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Six PTSD Myth Busters

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Let’s talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as it’s better known. Like other mental health illnesses, PTSD has gained some myths since it was first discovered. We’re here to bust those myths wide open so you can understand the truth about PTSD. Check out our six PTSD myth busters.

PTSD Myth #1: PTSD only affects veterans.

Formerly referred to as “shell shock”, doctors initially associated PTSD with soldiers returning from war. However, the term changed when “post-traumatic stress disorder” first appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. This change reflected a new understanding of PTSD. As mental health studies progressed, experts recognized common symptoms of shell shock in civilian patients who had experienced other types of physical and psychological trauma in their lifetime. PTSD better represented the broader circle of patients suffering from the same disorder. 

PTSD Myth #2: PTSD develops immediately after trauma.

The truth is, PTSD can take weeks, months, or even years for symptoms to appear. Researchers have determined this is due to how the mind processes trauma and develops responses to fear. The typical time it takes for PTSD to manifest is three months but it’s not unusual for symptoms to appear years later. 

PTSD Myth #3: PTSD only affects certain types of trauma victims.

People often associate PTSD with war veterans and those who have experienced traumatic events like abuse, serious accidents, or have been witnesses or victims of crime. However, trauma of any kind, including trauma from an illness, can cause PTSD. People who have been traumatized by an illness or injury may have anxiety related to healthcare because they associate doctor’s visits and hospitals with their ailment. 

PTSD Myth #4: PTSD is not related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Although the two conditions are not the same–Traumatic Brain Injury is an actual physical injury to the brain, commonly known as a concussion–they are, in some cases, related. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop from TBI and symptoms of these conditions often overlap. When a possible TBI is involved in a PTSD case, diagnosis can prove difficult because evidence of physical trauma isn’t always apparent in diagnostic tests. 

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD affects everyone who experiences trauma.

Actually, PTSD affects a relatively small group of trauma victims. PTSD rates are higher in women and other factors can make certain people more vulnerable to mental disorders. Risk factors include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Low social support
  • Multiple traumatic events 
  • More negative life events than usual

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD is for the weak.

The responses and behaviors of PTSD are of no fault of the person experiencing it, nor is the development of PTSD. PTSD is the brain’s way of trying to protect the person from more trauma. Hence, why responses like flight or fight are common. However, nothing about PTSD indicates the person is somehow “weaker” than others.

PTSD Myth #6: Symptoms of PTSD are the same in everyone.

PTSD can manifest in a number of ways. Some people experience intrusive thoughts about their trauma. Others may actively avoid thoughts, people, and places that remind them of their experiences. Arousal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating and being easily startled, are also common. Negative thoughts and moods are also other symptoms. 

Are you concerned that you or someone you love is experiencing PTSD? Our behavioral health specialists can help. Contact Mantachie Rural Healthcare at 662-282-4226.

Connections Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Women

When we talk about women’s health, we often think about PAP tests and mammograms. While these provide important preventive health measures for women, women’s health concerns go further. Mental health concerns make up an important but little-discussed aspect of women’s health.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 women has a mental health diagnosis, and women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. In addition, almost 3% of all women in the United States have both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.

Common Mental Illnesses Among Women

Women struggle with specific mental illnesses in greater numbers than men. Although women do experience other mental illnesses below are the ones most commonly diagnosed in women at greater rates than men.

Depression — twice as many women experience depression compared to men

Anxiety — women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared to men

Trauma — 20% of women will experience a rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime

Eating Disorders — the majority of individuals who struggle with anorexia and bulimia are women

Suicide — women are likely to attempt suicide although men are likely to die by suicide

Mental illnesses don’t happen in a vacuum. They affect a woman’s family, work, and friend groups. 

Most Commonly Abused Substances Among Women

Substance abuse in women is often connected to mental illness and trauma. In addition, women, especially mothers or pregnant women, face the stigma of seeking help for both their addiction and mental health illnesses and barriers related to childcare while they seek treatment. Women tend to lean toward specific substances more than others.

Alcohol — the most commonly used substance among women. In fact, an entire culture has evolved around the “wine mom” who drinks to unwind every night. Research shows alcohol use disorder among women is on the rise.

