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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Welcome Declines In Teen Prescription Opioid Abuse, Cigarette And Alcohol Use

Good news for all across the young adult recovery community is the discovery of a decline since 2013 in teen cigarette and alcohol use, as well as the abuse of prescription pain relievers. Stability was also recorded in rates of marijuana use. These are the positive findings of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) 2014 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which also measured the use of e-cigarettes for the first time.

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) was found to be high among American teens, with 8.7 percent of eighth graders making use of them in the past month, in addition to 16.2 percent of 10th graders and 17.1 percent of 12th graders. However, the last five years have seen significant falls - almost 50 percent - in daily cigarette use across all grades. 2.7 percent of eighth graders, for example, smoked cigarettes on a daily basis five years ago, compared to 1.4 percent of today's eighth graders.

The poll, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and measures eighth, 10th and 12th graders' use of and attitudes towards drugs, also found steady past-month use of smoked marijuana across all three groups - at 6.5, 16.6 and 21.2 percent respectively. However, daily use of marijuana was reported by almost 6 percent of 12th graders, while the majority of high school seniors also did not consider occasional marijuana smoking to be harmful.

Elsewhere in the survey, 2014 saw a continuation in positive downward trends for prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. 6.1 percent of high school seniors said that they had used narcotics other than heroin - this category including all opioid pain relievers - in the past year, compared to 2013's 7.1 percent and the 9.5 percent peak recorded in 2004.

Rates of use of various illicit drugs other than marijuana were also scrutinized by the survey. There was, for instance, a fall in 10th graders' past-year use of MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy or Molly, from 3.6 percent last year to 2.3 percent this year. Similar declines were seen in the use of inhalants, K2/Spice (sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana), the hallucinogen saliva, bath salts and alcohol - all extremely welcome developments for the wider young adult recovery community.

NIDA Director, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., commented, "With the rates of many drugs decreasing, and the rates of marijuana use appearing to level off, it is possible that prevention efforts are having an effect. It is now more important than ever for the public health community to continue to educate teens, parents, teachers, community leaders, the media and health care providers about the specific harms of drug use among teens, whose brains are still developing."

Genetic Research Shows Link Between Obesity And Smoking

For many of those counselors running an addiction program that takes a holistic approach to recovery, there's no question of the importance of a suitably-tailored accompanying nutritional therapy program. Such beliefs are further affirmed by a recent study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), buttressing the hypothesis of obesity and nicotine addiction having shared genetic and biological roots.

The research found that some gene variants with an influence on body mass index (BMI) also had a role in smoking behaviors. Associations between 32 BMI-influencing gene variants - known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs - and smoking were scrutinized by a team led by Dr. Thorgeir E. Thorgeirsson at deCODE genetics/Amgen in Reykjavik, Iceland. DNA was contributed to the study by some 50,000 Icelanders, and when the SNPs were taken as a group, they accounted for a modest, but significant fraction of individual differences in two smoking behaviors.

The behaviors in question were initiation - whether someone had ever smoked - and the number of cigarettes that were smoked per day, or CPD. The researchers found that the likelihood of a person initiating smoking was increased for SNPs that genome-wide association studies linked with higher BMI. These results were confirmed by the researchers' use of DNA data collected by three genomics consortia (ENGAGE, Tobacco and Genetics and Oxford-GSK) from a further 127,000 non-Icelandic individuals.

11 of the 32 BMI-associated SNPs, when considered individually, were found to correlate with smoking at the p < 0.05 level of statistical significance. 9 of these were linked to smoking initiation, 2 to CPD and 2 to both initiation and CPD. Also observed by Dr. Thorgeirsson and colleagues was that most of the SNPs associated with heightened BMI were also positively linked to smoking initiation or higher CPD, with both food intake and nicotine consumption potentially influenced by them.

The study does not merely shed light on the potential common origins of obesity and nicotine addiction, but also covers an apparent paradox in how smoking and BMI relate, with smokers generally having a lower BMI than nonsmokers, despite the BMI of heavier smokers being higher than more occasional smokers.

The first observation can be accounted for by the appetite-suppressing and metabolism-accelerating effects of nicotine, while the second may be partly explained by the study's finding that increased nicotine consumption and BMI may be simultaneously promoted by some SNPs. Whatever the situation, there's no doubt that the study has provided plenty of food for thought for many of those overseeing a nutritional therapy and experiential program.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CNN Documentary Draws Attention To Synthetic Drug Dangers

A recent CNN investigative documentary, Deadly High: How Synthetic Drugs Are Killing Kids, has drawn attention to the continued threat posed by synthetic drugs to the health, wellbeing and even lives of young Americans, despite some encouraging developments and figures as of late. These include a decline in human exposure to bath salts, with the fewer than 500 cases reported in 2014 comparing to the more than 6,000 cases logged by the American Association of Poison Control Center in 2011.

Nonetheless, the need for the therapeutic adventure based programs in North Carolina that can assist young adults' recovery from the abuse of such drugs has not waned. Indeed, CNN draws attention to the tragic example of the high school soccer player and honor roll student in suburban Atlanta, Chase Burnett, who was found dead in his family's hot tub on March 4, 2012 - in close proximity to a package of synthetic marijuana.

Only on the day of the 16-year old's passing did his father, David Burnett, learn from Chase's friends that his son had tried synthetic marijuana. He told CNN: "What killed Chase was the synthetic cannabinoid poisoning, the marijuana. The chemicals that were sprayed onto the leaves shut his lungs down. He suffered a violent death. He asphyxiated and suffocated, and he obviously became unconscious ... and I found him in the hot tub."

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that over 28,000 emergency room visits in 2011 could be attributed to synthetic drugs. Also known as "designer" drugs, synthetic drugs are substances that have been chemically laced to mimic the highs of popular controlled drugs like cocaine and marijuana. However, whereas the two aforementioned regular drugs are derived from plants, synthetic marijuana consists of chemicals and dried plant materials. It has been known to be marketed as "potpourri."

