Posts Tagged ‘vicodin’

UPDATED: SWALLOW Featured Post: Little Slices of Death

March 12, 2010

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Heath Ledger as "The Joker" in 2008's "The Dark Knight"


MaximSM

Sleep Deprivation and the Unholy Trinity of Celebrity Death
by Maxim W. Furek, MA, CAC, ICADC
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“Sleep, those little slices of death; Oh how I loathe them.” —Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)

The common denominator connecting the deaths of celebrities Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson was prescription drug abuse triggered by chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a serious condition that can become deadly. It is one of the most common health complaints, caused by insomnia or sleeplessness, and can lead to impaired mental and physical health. After periods of reduced sleep, brain neurons may begin to malfunction, visibly affecting a person’s behavior. In sleep-deprived subjects, there is no activity in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex, which is associated with the processing of language (Ledoux, 2008). Thus, in these individuals, there are signs of slurred speech, stuttering, speaking in a monotone voice or speaking at a slower pace than normal.

Other behavioral changes may include mood changes, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, or lack of interest or motivation, social or vocational dysfunction, including increased errors or accidents, decreased attention span and tension, headache, or stomach symptoms (Peters, 2009). Extreme anxiety caused by poor sleep patterns may contribute to irrational and dangerous behaviors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities (Breus, 2009).

Heath Ledger
Actor Heath Ledger suffered from chronic sleep deprivation. Ledger won critical acclaim for The Patriot, Monster’s Ball and a best actor Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain. Success, however, began to take its toll as a cluster of life stressors contributed to his eventual unraveling. His personal life was also unraveling. Ledger had just ended his relationship with actress Michelle Williams and was involved in a fierce custody dispute over their daughter Matilda.  Ledger, who suffered from chronic insomnia and anxiety, was forced to deal with the additional pressures of success and demands for increased creative output. Too many sleepless nights were coupled with exhausting film shoots, red-carpet events and grueling press campaigns. He told the New York Times in 2007, “Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” (CNN,2008). Prior to his tragic overdose the sleep-deprived and physically exhausted actor is believed to have been fighting off effects of walking pneumonia. Ledger died on January 22, 2008, his 28-year-old body discovered in a loft on Broome Street in New York’s SoHo district. The actor died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications, including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills. The New York City medical examiner’s office determined that “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”

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Told Ya: FDA “Advisory Panel” Recommends Ban on Percocet and Vicodin

July 2, 2009

More on this later. For now, check out the New York Times article.

Demerol Did It??? Developing…

June 27, 2009


The Sun: Michael Jackson’s deadly cocktail of drugs

American Chronicle: Pop King’s Medic Faces Questions Over Drug Jab Claims

Soon on SWALLOW: Interview with Michael Stein, author of “The Addict”

May 10, 2009
The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year By Michael Stein

"The Addict" by Michael Stein

UPDATE: 5/16/09—The interview is now posted. Click here.

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Finally, someone has managed to write (and no less managed to publish!) an intelligent and insightful account of the epidemic of painkiller addiction. Author and novelist Michael Stein recently released “The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year” (William Morrow/HarperCollins 3/31/09), focusing his considerable writing skills on a subject he knows a great deal about—opiate addiction.

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend that you read this book. Dr. Stein is the kind of physician everyone suffering from addiction deserves, but unfortunately most will never meet.

Keep an eye on SWALLOW for my upcoming interview with author Michael Stein.

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Michael Stein’s Website.

Image courtesy HarperCollins Publishers.

“Why Don’t You Just Shut the F*ck Up?”

March 16, 2009

shutthefuckup2

These words of wisdom were proffered to me not so long ago by a good friend of mine, Vince. And by good friend I mean someone who will tell you like it is. These types of people are rarer than you might think. Ask yourself how many of your friends fit this description.

What Vince meant by this is, “you have a pretty good life… and a lot to be thankful for… a lot to be grateful for… so quit bitching”. Take a minute, take a breath, and take stock of your own life. I bet you’ll come to pretty much the same conclusion.

Now, pick your chin up and get on with the rest of your day. And don’t forget to shut the fuck up.