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Veterans and Suicide

Veterans and Suicide

How Addiction Plays a Part

Drug abuse and drug prevalence in the armed forces and among veterans is an unfortunate fact. These men and women are under constant stress, often far from home, with limited access to emotional support from friends and family. Being an Orange County rehab and detox, we often consider how we can be of more service to our veterans in our community. Veterans have higher rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addiction, and suicide than the typical citizens they protect. We feel it’s critical to understand why, and how we can help.

Veterans and PTSD

Veterans who were deployed in active duty are constantly under stress. They are in foreign environments, going through rigorous physical exertion, with few comforts and constant threats. Seeing friends, coworkers, and civilians injured, maimed, or killed is a reality many have to face, and it can take an enormous toll on mental wellbeing. Worse yet, soldiers who tested for PTSD were 4 times as likely to foster suicidal ideation. Among those, soldiers who had another comorbid disorder, like addiction, were exponentially more likely to have suicidal ideations. Overcoming PTSD and addiction takes a lot of time, patience, and resilience, but it is possible and can be made easier with a structured detox and rehab program.

Addiction in the Armed Forces

A 1971 report found that between 10-15% of soldiers were using “high-grade heroin”. It was one of the first times in US history that we realized how the environment of our soldiers can immediately influence addiction rates. A 2010 study in the UK found a heavy correlation between deployment to Iraq and alcohol misuse among its soldiers, as well as a connection between deployment and PTSD, most prevalent among those in combat. Since Vietnam, veterans in hostile combat situations are more likely to show signs of PTSD and addiction, and therefore deserve more active screening and support for both disorders.

Suicide Among Addicted Veterans

A study of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients found that patients with addiction to any variety of substances, including alcohol, cocaine, and meth, had higher rates of suicide risk. Stimulants like cocaine had a 1.35 hazard ratio, signifying above-average risk, while depressants like cannabis had a 3.89 risk assessment and other sedatives were at a 4.74 risk factor. Women were at a far greater risk of suicide with the use of sedatives (11.36 risk factor). When accounting for all other factors, women in the armed forces only experienced a higher suicide risk than men with a Substance Use Disorder (SDU). The report concluded that both diseases show a strong correlation, especially among women, and that veterans with SDUs should be analyzed for suicide risk, and vice versa.

Veterans stake their lives serving our nation, and our OC detox and rehab services are dedicated to providing them with the quality care that they deserve. The numbers show that veterans, especially those who have endured combat and SDU’s are at greatest risk for suicide and suicidal ideations. If you, or someone you know and love, is suffering from addiction, or suicidal thoughts, we urge you to call us immediately at (714) 782-3973, so we can best walk you through your options. No matter how you feel right now, you are entitled to joy, hope, and a healthy, sober life. Begin your recovery journey today.

Addiction Treatment

Congratulations to Dr. Mario for Publication in the CSAM Newsletter

Mario San Bartolome, MD

Dr. Mario’s Article Published by the CSAM

Experience Recovery is proud to announce that our very own Dr. Mario San Bartolome (“Dr. Mario”) has published an article in the California Society of Addiction Medicine’s prestigious newsletter. His article entitled, “Applying Your Addiction Medicine Know-How” appears in the Spring 2018 issue. We would like to congratulate Dr. Mario on his accomplishment – it is quite an achievement to be published by the CSAM.

Our Mission and Vision

At Experience Recovery, our mission is to be committed to ethical and professional healthcare services for individuals and families. Our vision is to empower those we serve. Dr. Mario’s CSAM article, and his continued dedication to making a positive impact on the field of addiction medicine demonstrates our mission and vision in action.

Clients who come to us for professional addiction treatment services typically don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes in the realm of substance abuse treatment. There are governmental guidelines, insurance policies, and state and federal regulations that directly impact access to addiction treatment services.

