The news of pop star Demi Lovato’s drug overdose hit fans hard as they struggled to find out more information about what happened. The singer came forward to verify that she had suffered an overdose but was back on track to recovery from her continued battle with opioid addiction. Addiction is a disease that takes no prisoners and does not discriminate in overpowering anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in its path.
Who Is Demi Lovato?
Demi Lovato is an American singer who made a name for herself as a teen Disney Channel sensation in the early 2000s. In 2008, she released her first album of original music titled “Don’t Forget” through Hollywood Records. She has remained in the public eye with the release of additional hit records and with her 2017 YouTube documentary “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated.” The documentary provided an intimate look at the life of the singer after her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and her struggles with opiate addiction.
Her recent overdose scare left fans wondering if the pop star is still winning her battle with addiction. It sent shockwaves through the Hollywood community that maybe she would end up a statistic rather than enjoy a complete recovery. Although she does have an uphill battle in fighting this disease in the public eye (along with the burden of a coexisting mental illness), she also has a strong support system that can help her through these times.
Opioid Addiction Crosses All Demographic Barriers
In generations past, heroin was the main source of opiate addiction. That was before the widespread availability of painkilling drugs like Oxycontin. The use of morphine for pain was highly regulated and rarely permitted beyond a medical facility. Now, some U.S. counties have more than 94 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in the population.
The use of opioid painkillers has become such a commonplace occurrence that availability on the open market is without question. The prescription explosion has created an opiate dependency problem that crosses every barrier of wealth, age, status, gender, and more. It is not surprising that a young, talented musician would develop an opiate dependency in an environment that views the use so casually. The previous taboos associated with opiate use have been eroded through common use.
The High Risk of Overdose and Opiate Abuse
Demi Lovato is not alone in her public struggle following an opioid overdose. Completely breaking free of opiate addiction can require several attempts at quitting, and most users fall off the wagon multiple times before finally maintaining a drug-free life. Opioid use is demanding in that it requires you to level up on amounts ingested every time you reuse, even after a long lapse in use. Your body simultaneously develops both dependency and tolerance. It means that your body and mind constantly crave the drug and need more and more to achieve the desired high.
It is a setup for crossing the invisible line that is an overdose. No matter how much you think you’re used to the drug, your body has a line that cannot be crossed in order to maintain the basic functions of breathing, heartbeat, and consciousness. The intense depressive qualities of opiates make this a dangerous activity to experiment with. Much like many recovering addicts, Ms. Lovato no doubt simply picked up where she left off and ended up in swift physical distress. One of the unfortunate problems with opiate use is being unable to know the potency of the drugs, especially if they are from the illicit market.
Surviving Overdose Using Narcan
Without having been present, we don’t know how the paramedics were alerted to the possibility of an opioid overdose, but it is reported that Narcan was administered to Ms. Lovato. Narcan is a drug that replaces the opiates that bind to the neurons in the brain and body. It can quickly bring someone back from the brink of an overdose death. It is a drug that saves lives that would otherwise not be reachable. Narcan can be administered as a nasal spray or injected directly into the victim. Both methods are effective if the problem is associated with an opiate overdose. Demi Lovato’s successful treatment with Narcan shows just what this drug can do in the event of an opiate overdose.
The Difficulties of a Coexisting Mental Illness
Demi Lovato, like many other people experiencing the disease of addiction, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is a disorder that is marked by extreme periods of high and low emotions, leading many to begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating their symptoms. The pre-existing imbalance of brain chemicals can make it more difficult to fight the addiction and can make recovery take longer. It makes drug treatment a more complicated process. Both illnesses have to be handled carefully at the same time. Failure in either one can result in a complete relapse.
Experiencing a coexisting mental illness in combination with drug abuse is common among those entering drug treatment programs. Drug addiction itself is often categorized as a mental illness. It is difficult to determine if the excessive drug use brings about an additional mental illness or if the mental illness leads to the drug use. Ultimately, it is a mute argument as sufferers will need treatment for both conditions in order to achieve successful recovery. Individuals experiencing these problems will be the first to tell you that as long as both are treated equally and effectively, their chances of complete recovery seem more hopeful.