Prescription drugswomen are more likely to misuse prescription opioids to treat pain and to self-treat other problems like anxiety or tension.

Sedatives and antidepressants — women are more likely than men to die from an overdose of sleep aids or anxiety medications. These drugs also send more women to the ER than men.

Seeking Help

Unaddressed substance abuse and mental health illnesses affect a woman’s physical health. At Mantachie Rural Health Care, we offer both primary care and mental health treatment. Our providers can help you find the right treatment options and work with you to break down barriers to getting that treatment. No judgment here. We’re working hard to remove the stigma of seeking help for both substance abuse disorders and mental health illnesses. That starts with treating the whole patient.

Call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to request your appointment. Start with one of our nurse practitioners or with our mental health nurse practitioner. Your whole health matters.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Why Your Child's Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

The idea of an autism diagnosis for your child frightens many parents. However, that diagnosis provides the first step in your child’s journey to grow and learn to function in a world full of neurotypical people. Receiving a diagnosis and information on the next steps can actually relieve a parent’s anxiety over autism. Your child’s pediatrician is the first step in getting an autism diagnosis.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Today, we have more information about autism than ever before. Children can receive a diagnosis at a very young age–between 18 and 24 months. But, where do you begin seeking answers if you suspect your child could have autism? The first step is visiting your child’s pediatrician. Pediatricians can perform an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) screening. A screening is not a diagnosis. It’s simply a way for medical providers to determine if a child shows certain signs of autism and should be examined further by an autism specialist. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism between the ages of 18 months and 24 months, regardless if they show signs of ASD. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised with Follow-up or M-CHAT-RF is a 23-point questionnaire filled out by the parents. It is the most common screening tool used by pediatricians. Most families find the questionnaire relatively easy. 

If your child’s pediatrician determines they need further testing, they will refer you to a specialist near your area. They may refer you to a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric specialist in ASD, or they may refer you to a mental health professional who also specializes in autism spectrum disorder. Both specialists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder. 

If your child is a patient of Mantachie Rural Health Care, we can help you take the first steps in getting a diagnosis. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to schedule their visit today. 

Covid-19 and the Opioid Crisis

For the last two years, it seems like all we hear about in medical news is covid, covid, covid. Rightfully so. The pandemic has changed everything, and it’s shown no signs of going away, although we are in a slowdown for now. Today, we’re taking a look at covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

With the covid-19 pandemic being a worldwide crisis, other medical epidemics have taken a backseat in the public interest. But covid-19 hasn’t made other health crises go away, it’s simply overshadowed it. The opioid crisis is one crisis that has not only continued but increased significantly since the pandemic started. 

How Covid-19 has Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

The year 2019 saw 70,630 opioid overdose deaths in the United States. As if that number isn’t frightening enough, the number of opioid overdose deaths after the pandemic hit US shores will send chills down your spine. An estimated 104,288 people died from opioid overdose by September 2021. That’s more than a 25 percent increase in just over a year and a half. Mississippi was predicted to suffer around 682 opioid deaths in 2021.

So what’s the reason behind the worsening opioid crisis? Unfortunately, we can’t point to just one cause for the crisis, which is considered an epidemic. Lost jobs and livelihood along with restricted access to mental healthcare during the pandemic are major factors for many people turning to opioids to cope. As depression and anxiety caused by the pandemic continue to increase, many patients are choosing to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help.

The battle between law enforcement agencies and drug cartels has also been impacted. The pandemic gave an unexpected edge to transnational criminal organizations, also known as cartels. These organizations have adapted to the pandemic faster than law enforcement agencies making access to illegal drugs easier.

What We Can Do to Fight the Opioid Crisis

The first step is to accept that addiction is a disease. The good news is, classifying addiction as a disease gives medical experts the ability to study the disease and develop a successful treatment. However, providers have experienced significant challenges in treating addiction patients in the midst of a pandemic.

Due to a high risk of covid-19 transmission between patients at in-patient facilities, providers have turned to outpatient treatment to help addicts. Telehealth and other resources are being used to keep in line with social distancing guidelines. But some patients are so severe that in-patient treatment is necessary. Unfortunately, labor shortages have also lowered the availability of in-patient services. 

