world mental health day

Reflecting on Mental Health in 2020

World Mental Health Day, October 10th

We all have the opportunity to help the world come together on World Mental Health Day. On this day we try to make a difference regarding the neglect of mental health in the past. World Mental Health Day offers the opportunity to make life-affirming changes and take action to improve mental health around the world. 

By recognizing these illnesses and the effects they can have on people, we can slowly begin to make a difference together. Offering a helping hand to close relatives or friends can go a long way. The first International Health Mental Day took place 30 years ago. Since then, the push for awareness and mental health help has continued to rise.  

A Closer Look at Mental Health

Information on mental health can be found on the internet, magazines, and newspaper articles. Around the world, people are continuing to make improvements to mental health systems. Learning and being informed about mental health issues can go a long way. 

Fortunately, you can be a participant in this year’s International Mental Health Day on October 10th. If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental illness, help is just around the corner. At Discovery, we believe that everyone deserves to live a healthier and better life, regardless of where you are. This is one of the main pillars of World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day and the Pandemic

COVID-19 has completely changed our world in dramatic ways. We are living in difficult times as many people are indoors trying to quarantine. This quarantine and lack of contact can make getting help that much harder. But it’s important to know that help is still available and achievable, even during quarantine. 

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with stresses like COVID-19. There’s a new level of paranoia that has caused fear, stress, and anxiety within many people and families. Social isolation has also contributed to the spike in mental or substance use issues in homes around the country. This is especially true if you lost anyone to the virus during these lonely times. 

Does International Mental Health Day Help with Mental Health Stigmas?

There are certain negative stigmas around mental health. People may judge a person for their personal characteristics or traits. With this in mind, it’s important to know that no one should be judged by how they think or feel. Stigmas can have negative effects on how people perceive getting help and necessary treatment. 

World Mental Health day is meant to break this negative stigma and show that those struggling with mental illness are not alone. International Mental Health Day is helping to change negative beliefs and attitudes.Whether it is intentional or not, negative comments about your mental health hurt. However, this should not stop anyone from getting the treatment they need. 

Are you being judged as dangerous, violent, or unstable just because you have substance use or mental issues? 

Are you judging yourself? 

Answering yes to any of these questions means this day is even more important for your mental stability. 

Harmful Effects of Stigma

If you are being treated unfairly due to stigma, you may be experiencing one or more of the following.

  • Reluctance to ask for treatment or help
  • Feeling of having fewer opportunities for social activities, employment, or housing
  • Worried your treatment is not covered by your health insurance
  • Your friends, family, and co-workers do not understand what you are going through
  • Belief that you are unable to improve your situation or succeed
  • Suffering from harassment, violence, or bullying

Mental Health Statistics in the United States

Mental health statistics in the United States speaks volumes about the current state of mental health. Approximately 46.6 adults in the U.S. (over the age of 18) suffered from a mental illness in 2017. 18.9 percent of every adult in the U.S. (Roughly 22.3 percent of women and 15.1 percent of men) are currently suffering from mental illness.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are affected the most at 25.8 percent. The percentage for adults (between 26 and 49 years of age) is 22.2 percent with people over 50 at 13.8 percent. Those who are mixed race were in the 28.6 percentage, white  was 20.4, and Asian at 14.5.

Is Addiction Considered a Mental Illness?

What many don’t realize is that substance use is considered a mental illness. This is because a person’s normal priorities and desires change. A person may not be able to go to school, work, or sustain a good relationship with family and friends. These issues are a good indication of the importance of mental health awareness.

Celebrating Mental Health Day

There are many different ways of celebrating Mental Health Day. Helping to raise awareness regarding substance use and mental health awareness, and helping loved ones understand their mental illnesses are both great ways to help. Also thinking about one’s own well being is part of today’s event. 

There are different things a person can do to push for a healthier mind. Exercise is a great way to improve both a person’s physical and mental health. Spending time with your friends and family, painting, or writing in your journal are all ways to stay mentally healthy. If you or a friend is struggling with a mental illness, don’t be afraid to speak with a counselor. 

