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:
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Social media and online networking are such a relevant aspect of our world today. With entire enterprises rising from online marketing, and children carrying smartphones, technology continues to be integrated into all areas of life by leaps and bounds. So with social media being utilized for basically every purpose, from personal to business, it is no surprise that some forward thinkers continue to find ways to put these all-encompassing outlets to good use.
Though stunning selfies full of filters, scenes of nature with inspiring quotes, and aesthetically perfect pictures of food dominate the Instagram app, the social media site isn’t void of some damaging content. Instagram is still used as a platform for some questionable photos, like pro-anorexia and pro-self-harm posts.
To fight back Instagram is now launching a new tool that allows users to issues. But they don’t stop there. The Instagram app also steps in to offer intervention options.
Instagram App VS Eating Disorders
The Instagram app already actively takes a stand on promoting positive mental health in some areas. It tried in 2012 to put a stop to pro-eating disorder posts. Often hashtags like #thinspiration and #ana are attached to these posts, so to prevent these tags from attracting admiration, the Instagram app tried to make these tags unsearchable. They also disabled accounts and added content advisories.
Some hashtags are banned completely, such as:
- #thinspo, short for the pro-anorexia phrase “thinspiration”
- #proana, another pro-anorexia phrase
Still, other potentially problematic tags fall into a gray area and are still allowed. The Instagram app had to witness the issue head-on when researchers examined 2.5 million posts between 2011 and 2014, also analyzing 15 pro-eating disorder hashtags that were banned or moderated. What they found was truly disheartening. For each banned/moderated hashtag, there was an average of 40 spin-off hashtags.
- #anorexia, as banned, there were 99 variations of the hashtag, such as- #anorexique or #anoexica
- #thighgap had variations of #thygap and #thigh gap
- #bulimia would be transformed into #bulimiah
According to the study, these variations even boasted more comments and more “likes” than the originals. So when the Instagram app tried to shut down the pro-eating disorder exploitation of their forum, users found loop-holes. Spin-off hashtags are also noted to exhibit a higher focus of self-harm related posts.
The Instagram app was trying to make a difference, but the fight evolved with their efforts. It is time to implement new strategies.
Now the Instagram app is putting some of the power to act in the hands of other users. Users can now anonymously flag posts about self-harm or other mental health issues, and Instagram will step in.
But Instagram isn’t militantly and automatically shutting down every post that gets flagged. Instead, the Instagram app is taking a compassionate and proactive approach. Once a picture is flagged, the user who put up the image will see a message offering help:
“Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.”
Then, the app will offer to connect them with a helpline, assistance in talking to a friend or getting tips. If Instagram app users search any of those questionable tags, they’ll also be directed to the same support page.
Instagram developed the new tool in dexterity by uniting with a variety of resources, including:
- National Eating Disorders Association
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
They even reached out to real people who have struggled with eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts personally to come up with the most effective and compassionate message. Instagram COO Marne Levine said in a recent interview that,
“We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don’t know how best to reach out,”
“These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder.”
In this writer’s opinion, this is an awesome innovation. This doesn’t attack the individual making the post, but instead offers support and displays concern in a positive light. Not to say there is anything wrong with banning hashtags or other methods of regulating social media. This just seems like it does not isolate the individual as much, and instead shows someone who may be suffering care and kindness. Instead of silencing a cry for help or sweeping it under the rug, it puts a solution on the table.
This kind of intervention by the Instagram app not only tries to protect those who may be susceptible to the negative impact of these images, it also promotes mental health solutions through positive outreach.
Well done Instagram.
Eating disorders and other mental health disorders are often co-occurring with addiction or substance abuse. Understanding dual diagnosis and providing holistic treatment can be very essential for effective and lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling, please don’t wait. Call toll-free and find out how to get help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Back in February, we published an article on how Utah Republican State Senator Todd Weiler declared porn a public health crisis. Weiler came out in protest of pornography citing the destructive, addictive nature of porn. He introduced a legislature to Utah that would allow the state to closely monitor ]pornography usage and reduce child pornography.
Now, the state’s governor is coming out with support for those beliefs. Utah Gov. Gary R. Hubert recently said that porn is a “health hazard” and produces a “sexually toxic environment” for those who view it. He signed two bills to raise awareness of the issue he feels strongly about:
“Pornography is a public health crisis. Today I signed two bills that will bring its dangers to light. S.C.R. 9 calls for additional research and education so that more individuals and families are aware of the harmful effects of pornography,” said Herbert on the governor’s Facebook page.
Of the two bills, one is technically a resolution that declares porn as an official health hazard to the state of Utah while the other bill proposes a solution. The first bill explains the reason why porn is such a huge problem. It lists the numerous detrimental effects of porn such as causing the treatment of women as “objects and commodities for the viewer’s use.” The bill continues to state that pornography “equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography.”
Still, the bill does not list any punishing powers. It does not explicitly ban pornography in the state, nor does it contain any consequences for those caught viewing pornography.
