Most people are well aware that some percentage of the population grapples with a substance abuse issue, and that trends in the precise substances used may change from time to time, but difficulties that arise as a result remain largely the same. Problems at work, within social lives, and at home can easily arise in the presence of substance abuse issues, and there are many factors that can compound the negative potential of drinking or drug use. But many people are not clear about the fact that experiencing mental health difficulties in conjunction with a substance abuse issue can be a great indication of serious risks to personal health and safety, a lack of understanding that may contribute to further suffering, such as in the case of one young adult with dual diagnoses who recently committed suicide.
The young man’s story may sound exotic–multiple trips in and out of mental health facilities, rehabilitations and relapses with substance abuse, and extreme difficulty finding treatment to collaboratively address both issues–yet his situation is likely shared by many who struggle with substance abuse and mental health concerns at the same time. The man’s parents express their remorse over their inability to find treatment capable of addressing both concerns in a meaningful way, an inability that they believe ultimately led to their son’s death.
Seeking new ways of identifying and treating substance abuse problems in those with mental health difficulties as well as screening addicts for symptoms of poor mental health and following up with comprehensive care are crucial in the effort to help all people, no matter how complex their situations, find their path to living with prosperity, happiness, and a sense of self-empowerment.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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