The NFL Super Bowl kicks off this Sunday February 1, bringing the 2014 - 2015 football season to an end. Super Bowl Sunday means dips, chips, funny commercials and Buffalo wings. Football games are often a time of camaraderie, rivalries and fandom. Many studies have even shown a link between reduced depression and better mental health thanks to the sense of community sports fans feel.
However there is another major component of the NFL that doesn’t get the same airtime as the Super Bowl - prescription painkillers. According to a lawsuit filed by a group of former NFL players, the NFL allegedly administered illegal painkillers to injured players that numbed their injuries and led to addiction and substance abuse.
In addition to the physical pain that is masked by narcotics and prescription drugs, one’s emotional pain becomes numbed as well, blocking out depression, emotional breakage and grief. The opioids that are often prescribed for physical relief stimulate euphoria in the brain’s reward center. This euphoria puts users at risk of getting trapped in the vicious cycle of dependency.
Unfortunately these former players are not alone. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that 2.1 million Americans suffer from substance abuse related to prescription painkillers, and anywhere from 26.4 million to 36 million people worldwide.
Brookhaven Retreat believes that addiction and substance abuse are not stand-alone disease in themselves, but are often symptoms of a larger illness such as depression, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorders. In order to stop these negative and empty feelings, many women self-medicate with pain killers. Brookhaven Retreat helps these women safely detox from drugs or alcohol and explores safe alternatives for managing any chronic pain. Once detoxed, each client works directly with her primary therapist to uncover the root cause of her self-medication. Brookhaven Retreat’s healing environment encourages self-esteem and self-love to being nurturing their physical, emotional and mental health, breaking the cycle of shame, emptiness and dependence.