October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

There are many national observances every month, all year round, that remind us of issues that may not always be on the forefront of our minds. These issues are typically not something everyone will put much thought into each day, but when we pause to acknowledge them for a few days at a time we may realize these are real problems that affect real people every single day. Some of these issues go unseen, like mental health disorders. One of these observances for the month of October is National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month.

If you never realized this was an actual observance, then that is kind of the point. The fact that this is enough of an issue to acknowledge for one month out of a year should speak volumes. The fact a lot of people don’t even realize it is happening says a lot too.

Let us be clear: this article is NOT to discredit or denounce the use of antidepressant medications. It is simply to acknowledge the importance of awareness and education.

So what does this observance mean?

#AntidepressantDeathAwarenessMonth

The purpose of National Antidepressant Death Awareness Month is to remember those who have been injured or killed as a result of antidepressant use. Part of this commemoration is to urge people to always report any adverse reactions while taking any drugs to the FDA, especially in cases that end in death. Depression is a common mental health disorder in the United States. In fact, recent data shows:

  • More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally
  • Approximately 16 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode in 2012
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18
  • 10%-20% of new moms will experience postpartum depression
  • 30% of college students report feeling depressed enough it disrupted their performance in school
  • 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment

Needless to say, depression is a prominent condition that impacts a lot of people across America. So of course, antidepressant medications are a valued resource in mental health treatment. However, excessive use of antidepressant medications or dependence on these drugs can lead to some devastating consequences.

Too often people joke about needing to “pop a Prozac” or “borrow a Zoloft” to relax, but these medications are nothing to play around with.

Antidepressants and Suicide

In 2016 reports came out about a suicide epidemic in America. According to the World Health Organization suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death in 2015, representing a 60% increase worldwide over 45 years! A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an estimated 9.3 million adults in the United States (3.9% of the adult population) reported having suicidal thoughts in that past year.

With such shocking statistics, researchers decided to examine data on suicides and the antidepressants associated with some cases. Of most of the medications the most disturbing revelations were those for:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

The review revealed that these antidepressants actually seemed to double the rate of suicide and aggressive behavior for adolescents and young people under the age of 18.

So drugs intended to treat depression actually increased risks of harmful side-effects. But even more disheartening is the fact the Big Pharma companies behind these medications were documenting “serious underestimation of the harms.” Meaning they believe drug makers misreported their findings from case studies. In many cases, researchers concluded more serious side-effects were being recorded as something else.

Side-Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressant drugs can be very useful, but they are still drugs and should always be taken seriously. Not only can antidepressants be detrimental to emotional stability, but they cause various physical side-effects as well.

Some of the more common side-effects of antidepressants include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability

There are other more serious health concerns that certain antidepressant drugs can contribute to as well, including:

Depending on the particular substance, some of these adverse effects of symptoms may differ. One should always speak with their doctor about the possible adverse effects of any medication and be sure to discuss all treatment options.

Be sure to consult your doctor before discontinuing any medications as well. Some of these medications can cause adverse effects when abruptly discontinued. Again, the point of this conversation is not to scare anyone away from antidepressant medications; it is simply to encourage anyone who may be taking these kinds of medications to be aware and make informed decisions with the help of your doctor.

Antidepressant Dependence

The connection between antidepressants and addiction isn’t as clear as other drugs. Doctors still debate the addictive nature of antidepressant medications, with most considering them non-addictive. However, it is possible to develop a dependence on antidepressants.

Antidepressant medications alter the brain’s chemical activity. So a lot of people use antidepressants excessively because they feel like they cannot function normally unless chemical changes in their brain activity take place. So while antidepressants may not be as addictive as other narcotic medications, people can depend on the drug to feel ‘normal’.

Antidepressant dependence commonly forms in people who never needed the drug for medical reasons. Some people receive an incorrect diagnosis of depression and thus end up on antidepressants. According to one study, doctors misdiagnosed almost 2/3 of patients with depression and prescribed unnecessary antidepressants. Still, others will abuse antidepressants for a psychostimulant-like effect.