Jon Cox, the spokesperson for the Republican governor, explained the bill Monday stating the point of the bill is to declare a resolution to raise awareness and education of the dangers of porn:
“We want Utah youths to understand the addictive habits” of porn that are “harmful to our society,” he said.
The second bill introduced does list some consequences for more specific porn usage, such as viewing child pornography. The second bill requires technicians who find child pornography during their work to report it to law enforcement. Any technician who fails to report findings of child pornography would face a class B misdemeanor.
Claims of Addiction
Porn addiction has been, and continues to be, a controversial manner. Some believe pornography has a place in society while others believe it is harmful. Some also believe pornography can be addictive while others find there is nothing addictive about it. Just like any addiction, some people are affected more by an action or behavior than others are.
Dawn Hawkins is the executive director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation in Washington, had spoken in the past how detrimental she feels porn can be.
“Pornography encourages viewers to view their sexual partners in a dehumanized way, and it increases the acceptance and enjoyment of sexual violence and harmful beliefs about women, sex, and rape.”
Pornography continues to be an interesting conversation had throughout the entire country. An interesting twist to the legislation is that in 2009, Utah was determined by Harvard Business School to have the highest pornography sales per capita than any other state in the United States.
Pornography exists, and people are watching it. That is a fact. Whether or not pornography should be banned or how addictive it can be remains a conversation to be had repetitively. However, as with any addiction, people respond differently. If you feel you have a problem, get help. Do not feel ashamed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
While the nation seems to have recognized the looming threat of an opiate epidemic that has been claiming lives in record numbers in every state, others also believe there is another epidemic that exists in our country that sits insidiously in the shadows of other issues, getting worse and worse as time runs out for more and more people. This epidemic is one that isn’t as easy to see in action because its symptoms are much more personal and subliminal than the warning signs and effects of drug abuse, but it is an epidemic that is just as crippling and perhaps even scarier because it is so much harder to see it coming. However experts insist the United States is also in the grips of a suicide epidemic.
As a suicide survivor and someone with a history of prescription drug abuse, I can say this story was significantly disturbing considering all the elements involved. Don’t get me wrong, I see the positive impact some people experience with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. One might say I would be a likely candidate for either, but my suspicion was definitely spiked when I read some of the information in this report.
The assessment of a rising suicide epidemic comes in aggregation with various other intense and terrifying reports- including the underreporting of suicide rates related to antidepressant use by the Big Pharma companies responsible, and an increase in overdose of anti-anxiety medications.
Now an analysis of recent reviews on common antidepressants is leading us to ask- is Big Pharma hiding that anti-depressants are related to these rising suicide rates?
The Global Suicide Scale
The issue is not only confined to the United States. According to the World Health Organization in 2015 suicide is now the 3rd leading cause of death, representing a 60% increase worldwide over the past 45 years!
A recent study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2015 found that British males between the ages of 45 and 49 had a drastic increase of 40% in suicide rates in just 7 years. In retired males, or pensioners, the increase was 10%.
One report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in shows statistics that found an estimated 9.3 million adults in the United States (3.9% of the adult population) reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
The Nordic Cochrane Center carried out a review later analyzed by University College London (UCL). Of most of the medications the primary statistics that were found to be most shocking were those for:
- Selective serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
These antidepressants, according to the review, actually double the rate of suicide and aggressive behavior for adolescents and young people under the age of 18. But more troubling than the fact these medications intended to treat depression actually increased risks of harmful side-effects was the fact that the review determined there was “serious underestimation of the harms” by the Big Pharma companies. This leads the authors of the study to infer that older adults are likely to also experience elevated risk of suicide than the makers will admit.
- The report states that more than half of the suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts had been misreported in case studies as “emotional instability” or “worsening of depression.”
- In a summary by Big Pharma company Eli Lilly suicidal attempts were missing in 90% of the cases
In the last two decades deaths by overdose of anti-anxiety drugs have quadrupled, which coincides with a tripling rate of these drugs being prescribes. So as the drugs were being distributed at magnified amounts, more people were simultaneously dying due to overdosing on them.
Conclusions on Corruption
Dr. Tarang Sharma of the Nordic Cochrane Center stated in the research that,
“The analysis suggests that clinical study reports, on which decisions about market authorization are based, are likely to underestimate the extent of drug-related harms.”
Many experts involved in this review and the proceeding analysis have said they find it troubling that one could conclude more and more patients are being prescribed these medications and taking them in increasingly hazardous doses over time, but no one in Big Pharma seems to see there is an issue with how they report their product studies.
So even if the Big Pharma companies behind the antidepressants aren’t aware if their drugs are responsible for suicide rates rising, shouldn’t they be paying closer attention to how they examine these products?
While it is true there is no clear cut reason for why suicide rates all over the world are rising at such a tragic and terrifying rate, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication don’t seem to be making it any better when you take a closer look at the records. Yet Big Pharma continues to turn a serious profit while avoiding any blame in the cause of these deaths and covering up any connection with catch-phrases like “emotional instability” instead of giving their potentially damaging drugs an honest appraisal.