Bath salts are another popular synthetic drug, and while they may resemble true bath salts like Epsom salts, they differ greatly chemically. The side effects produced by these bath salts - whether they are taken orally, inhaled or injected - are much like those of amphetamines. Noted physical effects of bath salts range from anger and violence to profuse sweating, heart palpitations and hallucinations, while the symptoms produced by synthetic marijuana are no less troubling, the most extreme including the loss of motor skills, physical control and seizures.

Such dangers only make it all the more essential for parents and guardians to talk to their children about synthetic drugs, particularly given their ready availability in retail. Such pre-emptive, educational intervention can help to prevent the need for therapeutic adventure based programs in North Carolina, as arises from even the most casual use of such immeasurably harmful substances.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Oak Recovery Is Excited To Announce The Addition of Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, To The Team As Family Therapist

Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, Family Therapist
Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, holds a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from Western Carolina University and is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed clinical addictions specialist.  She has over 20 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults and families and has received advanced training in the area of Internal Family Systems therapy and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy.

Lynn’s career has included work in a variety of treatment settings including residential treatment centers, therapeutic wilderness programs, inpatient hospitalization, youth detention centers and intensive outpatient programs.  Her experience also includes managing several adolescent addiction programs as well as providing psychiatric assessments in hospital emergency rooms.

“Lynn brings such compassion and caring to the people she works with,” explains Heather Schnoebelen, MA, LPC, LCAS, CCS-I, Executive Director of Clinical Services.  “Her ability to connect with individuals and support them in their process is unparalleled.”

Recently, Lynn’s primary professional focus has been providing support, coaching and family therapy to families with a child in a residential treatment program.  Lynn brings to this work a deep understanding and empathy for parents in crisis.  One of her goals is to create a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship with all parents in order to improve the overall health of the relationships in their families.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Red Oak Recovery Expands Expressive Arts Therapy Program

Espressive Arts - Red Oak Recovery®
Red Oak Recovery® has expanded their expressive arts therapy program as an additional means to reach their clients through experiential education.  Expressive arts allow for multiples avenues of creative expression, imagination, active participation, and mind-body connection where clients can take a closer look at their feelings, emotions, and thought processes.

Red Oak Recovery® includes varies activities in their expressive arts therapy program, such as music, writing, drawing, dance, psychodrama, horticulture, poetry, painting, and dramatic arts.  By including other ways to explore responses and reactions via artistic processes, clients often find opportunity for deeper exploration for growth, development, and healing.  It can also help bridge the gap between the unconscious and conscious mind by placing the primary focus on the process and letting yourself get lost in the creative flow.

Sarah Kim Wilde, one of the expressive arts facilitators at Red Oak Recovery®, explains, “Expressive arts encourages honest self-expression and allows for the exploration of difficult emotions that may be challenging to access, disclose and process through traditional talk therapy. It can also provide a healthy path toward positive emotional growth, allowing ample space for both profound insight and reflections of gratitude."  Sarah Kim holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater with a minor in Directing from The Boston Conservatory.  She is a skilled performer and singer with both regional and national experience.

To learn more about Red Oak Recovery®, please visit our website or reach out to Mark Oerther, Director of Business Development, at 866.831.9107.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Statistics Pointing To The Need For The Right Experiential Therapy Program

If one ever needed statistical affirmation of how necessary the most appropriate drug and alcohol substance abuse treatment program remains, they would only need to consider the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The most recently available statistics relating to American substance using data from 2012, are instructive in showing the vital role of the right experiential and recreational therapy program.

The country is, for example, seeing a noticeable increase in illicit drug use, with 9.2 percent of the population - or around 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older - having used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication such as a pain reliever, tranquilizer or stimulant in the last month. This 2012 figure compares to the 8.3 percent recorded a decade earlier. This rise is mostly accounted for by a recent increase in the most commonly used illicit drug, marijuana. Indeed, in 2007, there were some 14.4 million current (past-month) marijuana users, which had reached 18.9 million by 2012.

One piece of good news for many of those helming or in need of a experiential therapy program is that there has been no appreciable change in use of most drugs other than marijuana over the last decade - indeed, a decline has been recorded in some instances. However, the statistics also leave no question about the need for programs tailored to the specific requirements of young adults, most people using drugs for the first time are in their teenage years. Of the just over 2.8 million new users (initiates) of illicit drugs in 2012, some 52 percent were under 18.

Furthermore, it was people in their late teens and 20s who showed the highest drug use, with 23.9 percent of 18 to 20-year olds reporting use of an illicit drug in the last month. On the positive side, however, the decade to 2012 saw a decline in the number of 12-20 year olds drinking alcohol, from 28.8 percent to 24.3 percent. Binge drinking also fell from 19.3 percent to 15.3 percent, and only 4.3 percent of those in this age group drunk heavily as of 2012, down from the 6.2 percent recorded in 2002.

Even teen smoking dropped rapidly during the period, with only 6.6 percent of 12 to 17-year olds involved in past-month use in 2012, compared to 2002's 13 percent figure. Nonetheless, the statistics also highlight a significant 'treatment gap' in the United States, the estimated 23.1 million Americans who required treatment for a drugs or alcohol-related problem in 2012 far dwarfing the around 2.5 million people who actually benefited from treatment at a specialty facility.

What such a latter fact shows is that, however favorable the current drug or alcohol use statistics may become, there remains a pressing need for the right treatment provision – often times an experiential therapy program.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Increasing Evidence Of Brain Harm From Marijuana Use

Although there are already many known ways in which marijuana harms the well-being and health of a young adult, new research - funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - has indicated the potential detrimental effects on the brain of the drug's heavy use.