Despite these challenges, addiction patients still have hope. Outpatient treatment can work if patients follow the treatment plan and advice given by their provider. Addiction treatment specialists are working harder than ever to help patients achieve sobriety. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers mental health and addiction services through our mental health specialists. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, reach out to us now to make an appointment. Request a visit at www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us/ or call 662-282-4226. 

Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but they become especially important when you are in recovery from addiction or other mental health conditions. Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of healthy boundaries in recovery and how to set and enforce them. 

What are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits set to protect yourself and others in a relationship. They help us define who we are while allowing others to be who they are. Boundaries also keep you from being taken advantage of or manipulated. 

Boundaries, like anything else, can be unhealthy. Unhealthy boundaries may include abandoning your personal beliefs or values for acceptance, establishing new relationships without considering how they will affect your recovery, and trusting no one or everyone. Knowing the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries is essential to maintaining your recovery. 

Healthy boundaries basically look like the opposite of unhealthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries include:

  • Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship
  • Maintaining your personal beliefs and values regardless of other’s opinions
  • Saying no to gifts, favors, and actions that do not support your recovery
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing what you need or want
  • Developing appropriate trust with others
  • Treating yourself with respect and kindness

Now that you know what healthy boundaries look like it’s time to set the boundaries you need and implement them. Key emphasis on the implementation of these boundaries. Boundaries do no good if you don’t enforce them. Setting and enforcing boundaries looks like this:

  • Establishing a self “bill of rights” such as a right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs and right to express how you want to be treated
  • Identifying sobriety risk factors including obvious ones like avoiding a bar if you are an alcoholic and less obvious triggers like watching a football game with friends
  • Setting the boundaries based of your bill of rights and recovery risk factors
  • Enforcing the boundaries and remaining accountable
  • Respecting other people’s boundaries

Need more support in  your addiction recovery? We can help. Call 662-282-4226 to schedule a visit. 

7 Tips to Avoid a Blue Christmas

avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Family dinner tables filled with cheer and laughter abound in holiday advertisements. Even your favorite sit-com or drama will likely include some version of a happy holiday scene to end the season. For some of us, the holidays bring or increase stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. And if you experienced mental health concerns prior to the holidays, these last two months of the year can make you feel even worse. We can’t offer a prescriptive answer to solve all your holiday woes, but we can make a few suggestions to ease the burden and help you avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Check-in With Your Therapist

If you’re in therapy, the holidays aren’t the time to skip appointments. It’s tempting with all the busyness of the season to push back that appointment until after the first of year. Don’t. If you haven’t met with a therapist lately, the holidays are a great time for a check-in. Even if you’ve never met with a therapist, the holidays are a perfect time to connect with a therapist to talk about how this season affects you, how to avoid a blue Christmas, and how you can manage your mental health during this time.

Real vs Perfect

Only television shows and stock photos have perfect families. No matter what you see on social media, your friends and family aren’t living a perfect life. It’s easy this time of year to reflect on the past twelve months or even where you are in life and experience negative emotions if you haven’t hit all the goals you set for yourself. Help yourself move out of that zone by setting a small goal related to your larger goal. For instance, if you want to find a better job, start by working on your resume.

Prioritize Activities

The holidays are stuffed full of activities from get-togethers to ice skating to cookie decorating. Want to know a secret? You don’t have to do them all. How many activities can you physically and mentally manage? Which of the scheduled activities are most important to you? If certain activities or expectations dredge up painful memories or trauma, it’s okay to skip those or at the very least plan some self-care activities before and after. 

Sit in the Sunshine

Not only can the holidays bring painful memories, but they happen during the time of the year with the least amount of sunshine. Lack of sun itself can cause depression. Schedule some outdoor activities during daylight hours. If possible, move your workstation near a window. More lights in your home, even those on your Christmas tree, may help avoid a blue Christmas too.

Budget for Gifts

The smile on a loved one’s face when they open your gift is priceless, until the credit card bill comes due in January. If you’re concerned about the cost of giving gifts this holiday season, talk to your family about drawing names instead of giving to everyone or doing a Christmas ornament swap. You may choose to give homemade gifts or donate to a charity in someone else’s name instead. Be creative, but most of all stick to a budget. If you won’t be able to give gifts this year, be honest with your family and friends. It’s been a hard 18 months for everyone.

