May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2017In years past, mental health problems were treated with an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. People with mental health issues were often isolated from the world simply because others did not understand their conditions. Doctors at the time also lacked the necessary technology or resources to properly treat them.

As a result, mental health patients suffered years neglect and misdiagnosis. Thankfully, public perceptions of these issues have changed, and more people now hold compassionate attitudes toward those individuals struggling with mental illness. Much of that positive change has been led by awareness initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Month.

A Month for Advocacy

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the month, mental health providers, researchers and advocacy groups encourage greater public awareness about mental illnesses and the people suffering from them. National Mental Health Awareness Month was first established in 1949. The public’s perception of mental health issues has since seen several drastic yet positive shifts. Mental Health America is the main sponsoring organization for Mental Health Awareness Month, and operates various events across the country each year in May.

Each week of May encourages the public to explore various aspects of mental health and learn how they can make a positive impact at the local and national level. Consider the following dates and think of ways you can contribute to Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental Health Week – May 8 to 14

This week aims to drive awareness about individuals dealing with a mental health condition or disorder. It’s vital to show the public how people with mental health issues cope on a daily basis. Doing so helps to break down the lingering stigma surrounding mental illness.

One of the key takeaways from Mental Health Week is the difference between surviving and thriving. When we bolster awareness and show compassion for the people struggling with mental health complications, we help those individuals thrive in their personal lives. This compassionate approach also encourages these individuals to seek treatment and support.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week – May 7 to 13

Many mental health conditions manifest early in life. Children lack the communication skills and emotional maturity of an adult, and often these limitations prevent kids from recognizing their own mental illness. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is a great time to encourage parents to examine their kids’ behavior from new perspectives. After all, failure to diagnose problems early on leads to more serious issues developing later in life.

National Prevention Week – May 14 to 20

The scientific and medical communities have recognized the link between mental health and substance abuse for years. National Prevention Week aims to help individuals with mental illnesses seek out healthy treatments and coping strategies instead of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Substance abuse recovery is a long, arduous road. A mental illness can make it even more grueling and difficult. National Prevention Week also encourages community involvement, the sharing of educational resources and taking time to discussing the risks of substance abuse with friends and family.

3 Ways to Work on Your Welness in Addiction Recovery

“Risky Business” in 2017

Each year, Mental Health America devises a theme for Mental Health Awareness Month. For May of 2017, the theme is “Risky Business.” This year, Mental Health America encourages others to learn about and identify high-risk behaviors common among those with mental health issues. If left untreated, these symptoms can easily lead to harmful coping strategies, such as substance abuse, and a host of other issues.

If you’re interested in hosting an event or participating in another way, Mental Health America offers a comprehensive toolkit for you to explore. Take a look at the ideas included for Mental Health Awareness Month events, and think about hosting one. It is also important to consider the ways that you can encourage the people in your area with mental health problems to seek healthy treatments.

What You Should Know About Addiction - ATS

What You Should Know About Addiction

There’s a lot of information to sift through when evaluating addiction treatment. Individuals wonder if they should try to do it alone. Do they really have an addiction? How will they pay for treatment? What about the conditions that led to addiction in the first place?

Addiction Treatment Services works with treatment prospects and their families to identify their particular needs and seek a lasting solution.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a serious health issue that requires professional help to treat both the addiction and underlying health conditions. It’s a chronic disease.

People facing addiction seek out the substance they abuse over and over, despite negative consequences. They often try to quit but feel unable to resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol again and again. Relapse is the return to substance use after trying to stop. Relapse is common and indicates a need for treatment.

Addiction Alters the Brain

Addiction changes the way the brain works. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that communicates feelings of pleasure in response to stimulus. Success, good food and positive personal interactions cause the brain to release dopamine and reinforce the behavior that led to the stimulus.

Drugs and alcohol flood the brain with dopamine. Users associate substance use with rewards, so they repeat the behavior. Over time, the brain reduces the amount of dopamine produced, so the individual uses more of the substance in an attempt to recreate the original feelings of pleasure.

