Tag Archives: mental illness

Tag Archives: mental illness


man with addiction and mental disordersMuch like the all-too-often cited “chicken and the egg” concept, there has been much question over which comes first – mental illness, or addiction? The reality is that each person’s circumstance is unique and it’s a combination of genetics, environmental factors and more that truly determine which comes first – or alongside one another – for each person. However, mental disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder, are previously there, this can certainly influence a person’s susceptibility to and experience with addiction. According to the National institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) chronic drug use can lead people to develop mental disorders, but if mental disorders are already present, drug abuse can perpetuate and worsen current symptoms associated with mental illness.

One of the most influential ways that mental disorders can affect addiction is through self-medication. When a person is struggling with symptoms of a mental illness, they may believe that alcohol or illicit drugs can reduce the discomfort of these symptoms. This could happen with a variety of instances and here are two examples:

  • A person with anxiety may feel that binge drinking helps them relax in social settings
  • An individual with bipolar disorder (BPD) may use drugs while experiencing mania or depression, to make them feel better

What many people underestimate, however, is the fact that substance abuse can alter chemicals in the brain – which could lead to worsened mental illness symptoms over time or an entirely new mental disorder could appear altogether. While the substances seem to “take the edge off” for a brief period of time, they cause much more harm in the long run because eventually it leads a person to dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnoses are much more difficult to treat because their symptoms may overlap or may exacerbate one another. The National institute of Mental Health (NIMH) notes that in 2014, about 7.9 million people had both a substance use disorder (SUD) and a mental illness. How can we prevent this from happening?

It typically all starts when we believe that we can help ourselves instead of seeking out treatment. If you are a friend or family member of a loved one who has been showing signs of addiction or mental illness, talk to them today about seeking the help they need.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

What Is the Best Long-Term Strategy for Men with Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders, such as having alcoholism and depression at the same time, can significantly affect day to day life. The addiction side of things constantly demands more and more, while the mental illness side can bring about a lot of unpleasant symptoms, whether you’re prepared for it or not. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is much more intricate and complex than one or the other, which is why a treatment center should specialize in integrated treatment, which is highlighted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Men and women differ by the way they process information, and men can experience unique issues when co-occurring disorders are involved. Recovery is a lifelong process, and men have to find tools that work for them in order to maintain their recovery. How do they do it?

A few years ago, researchers published a study in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis that aimed to answer this very question. Twelve men receiving treatment for both psychosis and a substance use disorder (SUD) who achieved and maintained sobriety for at least one year were interviewed, and these are some of the things they said factored most into the success of their long-term recovery:

  •    Building a supportive community
  •    Engaging in productive activities
  •    Carefully monitoring their own attitudes towards substances
  •    Mental health
  •    Responsibility

The researchers found the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in particular was very helpful for many of the men to build up these assets. The men interviewed talked about the ways they’ve become more engaged in their life now, rather than living a passive existence. One person stated, “I’ve achieved a healthy state of mind. Playing my guitar, participating in a music group – I’m becoming a successful musician.”

School, work, and volunteer opportunities seemed to help these men form long-term routines that helped keep them away from the potential for relapse. They noted the importance of monitoring your own thoughts to recognize when triggering feelings arise. In doing this, they were better able to counteract it – by reaching out to their support network, practicing meditation, praying, getting involved in a hobby, changing the way they think about the situation and more.

The biggest part of recovery, and perhaps the hardest/most simple thing you could do, is to continue practicing the tools you’ve learned so far. Rely on your support system. Practice self-care. Get involved in the recovery community. Last but not least – don’t give up.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Is Yaba Dangerous?

Yaba, the Thai word for “crazy medicine” and also called the “madness drug”, is a combination of stimulants. The two main ingredients are methamphetamine and caffeine, and the drug often comes in tablet form, where it is then crushed and snorted, heated and then inhaled or mixed into a solution and injected intravenously. The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services lists a few other ingredients that are typically found in yaba, such as:

  •    Salt
  •    Household cleaning products
  •    Distilled cold medicine
  •    Lithium from camera batteries

The drug itself is manufactured in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and is incredibly dangerous and addictive. The side effects of using yaba are a lot like using methamphetamine: agitation, anxiety, paranoia, picking at the skin, convulsions, hallucinations, etc. This drug has been said to come in a number of colors, and can taste just like candy – grape, orange and vanilla flavors can make individuals feel like the drug is much safer than it really is. A rush of energy ensues, and then a number of the side effects listed above may occur.