The use of the drugs also becomes even more dangerous when combined with alcohol. People suffering from addiction to other drugs, including alcohol, also run a higher risk of abusing their antidepressants.

Combining alcohol and antidepressants can cause problems such as:

  • Worsened depression or anxiety
  • Intense sedation
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Impaired coordination
  • Overdose

Abuse of antidepressants can lead to overdose. Symptoms of antidepressant overdose often include:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Safety before Stigma

Of course, no one should ever be afraid or embarrassed about taking an antidepressant medication. That kind of assistance can be an essential piece of someone’s balance in life, and there is no judgment.

In the realm of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it is important for people to understand the difficulties that others may face and accept that medical assistance might be necessary for some people to safely and comfortably grow while letting go of other dangerous substances. As long as people are willing to be mindful of how a medication effects them and take appropriate steps to protect themselves, recovery with the help of antidepressants is absolutely possible.

Approximately one in every eight adults in America take antidepressants, which are among the most commonly used medications. These medications can be life altering and important to overall health, but they must be taken seriously. This month we remember all those who have suffered through depression and been adversely affected by antidepressants. We remember those who lost their lives due to complications related to antidepressant medications, and we strive for better understanding and use of these medications to preserve lives.

Abusing prescription medications like antidepressants is extremely dangerous, and if you are trying to overcome an addiction or mental health disorder this can put you in even more danger. Getting the right kind of treatment can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

After Las Vegas Shooting: PTSD and Mental Health Must be Priority

After Las Vegas Shooting: PTSD and Mental Health Must be Priority

Just this past Sunday the nation saw one of the deadliest shootings in modern American history in Las Vegas. This immense and indescribable tragedy shocked the world as news reports and live footage filled the airwaves after a gunman opened fire with high-powered rifles at an outdoor music festival. At this point there are at least 58 dead and over 520 wounded, making it the deadliest mass shooting in recent history.

The heartbreak and weight of this tragedy truly cannot be put into words. The unimaginable loss is without parallel. Beyond those who lost their lives in such a senseless act of violence, the impacts this event has had on countless friends, families and loved ones are unfathomable.

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, mental health must be a priority. How we address and protect the psychological well-being of every American must be a very serious part of the conversation. We have to take a close look at how we are facing mental health, and support those who have been traumatized in the wake of such horrific events.

PTSD of Mass Shootings

The risks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is extremely elevated in situations like this. Research on mass shootings is not extensive but is sufficient enough to allow for some preliminary conclusions. One study examined 15 mass shooting events to review consequences of the incidents upon survivors. From these studies conclusion, researchers stated:

  • Prevalence of post-disaster diagnoses (predominantly PTSD) in these studies ranged from 10% to 36%
  • Much higher percentages reported sub-threshold PTSD
  • Very few participants reported no symptoms

One 1994 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that in the acute post-disaster period:

  • 20% of the men met criteria for PTSD after a mass shooting
  • 36% of the women met criteria for PTSD

The same study looked at those with post-disaster PTSD who also met criteria for another post-disaster psychiatric diagnosis, especially major depression. They found:

  • One-half of the women met the criteria
  • One-fourth of the men met the criteria

Experts say most people will recover fully from post-disaster PTSD within 6 to 16 months, but most still emphasize the importance of support.

Not only can those present at the tragedy be affected directly, but also those not present but connected to the location or individuals present can be affected vicariously. You don’t have to experience something so horrifying first-hand to suffer a severe impact. An attack like this can have deep emotional effects on those who witness the event, or even for those all over the world following the story.

Understanding PTSD

Part of dealing with the residual effects of tragic events and disasters is to understand how conditions like PTSD can impact people. PTSD can result in emotional, physical and even cognitive issues that some people may not know how to recognize or cope with.

