Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

“I learned that I was a person and I was not my disease and that it was okay my kids could not keep me sober,” says Freedom House alumna Christina Compton

Three years ago, Christina Compton was in an incredibly dark period of her life after struggling with addiction to the point where she lost custody of her two kids and was arrested while pregnant with her third child.

“I felt like there was no hope or no chance,” Compton, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I carried around so much guilt and shame from losing my other kids and I felt like they should’ve been enough to keep me sober, [but] it wasn’t. I never understood what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t stop doing drugs or alcohol.”

Elsewhere in Kentucky, mom Brittany Edwards was also struggling with her substance addiction and had lost custody of her four kids.

“Since I can remember, I’ve been a drug addict,” says Edwards, now 31. “It took me many, many years to realize I needed help.”

However, in the time since then, both Compton and Edwards have turned their lives around — thanks to the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America and their treatment center, The Freedom House, which helps pregnant women and moms stay with their kids while recovering.

Edwards was the Manchester Freedom House’s first graduate this past July, while Compton finished Louisville’s program in August 2017 and now works there as a therapist, technician, peer support specialist and intake specialist.

RELATED: Introducing PEOPLE’s Mental Health Initiative: Let’s Talk About It

Courtesy Christina Compton Christina Compton with her kids, Christina, CaRon and Wyatt

Volunteers of America Brittany Edwards with her kids Rylen, Ally, Jackson and Bentley

“Without them, I don’t know where I would have ended up,” Compton says of the facility. “You go into rehab saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to learn about my disease. I’m going to get sober,’ and Volunteers of America gave me so much more than that.”

Adds Edwards: “I’ve never completed anything in my life except for this program… Being an addict, it’s hard. No one is immune to addiction and they just taught me how to accept life on life’s terms and be okay with that.”

For Compton, her history with substance abuse began at age 9 after she suffered an injury from gymnastics and was given narcotic pain medication.

“I remember taking those and liking the way that they made me feel,” she recalls, adding that she “went off the deep end” after her mom died when Compton was in the eighth grade.

By 19, Compton was a mother of two but still using drugs and alcohol in what she says became “a vicious cycle” and caused her to lose custody of her kids.

“I just felt like this empty vessel of a woman and a failure,” she explains. “Because the one thing in my mind that

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Definition, risk factors, and how to overcome

“Suicidal tendencies” is a term that people sometimes use to describe someone who may be “at risk of suicide.” However, it is not a correct term, as suicide is not a characteristic that a person would have a “tendency toward.”

Someone who is at risk of suicide may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. These can range from vague thoughts of not wanting to exist anymore to being intentional about planning a way to end one’s own life.

Keep reading to learn more about risk factors for suicide and how to overcome them. We also provide some tips on coping with stress and depression.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.

Click here for more links and local resources.

A growing amount of scientific evidence suggests that there may be a genetic link associated with suicide.

A 2012 meta-analysis examined people with a psychiatric diagnosis and noted that those with a certain gene variation had a greater risk of suicidal behavior.

Family studies also suggest some genetic involvement. Researchers who reviewed studies that explored this link highlighted an array of evidence suggesting that relatives of people who have attempted or died by suicide may be at a greater risk of death by suicide than relatives of those who have not.

However, what places a person at risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior is multifaceted. It likely involves an interaction among genetic factors, learned behaviors, and personal circumstances.

That said, it is extremely important to note that if a person has a family member who dies by suicide, it absolutely does not mean that they will too. The data above are purely statistical, and mental health is a complex issue that reaches far beyond the limits of statistical data.

Aside from a family history of suicide, there are many other potential risk factors that may lead to suicidal behavior. Suicide is strongly linked to depression. However, it is important to note that there is rarely one single cause of suicide.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, risk factors for suicide may include:

Health-related factors

A variety of health conditions can increase a person’s risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. These include:

  • mental health conditions
    • aggressive behavior, mood swings, and difficulty maintaining relationships
    • anxiety disorders
    • bipolar disorder
    • contact disorder
    • depression
    • problems with substance use
  • severe physical health conditions, such as pain
  • traumatic brain injury

Environmental factors

External influences that can

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Going to the Dentist

One of the major phobias that people, both adults and children alike, have is the fear of going to the dentist. Just the thought of sitting in that space-age dental chair and the dentist looming ominously over us is enough to set the heart pumping. Throw in all the scary instruments lying in plain view and it’s a wonder we don’t just get up and run for our life!

This fear of dentists has gained enough importance to be christened with many exotic names like dentist phobia, dento-phobia, odonto-phobia, etc. Dental fear and anxiety are considered a serious affliction and many methods are being devised to tackle this very real fear. It is quite common to find people who would rather endure excruciating tooth pain than go to the dentist to get relief.

If you are here reading this article, you are probably one of the majority who hate the idea of making a dental appointment. It might be the thought of keeping your mouth open while a masked stranger prods and pokes your gums and teeth with instruments that make fearful noises. Or it could be the anticipation of pain that is making you apprehensive.

This kind of dental fear is very common and is in fact a universal phenomenon. There are those who are fearful because of previous bad experiences with dentists and then there are those who have heard someone narrate their horrifying experiences. Whether you are someone with a direct bad experience or someone with an indirect experience, there is still hope.

Dental procedures and even the training giving to dentists have improved dramatically over the years. Dental offices are no longer scary places. They are now staffed with warm and friendly hygienists who make sure you are comfortable. The ambience of the waiting room is definitely better than before.

Some dental clinics play soft music in the background to help you relax. A good dentist will spend considerable time getting acquainted with you and will help you relax before peering into your mouth. They also take time to explain what is wrong and what needs to be done to set your teeth straight.

‘Tell-Show-Do Technique’ is followed by most dentists in modern times. This technique makes sure that the dentist has described and discussed the problem in detail with the patient, has shown him or her what needs to be done and how painlessly it can be done, and only then proceeds with doing the actual procedure.

This sort of open communication between the dentist and the patient is absolutely necessary for managing ‘dental fears’. This should calm you down sufficiently. However, if you have a serious case of dental heebie-jeebies, you can go for help to one of the several clinics that have been set up to treat and manage this issue under medical supervision.

Interestingly, fear measurement instruments like the ‘Modified Dental Anxiety Scale’ and the ‘Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale’ are used to determine the level of fear in a person. Based on …

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