Mac Miller’s death has created waves among all types of communities: his family, celebrities and his circle of close friends, admiring fans, and those involved in the legal battle regarding opioids and other prescription drugs.
The Big Picture
Before touching on the topics of addiction and mental health, it is imperative we take a moment to look at the bigger picture: everyone suffers. Every single person you know, every single person you pass on the street, every single one of your co-workers is struggling with some sort of internal problem. Whether those issues are big or small, we all have our own battles that impede our mental health.
Maybe you’re stressed about making rent at the end of the month, and thinking of all of the extra hours you’ll need to work this week is causing you anxiety. Maybe a personal relationship is struggling, and the thought of losing a close friend or partner is taking a toll on your happiness.
Maybe your problem started out small, and seemed manageable until you realized it wasn’t. You understand you need help, but your problem has grown to a magnitude so great that you can no longer envision that light at the end of the tunnel. The hole you’ve found yourself in is deep, but there is always a way up. And oftentimes, that way up is through the helping hands of others.
There are two takeaways from this message, one for those addicted and one for those around them:
- If you find yourself struggling with addiction, mental health problems, anxiety, or an unhealthy state of any kind, ask for help. As hard as it is, open up to those you know will be there. Let people know that you’re not okay, because chances are they aren’t living problem-free either. Stay near those that give you a sense of safety and security: close friends don’t turn away on close friends when times get hard.
- If you have enough evidence to believe someone around you is struggling with addiction, don’t wait for them to ask for help. Addiction is a very sensitive issue, so making sure that your approach is genuine and non-accusatory is of utmost important. Offer compassion, understanding, sympathy, and care, even in the smallest forms: check up on them throughout the day, invite them to spend time together, make an effort to be a consistent presence. These small bouts of positivity make all the difference in the lives of those that are fighting with themselves just to keep going.
Mac Miller: A Troubled Background
26-year-old rapper Mac Miller passed away on September 7, 2018 from a drug overdose. Whether the overdose was accidental or suicidal is still being debated, but Miller has opened up in his music about drug use, his mental state, and his desire for sobriety.
The criticism he received upon releasing his 2012 mixtape, Macadelic, led him to deal with the stress by using a combination of promethazine and codeine. In 2014, his mixtape ‘Faces’ touched on his battle with depression and use of cocaine to deal with his troubles. Following these tapes, Miller faced his ups and downs with drugs and sobriety, eventually touching on his experience with suicidal thoughts. He was able to remain sober for 2 years, but returned to a substance-filled life after he claimed he spent a good time sober and was just “living regularly”.
Unfortunately, substance abuse problems don’t fade away. Rather, they cling to you for dear life. Convincing himself that he was living a normal life by engaging in recreational drug use only furthered Miller’s condition. Earlier this year, he faced a DUI charge after crashing his SUV with a blood alcohol level of 0.15, twice the legal limit. In a following interview, Mac Miller made it clear he didn’t believe he was an addict. This belief is the unfortunate downfall for many individuals, famous or not, who think that their drug use is reasonable, normal, or manageable.
Co-Occurring Conditions: Mental Illness and Addiction
No one wants to admit that they’re an addict, especially after having found sobriety for a period of time. Addiction is tied to negative feelings such as low self-worth, embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, and stress. When these feelings are rooted in a severe mental illness such as depression, the emotional baggage can be too much to bear. How are these feelings relieved? Through substance abuse.
The relationship between addiction and mental illness is extremely cyclical: the latter fuels the former, and if nothing is there to intervene, the two will continue to feed off of each other until help is sought. The tragedy that results from this multidimensional condition is devastating, as we’ve seen with Mac Miller and countless others.
People with addictions have a distorted sense of their needs. Addicts tend to mask their feelings with drugs and other substances that temporarily relieve their pain, making them believe that their problems are solved while their high lasts.
But prolonged drug use leads to severe chemical imbalances in the body and in the brain, fueling any inkling of a mental illness that a person may have or be in the process of developing. The symptoms for addiction and mental illness conditions tend to overlap: both victims behave impulsively and act against their own self-interest. The only way to properly treat addiction and any co-occurring mental illness is with professional medical assistance and a comprehensive treatment program. You don’t have to fight this battle on your own.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide every year, and 190,000 premature deaths are the result of drug overdose. It can be easy to place blame on the victim, and to question why a person would take their own life. But these accusations do nothing other than take the focus off of raising awareness, a critical action we should all be taking in order to spread the truth about the people that fall victim to suicide. Becoming a prisoner to your own body and mind is not something that can be easily explained or related to. The best thing anyone can do in a situation where an individual has fallen victim to suicide is offer compassion, understanding, and hope.
No one has to battle their demons alone. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center offers several treatment programs, specifically designed for those battling addictions with co-occurring conditions. Therapy, group activity, environmental support, an expert medical staff, and 24/7 assistance is always available through our centers. Don’t wait: call us today, and we can work toward a brighter future together.
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