Emotional Effects of PTSD Include

  • Shock
  • Terror
  • Irritability
  • Blame
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Grief or sadness
  • Emotional numbing
  • Helplessness
  • Loss of pleasure derived from familiar activities
  • Difficulty feeling happy
  • Difficulty experiencing loving feelings

Physical Effects of PTSD Include

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Startle response
  • Cardiovascular strain
  • Increased physical pain
  • Reduced immune response
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased libido

Cognitive Effects of PTSD Include

  • Decreased concentration
  • Confusion
  • Impaired decision making
  • Disbelief
  • Dissociation
  • Nightmares
  • Impaired Memory
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Reduced self-efficacy
  • Self-blame
  • Intrusive thoughts/memories
  • Anxiety

All of these things can cause other more personal issues. Some will experience difficulty with intimacy or social relationships. Isolation and alienation can develop at work, at school or even at home.

According to PTSD United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support and resources for those suffering from PTSD:

  • 70% of adults (approximately 223.4 million people) in the US have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.
  • Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD.
  • Approximately 44.7 million people today either have struggled or are struggling with PTSD.

With PTSD, a lot of people actually turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Some will rely on substances as a form of relief when PTSD brings feelings of isolation or depression. However, as people try to numb or distract themselves from these feelings, they tend to create more problems through substance use.

Often times, the substances only fuel feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety.

Make Mental Health a Priority

This week, October 1 through October 7, is Mental Illness Awareness Week. There is no time like the present to discuss the current state of mental health across the country. Now is always the time to advocate for better support, services, and acceptance when discussing mental illness and mental health in America.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

  • 9% of all U.S. adults (43.4 million)qualified as having mental health issues in 2015
  • Approximately 20-21% of incarcerated Americans have a “recent history” of mental health issues
  • 70% of young people caught up in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health issue
  • 46% of people living in homeless shelters live with severe mental health issues and/or substance use disorders (SUDs)

In the aftermath of such profound tragedy like the recent shooting in Las Vegas, or even natural disasters like recently with Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria, there should be a very direct conversation about mental health. We should also work diligently to ensure that while the world grapples with opioid addiction and drug abuse, that more people don’t turn to self-medicating to fight feelings of loss, terror or alienation.

For all survivors of recent tragedies, or those affected indirectly, there are ways to take care of yourself and monitor your own mental state. Make your own mental health a priority. Protect yourself from destructive behaviors, and reach out for help in the wake of such emotionally compromising events as what happened in Las Vegas.

The national crisis hotline also offers confidential and free services 24/7/365 Call (775) 784-8090 or text ANSWER to 839-863

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those touched by this tragedy.

If you or someone you love is struggling with trauma, don’t let substance abuse make it all even worse. Drugs or alcohol are not the answer. There is real help out there. Please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Is Secondary Exposure Overdose a Risk For People Who Know Addicts?

Is Secondary Exposure Overdose a Risk For People Who Know Addicts?

As we have seen time and time again, the opioid epidemic all across America has not been confined to one substance. It takes the shape of prescription painkillers, illicit heroin and even the more potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl. With the gradual progression of this poisonous outbreak, we have seen the stakes get higher and higher. Prescription opioids contributed to a growing population of heroin users. Dealers lacing heroin with synthetics like fentanyl led to higher overdose rates. Then the highly dangerous, frequently lethal carfentanil was added to the mix and now just being around the drugs can almost kill you.

With the addition of fentanyl and carfentanil to the illicit drug world comes a very real and potentially lethal new threat- secondary exposure overdose.

What is Secondary Exposure?

Secondary exposure is also referred to as secondary contamination or second-hand exposure. It is a term usually used with things like asbestos poisoning or mesothelioma. Sometimes it is even used to describe the effects of radiation. It is when people come into contact with gasses or substances that can be absorbed into the body and do very real damage.

The most common comparison you could make is to second-hand smoke, which is when people smoking cigarettes expose others to the toxic gas they and the cigarette release into the air. Second-hand smoke can cause very real health problems, including some cancers. The most terrible aspect of it being that the individual who gets sick doesn’t even have to smoke themselves.

