Support Is Key to Helping Someone You Care About Get Treatment for Addiction

Unlike other diseases, addiction is a problem that impacts not only the person directly involved but also their friends and family members. When someone you care about has a problem with substance abuse, the effects spill over into your own life. Yet even when you recognize the signs that your loved one needs treatment, you may still feel confused about how you can help.

Recognizing the Signs

The Mayo Clinic lists some common signs that indicate your loved one has a problem using drugs or alcohol:

  • Problems at school or work, such as missing days or poor performance
  • Physical health changes, such as weight changes or lack of energy
  • Neglecting their appearance
  • Drastic changes in behavior, especially in relationships with family members or friends
  • Money problems, especially sudden requests for money

Overcoming Barriers

Even when you recognize these signs, you may face some barriers to helping your loved one get treatment. To begin with, the person may not be ready to come to terms with what’s going on. They may be in denial about the problem, fearing the changes and uncertainty of seeking treatment. Some people who recognize they have a problem may worry about the stigma and what others would think of them if they were labeled as an “addict.” Despite these barriers, as someone who cares about this person, you are one of the greatest resources they have for recovery. Showing that you will be there for them long term is instrumental in helping them overcome these barriers.

Knowing How to Help

Addiction is a complicated disease, and there isn’t a single solution that works for everyone, but the way you approach your loved one will make a difference in how they react. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) recommends learning all you can about addiction. The more informed you are, the better you will understand what they are experiencing. Don’t wait for the person to hit rock bottom before having a conversation about treatment, though. They could be in danger of overdose and other negative effects on their lives before reaching that low point.

When you talk to them about getting treatment, make sure the person is sober, and express your concerns with love and support. Avoid lecturing because they are more likely to push back if they sense judgement. Regardless of how they respond initially, don’t expect your loved one to quit on their own. Stay in contact and continue to show your support so that they will hopefully come around to getting the professional treatment they need.

Understanding Types of Treatment

Every situation is unique, and that means that the treatment program that is right for one person may not suit someone else. Some people choose outpatient treatment, which usually involves visiting a facility during the day but then returning home at night. The other option, or what most people mean when they refer to rehab, is inpatient treatment, which involves staying at a facility 24 hours for round-the-clock care.

Once you choose outpatient or inpatient rehab, there are also different treatment approaches to consider. Some, such as 12-step programs, are faith-based and are built on Christian principles. For someone who isn’t religious or has a different faith, there are alternative programs. Some of these follow a model similar to 12-step programs, while others are more holistic, integrating other aspects of mental health into treatment.

Some people with substance abuse disorders will have a dual diagnosis of addiction along with another mental health condition, such as depression. In this case, the person will need treatment that addresses both conditions. You can help your loved one by searching for a program that suits their beliefs and other factors in their life.

You can’t force anyone to get treatment, but you can provide the strong support system they need. Keep in mind that recovery, like addiction, is a long-term process, not a one-time fix. If you can stick with them and be the solid rock in their life, they will have a greater chance of getting help and staying sober.

Photo credit: Pexels

Why I Am Still Grateful

From the New York Times – see full story.

Gratitude may be the mother of all the other virtues, as Cicero said, and it may be among the healthiest. But it’s also an elusive one in a society that is always striving for more and in a world “more full of weeping than you can understand,” as Yeats wrote.

Our tendency is to reach past what we have attained, to have expectations that lie just beyond our grasp and to ascribe our success to ourselves rather than others. It is also easy to confuse gratitude with self-satisfaction.

We all feel, from time to time, that things are never as good as they ought to be or as we want them to be. When one goal is attained, isn’t there always another one that needs to be seized? And isn’t dissatisfaction with the way things are the impetus to make things better?

Often it is. Yet life without the leavening effects of gratitude has a hardening effect. Ingratitude leaves us in a state of perpetual discontent, short-tempered, rarely at peace, rarely at rest. Stripped of gratitude, we find ourselves frustrated and fearful, impatient and on edge. Ingratitude also blinds us to the good in our midst — beauty, the wonders of nature, the gift of friendship, the blessings of family.

