Tag Archives: Isolation

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

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We’ve Only Just Begun: White Flowers and Green Shoes


Fond memory brings the light of other days around me. Thomas Moore

For some reason, I have been thinking  of Karen Carpenter’s popular song, “We’ve Only Just Begun”…

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
(We’ve only begun)

While “white lace and promises” are great…I wonder what the song would sound like if I changedwp-1489778736321.jpg those lyrics to White Flowers and Green Shoes? (probably not!) Well, I don’t think song writer Michael Williams has anything to worry about in regards to me, or anyone else for for that matter,  changing the lyrics to one of the most iconic songs of our time.  As many times as I have heard this song over the years, it wasn’t until recently that the song presented a different meaning to me after a white flower appeared in my life.

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So many roads to choose. I have debated long and hard about sharing this story with my readers on “The Purple Jacket” but have come to the conclusion that since our life has been an open book, this experience would be important to share with everyone who has followed our story.

A few months ago one of my longest and best friends said to me; “you have so many wonderful things happening in your life right now, have you ever considered going for a psychic reading?”   My theological background was skeptical, but I was open to the experience.

The experience was more than I could have ever imagined. From my past and present life, to future romance, to business success, every topic was touched without me really saying a word. It was amazing what someone knew about me, who did not know me at all!

Then we moved onto the topic of Richard…

“Richard wants you to know that he has made it to the other side.”

“He’s checking in on you, but spending lots of time in Paris visiting friends” (Richard loved Paris and he and Herman traveled to Paris six times)

“You’ll see a flower, a white flower, I’m not sure what kind of flower, but I know that the flower will be white.  I don’t know when the flower will appear, when you see the flower, that will be Richard telling you that he is okay, that he is with you, encouraging you, wanting to live your life to the fullest and that he will always be with you.”

an-american-in-paris-limited-edition-official-opening-night-playbill-3Two nights later, I attended the spectacular musical “An American In Paris” at The Fox Theater in St. Louis.  Thirty minutes into the performance,  one of the actors walked out on stage with… a white flower!     Yes, my jaw dropped!

There is really no explanation for this phenomenon.  Chance event?  Richard and his love for Paris?  The white flower appearing in a stage play about Paris?  The psychic didn’t know I was going to see that play two days after seeing her.

I’ve shared this story with a couple of trusted friends and now I am sharing it with you. Whether you are an ardent advocate for psychic readings, you do it for fun,  have never done it before, or abhor the thought of psychic readings, seeing the white flower in “An American In Paris” has changed me forever.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

Sharing horizons that are new to us:  When we are open to new possibilities, our life is full of new horizons.  No matter what side of the aisle you are on in this conversation, the mere fact that a total stranger said to me, “He wants you to know that he’s made it to the other side” opened up new horizons for me.  This experience helped me get to the other side of my grief. This does not mean I miss him any less, this simply means that I am at peace.  My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me he is forever pain free; my heart tells me he is standing right beside me.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Songwriters
NICHOLS, WILLIAMS

And yes, we’ve just begun:   It’s never too late to start over; it’s never too late to live your dream; it’s never too late to find peace and happiness.   It’s never too late to find your white flower in the midst of a thing called life after caregiving ends.  Now, for me:  when the evening comes, we smile. 

Here are some simple reminders to help support you during your caregiving journey: 

  • Try not to isolate yourself from others
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness
  • Set a daily intention for yourself
  • It’s Okay to admit that caregiving can be difficult
  • Remember to take care of yourself, too!
  • Share your horizons

I used to wish for visiting hours in heaven and then my good friend Sam said to me: “There wp-1489779515429.jpgare! Every time you have a memory of Richard. Every time you cry. Every time you laugh, Richard is right there with you.” Something tells me that Richard is up there, holding a white flower too

Oh and those green shoes you were wondering about? Those green shoes are Richard’s size 7 that he wore once a year on St. Patrick’s day for over 30 years.  White flowers and green shoes…find your keepsake memory.

Read more: The Carpenters – We’ve Only Just Begun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

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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.

 

 

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