For the purposes of this study, heavy marijuana use is defined as a minimum of four times per week over the previous six months, a frequency that has been linked to adverse changes in the function and structure of parts of the brain that deal with reward, decision-making and motivation.

The enhancement of some brain circuits that can also arise from heavy marijuana use may be means of compensation for reduced function in certain regions of the brain. This effect was especially pronounced in those who began using marijuana at a young age, which suggests a particular susceptibility to marijuana's effects in still-developing brains.

The research was conducted at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas, with its findings published in a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The researchers found that chronic marijuana use effect on the brain may depend on the age of first use as well as the duration of use.

Multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques were used to provide the first comprehensive description of existing brain function and structure abnormalities in those who used marijuana on a long-term basis. Smaller brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) - an area of the brain frequently linked to addiction - was found in chronic marijuana users, as well as higher brain connectivity.

Dr. Francesca Filbey, Associate Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth, commented: "We have seen a steady increase in the incidence of marijuana use since 2007. However, research on its long-term effects remains scarce despite the changes in legislation surrounding marijuana and the continuing conversation surrounding this relevant public health topic."

Indeed, additional long-term studies will be required to determine whether marijuana was the cause of the effects on the brain documented in this most recent research. Nonetheless, such scientific findings enhance the existing body of literature indicating the potentially harmful effects of heavy marijuana use on the brain - interesting news for anyone considering the services of a North Carolina rehabilitation facility.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Driving After Marijuana Use More Prevalent Than Drunk Driving Among High School Seniors

One recent study highlighting the need for a young adult treatment center in 2014 to be as well-equipped to cater for marijuana-addicted young adults as for those with other substance abuse issues came from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The 2011 survey found that almost 1 in 6 high school seniors reported that in the two weeks beforehand, they had driven a motor vehicle following heavy drinking or illicit drug usage. Nearly 1 in 4 said that they had recently accompanied such a person on a drive in a car.

28 percent of respondents in total had put themselves at risk in that short timeframe, by spending time in a vehicle driven by someone who had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or who had drunk a minimum of 5 alcoholic drinks. The last four years had seen these rates increase by 20 percent, almost entirely attributable to an increase in drinking after smoking marijuana.

These statistics were taken by Dr. Patrick M. O'Malley and Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston from how 22,000 12th graders responded to a questionnaire in the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. What also emerged from the students' answers was that driving after marijuana use has become more common among 12th graders than drinking and driving.

Whereas 1 in 8 (12.4 percent) of the students said that during the last two weeks, they had driven following marijuana use, only 1 in 11 (8.7 percent) had driven after consuming alcohol. Compared to the 2008 version of the survey, there was a sharp increase in the percentage of high school seniors driving after using marijuana, from 10.4 percent. Drinking and driving, meanwhile, had declined from a 16 percent peak in 2002.

These changes are in keeping with general trends in students' use of marijuana and alcohol. However, while it is widely known how detrimental an effect alcohol can have on road safety, the similarly dangerous effects of marijuana have not been so commonly acknowledged.

The study found, for example, that there was a similar likelihood of an accident for high school seniors who drove after marijuana use as for those who drank heavily - 26.9 percent and 30.2 percent respectively - 12 months prior to taking the survey. They were also similarly likely to have been given traffic tickets or warnings, at 42.1 percent and 43.2 percent respectively.

Recommended measures to reduce both drunk and drugged driving among American youth, as outlined in a recent Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH) report prepared at the request of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), include the evaluation and improvement of drugged-driving laws, educational programs and data collection. They also included the development and standardization of drug testing methods in drivers.

However, there can be little doubt that the right young adult treatment center - such as Red Oak Recovery® - can also play an integral role.

Monday, November 10, 2014

High Degree Of Compatability Between Smoking Cessation And Recovery

It should certainly interest those seeking the best North Carolina treatment for their young adult loved one to read that according to a new study, it does not look likely that substance use recovery is adversely affected by smoking cessation. Indeed, recovery from substance use disorders, as well as from mood and anxiety (M/AD) disorders, may even be helped by smoking cessation.

The recent findings should lessen concerns that urging patients to quit smoking might make it more difficult for them to recover when also participating in a substance abuse treatment program. Almost 5,000 daily smokers were asked to complete the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) in 2001-2002, as well as a follow-up interview three years later.

Their responses were examined by Dr. Patricia Cavazos-Rehg at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The researchers discovered during the first interview that around 24 percent of the respondents had a current or past history of a drug use disorder (DUD), 50 percent of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 30 percent of an M/AD.

Quitters reported 69 percent fewer or recurrent DUDs at the follow-up than those who continued to smoke at or near their initial intensity, in addition to 36 percent fewer AUDs and 30 percent fewer M/ADs. Even when the researchers' estimates were adjusted to account for factors that might promote or trigger the disorders, the associations between smoking cessation and a reduced AUD or M/AD risk remained statistically significant.

Additional analysis indicated that stopping smoking reduced the risk for persistent or recurrent DUD in part through an impact on concurrent AUD. Similarly, compared to steady smoking, quitting smoking reduced the likelihood of the development of new-onset DUDs (68 percent less likely), AUDs (21 percent) or M/ADs (24 percent) during the survey period. After other potentially influential factors were taken into account, quitting remained significantly associated with a lower risk for a new-onset DUD.

The Missouri researchers concluded that the findings showed a high degree of compatibility between smoking cessation and recovery from mental disorders - news that should be instructive to anyone benefiting from treatment, their family members and loved ones.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Benefits Of Acupuncture In The Recovery Process

At Red Oak Recovery®, we offer weekly acupuncture to our clients. Lying comfortably in a group setting, they relax to music and other sound therapy while receiving acupuncture treatments specifically designed to assist them in their recovery process. Acupuncture is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been practiced for over 2000 years, and is continually evolving as a component of contemporary healthcare.  Over the past 35 years, a system has been developed to specifically address the symptoms of addiction recovery. Coined the ‘NADA detox treatment’, it involves the insertion of needles in five points on each ear, known as auricular acupuncture.

