Substance Use Disorder Lecture

15 Jan

In our last Family Night Educational Lecture presented by Cornerstone’s Clinical Staff team member, Dane Jones, he covered in detail the psychological and physiological effects of Substance Use Disorders as defined by the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition).
This manual is the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s guide with in-depth information on the names, symptoms and diagnostic features of each recognized mental illness—including addictions. Published in May 2013 nearly 20 years after the original publication the DSM-V highlights criteria for substance use disorders that are based on decades of research and clinical knowledge.
Dane presented to our clients and their family members the concept behind the Biological, Physiological and Social factors present in the individuals and families that have been afflicted by substance use disorder as well as the cyclical effects that persist throughout the cycle of addiction.

Criteria for Substance Use Disorders

Substance use disorders span a wide variety of problems arising from substance use, and cover 11 different criteria:
1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.
3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.
5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.
6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.
7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
9. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.
10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).
11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

The severity of Substance Use Disorders

The DSM 5 allows clinicians to identify how severe a problem the substance use disorder is depending upon how many symptoms are identified. If there are 2 or 3 symptoms it would indicate a mild substance use disorder while 4 or 5 symptoms indicate more of a moderate disorder. Identifying 6 or more symptoms would indicate a severe substance use disorder.
For our clients, some of these factors and cycles include unhealthy peer groups, toxic relationships, relapses, instability professionally, dependency, legal issues, cognitive distortions, lack of healthy communication skills and lack of coping skills.

When looking at the families a few of the factors are codependency, lack of boundaries, misunderstanding of addiction and alcoholism, misunderstanding of assertive communication methods, and lack of resources to help cope with the effects of alcoholism.

A number of great resources for more information on these topics can be found in Samsha.gov, Psychology Today, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Substance Abuse Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Community Resource Centers such as Cornerstone of Southern California’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.

Through this educational process, our clients and family members alike will now better understand the concept surrounding the disease of addiction and present a solution and hope to those who have felt hopeless and have struggled to understand the disorder in which they and their families have been enmeshed for far too long.

Cornerstone recieves IMS (Incidental Medical Services) Certification from the DHCS

20 Dec

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Cornerstone is proud to announce our new IMS Certification from the Department of Health Care Services in California! After successfully submitting our applications for the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Designations for all 20 of our residential treatment facilities we have now received our IMS Certification and can begin having licensed Addiction Medicine Physicians providing the following services at our facility:

1) Obtaining Medical Histories

2) Monitoring health status to determine whether the health status warrants transfer of the client in order to receive urgent medical care

3) Perform testing associated with detoxification from alcohol or drugs

4) Provide alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment services

5) Overseeing client self-administered medications

6) Treating substance abuse disorders, including detoxification


This massive change has been much anticipated by our program in order to bolster the quality and safety of the detoxification and treatment services that we have been providing since 1984. The ability to have a licensed Addiction Medicine Physician overseeing our detoxing and monitored clients can and will only approve our program.

How to achieve Long Term Recovery?

26 May

Don’t leave treatment when you “feel better”. It is often as simple as that. Studies prove that longer stays in treatment settings directly correlate to extended sobriety. Having worked in the addiction recovery field for the past 16 years I have seen clients leave treatment the instant their withdrawals subside. They begin to feel good again and instantly feel invincible; like they have it all figured out and can take on the world without fear.

Almost every time I remember a client leaving treatment ASA (against staff advice) I will hear that they have relapsed and either want to come back to us at Cornerstone, have checked in at another facility, are in jail or worse. Many of the negative reviews we have received over the years on our different social media and online accounts say things like, “They are all about the money!” or “My case manager wanted me to stay longer so they could milk me for more money,” or some other form of anger towards our program and staff who were only looking out for the client’s best interests.

We would be very pleased to know that each time a client ‘feels better’ and leaves the program early they continue on the path to long term sobriety but this is truly not the case. We are in this business to help addicts recover. Period. We do not attempt to keep any client any longer than we feel is beneficial to them and their individual recovery program.

How Iceland fixed it’s teen addiction problem.

5 Apr

Why do teens turn to drugs? There are a million different reasons why this choice is made by teens all over the world and an equal number of solutions have also been posed to correct it. In the US alone we have been through a number of different attempts to combat the teen drug use problem. We have tried to “Just say no”, for years have waged the war on drugs and today we see many different types and modalities of drug treatment programs offering help to those addicted.

What if we are missing the true problem or discrediting the initial emotions that initiate the desire for escape that lead to drug use? Maybe it is a more simple fix.

To find out how Iceland fixed it’s teen addiction problem CLICK HERE!

Insurance and Addiction. Where the true problem lies…

20 Mar

The passage of the ACA was extremely beneficial to those suffering from addictions due to provisions requiring coverage for drug treatment as well as allowing children to stay on their parents plan until the age of 26.

While both of these pieces of the Obamacare program are inherently positive the insurance companies found a way to deny certain types of treatment to those in need.

They began a ‘fail first’ policy for opioid addicts which basically states that the insurance company will deny inpatient detoxification for them until they have ‘attempted an outpatient program first and failed.”

This practice needs to change. I’ve never heard a cancer patient be told that they must try some other form of treatment and fail before they can access the care that they truly need.

Read more about this HERE.

Choose wisely!

16 Mar

Addiction recovery is a chance to begin again with a clean slate and a positive outlook! Once you have freed your mind and body of the shackles of addiction you can move forward in whichever way you may choose. It is all at once a liberating and, for some, a terrifying prospect. Fear is natural and should be a welcome emotion after years of smothering your true emotions in substance abuse. Feel something! Mold your new life to your will and always – take it one day at a time!

We at Cornerstone salute all of you Recovery Warriors! Fight on!

Trump could destroy health insurance provisions essential to people with addictions

10 Mar

With the new Trump Administration mostly in place the country is in limbo waiting to see what will ultimately become of the Affordable Care Act. Will the GOP do as Trump continually promises and “Repeal and Replace” the program? What will be the Republicans replacement for Obamacare? Will provisions be kept?

The addiction treatment community across the country would like the provisions granting access to treatment for addictions to be kept in place. There are far too many Americans in need of this care and to remove it will not help the opioid epidemic or any aspect of the substance abuse problem we are facing.

What do you think?

READ MORE HERE!