Yesterday, Feb. 2nd, the talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of a heroine overdose. For years, Hoffman struggled with drug abuse …and for years, Hoffman struggled with depression symptoms.
There are a staggering number of people with depression or bipolar disorders who abuse drugs – well over 50% in documented bipolarity cases alone.
The fact that these people would be inclined to self medicate regardless of legal, mental, physical and relational risks is hardly surprising. Depression, the downside of bipolarity, is so dark and miserable that the need for even a temporary or synthetic relief is difficult to resist. Some people suffering from depression or bipolarity look for their lift in soft stimulates such as caffeine or “metabolic enhancers” that can pose serious risks such as hypertension, seizures, heart attacks and strokes. Others jump into the hard stimulants – cocaine, speed and methamphetamines.
At the other end, anxious or agitated people who long for peace and calm turn to drugs to help them relax. Alcohol, smoking, sleeping pills and muscle relaxants work for some, while others go the route of illicit drugs.
The problem is this: None of these substances are true remedies because they merely treat – clinically or non-clinically – symptoms and do nothing to address the underlying cause.
People – even Philip Seymour Hoffman – who are controlled by addiction to drugs or alcohol can be helped significantly in the recovery and sobriety phases by adjusting their neurochemistry until it is balanced. And, believe it or not, when working with someone who has self-medicated with soft or hard drugs, the patient’s drug of choice is a significant indicator as to which medication or medications are likely to be most effective in resolving their conditions.
While we can only guess at treatment Hoffman sought out during his years of acute drug use, his death can serve as a reminder to us all – there IS always help to a better life. Had he sought out help to get that balance into play, none of us – including his longtime girlfriend and children – would have lost the tremendous talent and personality in Philip Seymour Hoffman.
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