Research has shown that regular treatments with this protocol assist in the reduction of cravings, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, headache and insomnia. In addition, studies have shown that the incorporation of acupuncture into a recovery program reduces the rate of relapse thus providing long term support for the client. Programs using the NADA detox treatment have been established worldwide, and the prevalence and appropriateness of acupuncture for addictions is well established. The US federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment , the United Nations, as well as the US Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affairs  have each published best practice guidelines that address the value of acupuncture for chemical dependency.

Our acupuncture sessions are done in a group setting, and typically last about an hour.  At Red Oak Recovery®, we incorporate the NADA detox treatment along with other acupuncture points on the body to enhance the effects of the protocol and really tailor the treatments to the individual. Additionally, clients are provided with sound healing therapy, encouraged to focus on breathing techniques and guided with other meditative tools during their treatment. At the end of the sessions, clients are amazed at how relaxed and refreshed they feel, and many comment how much they forward to their weekly acupuncture therapy.

For more information on NADA detoxification treatments visit the NADA website.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Use Of Marijuana Up, Other Drugs Down Among American Students

If there was any recent story that perfectly summed up the changing nature of drug use among America's young adults - and the associated need for drug addiction programs in North Carolina like Red Oak Recovery® to adapt - it was surely the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) most recent annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey.

Released in April, the publication observed, for the 16th consecutive year, a decline in the percentage of grade 8, 10 and 12 students in America who reported having ever used alcohol. There was also a drop - for the 17th year in a row - in the percentage of survey respondents who claimed to have ever smoked cigarettes. It means that lifetime smoking prevalence among teens is now less than half of its mid-'90s peak.

However, not all of the survey findings made pleasant reading for the coordinators of drug addiction programs in North Carolina and other areas of the United States. A 1.7 percentage point increase was recorded in the portion of students stating that they had used an illegal drug during their lifetime, from 2012's 34.1 percent to 35.8 percent last year.

Marijuana retained its position from years past as the most frequently used illegal drug, with nearly one third - 32 percent - of those surveyed claiming to have used it during their lifetime. A 16.7 percent rise was observed in the prevalence of past-year student marijuana use, from 21.5 percent to 25.8 percent, in just five years. The level of recorded daily use of marijuana among students last year - 3.7 percent - matched the highest seen in 22 years of monitoring.

However, what will especially worry those helming drug addiction programs in North Carolina is a steady decline among students in the perceived risk of marijuana use, accompanied by the increase in use of the drug. The MTF's principal investigator and Angus Campbell Collegiate Research Professor at the University of Michigan, Dr. Lloyd Johnston, expressed concern that such a lowered estimation of the drug's risk could lead to further rises in marijuana use.

Dr. Johnston commented: "We've seen in various historical periods a strong correlation between changes in perceived risk and use of various drugs. We don't have many leading indicators in the social sciences, so we take this correlation seriously."

Nonetheless, there was better news as far as other drugs were concerned. Past-year use of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin all slightly declined. The survey also found decreased levels of reported use of such drugs as synthetic marijuana - otherwise known as 'K2' or 'Spice' - and bath salts, which have both been associated with serious health concerns.

The survey presents a mixed picture which certainly signifies that the work of such drug addiction programs in North Carolina as Red Oak Recovery® is far from done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Fall leaves at Red Oak Recovery®
Here at Red Oak Recovery® we are blessed with the presence of eight apple trees, all heirloom varieties that were planted approximately 20-25 years ago. The varieties, known as antique or heirloom apples, carry poetic names such as Sheepnose, American Mother, Lady Sweet and Nickajack.

Apples have long been a staple in Western North Carolina, and as the leaves are changing, the apples are ripe. We have incorporated apple recipes into our mealtimes, and Executive Chef Sharon has taught clients how to use an apple-press to make cider. Known on campus as "the apple cider experience," the process can be tedious, but takes on a much deeper meaning in action. This project is infused with gratitude from start to finish. As we harvest the apples, we feel gratitude toward the people who came before us who had the foresight to plant these trees. As we enjoy the cider, we feel gratitude for the team that put in the hard work to make it.

Making the apple cider has many steps; harvesting, washing, crushing, pressing, straining and pasteurizing. Even though this might seem to be a daunting process, everyone chips in and it is quickly proven true, "that many hands make light work."  Clients must work together for a successful outcome and tasty cider requires collaborative focus. We don't have to twist anyone's arm to show up for cooking class when the apple-press is involved, as there is a  sweet and delicious reward at the end!

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Qualifications And Experience Should Substance Abuse Therapists Have?

When parents are seeking a substance abuse treatment program for the young adult in their life, there are certain requirements that they will have. They are likely to want to know more about the exact focus of the program - is its focus squarely short-term addiction intervention or does it take a more holistic approach to clinical care, addressing not just the substance abuse itself, but also the accompanying emotional issues feeding that abuse?

However, additional focus should also be on the substance abuse therapists themselves. If, for example, the program is about tackling a young person's issues in a simultaneous and integrated manner, does it have Masters’ level clinicians holding dual licensure in mental health as well as clinical addictions? In addition, what is the relation of the owners to the day-to-day operations of their program? Do they take a hands-on approach, in addition to overseeing strategic decisions?

You may be looking for an adventure-based therapy program, in which case, you will be reassured by a program that is led by experts with a strong track record in the integration of adventure therapy, substance abuse and mental health treatment. The creation of a truly effective holistic substance abuse treatment program - one addressing the client's physical, mental and emotional health as part of a focus on long-lasting recovery and wellbeing - depends on a team that knows exactly how to develop a cutting-edge program based on past experience and industry research.

