Each week, the Inside Addiction section of The Recovery Village website includes a recap of the top headlines and news related to substance use and mental health. Here are the trending topics that people should know about for the week of Aug. 10, 2018.

Demi Lovato Speaks Publicly About Addiction

United States pop singer Demi Lovato published a statement on her Instagram account discussing her recent struggles with substance misuse. Lovato was taken to a Los Angeles hospital just a few days prior to publishing the note after reports state she experienced an overdose.

Lovato’s statement reads, “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

A Grammy-nominated artist, the 25-year-old Lovato spoke openly in the past about her history with drug and alcohol use. She also was featured in a 2017 YouTube documentary titled, “Simply Complicated.”

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England, Wales Hit By Fentanyl Rise

The United States is not the only country that has taken a hit from the synthetic opioid fentanyl. With a potency level that is 100 times stronger than morphine, the number of deaths caused by the drug in England and Wales increased by nearly 30 percent last year. These statistics come from the Office of National Statistics, which reports 75 total deaths from the drug in 2017.

Fentanyl is commonly mixed with other drugs, including heroin, without people’s knowledge and the lack of awareness can lead to accidental overdoses. In April 2017, Public Health England issued a public warning after numerous deaths in a short time span were attributed to fentanyl. [The Guardian]


Taking Medications For Substance Use Decreases Likelihood of Suicide or Criminal Activity

Researchers from numerous institutions and colleges throughout the world conducted a survey of 21,000 people in Sweden and found that taking at least one of four medications often used to treat  alcohol or drug use can reduce the chances of incidents such as suicidal behavior, criminal activity or accidental overdose from occurring.

The medications used in the study were acamprosate, naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. Taking at least one reduced the possibility of suicidal behavior by 40 percent, accidental overdoses by nearly 25 percent and arrest for violent crime by 35 percent. The institutions involved in the research were the University of Oxford, the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm, the University of Colorado, and Örebro University. [MedicalXpress]


Newly Popular Antidepressant Drug Linked to Opioid Addiction

Tianeptine, an unapproved antidepressant in the United States, is growing in popularity among people who are addicted to opioids.

The drug is used in some European, Asian and Latin American countries to treat anxiety and depression but has yet to receive clearance in the United States. Despite its status, there have been 207 calls to poison control centers regarding tianeptine within the last year. Officials report that the drug has effects similar to that of opioids and that similarity is one of the main reasons why people who suffer from a dependence to opioids are interested in leaning on tianeptine. [WebMD]


New Study Uncovers Effects of Microdosing With Psychedelics

Some people who take psychedelic drugs take extremely small amounts to lower their anxiety and stress levels while avoiding some of the severe effects, which can include transcendental mental trips.

Canadian researchers studied how microdosing helps reduce anxiety levels but does not hinder people from continuing their daily routines or completing tasks at work or home. The substances examined were LSD and psychedelic mushrooms, which are two illicit drugs in the United States. [Newsweek]


Climate Change Could Equate to Worsening Mental Health

Scientists have made a connection between climate change, notably increasing temperatures and the prevalence of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. This link is known as ecological grief and it occurs both as the climate steadily changes to more extreme seasons and after natural disasters that could be linked to climate change. As an example, a study was conducted after Hurricane Katrina severely impacted the Gulf Coast. The survey found that 1 in 6 survivors from the storm showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal behavior doubled after the hurricane hit. [WIRED]


Study: Mental Illnesses Improve After Support From Peers With Similar Mental Health History

A study of 400 people in England revealed that people who have a history of mental health disorders are less likely to need readmittance if they receive support and attention from others who have had similar struggles.

In the United Kingdom, more than half of people who enter acute care must be readmitted within a year of leaving. However, the U.K. and the U.S. are using peer-support programs such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan to connect people who have each endured mental health issues and can share personal experiences to comfort one another through difficult times. [PsychCentral]


Depression on the Rise For Young Pregnant Women

Around one-fourth of United Kingdom’s pregnant women who are 24 years old or younger are reporting signs of depression and anxiety. This figure is a 50 percent increase from the previous generation of young mothers, in the 1990s, which saw around 17 percent of young pregnant women report clinical depression.

The study, conducted by the U.K. group Children of the 90s, followed the mental and physical health of families since the 1990s. The increase is attributed to numerous factors, including people being more open to discuss their mental health struggles and more people suffering from depression or anxiety in general now due to cultural changes. [The Conversation]


Eagles Legend Brian Dawkins Discusses Mental Health in Hall of Fame Speech

National Football League legend Brian Dawkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Eagles great discussed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts during his speech.

“I just wanted to be in a dark room by myself with nobody,” Dawkins said in a recent interview with NBC Philadelphia. “My room, I won’t say was a frequent occurrence, but it was something I would do. My faith back then wasn’t that strong, so I listened to the other voice in my head, and that’s where suicidal thoughts came in, and then actually planning out how I would go about it in such a way that Connie (his wife) and my son would get the money from my insurance policy.”

Dawkins became the 313th inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He finished his 16-year career with multiple Pro Bowl appearances. [NBC Philadelphia]


AAP Chapters Receive Credit for Mental Health Efforts

Four American Academy of Pediatrics chapters have increased their efforts to address mental health and substance use issues among teenagers and each received a 2018 Outstanding Chapter Award. The four chapters are located in the British Columbia, Georgia, Minnesota and Rhode Island. They focused on raising awareness of mental health disorders in their communities and shining a light on the connection between mental illnesses and addiction. [AAP News & Journals]

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