Recovery News: ‘Transformations Treatment Center’ Has a Very Big Announcement and Comes From Lyle Fried. Just For Our HEROES…

Recovery News: ‘Transformations Treatment Center’ Has a Very Big Announcement and Comes From Lyle Fried. Just For Our HEROES…

Most know I advocate about addicted and problem gambling. However, I’ve educated myself about other addictions so I may network and support many who advocate and treat addictions. We can do so much more for those who suffer together within unity to save even more lives. Addiction does not discriminate. It “touches all walks of life including our Vets, Active Military, Police and Firemen, even EMT’s and many more.

And? We all know that addictions and the “cycle” are the same from one addiction type to the next.

So when exciting news from a friend shared in his newsletter about a New Program being offered and as I am about share, my friend Mr. Lyle Fried who I met when he worked at “The Shores” but is now at the amazing “Transformations Treatment Center ~ Hope 4 Our Heroes” located in Delray Beach, FL. I just HAD TO SHARE IT! They treat substance abuse and Mental Health. That is important to me as I am dually-diagnosed.

Another buddy of mine also works with Lyle at Transformations that I got to finally meet this past April 2019 at Arizona’s State Capitol & Speaking Event for “The Ride Around America 4 Addiction Awareness” of Big Jim Downs.

Of course, I am talking about Mr. Randy Grimes! He is a former NFL Pro of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and we’ve been friends a long time but never met in person. He and his beautiful wife Lydia came too! Best Day and Speaking Event I had spoken at EVER! Lol.

Ok, ok, let me get back to Lyle and the Big Announcement About Transformations!

Help For Our Heroes

We are excited to formally announce the new branding of our veterans and first responders program here at Transformations Treatment Center and wanted to share with you a little bit about how this came to be. Program founder, Carlos Farina, enlisted the help of some of his clients to come up with a name that truly represented the heart of the program. What our clients came up with, in our opinion, hit the nail on the head – the Help For Our Heroes Program.

Now we just needed a logo. One night, Carlos must’ve been so excited about the new branding that he couldn’t sleep, so he decided to sketch some ideas of what he thought the logo should look like. What he came up with was great, we just needed to refine it a bit and we ended up with what we feel is an all-encompassing representation of the program Carlos built.

New Website and Social Media

Along with a new name, the Help For Our Heroes Program will also have its own website as well as its own Facebook page, which are now both live and ready for all of you to visit. We are so grateful to have been able to create these unique pages for a program that has helped hundreds of our veterans and first responders and we are so excited to share them with all of you.
Help For Our Heroes – Website
Help For Our Heroes – Facebook Page
Check out our new brochure!

Click here to download

If you would like to schedule a tour or receive any of our printed materials, feel free to reach out to me.
MAKE SURE YOU VISIT THEM https://helpforourheroes.com/

And If You Know a First Responder, Military, Policemen Friends you may know who may be Suffering in SILENCE? Please Share the link above with them or their family!

Many Thanks to Lyle for permission to share these Vital Services with all my Recovery Blog Friends and Visitors!!

Advocate/Author,
Catherine Lyon

Lyle Fried, CAP, ICADC
Client Services Representative
Transformations Treatment Center
Phone: (888) 919-2619
Cell: (772) 332-8711
LyleF@transformationstreatment.com
www.transformationstreatment.center

****The Help For Our Heroes Program
is part of a comprehensive treatment curriculum offered at Transformations Treatment Center. Transformations are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) and accredited by The Joint Commission as well as the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Learn more about our accreditations. 

Here is a little more about the New Services 4 Our Heroes:

This program is specifically designed for military veterans, police officers, corrections officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel to help them cope with the problems incurred by job stress and chemical dependency.
This program is led by a military veteran and former first responder who is also a Masters Level therapist. He designed this program to help our veterans and first responders overcome the underlying issues that lead to addiction.

These brave men and women are subject to a level of physical, emotional, and mental stress unlike anyone else. As their jobs have become even more demanding, stress levels have increased to the point where they experience some of the country’s highest rates of substance abuse, depression, and suicide. Our program has successfully treated hundreds of veterans and first responders nationwide, setting them on the path to a healthy, sober life.