Read more…

Be Vocal Speak Up

Be Vocal is a partnership between Demi Lovato, who is living with bipolar disorder, five leading mental health advocacy organizations and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Visit the amazing website here, and listen to Demi Lovato’s story.

Depression and anxiety: Have we got it wrong?

Full story at Al Jazeera

For 13 years, British author Johann Hari says he took the maximum possible dose of antidepressants. In Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Cause of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, Hari draws from his personal experience to challenge how depression and anxiety are understood in society, particularly in the West.

“There are plenty of people who were, like me, taking chemical antidepressants and they didn’t help,” says Hari. “This isn’t an argument for or against chemical antidepressants, it’s an argument for expanding what we think of as an antidepressant.”

Spending more time in nature, enjoying work and building lasting relationships are some of the cultural and societal solutions Hari says need to be considered as part of treatment for depression and anxiety.

“Nobody denies that there are social and psychological causes of depression and anxiety,” says Hari, “but that has not informed most of how we respond to these problems.”

“I think part of the cruellest thing we’ve done is, we’ve put the onus for solving this problem onto depressed and anxious people,” says Hari.

Read more…

Dwayne Johnson has opened up about his experience with depression

Full story at Mashable.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has opened up about the times during his life he’s battled with depression.

The actor spoke about his mother’s suicide attempt when he was 15, which he witnessed, in a recent interview with the Express.

He went on to describe another difficult period he went through after injuries prevented him from becoming a professional footballer and his girlfriend broke up with him — something he referred to as his “absolute worst time”.

Johnson finished by stressing the importance of helping people who are experiencing depression.

“We both healed but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain,” he said. “We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.”

Read more here.

Quebecer among winners of mental health awards

Originally From and full story at The Montreal Gazette

Josée Parent, who created the Mon Shack … Mes Choix … Mon Avenir! An organization in Sherbrooke in 2013 for young people living with mental illness.

She is one of seven winners of the 2018 Champions of Mental Health Awards announced by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Mon Shack, the first organization of its kind in the Eastern Townships, provides bilingual services for people age 18 to 36 living with mental health issues; it is set to open a community housing project this summer to provide 18 transitional housing units. Groundbreaking for the two-storey structure took place in December.

Kristin Legault-Donkers was awarded the Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth. The young Ontario woman, who grew up with mental-health challenges, has written the Children’s Mental Health Series, a series of four books adapted into an educational package used in schools in London, Ont.

Traci Melchor, a Canadian television personality who has shared her continuing struggle with mental illness, along with the message that, “It’s OK not to be OK,” wins in the media category.

The winner in the community organization category is the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, which works with individuals and families living with mental illness to address the ongoing effects of residential-school trauma, racial discrimination, addictions and post-traumatic stress disorder.

8 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside

This life certainly likes to push us to our limits, but sometimes, it all seems like too much and we fall into a black abyss of despair and hopelessness.

Feeling broken doesn’t mean that you should just give up entirely, however; it just means you need to take a step back and let those feelings come to the surface.

We all feel broken from time to time, because life can seem heartbreaking and terrifying when we go through certain experiences. These life lessons only make us stronger and more capable of dealing with life, though, so use your brokenness as a gift that will help you grow as a person.

1. Remember that cracks allow light to come in.
If you didn’t become broken from time to time, there would be no place for the light to enter your soul. Basically, it takes awful, heart-wrenching experiences for us to see all the good in the world sometimes, and for us to go through a transformation of the soul. If we just had positive, uplifting experiences all the time, we would have no room to grow and no life experiences that would challenge us to become more resilient, powerful people.

You can’t expect life to grant you an easy ride; if it did, you would miss out on life-changing experiences that would break you open, tear you apart, and rebuild you into a better version of yourself. Many parts of ourselves open up when we feel broken, so remember this any time you feel exhausted and utterly shattered by life.