Going to a counselor offers support, guidance, and help, regardless of whether or not a person has mental illness symptoms. Stressful events can push people over the edge mentally. This is why it can be beneficial to speak to a professional.

Thinking of the bigger picture, there are many ways to raise awareness. While a person’s mental health is important every day of the year, today we reiterate its importance. This is the reason why staying educated and informed can help others to seek help if needed. Today, don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to a friend in need.  

Symptoms Linked to Mental Illness or Addiction?

With drug addiction and mental illnesses, there are a number of specific symptoms depending on the drug. However, there is a common handful of behavior changes that can indicate a deeper problem. Some of these general signs include:

  • Changing behavior
  • Neglecting your hygiene and health
  • Refusing to ask for treatment
  • Impulsive or erratic behavior
  • Avoiding social activities or events you used to enjoy
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Disillusioned thinking
  • Difficulty with your daily responsibilities and tasks
  • Suicidal thoughts or exhibiting suicidal behavior
  • Difficulty managing your finances

Types of Treatments Available for Mental Illness and Addiction

There are a number of effective treatment options for both a mental illness and addiction. Psychologists, physicians, counselors, mental health aides, and nurses are all available to help. Some treatment options may work better than others, so it’s important to be informed of each of them. Let’s take a look at some of the more common forms of addiction and mental health treatment. 

Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis occurs when someone is struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental illness. This type of condition typically requires intensive treatment (usually residential). Over time these two illnesses can begin to feed off each other, which only worsens the situation. A vicious cycle can occur where a person needs a substance to cope with their mental illness. 

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is a common type of intensive treatment. A person will receive care 24/7. Residential treatment includes a mix of  individual, group, family therapy, and support. Treatment can take anywhere from 28 days to six months or more. Living in a treatment center allows for full support and effective treatment for long term sobriety. 

Many times a person will receive help from licensed mental health workers to help them become and remain sober. A treatment center is available regardless of your age, type of substance use, mental health issues, personal trauma, and concerns. If you have previously received care, you might require residential treatment to help you succeed in long-term sobriety.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows a person to live out their life while still getting treatment. This typically consists of weekly meetings (that last around 2-3 hours each). Outpatient treatment is great for moderate cases of addiction and mental illness. It is convenient and gives people struggling with addiction help while managing their life at home. For more severe cases of addiction or mental illness, inpatient treatment is prefered. Inpatient (residential treatment) provides full 24/7 help. 

We’re ready to help you towards a better future. Let Discovery be your guide to a brighter, and healthier mind and body. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and addiction resources.

ocd and coronavirus

Managing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder During the Coronavirus Pandemic

People all over the entire globe are currently working through the effects of COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the lives of many individuals, causing a wave of changes to take place in everyday life.

Those who were suffering from mental health disorders prior to the spread of the virus are, no doubt, experiencing serious challenges due to the co-occurrence of these issues. So, if you’ve been dealing with OCD in addition to the impact of the pandemic, you have likely encountered some hurdles. But, here at Discovery Institute, we are dedicated to offering you the information and assistance you need throughout this time.

An Overview of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Often called OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder that affects the way people think, feel, and behave. Individuals who suffer from OCD frequently experience unwanted or unwarranted obsessive thoughts. They often have pressing and invasive thoughts or ideas that they cannot control.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also characterized by compulsive behavioral patterns. Those who suffer from OCD often struggle with compulsions as a result of obsessions. For instance, a person may have continuous thoughts of germs and remaining free from them. In an effort to appease those thoughts, the individual might frequently and excessively wash their hands.

Intense and uncontrollable fears, concerns, and challenges often affect the lives of those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can cause individuals to struggle with day-to-day tasks and routines. Those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder often experience anxiety, which can certainly impact life in a negative way.

