Understanding a Medication Called Narcan®

Understanding a Medication Called Narcan®

You may have heard about a medication called Narcan®. Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Used quickly, it can literally save a person’s life. Find out more about Narcan and how the Healthy365 Connection Center can help you obtain this valuable medication.

Opioid overdoses

When a person takes too much of an opioid medication – including heroin, morphine, fentanyl or certain prescription medications like Percocet®, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone – their body may not be able to safely process the substance. This can lead to something called respiratory depression, which includes weak or no breathing and a loss of consciousness. Opioid overdose is a growing problem, with more than 100,000 people dying from an opioid overdose in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control. During that same year, an estimated 2,755 Indiana residents died from drug overdoses, with about 85% of those deaths due to fentanyl. Substance misuse can affect any family, regardless of wealth, status, race or ethnic group.

Signs of an opioid overdose

When a person uses an opioid medication like morphine or fentanyl, the medication attaches itself to certain receptors in the brain called opioid receptors. This can cause important body processes to slow down or cease completely. A person experiencing an opioid overdose is usually unconscious and cannot be woken. You may notice very slow or no breathing or a gurgling sound coming from the unconscious person. Their body will be limp, and their pupils are often small and constricted. The person’s lips may be blue or grayish due to a lack of oxygen. Left untreated, the person may die. That’s why it’s so important to understand Narcan and be able to administer it quickly.

How does Narcan work?

Narcan, which contains the active medication Naloxone, is what is called an opioid antagonist. It seeks out the opioid receptors in the brain, attaching themselves and blocking the opioids and their life-threatening effects. Narcan may be able to restore normal breathing within two to three minutes after it has been administered, although a person may need more than one dose, especially if stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.

Narcan is available in an easy-to-use nasal spray form. By administering the medication quickly and following up with a call to 911, you may be able to block and reverse the effects of the opioid medication. It is critical that you obtain medical assistance as soon as possible after administering or receiving Narcan.

Narcan education and assistance

The Healthy365 Connection Center can provide Narcan training in our office to the general public and in turn, we can issue Narcan free of cost. This program is possible through our partnership with the Hancock County Health Department. Simply come to our office during regular office hours.

Substance misuse is a complex condition that affects more than 40 million American over the age of 12. Substance misuse is a serious medical problem that does not reflect weakness or a lack of willpower.  When you come to the Healthy365 Connection Center, you will be met with compassion and a desire to help you and the person you love. Narcan may not be able to “cure” substance misuse, but it can keep you or your loved one alive to begin the journey back to recovery.

If you want to learn more about Narcan, or if you are seeking support for substance misuse in yourself or someone you know, contact a Healthy365 Support Navigator today at (317) 468- 4231 or visit the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G in Greenfield.

How ADHD Affects Children and Adults

How ADHD Affects Children and Adults

Did you know that October is ADHD Awareness Month? We’re tackling exactly what ADHD is, the different symptoms that individuals may experience both in childhood and adulthood, as well as a variety of mental health treatments that can support focus and reduce the hyperactivity that comes with an ADHD diagnosis. 

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is a condition that affects behavior, making someone seem restless, impulsive or distracted. It is thought that symptoms begin in childhood, and often become more noticeable when they begin attending school. Research shows that the condition often runs in families, and some differences in the brain and its chemicals/neurotransmitters have been identified, although the exact cause remains unknown. 

ADHD is not thought to manifest later in life, but some individuals, particularly women, can go undiagnosed well into adulthood. These days, schools and healthcare professionals are becoming more adept at identifying ADHD, and with intervention and treatment, it can generally be well-managed. 

What are the most common symptoms?

The symptoms of ADHD are often divided into two different categories. People with ADHD may experience symptoms from both categories, or they may just fall into one or the other. One category is inattentiveness/difficulty focusing and the other is hyperactivity and impulsiveness. 

Some of the most frequent symptoms related to inattentiveness may include a short attention span, careless mistakes at work or school, forgetfulness, or appearing unable to listen. Symptoms related to hyperactivity can include lack of concentration, fidgeting/being unable to sit still, excessive talking or movement, interrupting, speaking without thinking and little sense of danger. 

How does ADHD affect children and adults differently?

There is a great deal more research on children with ADHD as opposed to adults, mostly due to adults going undiagnosed. In fact, research shows that nearly one in 10 children are diagnosed, compared to less than 5% of adults. For adults, hyperactivity tends to decrease, and inattentiveness symptoms may become more subtle. 