The objective of guiding substance-addicted, troubled young adults to a genuinely sustained recovery is a difficult one to achieve without the right programming and clinical care. This may encompass experiential therapy, adventure therapy, social skills development, life skills, and unparamounted clinical care - among other elements. A program led by those licensed in professional counseling; clinical addictions; and mental health issues, such as depression, grief and trauma, developmental issues, bipolar disorder and gender identity issues.

Often times, substance abuse therapists have first-hand experience of addiction and its effects in themselves and/or their wider families, as well as specialized training in related areas including marriage and family therapy, adventure based counseling, systemic family interventions and clinical supervision. Whatever their exact qualifications, the most important qualification of all should be that you have complete confidence in the assistance that they can provide to your young adult.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How The Right Nutritional Therapy Program Helps To Fight Substance Abuse

Nutritional therapy is nothing new, certainly in the context of wider health. It is founded on the scientific and philosophical notion that nutrition's healing power can be used in a multitude of ways to cure common human ailments and has various applications. However, its emphasis on minimizing or eliminating the use of chemical medicines as part of the wider self-healing process has obvious relevance to the objectives of drug and alcohol abuse programs.

The nutritional medicine movement has been espoused by many important figures throughout history, from Carl Pfeiffer and Linus Pauling to Frederick Klenner and Irwin Stone. All of these highly regarded doctors realized how useful nutrition could be in the treatment of disease, as did eminent psychiatrist Adam Hoffer, whose belief that such conditions as schizophrenia could be helped by significant doses of nutrients was met with skepticism at first. Today, however, nutritional therapy best practices are founded on his initial research.

Nutritional therapy has become prominent today among drug and alcohol addiction programs due to the holistic approach to client wellbeing. A good treatment program will be formulated by those who realize the importance of supporting the client's all-round physical, emotional and mental health, not merely providing direct addiction intervention.

Not only do young adults with substance abuse issues benefit from being in a setting that promotes a healthy relationship to food, but a better diet also helps to repair the damage that addictions can cause. Substance abuse often causes malnutrition and dehydration in the body, which the best nutritional therapy program will always work to address.

For example, a good program may give access to fruit orchards, producing apples, pears, grapes, cherries, raspberries and blueberries, alongside gardens producing tomatoes, peppers, sweet and dry corn, okra, lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, collards and spinach. There may even be an animal husbandry program that includes egg laying chickens and honey bees.

These are certainly all characteristics of the Red Oak Recovery® nutritional therapy program, which takes a holistic approach to food and eating and includes teaching horticulture skills and cooking techniques. Enjoying the fruits of their labors is a very rewarding experience for clients. Entrenching good health and eating habits helps support genuinely long-lasting recovery.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Many Approaches Taken By Clinically Dynamic Treatment

When you want to help your young adult loved one to live a happier and more productive life, away from the ravages of substance addiction, it's natural that you will research the many available treatment programs. But what elements do you expect to make up the most suitable clinically dynamic treatment? Do you expect the program that you choose to focus squarely on the mechanics of the drug and alcohol addiction itself, or to embrace the entire patient in mind, body and spirit?

The latter holistic approach is certainly what characterizes the most relevant clinically dynamic treatment today. The therapists, researchers and clinicians who are most experienced in dealing with the diverse range of needs of substance-addicted young adults need to be well-versed in both mental health and substance abuse, and will know that a given patient's own distinctive developmental, emotional and educational needs can only be met through the most individualized treatment, taking in many different approaches.

After all, you aren't looking for a treatment program that will merely provide your young adult or adolescent with temporary relief. What you are seeking is the route to sustained recovery for your loved one, and the right program will help them towards this goal by equipping them with the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in their future lives - all based on truly evidence-based, proven research. One way in which a good program supports sustained recovery is through a longer stay, but there are many other aspects making up the most truly relevant clinically dynamic treatment.

The most capable clinicians in young adult addiction treatment tend to be licensed in both mental health and clinical addictions, and can design a program that blends all of the most important treatment elements in a sophisticated way. The best programs will often have an experiential aspect, for example, challenging their participants to build true self-efficacy, all helping them to understand and determine their place in the world.

However, an effective program should also consist of the most personalized and specific clinical care that young adults require to come to terms with their own unique underlying issues. Finally, the program should also encourage a patient's organic development as an entire individual, so that they can go on and live a life characterized by health and wellbeing. It's just one more element of the most effective clinically dynamic treatment for the full range of young adults struggling with addiction.

The Imperative Role Of Mental Health Support In The Most Effective Substance Abuse Treatment

When many North Carolina parents begin seeking a rehab program for their troubled young adult or adolescent, they do so initially in search of the right substance abuse treatment - weaning their loved one off the substance that is ravaging their life. Sure enough, the leading rehab programs help their patients to cease their substance abuse and avoid the associated psychological, social, financial, legal and/or physical consequences.

However, the most effective local program will also recognize the importance of the highest standard of mental health support in North Carolina. The staff behind such a program will realize, after all, that addressing the ever-present emotional issues that accompany substance abuse is vital if the patient is to see a real and sustained recovery - whether or not those issues pre-date the actual drug and alcohol abuse. It's why the right program will embrace an integrated, holistic approach where the patient's mental health support needs are not neglected.

This means a need for the care provided by the program to be individualized to the patient, in addition to the program's clinicians holding credentials in both clinical addictions and mental health support. The overall treatment program needs to be a sophisticated one. Yes, the clinical care needs to be of a high standard, not only using evidence-based, research proven methodologies but also blending these based on the specific needs of the individual.

However, the aim of freedom from substance abuse is made much more achievable when a program equips its patients with all of the skills that they require to live a happy and productive life away from their previous psychological dependence on drugs and alcohol. The chosen program should demonstrate to its participants how they can have sober fun, as part of a focus on self-efficacy and fostering a connection with the natural self.

