One of the very real difficulties many families face today is trying to overcome issues with substance use and addiction. With opioid overdose resulting in the deaths of over 33,000 people in 2015, a rate of death that has consistently risen in the past several years, the opioid crisis is a very relevant concern. This issue does not only impact those abusing drugs but drastically impacts their families and loved ones.
Watching someone struggle with substance abuse or dependence can be a devastating experience. When it comes to those we are closest to, it only amplifies the turmoil. It is so hard to know how to be there for someone who is struggling without doing something that could be counter-productive to making their life better.
So can you protect your loved ones in the opioid epidemic? Yes. But how?
What are the things that families members and friends need to focus on in order to keep their loved ones safe?
Understand Proper Pain Management
According to the CDC, approximately 20% of patients who visit their doctors for pain receive an opioid prescription.
Another article on Addictions.com talks about how opioid addictions often begin at home. Some people may still assume that drug addiction begins on the illicit market, but what we have seen more and more over the years is that the opioid epidemic has largely been fueled by prescription drugs.
Many people who struggle with opioid addiction began by using opioid-based painkillers due to a doctor’s prescription. These kinds of medication are not all that strange when dealing with pain management. Powerful prescription opioids are used for:
A lot of times these medications are prescribed for short-term use to try and reduce the risk of dependence after extended use. However, even with short-term prescriptions, these potent opioids can develop a physical dependence with uncomfortable or even painful withdrawal symptoms.
Overprescribing has also become an element in the opioid epidemic spreading through prescription drugs. Having an abundance of people prescribed to opioids also adds to the risk of more abuse.
By understanding these risks, people can better protect themselves and each other from developing a serious dependence. If you are aware of what can happen with opioids, even if legitimately prescribed, you can watch for signs and take action to prevent further risk.
Monitor Your Medicine Cabinet
According to a SAMHSA study from 2015, more than 50% of people addicted to painkillers receive the drugs from family members or friends.
Not only are those who receive opioids for medical reasons at some risk of accidentally developing a dependence, those who live with them can also be at risk of abusing opioids and becoming addicted. The overprescribing of opioids has also created stockpiles of opioids in thousands of homes all over the country. Left-over medications are also making a contribution to high rates of opioid misuse.
Some people who receive an opioid prescription may not actually use the entire prescription, but frequently they hold onto the excess supply of their medications. This is often innocent enough, as people will sometimes want to have something on-hand in case of unexpected pain down the road. Sometimes they might even offer these medications to others in an attempt to help manage a friend or loved one’s pain. However, even with the best intentions, this can be very dangerous.
Not only can giving someone a powerful opioid they are not prescribed be dangerous, simply having this kind of drug lying around is dangerous. Your medicine cabinet can be easily accessed by others within your household.
If you want to protect your loved ones in the opioid epidemic, make sure that you keep opioid medications under restricted access in your home. Do not play doctor and offer these kinds of drugs to your friends or family.
Also, make sure you properly dispose of any unused medications. You can take excess opioid drugs to a drug drop-off. Find nearby locations, which are often at pharmacies or law enforcement agencies.
Look for Signs of Dependence
Dependence and addiction are two terms that are relatively similar, but not exactly interchangeable.
Opioid dependence refers to how the body builds a tolerance to opioids over time. This process leads to the individual needing increasingly high doses of the drug to receive the same effect. Where addiction is more psychological, dependence is primarily a physical response.
Opioid users become physically dependent on the drugs when they require certain doses to feel and function “normally,” while also trying to avoid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. All of these effects can contribute to the development of a more serious addiction. Some physical signs to watch for include:
- Constricted pupils
- Reparatory depression
- Loss of consciousness/Nodding off
Withdrawal signs can also indicate dependence, including minor symptoms such as:
Understanding the signs or addiction, including withdrawal, can be a way to protect your loved ones in the opioid epidemic. If you can recognize the warning signs, you might be able to intervene before it is too late.
Seek Professional and Effective Help
Education is key to prevention, no matter what the situation or circumstances. Whatever the adversity, arming yourself with information makes you more effective. At the same time, seeking help from those with knowledge and experience with treating addiction is invaluable. Having a safe and effective resource that knows how to help your loved one overcome an opioid dependence or addiction can make all the difference.
