suicide Archives -
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Highest Death Rates from Drugs, Alcohol, and Suicide in U.S. History

Highest Death Rates from Drugs, Alcohol, and Suicide in U.S. History

Two non-profit organizations recently analyzed updated data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that deaths caused by suicide, drug overdose and alcohol rose by 6% in the year 2017, leading to an all-time high in the United States.

Record-Breaking Devastation

Altogether, drugs, alcohol, and suicide killed more than 150,000 people.

Ever since federal data collection started in 1999, the non-profit’s report claims there has never been a death rate this high attributed to these causes. A spike was observed in the national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide:

  • Start of 2017- 9 deaths per 100,000 people
  • End of 2017- 6 deaths per 100,000 people

On one hand, this is actually a slower increase than the previous two years. However, the difference was a lot over the average annual increase of 4% since 1999.

Opioid Death Rates

Probably the most obvious reasoning behind this increase would be the ongoing opioid crisis. One of the major contributing factors to the rising rates of overdose death in America is dangerous synthetic drugs making their way to the illicit market.

For one thing, deaths due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, rose 45 % in that time. In the past five years, these deaths have actually increased tenfold. Needless to say, lawmakers and public health officials have been scrambling for years to try and solve the overdose issue in the United States.

Suicide Death Rates

Since 1999, deaths from suicide have increased by 33%. The data for 2017 indicates a significant rise in death rates:

  • Start of 2017- 9 deaths per 100,000
  • End of 2017- 5 deaths per 100,000

This is an increase of 4%, which is double the average annual pace over the previous decade. More specifically, from 2008 to 2017:

  • Suicide by suffocation increased by 42%
  • Suicide by firearm increased by 22%

The highest suicide rates are typically in rural areas, including:

  • West Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Alaska
  • New Hampshire

One thing to point out is that some researchers believe that suicides are actually under-reported. This may be in part due to the stigma surrounding mental disorders, but also largely due to mislabeling the cause of death. For instance, some cases may be recorded as overdoses or accidents that are actually intentional.

Alcohol Death Rates

As far as alcohol-related death rates are concerned, some suspect that higher proof alcohols becoming increasingly popular in the last decade has also contributed to health issues and deaths. In fact, between 2002 and 2013:

  • The amount of how much alcohol Americans consumed only increased by 6%.
  • Estimates to determine how much alcohol is typically drunk have remained the same.
  • Health problems as a result of drinking spiked in the same time frame.

Meanwhile, some drinks have a dramatically higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV) percentage. Between 2002 and 2016, the average alcohol by volume grew across the board:

  • Beer ABV increased an average of 2%
  • Wine ABV increased an average of 6%
  • Liquor ABV increased an average of 4%

According to another analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, from 2007 to 2017:

  • The number of deaths attributable to alcohol increased by 35%
  • Deaths among women rose 85%
  • Deaths among men rose 29%

One positive piece of data is that the study suggests teen drinking deaths actually decreased by 16%. Still, alcohol has contributed plenty to the rising death rates.

Addressing Underlying Issues

With the highest death rates due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide in recorded history, it goes without saying that a lot more needs to be done to promote treatment resources and prevention. With the failed War on Drugs has taught us what is not working, many have turned to strategies that focus on the preservation of life more than punishing those struggling with addiction. Harm reduction efforts like naloxone expansion and needle exchange programs have made some real progress. Some have even begun exploring the possibility of establishing safe injection sites.

Additionally, there needs to be more put into comprehensive treatment. Most experts agree there is a need for broader efforts to address the underlying causes of alcohol and drug use, and suicide. Having access to effective mental health care and addiction treatment resources can significantly impact the well-being of those most at risk. Long-term recovery offers those most likely to die as a result of drug use or suicide a way out.

This would also include more funding and support for programs that reduce risk factors. A major aspect of prevention when it comes to substance abuse and mental health has to do with trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Research has suggested there is a notable connection between the risk of drug and alcohol abuse and suicide and childhood trauma.

There were five states where death rates due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide decreased:

  • Massachusetts
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Hopefully, as new initiatives push forward to save lives and offer prevention, we will see more states with decreasing death rates. Overall, we can hope that better opportunities for treatment and support will lead to an improvement in public health. Meanwhile, raising awareness and education are crucial to turning this trend around.

