Integrated Treatment: Part 1
The goal of addressing addiction and mental illness is to provide an overall understanding of the importance of an integrated treatment approach.
On July 24, pop-singer Demi Lovato, 25, suffered an apparent overdose at her home in California’s lux Hollywood Hills. When emergency services arrived, Lovato was unconscious and had to be revived with Narcan (also known as naloxone, an anti-overdose medication). While neither Lovato’s family or sources close to her have revealed the drug behind the overdose, Lovato has admitted to the use of cocaine, marijuana, and Adderall in the past.
She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and remained in hospital care for the next 12 days. After reports of a heroin overdose circulated online, her publicist released the statement: “Demi is awake and with her family who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers, and support. Some of the information being reported is incorrect, and they respectfully ask for privacy and not speculation, as her health and recovery is the most important thing right now.”
LAPD took an “item of evidence” into custody which was drug-related, though not typically linked to heroin.
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. I want to thank God for keeping me alive, and well… I want to thank my family, my team, and the staff at Cedars-Sinai who have been by my side this entire time. Without them, I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you. I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten, and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.
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Lovato, a 16-year entertainment industry veteran and Disney channel alum, has long been a champion of mental health awareness. Previously, she admitted to dealing with addiction and co-occurring disorders like mental illness and an eating disorder. Those close to the “Heart Attack” singer describe those 6 years as a fight “every single day” to stay clean.
For years, Lovato struggled to sustain a healthy, balanced lifestyle despite her active career – in a decade she’s released 10 albums, acted in 9 films and dozens of TV shows, and headlined 5 tours. According to one recent study, a “person with depression is at least 50% more disabled than someone with angina, arthritis, asthma, or diabetes.” Such impairment can make even the simplest of tasks exhausting or unbearable. Many turn to illegal substances to get by or feel “normal.”
Dianna De La Garza, Lovato’s mother, 55, opens up about her daughter’s struggles in her 2018 autobiography, Falling with Wings. She recalls the downward spiral fueled by drugs and alcohol that her daughter endured. She also detailed Lovato’s troubles in an interview with People Magazine.
The ultimate breaking point would have been when Demi was on tour, and she lashed out at one of her dancers, physically. That was the defining moment where we all said, as a family: She needs help. She needs serious help, and it doesn’t matter what happens to her career — we need to focus on getting her the help she needs.
In 2010, Lovato entered an inpatient rehab facility near Chicago. She left rehab three months later, noticeably improved. Still, she relapsed and went to live in a sober living home shortly afterward. In March of 2018, Lovato celebrated 6 years of sobriety, marked by the turbulences of facing addiction daily. According to a People Magazine source:
Demi was never really clean and sober from all of her demons. She has been fighting depression and anxiety for quite some time — and is still in such a dark place. She was sober for a while, but not completely sober for six years.
Family and friends closest to Lovato have all noted the signs contributing to her overdose. In her recent single “Sober,” Lovato talks openly about her struggle with recovery:
Mama, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / And I’m sorry for the fans I lost who watched me fall again / I wanna be a role model, but I’m only human.
And at the end:
I’m sorry that I’m here again / I promise I’ll get help / It wasn’t my intention / I’m sorry to myself.
It’s important to remember that for many, relapse is a part of recovery. Relapse is a process, typically beginning with internal struggles that manifest themselves in particular ways. Signs of a (potential) relapse include:
The brain’s chemistry is altered by addiction to the point that cravings can cause a loss of control over one’s behavior. Furthermore, addiction treatment does not end once the program does. Patients should continue counseling via a therapist or in a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. For those with co-occurring disorders like Lovato, regularly participating in therapy can help an individual maintain their sobriety.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder or is in danger of relapsing from one, contact a treatment provider today to talk about your options.
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