a life of recovery has to offer.
  • Provides thought-provoking panel discussions, engaging speakers, pure entertainment and fellowship opportunities intended to enhance your spiritual, emotional and sober life.
  • Offers the perfect opportunity to meet other recovering people from all of the world and make some wonderful new friendships in the process.
  • Is hosted in the heart of Boystown at the largest LGBT Community Center in the Midwest, Chicago’s state-of-the-art Center on Halsted.
  • Begins on Friday, August 15th and ends on Sunday, August 17th, 2014.

This collection of so many different experiences and perceptions makes our own recovery that much stronger.

Go to the Chicago RoundUp registration page to for further details and to register for this serenity filled weekend.

New Hope Recovery Center is the presenting sponsor this year, and we couldn't be more proud to help support such a wonderful organization.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Aftercare. We also have a LGBTQI specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” We offer personalized, holistic treatment by examining the whole person: mind, body and spirit. Our small intimate setting caters to your specific needs and we provide place of support, nurture and safety leading to hope and healing.
We believe length of treatment directly impacts the chances for long-term recovery. For this reason we offer a variety of levels of care to better equip an individual to create the life they desire. Our caring and experienced clinical staff provides the emotional, physical and spiritual healing necessary to identify the core issues that underlie the addiction and in turn create an extraordinary life of productive, balanced sober living. 
For more information about New Hope Recovery Center please contact us at 773-883-3916 or check out our website www.new-hope-recovery.com.

vivitrol addiction treatmentAs the science of addiction medicine evolves, doctors have begun using new drugs in revolutionary ways that are changing how we think of and treat addiction.  Vivitrol is a drug used to treat both opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.  Since 2006, when it was first approved by the FDA for alcoholism, many patients have shown much success.  In October 2010, this injectable form of naltrexone was approved to treat opioid addiction as well.  It has since been used successfully by many with addiction to opiates and heroin.

What should you know about Vivitrol and it use in addiction treatment?

What Is Vivitrol?  Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable version of naltrexone that is given once a month.  It is known as an opiate antagonist, meaning it works by binding with and blocking the receptor sites in the brain that would normally be affected by opiates or alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?  Unlike an opiate agonist, the opiate antagonist occupies the receptor site but does not activate the receptor.  This means that the site is tied up without the person feeling the “high” that would come with using a drug that activates the site.  Because the receptors are tied up, when someone on Vivitrol uses alcohol or opiates, they do not feel the pleasurable effects of intoxication.

How Is Vivitrol Different From Naltrexone?  Naltrexone requires a daily oral dose and has been used for years in addiction treatment  There are two main downsides to this self-administered daily dose:  1) it is easy for patients to forget the daily dose,  and patients who forget to take the medication are at a greater risk of relapse; and 2) there is a daily temptation to skip the dose for that day,  in order to drink or use or even to have the possibility to drink or use.

Vivitrol largely eliminates these issues.  It is a monthly shot administered by a health professional.  Its effects last for a full 30 days.   Two main benefits to the monthly shot versus daily tablets:  1) medical professionals can monitor a patient’s compliance and remind the patient when the next dose is needed.  Patients have someone to be accountable to and someone who will be talking with them if they are being tempted to use.  2) Patients are freed from the daily decision to take the dose or not and so there is no daily temptation to use.  Many patients report they have a greater peace of mind knowing there is no possibility to use.  (Actually they could use, but it would have no or very little effect on them.)

Pros of Vivitrol Use:

There are many benefits to using Vivitrol under the care of an addictions medicine specialist.  Vivitrol appeals to many doctors and patients alike, who do not wish to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid medication (also known as agonist treatment).

For individuals who have not been heavily addicted for more than a year and the brain has likely not been radically changed by drug abuse, Vivitrol is an ideal tool to use in early recovery.

Vivitrol drastically reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol.