2. Remember to accept and honor your feelings; don’t fight them.
Don’t feel bad for having negative or heavy emotions; if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human. Certain experiences warrant a strong reaction from us, and sometimes that means crying, screaming, falling to our knees, and just accepting the waves of emotion that come over us. Keeping all of this balled up inside will only backfire in the end, so don’t ever keep your feelings hidden for fear of other people’s reactions. Fighting off your feelings will only delay the breakdown, and you’ll walk around feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You must walk bravely into the place within you that harbors these deep emotions, so you can begin to work through them and figure out what they want you to take from all you’ve been through.

3. Keep remembering your “why.”
During hardships, we often forget what we even want from life in the first place. We all came here to love with all of our hearts, and increase the vibration of this planet in unison. When you feel broken, you can easily overlook or forget your mission here on Earth, but going through hard times actually gives your purpose more depth. If you didn’t go through unpleasant experiences, you wouldn’t be able to relate to so many other people on this planet who go through hard times almost every day. Keep your “why” in mind, and reflect on how the negative situations you’ve encountered allow you to have a more well-rounded perspective and better serve your purpose on Earth.

4. Remember everything that exists beyond your brokenness.
Just because you feel broken, does not mean the whole world shares your perspective. It does not mean the entire planet must go down in flames because of one bad day or experience you had, so remember to broaden your perspective next time you go through bad times. Think of the fact that you still get to breathe fresh air, see the clouds float by on a sunny day, feel the wind on your skin, smile at a stranger..think of all these beautiful little things you can still do even though you feel broken. Remember all of the good things happening on the planet despite your temporary slump, and the whole world won’t look like such a dark place anymore.

5. Remember the friends and family that are there for support.
When you feel down and out about life, your friends and family will comfort you and be your rock when you need them. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help, because we all need some assistance when we go through a rough patch in life. If you feel like a burden on them, just remember all the times you were there for them; the people who care about you would gladly do the same for you.

6. Remember to focus on the things that bring you joy.
So often when we feel broken, we focus our attention entirely on our despair and forget about the things that bring us happiness. Go out and get some sunshine, plant some flowers, ride your bike, catch up with friends over coffee, or simply anything on this Earth that makes your heart light up with joy. Just because you feel broken, doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking minute of your life mulling over your feelings and wallowing in a sea of turmoil.

7. Don’t identify so much with your feelings.
Remember that you don’t really own your feelings or thoughts; they just come and go as they please, and you just get to watch them make an appearance, even if you didn’t invite them in. Think about this: you consciously invite friends and family over to your house, but you don’t knock on the doors of your emotions and give them an invitation to your brain. It just doesn’t work that way, so remember that you don’t have to identify with your feelings. You are SO much more than your temporary emotions, so don’t let them control you.

8. Remember that life is a series of ups and downs, and this is only temporary.

Just like your emotions, this whole ride we have been thrown onto since birth only exists for a short while. We take it so seriously, yet overlook the fact that we don’t get to spend forever in this existence. Enjoy it while it lasts; yes, even the hardships and despair, because when you look back on your life, you will thank your brokenness just as much as your happiness for all it taught you on your own personal journey.

Schools are taking on the fentanyl crisis but drug curriculum a patchwork

By the age of 19, Jordan Miller was already addicted to drugs and reaching out to his parents for help. By 24, he’d taken a deadly cocktail of oxycodone pills — enough to stop his heart.

His mother, Leslie McBain, has told the heartbreaking story of her son’s overdose at every high school in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands region over the past two years.

“My message is one of safety. If you decide to do this, here’s how to stay safe,” she said.

It’s a refrain she repeats to students over and over again: never use alone, always carry naloxone, watch out for your friends at parties and know how to recognize an overdose.

‘More we need to do’: Overdose deaths in Vancouver surpass last year’s total
Drug education in B.C. schools changing to reflect overdose crisis
As the spread of opioid-related overdose deaths in Canada continues to move east, more and more kids will likely hear warnings like McBain’s when they head back to school this fall.