Self-Care

The buzz-word conjures images of spa days or weekends spent watching Netflix and eating chocolate, but it can be as simple as staying in one night and going to bed early. Plan time for shopping and cooking so you’re less stressed as holiday gatherings arrive. Remember #3 above. By prioritizing your events, you’ll have time to spend doing the things you enjoy and preparing for the events you’re looking forward to attending.

Stay Healthy

Don’t forsake your exercise and healthy eating habits. You’ve worked hard all year to be both mentally and physically healthy, don’t stop now. Part of self-care means keeping your exercise routine and not eating every dessert and dip that comes your way this season. On days when you aren’t getting together with friends, plan healthy meals at home. Keeping your routine adds comfort to your days even when you’re not feeling your best.

How Vacations Help You Stay Healthy…Plus Ideas for Relaxing Staycations!

Ah,  vacations. Seems like we’re all constantly dreaming of our next getaway. Turns out there’s a good reason for wanting more time off or away. Science says vacations help you stay healthy, even staycations have their benefits! Here’s how:

Vacations relieve stress.

The pressures of everyday life can set off stress hormones including cortisol and epinephrine. Over time, these same hormones can lead to depression, weight gain, poor sleep habits, and other serious health problems. 

Getting away makes you feel happier.

You know how you instantly get in a better mood the minute you hit the road to begin a vacation? That feel-good mood often carries on for weeks after as a post-vacation buzz. The key to staying happy is about how often you get away rather than how long. 

Time off improves your heart health.

Taking time off from work can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease. According to WebMD, one study shows that time off for a staycation is linked to lowered blood sugar levels and higher levels of good cholesterol. 

Vacations bring better sleep.

Plan your trip in advance for better sleep before, during, and after your vacation. Take advantage of the break from everyday chores and responsibilities and get in as many naps and late sleep as possible. 

Getaways help you recharge your energy and focus.

Having trouble concentrating at work? It’s time for a vacation. Even a staycation can leave you re-energized and ready to tackle any task coming your way.

Time off strengthens your immune system.

Remember those stress hormones we mentioned earlier? Those hormones can also weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Taking a break helps keep those hormones in check.

Vacations help you live longer.

From reducing your risk of infections and conditions like heart disease to lowering your stress level, time off or away from the everyday routine can lengthen your lifespan. 

Trips strengthen relationships.

Studies have shown that couples who travel together are happier than those who don’t and are both individually more physically and mentally fit than others. If your relationship with your spouse or another loved one could use room for improvement, try traveling together for the ultimate bonding experience. 

Relaxing Staycations

We get it. There isn’t always room in the budget to save up for a vacation. Good thing there are plenty of staycation ideas that are fun, relaxing, and still offer a break from everyday life. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Visit your local and state parks. We promise there is a state park within a short driving distance of your hometown. And if it’s still too far, pack a picnic and head to your favorite local park to spend the day basking in the sunlight and feeding ducks. In North Mississippi, try your hand at disc golf at Tombigbee State Park just south of Tupelo or canoe Bear Creek or hike a trail at Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo County. Camp out at Trace State Park in Belden or hit the highway to Holly Springs for a fun day at Wall Doxey State Park. Wall Doxey and JP Coleman, located at the northeasternmost tip of Mississippi are especially fun for boaters. 
  • Host a backyard campout. Invite a few friends or keep it just the family. Leave the household responsibilities inside, gather your camping gear, and head out back to set up camp. This is possibly the easiest camping trip you’ll ever take because everything you need is already there! You may think your backyard isn’t far away enough but just getting outside improves your mood and your health. 
  • Plan a no-connection day or weekend. Tell your friends and loved ones that you’re cutting ties with all things digital for a day or a weekend if you can swing it. Spend the day reading a book, practicing a hobby, or channeling your creative side. We know you may need to check your phone occasionally for missed calls or texts, but keep those phone checks to a minimum. Simply unplugging for a while can help you recharge and refocus.
  • “Tour” a nearby town. Mississippi and all of the great states that make America have a slew of amazing little towns that are full of surprises. Pick a nearby town on the map and start researching things to do, places to eat and shop, and other fun adventures. New Albany is a great place right here in North Mississippi that offers unique shopping and eating opportunities along with fun outdoor activities like the Tanglefoot Trail. Or you can travel a little closer to Tupelo, North Mississippi’s cultural hub and home of the King of Rock n Roll. Dine on some of the best food in the state, visit the Elvis Presley Museum and Birthplace, and spend some time at Veterans or Ballard Park. 