For some, using Vivitrol while actively engaged in counseling and self-help groups such as AA, NA or SMART Recovery results in lasting sobriety, even after Vivitrol is discontinued.

Vivitrol is an ideal choice for patients coming off of methadone or buprenorphine (maintenance drugs) especially in the first few months, when they are at greater risk for relapse.

For those that work in jobs with frequent travel, such as pilots, business consultants, flight attendants, Vivitrol is appealing because it is a safe, supervised method of treatment that does not require daily dosing.

Cons of Vivitrol Use:

Perhaps the biggest con to Vivitrol is its cost.  Unless one has private insurance that covers prescription drugs well, Vivitrol is very expensive.  The shot can run up to $1200 per month (even higher in some cases).  Even with insurance, copays and deductibles can leave a patient paying quite a bit on a monthly basis.  The company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for those without insurance.  Even with this financial assistance, Vivitrol can be quite expensive.

Another drawback of Vivitrol is that patients can only get started on the drug after all alcohol and opiates are out of the patient’s system.  Generally this means that the patient has gone through detoxification and has been sober and clean for 7-10 days.  This usually only occurs when the patient is an inpatient program or a hospital setting.

Also, Vivitrol is currently only FDA approved for those 18 and older, although it is used “off label” for younger patients successfully and safely.

Finally, as with all prescription drugs, there are side effects.

Individual Decision

Vivitrol has many advantages and several disadvantages.  It is important for patients and healthcare professionals to understand the full picture when considering Vivitrol for substance abuse treatment.  The decision whether or not to take a drug like Vivitrol is an individual, case by case decision and should be made with a doctor who is properly credentialed.  If the decision is made to use Vivitrol, it should be done in conjunction with formal treatment and/or individual or group counseling for the best results.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen good results with clients who have used Vivitrol.  Most report drastically reduced cravings, increased confidence in their sobriety and a greater peace of mind.  Many have reported that they know it kept them sober and clean.  They realized there are points in any month where the stressors and temptation to use may become very high, but by getting the monthly shot, they knew they would find ways to cope that did not involve using.  You can contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Abstinence and Harm ReductionOne of the most polarizing philosophical debates in addiction counseling is between abstinence and harm reduction.  In general, Abstinence-focused addiction counseling believes that recovery only exists if the addictive substance is completely removed from the life of the individual it affects.  The issue is seen as largely black or white: either you drink/use drugs and deal with the consequences, or you abstain and live a life in recovery.  Harm Reduction-focused addiction counseling generally follows the belief that not everyone is in a place to completely abstain; and therefore, it is best to take steps to reduce the risks to the person and others when the individual chooses to partake in the addictive substance.  The notion is that some people may not currently be willingly or able to completely give up the substance of their addiction.

Philosophy of Abstinence in Addiction Counseling

The definition of abstinence means refraining, or being free from, the unwanted behavior.  Many people in the addiction world see abstinence as the only way to recovery based on the definition of addiction and the idea that the user has lost control.  The abstinence model follows the science behind addiction.  Science has shown that some people are genetically predisposed to addiction and are more likely to get hooked to substances or behaviors.  It is estimated that 40%-60% of a person’s predisposition to addiction is genetic.  Evidence also shows that with continued use, alcohol and drugs can physiologically and neurologically alter the brain.  The brain circuitry is forever altered, so if the individual starts using again, they will do so addictively.

This is the foundation for the disease concept and abstinence only philosophies. Someone who has become addicted to substances cannot undo the neurological and physiological alterations in a way that will allow them to use moderately in the future.  For these people, abstinence is seen as the only way to regain control of one’s life and effectively recover.  Alcoholic Anonymous and other 12-step fellowships follow the abstinence-based approach.  The only requirement may be a desire to stop drinking (or using) but the philosophy is rooted in this disease concept that the alcoholic has lost control over the substance and therefore treatment begins with sobriety.  AA and other fellowships are actually behavioral and psychological modification processes, seeking to instill in the minds of those who attend that if they are addicted, they are powerless over alcohol and other drugs.