With drug use secondary exposure overdose has now become a real risk thanks to synthetic opioids. Law enforcement and other officials tell us that some of these dangerous substances must be handled with the utmost caution. The news coming out of Ohio this week is just another example of how hazardous these drugs have become.

Ohio Nurses Experience Secondary Exposure Overdose

At Affinity Medical Center, a hospital in Massilion, Ohio, three nurses helped treat an overdose patient. After cleaning the room where the individual was treated, the three nurses were overcome by secondary exposure. They got sick and shortly after lost consciousness.

Detective Shaun Dadisman states,

“They were cleaning up the room and started to feel sick. And then that left them waking up in a hospital bed,”

According to the investigators in this case, the three nurses were treated with Narcan. The opioid overdose antidote Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone, which is used to reverse the effects of opioids on the respiratory system. The local law enforcement believe the substance the nurses were exposed to was fentanyl. Thankfully, all three nurses are said to have recovered.

A union representing nurses at the hospital intends to meet with hospital officials to review protocols for environmental contamination. A spokeswoman from the hospital states that the institution does have effective policies, which isn’t out of the question.

Police Officer Needs Narcan after Secondary Exposure Overdose

Just this summer, a police officer in a very similar situation almost died from an accidental overdose due to secondary exposure. Officer Chris Green was responding to a drug call when the incident occurred. The drug he came in contact with at the time was so powerful that even though officer Green said he was wearing gloves and a mask as he searched a suspect’s car, he still ended up being severely impacted by the substance. Merely by ending up with a white substance on his shirt officer Green needed to be revived with not just one, but multiple doses of Narcan.

How Does Secondary Exposure Overdose Happen?

Detective Shaun Dadisman spoke more about the dangers of opioid overdose through secondary exposure. Dadisman states,

“It shuts down your breathing. It shuts down your system so you get to the point where you’re not breathing on your own. And you need that boost and that Narcan is what takes that away so it helps you to recover quickly,”

Fentanyl and other opioids like carfentanil present a whole new level of danger concerning secondary exposure. The drugs are so intoxicating that  law enforcement and medical personnel are now forced to come up with new policies and protocols just to handle an individual who may be overdosing on these drugs to protect themselves and others. Dadisman stated,

“I was actually stuck by a needle from an individual on a heroin overdose, so I had to run through all of the testing myself,”

The opioid epidemic now doesn’t just present an elevate risk of death to those who are using these drugs. Opioid abuse now poses a very real and deadly danger to those who work to save the lives of users every day. The greatest danger some of these drugs prevent is that of the unknown. As Dadisman points out,

“I think there will be continued changes – gloves, masks. And the problem with our first responders, police officers and our nurses and stuff, is you don’t know immediately what you’re dealing with. After the fact, you may know, but it may be too late.”

So now every day these synthetic opioid drugs don’t just threaten the lives of people who consume them, whether knowingly or not, but also the people closest to them.

So what can be said about secondary exposure overdose? Well, it is safe to say that with some of the most powerful drugs that are out there simply getting some on your skin or breathing it in, even on accident, can cause life-threatening illness. While hopefully this concept does not start a panic, it is a reality that more people should probably be aware of. Whether people are leaving the drug around others, consuming the drug in public places or being revived by loved ones and first responders, the fact is the drugs are stronger and more life-threatening than ever. The fact that a dose of Narcan might not save someone on the first shot should be enough to push for more awareness and more focus on finding a way to fight back.

So, what more can be done about the possibility of secondary exposure overdose?

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioids do not hesitate to get help. The rates for overdoses and opioid-related deaths are far too high to keep gambling with your life. Protect your loved ones and your future. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms, Side Effects & Treatment

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms, Side Effects & Treatment

If you believe you or someone else is experiencing fentanyl overdose symptoms, please call 911 right away. Fentanyl is an extremely potent potentially fatal drug and should not be underestimated.

