Last week we discussed National Recovery Month, which takes place every September. It is a topic that we at PACE Recovery Center feel is vital, given that the need to raise awareness about addiction treatment services is crucial to the health of our society. Addiction is a disease which meets the criteria for being a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The importance for providing adequate and effective, science-based recovery solutions cannot be overemphasized. Millions of Americans struggle with this debilitating illness every year, and without treatment the outcomes are never favorable.
Addiction is one of the leading causes of premature and preventable deaths. While many of the people who lose their life to the disorder die from an overdose or alcohol and drug related health complications, there are many Americans who decide to take their own life because they can no longer endure living in the depths of despair that typifies addiction. What’s more, people living with untreated mental illness will often self-medicate in order to cope with the symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder. The drugs and alcohol may appear to mitigate their symptoms for a time, but in the long run, mind altering substances that are used for coping will typically result in addiction and only serve to exacerbate one’s mental illness symptoms they experienced in the first place.
In the field of addiction recovery, it is common for people to be living with both addiction and another form of mental health disorder. When this is the case, it is referred to in clinical settings as having a co-occurring disorder (also referred to as a dual diagnosis). As time goes by, addiction professionals are finding that it is more common for a client to have a co-occurring disorders than not. More importantly, it is paramount that addiction treatment centers address both the addiction and secondary condition, if recovery is to be possible.
A failure to treat the whole patient will, more times than not, result in a relapse. At PACE, we make sure that all of our patient’s mental health needs are addressed. We work closely with physicians and mental health care providers, so that we can create a treatment plan that will ensure the best chance of success for our patients and their families. The stakes are extremely high; we know first-hand that mental illness that is not tended to appropriately will often lead to patients opting for a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
While September is in fact National Recovery Month, it is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is worth pointing out that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Young adults living with mental illness are much more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, which in turn leads to a co-occurring disorder. During the month of September, we hope that everyone will do their part to raise awareness about suicide prevention and help break the stigma that has long accompanied talking openly about mental illness. By doing so, we all can play an active role in encouraging young people to seek help, potentially averting suicidal ideations from coming to fruition.
On September 10, 2016, NAMI would like everyone to observe World Suicide Prevention Day. The organization aims to:
- Reach out to those affected by suicide.
- Raise Awareness
- And connect individuals in need to treatment services.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness would also like as many people as possible to share the banner located below on social media. You can help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness using #suicideprevention or #IAmStigmaFree.