With their highest death rates in history, substance abuse and suicide are some of the most important public health issues facing Americans today. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Remembering Anthony Bourdain: Cooking, Traveling and Giving Up Heroin

Remembering Anthony Bourdain: Cooking, Traveling and Giving Up Heroin

Anthony Michael Bourdain, born June 25, 1956, was a man with a rich and vibrant legacy. He took us on exotic adventures to explore the world and tried to expand the view of the audience on culinary arts and culture. He was much more to so many than a celebrity chef.

Anthony Bourdain was an author, travel documentarian, and television personality. He used programs like A Cooks Tour and No Reservations to travel across the globe, focusing on the international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He has sat down for humble lunches with President Obama, and his explosive personality has even been featured in cartoons like The Simpsons and popular FX series Archer. Bourdain has taken us to some of the most secluded corners of faraway places to chat with the locals and enjoy a simple dessert. Anthony Bourdain was widely regarded as one of the most influential chefs in the world.

On June 8th, 2018 the world was shocked to hear that Anthony Bourdain had died at 61 years old. Even more heartbreaking was to learn his death was a suicide. Over the last several days, his passing has sparked a continuous stream of dialog about mental health and the need for treatment resources. Over the years the famous traveling chef fought against drugs like heroin, as well as depression. As we remember who Anthony Bourdain was, and as we call for letting go of stigma and pushing forward with helping those in need, it is important to look at the whole story.

Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain first fought his way up the kitchen ladder in New York to become a long-time chef at Brasserie Les Hallas. Around this time, he wrote his breakthrough memoirs titled Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which took him beyond the cutting boards to carving his way through the literary map.

Part of this first memoir describes the long journey that brought him to become a chef, and a notable element of his story is extreme excursions into drugs, strung out over years. In the book Kitchen Confidential he wrote about his experiences back in 1981 working at a restaurant:

“We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize.’ Hardly a decision was made without drugs. Cannabismethaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we’d send a Spanish-speaking busboy over to Alphabet City to get.”

Later, Bourdain became more open about discussing his drug use. He’d even said some of these problems should have killed him in his 20s. In 2014, he did an episode of his show Parts Unknown that highlighted the ongoing opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. During the episode he says,

“Somebody who wakes up in the morning and their first order of business is (to) get heroin — I know what that’s like,”

Parts Unknown went on to be honored with five Emmy awards.

Eventually, Anthony Bourdain found himself kicking heroin in the 80s in drug rehab. When talking about finally getting clean he said,

“And we’re the lucky ones. We made it out alive. There are a lot of guys that didn’t get that far. But you know, I also don’t have that many regrets either.”

However, he admits to still worked long hours in New York kitchens interspersed with binges that consisted of cocaine and alcohol. Following rehab that Bourdain had cleaned up his act, although he continued drinking alcohol. He later wrote,

“Most people who kick heroin and cocaine have to give up on everything. Maybe because my experiences were so awful in the end, I’ve never been tempted to relapse,”

On June 8, 2018, Bourdain was found dead of an apparent suicide by hanging in his room at the Le Chambard hotel in Kaysersberg, France. At the time he had been traveling with friend Éric Ripert. Ripert reported that he became worried when Bourdain missed dinner and breakfast. According to the public prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel, Bourdain’s body showed no signs of violence. At this point there has been no official word on toxicology tests to determine whether drugs or medications were involved in his tragic death.

Legacy

It is hard to put into words the life and legacy of a man as dynamic as Anthony Bourdain. He wasn’t just a face on TV, he was a voice trying to tell us to embrace more of the delicious variety in life. It is easier to just look at some of his many accomplishments. Bourdain wrote multiple bestselling nonfiction books over the years, including:

  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
  • Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
  • A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal
  • The Nasty Bits

His articles and essays appeared in many publications, including:

  • The New Yorker
  • The New York Times
  • The Times
  • Los Angeles Times
  • The Observer
  • Gourmet
  • Maxim
  • Esquire

He even co-wrote an original graphic novel titled Get Jiro! For DC Comics/Vertigo.

Between 2002-2018 he hosted a number of shows, including:

  • A Cook’s Tour
  • No Reservations
  • The Layover
  • Parts Unknown

He worked on various other television shows, doing everything from judging to producing.