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Help For Our Heroes
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May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

It seems lately, a growing number of people who come into or maintain recovery from gambling addiction, are also struggling with Mental Health. I am one who does, even after years of maintaining recovery. It seems to become the norm. Even those with other addiction types are too, but very prevalent with addicted gambling.

I choose to stay well managed and proactive with my mental health care and take it as a serious part of my overall health. But many times, I hear or read about those who don’t or stop taking their meds or even misuse them. That can be a deadly GAME and adds up to trouble.  I came across an article from “Know The Odds”  which shares about addicted gambling, recovery, and mental health. They are out of New York area.

If you or someone you care about needs help in any area of the US, visiting “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration” also know as SAMHSA who is U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and has loads of articles and information to get help with Mental Health and Addiction. There is NO SHAME in doing so and even if you want to be more educated about it. The more we all learn, the more we can shatter the STIGMA.   ~Catherine Lyon Advocate   

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PROBLEM GAMBLING AND MENTAL HEALTH      POSTED ON 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

There is a strong connection between problem gambling and problems with mental health.  Understanding this connection, identifying warning signs and knowing where to get help is vital to preventing problems and getting support.

Problem Gambling in NY

Nearly 668,000 New Yorkers have experienced a gambling problem in the past year.  That is a lot of family, friends, and colleagues having trouble.  Problems from gambling can include sleep problems, relationship problems with loved ones and struggles at work.

Each person struggling with problem gambling affects 6-10 of those closest to them.  A study found that 9 out of 10 people affected by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress.

This means that between the people struggling with problem gambling and the people closest to them, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected by problem gambling and may struggle with mental health issues because of it.

Problem Gambling and Mental Health

People who struggle with problem gambling are at a higher risk of struggling with other mental health disorders. out of 3 gamblers reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling problems. In fact, the majority of those struggling with problem gambling have a lifetime history of mental health problems. In addition to struggling with gambling.

So they may be struggling with mental health problems such as:

  • an anxiety disorder,
  • a personality disorder,
  • a mood disorder, such as depression, and
  • suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide.

According to CEO Glenn Liebman of the Mental Health Association of New York State, “people need to understand the link between problem gambling and other mental illnesses, and the similarity between a gambling disorder and substance use disorders. This understanding is vital so that those impacted directly and indirectly by problem gambling can appreciate the necessity of treatment.

In most cases, it’s unrealistic to believe that someone suffering from these disorders can recover without help”, said Liebman. “Maintaining this belief can have devastating consequences on those who suffer and their families, including financial ruin and suicide.”

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

Any problem caused by gambling can be a warning sign of problem gambling.  This is because problem gambling refers to problems in someone’s life that are due to gambling behaviors.  There are many warning signs of problem gambling.

Some warning signs include:

  • Feeling anxious or distressed when not gambling,
  • Struggling to sleep well due to thoughts or worries about gambling,
  • Lying to friends and family about how much time or money spent while gambling,
  • Missing special family events and holidays to go gambling, and
  • Having thoughts of suicide due to problems caused by gambling.

Since there are few outward signs specific to gambling, it’s important to learn as much about the warning signs of problem gambling as possible.

Help for Problem Gambling

There is help and hope, but people may feel hopeless if they don’t know what help is available.

Here are three connections to resources for help.

  • Learn as much as possible about problem gambling.  Check out our resources page and can be found at http://knowtheodds.org/resources/. These resources include eBooks, videos, infographics, and articles. There’s something for everyone!
  • Visit SAMHSA 
  • Find local help by reaching out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center.  Anyone who calls will be met by a trained professional. This professional will offer a warm greeting, a listening ear, and a list of options for local support geared towards helping those affected by problem gambling.

Like Catherine of “Gambling Recovery Starts Here,” we plan to help share resources during the month of May to raise awareness about Mental Health Awareness Month.