Fentanyl, also known as fentanil, is an incredibly potent synthetic opioid pain medication with a rapid onset and short duration of action. This drug is considered to be around 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, while some fentanyl analogues such as carfentali, which are designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug, may be as much as 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl brand names include:

  • Actiq
  • Duragesic
  • Fentora
  • Sublimaze

Individuals who abuse opioids, particularly heroin, are more likely to ingest fentanyl, knowingly or unintentionally. This puts them at an even higher risk of overdose.

In 2015 alone, 33,091 people died due to overdose on opioids like fentanyl.

Learning how to recognize the indications of a fentanyl overdose and getting professional substance abuse treatment may save a life.

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: Side Effects of Fentanyl

As an extremely potent opioid drug, fentanyl is very carefully prescribed and dosed by medical professionals. Those who abuse fentanyl may use the drug outside of prescription guidelines or without a prescription altogether, which can drastically increase their risk of lethal overdose.

Fentanyl’s most common side effects of Fentanyl use include

  • Asthenia(weakness)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Somnolence
  • Confusion
  • Sweating

Some of the less common side effects of Fentanyl use include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anorexia and weight loss
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dyspepsia(indigestion)
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Hypoventilation
  • Urinary retention abuse

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: Risks of abuse

With a powerful drug like fentanyl the risk of abuse is exceedingly high, especially considering the drug’s medical use is so limited to treating extreme cases. So when people take fentanyl in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed it of course elevates their risk for serious side effects and experiencing fentanyl overdose symptoms.

As far as recreational use, fentanyl is extremely dangerous. Using this drug in any way other than intended, such as snorting or injecting it, is not only illicit abuse of the chemical, but potentially life-threatening. In recent years drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl powder with heroin to increase potency or compensate for low-quality heroin. This illegally manufactured, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl cut into other substances caused an outbreak of overdose deaths in the United States and Canada over the past several years.

Combining fentanyl with other drugs can have effects that either compound the already severe side effects of fentanyl or contradict the effect and cause more chaos in the body. Using fentanyl with other substances is very hazardous, especially with drugs such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antidepressant medication

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study recently that showed:

  • 82% of fentanyl overdose deaths involved illegally manufactured fentanyl
  • Only 4% were suspected to originate from a prescription

National Forensic Laboratory Information System reported:

  • 942 fentanyl seizures in 2013
  • 3,344 fentanyl seizures in 2014

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: Signs to Look For

Being able to address a possible overdose means being able to recognize and understand some of the possible fentanyl overdose symptoms. While one of these may not be a definite indication, noticing a combination of symptoms may be a more serious issue.

A person experiencing fentanyl overdose symptoms may present with the following overdose signs:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Pale skin
  • Nausea
  • Choking sounds or gurgling/snoring noises
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Dangerously slowed or stopped breathing
  • Blue skin tinge nails and lips
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Intensely slowed heart beat
  • Coma
  • Seizure
  • Death

The effects of fentanyl overdose symptoms on an individual’s respiratory system and heart rate are the most serious relating to risk of death or permanent damage. Not only can this lead to coma or death, but even after surviving the overdose there can still be complications.

If not treated immediately, the impact of fentanyl overdose symptoms on the heart and respiratory system may cause residual problems such as permanent brain damage.

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: How Much Is Too Much?

It is difficult to determine the exact dose it would take for someone to experience fentanyl overdose symptoms. According to some medical professionals, 250 micograms of fentanyl might represent a lethal dose of fentanyl. However, most individual’s using heroin and other drugs are unaware that they have ingested the drug at all, let alone know how much fentanyl is in the doses.

At the end of the day, fentanyl overdose symptoms can vary depending on the individual, and the amount it takes to overdose will vary to. Some elements that impact the odds of overdosing includes:

  • Other drugs taken
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Physical condition

In the event of an overdose of fentanyl you should seek immediate emergency medical assistance. Some cases require several doses of Narcan (Naloxone), the opioid overdose antidote, to stabilize the individual suffering from an overdose. Even if you have access to Narcan or Naloxone yourself, always contact emergency medical services to get assistance, because when the antidote wears off the overdose could return, or there may be other severe complications.