With the sudden news of Bourdain’s death, people from all across the world have paid homage to the man who did so much to try and share the beauty of diversity with us all. In the days following Bourdain’s death fans paid tribute to him outside his now-closed former place of employment, Brasserie Les Halles on New York City’s Park Avenue.

Fellow celebrity chefs and other public figures expressed sentiments of condolence, including Gordon Ramsay and Andrew Zimmern.

Beyond his amazing adventures of cooking in different countries, Bourdain also believed in making a difference for those less fortunate. He championed industrious immigrants from places like Mexico, Ecuador, and other countries in Central and South America.

He became a big advocate in the fight against sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in 2017, calling out other celebrity chefs and people in Hollywood.

Depression and Suicide

Anthony Bourdain had also been open about his struggles with depression. In 2016 he did an episode of Parts Unknown where he traveled to Argentina for psychotherapy. At one point he tells the camera,

“I will find myself in an airport, for instance, and I’ll order an airport hamburger. It’s an insignificant thing, it’s a small thing, it’s a hamburger, but it’s not a good one. Suddenly I look at the hamburger and I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days.”

While the passion he had for his work is quite obvious, traveling around 250 days of the year can take a toll. More than once he described his life as lonely. During an interview with People magazine, he said he was living the dream, but admitted that it did come at a cost. That cost may have had something to do with the ups and downs of marriage and divorce he experienced over the years.

Only a few months ago, when discussing his 11-year-old daughter Ariane, Bourdain had said he felt he had to “at least try to live” for her. Although he explained he also felt he did have things to live for. Sadly, it seems that over time, the iconic chef started losing his battle with the feelings he wrestled with on the road.

Anthony Bourdain’s death is another tragic loss in a trend we have seen a spike over the years, including among celebrities. Only three days before Bourdain’s own death, fashion designer Kate Spade took her own life. Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. According to a survey published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Suicide rates increased by 25% across the country over nearly two decades ending in 2016.
  • 25 states have experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%

While Anthony Bourdain may have been clean for decades, there was still pain there. While overcoming drugs may have been a huge victory in his inspiring legacy, other fights can still wear us down.

There is Help

As we remember the incredible impact that Anthony Bourdain had as an adventurer and advocate, we emphasize the importance of supporting those who need it the most. Sadly, we don’t always know when people need help. But we should always work to make sure people know that there is help, no matter what they are struggling with.

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

Anthony Bourdain

June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018

Mental health is an important part of recovery for people who struggle with drugs or alcohol. Fighting depression and suicide prevention means supporting well-being and fighting for mental health support. For those struggling, treatment for mental health disorders and addiction is not always the easiest thing to seek out, but as we as a nation continue to evolve the conversation and raise awareness more people are finding out about the amazing pathways to a life in recovery that are out there. We urge you to seek yours. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, please call toll-free now. You are not alone.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Suicide VS Overdose: Study Claims Opioid Deaths Are Misclassified

Suicide VS Overdose: Study Claims Opioid Deaths Are Misclassified

Over the last 15 years, the suicide rate has climbed by an estimated 32%. While the overdose deaths in relation to the opioid crisis have become a constant issue around the country, some researchers suggest that the real suicide rates are even higher, but some of them are being misclassified as overdoses.

So, are more people dying due to drug abuse, or are more people taking their own lives using powerful street drugs and prescription narcotics?

Studying Suicide and Drugs

The idea that many of the deaths recorded as opioid overdoses may have been suicides, according to the researchers, is due to a significant gap between suicide rates and intoxication mortality rates.

A study from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles, was published in the journal PLOS One. This study states that both suicide and drug intoxication death rates in the United States have risen over a period of 15 years. Researchers compiled data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to show:

  • 2000- The suicide rate was 10.40 per 100,000 people
  • 2015- Suicide rate rose to 13.75 deaths per 100,000 people
  • 2000- Drug intoxication mortality rate for those over the age of 15 was 7.81 deaths per 100,000
  • 2015- Drug intoxication death rate for those over the age of 15 rose to 20.07 per 100,000 in 2015

This means that the drug intoxication death rate rose by 257% in those 15 years, while suicide rates only rose by 32%. While 32% is still a devastating number when it comes to such a tragic circumstance, there is still a huge difference between 32% and 257%. These researchers believe this major difference in the reports of mortality rates suggests a lack of suicide reporting.