Any good program will be very much centered on the whole person, addressing their needs as they are now, not as the person they may think they should be. We certainly take seriously our embrace of the whole individual here at Red Oak Recovery®, of which the most effective mental health support in North Carolina is an integral part. Through approaches ranging from nutritional therapy, art therapy and yoga to individual/group therapy, experiential therapy and life skills training, we help patients to take true ownership of their mental health en route to sustained happiness in their lives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stages Of Effective Young Adult Addiction Treatment Intervention

As much as we want to help the young adult in our life to overcome their substance abuse issues, our eagerness to do so may merely result in us enabling their habit. One of the most important first stages of interventions for young adult addiction treatment can also be the most difficult: simply being yourself and focusing on your own life, rather than running after your loved one, enabling them and cleaning up after their messes.

This first stage is vital for effective family interventions, forcing the young adult to confront their problems with alcohol or drugs and realize some of the very real consequences of their actions. Once the process begins of your loved one coming face to face with their own struggle with substance addiction, you should carefully research treatment programs, choosing the best and most appropriate that you can afford.

Once you have chosen a suitable young adult addiction treatment program, you'll need to get an intervention team together, and plan an intervention for when your loved one experiences a 'crisis' or is otherwise in urgent need of treatment. You are advised to hire an interventionist or intervention professional to lead and coordinate such a plan.

Contact Red Oak Recovery® about young adult addiction treatment, and we can refer you to a suitable interventionist or intervention professional. Once you have the right team together, you should talk about the plan so that everyone involved knows what will happen. Your intervention team should be told about how the young adult's addiction is affecting their life.

It's vital to motivate your loved one to seek treatment by not enabling or bailing them out of trouble unless treatment is immediately required. You should be ready to risk angering the young adult to help them to live independently, and plenty of patience may be needed as the addict gradually recognizes how their substance misuse and the adverse consequences in their life are connected.

When a crisis does happen - which may be after a romantic break-up, the loss of a job or another catastrophic life event, or even just you ceasing your past enabling - it's time to act. Pack their bags, get in touch with the treatment center and gather your intervention team together. Don't depend on every member of the group being available - swift action is essential. Communicate with the young adult in a simple and matter of fact way so that they agree to go to treatment.

Make sure, too, that you have chosen a young adult addiction treatment center that takes the right clinical approach - one that prizes the wellbeing of a person's mind, body and spirit. Together, you can join the many concerned people who have helped their loved ones through effective family interventions.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nutritional Therapy IS Delicious

Clients celebrate the first harvet of the cucumbers and tomatoes
The hills are alive! But, not with the sound of music. No, they are alive with the sounds and colors of our garden. Whether it is the bees flying around the flowering plants, the wild turkeys puffing out their feathers, or the laughter of clients as they’re picking blueberries, there is always activity around the gardens. Afternoon rain showers and summer sun have nourished the fruits and vegetables into a lush bounty.

Red Oak Recovery®’s groundbreaking “Nutritional Therapy” program gives clients the opportunity to learn about seed-to-plate food preparation during gardening and cooking classes with executive chef Sharon D. Through the practice of planting, caring for and then harvesting this food they gain insight into the metaphor that the growth cycle becomes for their recovery process.

Should you happen to walk in at the beginning of meal time, the only sound you’re likely to hear is the clinking of forks on plates. Not only is the food delicious, it has been prepared with mindfulness. Using the freshly harvested Red Oak vegetables, clients and chef together, prepare healthy, conscientious recipes that nourish physical healing. Our menu has been specifically designed to address the nutritional needs of clients in recovery.

Not all blueberries make it to the kitchen!While you may not be able to join us for a meal, we’d like to share one of our lunch menus with you as well as a recipe for kale or Swiss chard chips.  As you enjoy, we encourage you to think about where your food comes from and how it’s grown.
Dark green vegetables provide clients essential minerals and vitamins

Here is a sample Red Oak lunch menu followed by our recipe for kale or Swiss chard chips (so delicious, you would never know they are healthy!):

Black Bean and Vegetable Stew

Fresh Baked Cornbread

Kale and Swiss Chard Chips

Garden Lettuce and Vegetable Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette    

Kale or Swiss Chard Chips 

Our summer garden is teeming with vegetables here at Red Oak!  This is a great use for our abundant dark green leafy vegetables – even people who say they do not like kale, love these chips!  Kale chips are all the rage right now, but try them with Swiss Chard too – they are delicious and loaded with nutrition!


1 bunch Kale or Swiss Chard
1 T. olive oil or coconut oil
Salt, fresh ground pepper, spices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove the leafy part of the green from the stem and cut or tear the kale or chard into pieces roughly 3-4” square.  Wash the greens and then dry very thoroughly – the secret to crisp chips is dry greens!

Place the dried greens into a bowl and coat with the oil – lightly massage the greens to spread the oil throughout.

Spread the greens on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with spices, here are some variations to try:

 -plain olive or coconut oil and salt
 -olive oil, salt and pepper and a dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano
 -coconut oil, salt and a dusting of curry powder

Bake for 15 minutes and check them – rotate the pan, if necessary, to ensure even baking – the chips are ready when they are dark green and crispy.

The chips are so good, they rarely make it to the table!

Monday, August 18, 2014

How Adventure Therapy Can Help Young Adults Recover From Addiction

When you and your family are researching the appropriate substance addiction programs for your young adult, you may encounter references to adventure therapy and wonder what role it can play in assisting your loved one back to full health and well-being. Adventure therapy has been a prominent, distinct form of psychotherapy since the 1960s, with many learning and psychological theories underpinning it.

This experiential form of therapy has a proven record of helping to boost self-concept and self-esteem, and the principles are simple: by providing the young adult with serene surroundings, they can also remove themselves temporarily from daily life's usual distractions. They are therefore given vital time and space in which to reflect on their lives, habits and motivations. In this sense, adventure therapy can truly give your young adult the platform to build a new life.