OCD is characterized by an intense need for control. This can cause the sufferer to feel completely hopeless when placed in situations they cannot control. As such, the current coronavirus pandemic is likely to cause many individuals who suffer from this mental health disorder to experience a lack of control and, as a result, hope.

The Effects of a Pandemic: Coronavirus and OCD

COVID-19, a serious and deadly virus, has affected everyone throughout the globe, whether directly or indirectly. Many individuals have lost their lives or the lives of loved ones due to this coronavirus. Others have lost jobs and income. Also, others have been impacted by the shelter-in-place or stay home orders and lockdowns.

Business owners have felt the negative financial impact of this pandemic as many of them have been unable to remain open throughout this time. Employees and employers alike are dealing with the changes that are continuing to unfold.

Without a doubt, everyone has been experiencing the difficulties that come with not being able to control anything. People have been taking preventative measures and precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. But, being unable to cure or stop the virus completely has left countless people feeling hopeless and helpless.

But, for those who suffer from OCD, this lack of control and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness can have even more severe adverse effects. Obsessive-compulsive disorder often causes individuals to feel uneasy, anxious, and nervous in situations other people may deem bearable or easily manageable. So, now that a pandemic is in full effect, the impact on those who suffer from OCD is bound to be even more difficult to manage.

Coronavirus and OCD

All over the world, people are experiencing an understandable sense of fear and concern. What was once seen as “normalcy” is no longer reality. As people begin to adjust to what has now become normal, many individuals simply feel as though they are in a daze. Frequent handwashing, limited personal contact with others, mask-wearing, an increase in technology use, and much more are now daily activities.

Those who suffer from OCD may become overwhelmed by the fear of becoming ill or losing a loved one to the coronavirus. This can result in obsessions and compulsions that include the following:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Debilitating fear
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Constant worrying
  • Lack of sleep and rest
  • Excessive handwashing
  • Extreme thoughts of becoming ill
  • Constant checking on loved ones
  • Increased avoidance of people, places, and objects for fear of contracting or carrying the virus

Like most others, those who are living with OCD may struggle to feel safe and protected. But, these concerns are likely to experience these challenges in a more powerful and intense way. They can be debilitating and detrimental to the overall wellbeing and health of those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD and Addiction: How COVID-19 Impacts Dual Diagnosis Patients

Unfortunately, many people who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder also suffer from addiction. Those who struggle with the effects of OCD may develop an alcohol use disorder or drug use disorder in addition to their mental health disorder. This often causes very severe and serious problems in the suffering individual’s life. 

When addiction and OCD co-occur, the effects can be life-altering. Addiction can cause one’s life to truly spiral out of control, an issue that those with OCD are very likely to have difficulty handling. A lack of control can cause people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder to feel helpless and may lead to severely unhealthy cognitive and behavioral patterns and processes.

Individuals may think about harming themselves or others. Or, they may show signs of a lack of self-care and concern for their personal well-being. This can lead to problems with interpersonal relationships, performance at work, studies at school, and other daily activities and routines.

Excessive substance use only intensifies these issues, causing those who suffer from OCD and addiction to experience grave challenges in their lives. This is why it is of utmost importance for those who suffer from OCD and addiction to seek help and hope, especially during this global pandemic.

Tips for Self-Care and Symptom Management Throughout Pandemic

If you are currently working through the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder or even OCD and addiction, please seek help immediately. Perhaps, however, you are currently in recovery from substance dependence as you continue to live with OCD. In either case, it is important to take the best possible care of yourself.

During this time, it is necessary to work harder than ever to maintain mental, emotional, and physical health. So, even as curfews, lockdowns, and stay-home orders begin to lift, you can continue to take special care of your needs.

Here are some things you can do to maintain a healthy balance and take care of yourself while dealing with the impact of OCD during a pandemic:

Try not to read everything.

It’s tempting to look at every single update on the coronavirus, examining multiple accounts, stories, and coverage on the topic. But, while it’s absolutely important to stay informed on this matter, it can become overwhelming and mentally draining. 