Difficulties in Death Investigation

One of the big problems, according to the study’s author Mark Kaplan, is resources. Kaplan is a professor of social welfare at UCLA, and he stated to local news sources,

“Unfortunately, part of the problem is due to serious under-resourcing of state and local death investigation systems throughout most of the U.S.

“Many of these deaths were probably suicides, yet reported as accidental self-poisoning rather than intentional self-harm, particularly among the middle-aged.”

The study by Kaplan and his colleagues further explains that when it comes to suicide by overdose, things like an individual’s psychiatric history or the presence of a suicide note are crucial to helping professionals identify a death as a suicide.

“A suicide note, prior suicide attempt or affective disorder was documented in less than one-third of suicides and one-quarter of undetermined deaths,”

“Our incorporation of undetermined deaths, as well as registered suicides, not only provided a window on the nature of suicide misclassification within the undetermined death category but within the accident category—as a much larger reservoir for obscuring drug intoxication suicides.”

So by acknowledging that there is not always an obvious indication that a death is a suicide, even in cases that are classified in suicide, the researchers believe that many deaths that involved drugs have most likely been categorized as overdoses instead of making a deeper inquiry into the circumstances surrounding an individual’s death.

Opioids Causing Ambiguity

With the opioid crisis in America, it has become even more difficult to measure the suicide rates. And that isn’t just this research teams opinion either.

In 2015, the CDC hosted a meeting to address the challenges presented for medical examiners and coroners across the country. The primary focus was concerning cases of fatal intoxication due to opioids and other drugs. The summary of this meeting concluded that drug intoxication deaths may be among the most difficult to determine regarding the manner of death. The summary notes that reasons for such difficulty in having a more accurate manner of death include:

  • Potentially equivocal evidence
  • Intent to die
  • Overlapping demographic groups affected
  • Overlapping premorbid risk factors (e.g., substance abuse, mental health problems).

Opioid addiction, much like any other form of substance use disorder, is often closely connected to other issues, including anxiety, trauma and mental health disorders. Some individuals living with mental health conditions who abuse opioids may be self-medicating and accidentally overdose. But others may be suffering so severely, with conditions like depressive disorders or bipolar disorder, that they ultimately take their own lives intentionally with the powerful drugs. With opioid abuse being so widespread and devastating, the line between the two has begun to blur.

Both studies mentioned clearly indicate in order to truly comprehend an accurate number of suicides by overdose, more research is needed. Both also admit that the number may never be exact.

Even though we will probably never have a definitive answer, the question is still important to ask. By knowing whether opioid deaths are caused by accidents or intentional we can develop better strategies to provide education and prevention.

This is also why mental health should always be a priority when it comes to addiction treatment.

Substance use disorder and suicide are both connected to mental health and personal wellness. Too often they both lead to avoidable tragedies. Therefore, mental health and wellness should be a priority for addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

The Veteran Mental Health Problem We Need to be Talking About

The Veteran Mental Health Problem We Need to be Talking About

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

When we talk about fighting the addiction problem in America and better understanding substance use disorder, we have to acknowledge those who are at a specific risk for suffering from substance use. Far too many American soldiers come home only to fight another devastating, heartbreaking battle.

With addiction being considered a mental health issue, it should be clear the contribution of overall mental health makes to causing substance use disorder (SUD) in many cases. Depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all mental health issues that often associated with addiction.

Some of those susceptible to mental health disorders and substance abuse are those who fight for the safety and freedom of our country; our Veterans. So we need to acknowledge the mental health issues that the men and women who sacrifice everything for this nation are suffering through. We need to talk about how to best understand these conditions, and how to best treat those in need.

Veteran Mental Health Disorder Statistics

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research:

  • 20% of Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or PTSD

  • 5% of Veterans in these two categories have suffered a traumatic brain injury

According to the U.S. Department of Federal Affairs:

  • More than 2 out of 10 veterans with PTSD also suffer from SUD

  • In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.

  • Almost 1 out of every 3 Veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD.

  • War Veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to be binge drinkers.

  • Among all U.S. adult deaths from suicide, 18% (7,403) were identified as Veterans of U.S. military service

Probably one of the most troubling statistics comes from a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which tragically revealed:

Only 50% of returning vets who need veteran mental health treatment will receive these services.

That is an extremely troubling number. It says a lot about how Veterans are struggling to get the help they need when you realize that only around half of them ever get it.

