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Family of Chris Cornell Believe Anxiety Drugs Caused Singer’s Death

Family of Chris Cornell Believe Anxiety Drugs Caused Singer’s Death

Author: Justin Mckibben

Since late last week, the tragic story of the sudden death of rock legend Chris Cornell has taken some heartbreaking and bewildering turns. While the initial reports held no details of the singer’s unexpected death, more recent reports have indicated the cause of death was suicide. However, as the story continues Chris Cornell’s family is skeptical and openly critical of this conclusion. Now some are speaking out saying it was drugs, and not depression, responsible for the sudden passing.

Born Christopher John Boyle, the 52 year old Seattle, Washington native was one of the most recognizable voices of American rock music. His famous and powerful vocal belting technique along with an impressive voice range has inspired countless artists and soothed the rock genre with its passionate and often brooding words. The guitarist, singer and songwriter is best known as lead vocalist for the bands:

  • Soundgarden
  • Audioslave

Cornell was also the founder and front man for Temple of the Dog, a tribute band dedicated to his friend, the late Andrew (Andy) Wood. Andy, Chris Cornell’s roommate who played in the band Mother Love Bone, died in 1990 from a heroin overdose.

He is also known for his numerous solo works, soundtrack contributions since 1991. Cornell is credited as one of the architects of the 1990’s grunge movement

Chris Cornell was found in the MGM Grand Detroit in the early hours of Thursday morning, May 18, 2017. He had only hours earlier been on stage performing with his Soundgarden band.

Multiple Addictions

Since his teenage years Chris Cornell struggled through multiple battles with addiction and roads to recovery. In one 2006 interview Cornell actually talked about having a bad experience with PCP at age 14 and developed a panic disorder. He admitted that as the child of two alcoholics, drinking ultimately led him back to drugs in his late 20s.

The rocker managed to get off of drugs and alcohol between around the year 1980 up until 1997. Around 1997 his first marriage was failing, and the band Soundgarden had split up. Cornell resorted to using substances including the powerful prescription opioid OxyContin.

In 2002 Cornell checking into rehab, and afterward commented on the experience stating:

“It was a long period of coming to the realization that this way (sober) is better. Going through rehab, honestly, did help … it got me away from just the daily drudgery of depression and either trying to not drink or do drugs or doing them and you know.”

Chris Cornell also noted in an interview in 2011 that the biggest difference he had noticed when Soundgarden had reunited and began making music together was that the presence of alcohol was no longer constant. Without conversation, it had just been removed from the picture.

Wife Vicky Refutes Suicide Reports

Although he was a profoundly emotional musician with a catalog of melancholy or blues melodies, many have called into question whether Chris Cornell would actually knowingly take his own life, including his wife, Vicky. Reports have said Vicky does not believe Cornell was suicidal. Less than 24 hours after the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Chris Cornell had died as a result of suicide by hanging himself, Cornell’s wife and attorney openly challenged that conclusion. Lawyer Kirk Pasich said in a statement:

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris – or if any substances contributed to his demise,”

The statement also said the family found these implications disturbing, and that Chris Cornell was a recovering drug addict who had been taking a prescription anti-anxiety medication Ativan. The statement added:

“The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions,”

The statement included medical literature indicating that,

“Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.”

The Night Of

Vicky shared her heartbreak over the loss of her husband of 13 years, the father of their two pre-teen children, and told interviews that Cornell, a devoted husband and father, had come home to spend Mother’s Day with his family between shows, and flown to his next stop Wednesday.

“When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do,”

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”

In her own words Vicky reasserted the belief that his anti-anxiety medication had played a bigger role in the tragic events, stating:

“What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life. The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”

Cornell leaves behind his wife Vicky, their two children- Toni, 12 years old and Christopher, 11 years old- as well as his 16 year old daughter Lillian Jean from his first marriage to Susan Silver, the former manager for Soundgarden.

Chris Cornell on Black Days

Some might argue the following statement supports the suicide claims, but others could argue it supports the doubts presented by Cornell’s family. Back in 2014, Chris Cornell had spoken in depth with Rolling Stone magazine for a 20th anniversary edition of his band Soundgarden’s ground-breaking Superunknown album. When asked about the song “Fell on Black Days” he had said,

“I’d noticed already in my life where there would be periods where I would feel suddenly, “Things aren’t going so well, and I don’t feel that great about my life.” Not based on any particular thing. I’d sort of noticed that people have this tendency to look up one day and realize that things have changed. There wasn’t a catastrophe. There wasn’t a relationship split up. Nobody got in a car wreck. Nobody’s parents died or anything. The outlook had changed, while everything appears circumstantially the same.”