Some suggested symptoms can include a lack of attention to detail, poor organization, inability to prioritize tasks, speaking out of turn, mood swings, extreme impatience and risky activities. Additionally, other mental health conditions can resemble this condition, including depression, anxiety, thyroid problems, sleep disorders, or alcohol/substance misuse.

What ADHD treatments are available?

The most common treatments are behavior therapy and medication. For children under the age of 6, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends utilizing behavior management and parent training before trying medication. After 6 years of age, behavior training is usually combined with medication. Therapy for ADHD can include social skills training, talk therapy (CBT) and educational programs. 

For adults, ADHD treatment is also often a combination of medication and therapy. Adults diagnosed later in life can benefit greatly from education and skills training to learn new coping mechanisms. Medications generally include either stimulants to boost and balance neurotransmitters, or antidepressants for adults. 

However, it is important to note that ADHD treatment can help manage your symptoms, but there is no cure. If a specific treatment causes side effects or does not work for you, don’t give up – keep trying other options to determine what is best for your situation. 

If you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD but you don’t know where to start getting help, you are always welcome to contact the Healthy365 Connection Center. Our Support Navigators provide free and confidential services to connect you to local resources that can help identify and treat mental disorders.

Talking to your Children about Substance Misuse

Talking to your Children about Substance Misuse

No one likes to have difficult conversations, especially with their kids. But avoiding talking to your children about substance misuse can have major consequences. At Healthy365, we seek to help individuals and families that have been affected by addiction, substance misuse and other mental health conditions concerning mood, thinking and behavior. Learn more about why and how we recommend talking to your children about substance misuse – even from a young age!

When should I start talking about substance misuse?

The exact age that you should begin talking about drugs and alcohol will depend on your child. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “When parents talk with their children early and often about alcohol and other drugs, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs.” Some experts say that 5-7 is a good age to start the conversation, especially since studies have shown that children as young as nine may start to see alcohol in a positive way. 

It’s also better to talk about drugs and alcohol before your children are directly exposed to it, and that age is getting younger all the time. SAMHSA reports that roughly 3,300 children as young as 12 try marijuana each day and about 10% of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol. Additionally, about 50% of kids young as 12 have used prescription pain relief for nonmedical purposes. Anytime that your child is asking about drugs or alcohol, that is a good sign that they are ready for an age-appropriate conversation.

How do I talk to my young child about substance misuse?

For young children, organic teachable moments are an ideal time to bring up substance misuse. If someone is drinking wine with dinner, you can talk about what it means to drink responsibly. If you see a TV commercial for beer or a movie character smoking, you can talk about these substances and the negative effects they can have on our bodies. Especially if the users seem to be enjoying themselves, you can talk about how drinking too much can cause someone to make bad decisions, and how doing something like drinking and driving can hurt themselves and others.

Whenever you’re talking to your children about substance misuse, be sure to keep your tone calm and use words that they can understand. And as KidsHealth says, be sure to “teach kids early on how to say no if someone offers them something they know is dangerous.” Younger children are more likely to be willing to talk to their parents about tough subjects, and starting the conversation now can help keep that door of communication open as they grow older.

What is the harm in avoiding talking about it?

Although most schools discuss substance misuse to some degree, it is still important to talk about it with your children so that you know they have all the facts. Not talking about alcohol or drugs could send the message to your kids that trying them out is not too harmful, or that you, as their parents, won’t mind. Set clear rules for your children and teens to establish how your family feels about substance misuse, including the natural consequences that they could face from experimenting with drugs and alcohol. You could also decide together on a “code word” that they can call or text you with to let you know that they are in a situation where drugs or alcohol are present and they need to be picked up – no questions asked.

You might also feel the need to avoid talking about substance misuse if you have a loved one with addiction or in recovery. However, children who have a family history of addiction are more likely to struggle with substance misuse themselves, due to a combination of both environmental and genetic factors. According to MentalHealth.net, “first-degree relatives (i.e, a sibling, parent, or child) of someone with a history of addiction are between 4 to 8 times more likely to develop problems with addiction themselves.” In these cases, it’s even more important to have regular conversations about substance misuse. If you are an adult over 18 who has a loved one affected by addiction, the Healthy365 CRAFT workshop can offer support and communication techniques to use in your family.