It can be overwhelming, and none of us can protect everyone. However, you can be part of the support system that works to keep your family, friends and loved ones safe.
If your loved one is already struggling with opioids, the best thing you can do to protect them is to get them the help they need. If you or someone you love is struggling, 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
This September brings us another opportunity to talk about raising awareness for substance abuse, addiction and recovery with National Recovery Month 2016. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that actively spearheads public health efforts for progress in behavioral health. Along with other organizations and community leaders, SAMHSA helps to create events around the country for this very important topic.
History of Awareness
SAMHSA was created by Congress back in 1992 to make mental health and substance abuse services more accessible. However the origins of National Recovery Month go back even farther.
National Recovery Month began as “TreatmentWorks!Month” established to honor the work of professionals in the treatment and recovery field.
The annual observance grew into “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month” to include rejoicing in the accomplishments of individuals who are actively in recovery from substance use disorders.
This celebration evolved even further to National Recovery Month AKA “Recovery Month” to include all facets of behavioral and mental health recovery.
The theme for the 2015 National Recovery Month was:
“Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!”
Along with the theme last year’s events were organized to bring people together to share real life experiences of how recovery impacted their lives, while standing up against stigma of addiction and recovery.
The Theme for 2016
The theme for the 27th annual Recovery Month 2016 is:
“Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!”
This year’s theme highlights the value of family support throughout recovery. The theme also invites individuals in recovery and their families to share personal stories and successes to encourage and empower others.
Addiction is known as a “family disease.” This means that the family and friends of an alcoholic are often as sick as the alcoholic themselves. Likewise, when someone finds themselves on the road to recovery, the family often gets the opportunity to be active and inspired in their journey.
Most holistic drug addiction treatment programs offer the opportunity to take part in a family program. This will put loved ones and family members in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.
We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
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Recovery Month Event Schedule for Florida
In observance of National Recovery Month 2016 there is a vast calendar of events all over the country to raise awareness for this important cause. These events range from support groups and discussions to open celebrations. Lets highlight some of the upcoming events in the Florida area. Here are some of the events for the rest of September.
ENEMY Album Release Party- Thursday, September 22, 2016
This is an open public event set to take place at Paradise Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The details have it listed as an entertainment event, and the description says it is benefiting the Face the Music Foundation.
- Recovery Sunday- Sunday, September 25, 2016
Recovery Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, Florida includes three worship services. As part of this event attendees will have a chance to see a brief video of a personal testimony about a family’s discovery of the Support & Addiction Family Education (SAFE) ministry and their personal journey. The showings are:
- 7:30am- 8:30am
In addition, display tables will be set up with free booklets about the disease of addiction and the recovery journey.
TB Rays Recovery Month- Sunday, September 25, 2016
The Tampa Bay Rays and BayCare Behavioral Health invite the community to celebrate National Recovery Month on Sunday, September 25, at 1:10pm when the Rays take on the Red Sox! The deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Lower Level Tickets are $20 ($45 Value). To reserve your seats call 727-940-2837 Monday through Friday between 8am- 5 pm.
This event will take place in Saint Petersburg, Florida from 1:00pm- 4:00pm. Sports fans should definitely check this one out.
Block Party: Celebrate Recovery- September 30, 2016
That’s right, it’s a Block Party! This is a great chance to bring families and communities together to celebrate recovery! Free food is provided, along with a raffle ticket for your chance to win a few great prizes! The party starts at 5:00pm.
This is another open public event in Jacksonville Florida, with an estimated 200 attendees already. Look online to find more information about this rally for Recovery Month.
Find Out More
You can get involved, or find an event in your area, by checking out the SAMHSA website for National Recovery Month. You can also see inspirational PSA videos that emphasize the importance of family and community support in recovery.
So many people overlook the importance of having a strong system of support standing behind you in the recovery process. The role of family members and loved ones in an individual’s recovery is paramount, because it can provide a sense of love and security like no other. However, beyond National Recovery Month events, you can help inform people about the importance of family in recovery.
You can either stand on the sidelines of someone’s suffering, or you can get in the game and work with them for change. Reading through countless stories of families who fought together to overcome addiction, I think this is an awesome theme for National Recovery Month. And communities should think of themselves as a family. It isn’t just about the people in your house; your neighborhood is your home. Take care of your family out there too.
