Heath Ledger Found Dead—Where is the Meaning?
28-year-old actor Heath Ledger is known for starring in some of the most popular movie hits of recent years including Breakback Mountain and the upcoming Batman sequel “Dark Knight.” Today January 22, 2008 he is found dead in residence in Soho. Possibly this is a drug overdose, or was it something else?
Recently we have all watched the downward spiral of some of Hollywood’s elite. An all too real danger of these episodes is a mirror effect where teens set patterns for their behavior based on these star studded examples.
Whether Heath Ledger’s death was an accidental drug overdose or an intended suicide, both display a similar pattern. Although some may disagree, happy people simply do not take drugs as a life style. We all react to conflicts and emotional turbulence differently. Regardless of why many reach a point where their thoughts overwhelm them with despair, not having the tools to change those thoughts leads a person to either lose hope, or attempt to drown out the noise with drugs or booze, often leading to heavy use and/or suicide.
Consider that suicide remains among the top ten causes of death in the United States, while the third leading cause for those 10-24. It’s a leading cause of death worldwide.
Drug overdoses are accelerating. The CDC reports, “Between 1999 and 2002 the number of overdose death certificates that mention poisoning by opioid pain killers went up by 91.2%. While the pain killer category showed the greatest increase, death certificates pointing a finger of blame at heroin and cocaine also increased by 12.4% and 22.8% respectively.”
With numbers rising and the youth rates increasing we have to get involved with and pay attention to the behavior of our family and friends. Sitting back is not an option. Let Ledger’s death be used not as behavior to follow, but as a wake up call for us to recognize, and act, when someone we know is in trouble.
Learn the risk factors for both suicide and drug overdose use.
For both drug use and potential suicide attempt common behaviors are:
· Isolating and a lack of enjoyment in things they usually enjoy.
· Changes in sleep pattern: sleeping all the time, tired, or insomnia.
· Changes in appetite: loss of hunger or overeating.
· Moodiness: outbursts of anger, frustration or crying a lot.
· Loss of focus and difficulty concentrating.
· Feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless.
Drug overdoses often start out as mild partying to compensate for emotional issues, but this leads to constant partying. Claiming to be in control and that “it’s no big deal,” is the marching tune of a person headed for disaster.
People feeling suicidal may mention or talk about death. “Wouldn’t it be funny if…?” “What if I wasn’t here?”
“No one would miss me if I just kicked off.” These are comments to be taken seriously.
If you know a family member or a friend has suffered from a recent emotional crisis, or they show signs mentioned here,
talk to them, get involved, and see medical professional help.