But while a front line in the fight against the overdose crisis has opened up in Canadian classrooms, where students go to school seems to affect how they learn about the risks associated with contaminated substances.

Western schools lead country
Predictably, Canada’s westernmost provinces and territories — those hardest hit in Canadian authorities’ battle against fentanyl — have been active in updating their school programming to reflect the continuing crisis.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Education has added modules on overdosing to its Grade 6 and high school curriculum, and several larger B.C. school districts have programs dedicated to teaching kids about the risks associated with drug contaminants.

Meanwhile, inquiries to provincial and territorial health and education ministries found that Yukon is the only province or territory in Canada to have trained all its school administrators in how to use naloxone and to stock every school with a naloxone kit.

Read more here.

13 more symptoms of depression we never talk about

From Blurt it Out

Depression can cause a range of different symptoms. Some of them are regularly talked about. Many of them are not.

Whatever symptoms we are experiencing, we are not alone. There are many other people all over the world who share the same struggles that we do.


We can feel completely paralysed and unable to make decisions. They often aren’t particularly difficult decisions. It could be something as straightforward as deciding which jumper to wear. But our brains feel so slow and clogged up that we are unable to decide anything at all.


Although we often struggle socially, we can also dread being alone. When alone our thoughts and feelings can feel amplified. Without the distraction of other people, they can become completely overwhelming and all-consuming.


Sometimes we get stuck. We might sit on the toilet and not move for half an hour. Sometimes we will drive home and then stay in our car, on the drive, for a while before making it into the house. We might run a bath and sit in it until it goes cold. Our body feels heavy and we just don’t have the energy or motivation to move.


Many people left their hiding in bathroom days behind once they left school. But we will often find ourselves diving for the nearest toilet for a bit of a break from the world. It can be at social situations, when out for a meal, when in town, or somewhere else. Sometimes we just need a bit of a break from the world, and a little bit of breathing space.


We often struggle with social situations when we’re low. We don’t know what to do or say. We often don’t feel part of the group of people we’re with. We struggle to concentrate enough to follow conversations. We feel like we’re bad company and like people are ‘putting up’ with us. We feel like people don’t want us around. So we isolate ourselves. We stay away from people. To protect ourselves to some extent, but also to protect those around us.


Sometimes we want to cry, but we can’t. Sometimes we want to talk, but we feel mute. Sometimes we want to be creative, but our creativity has all dried up. We rarely have the words, colours, or music to match our feelings. We don’t know how to help others understand what’s going on inside our heads. So we are silent.


We stop caring about whether we live or die. We don’t look when we cross the road. We don’t take as much care as we should when driving our car or riding our bike. We walk through a risky bit of town, in the dark, by ourselves. We don’t wear our bike helmet. We completely stop caring about our own personal safety.

Read more…

Comedian Jessica Holmes says depression made her feel like a ‘cracked doll’

In her new book Depression: The Comedy, Canadian comedian Jessica Holmes looks back at her struggle with mental health and laughs.

It didn’t seem humorous at the time of her depression, a dark span of two years she likens to a “brown cloud.”

“I found the comedy only in retrospect,” Holmes told CTV News Channel’s Marcia MacMillan, recalling a moment when her children posted a “scream chart” to their refrigerator door and would give her an “X” when she lost her temper.

Only when she recovered did she see the humour in that moment, and the humour in her attempts to cure herself with online shopping. “Such a frenzy, literally buying up Blondie’s wardrobe, trying to dress like Lady Gaga, thinking that’s all I need — I just need a pick me up,” she said. “It always just made me feel like a cracked doll.”

In the new book, Holmes looks back at depression with a bit of levity, she says, to show readers struggling with mental health the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, she’s back on her feet and living life to the fullest. “My life is more full than even before I was depressed,” she said.

Watch the full interview with CTV News Channel above