Recovery Month also emphasizes helping people find the treatment they desperately need. Making a difference can be as simple as making a beginning. Palm Partners wants to help.
Just as we said last year, thousands of people everywhere are growing and changing their lives through programs of recovery. Along with them, thousands of families are rebuilding and sharing their strength and hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Having a loved one in treatment is tough. It leads to tough love, tough times, and tough conversations. There is a variety of concerns, arguments, or confessions that may come from someone you love seeking help for an issue with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction, and there are many ways each individual may handle these obstacles based on personal preference and each unique situation, the important thing is to keep in mind the result your loved one is trying to reach, and be sure that the end of each conversation justifies the means in which you conduct yourself.
When I was first brought to treatment I came with my ex-fiance. Before the month of inpatient was over, we had split up. Now THAT is a tough conversation to have. So I would like to focus on what I feel I learned most from that situation.
You could be discussing with your loved one how their substance abuse, addiction or behavior has affected you, or you could be discussing the changes you intend to make to your relationship with them or your own life. Another possibility is that they are communicating their troubled to you, and you want to be sure you hold up your end of the conversation in a manner that will be most appropriate towards helping them complete treatment. He are 7 tips for tough conversations while your loved one is in treatment.
- Be respectful of their situation
Being respectful of your loved ones situation is important. To keep a consistent and productive dialog going, both parties must be respectful of one another. You cannot show them less respect as a person just because they are in treatment. Even if you have suffered as a result, be sure to respect their choice to try and change.
- Be willing to listen and stay open-minded
Staying open-minded and hearing someone out while they are in treatment means you are willing to try and understand the process they are in, the feelings they are experiencing and the opinions they have with a little more clarity. Again even if you suffered at one point, be willing to see your contribution to any circumstance and humble enough to hear them out.
- Be honest about your feelings
Being honest is essential to the tougher conversations while a loved one is in treatment. As important it is to be aware of the delicate situation they are in, in order to more forward effectively the truth needs to be in every dialog. Lying to someone to protect their feelings will only enable them to avoid coping.
- Be consistent with your boundaries
Again, you have to make sure you do not enable their obsessive, dependent, or manipulative behaviors if you hope for them to begin recovery while in treatment. It is important that once you have set boundaries as far as what kind of support your loved one can expect, to persist in these boundaries so they believe it is up to them to do what they have to in order to change.
- Be assertive with your feelings
If the conversation is difficult but important to you, you have to stay steadfast in your resolve to express yourself. It is true that their feelings can be fragile, but yours are important too. Remember to stick to your values. If they want to fight you on a subject, you should remain calm but firm.
- Use tough-love only when necessary
When keeping boundaries or being steadfast you should always remember there is a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. Tough love can be an asset when used correctly and constructively. However it is counter-productive to bully or belittle your loved one who is already struggling to get help.
- Stay supportive even on difficult topics
If it is a family member, friend or partner it is vital to stay supportive to the changes the individual is making in their life. Sometimes this can be harder than others. If you are asking for time apart from a partner or friend it helps to express how the loved ones happiness and health is the most important thing for their recovery and give them positive re-enforcement. Not false hope, but give them hope and let them know their worth to you as a person.
If you have a loved one in treatment than the key word there is LOVE. The best tip you could possibly have is to include love in all affairs. For the tough conversations while a loved one is in treatment, make it a point to have a firm grasp of what it is you expect from the conversation, what healthy or supportive contribution can you make, and how can you let that person know you say what you say out of a level of love.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know it sounds like the worst thing ever: spending the holidays in rehab instead of with your loved ones. But, look at it this way: this is the best thing you could ever do for yourself and it’s the best gift you can give your family. It might sound cliché but, it’s really true.
Let’s face it: being an active alcoholic or drug addict is a very selfish way of being. You may not want to see it that way but, take it from this recovering addict: when you are drinking or drugging yourself to death, you aren’t just hurting yourself, as much as you want to believe that; your family and friends are going through their own version of hell as they sit on the sidelines watching you self-destruct. Once you realize this, I think it will help to put things into perspective for you. Going to rehab for Christmas isn’t just about you – it’s about those who love you and only want the best for you. By avoiding rehab simply because you don’t want to spend your Christmas in treatment, you are again being the ultimate selfish brat. There, I said it. I know these are harsh words but, addicts and alcoholics are pretty strong-headed (read: stubborn) and I know this because I am one and I know a lot of others like me.