With updates continuously changing and knowledge on the virus continuously evolving, keeping up can be exhausting. Stay up-to-date, but try to avoid reading every little bit of news that comes out. 

You may even consider having a friend or family member give you updates as needed. This will help to prevent any anxiety that may come with closely following the news.

Get the proper amount of rest.

Be sure to get enough sleep at night and rest during the day when you can. It’s certainly difficult to do this when anxiety levels are high. But, do your best to find things that help you to relax and rest more easily.

This may include calming music. Create a playlist that can help you to calm down and relax before bed. You may also engage in nightly stretches, which can help yo relax your muscles and release tension in your body.

Participate in activities that you enjoy.

While going out and about is still somewhat limited, you may find that you can have fun right there at home. If you like to paint or draw, you might consider taking up that hobby again. Go for bike rides if you feel comfortable doing so. (It is not probable that you will encounter crowds of people and it ensures that you get some fresh air!

You can also spend time with your family or roommates. Watch fun movies, listen to music, play instruments, read, do at-home workouts, and more!

Take a break from social media.

Although social media is a great platform where you can keep up with what’s going on in the world, it can be harmful. Social media platforms are often flooded with information and full of things that elicit emotions. It can be hard to maintain a balance as social media can be quite time-consuming.

Feel free to step away from it from time to time to clear your mind. This may prove to improve your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to your mind.

Your thoughts may be invasive. Your mind might be cluttered. You may feel mentally tired. But, be kind to your mind. You are going through something you’ve never had to face before. This pandemic is a new experience and it can be hard to work through all of the challenges that come with it. 

Taking time to think positive thoughts and engage in active self-care can help you tremendously. You may also find telehealth resources such as therapy and counseling to be very helpful throughout this time.

Contact Discovery Institute for Help Today!

Here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we understand the undeniable and absolute necessity of having services and resources at the disposal of those who need them. Our team is well aware of the needs people have regarding OCD, other mental health disorders, and substance use disorders.

But, we are also aware of the fact that each person who comes to us for help has unique and specific needs. Our team knows that every patient is in need of an individualized approach to treatment. So, we strive to offer this kind of assistance to each person who enters our recovery center.

If you have been struggling with the challenging effects of OCD during the coronavirus pandemic, please know that we are here to help. Even as the lockdown and stay home orders lift, the lingering effects of COVID-19 remain to impact people’s lives. So, rest assured that we will take full consideration of your needs as you reach out to us for help.

As our world works through the uncomfortable and unforeseen changes caused by this pandemic, Discovery Institute is here for you. Whether you are struggling with OCD and addiction or another dual diagnosis, we can assist you! 

You are not alone in your struggle and you do not need to try to work through it by yourself. Having support and guidance from professionals who understand will be of great importance during your journey to recovery and health. 

Please contact us here at Discovery Institute today to speak to one of our representatives. We will work to address your concerns and direct you toward the resources and services you need. We will work to help you move forward, toward a mentally, emotionally, and physically healthier version of yourself. Don’t wait; today is your day to begin a new journey!

Unemployment and Depression

Given the current state of how the average person navigates the workforce today, it’s almost expected that we will all experience unemployment at some point. There’s an uncertainty that accompanies unemployment itself, especially if it’s an unplanned event such a the company you work for goes out of business, has to downsize or your employment was terminated due to performance related reasons. The structure of employment tends to provide a sense of self worth through the act of being reliant on yourself to provide a means of living for you or your family. When this is involuntarily taken away, some people feel as if their self worth is taken away with it.

 

Self Doubt

Then the act of having to find another job through seemingly endless rejection can bring about a feeling about your lack of self worth being true. Even the grind of searching for work requires putting on your best display of yourself and having that ignored or rejected feels like your best isn’t good enough, even though it simply may not have anything to do with how skilled and talented you actually are. Still, the continued pressure that comes with rejection can lead to depression. This song and dance of finding employment leading to depression is bad on it’s own and it’s important to be optimistic and motivated. For some. the depression can be overwhelming which creates for certain people an reason to drug and alcohol use to self medicate for that feeling of a loss of self agency.