No matter how happy you are, you can wake up one day without any specific thing occurring to bring you into a darker place, and you’ll just be in a darker place anyway. To me, that was always a terrifying thought, because that’s something that – as far as I know – we don’t necessarily have control over. So that was the song I wanted to write.”

What this may suggest is that beneath how happy Chris Cornell was with his family and his future, some part of his perspective could have made him even more vulnerable to a sudden shift created by a powerful medication designed to impact emotions.

Anti-Anxiety Drug Ativan

Is it possible that anti-anxiety medication could have played a part in Chris Cornell’s apparent suicide? According to the list of side-effects for Ativan and the common opinion of experts as to the risks associated with these drugs, absolutely.

Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam. This prescription drug calls into the category of benzodiazepine (benzo) medications. Lorazepam is typically used for treating:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Sleep problems
  • Active seizures
  • Sedation
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Nausea or vomiting from chemotherapy

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, serious side effects of using Ativan include:

  • Worsening depression
  • Unusual mood or behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Memory problems

The truth is, Ativan is intended for short-term use, specifically for treating anxiety. In fact, the FDA advises against using any benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, for longer than four weeks. There is a very real risk of dependence, withdrawal symptoms and even overdose.

The Dangers of Legal Drugs

Back in March 2016 we wrote about how data shows that in the last two decades deaths by overdose of anti-anxiety drugs have quadrupled, which coincides with a tripling rate of these drugs being prescribed. What is even worse, independent reviews from different research groups showed that in many cases the pharmaceutical companies were misrepresenting suicides or suicidal thoughts in their own research reports.

Could the unusual behaviors and slurred speech Vicky described of Chris Cornell be signs of something else at play? Could a lifetime of struggling with a panic disorder, depression and drugs have been exacerbated by the presence of a chemical that worsened his depression, throwing his mood into chaos and flooding his vulnerable state with thoughts of suicide have been the cause of such a heartrending and desperate act? Drugs, legal or not, can devastate.

Now, there is definitely a shadow on the sun.

We have seen time and time again how legal, medical drugs have destroyed amazing and talented individuals. We saw it with Michael Jackson and Prince. We’ve seen how depression plays into the same tragedies, such as with the loss of Robin Williams. Still, one thing Chris Cornell spoke of with addiction is that it becomes glorified by the fact drugs kill famous people, and the world weeps, while ignoring the everyday tragedies of the unknown but extraordinary, everyday people. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

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Lena Headey of ‘Game of Thrones’ Opens Up About Anxiety

Lena Headey of 'Game of Thrones' Opens Up About Anxiety

Author: Justin Mckibben

Introducing… Cersei Lannister of the House of Lannister, Light of the West, Widow of Robert Baratheon, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm and Lady Paramount of the Westerlands!

Or, as she was known before her stunning and captivating performance on HBO hit series Game of Thrones, the lovely and talented Lena Headey! This amazing actress recently reached out to her fans on Twitter to speak on something very personal; her experience with anxiety.

With GOT fever in full swing now that we are a mere 3 months away from the highly anticipated 7th season (which I cannot possibly be more excited for), it is nice to see a different side of one cast members true story.

Long Live the Queen

Lena Headey’s portrayal of Cersei also earned the No. 1 spot on a Rolling Stone Magazine ranking of the “30 Best Game of Thrones Villains”, being described as the:

“Most dangerous human being in Westeros” as well as “one of the most complex and fascinating characters on television.”

Truly, Cersei is that villain you love to hate until you hate to love her. Headey received a showering of award nominations for the character of the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and a few wins for Best Actress.

A recent report stated that in 2017, Headey became one of the highest paid actors on television, and is suspected to earn $1.1 million per episode of the 7th season of Game of Thrones.

Before dominating the screen with the chillingly cunning character of Cersei Lannister, Lena Headey has starred in other awesome roles, including the Spartan epic 300. With her powerful and unflinching portrayals of these kick-ass characters, Headey is still a woman who faces some real difficulties in the real world. Beyond the roles in front of the cameras, she took on another powerful role as a voice to fans who asked for her perspective.

Speaking to the Fans

While the character may have once walked naked through the streets of Kings Landing to the Red Keep with the infamous “shame” bell lady behind her (yes… she had a body double… and yes I cried a little), Headey did not shy away when asked a personal question by a fan that got quite a few people talking. A follower on Twitter asked Headey,

“Do you ever get insecure Lena?”