Just last year, CNN reported that the Bangladesh Border Guards have seized more than 29 million yaba pills the year before – which is 35 times greater than the number of pills they seized back in 2010. In the United States specifically, many Asian communities struggle with this type of substance abuse, especially if they have ties back to Thailand, China, Bangladesh and surrounding countries that provide easier access to the drug.

Young people have been particularly at risk, since they often underestimate what the drug is doing to their body. Overdoses with this drug are incredibly dangerous and can lead to a stroke or even death. Once addiction starts to develop, it’s hard to quit – and many people find themselves with nowhere to turn to for help. The ease of technology has opened up so many pathways for drugs to make their way across the world, in much quicker time and much more discreetly than before.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, it’s time to seek help. Recovery is possible, and with the right tools and resources, you’ll be able to form a life that lends directly to your happiness and health – all of the things that really matter. Don’t let drugs control you anymore. You deserve to push past this with a reputable healthcare team you can trust, and in a supportive environment. Start your journey to recovery today.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

How Does Media Impact Stigmas of Mental Illness and Addiction?

If you were to reflect back on any of the movies or television shows that you’ve seen that have involved mental illness or addiction, what depicted imagery would come to mind? For years, media has portrayed both that bring a number of negative keywords to mind: lazy, lonely, theft, crazy, dangerous and more. It all seems harmless when you’re at home or in the movie theater sitting in your seat, but time and time again, studies have shown us that these depictions actually have a real impact on our mindset. They add a layer of perception that may not have been there before – especially if we don’t personally know anyone with an addiction or mental illness with whom to compare inaccuracies with.

For those who gain their information on these populations without knowing the hard facts, it’s tempting to become fearful and even downright cruel – depictions make us feel like those who struggle with addiction or mental illness should be viewed as the “other”, but we’re all human here – and the media tends to make us forget that. Back in 2015, researchers emphasized that social stigma on mental illness and addiction leads to a number of unfortunate outcomes:

  • Discrimination
  • Poor health
  • Poor social outcomes, such as trouble finding secure housing and employment

On the opposite end, research has shown that social support is vital for a person to seek and work through recovery; if our social perspectives are judgmental and biased yet these individuals need support in order to improve their conditions, how could this harsh treatment possibly serve any good? The reality is, it can’t – and it doesn’t.

Media tells us stories and it’s up to us to identify whether or not those stories are fact or fiction. When we easily take in whatever information is presented to us, we run the risk of believing something that isn’t entirely true – which could cause us to perpetuate a harsh cycle of hatred and negativity for no reason. Sure, there are people with addiction or mental illness out there who have been violent – but there are just as many, if not more, people with these conditions that are only harmful to themselves. It’s natural that as a society, we fear what we don’t know – but we have to push those boundaries and force ourselves to understand that each person is different, and each person deserves a chance at love and respect. Perhaps if we took on this perspective, we’d be able to help more people.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

What Do I Need to Know about Co-Occurring Disorders?

When a person has both a substance use disorder (SUD) and a mental illness, it’s called a co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis. If you have a co-occurring disorder, you’re not alone – in 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated that around 7.9 million adults in the U.S. alone experience this. Having both an SUD and a mental illness can make a number of life aspects difficult – relationships, finances, general health and nutrition, career progression, daily responsibilities and more can fade away as a person gets caught up in not only the demands of their addiction, but also in the demands of their mental illness. Both can be draining, and that is why recovery is so important so seek out.

A 2015 study published in the journal Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences discovered that people who live in more remote locations have the highest rates of co-occurring disorders, and that’s because there’s little access to health and substance abuse services. There’s truly a complex layer of issues when co-occurring disorders are involved. Take, for example, a person who has both generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD). With GAD, they’re likely to experience the following:

  • Repeated anxiety
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Emotional distress

With AUD, they’re likely experiencing these symptoms as well:

  • Blackouts
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Physical substance dependence

Sometimes the symptoms may overlap, but it’s nonetheless very difficult to manage both at the same time – not all treatment centers can assist with both, so it’s important that if you or a loved one seek help, a treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders is selected. Not doing so could mean that only one concern at a time is dealt with, which could not only draw out symptoms but make them worse, too.

You need to know that recovery from co-occurring disorders is entirely possible. All you need is a strong support system and the right tools and resources. It takes time and hard work, but the amount of dedication you put into your recovery will pay off when you’re able to use the techniques you’ve learned throughout therapy and group activities. One of the biggest steps you’ll ever take is making the choice to seek help – but doing so gives you the chance to build a life that’s better than you could ever have imagined.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.


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