This situation isn’t as unique as it might feel considering societal views and media presentations on economic situations that are prescribed. No matter whether there’s an economic downturn or not, pressures of both your immediate ability to get work and the typical views of society that place the blame entirely on yourself for not having a job are felt by anyone who is in that position. The longer the unemployment lasts, the more time depression and anxiety surrounding your job search have time to set into motion perpetual depression. Many people who face depression will turn to alcohol, antidepressants and painkillers to cope.

 

Self Defeat

When depression and anxiety turn into self medication, the possibility of addiction becomes a higher risk for that person. Abusing substances in this way can interfere with the actions needed specifically to raise oneself out of unemployment. It becomes, sadly, a self fulfilling prophecy and perpetual cycle. Depending on the substances used and the companies applied to, even the presence of drugs in your system can prevent employment due to that company’s policies toward drug use at all, continuing the cycle of unemployment and depression caused by the unemployment itself.

Discovery InstituteIf you find yourself slipping down a spiral of depression due to unemployment coupled with substance abuse, it’s important to break the cycle. Professional treatment at Discovery New Jersey can help you to regain the confidence and control to get back on your feet. Contact us today to learn more

Mac Miller overdose

Mac Miller, the Stigma on Mental Illness, and Addiction

“No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile.” These famous lyrics to Mac Miller’s popular song ‘Best Day Ever’ could not have been further from the truth for the popular rapper who died of an apparent overdose on September 7th, 2018.

It is no understatement that Mac Miller’s music influenced a generation of teenagers and young adults. This musically gifted, middle-class kid from the suburbs related to this generation in a way that many other rappers, whose lyrics often mirrored the impoverished upbringing that tragically inhabits most of the genre, could not. Miller’s music was about optimism, growing up in the suburbs, and enjoying the average life that a typical high-schooler or college student could relate to. The rapper himself was presumed to be happy, which is why it came as such a shock that Mac Miller’s recent death was the result of a drug overdose.

Breaking The Stigma

Miller’s early music hit home with many teenagers in the average suburb home. He rapped about a life that certainly had its difficulties, yet mostly revolved around going to house parties, passing time with friends at the park, and so on. Unfortunately, his later music revealed Miller’s deeper struggle with addiction and depression.

Despite these lyrical clues, Mac Miller’s death still came as a shock to the nation. The reason for this surprise is unfortunately due to the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction. These struggles often hold people hostage in their own minds, keeping them in the dark to suffer alone. If you are struggling with an addiction or mental illness, there are plenty of ways to get help today.

Hard Lessons

Mac Miller’s overdose provokes society to examine some hard lessons related to meMac Miller overdosental illness and addiction. The first thing we can learn from this tragedy is that this struggle does not need to be kept a secret. While many rap lyrics might glorify drugs and substance abuse, most of these same artists actually struggle deeply in silence. Many may not even be aware that their behaviors actually reflect those of an addict.

Miller’s ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande revealed that the two did not talk about his addiction publicly for the most part, but it was still a very difficult situation. Addiction is a disease that needs to be cured, not a sinful taboo that shows weakness. If there is anything we can learn from Mac Miller’s overdose, it is that being open and real about the disease that addiction is can lead to a cure rather than an early death. Without open dialogue, there is no solution.

It Can Happen to Anyone

Another important lesson that we can learn from Mac Miller’s overdose is that it can happen to anyone. Miller was not alone on the night of his overdose. In fact, he was with friends watching sports the night of the tragedy, yet even those who are surrounded by many people may still be feeling a deep sense of loneliness and emptiness. Unfortunately in today’s world, we cannot assume that overdose will not affect us or our loved ones. We must be aware.

Despite these seemingly hidden negative feelings, there were certainly warning signs in Mac Miller’s music. Miller’s death shocked the world because his most recent album explored these issues of his inner demons that were over-powering. And yet, we assumed these were only lyrics.