Dr. Mario Encourages Colleagues to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

In his CSAM article, Dr. Mario encourages those who provide addiction treatment services to extend their influence beyond the realm of individualized care. He recognizes that those who treat addicted people one-on-one are quite comfortable doing so, but Dr. Mario asks his colleagues to step out of their comfort zone and become involved in matters that affect rehabilitation outside treatment centers.

“It’s time to get involved in activities outside of the individual patient care bubble as well. You have a unique skill set and this is a particularly vulnerable time for the country’s leadership,” Dr. Mario writes in his article.
He continues, “As addiction medicine specialists, we have a duty to serve our patients whether in the clinic or the boardroom, and the addiction medicine professional is in a unique position to help keep policies relevant, effective, and humane.”

Experience Recovery Applauds Dr. Mario’s Positive Impact on Addiction Treatment

At Experience Recovery, we applaud Dr. Mario’s efforts to make a positive impact on addiction treatment by reaching out to his colleagues and asking them to step up their game. It is important for those who treat addiction to recognize that there is work to do when it comes to changing policies, influencing legislation, and changing regulations that negatively impact addiction rehabilitation.

Because we know Dr. Mario personally, we know how passionate he is about advocating for improving access to care and quality of treatments for people with substance use disorders through leadership at the local, state and national level. Dr. Mario also enjoys teaching students and colleagues about Addiction Medicine.

To put it simply, the world needs more addiction specialists like Dr. Mario. By publishing his article in the CSAM newsletter, he performed a great service for the addiction community by sharing his wisdom and insight. His article is nothing short of a motivational call to action for those who serve on the front lines of addiction treatment.

At Experience Recovery, we appreciate Dr. Mario’s professionalism and commitment to excellence. He is a forward-thinking and active member of the professional community of addiction medicine. Dr. Mario genuinely cares about every client he treats and has a sincere desire to see that every person who struggles with addiction find freedom and fulfillment. We are confident we will continue to see great things from Dr. Mario and consider it a great privilege to have him as one of our staff members.

The Benefits of a Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Program

The Benefits of a Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Program

While some addiction recovery programs are all-inclusive, others specify that they are tailored either to men or to women. Why is that? Are there benefits that come from choosing a gender-specific addiction recovery program?

At Experience Recovery, we believe that the answer is yes. Our inpatient recovery programs are gender-specific, and we have a few reasons behind that. In this post, we’ll outline just a few of them; to learn more about why we do things the way that we do, contact us at our Orange County location any time!

Why Choose a Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery?

The primary reason to choose a gender-specific addiction recovery program is that men and women are different—plain and simple. Physical differences in their bodies mean that they experience addiction in different ways—and thus, a one-size-fits-all treatment approach just doesn’t cut it.


  • Women have a lower average body weight than men do; they generally carry more fat and less water, which means they retain drugs and alcohol in their fatty cells for longer stretches of time. Thus, the internal organs of a woman are exposed to the effects of drugs and alcohol for longer.
  • Additionally, women have fewer enzymes to help them break up alcohol in their stomach and liver—which means more alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream, and at a faster rate than it is with men.
  • It is for these reasons that drugs and alcohol tend to impact women more quickly and more strongly than with men; it is often said that a single alcoholic drink impacts women in the same way that two drinks impact a man, which is a good rule of thumb.
  • Women also develop a dependence on drugs more quickly than men do—again, due to physical distinctions.
  • In addition, the physical effects of drugs can be different from men to women, simply due to hormonal differences; for women, for instance, hormonal fluctuations can lead to different levels of cravings than what men might experience.

The bottom line: Drug and alcohol addiction affects all of us differently. Often, those differences fall along gender lines. As such, to receive truly tailored and individualized care, a good starting point is to find a program that is gender-specific, like the ones offered here at Experience Recovery.

Additional Reasons to Seek Gender-Specific Recovery

There are other reasons to seek gender-specific recovery, as well. For one thing, men are generally more comfortable sharing—really opening up and being honest—with other men. In an absence of women, men may not feel the cultural expectation to be “strong” or “tough”—and in making themselves vulnerable, they’ll get more out of addiction recovery.