Opiate medications and street drugs have done a great deal of damage these past few years. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl have raised the risks and increased the death rates in a big way. Far too many lives are ruined, or brought to an abrupt end, because of overdoses when there is real help out there. Don’t wait until after an overdose. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

What Chester Bennington Taught Us about Addiction and Depression

What Chester Bennington Taught Us about Addiction and Depression

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

I remember in junior high school when the guys and I pressured my friends mom to drive through a snow storm to the concert. After bugging a couple buddies to pitch in and buy me and my friend Chris tickets to see Linkin Park live in Columbus, Ohio for their 2003 tour with Hoobastank, Story of the Year and POD. While some of my crew preferred these bands I had history with Linkin Park albums:

  • Hybrid Theory
  • Reanimation
  • Meteora

I mean come on; Meteora was one of the highest selling alternative music albums of all time! Hybrid Theory went multi-Platinum in several countries! You don’t have to love Linkin Park to acknowledge the impact this band had on music.

We were only 13 or 14 years old, and it was a massive crowd, probably full of lost kids just like us. Linkin Park is that sometimes melodic, sometimes growling scream that spoke to something in so many people. At 11 and 12 years old, when their fame was just beginning, their songs put words to things I didn’t know how to say. It was gloom and rage that inspired millions of people.

Granted in years since, I have grown away from their changes in sound and style. But I remember having the LP patches and stickers all over my stuff, next to my Tupac and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I remember wanting to dye my hair and spike it out… because punk rock! And to freak out my mom.

And I remember listening to Reanimation on repeat trying to learn all the new words to remixes of my old favorites.

I remember when they did a remix album Collison Course with Jay Z.

And I remember stomping around the street in my small Midwestern neighborhood, late night in the pouring rain, banging my head to “One Step Closer” feeling like the most misunderstood kid ever.

So when the news broke today that the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington had died it was so surreal. But when you look back at the artists music and his life, we have always been given a window into his pain, through a fierce puncturing scream and emotional lyrics.

Early Reports

Initial reports from TMZ were later reiterated by various sources of Bennington’s passing. Brian Elias, the chief of operations for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, confirmed the death reports. At the tragically young age of 41, Chester Bennington leaves behind 6 children from two relationships. Not to mention a loyal family of musicians and millions of fans all over the world.

According to Elias the singer’s death is currently being investigated as a possible suicide. Chester Bennington was close friends with the other legendary rock vocalist Chris Cornell, who recently committed suicide in May. On what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday, Bennington appears to have taken his own life.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were lit up in a matter of hours with thousands and thousands of fans sending their love and support to Bennington’s family and the band. Celebrities from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to director Joss Whedon, rockers like Corey Taylor of Slipknot and graphic artists like BossLogic, to Chance the Rapper, Killer Mike and Cypress Hill took to the internet to pay homage and talk about how Linkin Park’s music helped them through tough times.

Chester Bennington: Pain and Addiction

With songs that were full of dark and deeply personal themes and words, it is not hard to imagine that Chester Bennington faced his demons. But Bennington himself has been open about his fight with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life, and his battles with the abuse he faced in his childhood.

Skimming through multiple sites and past interviews, you find that in life Chester Bennington had seen his fair share of darkness. In an interview years back he opened up about being molested and beaten by an older male friend beginning at age seven. At 11 years old, his parents divorced and he was forced to live with his father. After discovering drugs, he used:

At one point saying in an interview in 2016 he was taking 11 hits of acid a day:

“I dropped so much acid I’m surprised I can still speak. I’d smoke a bunch of crack, do a bit of meth and just sit there and freak out. Then I’d smoke opium to come down. I weighed 110 pounds.”