To learn more, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs, and posts on Facebook and Twitter !
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Gambling Recovery and Dual Diagnosis, Co-occur, or Dual Addictions With Other Disorders. What’s The Difference? I am and Many Are and Growing …

Gambling Recovery and Dual Diagnosis, Co-occur, or Dual Addictions With Other Disorders. What’s The Difference? I am and Many Are and Growing …

When I was gambling addictively and to the point of my first failed suicide attempt in 2002, I was transferred from the hospital to a mental health and addiction crisis center for a 20-day stay and where my gambling treatment began. While I was there my primary doctor and their psychiatrist found after a series of tests that I was also suffering from several mental health disorders.

I wasn’t until my gambling addiction that brought to the surface these symptoms and could be properly diagnosed. They both came to the conclusion as well that I may have been suffering from some of the mental and emotional disorders since birth. Now, the catch was to be properly diagnosed and reassessed after you begin the path of recovery. It took some months to get it right.

See, I was using gambling to escape, and numb out many haunting memories and feelings from my abuse and traumatic past that began to came back and had happened to me as a little girl including being sexually abused. So needless to say, I was suffering from PTSD, severe manic depression, mania, OCD and bipolar one with insomnia at the time I entered the crisis center.

They ordered a brain scan at the time and found I had depleted the “pleasure and reward” chemical and system of my brain from the many years of addictive gambling and had no feelings or sense of pleasure, but thinking I was getting it when I gambled. I was a Hot Mess!

I know, it all sounds confusing and was for me at the time. But, I listened to my doctors and began medication and therapy process that would take a long while and a few changes to my meds to get my mental health under control and begin the recovery work needed to regain my life back and to begin feeling better.

So, what are Dual Diagnosis, Co-occurring, and Co-addictions?  I came across a good article by way of the fine folks of  “Recovery Ranch Center” that really explains the differences when you are treated for gambling addiction. Co-addiction however, just means you are suffering from more than one addiction at a time.

The most recent research I could find about dual-addictions, meaning being treated for more than one addiction at the same time was from an article from 2003: …”About 1.1 million Americans received treatment for addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both on a typical day last year, according to findings from the 2003 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Half of those receiving treatment were addicted to both drugs and alcohol.”

I am sure this total has risen in the past 15-years now with the opioid crisis and epidemic happening. Here is the article I found and more about Gambling Addiction and having Mental Health and Disorders as being Dually-Diagnosed …

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Gambling Addiction Often Co-Occurs With Other Disorders
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Oftentimes, when a person shows symptoms of an addiction to something, there are other problems at play in their mind. For the addiction to be treated, the other disorders also need to be addressed, like mental illness.

A webinar that focused on how to counsel the pathological gambler revealed other disorders that often co-exist with a gambling addiction. Dr. Jon Grant, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder, discussed other mental health disorders and other addictions that are associated with gambling addictions and offered ideas on how to treat those individuals.

WHEN A FULL HOUSE CAN WRECK THE HOME

People start gambling for multiple reasons. Some enjoy the thrill, the risk-taking, and the power. Some, who feel isolated, use it as a way to feel social. Others use it as a way to relieve stress and anxiety or even to try to cure their depression. Yet, one addiction cannot properly heal another.

Gambling addictions are associated with multiple problems that weaken personal and family life:

  • Poor physical health
  • Poor mental health
  • Losing a job
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal behavior
  • Divorce

Sometimes those problems come before the gambling problem, driving the person to look for satisfaction in a dangerous venue if not controlled. Those who already suffer from a mental health disorder are more at risk for addiction when gambling. For others, gambling addiction is the cause of the other family and personal problems that come later.

ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING

Those with gambling addictions also often suffer from substance abuse. Dr. Grant states that substance abuse is seven times greater in those who gamble. Nicotine and alcohol are the most commonly used substances.

Grant also mentioned that disorders with symptoms of being impulsive and risky were also frequently seen in those with gambling addictions. There were associations between individuals with gambling addiction and those who also had problems with impulsive shopping, stealing, eating, and sexual behavior.

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING

Pathological gambling has been associated with serious mental illnesses, sometimes as the cause and other times as the result of untreated mental illness. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses associated with gambling addiction. Some hope that a roll of the dice or the spin of the slot machines can help them have some fun in life and help them relax. In reality, over time it often makes the depression and anxiety worse.