If you need more tips for talking to your children about substance misuse, or are in need of support for your own addiction, the Healthy365 Connection Center is here to help. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 or stop by our offices at 120 W. McKenzie Rd. in Greenfield to talk to a Support Navigator.

Back to School Tips for Mental Health

Back to School Tips for Mental Health

It’s time to go back to school and the reactions of kids (and parents) can differ wildly. Some children are excited to see their friends again more regularly and get back into a routine. Others will miss the freedom of summer and aren’t ready to return to the classroom. Still others may have a mental health condition like anxiety or depression or a learning disorder that makes school harder for them. At the Healthy365 Connection Center, it is our goal to support families in their overall wellness, so we’ve got some general tips for back to school time that will hopefully make the transition a little easier. 

Get a good night’s sleep

People of all ages need a solid sleep routine to function at full capacity during the day, but no population more so than children. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, students aged 6-12 should get at least 9-12 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep each night in order to promote optimal health. 

The authors of this consensus report also noted that getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis is associated with “better health outcomes including improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.” Lack of sleep can also increase the chance of learning and behavior problems, injuries, depression, and in teenagers, the risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and attempts. 

In addition, research shows that screen time before bed can have negative impacts on both children and adults, and can be associated with the “worsening of many mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.” Reminding your child to turn off their devices at least 15-30 minutes prior to bedtime, and even charging them in a common space like the kitchen or living room, can improve sleep hygiene.

Find an after-school routine

Helping your child find a good routine for homework, reading and other activities is a good lesson in time management and self-care. For example, you can show them how the practice of laying out their clothes and packing their lunch the night before sets the tone for a more relaxed morning instead of scrambling to get out the door. A daily routine can provide more stability for children who have a lot of anxiety, and adding in a checklist of regular tasks or chores can offer an incentive to get things done efficiently.

Keep organized

Staying organized as a family can sometimes seem like a challenge, but going back to school can create a natural rhythm and sense of organization that is difficult to find during the summer. You can help kids always know where their things are by setting up a mudroom, closet or space by the front/garage door as a drop zone for their backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies. 

Staying organized can also offer kids with anxiety a better sense of control when life feels overwhelming. Look for natural times to help them declutter their backpack or supply drop zone, like the end of each week, to help them feel on top of things again. Clutter in the space where kids do their homework can also contribute to distractions. Help them reorganize their room, desk or the dining room in order to find a better sense of focus. 

Be kind and don’t be afraid to ask for help

Another important part of going back to school is teaching your child to be kind, both by talking about ways to be a good friend and by setting a good example for them. Kids with mental health conditions or learning disorders may sometimes have a hard time making friends, so regardless of whether your child falls into this category, teaching them to be kind can make a big difference. 

If you think your child may be experiencing an unusual amount of stress or anxiety, you can look for these common signs and help them get support. In preschool-aged students, you may notice a regression to bed-wetting, baby talk or the development of new fears. In elementary students, you could see clinginess to parents or teachers, worries about their safety or that of family/friends, or difficulty concentrating. For high school students, you might notice signs of depression or agitation, taking unnecessary risks, trouble sleeping or changes in their usual behavior.

Do you need additional mental health support for yourself or your family? Contact the Healthy365 Connection Center today at 317-468-4231 to learn more about the local resources to which we can connect you.

How Children Struggle When Parents Misuse Substances

How Children Struggle When Parents Misuse Substances

Much focus is placed on the individuals who suffer from substance misuse disorders, but less so is given to the family, friends and loved ones who are also affected. Children especially are heavily impacted when parents misuse substances like alcohol, opioids or other drugs. We’re exploring the various ways that substance misuse can create struggles for an entire family — and how to get both parents and children the help they need. 

What happens when parents misuse substances?

According to the Children of Alcoholics Foundation, roughly seven million Americans under the age of 18 live with at least one parent who misuses alcohol. Children of an alcoholic could be affected as early as in utero if their mother drinks while pregnant. Studies show that “children from alcoholic families experience more physical, emotional and mental health problems than other youngsters.” They have to cope with the stress of their parents exhibiting emotional problems or irrational behavior and may even experience abuse or neglect. 

What are ACEs?

Children who live in a home with someone who misuses substances are likely to accumulate several ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences. According to the CDC, ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur from the age of 0-17, which can include (but are not limited to) experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect or witnessing violence in the home or community. Children of parents who misuse substances may also experience the ACE of living in an “environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding.” 