Think of many of the comforts that your loved one normally lives with. Comfortable beds, computers and the warmth of indoors can all be taken for granted. Few of us, let alone substance addicted young adults, ever get truly back to basics. Adventure therapy makes exactly that possible.

While adventure activities are far from the only component of effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment, they are nonetheless key to psychologically distancing a young adult from their overly familiar life back home, and all of the troubles associated with it. Such a setting is a far cry from the four walls and fluorescent lights that normally color young adults' perceptions of addiction treatment, allowing them to step out of their usual, troubled selves.

Effective adventure therapy is not simply temporary escapism from problems that are simply returned to as soon as the patient leaves the treatment program. That is because such experiential therapy should also be teamed with all of the essential elements of treatment necessary to bring about a sustained transformation in your young adult's physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

These components may range from individual, group and adventure-based therapy to nutritional education, boundary setting, communication skills and social skills development, to name just some of the aspects that characterize the most effective treatment program featuring adventure therapy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Red Oak Recovery® Set To Open Women's Program August 15, 2014

Red Oak Recovery®, a leading young adult drug and alcohol treatment center, is pleased to announce the opening of its women’s substance abuse and co-occurring treatment program on August 15, 2014. This clinically sophisticated program and trauma-informed care is designed to support young adult women ages 18-30 in healing emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

According to Heather Schnoebelen, MA, LPC, LCAS, CCS-I, “the women that we see at this level of care have often experienced trauma and need a safe and nurturing setting. Our private and serene location in the mountains of Western North Carolina is an ideal setting for women to have the opportunity to begin to heal."

Red Oak Recovery®’s adventure-based women’s program averages 90 days, and is entirely individualized and dependent on the unique needs of each client. Red Oak Recovery is owner-operated and works with 8-10 women at a time to address substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, trauma, depression and anxiety, disordered eating and body image.

Red Oak Recovery® also has a men’s program; however, the two are separate and differ from one another. “Women have historically been under-represented in treatment, and most programs aren’t gender separate” says CEO Jack Kline, MS, LPC, LPCS, LCAS, CCS. “We believe in the value of focusing on the specific needs of young adult women in recovery and we address these needs through integrative experiential therapies, nutritional and recreational therapy, psycho-education, DBT, CBT, EMDR and a 12-Step philosophy to engage and empower young women in the early stages of recovery.”

According to Red Oak Recovery®’s founders, abstinence is only the first step in what should be an integrated, whole-person healing process. Red Oak Recovery® is designed to provide healing that is physical, spiritual, cognitive, practical (i.e. life skills), and social in scope.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Oerther, Admissions Director (828) 301-1110

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Feeling 'At One' With The Right Mental Health Support In North Carolina

None of us want to feel unsettled in our lives. We don't want to be merely struggling by in life, troubled by unresolved psychological issues. However, many of us do have problems managing mind, body and spirit, and when this is the case, the most appropriately tailored and sensitive support - like the mental health support in North Carolina offered by Red Oak Recovery® - can make all the difference in helping us to lead happier and more productive lives.

Red Oak Recovery® isn't just another substance abuse treatment program. It's a program for those young adults finding it difficult to wean themselves off substances while also dealing with co-occurring mental health issues. It's why we take such a distinctive clinical approach, integrating adventure therapy with the best research-supported, evidence-based practices to help the client realize their innate goodness, talents and self-worth.

We believe in treating young adults with compassion, respect and dignity, as part of an emphasis on positive and sustained change. The program is also overseen by the most renowned experts in substance abuse, mental health treatment and adventure behavioral healthcare. Chief Executive Officer Jack Kline, for example, possesses more than 25 years' experience in relation to mental health and substance abuse recovery. His extensive training includes in depression, bipolar disorder, gender identity issues and grief and trauma.

But of course, these aren't the aspects of Red Oak Recovery®'s mental health support in North Carolina that mean the most to the young adults struggling with addiction and mental health issues and requiring a rebalancing of body and mind. What they really appreciate most, is the space to concentrate on their recovery and become the person they were meant to be.

While at Red Oak Recovery®'s treatment center, engaging in everything from art therapy and nutritional therapy to yoga and experiential therapy as part of a truly individualized treatment program, they can clear their heads and restore rational thought patterns. They can gain the opportunity for personal reflection that they most require, become more spiritually aware and begin to live less selfishly, and with greater trust - in themselves and others.

That's the difference made by the mental health support in North Carolina provided by Red Oak Recovery®, which is happy to receive inquiries from interested parents or young adults.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Red Oak Recovery®, One Of The Leading Addiction Rehab Centers In North Carolina

It can be an immense source of worry if there is a young adult in your life who is struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health issues. In such a circumstance, you may have started looking up addiction rehab centers in North Carolina, in the hope of finding one that uses research-supported clinical methodologies as part of a program with a strong record for ensuring long-term patient recovery.

Red Oak Recovery® is just such a program. Its committed team combines evidence-based practices with adventure therapy, resulting in a treatment modality that is as profoundly effective as it is distinctively engaging. The clinical care delivered by Red Oak Recovery® prizes respect, dignity and compassion, and seeks to empower clients to discover their innate goodness, talents and self-worth. The result is genuinely sustainable, positive change.

The program also distinguishes itself from other addiction rehab centers in North Carolina by way of its unique location, in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains to the north of Asheville N.C. The program is staffed by leaders and managers with proven backgrounds and expertise in the integration of adventure therapy, substance abuse and mental health treatment into successful and cutting-edge recovery programs.

Red Oak Recovery® provides separate gender-specific treatment programs for young men and women, and blends such elements as adventure therapy, experiential therapy, clinical care, 12-step programming and social skills development. The program also marks itself out from alternative addiction rehab centers in North Carolina through its exclusive focus on young adults, making it the only program of its kind in the United States.