Dr. Grant revealed that 76 percent of a gambling addiction treatment group suffered from depression. Astoundingly, 16 to 40 percent of pathological gamblers suffered from lifetime anxiety. For some, the pressure becomes too great. The risk of suicide is higher in gamblers than non-gamblers.

Other mental illnesses associated with gambling are bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Of a study group, 24 percent of pathological gamblers had a lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder. Twenty percent had symptoms for a life-time prevalence of ADHD or OCD and most likely born with them.

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Dr. Grant stresses that when treating those with a gambling addiction, all of their disorders should be identified and prioritized for treatment. Through methods such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support those with a gambling addiction can find healing and become a winner for life.

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I Hope you find this article and my sharing of my recovery from gambling addiction having still today, managed mental and emotional disorders. I make sure now I make all my doctor visits and get a physical each year to remain healthy and managed. If you don’t have your health? You can’t be of help to others. And maintaining recovery means having to put YOU! First including your Health!

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~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate/Author 

 

 

 

Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Ones!

A while back I had received an exciting opportunity and invite from a major organization to “share” one of my most important times within a downfall or relapse during my recovery and what I had learned from it being in early recovery. Of course, looking back, one had always stood out to me and it was from my second failed suicide attempt and I was wasn’t even ACTIVE in addiction. No, not trying to shock anyone about suicide, but currently, one in five people gambling addictively will try suicide once as one can get in a state of feeling financially bankrupt and emotionally hopeless …

Since the Holidays are just around the corner, I will be, for the 6th year, be at home blogging, advocating, checking my email closely, and will BE available by phone for anyone who needs Recovery Support or struggling with gambling beginning the day before Thanksgiving 2018. WHY? 

Because even though I am years in my journey of recovery, I know and remember how difficult the holiday season can be when you have a problem or are addicted to gambling. Not enough money to buy gifts or even buy things to celebrate or decorate the season. I had many years of this and know how it felt.

I Hope that by sharing this article I wrote and sharing, that it finds its way to even just “one person,”  it may help and let them know there is HOPE and much HELP with gambling addiction. You are not alone. I have been through the “battle” and I am here to listen, read your comments, answer any questions, and here to HELP.
~Catherine Lyon

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“My recovery journey started again in 2006. Not from gambling but from being dually diagnosed with addiction and mental health challenges. I woke up in a hospital as the result of a second failed suicide attempt and was back into an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 15-day stay.”

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The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well. We are hearing more recovering gamblers and other types of addictions where the addict has mental illness as well. That was me! And the “why’s” to writing my memoir titled; Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat and that is was what my gambling addiction had turned me into, a liar and a cheat …

This time around I had a severe financial crisis happen and since I had not taken mental health meds and already worked through all our savings and retirement money, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. “Old addiction thinking and diseased habits.” What a mess I got into! The person pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the process and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I finally paid off recently. My point?

We must do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I had not done all the work necessary for a well-rounded rehabilitation. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and now legal troubles told me I still had more work to do. I needed to work with an addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I did get help with an expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others, and those still suffering the cycle of gambling addiction.

After this second suicide attempt, I also learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with the gambling/behavioral specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery with mental illness. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

Being a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. Many of the negative habits, behaviors and diseased thinking on my part needed correcting. Working with the specialist was eye-opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, as we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Even though I didn’t relapse into gambling, the workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. They were all direct links to the roots of why I had turned to gamble and became addicted. I also never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

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By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter the stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are child sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted.

It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on families’ lives and the impact in our communities.  The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth.

Currently, 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers. Again, 1 in every 5 will attempt suicide from this addiction. And now, gambling addiction IS the 3 addiction claiming lives by suicide. This has to change! Hopefully, through my recovery advocacy, my book, and my blogging, I can help change this. I have learned many lessons, so the best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about the addiction.

Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a reliable recovery that encompasses inner reflection and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I happen to learn this the hard way.

Now that I have reached eleven plus years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we could weather any storm together as he stayed with me through all of this. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned on many platforms and in publications.