Depression, thoughts of suicide, and anxiety are all medical conditions that need attention and treatment. Too often powerful prescription drugs are seen as the only solution, which can evolve into substance abuse and addiction. Depression also can come hand in hand with alcohol use disorder or drug addiction, and all these point to increased rates of suicide. There is a way out, even when we don’t see any hope. If you or someone you love is struggling please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Hey… what’s your sign?
Oh really… so you’re one of those people.
Has this pick-up line concerning your astrological sign ever really worked? Like in real life?
Honestly, how many times have we associated our mentality with our birthday and/or the month we were born, and how often has it been used to assess who we are as a person?
The general idea behind what has spawned a school of belief over thousands of years has been that people can decipher the kind of personality you have based on the calendar and the stars. Civilizations over thousands of years in various cultures have developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations, with commonly utilized concepts found in the modern day horoscopes which mean to explain aspects of personality and predict future events based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other celestial objects at the time a person is born.
Researchers have stated they’ve long been aware horoscopes don’t actually correlate with behavior. Back in 1985 a key study was published in the prestigious journal Nature where scientists found that predictions based on astrology were no better than chance.
So even though I’m a cancer, I don’t necessarily have to be a reserved and emotionally amplified person who values friendship and… okay, never mind… anyway…
What I’m getting at is, for so long there has been a school of thought that your date (or month) of birth could explain everything about your emotional and mental health, along with telling your fortune. The strange thing is, while maybe seeing the future isn’t so much a fact, some statistics actually support the indication that your birthday may tell more about your mental health, such as your risk of depression or even suicide, than you think.
Date of Birth and Mental Health
There was a group of researchers at Queen Mary University in London back in 2012 who released a study where they had investigated whether the risk of several mental health disorders could be increased depending on one’s birth month, including:
The study examined more than 29 million people from England’s general population, 58,000 of whom were already diagnosed with one of these three conditions, and what they found was actually a bit surprising.
- Winter babies were at the greatest risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
- January being the most common birth month for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
- Schizophrenia had significant lows for people born in July
- Bipolar disorder had significant lows for people born in August and September
- Spring babies appeared to be at greatest risk for depression, with an almost significant peak in May
- People born in November were significantly less likely to experience depression
While this may not be an exact science, still the concept is an intriguing one, especially considering how many people out there really do follow their astrological profiles to evaluate their own behaviors.
Date of Birth and Suicide
Suicide is a tragic and far too common extension of mental illness, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an estimated 90% of individuals who commit suicide suffer from mental illness.
So of course, when putting the pieces together researchers suggest that suicidal behavior may also be linked to birth month.
Another British research team examined the data from between 1970 and 2001 on nearly 27,000 suicides and found evidence that suggested this may also be a very real pattern. The data they collected showed the greatest risk of suicide came with individuals born in:
The risk of suicide for these individuals was actually 17% higher than people whose birthdays fell in the autumn or winter, which correlates with the first study which stated Spring babies had the highest rates of depression.
Theories of Seasons
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why some birth months run parallel to greater incidences of mental health disorders than others, but there are a few interesting theories.
- Biological Clock
One theory is that the birth month influences our biological clock, because our ability to regulate our biological clock is strongly connected to our mood.
Scientists in a 2010 study found that mice born in the winter were less able to adapt to a summer light cycle than mice born in other seasons. The researchers speculated that difficulties with these biological rhythms could increase the risk of mental health disorders in humans born in the winter.
- Vitamin D
Then there is Vitamin D, which is produced when our bodies are exposed to sunlight, and recent research has uncovered lower levels of vitamin D could feasibly impact the nervous system in the developing brain, potentially explaining higher rates of mental illnesses for people born in the cold winter or the wet spring.
There was another study that found people with the lowest levels of vitamin D at birth were more likely than others to develop schizophrenia later in life.
Sickness or even seasonal changes in the mother’s diet during gestation may be enough to cause issues down the line according to some theories.
A mother may be more likely to have the flu in the winter, and some ask if this could potentially influence the developing baby?
Different seasons also contain different allergens that could stress the mother’s system and shift fetal development.
The important thing to remember right now is this is all theoretical. The effects found in these research studies are relatively small and by no means the rule as of yet. Surely as neuroscience grows and develops, more risk factors will be identified and more solutions created to confront the possible outcomes of these concepts, but for now it is all just ideas and studies.
In the meantime, perhaps we should meditate on the delicacy and sensitivity of our minds, and try to be more aware of how the things we subject ourselves to can have profound impacts on our mental health. If something so simple as being born in the spring could possibly shift your mental health, what do you think the risky behaviors and habit you adopt can do?
Depression often comes hand in hand with other destructive behaviors, and too often people are paralyzed by drug addiction and depression. Thankfully dual diagnosis treatment is out there, and Palm Partners takes pride in an outstanding dual diagnosis program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125