National Recovery Month 2011
September is National Recovery Month. Its message is tri-fold: Prevention Works - Treatment is Effective - People Recover.
Research shows that those who begin drinking at a later age are less likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who begin before age 21.
Children who learn about the risk of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about the dangers
Individuals treated for alcohol misuse are approximately 10 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not misuse alcohol, and people who abuse drugs have about 14 times greater the risk for eventual suicide.
The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data show that in 2009, an estimated 45.1 million adults ages 18 or older in the United States (19.9 percent of the population) had any mental illness in the past year.
Between 70 and 90 percent of individuals with a mental health problem have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of medication, therapy and other support.
The annual economic cost of mental health problems is estimated to be at least $79 billion. Most of that amount-approximately $63 billion-reflects the cost of lost productivity in the workplace.
The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) suggests:
"People who have schizophrenia are much more likely to have a substance or alcohol abuse problem than the general public. Drugs like marijuana and stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine may make symptoms worse."
Individuals who abuse drugs are less likely to follow their treatment plan.
According to NIMH, people with schizophrenia are addicted to nicotine at three times the rate of the general public (75 to 90 percent versus 25 to 30 percent).
Studies have found that smoking may make antipsychotic drugs less effective. And schizophrenia patients who smoke need higher doses of antipsychotic medication.
Regardless of what the high times crowd protests, it is true that research has linked marijuana and schizophrenia.
It is thought that as much as 50 percent of those with mental illnesses also have a substance abuse problem. Those of us who have both a mental health diagnosis and a co-occurring substance abuse problem are titled MICA: Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers. Both conditions need to be treated at the same time and progress is getting better for the availability of MICA treatment.
The most commonly used drug is alcohol, followed by marijuana and cocaine.
Violence is more prevalent among the "dually diagnosed" or MICA population.
An insignificant number of people in the general population who have schizophrenia are violent yet that number increases to 28 percent when a person with schizophrenia has a substance abuse problem, according to a recent study.
A Web site suggested individuals with mental illnesses exhibit "downward drift": that because of their illness they might find themselves living in marginal neighborhoods where drug use prevails. They might find acceptance more easily by groups whose social activity is based on drug use.
Family members can be alert for these changes in a loved one's behavior:
suddenly having money problems, appearance of new friends, valuables disappearing from the house, drug paraphernalia in the house, long periods of time in the bathroom, dilated or pinpointed eyes, needle marks.
A link to detailed information about confronting your loved one and possible plans of action can be found in the links section at the end of this SharePost.
A majority of Americans (80 percent) have positive feelings about prevention and recovery from substance abuse disorders.
Indeed, more help is on the way. The Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23, 2011 will effect coverage changes under both Medicaid and State Health Insurance Exchanges, implemented by 2014, that will expand coverage to millions who are currently uninsured.
Medicaid, a health program for low income individuals and families, will expand its eligibility to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Benefits will include essential substance abuse and mental health service at parity, or equal access.
In 2014, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to adults for a pre-existing condition. Most health plans will cover some important preventive services at no cost to you, including counseling for a substance use or mental disorder.