The gender separate nature of the programs is in recognition of the unique ways men and women experience addiction, with the social reinforcers of substance abuse, the disorders accompanying addiction, the biological factors of dependence and triggers for relapse all differing between the genders. These differences are all factored into a truly tailored recovery process addressing men and women's specific social, biological, emotional and spiritual needs.

The program, on a beautiful campus, enables clients to step away from the usual everyday distractions and reflect inwardly. From individual, group and adventure-based therapy to goal setting, family work and boundary setting, the Red Oak Recovery® program incorporates all of the elements required for long-lasting recovery, and a life lived to the full, free from the hugely damaging consequences of alcohol and drug abuse.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nourishing Recovery

If you had been diagnosed with diabetes, would you continue to consume excessive amounts of sugar? If your doctor told you that you could be the best marathon runner in your class contingent on giving your knee one month of rest, would you continue to run sprints every day?

Most of us already know that in order to meet our goals, we need to set ourselves up for success. However, many of us may be unaware what a huge role diet and nutrition play in this process. Just as it is common to be aware of your diet when caring for diabetes, it is as relevant to manage your diet when caring for addiction and throughout your recovery.

Our Executive Chef Sharon Dubuc advocates very strongly for the importance of diet and nutrition for all those who attend our program at Red Oak Recovery®.
“We really have a two-fold approach here. We are offering a diet that is planned to very specifically address physical healing for recovery. Our foods are nutrient-dense, and we are minimizing simple carbohydrates and refined sugars.”
 “Second, we are modeling a healthy relationship with food to support lasting recovery and more so, a long-term lifestyle change. Bringing awareness to this relationship with food is a vital component to a healthy and balanced self-care routine,” says Sharon. 

It is important also, to note the many layers of therapeutic value that present themselves during the planting, caring, and harvesting process. In active addiction we often look for “quick fix” foods and may continue to feed that addictive brain pathway with the instant gratification of fast foods, sweets, and other impulsive eating habits. When we allow the space and time to care for what we put into our bodies, it makes sense that we will inevitably gain a heightened sense of self-appreciation.

“We are breaking free of the pattern of instant gratification by putting the time and work into making whole foods from scratch. We see this process in its entirety from seed-to-table which in turn builds a deeper relationship with our food. Our intention here is to replace instant gratification with balance and patience,” says Sharon. 

At Red Oak Recovery®, it is our belief that proper nutritional maintenance is a cornerstone in protecting your recovery. We have often seen young men and women come to treatment malnourished and defeated. We understand that while using drugs and alcohol, our physical bodies have taken many forms of abuse. However, through our diet and dedication, we get better every day.

For more information from our Executive Chef Sharon Dubuc.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Press Release: Red Oak Recovery® Set To Open April 16, 2014

Substance Abuse Treatment program will target young adults’ “developmental sweet spot.”

Leicester, North Carolina, March 31st, 2014: 

Red Oak Recovery®, an adventure-based drug and alcohol treatment program located in the Smokey Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina will begin accepting clients on April 16th 2014. The program, founded by treatment industry veterans Jack Kline and Mark Oerther, is designed to meet the unique developmental needs of male and female clients between the ages of 18 and 30.

“Developmentally, young adults differ greatly from adolescents and older adults,” says Kline, an experienced clinician who has helped design and run several treatment programs for two large, well-respected behavioral health organizations. “This sensitive developmental phase is well documented in clinical and brain research and has profound implications for substance abuse treatment.” Despite this research, says Kline, traditional treatment approaches fail to adequately address the unique developmental needs of young adults.

To address these needs, Red Oak Recovery® balances the following approaches:

Gender-Separate Programming: Red Oak Recovery treats young men and women in separate programs to allow for sensitive topics, such as trauma and abuse, to be addressed according to gender-specific best practices. Red Oak Recovery’s single-gender approaches also account for important cognitive and emotional differences between male and female young adults.

Therapeutic Adventure Journeys™: Unlike traditional adventure-based treatment, Red Oak Recovery will offer individualized Therapeutic Adventure Journeys™. These brief, yet intensive journeys include fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, and canoeing.  Each unit is designed to teach and test specific recovery skills. “For young adult recovery,” says Oerther, “we have to remember that engagement is critical. So we’ve picked activities that are extremely fun—hence ‘Journeys.’ This teaches our clients appropriate ways to re-engage and enjoy life without the use of substances.”

Neural Recovery:Yoga, meditation, and martial arts are powerful, research-validated approaches for healing the brains of addicts in ways that aid the recovery process. This is particularly important for young adults whose brains are in the midst of a sensitive developmental phase with lifelong implications.

Nutritional Therapy: Clients will enjoy meals prepared by a professional chef featuring local farm-to-table ingredients and can take culinary-arts classes. Most of the cooking will take place in an open kitchen with both a Brazilian-style wood-fire grill and a brick pizza oven. Clients will also help grow much of the organic food that they will prepare and consume throughout the duration of the program. This hands-on approach to nutrition helps clients gain an appreciation for the role nutrition can play in their recovery from addiction, and in the physical and mental healing that follows.

Concentrated Clinical Work: Red Oak Recovery will quadruple the amount of therapist-led clinical work that typical treatment programs offer, says Kline. “We have a special opportunity with clients to do an enormous amount of therapy in a compressed timeframe. We don’t want to miss that opportunity.”

Milieu Assessment: Since recovery is a day-to-day process with both forward and backward progress, traditional pre- and post-program assessment is not enough, according to Oerther. “Our clinicians use every activity and interaction as part of a real-time, milieu-based assessment approach.” This kind of assessment is crucial for effective treatment, post-treatment planning, and aftercare support. Outcome data will be tracked and collected as part of an evidenced-based approach to treatment.

According to Red Oak Recovery®’s founders, abstinence is only the first step in what should be an integrated, whole-person healing process. Red Oak Recovery® is designed to provide healing that is physical, spiritual, cognitive, practical (i.e. life skills), and social in scope.