On July 24, actress and singer, Demi Lovato was hospitalized after an alleged drug overdose. Lovato, who recently celebrated six years of sobriety this past spring, has been vocal with her fans about her struggles with cocaine and alcohol addiction and her time spent in rehab. This past June, she released a single, “Sober” where she apologized to listeners for relapsing on her sobriety, leading many to worry that she was abusing drugs and at a high-risk for an overdose. Almost a week after the incident, Lovato remains hospitalized, and it is unclear how this incident will influence her health physically, mentally, and emotionally. News of Lovato’s overdose has been difficult on her family, friends, and her fans, many of whom have reached out to show their support for the singer.
When a person struggles with addiction, overdose, and recovery, it has a major impact on everyone who is close to that person. If your loved one has suffered from or been hospitalized due to an overdose, it is more important than ever for you to be there for them as they recover. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you help your loved one navigate this tumultuous time physically and emotionally:
Provide an Emotional Support System
Surviving an overdose is traumatic, and a survivor will need to return to a strong emotional support system. When a person survives an overdose, they are going to have to manage a lot of tough emotions. They might feel angry or betrayed because they were not able to prevent the incident from occurring or because they feel like they can no longer trust the friends or dealer who supplied them with the drug. Many people who go through this experience feel afraid that it will happen again, or they might be fearful of how the people in their life will react. If the overdose was a suicide attempt, individuals who survived might feel a sense of shame or failure because the attempt was unsuccessful. They might also have an increased desire to kill themselves. Remember that your loved one went through a traumatic experience and is wrestling with the emotional aftermath, and keep that in mind when you are trying to communicate and support him or her. Be patient and speak without judgment or criticism. It will involve the help of professionals and a solid emotional support system to help them cope during this difficult time, but you can help by trying to understand his or her feelings and practicing positive communication.
Address Underlying Issues
Many times people overdose because they take too much or an unknown strand of a drug. These individuals might do this because they are desperate for drug-provided relief or they are actively trying to commit suicide. It is important to remember that when a person survives an overdose, the reason why they abused drugs in the first place has not automatically been fixed by their harrowing experience. The underlying anxiety, stress, or depression that led them to this incident is still alive and well, and they will need help from professionals to address these issues and learn how to practice safe coping strategies. It is crucial for you to understand that the individual is likely struggling with pre-existing issues on top of the new ones that will arise as a result of surviving an overdose. Provide support and encouragement to your loved one as they communicate with therapists and work through the problems that contributed to their overdose.
Seek Counseling and Practice Self-Care
When someone overdoses, it is painful for everyone involved in that person’s life. Make sure that you do not neglect taking care of yourself while you help your loved one. If at all possible, try to decrease your responsibilities during this time. Avoid taking on too much work while you are trying to handle your own emotions surrounding the event. Seek help from a therapist or a licensed professional if you are having a difficult time coping with this tragedy. If you are close to someone who overdoses, you might notice their wide array of emotions can be directed toward you. It might be beneficial for you to speak with a therapist if you find it hard to deal with their emotions or behavior.
Know Risk Factors
Know the factors that contribute to overdose and put strategies in place to help prevent a repeat overdose from occurring. Repeat overdoses are extremely dangerous and can cause long-term damage to internal organs, brain damage, and death. Individuals are at a higher-risk of repeat overdoses if they are struggling with depression, have chronic illnesses that influence their nervous system, or if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Watch for warning signs like increased impulsivity, dramatic changes in mood or sleeping habits, and personality changes. It is essential that you and other members of the individual’s emotional support system are aware of these factors and encourage the individual to seek counseling as soon as possible after an overdose. Get in touch with the other positive influences and people who care about the survivor in order to make sure your loved one is getting the support and care that they need.
For more information about addiction, or for help finding a therapist for you or your loved one who is struggling with recovery, visit Oakville Wellness Center.
You fall in love, you enjoy those first exhilarating moments of dating. You move in together and your partner finally admits to you that they have adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Alternatively, you begin getting irritated by their forgetfulness, impulsiveness and inability to focus on the task at hand.
Chances are that you may freak out because you have no idea what adult ADHD entails. Should you stick around and build a relationship with that person? What are some challenges you’re going to face? Just like in any other relationship, you’ll need to overcome certain difficulties together. Understanding adult ADHD and being accepting of your partner will both be important for making it work and enjoying a long, healthy partnership with each other.
How ADHD Can Make Relationships More Challenging
Some of your partner’s quirks may seem really charming in the very beginning. As time passes and the initial thrill subsides, however, chances are that you’ll find yourself more and more irritated with the everyday shortcomings. These sentiments are normal – accept them and get to thinking about how things can be improved.
People in such relationships tend to experience a range of challenges that are ADHD-specific.
Distractibility is quite common among adults that suffer from ADHD. The same applies to the inability to go through with a task and make sure that it has been dealt with. If you’re patient enough, you may end up finishing the task on your own. Alternatively, you’ll feel overwhelmed and you’ll start a fight each time you agreed to something and your partner didn’t keep their end of the bargain.
There’s another, more serious challenge stemming from ADHD in a relationship. It revolves around the so-called “parent-child dynamic.” The partner having ADHD may be considered unreliable, which is when the other partner will take over the “parent” role in the relationship. This dynamic disturbs the relationship balance by putting one of the parties predominantly in control.
Building a Successful Relationship with a Partner that has ADHD
A few steps will have to be implemented in order to make the relationship survive and thrive. Both of you should be onboard, working towards mutual happiness and overcoming the problems that lead to frequent quarrels:
Do You Have ADHD? Here's How to Improve Your Relationships
Don’t let the condition control your life. As a person having ADHD, you can do certain things to forge more meaningful relationships and enjoy interactions with others. Still, you’ll need to make a conscious effort aimed at overcoming some of the most common symptoms:
By Wilma Derksen, C.E.C., O.M.
Therapist and Coach