Tag Archives: suicidal ideations

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

addiction

Unemployment, social isolation, and uncertainty are words all too familiar to millions of Americans in 2020—owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless men and women have struggled to stay afloat during these trying times, especially for those who suffer from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders, which have come to be known as “diseases of despair.”

Recent polling data shows that:

More than half of the people who lost income or employment reported negative mental health impacts from worry or stress over coronavirus; and lower income people report higher rates of major negative mental health impacts compared to higher income people.”

Even those working a program of recovery have found it challenging to keep themselves on track. Relapse rates and overdose rates are up across the country. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports…suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.”

More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.”

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

When life becomes more difficult, people are more apt to turn to mind-altering substances to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This summer, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alcohol use and substance use disorders are on the rise this year as many people try to grapple with this new way of life. However, alcohol and drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors have been steadily rising for the last decade following the great recession.

Between 2009 and 2018, diseases of despair rose 170 percent, HealthDay reports. Alcohol use disorders increased in practically every age group. Substance use disorder diagnoses increased by 94 percent. New research suggests that diseases of despair can be linked to:

  • Economic Decline
  • Stagnant Wages
  • Fewer Community Ties
  • Unemployment

Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate of suicidal ideations and behaviors rose by 210 percent, according to the research appearing in the BMJ Open. What’s more, the researchers report that men had almost 50 percent higher odds of being diagnosed with a disease of despair than women. The new study included 12 million Americans.

Study author Emily Brignone – a senior research assistant – reports that it will take many years before we fully understand the pandemic’s impact on diseases of despair. She adds, however:

There is some evidence of COVID-19-related changes in diseases of despair, including increases in opioid overdoses and high numbers of people reporting suicidal thoughts. Diseases and deaths of despair represent an urgent public health issue, and the COVID-19 pandemic in some respects may exacerbate the conditions that give rise to these problems.”

Talking About Mental Health and Addiction

Evidence-based treatments exist, which can help individuals find recovery and get their life back on track. Addiction and mental health treatment work and people need to feel comfortable reaching out for help. Unfortunately, stigma still stands in the way of getting help for many Americans.

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer for the Well Being Trust, calls the new study a “call to action,” according to the article. He says helping people get back to work is one preventive measure against diseases of despair. He adds that employment could lessen the pandemic’s impact on addiction and mental illness rates.

More importantly, Miller says people need to be able to have conversations about addiction and mental health. He adds:

We have to look at how to embrace the hard conversations around mental health and addiction. We need to know how to talk to each other, and be empathetic and supportive.”

Talking about behavioral and mental health disorders isn’t easy. Reaching out for help takes much courage, but it saves lives. If you know someone who is struggling, please take the time to lend them an empathetic ear.

Behavioral and Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we treat men struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Our team relies upon evidence-based treatment to help men find the gift of recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2019: You’re Not Alone

suicide prevention awareness month1

Even though suicidal ideations are treatable, and suicide is preventable, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Men and women take their lives for several reasons, but mental illness is a factor more times than not. During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it’s vital to talk about mental health and how seeking help saves lives.

The fact that Suicide Prevention Awareness Month coincides with National Recovery Month is beneficial. Addiction is a form of mental illness that often plays a role in people’s decision to end their lives. Mental health is beneficial to overall health, and encouraging people affected by mental health conditions to get the care they need is paramount.

When individuals receive evidence-based treatment, they can lead healthy and productive lives. Such people need to be made to understand that they are not alone and that others have been in their shoes. They require compassion and understanding from their communities, not stigma and shame.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) work tirelessly to encourage society to care more about people with mental illness. NAMI aims to shatter the stigmas and myths that present barriers to treatment and recovery. During Suicide Prevention Month, we can all make a positive impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Your kindness, compassion, and participation are instrumental in inspiring people to reach out for support.

WhyCare? About Mental Health

One in five adults in America experiences a mental health condition in a given year, according to NAMI. One in 25 adults deals with a severe mental illness in a given year. Those who are unwilling or unable to access adequate support are at significant risk of developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s not a coincidence that co-occurring substance use disorders often accompany mental illnesses like depression.

Using drugs and alcohol is just one of the harmful ways that men and women cope with mental diseases. Many will resort to self-harm to deal with their symptoms, which can progress to suicidal thoughts and actions over time. NAMI reports that 46 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. What’s more, psychological autopsies reveal that up to 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

Sadly, too many men and women are reluctant to seek assistance for their mental illnesses or tell people about their negative thoughts. Too often, they feel cut off from society and alone; stigmas force people to keep their issues secret from their peers. Nothing good ever arises from suffering in silence. We have an obligation to combat stigmas, open up dialogues, and support those who are struggling.

NAMI’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month WhyCare? campaign asks everyone to show that we care about people living with mental illness. The organization would like your help in disseminating stories of hope, awareness messaging, and infographics on social media. The campaign writes:

Care has the power to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Through our own words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

If you are in recovery from mental illness or are a suicide survivor, NAMI has created two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression. You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk are vehicles for men and women to inspire others with similar experiences.

Your encouragement and support let people who need help know that they are not alone. You are welcome to share your experience anonymously via several mediums, including poetry, song lyrics, inspirational quotes, drawings, photos, and videos.

You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspectives. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.

Orange County Mental Health Program for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we help adult men recover from mental health disorders. Please contact us today if you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness. Our highly credentialed clinical staff assists clients in identifying specific recovery goals and achieve their goals while preparing for productive, independent living.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text NAMI to 741741 or call 911 immediately.

Contact Us

...
PACE Recovery Center is an essential business. Click for more information about PACE's COVID-19 protocols and residential treatment options during COVID-19.
close