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Lessons from Anyone

“I tried to talk to my piano. I tried to talk to my guitar. I talked to my imagination, confided in alcohol.” These are the opening words from the song “Anyone,” the latest release from Demi Lovato.

Demi recorded these vocals four days prior to the 2018 incident, when she was taken to an LA hospital for an apparent overdose. This incident was severe, and if it weren’t for Narcan (an opioid receptor antagonist medication that can reverse an opioid overdose) being administered, she might not have survived. Before that overdose, she had battled cocaine and Oxycontin addictions but had been clean for six years.

Relapse is a real possibility in recovery. (The national average of relapse in drug addiction is 40 – 60 percent.) Looking back, Demi claims the lyrics in the song “Anyone” were part of a cry for help and part of her own denial. The warning signs were there.

Once through recovery, she contemplated re-recording the song, but in the end, she wanted to keep the raw emotion of the original and said it would be hard to recapture. 

Now, having recently sung the National Anthem at the Superbowl, things are looking up for Demi. Her next song will explore more details surrounding the incident and her subsequent recovery.

Demi’s journey gives hope to those battling opioid dependency, while also highlighting the pitfalls to recovery. Understanding the risks associated with addiction is essential. Here are some common questions and answers that could help you or a loved one understand their situation and get the help they need.

How harmful are opioids?

Opioid use — even short term — can lead to addiction and, too often, overdose. Anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing an addiction, but it’s impossible to predict who’s vulnerable to eventual dependence and abuse of these drugs.

Who is at risk for opioid addiction?

  • People in Poverty
  • People with a history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Young age
  • History of criminal activity or legal problems including DUIs
  • Regular contact with high-risk people or high-risk environments
  • Problems with past employers, family members and friends (mental disorder)
  • Risk-taking or thrill-seeking behavior
  • Heavy tobacco use
  • History of severe depression or anxiety
  • Prior drug or alcohol rehabilitation

Most people aren’t good at hiding their addiction, and in hindsight, it is easy to spot the warning signs, but we need to be able to recognize them sooner.

Some of the warning signs of opioid abuse include:

Physical

  • Glazed or bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Sudden weight changes
  • Bruises, infections, or signs of injection marks

Behavioral

  • Increased irritability
  • Changes in attitude/personality
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities
  • Financial problems

How common are opioid relapses, and how can I avoid them?

As mentioned above, the nationwide relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%.  This is high, but keep in mind, addiction is treatable, and recovery is both possible and sustainable. Here are some ways to avoid relapse

  • Replace substance abuse with positive activities
  • Lean on your support group of family, friends, and therapy
  • Stay in treatment

In everyday life, there likely won’t be a song warning you that a friend, family member or loved one has relapsed or is using. Sometimes the signs can be difficult to spot. If you see any of these warning signs of opioid abuse call 210-833-HOPE immediately.  You could save a life.

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