Tag Archives: depression

How to Recognize the Warning Signs of Prescription Pill Abuse


Today we welcome back guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket!

Contrary to popular belief, drug abuse is not limited to the use of illicit substances. Majority of the time, it is a consequence of developing an addiction to prescription medication or painkillers – which initially, already possess highly addictive properties. The main scenario that sets the stage for addiction is when a doctor prescribes a medication to treat a patient’s ailment- such as a physical injury, chronic pain, inflammation, and even mental illness. While a patient intends only to use the prescribed medication to diminish their pain or discomfort, they can unexpectedly become dependent on the effects of the drug long after their original ailment heals. Therefore, this allows them to abuse the remaining medication and even gain access to more.

According to the studies of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was estimated in 2014 that 26 million people globally abused prescription drugs, while the United States statistic is just over 2 million people. In 2017, both numbers continue to increase by the thousands.

To prevent this opioid epidemic from rising, we can take action by looking for the warning signs of prescription pill abuse in the loved ones in our lives.

These are the warning signs of prescription pill abuse:

  1. Fatigue

Fatigue causes one to experience severe bouts of exhaustion, lack of sleep, severe nausea, and general bodily discomfort. A person always seems to be restless or even suffers from intense migraines and muscle and joint paint. Overall, the constant abuse of drugs damages an individual’s immune system. Without its adequate protection, a person is prone to suffering sickness, diseases, and infections at a much higher and faster rate.

  1. Drastic changes in behavior or mood

Mood swings or uncharacteristic behaviors are triggered by a drug’s effect on altering brain chemistry and disrupting neurotransmitters. An individual can be completely ecstatic and cheerful one moment, and not even a minute later is suddenly lashing out violently in anger and rage. Effectively communicating with them becomes increasingly difficult and their unpredictable behavior is discerning to be around.

  1. Physical changes

Look for drastic weight changes, bloodshot eyes, and abnormal pupil sizes. Furthermore, you will notice sudden patches, bruises, or infections appearing on the skin without proper reason. Additionally, grooming habits and hygiene are obviously neglected. The person no longer cares about their physical appearance at this point.

  1. Isolation and Disinteress

Does your loved one seem to purposely avoid social interactions or neglect relationships? When in isolation, an individual addicted to drugs will separate themselves from the outside world in order to focus on the most important thing to them: getting their fix on more painkillers. In conjunction with socialization, an individual addicted to drugs will also abandon their hobbies and past interests as well. Eventually, everything and everyone in their life becomes worthless in exchange for the high they reach on drugs.

  1. Depression and Anxiety – and general mental illness, for that matter

Depression and anxiety can appear without warning or family history and even worsen a preexisting mental illness. While depression and anxiety are common side effects of certain drugs, the medications that have this pre-existing warning can encourage suicidal idealization and episodes of anxiety. Also, while drugs do not directly cause a mental illness, such as schizophrenia or mania to occur, they have the ability to increase an individual’s likelihood to develop them.

  1. Impairment of cognitive functioning

You will notice a lack of normal cognitive functioning in someone when their speech begins to slur, they lose concentration easily, and their memory seems to deteriorate. It becomes a challenge to hold a conversation or rely on them to perform a basic action. Along with that, a person may shift in and out of reality and become disassociated from the world and people around them.

  1. Suicidal or homicidal tendencies

In extreme case scenarios, a drug addiction to prescription pills can cause someone to be suicidal or homicidal, or a combination of the two. According to a study in 2015 from the University of Eastern Finland, researchers found a frightening connection between the abuse of prescription drugs and homicide. When under the influence of copious amounts of sedatives, an individual is 45% more likely to commit a homicide or similarly violent crime. The most concerning fact was that abusing over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, showed a staggering 206% increase in homicidal rates.

If you know anyone who is on the verge of suffering a drug addiction, know that that there is always hope for them. Numerous organizations and rehabilitation programs are located in each state and will assist your loved one on the road to recovery and sobriety. Despite the staggeringly high statistics of individuals who abuse drugs both nationally and globally, each person has the ability to overcome their addiction and take their lives back. We can help them take the first step in that journey.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.  Trevor can be reached at: trevorc.mcdonald@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving

The Negative Effects Of Stress


We welcome guest writer Sarah Jones to The Purple Jacket. 

Have you ever been faced with a life situation whereby your body system requires you to fight or take flight? That’s what scientists call stress. It can be brief like being stuck in a traffic jam to getting to that interview room or arguing with someone. It can also be long term like losing a loved one, a job, getting a divorce, or psychological trauma. All this make the nervous system respond both as a means of protecting you and enabling you to remain focused and alert. But most importantly, your body bursts with energy.

Stress can be beneficial when it spurs you to act in the face of challenges. On the other hand, when stress continues over an extended period of time and becomes persistent it results in acute stress which has chronic harmful health effects to the body. Below is a detailed look at these negative effects of stress.

Diseases and Infections

Your body, through the immune system, releases chemicals known as cytokines. Chemicals that send messages to cells that counteract infections and enable cells to multiply when the need arises. During acute stressful periods, your body releases hormones which hinder the production of these chemicals.

Consequently, the body’s immune system is restrained from efficiently coordinating the combat of infections and diseases. Therefore the capacity of your body to effectively fight infections and diseases is impeded. As a result, you end up being prone to infections and other autoimmune diseases.

Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes stress can overcome you without you even noticing. It, therefore, becomes a part of your daily life until it gets normal and almost feels familiar. This is the situation when you cease realizing how it’s affecting your normal being yet has an adverse impact on your mental and psychological well being.

Anxiety creates trepidation and chronic stress results to depression. In this situation, you become moody and irritable, easily angered by petty things, and therefore you become unhappy. This may lead to you isolating yourself and feelings of loneliness creeping in.