What’s more, a group of all men will find it easier to discuss common experiences, without spending a lot of time stuck on gender issues—and the same is true for all-women’s groups. For example, if a woman wants to open up about past sexual victimization or other traumatic incidents, that’s the kind of thing that’s simply easier to discuss candidly in a female-only setting.

Seek the Addiction Recovery Program That’s Right for You

As you seek the right addiction recovery program, there are many factors to consider—and we believe that gender specificity should be among them.

We invite you to learn more about the options for long-term recovery that we offer here at Experience Recovery in Orange County, California. Take your first step toward a life of true freedom. Reach out to Experience Recovery to learn more about addiction treatment in a gender-specific setting.

Moving from Rehab into Transitional Living

Moving from Rehab into Transitional Living

Addiction recovery is a journey, and it’s comprised of many different stages. Your recovery journey may begin in rehab, but sooner or later it will be time to make your way into “regular life” once more.

This comes with its own share of challenges—specifically, maintaining your recovery while dealing with the everyday stresses of school, work, and family responsibilities. It’s generally best to ease back into the daily grind, continuing to receive plenty of support and encouragement from the recovery community. This is basically what transitional living is all about.

What is Transitional Living?

In a transitional living setting, you will be free to go to school or work as needed, but you’ll be living with others who are in recovery. Surrounded by peers, you’ll have the accountability you need to keep working on your own recovery journey. You’ll also have people you can talk to when you experience hard days, and you’ll continue to go to therapy or counseling for additional support.

Transitional living has been shown, time and time again, to aid the recovery journey. Those who seek a transitional living experience are less likely to relapse than those who simply go straight back into “normal” life. As such, it’s something we recommend highly here at Experience Recovery.

Making the Most of Transitional Living

How can you ensure that you are getting the most out of transitional living, though? Here are a few tips from our Experience Recovery team.

  • Don’t go until you are ready. Remember that transitional living is designed for those who have completed an inpatient recovery program; if you rush your way through the program and into transitional living, you may not have the coping skills needed to handle everyday pressures. Complete your recovery program first, and only pursue transitional living when your addiction recovery counselor feels you’re up for it.
  • Pick the right transitional living community. Not all transitional living communities are created equal—so how can you find the one that’s best for you? Start by asking your counselor for recommendations. Also remember that what ultimately matters is finding a place where you feel comfortable and at peace; when in doubt, just listen to your gut.
  • Ask the right questions. As you learn about a particular transitional living community, make sure you do your homework and establish the proper expectations. Some questions you should be asking involve the success rates of alumni; crisis protocols; the qualifications of the on-site staff; typical lengths of stay; and amenities offered to make your time more enjoyable and restful.
  • Pack properly. You’ll obviously want to make sure you bring along the right clothing, toiletry items, reading materials, your devices and computers, etc. Be sure to check the packing rules, too, as some transitional living communities may have stipulations on what you can and cannot bring.
  • Understand the rules. Also understand that your transitional living house may have certain rules you need to comply with—whether that means doing chores, pitching in with clean-up, respecting “quiet hours,” or checking in at a certain time each day. Take these rules seriously. Remember, they exist to help you along in your recovery journey!

Move Forward in Your Recovery

Transitional living can be a critical step in your recovery journey—so make sure you invest in it. Take it seriously. Embrace it for the great opportunity that it is.

Experience Recovery endorses transitional living, and we have some resources we’d love to share with you. Learn more about our approach to transitional living by contacting our admissions staff today!

Dealing with Addiction—and Getting Back to Work

Dealing with Addiction—and Getting Back to Work

Addiction can take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing—and in the process, it can impede your professional success. For those with full-time jobs, then, addiction recovery is truly a necessity.

The problem is, recovery isn’t something you can achieve in a single weekend. It takes time—sometimes, a residential program can last 90 days or more. And when you have a busy and demanding profession, you likely don’t have that kind of time to spare.

Thus, a common conundrum: How can you deal with addiction and maintain your professional responsibilities? Here are just a few tips and suggestions from the Experience Recovery team.