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

signs and symptoms of adhd

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a very common yet highly misunderstood mental health disorder in both children and adults. One reason why ADHD is often misunderstood is that the symptoms mimic those of other health conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and certain learning disabilities. Today, we’ll take a look at the signs and symptoms of ADHD.

How ADHD is Diagnosed

ADHD is diagnosed using the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, more commonly known as the DSM-5. The main symptoms of ADHD are inattention and hyperactivity. Both symptoms are umbrellas for a series of various symptoms that fall under these categories. 

Symptoms of Inattention

Children are diagnosed with ADHD when they display six or more of the following symptoms, while adults and teens over 17 are diagnosed when five or more symptoms are present. Adults and children with ADHD:

  • Often fail to pay close attention to detail or make careless mistakes in schoolwork or on the job.
  • Often have trouble holding attention to tasks or activities.
  • Often fail to follow directions or finish schoolwork, chores, or other duties.
  • Often don’t listen when spoken to directly.
  • Have trouble organizing tasks or activities.
  • Often avoid, dislike, or are reluctant to perform tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (schoolwork, homework, work tasks, etc.)
  • Often lose things necessary for tasks.
  • Are often easily distracted or forgetful.

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Much like with inattention symptoms, at least six signs of hyperactivity or impulsivity must be present in children and teens under age 16 while at least five symptoms must be displayed in adults. These symptoms should last six months or longer and cause disruption to the patient’s daily life. Children and adults with hyperactivity or impulsivity:

  • Often fidget with or tap their hands and feet and/or squirm in their seat.
  • Often leave their seat in situations where remaining seated is appropriate.
  • Often run about or climb excessively in situations where these behaviors are inappropriate.
  • Often are unable to play or take part in activities due to hyperactivity.
  • Often demonstrate “on the go” acting.
  • Often talk excessively or out of turn.
  • Often blurt out an answer before the question given is complete.
  • Often have trouble waiting their turn.
  • Often interrupt or intrude on others. 

In addition to these symptoms, children must also display several symptoms before reaching age twelve. The symptoms must display in at least two different settings such as school and home and the symptoms must interfere or reduce the quality of school, social, and work functions. Additionally, symptoms displayed should not be attributed to another mental health diagnosis such as schizophrenia. 

If you are concerned that you or your child are suffering from ADHD, Mantachie Rural Health Care can help. Our behavioral health specialists can diagnose and treat ADHD and work right alongside you or your child’s medical provider to provide the best treatment. Click here to request an appointment now

What We Can Learn from Simone Biles’ Mental Health Battles

After a year’s delay due to covid-19, the Olympics finally returned in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. One of the first and most anticipated events to be televised was the women’s gymnastics team final. Sports fans across America and other parts of the globe gathered around the television to watch the young female competitors of Team USA. 

One gymnast, in particular, was at the top of everyone’s conversation. Simone Biles is a four-time Olympic gold medal winner and World Champion. Some consider her to be one of gymnastics’ greatest of all time. Fans waited with baited anticipation for Biles to take her turn in the team competition. But when Biles began her vault routine, it was clear that something was amiss with the world’s most decorated active gymnast. 

During her vault routine, Simone Biles began experiencing the “twisties,” a very real condition affecting gymnasts. The twisties is a loss of air awareness that can result in catastrophe for the gymnast. It was this event that led to Biles’ decision to pull out of the rest of the team competition’s events. 

Biles’ decision stunned everyone from her teammates to sports announcers to the fans watching from home. Her choice stirred up even more controversy when she shared the reason behind her difficult decision. Biles decided to withdraw to “do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health.”

Biles’ initial statement didn’t give much away about what exactly happened, but she later took to Instagram to share more details. “Honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync. 10/10 do not recommend.” Along with her statement, Biles shared a video from practice that was later removed, in which she was clearly struggling on events she normally mastered. 

