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Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Recovery

suicide and addiction

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 lives 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.

Links between attempted suicide 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. 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 discussing suicide, whether they have an addiction or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgment.
  • 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 and addiction 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 addiction, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.


What to Expect With Opioid Withdrawal and Detox

Opioid withdrawals

The Opioid epidemic has captured headlines in major newspapers, magazines, and television networks for the last two years. Opioids refer to a class of drugs used primarily to treat pain. (Learn more about how how the epidemic began and how far it reaches.) These drugs include oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and morphine along with the illegal drug heroin.

Eighty-percent of opioid addicts began with a legal prescription of pain medication from their doctor. Most addicts never set out to become an addict. In fact, many addicts do not recognize their addiction until they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using opioids or they take their medication later than usual.

For short acting opioids like heroin, opioid withdrawal symptoms may start within six to twelve hours of the last dose of the drug. Longer acting opioids may delay withdrawal symptoms for up to thirty hours after the last dose. For most users, withdrawal starts within the first twenty-four hours of the last dose and peaks at three to five days after the last dose of the drug.

Late withdrawal symptoms generally taper off in severity after five to seven days, but some symptoms will linger for several months.

Early Opioid Withdrawal (1-2 days)

  • Tearing up
  • Muscle aches
  • Agitation
  • Trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Nose running
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fever
  • restlessness
  • Low energy
  • Drug cravings

Late Opioid Withdrawal (3-5 days)

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure

The first three to five days of withdrawal symptoms present the most uncomfortable, and often painful, side effects. Individuals face the highest risk of relapse during these days. Medical detox programs offer medical interventions to reduce the side effects of withdrawal by helping a patient taper off of medications and treating severe symptoms such as dehydration. Drug users who undergo detox with the help of these programs leave the withdrawal phase with the stepping stones necessary for a longer, more stable recovery.

Individuals who attempt to detox “cold turkey” on their own increase the risks of more severe withdrawal symptoms such as dehydration, seizures and hallucinations. Detox without medical care also ignores underlying psychological causes behind the addiction.

Overdose is a concern for any opiate user, but the risk of overdose increases for individuals who relapse because their bodies have a reduced tolerance for the drugs.

At Mantachie Rural Health Care, we’re dedicated to helping opioid users in North Mississippi recognize their addiction and give them the courage to seek help. If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid addiction or withdrawal from opioid medications, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359. Our licensed counsellors can assist you in choosing a detox program that will offer you a more stable road to recovery.

Everything You Need To Know About The Opioid Crisis In Northeast MS

opioid crisisDid you know Lee County is the #4 county in the state for opioid deaths?

“(Opioid use and abuse) is very prevalent in the population we serve. I don’t know if there has been an increase in people abusing opioids, but they are more willing to talk about it now and ask for help,” Marjorie McKinney, CEO of Mantachie Rural Health Care, told the Tupelo Daily Journal in an interview.

Mantachie Rural Health Care is one of the four Northeast Mississippi health centers receiving federal funds to help fight the national opioid crisis. A portion of the $175,700 grant MRHC has been awarded will be used to enhance the current, on-site, outpatient care for those with substance abuse problems.

What is the Opioid Crisis?

The opioid crisis refers to the rapid increase of prescription and nonprescription opioid drug use in the United States. Opioids are a diverse class of moderately strong painkillers including oxycodone (commonly sold under the name OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and fentanyl. Fentanyl is synthesized to resemble other opiates such as opium derived morphine and heroin.

The crisis began in the 1990’s when pharmaceutical companies and the federal government assured medical care professionals opioids were an effective way to manage chronic pain.  This assurance led to an increase in opioid prescriptions. Between 1991 and 2001 painkiller prescriptions in the U.S. tripled from 76 million to 216 million a year. Despite the increased use of painkillers, the amount of chronic pain reported in the United States did not change.

Opioids are highly addictive, and due to the increase in prescriptions, the number of people now chemically dependent on opioids has also increased. When people use opioids beyond what a medical care professional has prescribed (either to mitigate pain or to experience a euphoric feeling), it’s the beginning of an opioid addiction. Eventually people develop a tolerance and need more opioid drugs to please their addiction. Finally when people rely on the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms, they are completely chemically dependent. Prescription opioids are considered a gateway drug to heroin since many switch to heroin as a cheaper alternative.

Hundreds of thousands of deaths have occurred because of opioid abuse.

As the number of opioid prescriptions has increased, so has the number of overdose deaths particularly from prescription drugs and heroin. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.”

  • From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses.
  • A total of 33,091 Americans died from opioid overdose in 2015 alone.
  • By 2015, annual overdose deaths from heroin alone surpassed deaths from both car accidents and guns with that number steadily on the rise.
  • Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved prescription opioids.
  • 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

In the U.S, addiction and overdose victims are primarily white, working class people. People  living in rural areas have been hit the hardest.  But as U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price said, “No corner of our country, from rural areas to urban centers, has escaped the scourge of the opioid crisis.”

Mantachie Rural Health Care is fighting back.

Mantachie Rural Health Care will have on staff a community educator to work with schools, churches and civic organizations to spread information about the problem and what services are available. If you would like to schedule a talk about opioid abuse at your local church, school or event center,  please contact us at 662-282-4335.

The federal funds will also improve technology at the clinic, increasing telehealth services with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. These new services will digitize patient questionnaires and improve computer security around patient records. It will also give patients the opportunity to access additional individual counseling sessions and information.

If you or a loved one is ready to take that first step and talk to a medical care professional about opioid abuse, please contact our Behavioral Health Clinic at 662-282-4335. You don’t have to face this alone.



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