It’s Not All Inpatient Treatment

The first thing to remember is that addiction rehabilitation is not one-size-fits-all. There are different programs available, and residential inpatient treatment is just one of them. There are other options, such as outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization, that can offer greater flexibility, accommodating school, work, and family commitments.

As you pursue addiction recovery, then, always ask about these different options. It may be that an outpatient program, requiring just a few hours per week, makes a lot more sense for your needs than a 24/7 rehab commitment.

Ask About Executive Recovery

Another option to consider is executive recovery, something that’s offered by many addiction rehab centers. Executive recovery is geared toward C-suite members who need to get well and get back to work pronto; thus, executive recovery is designed to be quick and discreet.

Executive record programs offer flexibility in a number of ways—not just a relatively brief time commitment, but also the ability to have your phone or computer with you when you’re in detox, allowing you to stay connected to the outside world. Again, it’s something to ask about as you pursue the best rehab plan to meet your physical and professional needs.

Know Your Rights

It’s also worth noting that you have certain legal protections available to you—for example, both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act offer protection for those who suffer from addiction. These laws prohibit discrimination and will allow you to take the time off that you need to pursue rehab, without running the risk that you’ll get terminated.

Make sure you know your rights and understand how to claim these protections; speak with your company’s HR professional to learn more.

Stay Committed to Recovery

Again, it’s important to note that recovery is an ongoing process—and even once you leave rehab and return to “regular life,” you’ll want to keep taking care of yourself and working to prevent a relapse. There are a lot of components to this, but here are a few especially important tips:

    • Keep going to therapy appointments and support group meetings as advised by your addiction recovery specialist—even on days when you don’t feel like you “need” it.
    • Keep your relapse recovery plan handy, and review it with your therapist on a regular basis.
    • Even with a busy professional life, take time to eat right, get plenty of sleep, and relieve stress as needed.

Get Well, and Get Back to Work

Addiction recovery is an investment in the rest of your life—and that includes your working life. Pursuing recovery can make you far more energized, creative, and productive in your day-to-day affairs. In short, it can help you achieve at an even higher level.

Learn more about what it takes to seek recovery while maintaining your professional responsibilities. Reach out to Experience Recovery in Orange County, California, with any questions!

How Long Does Drug Rehab Take at Experience Recovery

How Long Does Drug Rehab Take at Experience Recovery?

It’s natural to have questions about drug rehab. One of the most common questions is how long the process takes. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question; the length of your recovery will depend on a number of factors—the nature of your addiction, the program you choose, any co-occurring issues that are diagnosed, and more.

A number of drug and alcohol rehabs offer 30-day programs, while others extend for 60 or even 90 days. Even this can be somewhat unreliable as an estimate, though; if you want a clearer sense of how long recovery will take, it’s best to call us at Experience Recovery to arrange a consultation.

Addiction Recovery is Multi-Faceted

One thing to note is that addiction recovery happens in various stages.

  • First, there is detox; in the detox process, your body is rid of all those harmful chemicals. The detox process usually takes a few days, a couple of weeks at the most.
  • From there, you might engage in inpatient or outpatient care; this just depends on your medical needs, as well as your school or work responsibilities. This is the part that can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, roughly speaking.
  • Ultimately, recovery is a life-long process, and aftercare is critical. Once you leave your residential or outpatient program, you may then go into a sober living or transitional program. In other cases, you may return home to your “normal life,” but regular therapy sessions and support groups will continue.

Flexible Options are Available at Experience Recovery

You may desire addiction recovery, but feel unsure about the time commitment—perhaps because of your obligations to school or work. It’s critical for us to note, first and foremost, that your recovery is the most important thing; it can literally be a matter of life and death.

Additionally, we are happy to note that there are flexible options at Experience Recovery in Santa Ana. Our Executive Rehab program, made for business leaders, is meant to be quick and discreet. And partial hospitalization or outpatient programs can help accommodate your busy schedule.