What We Can Learn from Simone’s Mental Health Struggles

In a later interview, Biles was asked what was the biggest misconception about her mental health. She responded, “That I was at no risk, and that mental health isn’t a serious issue.”

Perhaps it’s hard to believe that one of the greatest athletes of all time could possibly be struggling with mental health issues. But Biles experienced deep trauma as a sexual abuse victim of former Olympic physician, Dr. Larry Nassar, and has shared that she was depressed during the 2016 Olympics. 

Biles has clearly learned how important it is to take your mental health seriously. She made no commitments to compete in any further competitions at the Olympics until she felt stronger mentally. On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, Biles returned to the competition to compete in the balance beam event, an event for which she won a bronze medal.

Biles was initially unsure if she would return to the Tokyo games and made no apologies for putting her mental health first, despite the criticism she received from some commentators and fans. She understood that until she was able to improve herself mentally, she was no good to her team. 

Pressing the pause button to focus on her mental help was probably one of the best decisions Biles could have made. Burnout, depression, and anxiety are as real as any other mental health condition. 

If you are struggling to keep your head above water, and it’s affecting your normal day-to-day life, it is time to focus on your mental health. This may mean taking a temporary break from work or other life responsibilities to get well. You may receive criticism like Biles, but those who truly care and know you well should show support. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers behavioral health counseling and other services to help our patients get back on track. If you are struggling with mental health issues, don’t keep suffering alone. Click here to request your appointment with one of our mental health specialists. 

The Truth About Drug Addiction Overdose and Recovery

September is National Recovery Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to the importance of recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction or a mental health trauma. 

Why Addiction Recovery and Overdose Awareness is Important for Everyone

Since 1999, nearly 841,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2019 alone, over 70,500 overdose deaths occurred in the United States. That number continues to increase each year and our country hasn’t experienced a significant decrease in overdose deaths in many years.

If these numbers aren’t reason enough to care about drug addiction overdoses and recovery, perhaps understanding that drug addiction can affect any person from any walk of life will get your attention. That’s right, you and your family members are not exempt from experiencing drug or alcohol addiction no matter how good of a lifestyle you try to live. It can and does happen to all types of people.

Drug overdoses are a leading cause of injury death in the US among people ages 25 to 64. Adults aren’t the only ones at risk, however. More than 4,770 teens also died from a drug overdose in 2019. Nearly 3,320 teenage boys passed away from a drug overdose that year while just under 1,500 teen girls also died from the same cause. The overwhelming majority of these deaths were caused by opioids. 

What You Need to Know About Opioids and Overdoses

Opioids, especially synthetic opioids, are the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, accounted for nearly 73% of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2019. In total, opioids were involved in nearly 50,000 overdose deaths that same year. 

Overdoses typically occur within 1-3 hours of using the drug and despite what many falsely believe, an overdose can happen the very first time you use a substance like opioids or amphetamines. Mixing opiate drugs with other depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines greatly increases the risk of an overdose death as does combining them with a psychostimulant like methamphetamine. Using pure heroin after regularly using heroin that has been “cut” with another substance like sugar can also lead to an overdose.

The Truth About Recovery and Overdosing

Relapsing after spending time not using your drug of choice also increases your risk of overdose death. That’s why support during recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism is so important to success. Addicts are more likely to relapse if they feel they lack a support system or are still receiving criticism for their past choices from those who should be lending their support. 

Addicts are considered in remission from substance addiction five years after addiction recovery begins. If you relapse and survive, don’t let your recurrence be a reason to wallow in your addiction. Recurrence is normal for most addicts but doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of staying sober. It can take time for an addict to adjust to their new life post-addiction. The important thing to remember is not to give up hope no matter if you are an addict or a loved one of an addict.

Like with other health conditions, early intervention can lead to earlier remission from addiction. If you or someone you love has recently started a new drug addiction, there is still time to get on the path to a faster recovery. 

You should know that there is no one perfect path to recovery. Many addicts find pharmacological, social, and psychological treatments to be helpful while some are able to recover without formal help. Any of these options are acceptable as long as they truly lead to remission. 

Addiction treatment and counseling is one of several behavioral health services we offer at Mantachie Rural Health Care. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.


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