The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.
Opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record. At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
Pentagon getting serious about Apparent over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs
Combat veterans are especially at risk… click here for more…
“During about 300 missions, Andrew had a steady diet of death and destruction.
A combat engineer, Andrew cleared mines and improvised explosive devices from roads before they blew up his fellow Marines, soldiers, and civilians. After nine months, White was sent home and eventually received a medical discharge for PTSD.
“It changed him,” Stan White said of combat. “He became a recluse. In the last four months of his life, he ate two meals with the family. He would take his food to his room.”
On Feb. 12, 2008, when Andrew had failed to meet her for a planned lunch at a restaurant, Shirley White went home. She found him dead in his bed. He was 23.”
The above quote from the referenced website article is becoming an all too common tragedy by combat veterans who suffer from the symptoms of PTSD. Since the illness is invisible and soldiers will not even talk about their pain, they become a suicide risk without loved ones getting any warning. The diet of prescription drugs and use of alcohol as well can cause a person to lose hope and no longer have a desire to live. I know from my own experience that the side effects of medications can cause psychotic episodes that put you and others at risk. I remain hopeful that the continued monitoring and research of anti psychotic drugs, especially mixing with other prescription medications, including alcohol will help mitigate a troubling trend.
Pain killers came into my life after decades of using alcohol for self-medication. Physical health challenges hit me like a baseball bat once entering mid-life, especially in my 50’s. My doctor was very stern with me about the risk of mixing prescription medications or opioids with alcohol. I drank too much back then anyway, but my ego and self-talk rationalized a determination to start on pain killers and continue my self-medication ways of the past. After just 12-18 months on this new regimen of pain, sleep, and anxiety medications along with alcohol, I was a total basket case to say the least.
At age 55 with strong support from my family, doctors, and own hyper-vigilance, I stopped drinking, period! But what I didn’t do is curtail or manage effectively the use of prescription drugs. I became addicted and kept taking prescription drugs as long as recovery from multiple surgeries to replace joints and fix a severe arthritic condition with chronic pain. It took me until my mid 60’s to finally get off of pain medications and other opioids, only to discover then the many alternatives of non-narcotic medications and mindfulness exercises. Now at almost age 70, my life is completely free of narcotic based medications for pain, sleep, and anxiety challenges.
And what a gift in life it has been not to take anything related to narcotics or alcohol! I feel very lucky to still have a relatively healthy body and mind for the coming golden years of new opportunities and adventures in life. I’m thankful for my wife and soul-mate who has been so supportive and loving for all of our 32 years of marriage. I treasure the many years of happiness together. But without a close friendship and dedication to working together confronting our life challenges, there would not be a future of hope and joy in these later years.
My passion to give back and help others who suffer from post-trauma stress has been strengthened by my own life experience. I know we can save lives through building awareness and in advancing the conversation of post-traumatic growth that literally saves the lives of so many children and families in life after trauma.
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff…from Amazon.com.