Veterans and Substance Abuse

One of the hardest issues to address when examining the veteran mental health issue is substance abuse and SUD. It is also one of the most important aspects of Veteran mental health treatment that need to be acknowledged.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that substance abuse among veterans is strongly connected to their experiences in combat and how they struggle to cope with these traumas. Various NIDA studies indicate that:

  • 25% of Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan showed signs of SUD

  • In 2008, active duty and veteran military personnel abused prescription drugs at a rate that was more than twice the rate for the civilian population

  • In 2009, the VA estimated that around 13,000 vets from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from alcohol dependence syndrome and require veteran mental health treatment for this problem.

PTSD and SUD

A lot of people, even those who are not Veterans but have experienced great trauma, use substances to self-medicate and deal with PTSD. Even for those who have never had an issue with substances or may never have even used substances, PTSD increases the risk an individual can develop a drinking or drug problem or SUD.

To make matters worse, PTSD and SUD can likely lead to other problems in life, including health. These Veteran mental health issues can often be associated with:

Ultimately, using drugs or alcohol in combination with PTSD might seem to make things easier, but will actually make them a lot worse. It creates a vicious cycle of numbing and re-traumatizing.

Better Treatment for Veteran Mental Health and Addiction

Many advocates for Veteran services, including the National Veterans Foundation (NVF), believe:

  • More funding needs to be allocated for Veteran mental health care services so that every veteran has easy access to this type of care.
  • Excessive wait times at local VA facilities need to be addressed in order to grant people the access they need to these services.

The NVF website states:

“We can no longer look the other way or continue to underfund the mental health care system that our veterans use.”

This should absolutely be a priority. Strengthening the system that provides mental health care not just to citizens who are suffering, but to our vets who have given so much and desperately need help, is crucial to saving lives from substance use disorder.

Not only does Palm Healthcare Company understand the importance of providing quality addiction recovery treatment, but we also know how important dual diagnosis treatment is for those who suffer from serious mental health conditions like PTSD or major depression along with addiction. Better treatment means addressing both conditions simultaneously, to help the individual heal holistically.

Palm Healthcare Company also knows how important it is to help those first responders and Veterans that put their lives on the line every day. That is why we are a proud sponsor of the Harrigan Foundation’s Annual Run to the Rescue 5K to raise money for the treatment of first responders and veterans.

To find out more about this event, visit the link here:

Harrigan Foundation’s Annual RUN TO THE RESCUE 5K

Mental health care and addiction treatment for vets is an important resource that can save lives and our veterans put their lives back together after experiencing trauma and hardship that causes PTSD and the devastation of substance abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling, you don’t have to fight alone. Please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Heroin and Depression: A Deeper Connection in Addiction

Heroin and Depression: A Deeper Connection in Addiction

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

For many who have struggled with substance abuse it comes as no surprise that a link can be drawn between their drug or alcohol use and their mental health. A lot of people who struggle with addiction have experienced some form of emotional distress, trauma or abuse that has made a definite impact on their lives. While this may not be the sole reason behind their use, issues concerning mental health can contribute to drug or alcohol use in a dramatic way. With heroin and depression, the two tend to feed off of one another, creating an intense and deeper connection.

Understanding Depression

Depression is a very common but also very serious mood disorder, also referred to as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Clinical depression

This mental health condition causes a variety of symptoms that impact how an individual thinks, feels, and handles their day to day lives. A depression diagnosis depends on symptoms being present for at least two weeks, and some forms of depression will differ, or develop under unique circumstances. Some specific forms of depression include:

  1. Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

This is a depressed mood lasting for at least two years. Sometimes the episodes of major depression is experienced in periods of less severe symptoms, but still the symptoms persist for two years or more.

  1. Psychotic Depression

This is pretty straight forward. It happens when someone experiences severe depression along with some form of psychosis, such as:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

These psychotic symptoms typically revolve around a particular depressive subject like guilt, poverty or illness.

  1. Seasonal Affective Depression

This is the onset of depressive symptoms during winter months when there is less natural sunlight, which is why some call it ‘winter depression’. It is commonly characterized by:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Increase in sleep
  • Weight gain

This depression typically disappears during spring and summer months as better weather returns, but comes back around every year.

  1. Perinatal Depression

Many women experience relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms after delivery, usually only lasting around two weeks. However, perinatal depression is much more serious.