The response was a few tweets which stated:

“I overthink for sure. I am familiar with depression.” She then continued by saying, “I get HUGE anxiety (always fun [frowny face]) Insecure, not really.”

Another tweet from Lena Headey on the subject came after stating:

“Anxiety is a beast. You have to talk to beasts. Release them back into the wild. Easier said than done I know but still. Good to Practice.”

But her majesty the awesome wasn’t quite done. She went on to tweet:

It’s been lost to greed and aspiration, no wonder we have anxiety, no wonder we overthink ..we’re slammed with bullshit. …”

Tricked into thinking. You don’t have enough. You’re not enough. Pretty enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Capable enough. Successful enough.”

“Well here’s the truth. You are enough… in fact you’re who you’re meant to be which is BEAUTIFUL… Don’t be afraid to let someone really see you…Magic happens when you are vulnerable and truthful and human.

“Anxiety. Depression. It’s real and it’s chemical. It’s also spiritual. .. stay with me everyone (and before you ask, yes I’m ok)”

Looking through these tweets, the fans showed up with a flood of support for her statements. Many shared personal experiences and thoughts on her comments, while others thanked her for putting words to the way so many of them felt.

Advocate for Anxiety

This is not the first time Headey has spoken about such personal adversity and shown support for those struggling with mental health. A while back she opened up during an interview with More magazine about her bouts with depression and anxiety. In this piece she shared an experience of “massive grief” after her marriage had been dismantled. In her statements she shows her willingness to accept anxiety as part of life, but that getting older and becoming a mother taught her to “become less serious about it all”.

It is always refreshing to hear people who seem to be living the dream of spot-lights, red carpets and award shows step off that stage and show the people who adore their characters and their performances that they too are still people with a lot of the same problems. That beast of anxiety is much like any other mental health disorder in that it doesn’t care who you are or how glamorous things appear. A beast is a beast.

Some of the most powerful moments of the Game of Thrones series are scenes stolen by the Lady of Casterly Rock, and we are lucky to have them. This tweet and the conversation are a great example of how important it is to raise awareness and talk about things like anxiety and depression, to break the stigmas and provide support.

Even a queen needs a little help sometimes.

Spreading hope and stories of success even through these troubling experiences is a vital way to show others there is life beyond our obstacles. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with self medicating and even substance use disorder. Getting the right kind of help and coping skills can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

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Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol-Induced Anxiety

Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol-Induced Anxiety

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

Author: Shernide Delva


The truth about using alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety will shock you. The reality is alcohol is a negative coping strategy. While many turn to consuming alcohol to deal with stress and anxiety, it offers only a temporary relief. In the long run, the withdrawals from excessive alcohol consumption heighten stress and anxiety, instead of resolving them.

If you have ever been a binge drinker before, you know the feeling. After a night of drinking, you wake up with a hangover. Except the hangover is not just a migraine or bout of nausea, it is the overwhelming feeling of anxiety. The condition is called “alcohol-induced anxiety” and occurs typically after heavy drinking. Some like to call it an “anxiety hangover.” You start to contemplate your life, and the feelings of despair can become so overwhelming that some turn back to consuming alcohol to relieve themselves of their worst symptoms. Over time, it becomes a nasty cycle.

Instead of turning to a temporary coping strategy, you need an anxiety solution. You must approach tackling anxiety head-first. Read more to discover the cause and solutions.

Alcohol and the Causes of Anxiety

The interesting thing about alcohol withdrawal is that it can cause anxiety on its own. Even if you do not struggle with anxiety, you can find yourself in an anxious ball after binge drinking. Alcohol-induced anxiety is already a problem by itself, but imagine the effect if you already have pre-existing anxiety. Those who struggle with an anxiety disorder will find their anxiety worsens after consuming alcohol. After the initial relief, symptoms return at high intensity.

There are various reasons why this occurs. Here are a few:

–  Excitable Central Nervous System

Your central nervous system controls your entire body, and when your body goes through alcohol withdrawal, your brain starts firing all sorts of neurotransmitters and chemicals. Your brain gets excited by the presence of alcohol. Continual heavy drinking puts stress on your brain function which ultimately increases anxiety.