Mac Miller influenced a generation of people, so there are likely plenty of people struggling just like him, and maybe just like you. It is unfortunate that it took Miller’s tragic death to produce outspoken honesty regarding addiction and mental illness, but the fact remains that addiction is often kept a secret until a tragedy occurs. You do not have to let this be the case for you.

Mac Miller’s career was one that fought for speaking out about addiction and mental illness, his tragic death woke up this generation to do just that. Recovery is real and treatment is available. Don’t let yourself become the next overdose story.

Getting Help

If you are experiencing a mental illness or a drug addiction, it is imperative that you seek help today. Contact Discovery Institute today by calling (844) 478-6563 and get the help you need to get better. Our team of compassionate counselors are available 24/7 to speak with you in complete confidentiality.

Please, do not hesitate to reach out. Break the cycle of addiction, and take your life back today. Let us help you recover from your disease.

Co-occurring Disorders, Double the Trouble

There are hundreds of rehabs in NJ accepting patients with dual diagnosis every day. Co-occurring disorders occur when a drug addict or alcoholic also suffers from a mental health disorder at the same time. It doesn’t matter which came first, the mental health disorder or the drug addiction, once the two occupy the same space in a patient, it’s almost impossible to extricate one without working to recover from the other at the same time.

According to Darrel A. Regier’s study of institutionalized dual diagnosis patients, the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study in the November 1990 Journal of the American Medical Association, almost 40% of people struggling with alcohol use disorder suffer from some kind of mental health disorder, over 50% of patients with a drug addiction also suffer from a mental health disorder. Those numbers are startling when you think about how few people tend to get treatment for either mental health disorders or addiction recovery. The two disorders continue to spur one another on exponentially, until both are treated simultaneously.

Common Dual Diagnosis

Regier’s study makes it clear that dual diagnosis are more than common, with over half of drug addicts reporting a co-occurring disorder. Some mental health complications lend themselves to substance abuse and addiction more than others. As someone is looking for dual diagnosis addiction treatment in New Jersey, they may be suffering from any of the following common mental health disorders all of which can drive addiction or that addiction will would likely exacerbate:

 

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Eating Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Personality Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD

 

Discovery InstituteGetting Treatment for Dual Diagnosis in New Jersey

Treatment for a person suffering from chemical dependency on alcohol or drugs as well as a mental health disorder is much the same as an addict without a dual diagnosis. The patient with the mental health comorbidity to their addiction still needs to go from detoxification to rehabilitation to relapse prevention, however a patient with the co-occurring disorder must have a recovery plan with an even deeper emphasis on individualized therapy. Their treatment must be based on their individual symptoms and needs. New Jersey detox will lay a foundation for a therapy focused rehab, and then a continuation of those treatments through outpatient aftercare. Through this treatment the patient should focus closely on learning life skills and behavioral therapy techniques to help them resist what may well be stronger than normal triggers and cravings.

 

With Discovery Institute you’ll find a quality treatment center with medically qualified licensed professionals there to guide you through each step of your treatment and make sure that each side of your dual diagnosis is treated. Call us today to learn more about our programs.

 

Nearly 20 Percent of New Jersey Residents Suffering from Mental Illness

Between 2011 and 2015, the average number of people in New Jersey who reported having a mental illness was a staggering 933,674. Though not every one of these nearly one-million people will have a dual diagnosis with substance abuse, many people with mental illness also have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

In these situations, it becomes imperative that people with a dual diagnosis seek a location that specializes in both addiction and mental illness. When it comes to locations that treat both of those disorders, the best bet in NJ is addiction treatment centers like Discovery. This is because rehab centers like ours work hard to address not only the physical aspect of the substance addiction, but the emotional and psychological as well. That means patients receive multiple types of therapies that tackle the root causes of addiction as well as disorders caused by the addiction.