The Benefits of Access to Treatment Programs
The odds of full and successful recovery from opioid dependence are greatly improved by early intervention, skilled medical detox, and ongoing treatment and therapy. While celebrities may appear to have better access to the best treatment programs due to their notoriety and wealth, many everyday people caught in the battle of addiction are simply unaware of the affordable and highly effective local programs that are available to assist in their recovery.
Many states and counties are implementing further initiatives to make drug treatment programs available to those with financial need. Many health insurance plans cover both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and there are a number of affordable public and private programs available even for people without insurance. The push is to give everyone a level playing field to receive the customized treatment it takes to break free from the hold of opioids.
Family and Fan Support
The outpouring of fan support for Demi Lovato after her opioid overdose has undoubtedly served as a source of inspiration in her continuing recovery. She has been open about the continued support of her close friends and family. It is critical during the recovery process to have as wide a support system as possible. This system can contain friends, family members, and in the case of Demi Lovato, her extensive fan base.
It is just as critical to develop a support system that involves a network of treatment professionals. This will include doctors, nurses, and therapists. Peer support that comes through group therapy sessions is another way to build a strong foundation for the recovery process. Even celebrities need to surround themselves with peers who understand the struggles of addiction and recovery. The more the individual feels that people are on their side for emotional support, the more equipped they are to tackle the disease.
The Realities of Relapse
Every person who struggles with recovering from drug addiction shares the same risk of possible relapse. It helps to make the life changes that are needed to avoid this problem, but intense cravings can strike at any time and can make even the strongest individual feel like a failure. A moment of weakness can lead to one-time use, but it can also involve a complete relapse into opiate use and abuse. Understanding the ever-present danger is important to a healthy recovery. Falling off the wagon is not the end of the world, but it’s important to get back on track as quickly as possible.
We don’t know whether Demi Lovato experienced a one-time relapse or spiraled back into habitual use. Either way, the incident illustrates how quickly a relapse can lead to a near-fatal overdose. It should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who is dealing with or has loved ones facing the obstacles that come with opiate addiction recovery. It’s important to remember that mistakes can happen and recovery can still proceed. Veering off-path for a moment in time should never spell the end of progress.
The Challenges of Making Life Changes
Successfully facing down an addiction during treatment will involve mental, emotional, and physical changes. Learned behaviors, false ideations, and self-esteem issues are often at the root of the drug use. Long-term opioid use is best treated using a long-term rehabilitation approach. Much work goes into the process once the detoxification period ends. Removing the drugs from the body is only the beginning of the long road to complete recovery. Being away from normal daily activities in the environment that promoted drug use and abuse is one way to begin redefining correct behaviors. The goal is to strive for making better decisions before situations get out of hand.
Feeling stronger emotionally is essential in order to take on the battle. Building emotional strength can involve a great deal of time when the addiction has taken place over a long period. Every experience is unique, but nearly all addicted individuals feel some level of insecurity and self-doubt as the process begins. Getting beyond the stigma and entering rehabilitation is a great step forward in defeating the self-doubt that can keep you mired down. It can prove difficult to completely break off past associations and avoid particular places if you are someone of notoriety, such as Demi Lovato. Best efforts can sometimes backfire and lead to relapse.
Achieving full recovery from opioid addiction is not easy, but it can be done with enough support and professional help. For someone like Demi Lovato, it does require taking some time to step back from the spotlight and begin a regimen of self-care. It is a matter that is best handled without the presence and pressure of media involvement. Although it is normal for fans to wonder about the whereabouts and condition of celebrities, it is essential that they spend the time necessary to focus on their recovery.
Demi Lovato’s battle with drug addiction is one that thousands of families struggle with each year. It takes a great deal of courage to face these struggles in such an open way and to encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, Ms. Lovato continues her journey to successful recovery with no more obstacles in her way.