Adults aged 50 and older are among the more than 3 million people in the United States who have opioid or opiate addictions. Overuse or misuse of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone is so widespread that President Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a public “health emergency.”
More than 50 percent of teenagers in the U.S. affected by substance use disorder also have symptoms of at least one other serious mental health issue. Doctors use the term dual diagnosis to identify both adolescents and adults in this situation. In a study review published in December 2014 in the journal Substance Abuse, researchers from four U.S. institutions gauged the usefulness of a new, combined approach—called the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach—in treating simultaneous substance and mental illness problems in teens.
One alone is bad enough, but when problem gambling and alcohol abuse occur simultaneously, the individual who gambles compulsively and drinks to excess may find that it’s hard to differentiate between the negative consequences of one versus the other. And, make no mistake about it, there is interaction between problem gambling and alcohol abuse.
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, more than half of those seeking help for addiction also suffer from mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia, and between 15% and 20% of those seeking mental health services also have substance abuse problems. This is known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis.
A father and son on a weekend fishing trip eagerly set out in their boat on the river early one morning. All is going well until the son, standing too close to the side of the boat while trying to reel in his line, suddenly slips and falls over the side into the deep water of the river below. His father, horrified, jumps in and tries desperately to reach his son, but he is quickly swept out of sight by the river’s swift current. Two hours later, rescuers pull the boy’s lifeless body from the river.
For those who are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, psychiatric comorbidity – or the combination of a mental disorder and developmental disability – appears to be at a higher level. Such information is important for those seeking to better understand the psychiatric profiles of repeat DUI offenders. A better understanding of their psyche may help lead to better prevention.
The reasons for alcohol dependence can vary by individuals, but major depression can be a key driver. In fact, according to a recent Science Daily release, the existence of major depression (MD) and alcohol dependence (AD) occur at the same time in individuals and within families at higher rates than would happen just by chance.