 

While grabbing a cup of coffee during New Jersey rush hour, spending 40 hours a week at the office, or enjoying your daughter’s soccer game, you’ve likely interacted with someone who’s dealing with a mental illness.

That’s not as alarming as you might think.

While still stigmatized to some degree, individuals with mental health issues have become more willing to admit their disorders and seek help. Treatment services, meanwhile, have evolved to allow those with even the more severe mental illnesses to return to a normal and productive life.

 

Starting today, New Jersey 101.5 presents a five-day series on mental health in New Jersey and the impact of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behavior. Click Here to Continue Reading

First Responder PTSD and Addiction

How First Responder PTSD Can Lead to Addiction

The addiction treatment field sees everyone come through their doors, and first responders are no exception. First responders are people trained to respond in an emergency, such as:

  • police officers
  • firemen
  • emergency medical technicians
  • paramedics

This is a special group of people in our community, commended for their bravery and expected to be there for the rest of us when times get difficult. It is important to recognize that first responders are human too, and they do have the same emotions and weaknesses as the rest of us do.

The difference is that first responders have to deal with medical crisis’s and emergencies as part of their everyday life. They see injuries, death, and destruction on a scale that most people don’t realize. For this reason, things like first responder PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can be a very real contributor to drug and alcohol addiction.

First Responder PTSD and Addiction

Many rehabs like Discovery Institute in New Jersey cater specifically to this population. It is a recognition that the fearless are in fact human, and their needs are just as important as everyone else’s. A big problem in that community is that first responders are hesitant to ask for help when they need it. They don’t want to be perceived as weak or unable to help. The truth is that asking for help is one of the strongest things a person can do, no matter what their position is in life.

First Responders Need Specialized Treatment

For first responders, specialized treatment is usually necessary. The PTSD of dealing with death and violence is something that not everyone can leave behind after a day of work. For most, we have a bad day at work and return home to our families. The worst that happened was a paper cut. For first responders, they may have faced grave situations in which their own lives were in danger. It simply isn’t the same.

The stress level these people deal with is on a whole new level. And for that reason, individualized treatment and care are necessary. It is often spoken about how trauma treatment is a vital part of addiction treatment. For first responders, learning how to deal with trauma might be the primary tool in getting rid of addiction.

Just because they are “the strong and the brave” doesn’t mean that first responder PTSD isn’t an issue. We encourage people like firemen and police officers to accept help so that they can set a standard for others around them. When more people become open to accepting help for drug and alcohol addiction, the number of people saving their own lives through treatment will rise.

depression and addiction

Depression and Addiction is a Dangerous Combination

Mood disorders and drug and alcohol addiction frequently go hand in hand. Anxiety and addiction, bipolar disorder and addiction, and depression and addiction often coexist. It’s essential that these get treated simultaneously. However, depression and addiction can be an especially difficult and dangerous combination.

Depression and Addiction Can Be Lethal

Untreated depression can be a huge problem regardless of addiction being coexisting or not. Way too many people forgo treatment for depression because the stigma exists that depression isn’t real or that it can be fixed on its own. Untreated depression can cause a severe decline in life quality, and it can also cause people to have suicidal tendencies.

When addiction joins depression, there is often a steep decline in a person’s well-being. Drugs and alcohol can temporarily seem to help the problem but, eventually, it becomes even worse because of addiction. A person will eventually be unable to function without their substance of choice.

Many people who are depressed and abuse drugs and alcohol have suicidal tendencies. This can range from destructive behavior like cutting and burning to actual suicide attempts. Sometimes, people will purposely overdose on drugs or alcohol as an attempt to commit suicide. These actions don’t always lead to death, but without treatment, there are bound to be more attempts, and each attempt brings the person further towards succeeding.

Depression, Addiction, and Suicide

It happens all too frequently that a person commits suicide while they are under the influence of a drug or alcohol. In famous cases, you can look at legendary actor Robin Williams. Who knows if he would have actually carried out a suicide attempt if he had been sober.