Rehab For Christmas: Reason Versus Motivation
There is a distinction between reason and motivation and it’s important to understand this, especially when it comes to going to rehab for Christmas or at other any time of the year, for that matter.
The reason you are going into treatment for your drug abuse or addiction issues should always be you. Meaning, you must want to go and be willing to change and do whatever it takes to change in order to be successful at sobriety. And it all comes down to knowing that you are worth leading a sober lifestyle and that you deserve to be happy and healthy.
Motivation, on the other hand, is similar to reason but slightly different. Your motivation(s) for getting and staying clean and sober might be your family, children, job, etc. So, these are the things you want to keep and improve once you begin the recovery process.
Rehab For Christmas: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family
A Gift Without a Price Tag
Being in active addiction, you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on presents for your family members and other loved ones. Just saying. So, why not give them the ultimate gift? By getting help and being somewhere safe at holiday time is really a two-fold present: you will be giving them the best and whole authentic you (the person they always knew and loved) and you will be giving them some peace of mind – both of which are priceless.
Rehab For Christmas: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family
A Gift That Keeps On Giving
Going to rehab for Christmas isn’t anyone’s idea of an ideal way to spend the holidays. I totally get it. But, look at it this way: what’s one Christmas in rehab compared to the countless Christmases, birthdays, and other holidays and special occasions that you would ruin by not being clean and sober? Take this opportunity, not just for your family but, for yourself. Show yourself the ultimate gesture of love and compassion by getting help today. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
New Year’s Eve is a holiday to celebrate the New Year starting and to remember the year that has passed. Before I was in sobriety, my New Year’s Eve plans consisted of partying and getting drunk. Now that I’m in recovery, I thought of 5 reasons New Year’s Eve is more fun sober.
5 Reasons New Year’s Eve is More Fun Sober: No Hangover on New Year’s Day
Photo Credit: www.wifflegif.com
Nothing feels better than waking up on January 1st and not feeling like crap. Starting the New Year used to be horrible back when I was drinking and drugging; I would wake up the next day hung-over or dope sick. It’s really a great feeling to wake up on the first day of a New Year and feel good and not super sluggish.
5 Reasons New Year’s Eve is More Fun Sober: No Pressure to Have Fun or Be Drunk by Midnight
Photo Credit: www.wifflegif.com
Every year for New Year’s there is always so much pressure to party and have the best time ever. It feels like a time crunch to get drunk by midnight. When you’re sober, you can just have a good time and not stress over trying to be drunk by the time the ball drops. For me, if I was drinking heavily like this on New Year’s, I was usually passed out by 11:30 anyways!
5 Reasons New Year’s Eve is More Fun Sober: No Sloppy Drunk Mess Scenes/Accidents
Photo Credit: www.wifflegif.com
When I drank and drugged I had a bad habit of making an absolute fool of myself, breaking something or injuring myself or someone else. It’s so nice to not have to worry about waking up the next day to find out what crazy thing I did that upset everybody or hurt myself. I remember one year I got so drunk all day and night before New Year’s actually hit that I was at a club and I fell asleep standing up or fainted and fell on the ground, luckily not breaking anything. I only know all this because I was told about it, too.
5 Reasons New Year’s Eve is More Fun Sober: You Remember Everything
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It is a huge bonus to remember everything that happens and not have to have somebody fill you in on what happened. It can be difficult trying to piece your night together like a puzzle just to figure out if you had a good time. I love being able to remember what I do today and not be ashamed of it.
5 Reasons New Year’s Eve is More Fun Sober: Genuinely Enjoying Ringing in the New Year with Loved Ones
Photo Credit: www.wifflegif.com
I look forward to New Year’s Eve now because it is a time I get to spend with my loved ones and family. I enjoy celebrating a start to a New Year and reminiscing over the year that has passed. I am so grateful that today, my friends and family actually want me there for New Year’s Eve! I may not party the way I used to, but I still have a great time with the people I surround myself with. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.