The Link Between Suicide and Substance Use Disorder

Suicirsz_istock_000001170662_largede is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States [1], but for people dealing with a substance use disorder, suicide risk is profoundly increased. In fact, those with substance use disorder face suicide as the number-one cause of death [2], making this population six times more likely to commit suicide than those without a substance use disorder [3].

Conditions that can flare or develop during a cycle of drug use are commonly depression and mood disorders, which are also the conditions that pose the highest risk for suicide. When an individual uses drugs and alcohol, emotions are intensified— positive feelings can bring a heightened euphoria while depressive feelings can bring intense despair. This mental state of dejection is what leads to the attempt or completion of self-inflicted death.

Interestingly, thoughts of suicide have also been seen to remain even after drugs have worn off. The effects of drug withdrawal may trigger suicidal thoughts due to the physical discomforts associated with withdrawal and depression caused by the depletion of “happy” neurotransmitters during an individual’s use.

Substance use can increase the risk of suicide in many different ways. There are different rates of suicide associated with specific drug use disorders, especially in regards to the use of opioids and alcohol.

  • Those with opiate use disorder are 14 times more likely to complete suicide [3].
  • Women with alcohol use disorders are 20 times more likely to complete suicide [3].
  • Men with alcohol use disorders are 4 times more likely to complete suicide [3].

Suicide prevention for someone with a substance use disorder begins with treatment. Gateway uses evidenced-based treatments to solve the underlying issues of an entire range of problems, including substance use disorder, depressive disorders, and suicidal ideation. Learn more about Gateway’s specialized co-occurring treatment programs at https://recovergateway.org/gateway/drug-rehab/Co-Occurring-Treatment/

 

[1] CDC Web Based Inquiry Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 2015.

[2] Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2008.

[3] The National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2015.

Blog Series for Parents: There’s No Place like CLOSE to Home

Beautiful latin family smiling at the camera outdoorsThere are many decisions to make as you decide on the best place to receive substance use disorder treatment for yourself or your child. When it comes to the decision of where, it’s all about you. While there are pros and cons to both in- state and out-of-state treatment, we will focus on the advantages of staying in state; close to home.

“One might ask; who wouldn’t jump at the chance to go to a warm state during the cold Chicago winter?” states Gina Howard, Program Director at Gateway Foundation. “When I speak to patients and families about the right place for treatment it’s really about the individual. There is no ‘One Size Fits All’ substance use disorder treatment. Florida may sound great if you’re in Wisconsin in January, but what you really need to consider is the quality of treatment you need.”

Having the support of family and friends during your treatment and recovery process is significant to success. Choosing a treatment facility near family and friends will keep them involved and keep you in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

“Some may find that staying in the same surroundings where they faced their substance use disorder challenges is difficult. For them, there may be too many distractions created by the familiarity of their surroundings. Others however, find that the comfort of a familiar setting, coupled with the participation of close friends and family, is a very effective support system. Those that choose out of state treatment should be reminded that when or if they return home, those home-based challenges will still need to be addressed,” states Gina Howard.

In many cases, your insurance provider can drastically reduce the out of pocket costs of treatment. However, there may be restrictions on the type of facility at which you can obtain services. There can also be restrictions on going out of state if your own state offers similar or better treatment services than what is offered elsewhere. Check with your insurance provider or treatment facility to get the best idea of what to expect with regard to cost.

When looking for treatment facilities evaluate your personal situation to determine the best facility for your needs. To learn about what Gateway offers, visit www.recovergateway.org.

Blog Series for Parents: Know the Signs

Teen ProblemsIn our last blog series post we discussed delayed adulthood and substance use disorder. This post raised a question: How do I know if my child has a substance use disorder?

There is statistical evidence that teens are getting involved in drug use as early as 6th to 8th grade (12–14 years old). “In many instances the parents become aware of the substance use long after it has begun and circumstances have grown more threatening” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway Carbondale.

Parents need to know the signs of substance use disorder and take immediate action before the problem grows worse.

 

The signs:

  • Frequently tired
  • Depressed
  • Hostile behavior
  • Withdrawn
  • Change in friends
  • Neglect with grooming or hygiene
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Change in eatin
  • g habits
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Weight changes
  • Deteriorating relationship with family and friends

Many signs may be overlooked as parents may believe them to be a normal part of growing up. “I encourage parents to discuss their concerns with a physician, school guidance counselor or substance use disorder treatment provider. These professionals can help you determine if there is reason for concern,” said Katie Stout.