Benning was able to avoid heavy drug use for a while, but after becoming hugely successful, drugs found their way back into his life. For a few years after getting clean in 2006, Bennington went on to openly discussed how his fight with addiction and his recovery fed into the roaring rage and agony in his music. In an interview in 2009 with Noisecreep, Bennington stated:

“I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain so to speak and kind of being able to vent it through my music,”

“I don’t have a problem with people knowing that I had a drinking problem. That’s who I am and I’m kind of lucky in a lot of ways cause I get to do something about it.”

One of the most well-known songs Linkin Park ever released was the haunting and heartbroken song “Crawling” from their debut album Hybrid Theory. The video was pretty cool visually for its time, and the song itself is pretty much the pinnacle of emotional screaming “nu rock” of the early 2000s. Linkin Park later won the Grammy for best hard rock performance in 2001 for “Crawling”.

You want to see something intense, watch the clips of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington sing “Crawling” live on stage in 2008.

Later on Bennington was quoted as saying this song particularly was,

“- about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol.”

He went on to explain the feeling of being able to write the words, sing that feeling into his music and win a Grammy after selling millions of records. In another interview, when discussing his back and forth battle with addiction and relapse Chester Bennington talked about the song “Breaking the Habbit” and how upon reading the lyrics, he broke into tears because he felt that at the time his band mate and fellow vocalist Mike Shinoda was writing about his life.

In His Own Words

In an interview that recently became on viral video in light of the tragic death of Chester Bennington, the singer himself made a profound statement about struggling with life on life’s terms, depression and the desire to give up, saying:

“None of us are immune from just shit happening to you, and not to you but just making poor choices or being human. There’s always that element and for me life got really weird and really hard all at one time.

There was a few times over the last couple years where I was just ready to throw in the towel and just give up on everything, but I found that, for me most of my suffering is self-inflicted.”

He later continues stating:

“I’ve always had this depressive side, and I think that’s something some people may not have gone down the road of injecting and living on the streets and that kind of stuff, so they think ‘Oh my story’s not that bad’. Dude, no man, if you’re here, if you’re here, it’s that bad.”

His words have always been good for striking a nerve. Now especially these words are easy to relate to, and easy to see how Bennington was desperate for something… what, we may never really know.

In death, Bennington has shown us that we don’t always know what people are going through. Back in 2016 he had told an interviewer from Metal Hammer,

“The idea that success equals happiness pisses me off. It’s funny to think that just because you’re successful you’re now immune to the full range of the human experience.”

It has become another tragic and heartbreaking example of how success in the professional or monetary sense does not make someone happy. That recovery and sobriety can be a battle, and no amount of money or prestige can make someone content with their own mind.

In life, Chester Bennington used his music to teach us about experiencing our pain as a beautiful thing, and to find ways to express it. His music showed a lot of young people they were not alone, and that being hurt did not mean they had to be afraid. And even if you were afraid, he admitted that fear is how we fall. He spoke openly in interviews countless times over the years about the traumas he personally had to face, and about the devastation he had put himself through in that process. Chester Bennington taught us we didn’t have to be perfect to be transparent, and for some of us gave us a reason to relish in the fury of youth.

Bennington talked about finding something worth fighting for, whether it was freedom and human rights, or identity and creativity. By uniting so many people from all over the globe in common emotional intensity, it is music like that of Linkin Park that also removes some of the stigma surrounding depression, addiction and trauma. And this news has inspired a greater call to action for anyone struggling with substance use disorder, depression or abuse to reach out and find help any way they can.

From one kid who knows depression, anxiety and alcoholism… and who discovered unique forms of self-expression through your music and the various projects you were involved with visually and otherwise, thank you for all you gave us.

“In the memory you’ll find me

Eyes burning up

The darkness holding me tightly

Until the sun rises up”

In memory of

Chester Bennington

March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017

If you or someone you love is struggling, please do not wait. Please call toll-free now. We want to help. You are not alone.

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