ACEs are often preventable, but unfortunately, they can have a lasting impact on individuals who experience them. Someone who has grown up with toxic stress, like living with a parent suffering from addiction, may have a hard time forming healthy or stable relationships in the future. They can struggle with finances, have an unstable work history, and may repeat patterns or further exposure to toxic stress, “due to systemic racism or the impacts of poverty resulting from limited educational and economic opportunities.” Some racial/ethnic minority groups, as well as women, are at greater risk for experiencing multiple types of ACEs.

If you are interested in learning more about ACEs and whether you have experienced any of them, you can take an ACEs quiz at americanspcc.org/take-the-aces-quiz

Help for children when parents misuse substances

Most people have heard of AA or NA, also known as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, respectively. But did you know that there are also similar support group organizations for those who have loved ones with an addiction? Al-Anon is “a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.” Locally in Greenfield, these individuals can find support groups located at Bradley United Methodist, Amity United Methodist and The Way Out Club. Teens who are struggling with the effects of someone else’s drinking can attend an Alateen support group, with local options at Trinity Lutheran Church in Indianapolis or Ascension St. Vincent Anderson Center in Anderson.

The Support Navigators at the Healthy365 Connection Center can also provide a non-judgmental confidential listening ear for families and children affected by loved ones who misuse substances. We would be honored to connect you to local organizations and resources that can alleviate your suffering and improve your family’s overall wellness. Over the last few years, our Support Navigators have developed hundreds of meaningful relationships, partnered with numerous local organizations and offered support to many local families and individuals in their journey towards better mental health and freedom from substance misuse.

Contact us at 317-468-4231 or visit the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd. Suite G in Greenfield to work with a Support Navigator today!

Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a time to celebrate and honor those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. Pride is celebrated in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, often known as one of the first major demonstrations for gay liberation. At Healthy365, we serve and respect everyone in our local Central Indiana community, no matter your sexual or gender identity, and we also recognize that this population may be in greater need of our services. Let’s explore why mental health should be an important focus for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Higher rates of mental health issues

According to the American Psychiatric Association, LGBTQ+ individuals are “2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.” It is very important to note that being LGBTQ+ is not a mental disorder, as recognized by all major professional mental health organizations, but that the stigma and discrimination faced by this population can correlate with higher rates of mental health issues. 

Many LGBTQ+ individuals report that they have experienced discrimination when trying to access health services, and some may put off or avoid healthcare/treatment altogether because of this stigma. People in this community may also have less social support than others, including from family and close friends. This isolation and trauma can have major impacts on mental health, including comorbid disorders such as anxiety, substance misuse, depression, PTSD or suicidal thoughts. 

Marginalized communities within LGBTQ+

Although LGBTQ+ individuals, in general, are more likely to be victims of violence and discrimination, there are even smaller subsections of the community that are at a higher risk of mental health concerns. For example, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), transgender individuals “are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.” 

Further, transgender individuals who identify as Black, Latino, Native American or Mixed Race are at an even higher risk of suicide attempts than the white transgender population. Young people in the LGBTQ+ community also experience higher rates of mental health concerns, with a four times higher rate of suicide attempts for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times higher for questioning youth compared to straight teens. 

How allies and education can help

Recognizing these statistics is an important first step to helping those in the LGBTQ+ community. If you have a loved one who identifies with a sexual or gender identity that is different from your own, you can actively listen to their needs and offer support wherever you can. Educate yourself on how to be a good ally, including asking respectful questions, taking the LGBTQ+ person’s lead on inclusive language, and asking for preferred pronouns/offering your own. If you make a mistake in how you refer to someone, apologize sincerely and try again. 

Pride celebrations, like our local Indy Pride in Indianapolis, are another great way for LGBTQ+ individuals to connect with others and feel less alone. Increasing visibility is very validating when many in this population may feel isolated within their family or a small town. Feeling connected to a community can have wonderful benefits for positive mental health, so celebrating Pride and the rich history of the LGBTQ+ population, even as an ally, can make a big difference in showing others you care. 

At Healthy365, our Support Navigators are happy to provide a confidential listening ear to our clients and would be honored to connect you or a loved one with an LGBTQ+ affirming mental health professional. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 to learn more about the services we can provide for those struggling with mental health, substance misuse and more. And once again, Happy Pride!