Mothers with perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery, commonly known as postpartum depression. Feelings that accompany perinatal depression include:

  • Anxiety
  • Extreme sadness
  • Exhaustion

These can make it difficult for new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.

  1. Bipolar Disorder

While bipolar disorder is technically different from depression, individuals with bipolar disorder do experience episodes of intensely low moods that qualify as major depression- referred to as ‘bipolar depression’.

However, someone with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high moods, either irritable or euphoric in nature. These moods are also called ‘mania’, or the less intense with are called ‘hypomania’. This is why bipolar disorder was once called ‘manic depressive disorder’.

Beyond these five there are other forms of depression, and symptoms of depression may vary from person to person. But for most people with depression the symptoms they do experience are consistent on an almost daily basis.

Psychology of Heroin

For those who don’t know, heroin is a synthetic drug produced from morphine. Morphine is a powerful analgesic derived from the opium poppy plant. The effects of heroin are a result of the substance binding with receptors in the brain that respond to opiates. Once ingested, heroin converts to morphine in the brain, and this potent compound effects the brain in ways that influence psychology.

Morphine slows the neurological activity in the brain, creating sedation. This sedation creates the desired effect of many heroin users, which is the sense of profound relaxation.

Yet, the National Alliance on Mental Illness warns that people with psychiatric disorders (such as depression) are more likely to experience very negative side-effects. So while people with depression may try to use heroin to numb themselves to feelings of sadness, guilt or despair, they actually create a chemical reaction in the brain that exacerbates their depressive symptoms.

Heroin and Depression

Heroin and depression have a symbiotic relationship that creates a viscous cycle. The two fuel each other. An individual may use heroin to try and escape their depressive feelings, but using heroin frequently worsens symptoms such as:

Thus these feelings make the depression worse, the individual will use more heroin to escape, and the cycle continues.

With heroin and depression, the physical consequences of heroin use can also cause severe emotional distress. Physical effects of heroin that can increase feelings of depression include:

  • Respiratory illness
  • Blood-borne disease
  • Muscular weakness
  • Vascular damage

And heroin’s impact on an individual’s personal life can make depression even worse, such as:

  • Financial problems
  • Job loss
  • Legal trouble
  • Relationship issues

Again, these issues can cause a heroin user to abuse the drug more in order to cope with these difficulties, which continues to feed into their problems and exacerbate the issues even more.

Withdrawal from Heroin and Depression

Withdrawal from heroin is one of the typical reasons that many people trying to quit the drug are unsuccessful. These unpleasant side effects of not having the drug often pushes people trying to give up heroin back to the drug just to feel relief, and for those with depression the withdrawals from heroin can seem even more relentless.

Trying to abruptly discontinue heroin use without the help of medical detox will cause uncomfortable and sometimes extremely painful symptoms such as:

  • Nervousness
  • Intense cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Involuntary leg movement
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleeping problems
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Heavy use over an extended period can also lead to seizures. But while the physical withdrawal symptoms are already pretty bad, the psychological side effects can seem impossible to overcome, especially for someone with depression or other mental health issues.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Heroin and Depression

One of the most critical parts of treatment for heroin users with depression is to find the root cause of the depression, which is also one of the most challenging aspect of recovery for heroin users. Depression is not just a bad mood, and it does not simply stem from one source. Some of the most common sources of depression include:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Psychological trauma
  • Physical disability
  • Stressful social environment
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Dual diagnosis treatment is crucial for someone struggling with heroin and depression because the two conditions have such similar symptoms, which make each other worse. In many cases, it is difficult to even discover what came first, depression or heroin addiction. Either way, a huge factor to overcoming heroin and depression is with comprehensive and holistic dual diagnosis treatment.

Simultaneously addressing both issues and giving equal attention to both conditions gives way for more complete recovery. If one of the two is ignored, then it has the potential to eventually cause a relapse into the other. The deeper connection with heroin and depression is that these each of them is commonly inspired by similar circumstances, including genetics and trauma. Both will thrive through the impact of the other. Both are damaging and potentially fatal. But there is also help for each, and when treated in tandem they can each be overcome.

At Palm Healthcare Company, the idea of treating all parts of each individual is the core concept of our holistic approach to substance use disorder treatment. We believe that by providing personalized and effective care for each individual helps create lasting health, freedom and happiness in every aspect of life. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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