And I share as much as I can with others who still suffer. As I write my next book, it will be about how to make the first year in recovery and beyond as it seems readers have been asking me to do. With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted to share how to attain the first year of recovery. It IS WHY I continue my recovery as an online journal in blog format here on Recovery Starts Here!
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All I can do is urge others who have a gambling problem is never give up. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the ‘professional or clinical’ side of this disease and how to recover. Sharing our story is a powerful tool for others to listen and learn from and break the power of stigma.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent.

Besides, this is about reclaiming your life from gambling addiction!

 

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About The Advocate:

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best-selling author of her shocking debut Memoir; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Walmart Online. Born in New Jersey, lived in So. Oregon over 25 years, she and her husband reside in Glendale, Arizona. Catherine is well known in many addiction and recovery online communities for her voice of realism, raw, and honesty about her battles with gambling addiction and now 11+yrs in recovery, living with mental illness, and her past childhood trauma and abuse.

She is finishing her third book and currently co-writing a memoir with former NFL pro of the Denver Broncos, Vance Johnson. She is a former ‘In Recovery Magazine Columnist of The Authors’ Café, and ow writes a column called “Quit to Win” for the recovery newspaper “Keys to Recovery.”  Catherine advocates and sponsors many today. Her articles have been published in “Time and Nautilus online, In Recovery Magazine, Facing Addiction, and Keys to Recovery, as well as media from Columbia University.”

National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

“I am a woman maintaining recovery from addictions and I am dually diagnosed with mental and emotional health challenges. My gambling addiction is what finally brought out my mental health symptoms to the point of trying suicide…TWICE.”

And I have not talked about it much. That comes from stigma. I don’t really want a label attached to me even though stigma is still prevalent among those recovering from addiction, but mental illness still has a long way to go. Of course, we have to have a name for the many forms of mental illnesses, but many times those who suffer become targets and ridiculed. That comes from NO Understanding and Lack of Empathy.

Just my own feelings. It is why I advocate, I try to help educate and inform the public that we who have mental illness are no different from others. We may just have a few more challenges than those who don’t have mental health issues. There has been an alarming rise of those recovering from addictions being diagnosed with some form of mental and emotional problem.

According to this article by my helpful friends of The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The Recovery Village. I treat my mental health just as my medical health. I am well managed, take my meds properly, and don’t use alcohol. I always keep my appointments and live life. I don’t let my challenges hold me back from what I enjoy doing! I do however need to be open and comfortable doing so. Here is a new attempt…Lol. I do hope all who visit find this article informative.  ~Catherine

Mental Illness and Addiction: America’s Struggle to Accept the Connection
Article By Staff at The Recovery Village.

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The United States is knee deep in a polarizing discussion on mental health and the best ways to help people struggling. Another topic Americans continue to wrestle with is how to address drug and alcohol addiction. But is there a relationship between the two issues?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million) in the United States suffer from mental illness each year. Additionally, 20.2 million people in the United States suffer from a substance use disorder and a little more than half of them also have a mental health disorder, known as a co-occurring disorder.

Despite the prevalence of both mental illness and substance use disorder, a cause-and-effect relationship between the two is not universally accepted by many people in the United States.

The Recovery Village, a leader in substance use disorder treatment and mental health, recently conducted a survey that uncovered an overlap between mental health and addiction among the respondents’ answers. This information could help more people accept that there is a link between the two, and acknowledge them as equally important illnesses, helping create a culture that promotes healing and treatment instead of criticism and blame.

What Is Mental Illness?

First, it’s important to define mental illness. Medical experts summarize the disease as any disorder or disorders that cause a person to experience an altered mood, thinking pattern or behavior. According to Medline Plus, mental health disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Mood disorders or personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

From the survey conducted by The Recovery Village, approximately 62 percent of people said they either currently suffer or have suffered from a mental illness in the past. The most common mental health disorder that survey respondents said they suffered from was depression (78.46 percent), with anxiety disorders (70.73 percent) a close second. Mood disorders (37 percent) followed, and multiple respondents included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a write-in answer.

Respondents were allowed to submit multiple answers, as many people suffer from more than one mental illness. The number of respondents who suffer from a mental illness is not the only evidence of the issue’s significance. Nearly 63 percent of survey respondents said they know at least one family member who suffers from a mental health disorder and 54.25 percent said they know a friend who suffers from this disease. Few people surveyed — only 57 out of 400 — said they don’t know anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder, a reason to believe that this issue either directly or indirectly affects a large majority of Americans.