Don’t Scrimp on Recovery

A final note: Studies have shown time and time again that addiction treatment works, and that long-time recovery is possible. With that said, these same studies find that the people who spend the most time in rehab tend to have the best outcomes.

We encourage our clients to talk with us about the options available, and never to rush through rehab; it’s something worth a real time commitment, because the result can be a lifetime of freedom and sobriety.

Seek Help from Experience Recovery in Santa Ana

If you’re ready to devote your time to recovery—to building a better, happier, healthier life for yourself—our team is standing by. Contact Experience Recovery in California today, and ask us about the different programs we can offer. There’s no time like now to pursue lifelong freedom from drug addiction!

How to Pay for Drug Rehab, without Insurance, at Experience Recovery

How to Pay for Drug Rehab, without Insurance, at Experience Recovery

Addiction can sometimes feel hopeless, but the good news is that treatment works, clinical intervention can be fully effective, and recovery is attainable for anyone. That’s true no matter who you are, or how strong your addiction seems. And, at Experience Recovery, we also believe it’s true no matter what your financial status happens to be.

For those who consider treatment at Experience Recovery in Santa Ana, cost can be a deciding factor. If you have health insurance, there’s a decent chance that it will pay for some or even all of your treatment. Indeed, we are proud to accept many major insurance carriers here at Experience Recovery.

But what happens if you don’t have insurance, or if your insurance carrier won’t help you with the cost of addiction treatment? Don’t worry: There are a number of other options available to you.

Payment Options at Experience Recovery, California

Financing and payment plans. It can sometimes be possible to pay for your addiction treatment in installments, over time. You can think of this as taking out a loan—and when you’re using that loan to pay for long-term sobriety, it’s well worth it.

Scholarships and grants. A number of nationally-known mental health organizations and substance abuse boards offer scholarships and grants to those in need. Be sure you ask your Experience Recovery admissions counselor about these options!

Family and friends. It’s hard to ask other people for money; far too often, pride gets in the way. With that said, we urge you to remember that there are people in your life who love you and want you to be healthy and happy for a long time to come—and as such, they’d be more than happy to help you afford the cost of treatment.

Personal savings. You may be saving your money for a new car or a big vacation—but remember: None of that’s nearly as important as your recovery, which is literally a matter of life and death.

Crowdfunding. Many individuals have used crowdfunding platforms to raise capital for their healthcare expenses—and there’s no reason you couldn’t go that route to raise support for your addiction recovery.

Ask for help at Experience Recovery. At Experience Recovery in Santa Ana, we never like to turn people away due to their inability to pay. We want to work with you to find a good solution, enabling you to seek the treatment you need. Don’t hesitate to be honest and upfront with us about your financial concerns! Remember, we are here to help!

Get the Help You Need from Experience Recovery

Recovery is attainable—no matter who you are or what your circumstances happen to be. That’s something we really believe in here at Experience Recovery, and it’s why we urge you to not let financial concerns keep you from getting the help you need.

Learn more about our programs, including financing options, by reaching out to Experience Recovery today.

How to Commit Someone to Experience Recovery Drug Rehab

How to Commit Someone to Experience Recovery Drug Rehab

Watching a loved one struggle with drug addiction can often be a helpless and frustrating experience. Those who deal with addiction are often in denial about their problem and its consequences—which means that your attempts to coax them into seeking rehab can sometimes come up short.

As such, you may wonder if there’s a way you can have them involuntarily committed to a drug rehab center like Experience Recovery—that is, to get them into treatment against their will. This is obviously a big step to take, but it may feel like your last resort. Here are a few thoughts on involuntarily committing a loved one to Experience Recovery in Santa Ana.

Involuntary Commitment in California

To begin with, it’s important to note that involuntary commitment is more commonly referred to as court-ordered commitment, which is probably a more accurate way to put it. You cannot simply show up at Experience Recovery and have someone committed against their will, as you may have seen in old Hollywood movies; there are legal steps you have to take first.

