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Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Statistics paint a bleak picture when it comes to suicide and addiction. A Psychology Today article cites drug and alcohol abuse as the second most common risk factor for suicide. One in three people who take their own life are under the influence of drugs. Poisoning composes the third-leading method of suicide and three-fourths of those deaths by poisoning use drugs. The article points to drug or alcohol abuse as the leading indicator of suicide risk over depression or mental illness. For true suicide prevention, we must support opioid and addiction recovery.

Links between suicide attempts and addiction include depression resulting from an inability to fight an addiction, the loss of relationships due to addiction and the use of drugs and alcohol to mask mental illness. Persons who abuse drugs may also have lowered inhibitions and show a readiness to take more risks. 

Addiction Recovery Key to Suicide Prevention

Treatment for opioid addiction addresses not only the known addiction but also the mental illnesses and mental trauma triggering the addiction or depression caused by the addiction. Opioid and addiction recovery are key to suicide prevention, but it’s important for addicts and family members to expect a holistic approach to drug treatment. Managing both underlying mental illnesses and addiction improves an addicts chances at recovery and reduces the risk for suicide. 

When an addict seeks treatment, family, friends and their medical team should ask the hard questions “have you considered or attempted suicide or are you considering suicide?”. Asking the hard question does not give your loved one ideas about suicide, but rather opens a conversation about an otherwise stigmatized subject. 

Signs to Know

Not every person considering suicide shows signs of depression. Often family and friends piece together signs of a loved one’s suicide plan after the fact. Because of the increased risk of suicide related to drug addiction, it’s imperative for the addict to seek treatment and for friends and family to ask the hard questions. 

Signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Displaying increased anger or rage
  • Talking about not wanting to be a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping less or more
  • Isolating themselves

If someone you know is talking about suicide, whether they have an addition or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Remove objects that could be used for suicide
  • Stay with the person or leave them in the care of someone else while you get help.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 9-1-1 if self-harm is imminent.

Parents, spouses, children and friends of addicts worry about overdoses and violence involving their loved one. Suicide adds another line to the worry. Treatment isn’t just about the addiction but about healing behavioral and mental health issues contributing to or caused by the addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid or addiction recovery and suicide prevention, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's is Being Studied with Promising Results

Experts have long believed that earlier treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the key to slowing or stopping the disease. Now, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s is being studied. It demonstrates promising results that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. 

A study presented virtually at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 and in the JAMA medical journal revealed promising results for those fighting to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new blood test–which still likely won’t be available for several years–detects different types of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How the New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Works

The new test works by focusing on the specific subtypes of tau protein. This key protein becomes abnormal as Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain. Initial results found Alzheimer’s patients exhibit more of a particular subtype, a modified tau protein called p-tau217, than healthy patients who participated in the study. 

Studies of the blood test have shown its results to be as accurate as a spinal tap or PET scan. The blood test can also distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia with 89% to 98% accuracy. What’s more, the test could differentiate between the different types of cognitive dementia and flag early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Experts say earlier detection of dementia could lead to testing current treatments for these diseases at a much earlier stage. Earlier treatment could result in slowing or completely stopping the progression of dementia. 

Just how early can this new blood test detect Alzheimer’s? Possibly up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur by measuring p-tau217 levels. 

As you can read, exciting moves are being made in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s and dementia. Though we may still be several years away from seeing these new tests become available for patients, we’re confident the treatments for these terrible diseases are going to improve greatly and change the lives of patients and their families. Learn more about the new blood test study here.

How Pets Improve Mental Health

How Pets Improve Mental Health

We all know someone or may even be that someone who seems to constantly be rescuing and nursing a stray pet back to health and happiness. Pet lovers and rescuers never seem to get enough of loving on their furry friends. As it happens, studies have shown there’s an actual reason we find pets so appealing–pets improve mental health and literally bring more joy to our lives. Here’s how.

Pets decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pets of all sorts ease stress and cure loneliness. Simply watching fish dance around an aquarium or stroking a furry pet can instantly ease tension and anxiety. Your pet’s companionship itself helps you feel less lonely and they can also help you meet new people. Dog parks are great places to meet people that share at least one common interest (pups!) and pet lover groups of all different types of pets exist on social media and often meet together in person. If rescuing strays gives you an even bigger thrill, joining one of the many rescue groups in our regions is another great way to meet new friends. 

Pets that can be walked like dogs and even cats (we’ve seen it happen!) provide another avenue for easing depression and stress–daily walks! Just make sure you research the type of dog breed you are interested in before adopting. Most dog breeds enjoy a good walk every day but working breeds need much more exercise than a walk down the road. You’ll also want to consider your household when adopting a dog. You want a dog that is friendly with everyone in the family including children and other pets. The last thing you want is to return a pet because they didn’t get along with everyone else. 

Pets add routine and structure to your day.

Believe it or not, having some sort of routine or structure to your day helps keep depression and anxiety in check. But if you’re retired, disabled, or don’t work outside the home it’s especially easy to lose daily structure. Having a pet to care for returns structure to your day and cures boredom. 

Pets build self-confidence.

Few things make us feel better about ourselves than the joyful greeting our pets give us when we come home for the day. Training pets and volunteering with shelters or rescues are other ways we can increase our self-confidence.

Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Getting a pet is a great way to start feeling better. A proper diagnosis and treatment is another way. Mantachie Rural Healthcare provides both primary care and behavioral healthcare for your convenience. Click here to request your appointment now.


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