Parents seeking treatment for their child can reach out to Gateway Foundation at 877.505.HOPE (4673) or visit recovergateway.org. Be sure to look for our next blog in the series on the topic of choosing treatment close to home.

Blog Series for Parents: Delayed Adulthood and Substance Use Disorder

blogIt is not uncommon in today’s world to have twenty-somethings living at home, holding off on marriage and family, and exploring many career options. This “delayed adulthood” stirs mixed attitudes among parents. Parents often struggle and feel conflicted in supporting young adults but also encouraging independence and self-sufficiency.

While some parents may be more or less focused on a particular age a child should be “on their own”, most parents agree: The end goal is to raise a self-sufficient adult. Sometimes an adult child may be experiencing some behavioral health issue which may be keeping them home and unsure of their next step.

At Gateway Foundation Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers, many parents reach out for help with a twenty-something who is living at home, unemployed or under employed. Parents worry that their child’s alcohol use or use of other substances is impacting their functioning, success, and happiness.  At this age, some young adults begin to show signs of a developing Substance Use Disorder because this time period in their life is usually filled with significant life changes, increased freedoms, and societal pressures. .

“Young adults we see in a treatment setting often desire independence, stable relationships, educational and career success, and fulfilment of goals and dreams.  When struggling with a Substance Use Disorder, it becomes difficult to see past the next day, and to take meaningful steps forward.  Time slows down, and people feel stuck or even hopeless that their dreams can become reality.” said Bennie Haywood, Program Director at Gateway Foundation.

According to “The Truth About Marijuana: International Statistics” of adults 26 or older who used marijuana before age 15:
62% went on to use cocaine at some point in their lives
9% went on to use heroin at least once
54% made some nonmedical use of mind-altering prescription drugs

“Addiction has an impact on every member of a household. I encourage parents to take an active role and educate themselves first about substance use disorder and then about the types of treatment available,” recommends Bennie Haywood.

You never stop loving and looking after your child, regardless of age.  Help in the launch to adulthood by staying informed. In our next Blog Series for Parents post, we will discuss the signs of addiction and what every parent should know.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

Am I Driving Under the Influence?

Blurred motion car drivers view traveling through tunnelDUI, Driving Under the Influence, is a defined as the act or crime of driving while affected by alcohol or drugs. “Drunk Driving” is the more commonly used term. While a DUI refers to a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, we tend to forgot that being under the influence can happen with other drugs as well; even prescription and Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.

There are many prescription drugs that when taken as prescribed, can cause you to be legally impaired.   Ingesting multiple prescribed medications at once may also present an additional hazard, as they have the possibility to interact with each other. The introduction of alcohol to a mix of drugs undoubtedly enhances a driver’s vulnerability as well behind the wheel.

Reliable data on how many drivers are impaired by prescription drugs is hard to find, but law enforcement officials agree that the problem is increasing.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), common prescription and OTC drugs that can impair drivers are:
Anxiety Medications
Some Antidepressants
Products containing codeine
Some cold remedies and allergy products
Tranquilizers
Sleeping Pills
Pain Relievers
Diet Pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)

As a consumer, be sure to carefully read all drug information. If you must take prescription and/or OTC medications and drive, consult with your physician for further direction or alternatives.

Gateway Foundation is here to help educate the community about substance use in any realm, as well as providing treatment for those who may need substance use disorder treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder of any kind, visit recoverygateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673) to learn about treatment options.

The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

A Note of Appreciation for the Hospital Worker

Portrait Of Medical Staff Standing In Lobby Of Hospital

In recognition of National Hospital Week, Gateway  expresses sincere gratitude for all hospital workers.

A stay in the hospital can be scary and let’s be honest, unpleasant to even think about. It’s the hospital workers who change this to a more pleasant experience.  The teamwork of a hospital’s clinical and support workers is essential for the healing of a patient. It could be the doctor with the great bedside manner, the social worker who took the time to listen, or the custodian that made sure your window was clean and clear so that you could see the sunshine; all of these people made an impact on your experience.

As a healthcare provider in substance use disorder treatment, Gateway recognizes the important role that hospital workers play in assisting with the detection and guidance of patients with a substance use disorder.

“The collaboration we have with hospitals is crucial in our mission of reducing substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health problems through effective and efficient treatment programs. Gateway extends its’ sincere gratitude to all hospital workers for the impact they have in the lives of those persons struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Dr. Thomas Britton, President and CEO of Gateway Foundation.