To reduce stress and stay calm thus remain healthy you can employ the use of therapeutic essential oils. Invest in a good oil diffuser to be able to relax at home after a long day at work.

Low Libido

If you are experiencing a low sex drive, it might be as a result of stress. Erectile dysfunction accompanied with premature ejaculation when having sex is common, especially among men. Hence it will affect bonding and relationships, especially among married couples. The decreased sexual desire may lead to frustrations in either or both of the partners leading to separation and in worst cases even divorce. Bedroom romance is a key pillar of marriage. Therefore before you escalate to negative stress you would want to reconsider your sexual desires status.

Heart Diseases

When you are stressed the body releases stress hormones which increase your heartbeat and create a “racing heart” feeling. This is accompanied by chest pains and an increase in your blood pressure and fat levels.

All these symptoms can lead to a heart attack or failure. The fats accumulated in the body lines on the walls of the blood vessel hindering blood from flowing to the heart. Physical exercises with reduced stress levels can reduce this risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.

The Bottom Line

Do you sometimes try to develop the relationship between your health and stress-related behaviors? Of course, the two relate to a great length. Some stress-relieving mechanisms such as smoking, alcoholism, use of drugs, eating more or less pose a general health risk to your body. So next time you press the stress button, think of the healthier side of life you are touching!

Bio: Sarah Jones is the editor of relaxeveryday. Finding aromatherapy in a stressful point in her life made all the difference to her health. She promotes a healthy and relaxed life, and want to help others in their strive for a calmer life. Sarah can be reached at sarah@thrivingnichemedia.com

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Blogger, Stress

Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving


Today we welcome guest blogger Samantha Stein to The Purple Jacket.

Stop Saying I Should Get Over It: Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving

Inevitably, our bodies will fail us. It may happen naturally through aging, or it may be because of an illness that overtook our bodies. However before the time comes, have you stopped to consider who is going to provide the caregiving that you need? And what are we going to put them through when they become our caregivers?

Who Are Today’s Caregivers?

For so long, the image of a family caregiver in the United States, and perhaps across the globe, is a 49-year old woman, juggling employment and her family’s needs. She is often perceived as caring for her 60-year old mother who does not live with her. For the older generations, this remains true as the demographic average of a family caregiver.

For the younger generations, however, the average caregiver is shifting to something different. In a joint study done by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, they discovered that the millennials (age 18 to 34) have a unique take on caregiving.

Unlike their predecessors, millennial caregivers are typically 27 years old and equally likely to be male or female. The study further shares how these individuals are most often caring for their mother or grandmother. They also noted how millennials are more likely to report emotional or mental health conditions that their loved ones may be experiencing.

It is no secret that family caregivers often sacrifice their own emotional and physical needs for the well-being of their care recipients. As explained Family Caregivers: The Everyday Superheroes, caregivers go through so many life changes and expose themselves to so many different types of stress to provide the care that their loved ones need. But no matter how strong a person is perceived to be, constant feelings of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, isolation, loneliness, and all other negative emotions associated with caregiving will eventually take its toll.

 Because of a plethora of factors, family caregivers are very much susceptible to depression, loneliness, and isolation. And no should take any of these lightly.

Loneliness and Isolation

Depending on the extent of care required by their recipients, some caregivers provide care on a 24-hour basis. With this in mind, many caregivers undergo drastic changes in their lives. Their lives are dominated by the responsibility of providing care for their ill loved ones. This leaves little to no room for the much-needed me time. They are often boxed into the situation.

Often, loneliness and isolation are brought about by the withdrawal of past habits and lifestyle. Imagine watching your friends go about their lives, enjoying activities you used to do together, while you are left alone to fulfill your caregiving duties. It creates a wall between caregivers and their social circles. It may put them in a situation that lacks social interaction and stimulation from other people other than their care recipients.

Depression in Caregiving

Depression may also come into the picture. A conservative estimate states that 20% of family caregivers — twice the rate of the general population — suffer from depression. 60% of California’s Caregiver Resources Centers’ clients showed signs and symptoms. However, not many people recognize these signs or are too ashamed to admit it.

Despite all the awareness campaigns involving depression, many caregivers still see it as a sign of weakness and are too embarrassed to voice it out. Somehow, they feel guilty for being ill and taking the care and attention away from their loved ones. To make matters worse, a handful of individuals say “get over it” or “it’s all in your head” as if it is not a condition that needs to be addressed.

Depression is a complex condition, and you cannot simply “snap out of it.”

Signs to Watch Out For and What to Do about Them

Family, friends, and even the caregivers themselves must be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms and then address them quickly.

Depression is different for each person who experiences it. The signs vary, and what many might perceive as nothing may be symptoms in actuality. To help matters, however, here are a few symptoms that might be able to pinpoint cases of depression:

  • Changes in eating habits (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Changes in sleeping behavior
  • Feeling numb
  • Trouble focusing
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Frequent mood swings

So what can we do it to address the issue or ease the risk?

  • Respite Care – These services help caregivers have time to themselves while still ensuring that their loved ones receive the necessary care that they need. It provides the relief that many caregivers do not get often.
  • Let Your Friends and Family Help You – If respite care is too costly, then share the responsibility among family members.
  • Find Support – Online communities are great venues to find people going through the same challenges and issues. Individuals in these groups help each other in facing their problems because they know exactly what it is like to go through these situations. It provides a sense of comradeship that is beneficial to the caregiver’s health.
  • Get Treatment – Depression is an illness, and it needs to be seen as such. Similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, depression needs to be brought to the attention of a professional. Bear in mind that this should not be something to be ashamed of.

Thank You Samantha for a very informative blog post on a difficult topic! chris@thepurplejacket.com

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Caregiving, Guest Bloggers