Due to the nature of addiction, alcoholics and addicts usually have intricate denial and rationalization systems to convince themselves they don’t have a problem.  These psychological defenses are worked on with the First Step: admitting that they are powerless over alcohol and other drugs.  Cognitively, alcoholics and addicts need to retrain their minds that they are in fact powerless over alcohol and other drugs and therefore they cannot use them again.  Successful sobriety via the 12-step philosophy occurs when an individual can take their unhealthy attachment to substances and redirect it to a healthy attachment to the program.

Philosophy of Harm Reduction in Addiction Counseling          

The general focus of harm reduction is not whether an individual does or does not do a particular behavior, it is about reducing the potential problems associated with it.  Substance use under the harm reduction approach is not black/white, either/or; it is the gray area in between.  If a person chooses to drink or use drugs, the focus is on ways to reduce the risk from using.  An important concept that some people and policy makers do not understand is that the harm reduction approach should not be seen as condoning risky or illegal behavior.  Rather, it understands that risky behavior is inevitably going to occur, so it is more beneficial to curb the negative consequences incrementally as best as possible. 

There are many types of harm reduction modalities including: drug replacement therapy such as methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone), needle exchange programs, designated drivers, substituting “less harmful drugs”, testing illicit drugs for harmful additives and behavior modification to control intake.  Because harm reduction philosophy and practice resides in the gray area of the continuum, research on the topic has been muddled, largely due to the lack of a consistent definition as to what harm reduction is and how it should be measured.  This makes sense even if you only consider the expansive list provided above as types of harm reduction.

Some in addiction counseling use harm reduction as a way to motivate the client for change and incrementally work towards abstinence: a harm-reduction now,  abstinence later approach to treatment.  Others in addiction counseling implement the philosophy fully in its own capacity: the end goal is not abstinence.

Evolving Integration of Abstinence and Harm Reduction

The philosophies of each group may be separate.  But in practice, the two philosophies are not as siloed as one might assume.  There is an overlap between the two philosophies and they are merging closer together than many people are aware of.  For people seeking help, total abstinence is an ideal goal but given their circumstances and motivation for change, that goal may be unreachable when they first seek help.  Many abstinence-based facilities are moving away from kicking out a client after one positive urine screen, which was not always the case.  Often the treatment team reassesses the situation and decides if the treatment plan is still appropriate and if the client is receiving the proper level of care.  Similarly, abstinence-based facilities are also increasingly using or allowing pharmacotherapy as an adjunct to treatment. Many treatment facilities now work with clients who are on Suboxone, Vivitrol, Naltrexone, etc.  In theory, allowing these medications is a harm-reduction approach to treatment, but in practice those modalities are becoming more acceptable across the board.

Client First

It is important to remember that the client and the client’s specific needs comes first, not the ideologies of the treatment staff.  There are no hard and fast rules that apply to all people trying to get sober and/or improve their lives.  No client is a black or white case, it is essential to individualize treatment and recognize the unique characteristics of each client.  The process should be a collaborative effort between the client and addiction counselor/treatment team.  If we put the client first, then the philosophical debates fall to the background.  The focus shifts to what is more important: being present and being an agent for change.

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

teen binge drinkingIs it possible to tell if someone is at risk for future binge drinking?  A recently published study suggests it is.

The study was published in the journal Nature.  It conducted 10 hour comprehensive assessments on 2400 14-year olds in eight different European countries.  Five years later a follow up was done to see which teens went on to drink heavily at age 16.

Although there are many factors which influence teenage binge drinking, some of the best predictors of future binge drinking were:

  • sensation-seeking traits,
  • lack of conscientiousness,
  • having a single drink by age 14, and
  • family history of drug use.

Also at risk were teens who experienced several stressful life events.

 

A summary of the findings can be found on Science Daily.

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center