According to California’s state laws, a person only qualifies for court-ordered addiction rehab if one of these two conditions is met:

  • The individual poses a real threat to him/herself, or to others.
  • The individual is unable to provide proper self-care—i.e. unable to maintain food, clothing, and shelter.

Does your loved one meet these criteria? Sometimes, it will be quite obvious; if your loved one has threatened or attempted violence to self or to others in the last few months, that’s qualifying. In other instances, though, it can be hard to determine whether your loved one qualifies for court-ordered commitment. Here are some additional guidelines to use; you should seek court-ordered commitment if your loved one…

  • Has been hospitalized within the past 36 months and demonstrated noncompliance with medical treatment;
  • THas a condition that is substantively, demonstrably getting worse;
  • TIs unlikely to survive safely in the community without proper medical intervention.

Steps to Involuntary Commitment

If you believe that your loved one needs addiction rehab, and efforts to encourage your loved one to seek treatment of his or her own volition have failed, here are the next steps you might take:

1. Call your county courthouse and find out what the law says, and which court should handle your request.
2. Contact the court in question and ask for a petition for involuntary commitment.
3. Complete the petition, offering as much detail as you can.
4. File your petition with the court; you may be able to speak with a judge right away, or you may be asked to come back at a later time.
5. Attend the court hearing and give your testimony; again, offer plenty of detail when you can, but always be honest!

If you have additional questions about having a loved one involuntarily committed to Experience Recovery in California—or if you’d first like to speak to someone about holding an intervention—reach out to Experience Recovery directly.

How Do You Get a Drug Addict to Go to Rehab

How Do You Get a Drug Addict to Go to Rehab?

How Do You Get a Drug Addict to Go to RehabWatching a friend or loved one battle drug addiction can be painful. You want to help, and you know that if your loved one would just seek rehab, lifelong recovery would be possible. The problem is, your loved one doesn’t see the need for drug rehab—or admit to having a problem at all. What can you do to help your loved one make the connection, and seek the clinical intervention he or she so desperately needs?

You Can’t Make Anyone Do Anything

The first thing to do is step back and acknowledge your own limitations. No matter how dire the situation seems, there’s simply nothing you can do to make anyone seek addiction rehab. Trying to take a brute force approach simply won’t work. In fact, it will just be a turnoff.

Alternatively, you could try to guilt the person into seeking rehab—but this, too, is a suboptimal solution. In fact, when you make accusatory statements, it can cause your loved one to get mad, tune you out, and become further entrenched in the refusal of clinical care.

Talk About Your Feelings

Any effort to coax a loved one into recovery must come from a place of love and compassion. Express how much you care about the person—and how worried you are.

Here, it’s helpful to focus on I statements rather than you statements. Consider a few you statements:

  • You are addicted.
  • You are hurting yourself and you’re hurting me
  • You’re throwing your life away.

Now, you may think these things, but the fact is, saying them aloud will cause your loved one to become angry or defensive. Even if they’re true, they’re not helpful.

By contrast, consider these I statements:

  • I’m concerned about your drug use.
  • I’m worried about what might happen to you.
  • I just want you to be happy and healthy, because I love you.

These statements are rooted in your own feelings, and they can be suitably disarming.

Offer Your Support

Offer Support

Something else to remember is that seeking addiction rehab can be frightening, especially for those who have never had any previous rehab experience. The thought of doing something physically and mentally demanding, all alone, is daunting.

That’s why it’s so important to voice your support. Let your loved one know that you’re in their corner, and that you will help however you can—including by helping them find a good addiction rehab program; supporting them while they are in the program; and helping them as they re-enter “normal” life.

Helping Loved Ones with Addiction

You cannot make anyone seek addiction recovery—but you can encourage, support, and love. One more thing you can do? Research addiction recovery options, and help your loved one see the opportunities for true freedom. We’d love to talk with you more about this, and about how we can intervene. Start the conversation today. Contact the clinical team at Experience Recovery and ask about our addiction rehab programs.

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