–  Fear of the Withdrawal Symptoms

The fear of withdrawal plays a role in any major addiction recovery, and when it comes to alcohol-induced anxiety, the same applies. The feeling of alcohol-induced anxiety can become so severe that many resume drinking to relieve their symptoms. There are a variety of physical symptoms to alcohol withdrawal such as aches, pains, shakes, and headaches. Along with those physical symptoms are crippling anxiety effects. Therefore, some continue drinking to ward off the withdrawal symptoms. This behavior only contributes to the anxiety. The only way to heal is through seeking treatment.

–  Loss of Coping Skills = Higher Temptations

Alcohol makes it difficult to acquire strong coping abilities. When a person uses alcohol as a coping tool for too long, they forget how to cope with events occurring in their life. Stress is a coping skill. Alcohol dulls stress, so your brain no longer needs it to cope. Once the alcohol is gone, you may struggle to figure out how to handle stress, and severe anxiety is often the result. This makes it easy to want to return to old drinking habits; however, this only makes manners worse. You must learn new coping strategies to deal with stress and anxiety that do not involve consuming alcohol.

–  Alcohol Contributes to Anxiety?

While alcohol can cause anxiety for all of the reasons listed above, alcohol also makes anxiety worse. Those who drink alcohol regularly and are vulnerable to anxiety are more likely to have severe anxiety symptoms because they’re starting from a higher baseline.

That’s one of the main reasons that it’s so important to make sure that those with anxiety avoid heavy drinking. Not only do you lose your coping ability, but if you do decide to stop drinking alcohol eventually, the long-term consequences could be very problematic.

How to Reduce Anxiety during Alcohol Withdrawal

So what can you do about this? If your alcohol consumption has become unmanageable, the best thing you can do is check into an alcohol rehabilitation center. These places are equipped to handle the effects of withdrawal and coach you through the process. Alcohol withdrawal is a tricky business and it one of the few drugs which a person can die from. If you have been a heavy drinker for a long time, you need to seek the assistance of experts.

There are several treatment centers employ:

  • Slow Detox – Quitting cold turkey is not the answer. Most people need to get off their addictive substances slowly. The body responds better to a slow, gradual reduction. If you try and go cold turkey on your own, you may find the withdrawal symptoms too difficult to bear making relapse likely; Treatment centers help ensure that you are detoxing correctly.
  • Replacement Medications – In some cases, some medicines may be given to help with the effects of alcohol withdrawal. The most common are anxiety medication for those who struggle with the anxiety withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use. These drugs come with their risk of abuse, so it is so important to have a professional guiding you through the process.

After the Withdrawal Phase

After the withdrawal phase, you will learn to control your emotions and gain coping strategies. Addiction is a complex issue, but many people become addiction due to poor emotional coping techniques.

If you struggle with intense anxiety, you must get help to treat your anxiety. Alcohol only made the anxiety worse or creates it in the first place. If you want to free yourself from the feeling of alcohol-induced anxiety, you must be open to seeking treatment from a professional.

Recovery from alcohol addiction is not an easy process, and alcohol-induced anxiety only makes the process worse. Alcohol-induced anxiety occurs during the withdrawal stage from alcohol. If you find yourself in this wicked cycled, please reach out for help. The answers lie beyond consuming alcohol. Do not wait. Call now.

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

Author: Shernide Delva

As most know by now, the opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions.  In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. The leading cause of accidental death in the United States are opioid overdoses, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. When these drugs are abused, they present some of the same risks as heroin on the street. Furthermore, as prescription opioids are regulated, more and more people are turning to heroin making the risk of a fatal overdose even greater.

With all that said, how exactly do opioids affect the body? We wanted to explore several areas of the body and understand how opioid abuse specifically affected each area.  Whether it is prescription drugs or heroin, opioids affect almost every part of your body. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to your health. Read on further to learn how the body reacts to abuse of opioids. Treatment can put a stop to the risk and address issues that may have already arisen in the body.

The Effects of Opioid Use on the Body:

  1. THE BRAIN

    Painkillers are known to have side effects such as extreme drowsiness which can result in needing stimulant medication to counteract this effect. For example, heroin can elicit profound drowsiness. Abusers frequently experience bouts of ‘nodding off’ as they slip in and out of consciousness. Over time, the use of painkillers results in an increased risk fo major depression. Patients using painkillers for more than six months has a 50 percent greater chance of developing depressive episodes.

  1. THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

    Opioid overdoses can lead to a condition known as respiratory depression. It essentially means that breathing slows down significantly. The body goes into respiratory arrest and deprives the brain and body tissues of oxygen.