Long-term drug use changes other processes in the brain, such as those related to:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory
  • Behavior

Risk Factors for Addiction

Many factors affect who becomes addicted and who doesn’t. Some people are born with genes that make them more likely to experience addiction. Biology might cause other mental health disorders that increase the likelihood of substance abuse.

External factors also influence addiction. A person’s family and environment may contribute to whether they use drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure, sexual abuse and early drug exposure can make some individuals predisposed to addiction.

Individuals might be more vulnerable to addiction at certain developmental stages. Adolescent brains are still developing, so teens are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.

Addiction is a disease and can be treated. Professionals develop successful treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.

Insurance Covers Some Forms of Addiction Treatment

Families and individuals may know they need help, but are concerned about the cost of treatment. Health insurance may help pay for rehabilitation.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), approximately 45.2 million Americans younger than 65 had no health insurance, and 20.9 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured. Some people relied on private insurance and others were enrolled in a public health plan.

Since the ACA, any American can go to government health care websites to find an insurance plan or apply for Medicaid benefits. If substance abuse renders an individual unable to apply for insurance, in some situations loved ones can apply for services on their behalf.

One ACA component involves substance abuse treatment. It views treatment as an essential service. It requires health plans to treat all phases of substance abuse, even the early ones.

Medicaid and Medicare cover evaluation, screening, medication, alcohol and drug testing, family counseling and other services. Private insurance companies often develop coverage based on the federal system, so many of them provide coverage for substance abuse treatment.

Private health plan benefits vary by state and insurance provider. Group health plans, such as those provided by most employers, often cover mental and behavioral health services, and substance abuse treatment usually falls under that category.

A national review of admissions to treatment centers showed 60 percent of rehab patients didn’t have any health insurance. They deemed the cost of not getting treatment to be higher than the price they paid for receiving help in escaping addiction.

Addiction Is Often Connected to Underlying Physical and Mental Health Issues

Drug Use Alters Some Processes In The Brain - Addiction Treatment ServicesPeople with substance abuse addiction often have mental health conditions. This is called dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders or comorbid disorders.

Patients might struggle with alcohol and experience depression. Or they might be addicted to opioids and dealing with an anxiety disorder.

In many situations, the mental disorder came first. Someone with a mental illness may use drugs or alcohol to lessen the symptoms of mental illness. For a time, the substance helps them cope, but before long, it makes their situation worse.

Consequences of addiction increase the symptoms of their mental illness, and the individual often responds by using more of the substance.

In the past, health care providers viewed mental illness and substance abuse as two separate issues and treated each in isolation. People with dual diagnosis disorders need to have both treated simultaneously to successfully remain in recovery.

Quitting Some Types of Substances Can Be Deadly Without Medical Supervision

When individuals decide to quit drugs or alcohol, they often experience withdrawal. General withdrawal symptoms depend on the substance from which the person is detoxing.

With some substances, withdrawal can cause death. There’s an increased risk of withdrawal when one has been abusing alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines. Detox from multiple addictions is even more dangerous.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

All of the above symptoms can result in death if they progress to a severe state.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal increases the risk of grand mal seizures and other symptoms that can kill. Meanwhile, some patients trying to go through rapid opioid detox die during the process.

Patients should enroll in a medically assisted detox program to manage withdrawal. Medical professionals will monitor a patient’s condition and offer treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Planning Addiction Treatment with the Help of a Professional Yields Successful Results

There’s a lot involved in finding safe, successful treatment for addiction. Navigating the waters of the drug rehab industry can be overwhelming for families and individuals. Finding and paying for the best treatment also isn’t easy.

The professionals at Addiction Treatment Services can direct your family to a number of programs that are trustworthy and offer the best chance of successful recovery. We’ll also help you figure out which treatment programs are compatible with your insurance. Reach out to us today when you’re ready for assistance in your treatment search.