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Connecting Mental Illness and Addiction

Many people suffering from a mental health disorder resort to drugs or alcohol as a dangerous form of self-medication. Additionally, many doctors prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications to patients with a mental illness, and these drugs can be addictive. While some people misuse substances as a response to mental illness, others developmental health concerns after prolonged drug or alcohol addiction. For example, people who misuse cocaine or other stimulant drugs might experience long-term behavioral changes, including depression or anxiety, as the body functions alter permanently due to the substance’s effects.

How many people suffer from co-occurring disorders? A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 7.9 million adults in 2016 suffered from substance use disorders and mental illnesses. Rates were highest among adults between the ages of 26 and 49. The Journal of the American Medical Association found information that links the two diseases:

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are also affected by substance misuse
  • Around 37 percent of people addicted to alcohol and 53 percent of people addicted to drugs suffer from at least one mental illness

America Still Behind on Accepting the Connection

The survey conducted by The Recovery Village shows an even stronger connection between co-occurring disorders. There is a large overlap between the number of people who have been affected by each disease. Of the 343 people who said they know someone who suffers from a mental health disorder, 303 people (88 percent) said they know at least one person who also has an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both. However, since some people could know multiple people, one with each illness, this information might be open to interpretation.

The survey respondents’ first-hand knowledge and experiences with these two illnesses provide even better evidence of the relationship between mental health disorders and addictions. Around 39 percent of the people surveyed said they have struggled or currently struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, and nearly 35 percent said that they have struggled with both an addiction and mental health disorder.

Out of the 156 people who admitted to struggling with addiction, around 89 percent said they also suffered from, or still struggle with, a mental illness. Yet not as many drew a definitive connection between the two. Only 59 percent of respondents said they believe there is a relationship between mental health disorders and addiction. While that is a majority, the respondents’ beliefs about the potential connection are not reflective of their personal experiences.

Destigmatizing Mental Illness and Addiction

As the United States continues to discuss ways to make mental health treatment more accessible, the conversation of removing the negative stigma remains on the frontlines of discourse. However, a similar negative view of addiction continues to fester in the country, creating a more difficult landscape for people to accept and find treatment for their disorders.

Claire Rudy Foster, a contributor to Huffington Post who is in recovery from addiction, summarized the public’s perception toward substance use disorder: “Never mind that I’ve been sober and in recovery for more than 10 years. That doesn’t matter to the people who don’t know how this disease really works. They expect me to be ashamed of myself. To them, addiction is code for Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, grunge, needles, misery. They assume that I shot up. I must have stolen and lied to pay for my habit. I must be a criminal.

Maybe I am morally infirm as well.” The negative perception about addiction that exists in the United States can often become a roadblock toward lifelong recovery. If people suffering from substance use disorder do not have support from their peers, the healing process becomes more challenging.

Many medical professionals stress that a link exists between mental illness and substance use disorder. Additionally, the survey responses show that a majority of people who have suffered or are suffering from one of these disorders have also experienced the other. Yet only a little more than half of Americans are certain that a connection exists, potentially allowing the negative stigma surrounding addiction to fester within the country.

Increasing awareness and understanding can help create a more positive environment for people seeking recovery from substance use disorders. For those who have an addiction to a harmful substance and also suffer from a mental illness, there are many resources and hotlines available.

Seeking and receiving help from medical experts can make a big difference toward finding peace and living with either or both illnesses.
~The Recovery Village

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September Is National Recovery Month

Mental illness is a growing epidemic in the United States. The disease has affected the mood, thinking, and behavior of millions of people across the country. However, many Americans remain unaware of the widespread existence of mental health problems, and some of those with psychological issues avoid lifesaving treatment.

To reduce mental illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created National Recovery Month. Every September, the organization helps people host events designed to educate the masses about mental illness… So Please Visit and be Educated addiction.

 

Addiction+Depression= SUICIDE? Let’s Be Informed and Educated To Stop Suicides …Call 1-800-273-8255

I happened to receive an email a while ago form ‘Facing Addiction.’ The email was about if I wanted to write and share some of my story of being a person who lives dually diagnosed, meaning I maintain recovery from gambling and alcohol addictions and live with mental health challenges.

