At the beginning of the month we wrote about the importance of National Recovery Month with regard to breaking the stigma of addiction, encouraging people to seek addiction treatment and recognizing the achievements made by those in recovery. Those who are actively working a program, and have been for some time, are fully aware of the gifts of recovery—without their program nothing they have today would be possible.
Addiction is a debilitating, life threatening mental illness. Left untreated, and without a continued program of spiritual maintenance, addiction will continue to drag you down into the depths of despair. Every year people’s lives are cut short because of their addiction, which is why it is so important that we continue to spread the message that: together we can, and do recover from this insidious disease of the mind.
Blurring the Lines of Mental Illness
In the field of addiction medicine, it is not rare for people living with a substance use disorder to also have another form of mental illness at play, such as depression. When that is the case, such patients are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. It is not all that important whether a person happens to have both addiction and another form of mental health disorder, or they developed a substance use disorder as a result of using drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of their untreated mental illness. What is important for ensuring a successful recovery is that both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorder be treated at the same time, failure to treat one and not the other can be disastrous—leading to a relapse.
The stakes are exceptionally high, mental illness is a matter of life and death. People who use drugs and alcohol to cope with conditions like depression or bipolar disorder, put themselves at risk of overdose. Mental health conditions that are not treated can lead people to make rash decisions out of despair. After living with the uphill battle of mental illness for years—whether it be addiction, depression or both—many choose to take their own life. It is paramount that people who need help, get the assistance they desperately require.
A Permanent Solution…
In the field of mental health, suicide is commonly referred to as finding a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But with aid of treatment, such finality can be avoided. In addition to September being National Recovery Month, it is also the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) would like to use the month of September to “promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.”
The organization points out just how serious suicide prevention is, drawing from a number of statistics:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Of the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, often spurred on by mental health symptoms.
NAMI is asking that everyone do their part to help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness. If you’d like, you can share the image below on social media, using #suicideprevention or #StigmaFree.
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.
Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.