  1. THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

    Opioids affect the muscles of the digestive system making constipation common. This effect is due to the slowing of the digestive transit. The gastrointestinal motility and chronic constipation associated with opioid abuse can lead to more severe conditions such as small bowel obstruction, perforation, and resultant peritonitis. Nausea is very common among opioid users along with sudden, uncontrollable vomiting.

  2. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

    The chronic use of opioid painkillers can lead to a syndrome that can increase your sensitivity to pain resulting in a condition known as hyperalgesia. Furthermore, opioid use may result in psychomotor impairment and an overall slowing of a person’s physical movements and loss of coordination.

  3. THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

    Opioid use affects the immune system which means you’re more vulnerable to getting illnesses or feeling under the weather. The opioid receptors regulate immunity so long-term opioid abuse can negatively affect this process.

  1. THE LIVER

    Most people are unaware of how many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, the same ingredient found in Tylenol. Excessive use of these drugs can cause liver damage from toxicity. Damage to the liver is an undeniable risk to taking excessive amounts of prescription painkillers like Vicodin. When you add alcohol to the mix— as many opioid-dependent users do—it makes a risky situation, even more,

Overall, opioids affect every part of the body, and we did not even mention the psychological impacts of drug abuse. Opioid use disorder wreaks havoc on your life and the life of those around you. Do not wait for the potentially life-altering consequences of opioid abuse to take its toll. Please call to speak to a professional treatment support specialist today. Please call now. 

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CVS: Tobacco Sale Ban Is Already Having A Major Impact

CVS: Tobacco Sale Ban Is Already Having A Major Impact

Author: Shernide Delva

A while back, CVS made the bold decision to cease the sale of tobacco products in their stores.   Now, new data reveals their decision to stop selling cigarettes contributed to a drop in tobacco purchases from all retailers.  Furthermore, CVS customers were 38% more likely to stop buying cigarettes, according to research from the American Journal of Public Health.

The analysis comes less than three years after the company stopped selling all tobacco products. The move garnered national attention from public health advocates, doctors, and even the white house.

“After CVS’s tobacco removal, household- and population-level cigarette purchasing declined significantly,” the study concluded.

CVS officially stopped selling tobacco products as of October 1, 2014, at its CVS/pharmacy stores. The decision had the greatest impact on customers who bought cigarettes only at CVS drugstores. Those particular customers were 38% more likely to stop buying cigarettes altogether.

To gather those numbers, the study used household purchasing data to examine American households that stopped buying cigarettes for at least six months during the period of September 2014 to August 2015. The study, written by CVS executives and paid for by the company, was a peer-reviewed article, the journal disclosed.

“When we removed tobacco from our shelves, a significant number of our customers simply stopped buying and hopefully smoking cigarettes altogether instead of just altering their cigarette purchasing habits,” Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Health chief medical officer, said in a statement.

“This research proves that our decision had a powerful public health impact by disrupting access to cigarettes and helping more of our customers on their path to better health.”

The decision by CVS to cut off tobacco sales amounted to a loss of $2 billion in annual sales that existed when it sold cigarettes. Still, the drugstore’s overall sales have been increasing in the last three years thanks to new business from the Affordable Care Act which benefit the pharmacy. CVS is growing significantly as a medical service business.

As for its rivals, the CVS decision has not triggered a trend. None of the other stores such as Wal-Mart, Rite Aid or Walgreens Boots Alliance have followed suit with their own plans to stop selling cigarettes. The pressure from the public and some of their shareholders has not made enough of an impact to change their mind. Walgreens, for example, has instead decided to push more smoking cessation products alongside their tobacco products.

The response from customers in regards to the ban was mixed. Some commended the stand from CVS saying it was a step in the right direction. These days, smoking is banned in restaurants, schools, and even certain parks, so the move did seem to follow the ongoing trend.

On the other hands, many people were outraged at the decision. Some stated it was hypocritical because CVS continues to sell alcohol, candy, and sugary drinks, which can be equally as harmful to the health. Therefore, the argument was made that it is the choice of the customer, not CVS, to decide.

With these recent results, it is evident that CVS may have gotten the result they were hoping for. More outside studies are needed to fully determine the impact the ban had on smoking trends. Still, it sends a message loud and clear that CVS will no longer support tobacco products.

What do you think about the ban? Should other pharmacies follow? In recovery, it is important to take steps to living a healthy life. Perhaps quitting smoking is something you should consider. If you are struggling to quit smoking, or are struggling with any addiction, please call now. We want to help.

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