Stress on the Road to Recovery

April is Natiroadonal Stress Awareness Month. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), medical specialists believe that stress is the leading cause of relapse back into drug use. Research shows that the brain of those with substance use disorder is more hypersensitive to stress, which may provoke them to relieve their stress by returning to drugs.

 

 

For those in recovery, many stressors arise such as family/relationship conflicts, work, money and health concerns. It is important to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you to recognize stress.

  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain
  • Stomach upset
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Stress is often unavoidable. However, you can take a proactive role in acknowledging and calming the stress to avoid relapse. There are many healthy and practical ways to reduce stress and increase your chance of staying sober. Among these are: Exercise, talking it out (or write about it), breathing with purpose (yoga/meditation), and of course good old laughter.

Most important is to recognize when you are experiencing stress and find your most healthy way to cope with it.

What Is the Difference Between Alcoholics Anonymous and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program?

In Honor of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, Gateway highlights the differences between 12-Step Meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous or 12-Step?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step group for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. Led by peers, this group allows participants to follow a set of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol.

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. AA works through members telling their stories of recovery from alcohol use disorder. AA is nonprofessional – it doesn’t have clinics, doctors, counselors or psychologists. All members are themselves recovering from alcoholism. There is no central authority controlling how AA groups operate. It is up to the members of each group to decide what they do. However, the AA program of recovery has proven to be very successful and almost every group follows it in very similar ways.

How is an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program Different from AA?

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment believes 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other kinds of recovery support groups play a valuable role in substance abuse treatment, but they only comprise part of the picture.

Gateway believes that a substance use disorder treatment program should include the use of evidence-based practices – drug and alcohol disorder treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual.  The clinical professionals at Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers employ evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, individualized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. The greatest benefit can be derived from experiencing 12-step programs in conjunction with evidenced-based treatment.

Gateway engages both adults and teens through a variety of highly effective clinical approaches and therapies to help them get life back on track. On average, Gateway’s drug rehab programs have a 10% higher successful treatment completion rate when compared to other Treatment Providers.

12-Step as Part of Gateway’s Integrated Treatment Programs

“It’s a Personal Choice – Some individuals come to Gateway convinced that a 12-step program is the only thing that will work for them, while others have equally strong reservations about them. We make it a priority to accommodate the needs of clients who are of either mindset and implement the 12-steps accordingly,” said Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, MS Clinical Psychology, Program Manager at Gateway Chicago.

Gradual Exposure- Our experienced staff utilizes a targeted approach that provides clients with an in-depth understanding of 12-step principles. Our curriculum is designed to break down barriers to participation and “kick start” the process of attending meetings and finding a sponsor.

12-step meetings can not only be challenging for some, they also vary from group to group and meeting to meeting. In order to give clients a good idea of what to expect out of support groups like these after leaving treatment, Gateway provides exposure to 12-steps in multiple settings. To offer our full support, we accompany individuals in our treatment programs to both on-site and off-site 12-step meetings.

For those who prefer not to use 12-step techniques, many Gateway treatment locations offer on-site SMART recovery groups and linkage to other peer support options such as Dual Recovery Anonymous.

To learn more about Gateway’s alcohol and drug treatment programs, visit RecoverGateway.org

The Role of Nutrition in Recovery

Substance Use Dnutrients and substance abuse recoveryisorder (SUD) and poor nutrition often go hand-in-hand. Nutrient imbalances can intensify the cravings for alcohol and drugs. Poor nutrition can also have an effect on co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. According to an article in Today’s Dietitian SUD is known to lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that threaten physical and mental health, damage vital organs and the nervous system, and decrease immunity.

“A well balanced diet rich in nutrients is needed for cognitive repair, processing and critical thinking; which are all compounding factors to a healthful and lasting recovery,” said Jayne Chatzidakis, Gateway’s dietitian consultant with Cynthia Chow & Associates.

The recovery process at Gateway Foundation includes encouragement for proper nutrition through collaboration with the dietitians from Cynthia Chow & Associates. The dietitians provide the highest standard of dietary consultation for the specialized needs of Gateway clients.

Proper nutrition aids in ridding the body of toxins and restores the nutrients that have been lost as a result of substance use. What does proper nutrition look like? “Eat more nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish,” encourages Jayne Chatzidakis. “Stay away from overly prep
ared, frozen, processed, or prepackaged foods. Also, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is vital to hydrate the body and assist in the detoxification process.”

“Overall, it’s about achieving a healthy lifestyle that is drug free, nutritious and active,” said Jayne Chatzidakis.

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