I was very honored to do so. Today, Facing Addiction  says; “Every 4 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from an overdose or alcohol-related cause – the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every day with no survivors.”

  • 22 million Americans are suffering — 23 million more are in recovery 1 in 3 households are directly impacted.

Since we have had several high profile celebrities recently choose suicide over life, I thought I would share some of what I wrote for Facing Addiciton with you this month in our column in hopes of sharing my voice to shatter stigma around these critical topics that are touching and claiming too many lives.

See, suicide is only a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Depression, anxiety, bipolar or any other mental health issue should never have to end with SUICIDE … Make the call if you have any thought of suicide – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 24/7 Everyday – 1-800-273-8255.

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“My recovery journey restarted in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of my second failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.”


I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had already worked through all of our savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, they person pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of maintaining your recovery, including your finances. I had not done all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to do more work, so I did with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.

After this second suicide attempt and crisis, as my first was where I spent my 40th Birthday after my first suicide attempt, I spent another 14-days in a Mental Health/Addcition crisis center. This time, I learned I had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After my release from the crisis center I started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control; I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live dually diagnosed. Those of us who have a mental illness also have a huge hurdle in our path, STIGMA.

Since I am a dual-diagnosed person who maintains recovery and has mental health challenges, it can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The old habits, behaviors and diseased thinking needed correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye-opening. He helped me break down “the cycle of the addiction,” and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan beforehand as these life events will come.

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(Courtesy of Getty)

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Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more and see my growth from my journaling. I used my journals in writing my current published book as well. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing and letting go process for me. I learned to be vigilent in managing my medications I need to stay stable.

It can be both scary and tough sharing about my gambling addiction with alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. But the open doors and blessings I could never dreamed happening since I do advocate, and loudly. Never thought I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the amazing blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book, using my recovery blog and sharing them with the world, I hope it shatters stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors wh feel alond and voiceless. I have chosen not to be anonymous as I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted.

It indeed is a real disease and illness, and even more complicated when you are dually diagnosed with mental illness along with it! I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities and in families’ lives. 1 in every 5 attempt suicide from this addiction. And the above stats for mental illness is no better.

“A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. Suicide doesn’t discriminate as it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.”   ~MHA – Mental Health America

 

The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers. The best advice I can give? When starting early recovery, learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to determine the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.

Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and GA – 12-step meetings for support. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I learned this the hard way but have found a way to make it 11+years maintaining my recovery.

I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others, to advocate about mental illness, and speak about childhood sexual adbuse! Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we could weather any storm together. I know “sharing” my experiences and our recovery with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover.

Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen, hear, and take action. You are not alone.

The time is now to start the conversation about these topics and shine a bright light on ALL of THESE ISSUES. It is beyond the TIME to start the conversation, it is NOW the time to HAVE the conversation to Shatter Stigma around Mental Illness, Gambling Addiction, Depression, Bipolar, Mania, Alcoholism, SUICIDE.
You Get The Message,
RIGHT?

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

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I Am Supporting Many Including SAMHSA As September 2017 Is “National Recovery Month” and I am Dually Diagnosed…

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National Recovery Month ~ Raise The Awareness!

Every September, SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. 

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate National Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.

Now in its 27th year, Recovery Month highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible. Recovery Month also promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective preventiontreatment, and recovery services for those in need.

The Recovery Month theme is carefully developed each year to invite individuals in recovery and their support systems to spread the message and share the successes of recovery. Learn more about this year’s theme.

Materials produced for the Recovery Month observance include print, Web, television, radio, and social media tools. These resources help local communities reach out and encourage individuals in need of services, and their friends and families, to seek treatment and recovery services and information. Materials provide multiple resources including SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357) for information and treatment referral as well as other SAMHSA resources for locating services.

LET’S RAISE AWARENESS TOGETHER AND STOP THE STIGMA!

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    My Voice My Legacy ~ By Author/Advocate
on Sale
All September 2017
Catherine Townsend-Lyon