The Drug Class Blog

Jan 09

Mental Health

There is very often (probably more than often) a connection between mental health and addiction or substance abuse.  I have talked about this often in our classes on Brain Chemistry.  Regular drug or alcohol use and especially abuse really interferes with how the brain is working and that interferes with how we work. Very often parents see their kids changing, showing symptoms of depression or anxiety, take them to the doctor and they are prescribed medication to deal with these symptoms.  If the problem is a result of the drug or alcohol use the medication usually won't really help, especially if the drug or alcohol use continues.  On the other hand sometimes the root of the drug or alcohol use is the individual trying to self-medicate some underlying mental health problem, such as depression or an anxiety disorder.  Either way the drug use needs to be taken out of the equation to figure out what is going on so that the problem can be appropriately diagnosed and treated by a professional.

Here is an interesting article from Ottawa 

Those with mental illness, addiction need support


Claude Lurette writes that, without assistance and treatment, people recovering from addiction and mental illness are doomed to return to their former lives and have nowhere to go but to shelters or the street. Photograph by: Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen Re: Jennifer Bird sought help in a place called Hope, Jan. 5. Columnist Kelly Egan has proven once again to be a strong champion for those of us living with mental illness and addiction. He captured the circumstances that too many of us either live in, or have lived in and come out the other side. The question he asks, about why governments do so little for people with mental illness, does need to be answered and I challenge all levels of government to respond. Loneliness, despair, desperation, hopelessness, depression and fear are but a few of the things I experienced at the height of my addiction, not yet knowing that I was also living with severe mental illness. It was by the grace of God that I did not end up in a shelter before I was admitted at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre for treatment. I'm sure that I would not have been able to cope in a shelter because my greatest fear was of people. The anxiety I felt when I shared a room with a fellow client was enough for me to bolt out of the hospital, so I can't imagine staying at a shelter to live with 80 people. Once I was discharged, the City of Ottawa came to my aid to help me with housing, support, school and other services so I could begin living rather than existing. It's difficult to say what would have happened if I didn't have access to these services but I'm sure that the quality of my life would have been very different. When my symptoms did return, I had a social worker to help me, a phone to call my nurse, a doctor who was engaged in my care and a vocational rehabilitation worker who eased my anxiety about missing school. Then our health-care system was decimated in the mid 1990s and the services I received were no longer available. All levels of government need to understand that recovery from addiction and mental illness begins with seeking assistance and treatment but also has to be supported once we have returned to the community. Without these services, we are doomed to return to the life we desperately needed to change and have no where else to go but to the shelters or, like me, on the streets. Claude Lurette, Ottawa © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen Read more:

What do you think?

Show All Blog Posts