It is hard to accurately determine the number of suicides because people often commit suicide by overdose. Without a suicide note or concrete evidence, it is impossible to know how many of the nearly 50,000 annual overdose deaths are actually suicides.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • 25 million Americans suffer from depression
  • 50% of people who successfully commit suicide have major depressive disorder
  • When alcoholics are depressed, the former number climbs to 75%
  • In 2014, there were over 40,000 suicide deaths
  • Depression is one of the most treatable mood disorders

With all this information, it is vital for people with depression to get help and stop self-medicating. Alcohol and drugs will only serve to inevitably make things worse. The best thing to do if you feel like you are suffering from depression is to talk to someone you trust and get professional help. Non-habit-forming medications can exist that will ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Abusing drugs and alcohol should never be an option because it will only make things worse.

Depression and Addiction: Otherwise Known as Dual-Diagnosis

People who are suffering from both depression and addiction have what is called a “dual diagnosis”. When an individual has a dual diagnosis, it means that he or she has two or more co-occurring disorders.

Although co-existing conditions don’t always include addiction, within the world of substance abuse treatment, the term “dual diagnosis” refers to a combination of addiction and another mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, many people who are currently dealing with depression are also suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse. It’s common to see this dual diagnosis among those who are struggling with substance dependence and addiction problems.

Sometimes, the symptoms of depression can be emotionally debilitating, causing problems in people’s everyday lives and disrupting normal routines. Here are some of the common symptoms of major depressive disorder:

  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Feelings of uselessness
  • Drastic behavioral changes
  • Intense feelings of sadness
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

Many of these symptoms, such as fatigue and loss of motivation, can cause people to have problems at work and at school. It may cause individuals to perform poorly in these settings as it becomes difficult to focus and concentrate when energy and motivation are lacking.

In severe cases of depression, people may suffer from intense symptoms like hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Living with the symptoms of depression, feeling their effects day in and day out can be overwhelming.

Often, depression is present before the development of addiction. In fact, in many cases, depression is one of the contributing factors that lead to addiction problems. For many individuals, major depressive disorder causes intense feelings of hopelessness and sadness. As a result, people often turn to alcohol or drug use to find peace.

This method of dealing with the effects of depression may seem helpful but it actually leads to more problems. Again, substance use can worsen the effects of clinical depression. So, it’s important to develop healthy ways to work through the symptoms of depression.

Getting Treatment for Depression and Addiction

Living with co-occurring disorders is far from easy. It’s challenging and can make daily life very difficult. If you’ve been suffering from substance abuse and clinical depression for a while, no doubt, you have often felt alone in your struggle. These issues may have left you feeling helpless and hopeless. Perhaps you’ve started to believe that there’s no way out.

We’ve got good news for you. Not only are you not alone, but you can also find your way out of the darkness of depression and addiction. Through a professional dual diagnosis program, you can overcome the effects of depression and alcoholism or drug abuse in your life.

At Discovery Institute, we understand the challenges of dealing with substance abuse. It’s not easy to overcome this problem. And, even once treatment is over, many people have trouble staying free from addiction. Relapse happens more often than many people realize. But, if you choose to get the right kind of help, you can prevent relapse from happening in your life.

In many cases, treatment focuses mainly or solely on addiction recovery. Although it’s important for people to overcome addiction, it’s necessary to also deal with the underlying causes and co-occurring disorders associated with the substance abuse problem.

If treatment fails to deal with these other elements, it’s likely that the individual will run into issues with his or her other disorders and lack the skills to deal with them in a healthy way. This often results in addiction relapse.

But, here at Discovery Institute, we work to approach addiction as well as all of the elements surrounding it. Through our dual diagnosis treatment program, we help our clients to overcome substance abuse and deal with things like depression, anxiety, stress, and much more.

So, if you’re looking for a facility that will help you become and remain free from addiction, please reach out to us today by calling (855) 706-9275.

References:

https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/depression-and-addiction-are-they-linked/

https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/02/depression-addiction-understanding-dual-diagnoses/