Substance abuse and mental health related issues have been around for a long time and will always be with us. There are many who are faced with mental health challenges. There are those who want to use drugs and alcohol to medicate their feelings and it worked for a while and went from bad to worse. Then there are those who found ways to address their challenges and have gone on to be strong men and women. The goal should be two-fold: 1) Identify that there is a question and 2) Seek a solution. However, the needs for approved facilities are ever eager. The lack of quality services is even lesser. In order to meet the demands and address the concerns, we must become better inform about the needs and develop resources to address those concerns. As we move forward, needs assessment focusing on best practice and skill outcome are extremely valuable. The needs assessment will assist in determining the needs indicated and what strategies we need to come up with in order to achieve the best outcome.
Mental health issues vary considerably from person to person; men and women often experience tremendous depression depending on the mental health challenge they are faced with. These are somewhat vague descriptors. However, some things that may be information in everyday life and simple for an ordinary individual may come difficult to someone who is experiencing depression due to a mental health condition. One might start putting off things like paying bills or answering emails, and when one does get started, simple tasks seem to take forever. One might stop caring about appearance, venture, or surroundings being a mess.
Many people have been through this, and a lot of people have expressed what depression feels like far more eloquently than I ever could:
“I was not steering anything, not even myself. I guess I should have been happy the way most of the other girls were, but I could not bring myself to react. I felt awful still and utterly useless, the moment the views of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” (Sylvia Plath, the Bell Jar)
“I was in the throes of intense hypochondria. Nothing felt satisfied with me. There were twitches and pains, sometimes intermittent, often seemingly endless, which seemed to portend all sorts of nasty infirmities.” (William Styron, Darkness Visible)
“For years, I had taken a shower every day. Hoping that someone else would open the bathroom door, with all the talent in my body, sit up; turn and put my feet on the floor; and then feel so sad and frightened that I would roll over and lie face down. I would cry again, weeping because the fact that I could not make it seemed so dumb to me. At other times, I have enjoyed skydiving: it is easier to climb along a strut toward the tip of an airplane’s wing against an eighty-mile-an-hour gas at five thousand feet than it was to get out of bed those days.” (Andrew Solomon, “Anatomy of Melancholy,” The New Yorker)
“Mysteriously, and in ways that from any ordinary experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the amount of physical pain. It is not an immediately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb, and because no breeze stirs this cauldron because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is quite understandable that the individual begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.” (William Styron, Darkness Visible)
Depression, due to a mental health disorder is not clearly understood. In most cases, the first episode of a severe depression can be linked to some life event—end of a spouse or loss of a job, for example. There is without doubt a strong genetic component in both bipolar and unipolar disorders. There is an 80% concordance rate among identical twins with manic depression. With major depression due to mental health, the concordance rates are 70% for identical twins and 13% for fraternal twins.
There are different types of mental health depressive illnesses to include but not limited to:
- Major depressive disorder (unipolar depression) 5-12% of men and 10-20% of women; half of these people will have more than one thing and 15% will commit suicide.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 3-4% of the population, with a higher incidence rate at high latitudes, where there is little sunlight during the winter. 15-20% of the U.S. following reports some symptoms, but for most they are not debilitating.
- Artists, writers, composers, and musicians are ten times more likely than the general population to have manic depression.
This article is on the many questions presented to me on mental health and substance abuse.
Until next time, be true to yourself and others.