As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month and celebrate Memorial Day, we thought it appropriate to devote our final May blog post to a subject that is as prevalent as it is sad – veterans and substance abuse. Studies show Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is tied strongly to substance use problems, particularly when the PTSD is tied to military service. Regardless of the root cause of PTSD, affected persons often try to mask their symptoms by self-medicating. Ironically, people with problems relative to drugs and/or alcohol are more likely than the general population to develop PTSD. Continue reading
In the United States each year, more than 40,000 people die by their own hand. In fact, the 10th most common cause of death in our country is suicide. It is also the third leading cause of death of Americans aged 10-14 and the second leading cause for Americans aged 15-34.Although complicated and tragic, the good news is that suicide is often preventable as long as people pay attention and take action when they notice someone at risk. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to focus this week’s blog post on suicide, because it is so often intertwined with depression and addiction, both of which we see quite often at MFI.
Substance Abuse & Suicide
Suicide, addiction, and depression form a symbiotic relationship. Experts agree that more than 90% of people who commit suicide do so because they suffer from depression, struggle with a substance abuse disorder, or both. Depressed people often turn to drugs and/or alcohol in a vain attempt to find relief. Unfortunately, their addictions fuel the depression, sending them back to their Drug of Choice (DOC). Feeling hopelessly caught in an endless cycle, addicts often attempt suicide.
Who is most at risk?
- Struggle with depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorders are generally more at risk of committing suicide than the general population.
- Has a serious medical condition
- Suffers from chronic pain
- Previously attempted suicide
- Family shares a history of a mental disorder or substance abuse, suicide, physical violence and/or sexual abuse
- Keeping guns (and ammunition) in the home
- Were recently released from jail or prison
- Exposed to others’ suicidal ideation, such as those of family members, peers, or celebrities
How to Spot the Signs
Does someone you love?
- Say they want to die or want to kill themselves?
- Talk about feeling empty, hopeless, or without reason to live?
- Make plans for a way to kill themselves? This can include searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a weapon.
- Mention they have a great guilt or shame?
- Talk about feeling trapped or in despair?
- Feel unbearable emotional or physical pain?
- Say they are a burden to others?
- Use alcohol or drugs more often than previously?
- Act anxious or agitated?
- Withdraw from family and friends?
- Change eating and/or sleeping habits.
- Show rage or mention their desire to seek revenge?
- Engage in risky behaviors such as fast driving or drinking while driving?
- Seem obsessed with death?
- Display extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy?
- Give away meaningful possessions?
- Say goodbye to family and friends?
- Develop an urgency to draft their last will and testament?
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring someone who expresses suicidal thoughts or actions. These often signal extreme distress, not a meaningless ploy for attention.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Help Guide
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
- MFI Recovery Center (866) 218-4697
About MFI Recovery Center
Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model, creating a personalized treatment program for each client. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.
Part 2 of a 2-Part Series
Last week, we began a two-part series about the best addiction and recovery movies. To read part one, click here.Too many motion picture productions manage the related subjects of addiction and recovery to fit our favorites in one post. So, this week, we look at some more recent addiction-and-recovery digital depictions.
Part 1 in a 2-Part Series
From light-hearted escape to heart-pumping popcorn adventure or thrilling romance, everyone loves a great movie. And, over the years, Hollywood has produced thousands which center around addiction. These types of movie make great melancholy narratives because (as anyone who has survived substance abuse knows), drama surrounds addicts. But which substance abuse-themed movies accurately portray addiction? While this list is far from exhaustive, it includes seven of our favorites. That said, we do not endorse the treatments used or behaviors depicted. These are movies, not substance abuse treatment centers, after all. Continue reading
Alcohol and drug abuse wreak havoc on men’s and women’s lives every day of the week. But rarely is the level of temptation as intense as that which is offered during spring break. Each spring, teens and young adults scramble to vacation destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and Daytona Beach, determined to throw caution to the wind on many fronts – from underage drinking to drug use to sexual promiscuity. The devastating results range from car accidents to overdose and unplanned pregnancies…to name a few. Continue reading